Frequently Asked Questions About How to Protect Yourself from the Coronavirus

What’s the case-fatality rate?

Currently, the official rate is 3.4%. But this is likely way too high. China was hit particularly hard, and their healthcare system was overwhelmed. The best data we have is from South Korea. The Koreans tested 210,000 people and detected the virus in 7,478 patients. So far, the death toll is 53, which is a case-fatality rate of 0.7%. This is seven times worse than the seasonal flu (which has a case-fatality rate of 0.1%).

Read the rest at Leaps Magazine.

Washington Measles Outbreak Shows Anti-Vaxxers Are Literally Making Us Sick

The State of Washington has declared an emergency because of a measles outbreak in Clark County, which is across the river from Portland, Oregon. To the surprise of no one, the outbreak has occurred, almost exclusively, among the unvaccinated. The motivation of those who refuse to vaccinate their children—whether it is fear, ideology, or thoughtlessness—is irrelevant. They are putting the safety of thousands of people at risk. Read the rest at Newsweek.

How Many Have to be Hospitalized for Salmonella, E. coli Before We Try Food Irradiation?

The United States is being hit by two large foodborne illness outbreaks — first, the E. coli outbreak in romaine lettuce, and now a salmonella outbreak in beef that has sickened more than 200 people. These high-profile cases underscore the inadequacy of the safety measures meant to protect our food supply. If we are serious about addressing this issue, we must implement food irradiation. Read the rest at USA Today.

Dirty Secrets: Are Laboratory Mice Too Clean?

The hygiene hypothesis may also apply to animal experiments.

THE hygiene hypothesis posits that certain diseases—notably asthma, eczema and type-1 diabetes—which are becoming more common than they once were, are caused in part by modern environments being too clean. The diseases in question result from misfunctions of the immune system. The hygiene hypothesis suggests such misfunctions are the result of children’s immune systems being unable to learn, by appropriate exposure to viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasitic worms, how to respond properly. Read the rest at The Economist.

Mosquitoes, This Time It Is War

The Zika virus, which is spreading like wildfire throughout the Americas and is linked to a head-shrinking birth defect called microcephaly, is just the latest in a long list of mosquito-transmitted diseases that make the insects the world’s deadliest animal. It is time to launch a global initiative to eradicate them. Read the rest at USA Today.