The Latest: The truth about Covid-19 spread

Alexandra Sifferlin
Medium Coronavirus Blog
3 min readMay 28, 2020


Dear Reader,

There’s a lot of confusion right now around reopenings, and it’s perfectly reasonable to be overwhelmed. We are trying to cut through the noise on the blog.

Here’s what’s true: Reopenings are happening in part because — as I am sure you’ve noticed — the economy is not doing well. There’s an urge to get people back to work.

The problem is that the virus is still here. Hospitals might be better able to manage the number of infected people they see, but you can still get Covid-19. And people can be contagious before they ever feel or show any symptoms. This is in part what makes Covid-19 different from other viruses — even SARS — and what makes it so hard to control. It’s why wearing a mask is an effective way to protect yourself. It’s why quaranteaming is still a risk.

Sometimes it makes sense to take a risk — maybe you’re not doing okay and need to find a safe way to see family. Just remember to follow the science. And for that, we’ve got you covered.

What’s new:

  • Case count: Over 100,000 Americans have died from Covid-19.
  • Unemployment passes 40 million: Another 2.1 million unemployment claims were filed last week.
  • CDC warns that antibody tests are faulty: The agency says antibody tests for Covid-19 can be incorrect up to 50% of the time. (Read more.)
  • About a dozen states see rise in cases: The New York Times reports that some states are seeing an uptick in new virus cases and at least half of the states seeing more infections started reopenings in late April and early May. They include Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee. (Read more.)

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

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A quick Q&A:

Will it ever be safe to go back to the gym?

Studies suggest that “the moist, warm atmosphere in a sports facility coupled with turbulent air flow generated by intense physical exercise can cause more dense transmission of isolated droplets.” If you must exercise indoors with others, writer Christie Aschwanden says you should make sure the area has good ventilation (ideally open windows and fans) and a low density of people so you can keep your distance. Stay out of the locker room, and make sure that shared equipment is cleaned before and after use. Ask the gym about their procedures, and bring disinfectant wipes with you to thoroughly wipe down any surface before and after you touch it. Finally, don’t linger.

Read the full story.

New on the blog

Social Distancing Is Still Important Even as Cities Reopen

Masks Work.

A Powerful Perspective:

“Fighting Covid-19 should not invite a resurgence of measles, diphtheria, pneumonia, or any other disease that is vaccine-preventable.” — Chelsea Clinton and Devi Sridhar, The Unintended Consequences of Covid-19 Put Kids at Risk

Essential explainers

How Covid-19 Really Spreads

Yes, You Develop Some Immunity to Covid-19. The Question Is, How Much?

Starting to Slip Up? Your Brain Is Entering Quarantine Fatigue.

How to Get a Coronavirus Vaccine to Billions of People

How Dangerous Are Covid-19 Silent Spreaders?

Did Japan Just Beat the Virus Without Lockdowns or Mass Testing? (Bloomberg)

Smart reads

A Promising Coronavirus Treatment Has a Dark History

We Already Have a Blueprint for What Comes Next

Systemic Racism Is Killing Black People During the Pandemic

Stylists Are Improvising New Techniques on Zoom and FaceTime

Our Economy Was Just Blasted Years Into the Future

Obama’s Surgeon General Says Coronavirus Could Cure the Loneliness Epidemic

“Normal” Is the Last Thing We Should Wish For

Personal pandemic stories

Quarantine Has Made Me a Birder

Gray Hair, Unmanicured Nails, the Quarantine 15 — Who Cares?

An Open Letter to Every American Who Doesn’t Want to Wear a Mask

Miss Jessie’s Founder Miko Branch on Loss, Business, and Feeling Beautiful Under Quarantine



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