updated Wed, Mar 18, 2020

(I'm so thankful that I don't use social media.)



Excerpts from the symptoms page:

The primary symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough and shortness of breath. Some people also experience fatigue, headaches and, less frequently, diarrhea. Cases can range from mild to moderate to severe. About 80 percent of cases so far seem to be mild, according to the World Health Organization.

To prevent the coronavirus from spreading, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using a hand sanitizer if a sink isn't available. The WHO says people should wear face masks only if they're sick or caring for someone who is.

The virus is thought to spread mainly between people who are in close proximity to one another: within about 6 feet. It spreads primarily through respiratory droplets that are spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Those droplets can land in the mouth or nose of someone nearby, and possibly infect them.

According to the CDC, it may be possible for a person to become infected by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes. But experts believe the virus spreads mostly through contact with other people.

Links of interest

Tue, Mar 31, 2020

Mon, Mar 30, 2020

Wed, Mar 18:

On Wed, Mar 18, I shopped at Claudia's for hot cereals and a few other items, Walgreens for Barney's treats, and Massarant's for Barney's dog food, my peanuts, and bird seed. Late in the afternoon, my Stepdaughter Catherine told us that she had a fever and a headache. She worked four straight days, Sat through Tue. She's a nurse at a Michigan hospital. Deb went up in the evening to help with the kids until Brad came home from work, which was after 9pm. Brad is also a nurse, but he works at a Toledo hospital. I did not go up because Catherine thought that my immune system might still be a little weak from the small bout of shingles that I experienced earlier this month.

Shingles appeared on the right side of my torso on Wed, Mar 4 while we were in Orange Beach, AL. I contacted our doctor's office in Toledo. I started taking an antiviral drug that afternoon. By Wed, Mar 11, I noticed that the half dozen small shingle areas were fading. I stopped taking the antiviral drug on Sat, Mar 14.

Fri, Mar 20:

At about Noon on Fri, Mar 20, I arrived at CP and Brad's house to watch the kids. Brad took CP to a drive-thru testing facility, located in Canton, Michigan. Then after Brad brought Catherine home, Brad left to run errands to prepare for his drill weekend at Toledo Express Airport for the Air National Guard. On Fri afternoon, Mar 20, Deb shopped at Claudia's and Kroger's. She bought beer from Ernest Brew Works. She picked up our dinner from Whiskey and the Wolf. I returned home in the evening. CP stayed mainly in her bedroom. We were never close to each other.

Sat, Mar 21:

Deb left our house around 7am to go up and help with the kids while CP continued fight her illness and while Brad went to drill. In the late morning, Catherine received the first set of results for her test. She tested negative for influenza. The swab first went to the University of Michigan hospital to test for the various seasonal flu strains. Since it was negative, then the swab went to Lansing, MI to test for the coronavirus.

When CP informed Brad that she tested negative for the flu, then Brad had to leave the airport, and it meant the Deb and I had to observe a self-quarantine. We could only be at CP and Brad's house and our home, in addition to walking Barney around our neighborhood.

I went up in the early afternoon, but I did not know that Brad had arrived. I only stayed for a short time, and then Deb and I left.

Sun, Mar 22:

Deb and I went up in the late morning to CP and Brad's house and we left about 7pm. We watched the kids. Deb and Brad straightened up the basement in case one or both of us were needed to move into their house.

Late in the afternoon, Catherine came out and sat in the living room and chatted and held the kids some. This was the best that CP had felt, since getting ill on Wednesday.

Mon, Mar 23:

I arrived at CP and Brad's house around 7am. Even though Brad is a nurse, he also handles administration duties, and on this morning, he needed to complete payroll, which took several hours. He worked in the basement, and CP rested in the bedroom. CP, however, did come out more, and she said that she felt better than how she felt on Sunday afternoon. She looked and sounded better. I left in the late afternoon.

