COVID

Kara Swisher on The Unexpected Joys of the Coronavirus Lockdown – The New York Times

There will — though we can’t see it now — be an end to this crisis. And that is perhaps the most important analog lesson of this terrible moment: There is always an end. The crisis will end. And, eventually, all of our lives will come to pass.
Those of us with great jobs, savings and solid health care coverage have had an easier time during the crisis than those who struggle every day with financial and mental health challenges, and worse.
But we all share in life’s fragility. We’re all being reminded again that life is capricious, for every one of us, and that it can change and be done whenever it chooses and without warning.
— Read on www.nytimes.com/2020/05/24/opinion/coronavirus-family.html

I love it when Kara Swisher turns introspective and evocative.

Don’t Trust That Twitter Bot

Nearly Half of Twitter Accounts Pushing To Reopen America May Be Bots https://news.slashdot.org/story/20/05/21/2147232/nearly-half-of-twitter-accounts-pushing-to-reopen-america-may-be-bots?utm_source=rss1.0mainlinkanon&utm_medium=feed

Well that makes sense. These bots are all about convincing us Americans to do stuff that will damage ourselves and our nation.

Trust the experts. Trust the doctors and nurses and epidemiologists. Do NOT trust that guy on Twitter with the username @eijjeei73795.

Self-disinfecting mask that works with Face ID in development – 9to5Mac

The Amazfit Aeri mask […] comes with removable air filters and will have built-in ultraviolet light emitters. By plugging the mask into a USB-C plug for a few minutes, it can disinfect itself after every use. This would allow each filter to be effective for one and a half months, according to a Huami spokesperson
— Read on 9to5mac.com/2020/05/18/self-disinfecting-mask/

I would totally buy this.

COVID-19 Sensor for iPhone

A prototype device has been created, measuring an inch wide, one that connects to a host device over Bluetooth and drawing power from a smartphone’s charging port. After opening a companion app, the sensor requires a particle of saliva to be deposited for a reading. 

DNA strands in the virus bind onto proteins on the sensor, in turn creating electrical resistance and triggered a positive result in the app. Once a test is completed, the sample can be destroyed using an electrical current, leaving it ready to be reused in another test.

https://appleinsider.com/articles/20/05/18/covid-19-sensor-could-bring-daily-testing-to-iphones

Thing is, this test relies on saliva. I happen to work for a company that did a ton of work on the viability of testing for COVID-19 using saliva. The results were not promising.

In the Diagnostic Cohort, we find that saliva collection has reduced sensitivity (~30% less) relative than NPS. And in our convalescent cohort of patients greater than 8 days and less than 21 days from first symptom, we find that saliva has ~ 50% sensitivity relative to NPS. Our results suggest that rigorous studies in the intended populations should be performed before large-scale screening using saliva as the test matrix is initiated.

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.05.11.20092338v2

The team at Helix did some hard work and I wish the conclusion was different. If the sophisticated instruments and rigorous methods they used for testing showed that saliva isn’t as viable a medium for testing as NPS swabs, I’m hard-pressed to see how a $50 gadget with a tiny saliva sample can provide an reliable result. Maybe I’m missing something.