Daily Digest 5/13 – EU Calls For Border Reopening To Save Tourist Season, Has Demand For Oil Already Peaked?


Children Gravely Ill With Covid-19 Often Had Other Medical Conditions (tmn)

The study looked at 48 cases from 14 hospitals, infants up to age 21, during late March and early April. Two of the children died. Eighteen were placed on ventilators and two of them remain on the breathing machines more than a month later, said Dr. Lara S. Shekerdemian, chief of critical care at Texas Children’s Hospital, and an author of the study.

Over all, the study both reinforces the evidence that only a small percentage of children will be severely affected by the virus and confirms that some can become devastatingly ill.

Big data drives Minnesota’s COVID-19 response. Take a look under the hood. (Brian B.)

Minnesota’s COVID-19 model doesn’t make a single prediction about the impact of the disease. It makes thousands of predictions: One for each combination of variables — from how long individuals are infectious to how long a typical hospital stay lasts — replicated over a host of different scenarios based on how long the state maintains its stay-at-home policy and social distancing practices.

Our weird behavior during the pandemic is messing with AI models (tmn)

It took less than a week at the end of February for the top 10 Amazon search terms in multiple countries to fill up with products related to covid-19. You can track the spread of the pandemic by what we shopped for: the items peaked first in Italy, followed by Spain, France, Canada, and the US. The UK and Germany lag slightly behind. “It’s an incredible transition in the space of five days,” says Rael Cline, Nozzle’s CEO. The ripple effects have been seen across retail supply chains.

Tribal Nations Face Most Severe Crisis in Decades as the Coronavirus Closes Casinos (tmn)

On reservations in the Dakotas and Montana where good housing is scarce, extended families have been forced to shelter together in tiny homes with no clean water and no internet. On the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming, the Northern Arapaho Tribe opened its casino as a quarantine site.

View: What happens if the Covid tax on super-rich becomes a reality (newsbuoy)

One feels that the gravity of the current situation can potentially prompt the government to review its stance as regards adhering to the FRBM targets. In a somewhat similar situation of sudden economic turbulence in 2008, the federal government in India had decisively stepped up fiscal spending to accept a fiscal deficit of nearly 6% of GDP as against their budgeted deficit target of only about 2.5%.

Scientists discover llama antibodies could be key to a coronavirus treatment (Tim T.)

Scientists in Ghent, Belgium, have found antibodies produced in llamas’ blood could be critical in killing off the Covid-19 virus and saving lives.

EU calls for European borders to reopen to save tourist season (tmn)

“Our thoughts are now turning toward summer and to the places that we love to travel,” said Margrethe Vestager, a Commission deputy heads who presented the proposals. “That means taking gradual, careful steps to help travel restart in line with what science tells us.”

The proposals were praised by tourism industry groups as a first step to help save their businesses, but are non-binding on the bloc’s 27 member nations. The EU’s external borders would remain closed for non-essential travel at least until mid-June.

A close relative of SARS-CoV-2 found in bats offers more evidence it evolved naturally (Michel V.)

“Since the discovery of SARS-CoV-2 there have been a number of unfounded suggestions that the virus has a laboratory origin,” says senior author Weifeng Shi, director and professor at the Institute of Pathogen Biology at Shandong First Medical University in China. “In particular, it has been proposed the S1/S2 insertion is highly unusual and perhaps indicative of laboratory manipulation. Our paper shows very clearly that these events occur naturally in wildlife. This provides strong evidence against SARS-CoV-2 being a laboratory escape.”

Has Demand For Oil Already Peaked? (Michael S.)

BP’s CEO Bernard Looney largely admitted the same thing. The COVID-19 pandemic could entrench certain societal changes – more teleworking, less commuting, less flying – that could permanently erode a portion of consumption. “It’s not going to make oil more in demand. It’s gotten more likely [oil will] be less in demand,” Looney said in an interview with the FT.

“I don’t think we know how this is going to play out. I certainly don’t know,” Looney said. “Could it be peak oil? Possibly. Possibly. I would not write that off.”

Meat is not essential. Why are we killing for it? (tmn)

The industry has continued such cruel practices with relative impunity, because workers are too dependent on their jobs to effectively resist unscrupulous managers, and the public has continued to underwrite the abuse. But manslaughter is a new level of depravity. The magical thinking that imagines calling meat “essential” in a time when schools, bypass surgeries and funerals are not, amounts to a sort of state-sponsored witchcraft.

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