Tue, Mar 24:

I arrived around 7:30 a.m., and I left in the late afternoon again. CP felt much better, nearly normal, according to Catherine, except for feeling a little winded at times. Brad worked again in the basement. CP is also attending school, and she spent the day in the basement working on school work. I played with the kids upstairs.

On Tue evening, Mar 24, Catherine received the results for her coronavirus test, which was also negative. CP guessed that she had viral pneumonia. This meant that Brad could return to work, and Deb and I were not quarantined.

Wed, Mar 25:

I went back up to watch the kids while Catherine studied. Brad worked from home again.

Thu, Mar 26:

Brad returned to work.

In the afternoon, I shopped at the Phoenix Earth Food Co-op

Fri, Mar 27:

I went up to relieve Rhonda who was still bothered by a cold. Rhonda arrived early in the morning. I arrived around 11am, and I stayed until about 7pm. Brad arrived home from work around 6pm. Catherine was at work for a 12-hour shift.

Sat, Mar 28:

CP worked. Deb went up to watch the kids while Brad worked on the basement some more. I rested at home. In the afternoon, Deb stopped at the Flick's liquor store to buy us bourbon. Obviously, that's unnecessary store visit.

In the evening, we planned to meet with our neighbor Kim, who is a nurse, in her backyard and sit around a fire and eat food that we planned to pick up from Mancy's Italian restaurant. But the rainy forecast (and it did rain in the evening) changed our plans. We decided to invite Kim over to our house, but Catherine said that it was not a good idea even if we kept our distance on different furniture. I agreed and we canceled our little meeting with one person.

Sun, Mar 29:

Deb and I went birdwatching along the lakeshore. I stopped to fuel the car. Deb, however, went inside the nearly empty Maumee Bay gas station to buy coffee and snacks. I thought that the place was closed, since we were the only vehicle at the place. Upon returning to the car, Deb wiped down everything. But that was also an unnecessary store visit. I brought Darjeeling tea that I brewed at home, and I brought a bag of Lemon Snaps that I bought at the co-op on Thursday.

In the evening, I went inside the nearby Vito's and picked up a pizza order that Deb made. We took the pizza up to CP and Brad's to chat about possible scenarios with what we might do, regarding the kids. Entering the pizza place was an unnecessary store visit.

Since we canceled hosting Kim at our house, then we need to stop unnecessary store visits.

The co-op offers to shop for people. I may phone in my order, which would limit my time inside the co-op. I prefer to shop at the co-op.

Thu, Mar 19, 2020

3:53 p.m. - Our local public radio station, WGTE FM 91.3, is broadcasting the state of Ohio press conference about the virus. I think that Ohio holds a presser daily. A Blade reporter asked a question about a possible death in Maumee (Toledo suburb) that the Blade reported might have been due to the coronavirus. The Blade reporter wanted to know if this is the first known coronavirus death in Ohio. The state official and the governor were aware of the Maumee case, and they were still investigating. - Lucas County attorney dies from 'presumptive' coronavirus infection - Thu, 19 Mar 2020 17:40:04 GMT

Mark Wagoner, Sr., an attorney and active member of Ohio’s Republican Party, died Wednesday from presumptive coronavirus, his family confirmed in a Facebook post Thursday. He was 76.

Family in the post said they’re working with Lucas County health officials to investigate the circumstances of his death. He died at St. Luke’s Hospital in Maumee.

Shannon Lands, a spokesman for the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department, confirmed the department was investigating the death but said test results for coronavirus are still pending.

“We’re heartbroken but take comfort in the 76 years he had. What a life,” his son, Lucas County GOP Chairman Mark Wagoner, Jr., wrote

Mr. Wagoner addressed his father’s cause of death in the post, stating his family was “well aware of the rumors surrounding his condition.”

