COVID-19


last update: 24 October 2020


The most recent thing I check was travel options. Clearly the best option is to stay at home. If you travel, focus on remote and outdoor locations, and avoid public transport and crowded areas. If you must travel, or want to travel for a holiday, remember:-

  • Always wear a mask on any form of public transport and in transport hubs

  • The risks increase rapidly with the size of your 'holiday' population (e.g. in a large resort hotel, etc.)

  • The more varied your 'holiday' population (e.g. people coming from many places, etc.) the higher the risk

  • Indoor gatherings involve a higher risk than outdoor gatherings

  • If you stay in a hotel look for ways to reduce contact with others, e.g. take meals in your room, etc.

  • Interestingly, there is no evidence that handling food or eating is associated with directly spreading Covid-19, but avoid touching food, packaging, and utensils, and prefer places that serve food and avoid buffets, salad bars, and drink stations

  • Air travel involves waiting in line with people and touching a lot of different surfaces, but viruses and germs don't spread easily inside aircraft because of the way air circulates and is filtered

  • Prefer flights with blocked middle seats and where passengers must always wear masks, however Covid-19 transmission on planes is considered low

  • Advice is don't remove masks and don't eat and drink on planes, carry lots of disinfecting wipes, and wear a face screen when boarding and deplaning

  • When driving, stops for fuel, food, and bathroom breaks increases the risk of contamination (when outside the car always wear a mask and gloves and dump them before entering the car)

  • Travelling by car is the safest option, in part because you don't travel with other people (i.e. don't share breathing space) and in part because you control better the scope for contamination

  • Always use hotels that have high levels of Covid-19 safety procedures, but evidence so far is that hotels and motels don't present a high risk

  • The reality is that Covid-19 risks associated with any form of travelling are considered lower than the risk of a road accident

  • After travelling, take extra precautions for 14 days, and get tested.


I found it useful to check the
'travel corridors' on the UK government website, which list the places that that you can return from without having to self-isolate back at home (i.e. places that have a lower risk than your home location).


The
World Health Organisation has a Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic website, and a dashboard with the latest confirmed cases, new cases, and deaths around the world. They also issue daily 'situation reports'.

One of the most impressive national efforts concerning prevention, detection, and documentation of COVID-19 is in Iceland. They have a
multi-lingual website and have tested more citizens per capita than any other country in the world. Possibly the most important result is "about half of all those who tested positive are non-symptomatic" (i.e. asymptomatic). That means that they do not have symptoms, would usually not be in self-quarantine, but could still be spreading the virus. Previous to this data there were no reliable studies on the percentage of asymptotics, i.e. figures ranged for 5% to 80%.

Other useful source of information include:-
The US
Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, which has a 'Situation Summary'.
The
European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control has a webpage dedicated to COVID-19.
The UK has a "
what you need to know" webpage, and the French government has a Coronavirus information webpage. Every other European country also has a dedicated COVID-19 website, e.g. Luxembourg has a website COVID-19 in English.
Johns Hopkins provides
an up-to-date guide to the Coronavirus COVID-19.
The Pharmaceutical Journal provides "
Everything you should know about the coronavirus outbreak" and they have a Coronavirus (COVID-19) webpage with information updated daily.
The Lancet hosts a
COVIS-19 Resource Centre, and Nature has the COVID-19 Watch.
Oxford University hosts the
Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, which has a specific Oxford COVID-19 Evidence Service.

In addition Google publishes the
COVID-19 Community Mobility Reports.
World Mapper provides a '
Chronology of a Pandemic', which includes a map animation showing how the virus spread across the world.

Finally several publications make reference to the long-term leadership that the '
One Health Commission' could provided. They are trying to address the fact that nearly 75% of all emerging human infectious diseases in the past three decades originated in animals.

