Tristan GreeneEditor, Neural by TNW
Tristan is a futurist covering human-centric artificial intelligence advances, quantum computing, STEM, physics, and space stuff. Pronouns: Tristan is a futurist covering human-centric artificial intelligence advances, quantum computing, STEM, physics, and space stuff. Pronouns: He/him
Coronavirus in Context is a weekly newsletter where we bring you facts that matter about the COVID-19 pandemic and the technology trying to stop its spread. You can subscribe here.
Hola pandemic pals,
I’ve returned from my staycation and wow, what a couple of weeks to miss. Not only have we failed to flatten the curve, but everyday brings a new record number of cases and deaths. Bottom notch work all around humanity, seriously lets give ourselves whatever the opposite of a round of applause is.
If only someone, anyone would have told us to social-distance and wear masks, we wouldn’t be in this mess. But nope, not a single person ever said anything about staying in quarantine until the curve was completely flat.
Okay I’ve just rolled my eyes so hard that I may have sprained one. Let’s just get to it. Here’s the good, the bad, and the ugly:
The big news this week is that a vaccine developed by Oxford University just cleared stage one and two clinical trials and it’s looking great. There’s still a lot of work to do and more trials to conduct, but if we’re lucky there might be an actual vaccine for COVID-19 by the end of the year.
But most of us won’t see it this year. In fact, according to Boris Johnson it’s unlikely we’ll see it next year either. The average person probably won’t get their hands on a vaccine until 2022. Medical personnel and front-line workers will likely receive the first approved doses, after that it’ll be up to the governments and pharmaceutical corporations in charge of production to decide how it’s doled out.
Here’s the ugly: right now the smart money is on planning for the possibility of a pandemic that swells well into next summer and finally starts to relent in the fall/winter of 2022. That, of course, is only if vaccines are readily available to the public.
Hopefully that won’t be the case. The disease could, theoretically, die out on its own like Trump keeps saying it will. Of course, aliens could also visit our planet this Thursday to deliver a space vaccine that cures all disease. But I think we’d be better off preparing for the scenario that most follows the current trend.
Maybe it’s time to order up another season of Tiger King and reconsider the quarantine.
By the numbers
|Last week Georgina compared the length of the Houston Chronicle’s obituary section to the amount of bleach that will cure of COVID-19 (zero, it’s zero. Don’t drink bleach).
This week, let’s check back in with the ghost of pandemics past. (Data: CDC)
Tweet thread of the week
— Robert Speker (@robertspeker) July 10, 2020
— Robert Speker (@robertspeker) July 10, 2020
What to read
|Hope shines anew, but we’d better get ready for round two…|
|In this little section, we’d like to talk about the tech that’s getting us through the pandemic. Let’s talk about my vacation!I spent two weeks getting to know this gorgeous little beast:
That’s a Fender Acoustasonic Stratocaster. And it is glorious. Go ahead, take a gander:
What makes this axe so special is that it’s like having an acoustic Dreadnought and an electric Stratocaster hanging from one strap. The incredible hollow-body resonates a tone that’s unbelievable. And when you amp up and switch it to electric, it’s a friggin’ full-on Stratocaster!
When I took it out of the case and plugged in, I spent 30 minutes just playing the verse and chorus to “Glycerine” by Bush. Every time a phrase repeated I’d just flip the switch from one voice to the next (it has 5 voices with A/B tone) and my smile kept getting bigger. This thing has to be heard to be believed.
Also, it’s a technical marvel with too much going on for me to describe here. When’s the last time you had to charge your Stratocaster?
Unfortunately, like all good things, my time with this beautiful piece of art must come to an end. I’ll be sending it back to Fender in a few weeks. Stay tuned to TNW’s Plugged for a full review, coming soon.
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,
Get the TNW newsletter
Get the most important tech news in your inbox each week.