“Our Dad was diagnosed with presumptive COVID-19, although the final test results have not yet arrived,” Mr. Wagoner wrote. “We have been working closely with the [Toledo-]Lucas County Health Department and other entities over the last week to ensure that proper notice to those who may have been impacted was being provided. Our Dad would’ve wanted us to be looking out for others even as he was fighting for his life.”

A couple days ago, I finally managed to log into my Blade account. I pay $12.99 a month for a digital subscription. For some reason, I could not log into the Blade's site with Firefox even though I lowered all security and privacy protections. I had to use the Brave web brower to access my user account at the Blade.

I don't use any of the Blade's digital products to access their information. Last year, I created my own server-side web app to read the Blade.

I logged into my Blade account to sign up for a daily email from the Blade, regarding coronavirus. I receive a daily email from the Blade each morning that contains some links to Blade stories. Their daily news email could be done much better.

Anyway, this afternoon, I received my first Blade coronavirus-related email, I think. Some excerpts:

The safety and health of our community is our No. 1 priority, now more than ever given the current global health crisis.

That is why we are committed to bringing you all the facts when news happens. We are the largest local news organization in this region and we pledge to keep you safe and informed by bringing you news that matters to you, 24-hours-a-day, 7 days a week. We won't stop.

We have even developed a Coronavirus News Alert that is sent every afternoon to your email, highlighting all the current must-read stories and updates. You can sign up for this free newsletter at

The email continues on to mention the Blade's digital products. The email smacks of a commercial. I'm thinking that the Blade should eliminate its paywall for people who do not have a Blade subscription, at least for the rest of March. - Last Updated: 03/19/20 (Updated daily at 2 p.m.)

The number of confirmed cases seems irrelevant now or a useless stat, based upon what health officials are saying now as shown below. If people have flu-like symptoms, it could be coronavirus or another flu strain. Without testing, a person who recovers from the flu at home who might have had the coronavirus won't get listed in the confirmed case number. - Lucas County's coronavirus tests may take up to 8 days for results

That seems shockingly long, but ...

Results for drive-thru coronavirus testing in Lucas County could take as long as eight days to finalize as state and local officials are asking the public not to “fixate” on testing and treat symptoms as if they have the disease.

If symptoms match, assume it's the coronavirus. The main symptoms are a dry cough and a fever. In worse cases, difficult breathing occurs. The seasonal influenzas are still going around too. - DeWine activates 300 Ohio National Guard personnel to aid residents - Mnuchin: Family of 4 could get $3K under virus relief plan - 'Every Single Individual Must Stay Home': Italy's Coronavirus Deaths Pass China's

As of Thursday, Italy has registered 41,035 diagnoses of the coronavirus and 3,405 deaths. The death toll is now higher than China's known COVID-19 deaths of over 3,200. Earlier this month, Italy became the first Western country to launch a nationwide lockdown to contain the outbreak, but despite strict measures, the number of cases continues to rise. Italy has a universal health care system. But now, its hospitals and medical staff are overwhelmed, prompting anguished debate.

Italy is treating the coronavirus pandemic like a wartime emergency. Health officials are scrambling to set up more beds. In Milan, the old fair grounds is being turned into an emergency COVID-19 hospital with 500 new beds; across the country, hospitals are setting up inflatable tents outdoors for triage.

Other countries can learn important lessons from Italy, says Dr. Giuseppe Remuzzi, co-author of a recent paper in The Lancet about the country's dire situation. The takeaways include how to swiftly convert a general hospital into a coronavirus care unit with specially trained doctors and nurses. "We had dermatologists, eye doctors, pathologists, learning how to assist a person with a ventilator," Remuzzi says.

Some question why Italy was caught off guard when the virus outbreak was revealed on Feb. 21. Remuzzi says he is now hearing information about it from general practitioners. "They remember having seen very strange pneumonia, very severe, particularly in old people in December and even November," he says. "This means that the virus was circulating, at least in [the northern region of] Lombardy, and before we were aware of this outbreak occurring in China." He says, it was impossible to combat something you didn't know existed.

