The Latest: But seriously, how long will this last?

Alexandra Sifferlin
Medium Coronavirus Blog
3 min readApr 13, 2020


A frustrating part of covering the pandemic is that the answers to the most common questions are so unsatisfying. Specifically: How long will this last, and when can people go back to work? No one knows for certain.

Over the weekend, Dr. Anthony Fauci said he’s cautiously optimistic that the country could open up in “some ways” in May. In the absence of a definitive timeline, an interesting conversation people are having right now is what going back to “normal” should look like.

In this piece in Forge, author Julio Vincent Gambuto refers to the pandemic as “The Great Pause” and argues it’s time to rethink how society could be better post pandemic. “From one citizen to another, I beg of you: Take a deep breath, ignore the deafening noise, and think deeply about what you want to put back into your life.”

What’s New:

  • New drug shows early promise: In a small trial of 53 very sick people with Covid-19, there was 68% improvement. The drug is called remdesivir and is made by Gilead Sciences. More studies are needed.
  • But another drug trial was halted: A small study of chloroquine was ended in Brazil after people with Covid-19 taking a high dose of the drug developed irregular heart rates.
  • Massive antibody trial begins: The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced Friday that it is launching a study of up to 10,000 people to determine the extent to which the virus has spread undetected. Read more here.
  • Apple and Google join forces: The tech giants announced a partnership of contact tracing apps that could alert users who have been exposed to Covid-19. Here are the details.
  • Immunity passports: There’s ongoing conversation about how antibody tests might be used to get a sense of disease spread and help open the economy. Here are some questions to consider.

Follow our Medium Coronavirus Blog for regular updates, and read some of the essential stories we’ve curated below.

Be well,

Alexandra Sifferlin
Editor, Medium Coronavirus Blog

Was this email forwarded to you by a friend? Sign up to receive regular updates from our Coronavirus Team in your inbox.

Sign up here 📩

A Quick Q&A:

How long does a coronavirus infection last?
More than three months into the coronavirus outbreaks, doctors and researchers are finally getting a handle on the typical duration of the illness and how it plays out. See below.

Read the full story here.

New On the Blog

What It’s Like in a New York City ICU Right Now

A Huge Study Aims to Find Undetected Covid-19 Cases

Here’s Some Good News

Essential How-Tos and Explainers:

What You Should Know About Using Cannabis Right Now

Why Are Some People So Much More Infectious Than Others? (New York Times)

How to Stop the Endless Worrying

How to Keep Big Family Dinners Going at a Distance

Why Dreams Are So Intense During the Pandemic

Personal Pandemic Stories:

Wealthy Preppers Are Riding This Out in Multimillion-Dollar Bunkers

I Lost My 22-Year-Old Husband To Covid-19

Oncologists Are Struggling to Treat Cancer Patients Amid the Pandemic

My Quarantine Horse

The Story Behind the Greatest Quarantine Party of 2020

6 Smart Reads

Prepare for the Ultimate Gaslighting

The Recession’s Calling Bullshit on “Mission-Driven” Companies Like Everlane

Covid-19 Is a Wellness Wake-Up Call For Black Men

How Anthony Fauci Became America’s Doctor (The New Yorker)

Some Patients Really Need the Drug That Trump Keeps Pushing (The Atlantic)

He Could Have Seen What Was Coming: Behind Trump’s Failure on the Virus (New York Times)



Alexandra Sifferlin
Medium Coronavirus Blog

Health and science journalist. Former editor of Medium’s Covid-19 Blog and deputy editor at Elemental. TIME Magazine writer before that