The images were published in the New England Journal of Medicine and show how prolific coronavirus can become in a mere four days.
Not exactly camera shy<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzg2MjU2MS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0MDcyMzY5N30.P9-pN3720tOzXNrYTybx3X7qc_7ZO8ZdF15ztj5cgXA/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C52%2C0%2C68&height=700" id="9dbf0" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="dd5152d7ead13cca82f0f19be988f538" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Another image of novel coronavirus. This one shows the virions 10 times closer than the above image.
Protect your lungs, wash those hands<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9626d989ee28bca36e49da0bbbc6c064"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/deJ3nZhK8KI?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>These images are a stark reminder of why COVID-19 infections can so devastate the human body. It's not only that our bodies serve as their viral birthing centers. It's that we're their all-in-one resource smorgasbord.</p><p>Because <a href="https://www.genome.gov/genetics-glossary/Virus" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">viruses can't reproduce on their own</a>, they have to inject their genetic material into host cells. They incorporate their DNA or RNA into a host cell's genome, and a bouncing baby virion is born, one that often kills the host upon release. It's basically the backstory of "<a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0090605/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" style="">Aliens</a>" at a Lilliputian scale, and should viral proliferation spread too quickly, even our immune-responsive Marines can't put up a fight. If enough cells are destroyed, the harm can affect the entire host organism—which now includes us.</p><p>"These images of SARS-CoV-2 infected cultures showing ciliated cells jam-packed with viruses releasing large clumps of virus particles make a strong case for the use of masks by infected and uninfected individuals to limit SARS-CoV-2 transmission," Ehre said.</p><p>They certainly do. Warnings about coronavirus in the abstract can make the case for physical distancing, shuttered schools, and wearing stifling makes while shopping. For a while. But as we've seen, people will eventually tire of their social sacrifices. Perhaps the idea of the above horror show occurring more closely to home will spur us to keep up the fight and listen to the experts for a while longer.</p>
Some people choose alternatives to masks for comfort. A study shows the difference in effectiveness.
- A new study provides a visualization of why face shields are ineffective at stopping the spread of COVID-19.
- Using a mannequin that could simulate coughing, the authors demonstrated how water droplets slide around shields.
- The authors conclude that shields are not an effective replacement for masks.
A cool, if slightly terrifying, visualization.<p>The straightforwardly named "<a href="https://aip.scitation.org/doi/pdf/10.1063/5.0022968" target="_blank"><em>Visualizing droplet dispersal for face shields and masks with exhalation valves</em></a><em>" </em>was published in the journal "<a href="https://aip.scitation.org/journal/phf" target="_blank">Physics of Fluids</a>" and led by Dr. Siddhartha Verma of Florida Atlantic University. In it, the researchers explain that while face shields are very good at blocking the forward motion of larger droplets of water, the large open space in their design allows for smaller droplets to pass them and disperse throughout the room, reducing their potential benefits.</p><p>The authors attached a face shield to a slightly modified mannequin that could simulate coughing to demonstrate this. Small droplets of water and glycerin, comparable in size to the lower end of estimates of what is needed for a virus to travel, were blown through the mannequin's mouth and highlighted with laser sheets as they traveled throughout the room. </p> As illustrated below, small droplets that stop moving forward do not immediately drop to the floor, but instead, they float toward the gap at the bottom of the shield. Following air currents, the droplets eventually made their way around the face shield and began to spread. Given enough time, they'll spread up to a few feet away.
Why you should wear a proper facemask, revisited.<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="232361a0d3ad7a620c9ad6d8eec8fa50"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/UFX9oS2kpUA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>The shortcomings of face shields and other mask alternatives are not shared by the thing they are meant to replace, the basic, well-made face mask.</p><p>As explained above, face masks work to keep others around you from getting your germs by keeping the water droplets you exhale, which may contain viruses, from <a href="https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2020/06/417906/still-confused-about-masks-heres-science-behind-how-face-masks-prevent" target="_blank">spreading</a>. They have also been shown to reduce the number of droplets from other people's breath that reach your face, potentially preventing you from getting <a href="https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/06/21/880832213/yes-wearing-masks-helps-heres-why" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">sick</a>. Given that face masks lack a large hole in them, as shields or masks with valves do, they allow far fewer droplets to escape than the competition. </p><p>The study considered the differences between a cheaply made face mask and a well-made one, with the cheap one proving much less effective. Even the best masks have some degree of leakage, so maintaining social distancing of at least two meters (about six feet) is still necessary. </p><p>No protective mask is perfect, and no set of rules offers complete safety. However, some objects and procedures work better than others at keeping people safe. As this study shows, face shields, masks with exhaustion valves, and cheaply made masks don't work as well as a well-made face mask.</p>
Various studies examine the impact of humidity, temperature, rain, and sunshine on COVID-19.
- Researchers around the world have been working to analyze and understand this virus since the global pandemic started earlier this year.
- While the first SARS-CoV virus (2003) did not circulate long enough for researchers to distinguish any specific seasonal pattern, daily weather did have an impact on the number of cases.
- Other studies from China, Australia, Brazil, and the UK take a look at how our weather can impact the transmission of COVID-19.
How does weather impact virus transmission?<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzU5OTg4OC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNTU1NjA2MX0.SvtcZz2PxVjC9AFLhC0sRpMDbcFp-RkAPJhuwTsZyWg/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C0%2C100%2C0&height=700" id="e5f2d" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="92f1bc5a03e54cc3f2f981acd09d14e2" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="COVID-19 virus SARS-CoV-2 under microscope weather virus" />
How does weather impact the COVID-19 virus?
