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The heart of tech

This article was published on June 16, 2020

A glimmer of hope

A glimmer of hope
Tristan Greene
Story by

Tristan Greene

Editor, Neural by TNW

Tristan covers human-centric artificial intelligence advances, politics, queer stuff, cannabis, and gaming. Pronouns: He/him Tristan covers human-centric artificial intelligence advances, politics, queer stuff, cannabis, and gaming. Pronouns: He/him

Hola pandemic pals,

It’s the middle of June and COVID-19 is still here. In fact, the data indicates it’s just getting started. We’re seeing the largest daily spikes of new cases since scientists began tracking the disease back in December of 2019. At the rate we’re going, experts figure about one in every five people could end up contracting a “serious” case of the disease.

Credit: Worldometers

That’s the bad news. But, as you can see above, there’s some good news. The number of cases have gone up with the number of tests performed, but the number of deaths is trending downward. This means, in most places, medical professionals are doing a better job identifying and treating the most severe cases.

Now for the best news: there’s a new “breakthrough” treatment that’s experimentally shown to improve outcomes in the worst COVID-19 cases. It’s not a vaccine or cure, but preliminary research shows that dexamethasone, a steroid, experimentally reduces the risk of dying from serious cases of the disease by one-third. There’s still more research to be done before the inexpensive, widely-available drug is given the all-clear, but current research indicates doctors should start using it to treat the worst cases immediately.

Interestingly, dexamethasone was used in previous coronavirus treatment trials in conjunction with hydroxychloroquine. The latter drug, a malaria treatment, has since been determined ineffective at reducing mortality rates in patients with COVID-19.

The ever-increasing number of daily cases is cause for concern, especially without a vaccine on the horizon. But dexamethasone is a potential game-changer for COVID-19 outcomes. And that’s cause for celebration. Not only could the treatment save hundreds of thousands of lives, but studying its efficacy could lead to a cure or at least better upstream treatments. If we can’t beat the coronavirus, hopefully we can at least take it down a few notches.

By the numbers

Last week we ranked the top five countries by new cases as of 9 June.

This week we’re looking at the three tech moguls who’ve profited the most during the coronavirus pandemic (as of 15 April 2020).

Source: Institute for policy studies

Jeff Bezos (Amazon): up $25 billion

Elon Musk (Tesla): up $5 billion

Eric Yuan (Zoom): up $2.58 billion

Tweet thread of the week

What to read

Digital hope, bloody good news for type O people, and a million dollars doesn’t go far during a pandemic… 
📽Artists are projecting digital hope on buildings and structures to help people make it through these dark times
After what happened with hydroxycholoroquine, you’d think the White House would stop pressuring doctors to create a vaccine without proper testing. You’d be wrong. (Politico)
🌈Pride’s not canceled, it’s just going virtual this year. Here’s a guide to help you find the celebration.
What happens when COVID-19 meets this fall’s flu and cold bugs? (The Conversation)
🩸If you’ve got type 0 blood, you might be less susceptible to COVID-19. (Jerusalem Post)
😷UK regulators fear the pandemic is causing too many important details to slip through the cracks when it comes to healthcare and privacy.
🧠Doctors are worried about the neurological symptoms associated with COVID-19. (Financial Times)
💲In the US you can survive COVID-19 and end up with a hospital bill that’s over $1 million. WTF!? (The Guardian)
🤖Amazon is enforcing social distancing in its warehouses with AI.



In this section, one of our writers will share one weird internet thing they’ve been obsessing over while in lockdown. This week, I’m sharing another of mine.

My favorite thing on the internet is when someone tries to school the wrong person online. We’ve all seen it. Some random person will get in a debate with someone online only to find out that they’re arguing with a world’s leading expert on the subject matter.

Perhaps the most famous example of this is when people try to tell Tom Morello, the lead guitarist from Rage Against the Machine, to stick to music.

It’s the ultimate dunk. Some blowhard comes at an expert out of left field and, without being a jerk about it, the expert gets to put them in their place. 

It’s even more fun when the person being dunked on is a celebrity:

Credit: Reddit

Unfortunately, it takes a perfect storm for one of these to occur in the wild. That’s why I spend an embarassing amount of time on Reddit’s r/DoYouKnowWhoIAm board. 

We’ll be back next Tuesday. And every Tuesday after that until the pandemic ends. Because we’re all in this together.

In the meantime, here’s a few links to help you manage the misinformation as the disease hits its peak:

The Center for Disease Control’s myth-busting section on COVID-19

After Recovering from COVID-19, are you immune?

John Hopkins Univeristy COVID-19 myth vs fact

Don’t believe everything you read on social media. Stay healthy and take care of each other,


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