Welcome back to our weekly discussion thread, now named the Coronavirus Roundtable. Once again I’d like to hear what you’ve been hearing about our current pandemic, especially if it makes you go “huh, could that be true?”
Last week we talked about the controversy over whether public health organisations should be recommending everybody wear masks. The U.S. CDC ended up saying yes, if they are cloth masks. We followed up with some advice on what to know if you’re wearing a cloth mask, although the truth is that there isn’t much reliable evidence to go on.
In any case, the question many folks are now discussing is: how do you get a cloth mask? If you sew or if you know somebody who does, no problem. But for everyone else, you’re now trying to search out an item that suddenly everybody wants, but that can’t be readily store-bought. The CDC page includes two DIY options that don’t require any sewing. Our social editor Tim Mulkerin also tipped me off that Etsy is seeing a boom in their handmade mask department:
One thing: don’t expect essential oils to protect you if you’re using a mask. There’s a news anchor out there doing a perfectly fine bandana mask tutorial while telling people that lavender and peppermint oils are “antibacterial” and “help fight germs.” COVID-19 is caused by a virus, not bacteria, and there’s no reason to believe that dotting essential oils on a bandana will do anything to the virus. (Pleasant smells in your mask blocking out disease? That’s some 17th-century plague doctor shit.)
In other news:
People who already believed conspiracy theories about the 5G mobile network have recently pivoted to saying that 5G is somehow linked to the coronavirus, a claim that is not based in fact. This fresh conspiracy theory has made it to some celebrity social media accounts, and allegedly resulted in attempts to damage 5G towers.
Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, drugs used to treat malaria and autoimmune disorders, are still being discussed as being worth a try in COVID-19 patients. That’s even though panic buying has already caused a shortage in those drugs, and the widespread experimental use in COVID-19 patients could make it difficult to impossible to run a proper trial.
This is one reason why it is so problematic to adopt HCQ as standard of care - what will this do to the remdesivir trial?
(Whole thread is worth a read. Harrowing and glad to hear the patient involved is recovering.) https://t.co/6984Am3WoW
— Holly Fernandez Lynch (@HollyLynchez) April 6, 2020
The initial cases of coronavirus in Wuhan were associated with a “wet market” where seafood and other food items were sold. While a few news reports used terms like “seafood market,” the word “wet market” has now been linked in the public mind with the disease, and now with a proposed ban on such markets. And so it may be useful to know what the term actually means: dry markets sell dry goods (clothing, electronics) while wet markets sell food items of various types. Here’s a video:
A "wet market" is basically just a farmer's market, you guys. Here's what a real one looks like. https://t.co/GBv9Gowkp4
— Maggie Koerth (@maggiekb1) April 6, 2020
It turns out panic buying was not the sole cause of toilet paper shortages, and as a result it may be a little while before the TP is reliably back in stock. Our finance writer Lisa Rowan has you covered for the explanation.
So those are a few things I’ve seen around. How about you? Spotted any misinformation? Have questions about what you’re seeing? Can’t understand why we’re not talking more about insert-subject-of-concern here? Let me know in the comments. We can discuss, and I may dig into some of the popular or intriguing stories for posts later this week.