Solitary Confinement, Millions of (Probably) Useless Pills, and Virtual Pets
A roundup of Covid-19 stories we’re reading today
- Cummins Unit, a notorious Arkansas prison, has one of the biggest outbreaks of the coronavirus in the country. A heartbreaking feature in the New Yorker by Rachel Aviv describes a group of isolation cells within the prison known as The Hole, where prisoners who test positive for the coronavirus are sequestered. For many of them, The Hole is a death sentence.
- Asked whether he’d go to President Donald Trump’s upcoming rally in Tulsa, Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and expert on the coronavirus task force expert, told The Daily Beast: “Of course not.” In the interview, he notes that he’s in a “high-risk category” and that we’re still in the long-running “first wave.”
- On Monday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration revoked the Emergency Use Authorization for hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malaria drug once touted by the president as a miracle treatment for Covid-19 but shown to have more potential for harm than good. Unfortunately, his top aides had already scrambled to stockpile millions of pills, as the New York Times reports. Government whistleblower and public health official Rick Bright took to Twitter to express his thoughts on the pills: “The drugs should never have been brought into our country and should be destroyed.”
- The sense of crippling loneliness brought on by self-isolation is very real. Pets can help — even the virtual kind. No, I’m not talking about Neopets (though they are making a comeback) but the virtual pet adoption agency in India described by Quartz. Through the service, run by an animal welfare organization, users pay about $40 a month to sponsor an animal cared for by volunteers at a remote facility, Skype with it, and visit it (when social distancing rules allow). Virtual pets, says one expert, can offer people a sense of purpose and responsibility.