I think that's how China became aware of the virus too, via an unusually large number of pneumonia cases in December, maybe earlier. - Yes, You Can Take Your Kids For A Walk - Concerned About Taking Ibuprofen For Coronavirus Symptoms? Here's What Experts Say

Over the past few days, social media has lit up with reports, picked up by some media outlets, that taking drugs like ibuprofen to ease COVID-19 symptoms could actually worsen the progress of the illness.

But most infectious disease experts say there's no good scientific evidence at this point to support that claim.

The furor was sparked by a tweet by the French health minister, Olivier Véran, over the weekend. He warned people not to take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDS — a category of pain relievers and fever reducers that includes ibuprofen — because some French COVID-19 patients had experienced serious side effects. The warning was also included in a bulletin from the French health ministry, which counseled that patients should instead use acetaminophen, the generic name for Tylenol.

But the European Medicines Agency issued a statement Wednesday saying that while it is monitoring the situation, there's "currently no scientific evidence establishing a link between ibuprofen and worsening of COVID‑19."

Dr. Carlos del Rio, a professor of infectious diseases and global health at Emory University's Department of Medicine, agrees. "I think the minister of health of France is wrong [in] prohibiting the use of ibuprofen based on limited data," he says.

The World Health Organization is looking into the matter, says spokesperson Christian Lindmeier, "but after a rapid review of the literature, [the WHO] is not aware of published clinical or population-based data on this topic." A few media outlets have reported that WHO is now advising against using ibuprofen to treat fevers in patients with COVID-19 symptoms, but Lindmeier tells NPR that's not true.

"Based on currently available information, WHO does not recommend against the use of of ibuprofen," the WHO stated on its official Twitter account, adding, "'We are also consulting with physicians treating COVID-19 patients and are not aware of reports of any negative effects of ibuprofen, beyond the usual known side effects that limit its use in certain populations."

The questions about ibuprofen's safety for COVID-19 patients seem to have stemmed, in part, from a letter published in The Lancet last week hypothesizing the ways various medications could, perhaps, increase the risk of infection with the coronavirus. Research has shown that the virus attaches itself to cells in the lungs by way of an enzyme — angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). The Lancet commentary suggested that taking ibuprofen might increase the number of ACE2 receptors on a cell, which could make someone taking the drug more vulnerable to infection.

But just because you have more ACE2 receptors doesn't mean you're more susceptible to infection, says Rachel Graham, a virologist at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health. She's one of the researchers who discovered how the coronavirus binds to cells.

"You can have low levels of ACE2 and still be susceptible," Graham says. What's more, she adds, the evidence that taking ibuprofen increases these receptors is almost nonexistent. - Chinese Authorities Admit Improper Response To Coronavirus Whistleblower - Confirmed Coronavirus Cases In The U.S. Surpass 10,000

The U.S. Labor Department announced Thursday that some 281,000 people applied for jobless benefits last week — the highest level since Sept. 2, 2017, when they hit 299,000.

This next story falls under two categories: numskull and "I'm Jack's complete lack of surprise." - Russia goes after coronavirus in latest health misinformation push

How is this a news story? And how are the Russians spreading misinformation? Are they infiltrating the CMS apps at the and Are they infiltrating the federal and state of Ohio coronavirus websites?

Of course not. The answer is the usual way: SOCIAL MEDIA.

In the U.S. specifically, a top State Department official told Congress in testimony reported by The Washington Post last week that Russia is behind “swarms of online, false personas” spreading misinformation about the epidemic on social media.

I don't blame Russia. I blame social media users who, for some inexplicable reason, "get" their news from social media, instead of "getting" their news directly from, wait for it, news websites.

Using social media for entertainment purposes, okay, I guess that I can understand that. But using social media to be informed about important matters is baffling.

