If the last few weeks have put you in a funk, it’s time to take a break. Whether you’ve been working overtime as one of our essential workers (thank you!) or cooped up at home, here are a few bits of inspiring news from the past week.
US Researchers Deliver First COVID-19 Vaccine to Volunteers in Experimental Test Program
The first person in an experimental test for a coronavirus vaccine was given a careful shot of the vaccine, followed by three others. The first volunteer, a mother of two and an operations manager at a small tech company stated, “We all feel so helpless. This is an amazing opportunity for me to do something.”
Distillers across the Country are Turning Excess into Hand Sanitizer
Using excess alcohol from their products to create hand sanitizer, small craft distilleries created the trend, and now some of the big names are following suite to fight COVID-19. The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau even recently announced that it would waive certain provisions around distilled spirits regulation to allow distilleries that typically produce drinking alcohol to pivot to the production of ethanol-based hand sanitizers.
The Environment is Experiencing Some Relief Amidst the Outbreak
The NASA and ESA pollution monitoring satellites have identified significant decreases in nitrogen dioxide since the outbreak. Analysis shows China’s carbon emissions have decreased by 100 million metric tons, close to what Chile emits in a year, while Venice’s canals have become so still and clear that dolphins and swans are returning to swim.
Antibodies from COVID-19 Survivors Could Potentially be Used to Treat the Sick and Those at Risk
Arturo Casadevall, a Johns Hopkins immunologist, is at work attempting to revive a century-old blood-derived treatment for use in hopes of slowing the spread of the virus. He believes that with the right pieces in place, the treatment could be set up at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore within a matter of weeks.
A Ray of Hope for Italy with Two Days of Decline in Death Rate
Officials say quarantine is “starting to have an effect” as they experience two consecutive daily declines in death rate from their high on Saturday the 21st. They also reported the number of new confirmed cases dropped from 6,557 on Saturday to 4,789 on Monday.
Australia is in the Process of Testing Two Potential Cures
Scientists from the University of Queensland Center for Clinical Research have discovered two drugs which have wiped out the virus in test tubes, and are both already registered and available in Australia for other illnesses. The researchers have seen optimistic results in limited volunteer tests and are attempting to conduct a nationwide trial.
Animals go on Field Trips While Zoos and Aquariums are Closed
Amidst temporary closures, the inquisitive animals have been taking over the exhibits in zoos and aquariums around North America. A zoo representative stated, “Without guests in the building, caretakers are getting creative in how they provide enrichment to animals — introducing new experiences, activities, foods and more to keep them active, encourage them to explore, problem-solve and express natural behaviors."
A Canadian Research Team has Isolated the COVID-19 Virus
The team was able to culture the virus from two clinical specimens and isolate it to enable researchers across the world to develop and better understand, test, treat, and combat it.
South Korea Continues to Report More Recoveries than New Cases
South Korea has aggressively flattened the curve, from a peak high of 909 cases on February 29th, to around the 80 to 90 range in a matter of weeks. Normalcy is beginning to return and other countries are taking notice.
China is Seeing Some Uplifting Milestones
New cases in China have reached a low of just 11 with 4 in Hubei and the other 7 imported cases attributed to visitors. With this progress, parks and tourist attractions are beginning to reopen and travel restrictions are reducing.
Companies All Over are Helping Out
From Dollar General devoting their opening hour of shopping for senior citizens, to food delivery services slashing commissions and fees, businesses large and small are helping each other out. Some companies are waiving late fees and payments to those affected, while many school districts are opening their doors to serve families who are struggling. Even sports teams are committing to pay the wages of arena workers despite seasons being shut down.