Tom Hanks' blood could be used to develop a vaccine for COVID-19

Our reality has felt like a dystopian sci-fi movie for a while now, but at least now there's a positive plot twist. First, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson both survived a bout with COVID-19. Now Hanks tells Wait Wait … Don't Tell Me! that he and his wife both have coronavirus antibodies in their systems, and have donated their blood to science in case the plasma can be used for good:

We have not only been approached, we have said, ‘Do you want our blood? Can we give plasma?’ And, in fact, we will be giving it now to the places that hope to work on what I would like to call the Hank-ccine.

HANK-CCINE.  In all of the stress and awfulness around us, at least we have that happy thought to carry us through.

Rita Wilson had previously mentioned this on CBS:

Well, that’s what they told us and that’s what the belief is. We recently have been part of a study where we’ve donated our blood, and we’re waiting to hear back if our antibodies will be helpful in developing a vaccine, but also if we are able to donate plasma that can be used as donation to other people who are suffering from the virus because we are immune.

Read the rest

Someone made Found Poetry out of all the emails they've received about COVID-19

I know she doesn't specifically say that these are all emails from Brands™ or PR people — but I think we all know the truth. Either way, that's some beautiful god damn poetry.

Image: John Cummings / Wikimedia Commons (CC 4.0)

  Read the rest

Stop spreading unconfirmed COVID-19 symptoms around

Over at Slate, Shannon Paulus kindly reminds us that correlation is not causation — especially when it comes to a novel coronavirus for which we have very little knowledge, let alone enough scientific controls to do an accurate study of a fully representative sample set.

“A small but important subset of people with the coronavirus also really hate puppies.” That’s what I keep thinking to myself as I see story after story linking various, so-called surprising symptoms to COVID-19: pinkeyeloss of hearingloss of smellbrain impairments, and “staring off into space.” These pieces provide varying levels of evidence, from a Twitter dispatch to a patient to surveys conducted by researchers to propose that the mere correlations their authors are writing about might actually have some sort of firm, causative relationship.

Each of these symptoms lacks substantial peer-reviewed evidence connecting them to the novel coronavirus; at best, there are a couple studies.

So look, it's an upper respiratory infection. Leave it there until we know more, and stop talking about that drug that Donald Trump keeps pushing because he has a financial stake in the company that makes it.

The Supposed Symptoms of the Coronavirus [Shannon Paulus / Slate]

Image: U.S. Air Force Graphic by Rosario "Charo" Gutierrez (Public Domain) Read the rest

Healthcare providers are allegedly denying chloroquine to patients because of Trump's statements

Donald Trump has insisted that Plaquenil/hydroxychloroquine will cure COVID-19. The drug is commonly used to malaria, as well as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. While there have been some successful results with drug after treating patients infected by the novel coronavirus, there's just not enough reliable information available right now.

But the President's endorsement of the drug has caused a bit of panic around it. First, there are people who have died after mistakenly taking related drugs. Now, according to Buzzfeed News, so healthcare providers are refusing to give the drug to people with conditions that it has been proven to treat:

A 45-year-old woman with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) said she received an online message from her health care provider stating it will no longer refill her vital hydroxychloroquine prescriptions because that drug is being used to treat the "critically ill with COVID-19," the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

It gets worse. Here's the kicker:

The letter thanked her for her "sacrifice."

A sacrifice, it should be noted, that she had no choice in making — if it's even a sacrifice that actually works.

Like Alabama denying treatment to people with "severe mental retardation," it seems that all the conservative fearmongering around the made-up "Obamacare Death Panels" is finally coming true under the Trump Administration's handling of the coronavirus epidemic.

A Woman With Lupus Said Her Health Care Provider Is Stopping Her Chloroquine Prescription And Thanked Her For The “Sacrifice” [Tanya Chen and Dan Vergano / Buzzfeed News]

What We Know — and Don’t Know — About Possible Coronavirus Treatments Promoted by Trump [Charles Ornstein / ProPublica]

Image via Public Domain Pictures Read the rest

About 350 more Wuhan coronavirus evacuees land at California military base from China

More Americans fleeing the coronavirus outbreak are being evacuated from Wuhan, China, to the U.S. On Wednesday, 2 State Department-chartered jetliners carried an estimated 350 U.S. citizens from Wuhan, China, to a U.S. military base in California. Read the rest

Wuhan coronavirus: Trump White House may impose travel ban on China

As the death toll from the novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV outbreak escalates, the White House is discussing a possible China travel ban, reports NBC News and other organizations on Tuesday morning. Read the rest

China bans sale of wild animals as novel Wuhan coronavirus deaths increase

Three separate China government agencies on Sunday ordered a temporary ban on the trade in wild animals. China's government is struggling to contain the deadly outbreak of a virus that is presumed to have originated in bats, and spread to humans via a market in Wuhan City, Hubei province, where wild animals have long been sold as food. Read the rest

China facing 'grave situation' as Wuhan virus deaths increase, Xi says

China's President Xi Jinping said the nation faces a “grave situation” as the number of deaths in the Novel Coronavirus 2019-nCoV outbreak jumped to 42 on Saturday. Read the rest

First Canada Wuhan virus case confirmed, more than 1,400 people worldwide now infected with 2019-nCoV

On Saturday, the government health ministry of Canada reported the first presumed case in Canada of a patient with the so-called Wuhan virus, officially known as Novel Coronavirus 2019-nCoV. Read the rest