Breakthrough Covid Vaccine Tech Could Help Defeat Other Diseases

from Reuters Breakthrough technology that transforms the body into a virus-zapping vaccine factory is poised to revolutionise the fight against COVID-19 but future pandemics and even cancer could be next, scientists say. The initial success of so-called messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) vaccines in late-stage trials by Moderna as well as Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech is the first proof the concept works. Both experimental vaccines had efficacy rates above 90% based on interim findings, which was far higher than expected and well above the 50% threshold U.S. regulators insist upon for vaccines. Now scientists say the technology, a slow-motion […]

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A Covid-Fighting Tool Is Buried In Your Phone. Turn It On.

from WaPo Here’s a phone alert you wouldn’t want to miss: “You have likely been exposed.” The coronavirus surge is upon us, and your phone might be able to help. About 100 million Americans now have the ability to get pop-up notifications from local health authorities when they’ve personally spent time near someone who later tested positive for the coronavirus. But exposure notifications only work if you and the people around you turn them on. Yes, you! There’s early evidence this anonymous smartphone technology works — but so far isn’t helping very many Americans. In August, I wrote about the […]

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The iOS COVID-19 App Ecosystem Has Become A Privacy Minefield

from ars technica When the notion of enlisting smartphones to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic first surfaced last spring, it sparked a months-long debate: should apps collect location data, which could help with contact tracing but potentially reveal sensitive information? Or should they take a more limited approach, only measuring Bluetooth-based proximity to other phones? Now, a broad survey of hundreds of COVID-19-related apps reveals that the answer is all of the above. And that has made the COVID-19 app ecosystem a kind of wild, sprawling landscape, full of potential privacy pitfalls. Late last month, Jonathan Albright, director of the Digital […]

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Hiring Remotely Is The New Reality. Here’s How To Do It With Speed

from Fast Company In some ways, growing businesses are akin to children: They will go through periods of rapid and transformative growth spurts. Short times of accelerated sales and growing customer bases are often accompanied by growing pains, during which the business must get accustomed to a new pace. While these periods are exciting, as they are typically a sign of success, it is also extremely challenging because that success will only last as long as you’re able to adequately support it. During such periods of growth, an expanded team is a critical component to sustaining and supporting new demand. […]

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The COVID-19 Pandemic Is Revealing The Regressive Business Model Of College Sports

from Brookings This year’s college football season is shaping up to be vastly different than any other in history. While games are being played, crowds are exceptionally limited or nonexistent. Furthermore, there are simply fewer games—and there is no guarantee of a complete season for any school. The combination of these factors is costing universities tens of millions of dollars and upending the underlying business model of college sports. Universities across the country have already responded by ending many low-revenue sports. This has led to widespread lamentations about the decreased opportunities for intercollegiate athletes who play sports that cannot support […]

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When Should Schools Reopen Fully In-Person?

from Brookings Over the past several months, schools and colleges across the country have had to make heart-wrenching decisions about whether and how to reopen. Should they have any in-person activities? If so, when? And at what point—and with what adjustments—is it safe to return to fully in-person activities? If there is a flare-up in COVID-19 cases, should we scale back in-person activities? The debates over these questions have become rancorous. I argue below that this is because the questions themselves are very difficult to answer, and then offer some ideas on how to make the decisions easier and better. […]

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COVID-19 Might Mean Humanity Has Entered An Age Of Pandemics

from BuzzFeed News Humanity has “entered a pandemic era,” with the worldwide coronavirus outbreak likely the first of accelerating epidemics to come, top US infectious disease scientist Anthony Fauci and other public health experts are warning. In an August report in the journal Cell, Fauci and epidemiologist David Morens, his National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) colleague, foresee an accelerating rate of pandemics in the years ahead driven largely by deforestation, urban crowding, and wet markets for wild game, which will make increasing environmental degradation worldwide in this century, “the key determinant of disease emergence.” “I don’t have […]

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Why The Move To Online Instruction Won’t Reduce College Costs

from Brookings As COVID-19 swept across the country in March, colleges shuttered and millions of students and instructors were propelled into a world of distance education. Institutional leaders are now grappling with how to provide a quality education over the academic year ahead while also guarding the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff. Online instruction is a core component of many colleges’ strategies, with a growing number abandoning in-person plans for the fall. Questions about the feasibility, quality, equity, and costs of online instruction sit front and center. Our recent analysis suggests that the difficulty of shifting instruction […]

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COVID-19 Has Thrust Universities Into Online Learning?—How Should They Adapt?

from Brookings There is one golden rule for flying with an infant or toddler: Do whatever it takes to get through the flight peacefully with no harm done. Every parent knows this means relaxing their standards. Planting your kid in front of an iPad screen or giving them not so healthy treats might not win you a “parent of the year” award, but it’s what is needed in the moment. In like fashion, much of the global higher education community is suddenly thrust into an unplanned, unwanted, and fraught experiment in online learning with the COVID-19 pandemic. For many of […]

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Who Should Be Saved First? Experts Offer Ethical Guidance

from NYTs How do doctors and hospitals decide who gets potentially lifesaving treatment and who doesn’t? A lot of thought has been given to just such a predicament, well before critical shortages from the coronavirus pandemic. “It would be irresponsible at this point not to get ready to make tragic decisions about who lives and who dies,” said Dr. Matthew Wynia, director of the Center for Bioethics and Humanities at the University of Colorado. Facing this dilemma recently — who gets a ventilator or a hospital bed — Italian doctors sought ethical counsel and were told to consider an approach […]

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How To Keep Your Business Thriving During (And After) The Coronavirus

from Fast Company Google. Amazon. Apple. These were some of the earliest corporations that mandated remote working because of COVID-19. Since then, nearly all businesses have followed suit as national and global agencies recommend social distancing to curb the spread of the virus. For huge firms with seemingly unlimited resources and technology, this displacement may be nothing more than a minor inconvenience. Leaders of smaller businesses are likely struggling with a new reality where social distancing is a requirement, not a suggestion. Previously, remote work was more a perk than a necessity for companies. Before the pandemic, just 41 percent […]

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Privacy vs. Surveillance in the Age of COVID-19

from Schneier on Security The trade-offs are changing: As countries around the world race to contain the pandemic, many are deploying digital surveillance tools as a means to exert social control, even turning security agency technologies on their own civilians. Health and law enforcement authorities are understandably eager to employ every tool at their disposal to try to hinder the virus ­ even as the surveillance efforts threaten to alter the precarious balance between public safety and personal privacy on a global scale. Yet ratcheting up surveillance to combat the pandemic now could permanently open the doors to more invasive […]

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