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July 6, 2020

Are you getting enough coronavirus information on the these days? If not, I have plenty of ideas on how you can get more. Just about every news source and infectious disease institution is happy to deliver a newsletter to your email so that you can spend your day agonizing over the fine points of distancing, masking, hand washing, and debating whether or not COVID is airborne. I subscribe to several newsletters and they are a daily reminder that nothing is certain.

A visit to Grandma’s

Today the CDC sent me a little animated filmstrip showing a visit to Grandma’s. Everyone is outside. Two kids are kicking a soccer ball around on the grass in masks, Mom and Dad (masked) are facing the kids while they read a book together under a tree while Grandma (masked) sits all by herself on the back porch. I guess if she gets bored she can always read the hand sanitizer label.

Not this grandma. If they’re not going to at least talk to me they can go home.

In the meantime, here are some free newsletters you might like to subscribe to:

  1. Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: This link https://www.centerforhealthsecurity.org/resources/COVID-19/index.html will show you how to subscribe to their weekly situation reports, which start with an updated world summary, followed by current issues. Today’s summarizes debates on airborne spread, superspreader events, and hydroxychloroquine testing.
  2. CDC (Centers for Disease Control): You can subscribe to the weekly MMWR (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report) here: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/mmwrsubscribe.html . Has reports on recent studies, not always on COVID and not up-to-the-minute, so its usefulness depends on your interest in the details.
  3. NIH (National Institutes of Health) has a news briefing you can sign up for here https://www.nih.gov/coronavirus . Definitely more on the technical/research side.
  4. WHO (World Health Organization) has a COVID-19 newsletter you can subscribe to at https://www.euro.who.int/en/media-centre/newsletters/subscribe-to-our-mailing-list?newsletterid=group[19517][34359738368] . It has brief articles about the COVID-19 situation in the WHO European Region to give an international perspective.
  5. CIDRAP: Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, University of Minnesota. Readable articles on a variety of aspects. You can sign up for a newsletter at https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/newsletter . Good variety of podcasts and seminars at https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/covid-19/podcasts-webinars. I listen to Michael Osterholm’s weekly podcast while I work on a puzzle. They work well together.
  6. USA Today has a new newsletter which you can sign up for at https://profile.usatoday.com/newsletters/manage/ . It’s called “Staying Apart, Together.” The first one had good ideas for celebrating July Fourth at home. It looks like an upbeat non-technical newsletter. On the same page you can sign up for a “Coronavirus Watch” newsletter which keeps you current on COVID news stories of the day.

Warning: Don’t read too many newletters unless you have a high tolerance for uncertainty. Many important aspects of this pandemic are still being researched and debated by experts. Like us, they’re still learning. And in the long run, that’s a good thing.

As the NIH reminds us:

Today’s Notable Headlines

“Staying Apart, Together: A newsletter about how to cope with the coronavirus pandemic,” USA Today, July 6, 2020. https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/2020/04/10/staying-apart-together-newsletter-help-us-cope-coronavirus/2953992001/

CDC filmstrip, July 3, 2020: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nnxk5OGW8PA&deliveryName=USCDC_2067-DM32480

“Older people as unwilling as youth to isolate during pandemic,” CIDRAP, July 6, 2020. https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2020/07/global-experts-ignoring-airborne-covid-spread-risky

“Global experts: Ignoring airborne COVID spread risky,” CIDRAP, July 6, 2020. https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2020/07/global-experts-ignoring-airborne-covid-spread-risky

Why am I doing this?

The coronavirus pandemic will be indelibly written on our memories just as the Great Depression or the Battle of Britain left their mark on past generations. It is my intention to journal the events of these days from three perspectives: as a retired medical technologist, a historian (Ph.D., 2014), and an ordinary person living through an extraordinary crisis.

You are on History’s Edge.

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