Coronavirus Briefing: Meds, maps and humps

Today’s Coronavirus Briefing is 1,253 words and will take you six minutes to read.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

Today’s briefing is filled with informational nuggets tempered by the knowledge that stuff is less factual these days and more theoretical, hypothetical and hopeful. And that it can all change the next day. So, let us revel in the cold hard knowledge that we have in front of us right now: It’s mid-week, a meteor shower from Halley’s Comet peaked yesterday, there will be a super moon tomorrow — and the songs at the end of this newsletter are the perfect antidote to these doldrum days.

Today’s Coronavirus Briefing is 1,253 words and will take you six minutes to read.

Top news

  • Part of India’s success in blunting the spread of a coronavirus outbreak was a fierce lockdown. After loosening restrictions for a few days, the contagion is beginning to spread more aggressively.
  • President Trump acknowledged “there’ll be more death” related to the coronavirus pandemic but said it is time to reopen the country as a growing number of states move to relax their stay-at-home mandates.
  • A number of children in the U.S. and Europe have been hospitalized with an inflammatory condition similar to Kawasaki disease that could be linked to COVID-19.

The Takeaway:

To quote Dr. Anthony Fauci, “How many more deaths and how much suffering are you willing to accept to get back to what you want to be, some form of normality, sooner rather than later?”


Many of today’s discoveries seem to be taking their cue from the animal world.

  • Monthly Prescribing Reference’s Steve Duffy takes a look at how zoonotic diseases (diseases originating from animals) such as SARS and COVID-19 will likely result in large-scale changes in zoonotic disease prevention preparedness.
  • MPR also reports that The National Institutes of Health launched a Shark Tank-like $500 million contest to find the best COVID-19 test. Technologies will be put through a highly competitive, rapid three-phase selection process, matching finalists with technical, business and manufacturing experts to increase the odds of success.
  • Public Health England will report by the end of May on how factors including ethnicity, gender and obesity affect patients and U.K. National Health Service staff infected with COVID-19, according to GP. The review comes after growing concern over the disproportionate impact of the virus on people of color, Asian or minority ethnic backgrounds.
  • Llama antibodies may be useful for treating COVID-19. Researchers at the Department of Molecular Biosciences at The University of Texas at Austin linked two copies of an antibody found in a four-year-old llama named Winter, who lives on a farm in the Belgian countryside. The result was the first known antibody to neutralize both SARS-CoV-1 and SARS-CoV-2.

The Takeaway:

In the 1990s, alpacas were all the rage. In 2020, llamas may help us all.


Here we find more (robotic) animals, some help for long-term healthcare facilities and some challenges for, but extended gratefulness toward, nurses.

  • Yesterday we told you that robots and drones were being called into service at senior living communities to keep residents engaged and connected. Today we bring you news that robotic pets are being distributed to socially isolated seniors in Florida and New York living with Alzheimer’s disease and related types of dementia. The project was created by A Joy For All Companion Pets — a company formed by a group of former Hasbro employees in collaboration with the Florida Department of Elder Affairs.
  • A new survey by NurseGrid sheds some light on the experiences of nurses on the front lines of the pandemic. The 10-question review reveals equipment shortages, fear of infecting family and friends, changes in assignments and an interesting revelation regarding confidence in relation to experience.
  • LTC Properties, a real estate investment trust for seniors housing and healthcare, reported a drop in occupancy rates for skilled nursing operators. “The decline in both private pay and skilled nursing occupancy is not surprising given current industry trends,” Clint Malin, LTC Properties EVP and chief investment officer, told McKnight’s Long-Term Care News. 
  • As part of the "Year of the Nurse and Midwife" celebration, the American Nurses Association is turning National Nurses Week (May 6–12) into a month-long recognition to expand opportunities to elevate and celebrate nursing. The month is broken down into four, week-long themes. This week: self-care.

The Takeaway:

Self-care seems like a good thing to focus on today. The definition is broad, so whatever it means to you, that’s the thing to do.


Workers are burned out but also like working from home. Read on for more information.

  • In People Management, Siobhan Palmer dives into a survey of U.K. companies that reveals working from home is causing a rise in employee burnout and “e-presenteeism” — workers believing they should be online even when feeling unwell or having already worked their contracted hours. However, the survey also demonstrated the benefits of remote working.
  • Kim Davis in PRWeek reports on the findings from Alva — an AI-powered intelligence and media monitoring firm — that businesses are earning media by advertising their medical production initiatives, protections for employee health and reductions in executive pay.
  • Influencers were all the rage. Then they lost their edge. Are they making a comeback? PRWeek U.K.’s John Harrington suggests we may be entering a golden age of influencers, propelling digital creators and talent into the mainstream consciousness as part of the creative void left by production crews.

The Takeaway:

The only thing for sure is that broadcasting the good you’re doing, which isn’t bad, is good.


Infographics that break down what’s happening by country, state, sector and in the very near future.

  • An update of which countries are on partial or national lockdown, what travel restrictions are in place and what size gatherings are allowed.
  • These charts track the weekly deaths above or below normal in each U.S. state through the most recent week.

The Takeaway:

When you need a break from the barrage of bad news, but need to stay in the know, charts and graphs provide a useful big-picture balance.

Music for hump day

Instead of sitting at your desk for lunch today, we suggest cranking these tunes and enjoying a dance break. That’s what we call self-care in our neighborhood.

See you tomorrow, party people.

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