The Latest: There’s a better mask than the N95
You read that right: There’s a mask that’s more effective than the N95, and it’s reusable. Right now it’s only used by industry (think factory work, farming, mining, etc.) and not health care. But as writer Roxanne Khamsi reports for Elemental, there’s one tiny hospital in Texas that uses these masks — called elastomeric respirators — to treat people with tuberculosis. The hospital hasn’t had a staff member get infected for two decades. Experts think these kinds of masks could be one solution to the mask shortage. Read the full story here.
(And to be clear: This type of mask could be useful for health care workers on the front lines, not for personal use. There are already reports of shortages and knockoffs.)
Many researchers are thinking about alternative mask options that could be more sustainable. You can read about some other ideas here.
- Hopeful findings for remdesivir: Out of 125 people with Covid-19 at the University of Chicago who received the drug as part of Gilead’s clinical trials, only two died and most have been discharged, STAT News reports. Experts say to interpret the news with caution. The early findings do not compare the results to people who were not given the drug.
- The asymptomatic among us: The Navy is testing the entire 4,800 member crew of the Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier, and so far they’ve found that 60% of the people who test positive are asymptomatic.
- Small business relief is drying up: The $349 billion Paycheck Protection Program to help small businesses during the pandemic hit its cap in less than two weeks. Read more.
- Good news for people with asthma: Even though Covid-19 causes respiratory problems, the New York Times reports that asthma is showing up in only about 5% of New York State’s fatal coronavirus cases. Read more.
- The U.S. coronavirus hotspot: A South Dakota meat plant is now the country’s biggest coronavirus single-source cluster. Its employees make up about 44% of the Covid-19 diagnoses in the state. Read more.
Follow our Medium Coronavirus Blog for regular updates, and read some of the essential stories we’ve curated below.
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A Quick Q&A:
Should I stop vaping during the pandemic?
The short answer is yes. Doctors suspect that regular vaping could be increasing people’s risk for more severe forms of Covid-19 and lung injury. The connection is not clear yet, but in the meantime, physicians recommend abstaining if you can.
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