Daily Digest 4/10 – Good News Friday: NZ “Squashing” The Curve, Lockdown Could Boost Wildflowers

This is Good News Friday, where we find some good economic, energy, and environmental news and share it with PP readers. Please send any positive news to [email protected] with subject header “Good News Friday.” We will save and post weekly. Enjoy!


New Zealand isn’t just flattening the curve. It’s squashing it. (jdargis)

“If we didn’t shut down quickly enough, the pain was going to go on for a very long time,” he said in a phone interview. “It’s inevitable that we will have to shut down anyway, so we would rather it be sharp and short.”

On March 23, a Monday, Ar­dern delivered another statement and gave the country 48 hours to prepare for a Level 4 lockdown. “We currently have 102 cases,” she said. “But so did Italy once.”

Antibody tests for the novel coronavirus could be available within ‘a week or so,’ Fauci says (tmn)

Tests that would identify a current infection would still be important, he said, and used in parallel with antibody tests, which still need to be validated.

Dutch Woman Aged 107 Survives Coronavirus (Kris E.)

“She takes no medicines, still walks well and gets down on her knees every night to thank the Lord. From the looks of it, she will be able to continue to do so.”

Prior to Ras, the oldest widely documented coronavirus survivor was Bill Lapschies, a 104-year-old American.

Jobless benefits for some will exceed their wages, thanks to boost from coronavirus relief package (jequick)

Likewise, a worker making $30,000 a year (roughly what you earn on a $14 hourly wage) can expect a combined benefit of $888 a week. That’s the equivalent of $46,176 a year, or half again as much as the worker’s original salary. The minimum weekly benefit for all unemployed workers will be $788.

Betsy DeVos sends $6B in coronavirus relief aid to colleges (Sparky1)

“What’s best for students is at the center of every decision we make,” DeVos said. “That’s why we prioritized getting funding out the door quickly to college students who need it most. We don’t want unmet financial needs due to the coronavirus to derail their learning.”

The number of scientific papers on the novel coronavirus is doubling every 14 days (tmn)

And researchers now have an exponential curve of their own. Peer-reviewed journal articles and manuscripts known as preprints are piling up in the scientific literature. Research published on the new coronavirus is doubling every two weeks, says Sean Gourley, the founder of Primer.ai, a machine intelligence company that created a dashboard for coronavirus research. “I don’t think I can ever think of a scientific field where we’ve had a doubling time of 14 days,” says Gourley, who earned a PhD in physics from the University of Oxford.

A Natural Coronavirus Experiment Is Playing Out In Kentucky And Tennessee (tmn)

“I never meant it to be political — it’s about policy choices,” said Jolly. Since her first bit of virality, she has updated the chart, adding notes explaining the lack of testing data from both states. The chart was meant to spur people to take social distancing seriously, she said, and on those merits it has been a success.

“I’d say it was 90% positive feedback,” she said. “I’ve had a lot of people from Tennessee telling me they wished they were taking the same steps as Kentucky.”

The howling: Americans let it out from depths of pandemic (Sparky1)

They howl to thank the nation’s health care workers and first responders for their selfless sacrifices, much like the balcony applause and singing in Italy and Spain. Others do it to reduce their pain, isolation and frustration. Some have other reasons, such as to show support for the homeless.

Israelis looking out for overworked healthcare professionals (Sparky1)

Einat Kedem, a 51-year-old digital project manager from Raanana in central Israel, said the least she could do was contribute her cooking skills. Three times a week, she’s been delivering vegan meals to the home of Maayan Bacher, an emergency room doctor who’s been too overwhelmed to prepare healthy meals for her two children.

Judge won’t postpone Wisconsin election but extends absentee deadline (Jen H.)

“We are glad that the court came to the right decision today. Expanding access to absentee voting is critical in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and we continue to encourage all states to pursue vote-by-mail and no-excuse absentee voting to ensure that all eligible voters who want to cast a ballot have the means and ability to do so,” DNC Chair Tom Perez said.

The ruling also allows voters to cast absentee ballots without witness requirements for those who can’t safely have their absentee ballot witnessed.

College Student Designs Face Mask for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (tmn)

Although Lawrence has already raised the funds she needs, you can still donate to her cause. Profits will be donated to Hands & Voices, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting families of children who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Powell’s Books rehires over 100 employees after surge of online orders (Jen H.)

Powell’s also said that while they don’t know what the future holds, they will keep fulfilling orders and keep their booksellers employed and on health insurance.

Pass the salt: The minute details that helped Germany build virus defences (Sparky1)

The time Germany bought may have saved lives, scientists say. Its first outbreak of locally transmitted COVID-19 began earlier than Italy’s, but Germany has had many fewer deaths. Italy’s first detected local transmission was on Feb. 21. By then Germany had kicked off a health ministry information campaign and a government strategy to tackle the virus which would hinge on widespread testing. In Germany so far, more than 2,100 people have died of COVID-19. In Italy, with a smaller population, the total exceeds 17,600.

Coronavirus: Lockdown ‘could boost wild flowers’ (tmn)

He said: “We have seen an upsurge in members of the public complaining that their councils are cutting the daisies. These sort of comments used to be outweighed by people complaining about untidy grass verges, but it seems as though the balance has shifted.

“Obviously we’re extremely worried about the Covid crisis and want it to end as quickly as possible. But if councils do change their methods because of the crisis, they might find it wins public support, which would be good for the future.”

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