Useful articles and publications


2020.10.20 Natasha Hinde, "
Covid-19 has 7 Key Strains. Here's What You Need to Know"
2020.10.09 Jeremy Rossman, "
COVID-19: Is the virus imitating?"
2020.09.01 Thomas Smith, "
A Supercomputer Analysed Covid-19, and an Interesting New Theory has Emerged"
2020.07.24 Angus Liu, "
Columbia team pinpoints potent antibody cocktail for COVID-19"
2020.07.21 Matt Reynolds, "
How does the trial Oxford coronavirus vaccine work?"
2020.07.20 Zaria Gorvett, "
The people with hidden immunity against Covid-19"
2020.07.17 Nicola Davis, "
Coronavirus symptoms fall into six different groupings, study finds"
2020.07.14 John T. Brooks,
et.al., "Universal Masking to Prevent SARS-CoV-2 Transmission - The Time is Now"
2020.07.14 Andrea M. Lemer,
et.al., "The COVID-19 Serology Studies Workshop: Recommendations and Challenges"
2020.07.01 Muhammad Adnan Shereen,
et.al., "COVID-19 infection: origin, transmission, and characteristics of human coronaviruses"
2020.06.25 Golzar Hossain,
et.al., "SARS-CoV-2 host diversity: An update of natural infections and experimental evidence"
2020.06.02 Kelly Servick and Martin Enserink, "
A mysterious company's coronavirus papers tin top medical journals may be unraveling" (this is related to tests on the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine)
2020.05.28 Sotiris Georganas, "
Mobile data shows which European countries took lockdown seriously"
2020.05.20 Ahmed S. Abdel-Moneim and Elsayed M. Abdelwhab, "
Evidence for SARS-CoV-2 Infection of Animal Hosts"
2020.05.07 Kate Kelland, "
A study reveals that coronavirus had spread around the world by late 2019"
2020.05.05 "
Statement on essential principles and practices for COVID-19 contact tracing applications"
2020.04.29 Tara C. Smith, "
What other coronaviruses tell us about SARS-CoV-2"
2020.04.16 Ana Sandoiu, "
COVID-19: how long is this likely to last?"
2020.04.16 Wildlife Watch, "
Wet markets likely launched the coronavirus, here's what you need to know"
2020.04.16 Rachel Donadio, "
I can't stop thinking about patient one"
2020.03.30 Adam Rogers and Megan Molteni, "
The mathematics of predicting the course of the coronavirus"
2020.03.21 Roy M. Anderson,
et.al., "How will country-based mitigation measures influence the course of the COVID-19 epidemic?"
2020.03.20 Own Jarus, "
20 of the worst epidemics and pandemics in history"
2020.03.17 Kristian G. Andersen,
et.al., "The proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2"
2020.03.15 Jun Kheng, "
SARS-CoV-2: an emerging coronavirus that causes a global threat"
2020.03.14 Nicholas LePan, "
Visualising the history of pandemics"
2020.03.09 Shengjie Lai,
et.al., "Assessing spread risk of Wuhan novel coronavirus within and beyond China, January-April 2020: a travel network-based modelling study"
2020.02.25 Tara C. Smith, "
The animal origins of coronavirus and flu"
2020.02.16 Botao Xiao, "
The possible origins of 2019-nCoV coronavirus"
2020.01.21 Nsikan Akpan, "
New coronavirus can spread between humans - but it started in a wildlife market"
2018.12.10 Jie Cui,
et.al., "Origin and evolution of pathogenic coronaviruses"
2016.11.16 "
Coronaviridae" in Fenner's Veterinary Virology (fifth edition)
2016.10.12 Diego Forni,
et.al., "Molecular evolution of human coronavirus genomes"
2015.04.01 Andrew J. Broadbent,
et.al., "Respiratory virus vaccines"

A place for an
alternative perspective
2020.06.03 Samuel Cohn and Mona O'Brien "
Contact tracing: how physicians used it 500 years ago to control bubonic plague"
2020.04.26 Jean-Dominique Michel, "
Anatomie d'un désastre" (video), plus a blog
2020.04.24 Beth Mole, "
Experts demolish studies suggesting COVID-19 is no worse than flu"
2020.04.02 Amanda Glassman,
et.al., "Does one size fit all? Realistic alternatives for COVID-19 response in low-income countries"
2020.03.28 Charles F. Manski, "
COVID-19 policy must take all impacts into account"
2020.03.27 Richard Baldwin, "
Coronavirus: An economist's view of the epidemiological curve"
2020.03.17 John P.A. Ioannidis, "
A fiasco in the making: As the coronavirus pandemic takes hold, we are making decisions without reliable data"
2020.03.16 Philip Ball, "
Coronavirus: Why scientists are divided over the effectiveness of the UK's strategy"
2020.03.10 "
COVID-19: How does coronavirus compare to other outbreaks?"
2020.02.21 Catherine Offord, "
How COVID-19 is spread"