Africa’s Diagnostics Roadblock, ‘Animal Crossing,’ and FaceTiming With Eels

A handful of stories about Covid-19 we’re reading today

Yasmin Tayag
Medium Coronavirus Blog
1 min readMay 1, 2020

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  • The pandemic is just beginning in Africa, and widespread screening and testing might be its only defense. But as the head of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, John Nkengasong, argues in Nature today, Africa has been shut out of the diagnostics market. “This is not a question of demanding charity,” he writes. “African countries have funds to pay for reagents but cannot buy them.”
  • In a poignant reflection on the pandemic in the city he calls home, New York Times Rome bureau chief Jason Horowitz groups Covid-19 together with the Gauls, Visigoths, Nazis, and Fascists — forces that, for brief moments in the city’s 2,773-year history, brought it to its knees.
  • Marriage licenses can now be obtained online in states like New York and California as a result of the pandemic. The same can’t be said for the world of Animal Crossing, but as the BBC reports, that didn’t stop a Maryland couple from hosting a virtual wedding through the viral game.
  • The closure of Tokyo’s Sumida Aquarium due to the pandemic has resulted in an unusual phenomenon: Garden eels are forgetting humans exist. The eels now hide when humans approach, reports The Guardian, making it difficult for keepers to monitor their health. To reacquaint the eels with humankind, aquarium staff have set up iPads in front of the tanks, encouraging people to call in on FaceTime to say hello.

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Yasmin Tayag
Medium Coronavirus Blog

Editor, Medium Coronavirus Blog. Senior editor at Future Human by OneZero. Previously: science at Inverse, genetics at NYU.