Is there ANY good Coronavirus news? (Yes!)

Sean Commentary, Insights, Recent Highlights

Regardless of the day of the week, if you follow the news headlines long enough, it would be very easy to become quite discouraged. Obviously, the coronavirus story has many broad and adverse implications, both socially and economically. However, the stories that tend to dominate the headlines are those that are the scariest and most negative takes…because that’s what attracts attention. That’s not to say they aren’t accurate, but it is to say that it’s easy to lose perspective on some of the progress that is being made here or elsewhere. In no way wanting to be polyannaish, but with an aim toward being clear-eyed, I’ll try to keep track of a few of those stories that may give us an indication of where there this is going in the longer term and how things might get (or be getting) better. I’ll only post stories from sources I believe to be reputable (WHO, CDC, recognized scientists, experts in their respective fields, etc) or from other generally recognized and reputable news sources.

This is encouraging bounce-back data, although still early. China manufacturing economy bounces back strongly after lockdown China’s official manufacturing PMI in March was 52, back from an all-time low in February and higher than forecasts Strong recovery comes amid fears of a second economic hit, with demand set to collapse in export markets under coronavirus lockdown
From CNN: This is a good use of underutilized manufacturing capcacity. Ford plans to make as many as 50,000 simple ventilators for coronavirus patients within 100 days and plans to continue producing 30,000 per month after that, the company announced Monday.
Johnson & Johnson said Monday human testing of its experimental vaccine for the coronavirus will begin by September and it could be available for emergency use authorization in early 2021.
Bloomberg: Abbott Laboratories is unveiling a coronavirus test that can tell if someone is infected in as little as five minutes, and is so small and portable it can be used in almost any health-care setting. The medical-device maker plans to supply 50,000 tests a day starting April 1, said John Frels, vice president of research and development at Abbott Diagnostics.
Starbucks has reopened 95% of the stores that were shuttered in China, including four or five in Wuhan, where the coronavirus was first tracked.
CNN Business: James Dyson, of vacuum cleaner fame, has designed a new ventilator in 10 days. He's making 15,000 for the pandemic fight.
Calculated Risk: U.S. testing numbers continue to rise (146,000 yesterday). Need more but heading the right direction.
YouTube: Funny remake ("My Corona") of the original 80s hit My Sharona. [Language Warning]
NYT: Not all bad. Some things companies around the U.S. are doing to make a difference in the coronavirus effort.
WaPo: The coronavirus isn’t mutating quickly, suggesting a vaccine would offer lasting protection
NYT: South Korea has shown that it is possible to contain the coronavirus without shutting down the economy, and that's a hopeful sign, but probably not until our numbers in the U.S. are MUCH lower than what we're currently seeing.
CNBC: Ford partners with GE, 3M to begin manufacturing protective equipment, ventilators
@Liz AnnSonders: Not sure how this isn't / can't be done here, ut South Korean authorities said Wednesday they were looking at whether country had sufficient stockpiles of #coronavirus test kits to expand exports to US @Reuters
Vanity Fair: (Yes, it's Vanity Fair, but in my defense, it's about the Chinese box office reopening): The Chinese film industry is finally moving forward after weeks of devastating news due to the spread of COVID-19. According to Variety, more than 500 cinema screens have reopened in China, where the number of coronavirus infections is dropping daily.
NYT: Scientists Identify 69 Drugs to Test Against the Coronavirus Two dozen of the medicines are already under investigation. Also on the list: chloroquine, a drug used to treat malaria.
WSJ: The U.S. central bank signaled it would do practically anything—extending loans to big and small businesses and purchasing unlimited amounts of government debt—to help an American economy in a race against time.
LAT: Michael Levitt, a Nobel laureate and Stanford biophysicist, began analyzing the number of COVID-19 cases worldwide in January and correctly calculated that China would get through the worst of its coronavirus outbreak long before many health experts had predicted. Now he foresees a similar outcome in the United States and the rest of the world.
@DrDenaGrayson: Awesome news! The FDA approved the first #coronavirus test that can be performed entirely at the point-of-care for a patient (such as a doctor’s office) — and **deliver results in just 45 minutes**.
@LizAnnSonders: @DrTedros (WHO) notes that Wuhan reported no new cases for the first time since outbreak started. "Wuhan provides hope for the rest of the world, that even the most severe situation can be turned around."
@MarriottIntl: Click for video, but this sobering video from Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson is an example of extraordinary leadership. From the 4:05 mark: "If there is any good news visible today, it is the signs of early recovery in greater China. China appears to have succeeded in reducing the spread of Covid-19 through strong counteractions...We are seeing early signs of lodging demands begin to return...If this holds, this may bode well for the course of this epidemic in other parts of the world."
CalculatedRisk: Tests per day is a key number to track (along with actual cases and, sadly, deaths). But total tests were a key for South Korea slowing the spread of COVID-19. South Korea has been conducting 15,000 tests per day with a 51 million population, so the US needs to test around 100,000 per day. The US conducted 34,644 tests in the last 24 hours. That is progress.
China's market, through March 17th, was down ONLY 8.9% YTD, despite being in lockdown for two months. This presumably due the market responding to the country's aggressive approach and its apparent effectiveness. Click for chart.
Positive signs in China’s economy where large firms back to work & operating at levels > pre-virus rates, however, impact of quarantine on consumption services & household behaviour only beginning to be revealed
Quite a one-two-punch from 2 #COVID19 papers released today. First, a @ScienceMagazine paper estimates that most COVID19 infections are undocumented and unidentified through regular surveillance because they experience no, or only mild, symptoms. (This seems like a good news / bad news kind of thing due to transmission issues.)
WSJ: The Food and Drug Administration said late Monday that it will allow private companies to begin marketing coronavirus test kits directly to the public, in a new initiative to ease a chronic shortage of test kits.
The first testing in humans of an experimental vaccine for the new coronavirus began on Monday, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases announced.
Through testing and retesting of all 3,300 inhabitants of the town of Vò, near Venice, regardless of whether they were exhibiting symptoms, and rigorous quarantining of their contacts once infection was confirmed, health authorities have been able to completely stop the spread of the illness there.
Q: How far away is a vaccine? @mvankerkhove (of WHO) says WHO is working to accelerate development. At least 20 vaccines in development for #covid19, she says.
Not coronavirus related directly, but stocks are getting very close to as cheap (relative to bonds) as they were at the bottom of the 2008-9 bear market (from LPL Research)
Let's hope! From Science Magazine: "dozens of diseases wax and wane with the seasons—and will COVID-19?"
Apple has announced it is reopening all 42 stores in China after the two-month shutdown in the Chinese economy.
Paul Lem, the founder and chief executive of Spartan Bioscience, for one. A few weeks ago, he and his fellow scientists pivoted abruptly from ongoing projects to focus on what seems the perfect application for one of its technology platforms — a way of quickly determining who has contracted the COVID-19 virus. Lem said he expects within weeks to have a hand-held product capable of identifying the COVID-19 virus within 30 to 45 minutes, a speedy result made possible because the necessary analysis is done on-site. It does not have to go to a laboratory for processing, as is the case with most other DNA test technology. If the Spartan device works as expected, it would be ideal for use at border crossings, remote communities, physicians’ offices, among other venues.
It's a small study and is probably getting too much airplay some experts have said, but fom the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases: "Conclusions Hydroxychloroquine was found to be more potent than chloroquine to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 in vitro."
A randomized, controlled clinical trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the investigational antiviral remdesivir in hospitalized adults diagnosed with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has begun at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) in Omaha.