Image by MIA Studio on Shutterstock<p><strong>Studies of the first SARS-CoV (in 2003) might help us understand.</strong><br></p><p>While this virus did not circulate long enough for researchers to distinguish any specific seasonal pattern, daily weather did have an impact on the number of cases. <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2870397/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">According to this study</a>, new cases of SARS-CoV were 18x higher in lower temperatures (under 24.6°C). </p><p><strong>Cold weather impacts your likelihood of getting sick in different ways. </strong></p><p>One factor, according to <a href="https://sciencing.com/cold-weather-affect-immunity-22739.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Sciencing</a>, that may increase your susceptibility in cold weather is how your sinuses respond to the humidity and temperature changes. Your nose is a natural air filter for your body. When you spend time in cold temperatures, your nasal passages dry out due to the constriction of blood vessels. When you return to warmer temperatures (like coming inside after time spent out in the cold), the sudden influx of moisture can cause your nose to run.</p><p>This usually forces you to breathe through your mouth, robbing you of the filter and making you susceptible to viruses or bacteria in the air. </p><p><strong>Cold weather = more time spent indoors, which can increase the likelihood of transmission.</strong></p><p>Regardless of the weather, it takes exposure to a virus to get a virus. One common reason why virus infections may become more common during cold months is that more people are spending time indoors (and together). </p><p><a href="https://bigthink.com/politics-current-affairs/social-distancing-math" target="_self">As research has determined</a>, social distancing can heavily impact the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Being clustered closer together indoors can increase the likelihood of transmission, giving the effect of the virus spreading faster in the colder months. </p>
The weather and COVID-19 studies from around the globe<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzU5OTg5MC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNTcwNzgxNH0.t5SY7q3HULHvoWIz5SpPA-DnPHjcgZqa0fANRn8ksxI/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C52%2C0%2C52&height=700" id="fb167" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="f3c84c531fb1b51decdb63e5f4a7c516" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="concept of condensation humidity impact COVID-19 condensation on window" />
How do things like humidity, rainfall and sunshine impact the spread of COVID-19?
Photo by matuska on Shutterstock<p>Laboratory and observational studies of COVID-19 patients have shown there is an impact of humidity on SARS-COV-2.</p><p><strong>Humidity and its impact on COVID-19:</strong></p><p><a href="https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26/9/20-1806_article#r7" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">A lab-generated aerosol of SARS-CoV-2</a> was stable at a humidity of 53 percent at room temperature (23°C). The virus had not degenerated much, even after 16 hours, and was more robust than SARS-CoV. </p><p>Although laboratory studies cannot be used to explicitly explain how the virus will act in the real world, these findings are very important in deepening our understanding of the virus and its transmission. </p><p><a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S004896972032026X?via%3Dihub" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Another study in China</a> (with more than 50 cases of COVID-19) found a link between humidity and reductions in COVID-19 cases. In this simulation, the team measured humidity as absolute humidity (the total amount of water in the air) and found that for every gram per cubic meter in absolute humidity, there was a 67 percent reduction in COVID-19 cases after a lag of 14 days. </p><p>Similar studies (with similar results) have been conducted in <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/tbed.13631" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Australia</a>.</p><p><strong>Rainfall and its impact on COVID-19:</strong></p><p>Rainfall may also impact the spread of the virus. <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969720325146?via%3Dihub" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Research out of Brazil</a> looked at rainfall worldwide and confirmed a pattern: for each average inch per day of rain, there was an increase of 56 COVID-19 cases per day. There was no link found between the COVID-19 deaths and rainfall. </p><p><strong>Sunshine and its impact on COVID-19: </strong></p><p>A Spain study found (after 5 days of lockdown) the longer the hours of sunshine, the more cases there were of the virus. This positive association held true with a lag (between sunshine hours and cases) of both 8 and 11 days. </p><p>However, it's important to note that this actually contradicts findings from Influenza research, which suggests a lower transmission with longer hours of sunshine. While influenza and COVID-19 are obviously different, it's interesting to note this contrast, as they are both viral infections.</p><p><strong>While all of these studies are interesting, does it really prove COVID-19 is impacted by weather? </strong></p><p><a href="https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.05.21.20108803v1" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Research out of Oxford</a> actually lists reasons why people should not use these observational studies on the weather and COVID-19 cases to establish if the virus is more or less transmittable based on the season. </p><p>While it's important to note that there are still things we don't know about COVID-19 and that each country has different testing and studying methods, the more we know about how this virus behaves in different climates the more we can work to prevent further infection. </p>
The patient's second infection was asymptomatic, suggesting that subsequent infections may be milder.
- A 33-year-old man contracted the virus first in March, then again in August.
- Researchers at the University of Hong Kong compared the RNA of the two infections, finding them to be distinct.
- The immune system's response to the coronavirus remains unclear, but recent studies suggest T cells may help to battle subsequent infections even after antibody levels drop.
(Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)<p>It'll take time to know how common reinfection is, how durable the immune response is, and how the <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/what-to-know-about-mutation-and-covid-19" target="_blank">inevitable mutation</a> of the virus impacts efforts to develop a vaccine.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"It may be completely different with this coronavirus," Dr. Anthony Fauci, who heads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in an <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2767208" target="_blank">interview with the medical journal JAMA</a>. "It may be that people induce a response that's quite durable. But if it acts like common coronaviruses, it likely is not going to be a very long duration of immunity."</p>
DNA molecules are highly programmable.
By folding DNA into a virus-like structure, MIT researchers have designed HIV-like particles that provoke a strong immune response from human immune cells grown in a lab dish. Such particles might eventually be used as an HIV vaccine.