The Latest: Scientists make progress

Alexandra Sifferlin
Medium Coronavirus Blog
3 min readMar 25, 2020


Dear Reader,

By now it’s clear many of us will be staying home for quite some time. The coronavirus test rollout is lacking, and health workers don’t have the equipment they need.

But there is some progress. Scientists are working at lightning speed to launch studies for potential treatments. “The thing that usually takes a year took one week,” one researcher told Elemental about how fast he got approval to start a Covid-19 drug trial. People and businesses are also stepping up with innovative ideas.

What’s new:

  • Stimulus plan: The Senate is moving to vote on a $2 trillion relief package later today. It is the biggest economic rescue legislation in U.S. history and includes direct payments to taxpayers, jobless benefits, and a $500 billion fund to help bail out businesses. Read more here.
  • Experimental vaccine test begins: A total of 45 healthy adults ages 18 to 55 are expected to receive an investigational vaccine over the next six weeks.
  • Blood therapy moves forward: The FDA announced it will help facilitate access to plasma from people who have recovered from Covid-19 as an experimental treatment for the seriously ill.
  • At-home testing: It could be on the way.

Follow our Medium Coronavirus Blog for updates.

To help you navigate the rapidly changing situation, below are some essential stories.

Be well,

Alexandra Sifferlin
Editor, Medium Coronavirus Blog

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A Quick Q&A:

Elemental interviewed Christopher Colwell, MD, chief of emergency medicine at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital.

Elemental: How can people best support health care workers like you?

Colwell: We’ve got people that are hoarding boxes and boxes of N95 masks when they’re essentially of zero use to somebody out in the public. If you’re walking around outside with an N95 mask, it doesn’t make any sense at all. The benefit of an N95 mask is for a health care provider who’s going into an enclosed small space where aerosolized secretions of a Covid-positive patient are being made. So, if you’re hoarding N95s, please send them into health care areas. Even more important, please help us reduce the spread of this disease. Please take this seriously.

Read the full interview here

Essential How-Tos and Explainers:

This Is How Your Immune System Reacts to the Coronavirus

What You Should Know About At-Home Testing

How the Pandemic Will End (Atlantic)

Pandemic Sleep Advice Straight From Sleep Researchers

Could We Be Living With Covid-19 Forever?

Confused About “Shelter in Place”? Read This.

The Life and Times of Coronavirus:

6 Lessons for the Newly Quarantined, From Someone in an Italian Monastery

I’m Running My Multimillion-Dollar Business Out of My Car Because of the Coronavirus

The Amazon Warehouse Worker Who Can’t Stay Home

What I Learned When My Husband Got Sick With Coronavirus (New York Times)

5 Smart Reads:

We Wish to Inform You That Your Death Is Highly Profitable

The Unlikely Products Selling Out Because of the Coronavirus

The Brooklyn Barbershop That Survived 3 Pandemic Events

Grocery Stores Are the Coronavirus Tipping Point (Atlantic)

Yuval Noah Harari: The World After Coronavirus (Financial 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