More from the story:

Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms have not yet confirmed that they have found any coordinated, Russian-backed misinformation efforts around the coronavirus on their platforms. But last week, Facebook and Twitter did say that they had taken down Russian-backed troll accounts targeted at Americans.

Social media companies have in the past struggled to police misinformation about health care-related issues, because some of it is spread by well-intentioned people who are unknowingly spreading false information online or fundamentally believe in unproven, non-scientific cures.

The bottom line: Russian attempts to sow discord often occur during breaking news situations. With so much misinformation already going viral about the coronavirus, it's a perfect opportunity for Russia to cause more confusion while avoiding detection.

NO! The bottom line is that people should not use social media to be informed. And the media should not syndicate their content to social media. It's no wonder that many media orgs, especially at the local level, struggle to establish their brands (websites).

Wed, Mar 18, 2020 - 88 confirmed coronavirus cases in Ohio; 1 in Lucas County - Governor orders BMVs, barber shops, beauty salons closed - Coronavirus: What we know so far, March 18

The Toledo-Lucas County Health Department is investigating a potential case of coronavirus in an individual who may have recently been in the Lucas County Domestic Relations Court building. The individual may have conducted business at the court on March 11, according to health department officials.

The health department advises any concerned individuals who were in the court building on March 11 to monitor themselves and report any coronavirus-related symptoms — including fever over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, dry cough, and shortness of breath — to the health department.

Thus far, one official case of coronavirus exists in Lucas County, and one case exists in Monroe County, Michigan. - Pence Warns Coronavirus Disruptions Could Last 'Well Into July'

With the Trump administration hoping to inject as much as $1 trillion into the economy to deal with the mounting coronavirus crisis, Vice President Pence warned on Tuesday that disruptions from the outbreak could continue until at least midsummer.

Speaking one day after President Trump unveiled sweeping new guidelines advising Americans to avoid bars, restaurants and gatherings of more than 10 people for 15 days, the vice president said the administration is bracing for a severe economic disruption.

"The 15 days is about measures we believe can impact the growth and expansion of the virus in the United States," Pence told NPR's Steve Inskeep in an interview at the White House. "But we fully expect that we will be dealing with the coronavirus in the United States for months ... according to some of our modeling, we could well be dealing with coronavirus cases in the United States well into July."

Pence's remarks came as the administration announced that it will call on Congress to approve a massive new economic stimulus package that would send direct cash payments to Americans. The $1 trillion price tag under discussion would eclipse the $787 billion stimulus package that Congress passed in 2009 at the height of the financial crisis.

On Monday, a report by an epidemic modeling group at Imperial College London said that until a vaccine was available — which could take as long as 18 months, according to Pence — drastic restrictions on work, school and social gatherings would be needed.

I wonder what the technical reasons are for a possible vaccine taking much longer than back in 2009, during the Swine Flu pandemic. The 09-Swine Flu was first documented in March and April 2009. In June 2009, the WHO declared a pandemic. By November 2009, a vaccine was available on a large scale.

Hacker News thread: Ask HN: Have you been laid off? - over 500 comments

Hacker News thread: Covid-19 projects looking for volunteers --

John Hopkins data:

Tue, Mar 17, 2020 - It's Time To Get Serious About Social Distancing. Here's How

On Monday, the White House announced new guidelines for the next two weeks, urging Americans to avoid gathering in groups of more than 10 people, to avoid discretionary travel, shopping trips, or social visits, and not to go out to restaurants or bars.

This guidance is based on new modeling on how the virus might spread, according to Dr. Deborah Birx of the White House coronavirus task force.

"What had the biggest impact in the model is social distancing, small groups, not going in public in large groups," Birx said at a White House press conference Monday.

Also critically important, said Birx, is a 14-day quarantine of any household where one person is infected with coronavirus. "That stopped 100 percent of transmission outside of the household," in models, she said.

