How to Read Early Research, and What’s in Store for the Future
A roundup of science stories we’re reading about Covid-19
- Extremely ugh: New modeling published in the journal Science suggests that there could be recurrent coronavirus outbreaks in the wintertime, and that some prolonged or intermittent social distancing could be necessary into 2022. Basically, a vaccine can’t come soon enough.
- How to read very early studies: The New York Times reports that study aggregators (also called preprint servers) are seeing spikes in readers, but not everyone may be well versed in the limitations of early studies. “Preprints” are promising early findings from researchers that have not yet gone through peer review (meaning review by other experts in the field) or official publication. Scientists find them useful for getting a sense of what colleagues on the front lines are learning and researching. But they are “first drafts,” and not final. Here’s more from the Times.
- There’s a high number of pregnant women with Covid-19: In a new study in the New England Journal of Medicine, doctors screened all expectant mothers at one New York City hospital and found that 29 out of 210 (13.8%) did not have symptoms but tested positive for the virus. The findings suggest that coronavirus exposure in New York City could be higher than numbers suggest.
- What comes next: Writer Ed Yong has another coronavirus longread in The Atlantic. In the story, experts offer concrete thoughts about the future of the pandemic response, and why the coronavirus will be a part of people’s lives in some way for months, if not years, to come.