What an equitable coronavirus response should look like

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As the virus spreads, the government response needs to take into account the many people who can’t afford care or a two-week quarantine away from work. Pandemics highlight global inequalities, from who is educated about a disease to who can afford a visit to the doctor if they get sick, to who can work remotely—or even take time off work—to recover and prevent the spread of the disease to others. Health officials have said it’s inevitable that America will see an outbreak of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus that was first reported in Wuhan, China, and has since spread to more than 60 countries, infecting more than 88,000 people so far. Read Full Story

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California is renting hotel rooms and RVs to protect the homeless from coronavirus

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Disease can spread rapidly throughout encampments, so the state wants to step in before that happens. In California, where more than 100,000 homeless people live on the street—at extra risk from the new coronavirus, and without any way to easily wash their hands or self-quarantine—the state government is now working to procure hotel and motel rooms and deploy hundreds of RVs to provide temporary shelter. Read Full Story

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Coronavirus symptoms: How long do they take to show up? New research paints a fuller picture

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Individuals infected with COVID-19 could be symptom-free for 5 to 11 days, making it more likely they unknowingly spread the disease. New research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine has cast a clear light on the median incubation period of the COVID-19 coronavirus. The researchers examined news reports about the spread of the virus outside of China as well as interviewed people outside of China who became infected with the disease, and from that extrapolated the time frame the coronavirus is likely to infect someone without a person showing symptoms. Read Full Story

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4 tips for holding a more effective video meeting

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Plenty of things can derail a videoconference call. Here’s how to keep them productive. One of my colleagues posted a meme the other day calling the coronavirus the “Zoombie apocalypse” after the group videoconference app that has been the basis of a lot of meetings since people started working from home to slow the spread of the disease. Read Full Story

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What would happen if the world reacted to climate change like it’s reacting to the coronavirus?

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What would a fast, coordinated, collective response to climate change look like? The coronavirus has transformed everyday life so significantly that the effects are already visible from space. In China, where hundreds of millions of people were quarantined to help stop the spread of the disease, before-and-after satellite photos show pollution disappearing as work came to a standstill. In the U.S., as the number of coronavirus cases has grown quickly, companies are asking employees to work from home and canceling conferences. Schools are canceling classes. In Italy, another massive quarantine is underway. The changes have been sudden, driven by widespread recognition that it’s a public health emergency—and, although the window of opportunity may have already closed, a chance to prevent another deadly disease like the flu from becoming a permanent, ongoing problem. Read Full Story

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You should have a COVID-19 plan at work in case you get sick

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The last thing you want to be thinking about if you get sick is who is going to finish that massive project you’re working on. If you’re like many people, you don’t take a lot of vacations from work. Even people who can take as many days as they want a year often take fewer than two weeks of paid time off each year. A big reason why is that work builds up. Vacations are nice, but the amount of preparation you need before you go away to make sure responsibilities are taken care of and the number of tasks waiting for you when you return makes vacations sometimes feel like more of a hassle than they’re worth. Read Full Story

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How to prepare your home, your workplace, and yourself for a pandemic

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Stock up on food, work from home, and make it clear workers who are sick will be supported—not fired. Roughly a month after China launched the largest quarantine in human history, with more than 700 million people under full or partial lockdown as of last week, in an attempt at containment of the new coronavirus, the virus is now quickly spreading in other countries, including South Korea and Italy. On Tuesday, federal officials in the U.S. said that it’s not a matter of if the coronavirus will begin to spread in American communities, but when. San Francisco declared a state of emergency . No one knows, yet, how bad it might get. But here’s what individuals and companies can do to prepare. Read Full Story

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Bing’s coronavirus live map tracks recoveries, along with new cases and deaths

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Tech giants like Microsoft are realizing they have a role to play in helping people track the coronavirus pandemic. For all its promise, Big Data wasn’t able to stop the coronavirus outbreak from becoming a global pandemic, but more and more tech giants are starting to realize they have a role to play in helping governments and citizens track the accelerated spread of the disease. Read Full Story

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Pfizer’s digital chief: Technology can speed the race to a COVID-19 vaccine

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Lidia Fonseca, Pfizer’s chief digital and technology officer, is keeping the drug company’s networks and computers running while scientists work to find a vaccine. On January 24, as the novel coronavirus started to spread in China, the government enacted travel restrictions throughout Hubei, the province where humans first contracted the disease. “I remember vividly on January 27 that our Chinese colleagues could not [get to] work, and we got the first request to help,” recalled Lidia Fonseca, chief digital and technology officer at Pfizer. Employees who had worked on desktops or left laptops in the office couldn’t access work materials, so Fonseca’s team set up virtual desktops so people could access the pharmaceutical company’s network and applications. Read Full Story

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These disease investigation specialists usually track down STDs. Now they’re doing COVID-19 contact tracing

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The National Coalition of STD Directors is lending its disease intervention specialists to help find, test, and isolate people who have been exposed to the coronavirus. While it’s never been especially visible, the importance of “contact tracing” to curb the spread of disease is not new to the COVID-19 pandemic. As tech companies develop contact tracing apps that draw skepticism and raise privacy concerns, one organization is deploying its employees to carry out this important public health work with a shoe-leather approach, just as they’ve been doing for decades to stem the spread of a different kind of health concern: STDs. Read Full Story

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