The federal government is urging older people and those with serious underlying health conditions — like lung or heart conditions or a weakened immune system — to "stay home and away from other people," because data shows that these groups are most vulnerable to developing a severe form of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

But what if you don't fall into these categories, and no one in your house is sick? Is it OK to have people over or go visit grandma? Here's what the new CDC guidelines and other health experts have to say.

Can I go to a restaurant, food court or bar?

According to Monday's new guidelines, no — at least not for dining in. The CDC says people should use drive-through, pick-up or delivery options instead.

When you get home with your food, you could take it out of the containers, throw those out, and then wash your hands thoroughly before eating, says Drew Harris, a population health researcher at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. "We don't want to get too crazy about this, but taking reasonable precautions should be sufficient," he says.

Luckily, the food itself "is probably not a major risk factor here," Daniel Kuritzkes, an infectious disease expert at Brigham and Women's Hospital, told NPR. That's because most infections from the new coronavirus appear to start with the respiratory system, not the digestive tract.

What about visiting grandma and grandpa?

The federal government is asking visitors to stay away from nursing homes, retirement or long-term care facilities unless they're going to provide critical assistance.

This one is tough, because social isolation is already a problem for many of the elderly. But as Birx noted Monday, "we know there is a large group [of infected people] – we don't know the exact percent yet – that actually is asymptomatic or has such mild cases, they continue to spread the virus."

That includes children. A new study in the journal Pediatrics finds that 13% of children with confirmed cases of COVID-19 didn't show symptoms.

Given all that, "we're recommending that older adults avoid contact with children," says Sean Morrison, a geriatrician with Mount Sinai Health System in New York. "We want to minimize the risk of that child passing on disease to their grandparents, who are at increased risk."

Mon, Mar 16, 2020 - Self-Quarantine? Isolation? Social Distancing? What They Mean And When To Do Them

In the U.S., testing got off to a slow start, limiting efforts to isolate those with the COVID-19 disease. Public health experts now say the most important goal is to slow the spread of the coronavirus so that the number of people who require medical attention doesn't overwhelm hospitals.

If evidence holds from experiences to date in countries further along in the outbreak, most people who contract this virus will have mild cases. Still, the data from abroad indicate that 10% to 20% could end up in a more serious condition. That means if tens of millions of Americans come down with COVID-19, potentially hundreds of thousands may need hospital care.

In Italy, the number of cases rapidly skyrocketed from a handful a few weeks ago to now more than 27,000 cases and over 2,100 deaths. The rapid escalation may be partly attributed to aggressive testing, but hospitals in the northern part of the country are running out of beds in intensive care units.

Q: What is the difference between self-quarantining and self-monitoring?

There's a bit of overlap, say experts.

Both strategies aim to keep people who have been exposed, or who might have been exposed, away from others as much as possible for a period. That has generally meant 14 days, which is considered the incubation period of COVID-19, although symptoms can appear within a few days of exposure.

Self-monitoring might include regularly checking your temperature and watching for signs of a respiratory illness, such as fever, cough or shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It also involves limiting interaction with others.

Sun, Mar 15, 2020 - CDC Recommends Against Gatherings Of 50 Or More; States Close Bars And Restaurants

In an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now advising against gatherings of 50 people or more for the next eight weeks.

In a guidance announcement issued on Sunday, the agency said it was warning against large events and mass gatherings that include "conferences, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings, and other types of assemblies."

Ohio governor Mike DeWine ordered the closure of bars and restaurants. - Government official: Coronavirus vaccine trial starts Monday

The first participant in a clinical trial for a vaccine to protect against the new coronavirus will receive an experimental dose on Monday, according to a government official.

The National Institutes of Health is funding the trial, which is taking place at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle. The official who disclosed plans for the first participant spoke on condition of anonymity because the move has not been publicly announced.

Public health officials say it will take a year to 18 months to fully validate any potential vaccine.

Fri, Mar 13, 2020 story that contained an AP news story.

For most people, the virus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover from the virus.