• It’s Time to Admit Our COVID-19 “Exit Strategy” Might Just Look Like a More Flexible Version of Lockdown

    As the COVID-19 curve starts to flatten in Australia and New Zealand, people are rightly wondering how we will roll back current lockdown policies. Australia’s federal health minister Greg Hunt says Australia is looking to South Korea, Japan and Singapore to inform our exit strategy. New Zealand is relaxing some measures from next week.Toby Phillips writes in The Conversation that a long-term solution – a vaccine – is many months, probably years, away. In the meantime, we must rely on social distancing policies to contain the epidemic – and begin to accept the idea that an “exit strategy” may really look more like a more flexible version of lockdown.

  • Fumbling for the Exit Strategy

    Suddenly everyone has a plan. Ideas for exiting the COVID-19 lockdown are spreading faster than the virus ever did. Spain has let builders return to work, Italy has opened stationers and bookshops, Denmark is allowing children back into nurseries and primary schools. South Africa’s opposition is calling for a relaxed “smart lockdown”. In America President Donald Trump has been sparring with state governors over who should decide what reopens when. The Economist writes that every country is different, but already two things are clear. First, governments need to explain to their people that the world is not about to return to normal. Without a vaccine or a therapy, life will be constrained and economies will remain depressed. Second, testing and contact-tracing are vital to keeping the virus at bay. Countries that failed to invest enough in them when the disease first emerged in China risk repeating the mistake.

  • Maintaining Nuclear Safety and Security During the COVID-19 Crisis

    Every major industry on earth is struggling to adapt in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes nuclear facilities and nuclear-powered vessels, which count among the critical infrastructure of dozens of nations now struggling with the pandemic, representing more than half the world’s population. Meanwhile, ISIS has already announced its intent to exploit the pandemic while a number of other violent extremist organizations are also taking pains to exploit the crisis. Without implementing extraordinary measures to maintain safety and security, nuclear installations risk compounding the crisis with a large-scale radiation release.

  • International Air Travel as an Indicator of COVID-19 Economic Recovery

    It seems likely that routine international air travel may not resume until the end of June at the earliest. Paul Rozenzweig writes that that, more than President Trump’s wishful thinking, is a true indicator of what economic recovery will look like. As any good student of law and economics would say, the best indicator of commercial expectations can be found in commercial enterprises—the market signals that indicate what businesses truly anticipate. And if any enterprise is likely to be a leading indicator of economic expectations, it seems that the airline industry is a good candidate.

  • How Will the Pandemic Affect National Security Innovation

    The second week of March was an inflection point for many across the world. Rachel Olney writes that as a founder of a tech company with commercial and defense customers, she has concerns for the early-stage companies with defense applications. With the massive economic downturn came panicked investors trying to determine which companies in their portfolios would survive. “They reached out to learn how much cash we have, if we can do layoffs, and if we would ultimately survive,” she writes. “My experience was not unique.”

  • Abbott Launches COVID-19 Antibody Test

    Abbott has launched its third test for coronavirus (COVID-19) and will start shipping it in the U.S. The test is a serology test – also called an antibody test – which could be a critical next step in battling this virus. Abbott says its test helps to detect the IgG antibody to SARS-CoV-2. An antibody is a protein that the body produces in the late stages of infection and may remain for up to months and possibly years after a person has recovered. Detecting these IgG antibodies will help determine if a person was previously infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. The new antibody test is to be used on Abbott’s ARCHITECT i1000SR and i2000SR laboratory instruments, which can run up to 100-200 tests an hour.

  • Study Examines How Hong Kong Managed First Wave of COVID-19 Without Resorting to Complete Lockdown

    Hong Kong appears to have averted a major COVID-19 outbreak up to March 31, 2020, by adopting far less drastic control measures than most other countries, with a combination of border entry restrictions, quarantine and isolation of cases and contacts, together with some degree of social distancing, according to a new observational study published in The Lancet Public Health journal. The study suggests testing and contact tracing and population behavioral changes — measures which have far less disruptive social and economic impact than total lockdown — can meaningfully control COVID-19. The public health measures implemented to suppress local transmission in Hong Kong are probably feasible in many locations worldwide, and could be rolled out in other countries with sufficient resources, researchers say. However, the researchers caution that because a variety of measures were used simultaneously, it is not possible to disentangle the individual effects of each one.

  • Two Months of COVID-19 Lockdown Will Cost France €120 Billion, Report Says

    France’s nearly two-month-long coronavirus lockdown is expected to cost the country some €120 billion in lost revenue while “forced savings” are estimated to reach €55 billion, the state-funded French Economic Observatory said on Monday. “During the lockdown, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was cut by 32 percent, corresponding to five points of GDP for the whole of 2020,” the state-funded French Economic Observatory (OFCE) wrote. The observatory went on to say that “almost 60 percent of the drop in national income was absorbed by public administrations” and 35 percent by businesses. France’s economic recovery depends on how much the French spend once lockdown is lifted, it said. France24 notes, however, that although the French are expected to have shored up €55 billion in so-called forced savings during the planned 17 March to 11 May lockdown period – meaning they will have spent less than they earned – they are not expected to spend these savings “completely or rapidly” once lockdown is lifted given the continuing uncertainties over Covid-19.

  • What to Make of New U.S. Actions Against Foreign Telecoms

    Recent moves by the administration mark another concrete step in the U.S. campaign to limit the digital and economic influence of Chinese telecommunications companies both within and outside U.S. borders. Justin Sherman writes that “The moves also demonstrate that current American efforts to limit the influence of the Chinese telecommunications sector are much broader than just the well-publicized targeting of Chinese telecom giant Huawei.”

  • As Part of U.S. COVID-19 Reopening Steps, Midwest Governors Form Coalition

    Yesterday President Donald Trump during his daily coronavirus task force briefing will announce the first plans for reopening the economy and transitioning from widespread stay-at-home efforts. Yesterday during the briefing the president said America had likely passed the peak of its infections, and physical distancing measures were working. Joining governors on the West and East Coasts, seven Midwestern governors yesterday announced a new coalition to open the Midwest economic region. In a letter from Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s office, she and the governors of Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky announced the partnership.

  • Understanding the Hidden Impact of Disasters

    The September 2017 Hurricane Maria killed people, demolished homes, and destroyed infrastructure. But Maria also damaged the manufacturing plants of a major IV bag maker, plunging hospitals into supply shortage that didn’t ripple across the mainland United States until six months after the hurricane made landfall. Given the highly integrated nature of supply chains in the U.S., natural and man-made disasters can have unanticipated consequences that are every bit as serious as the immediate damage of the event itself.

  • Don't You Dare Ask When the Lockdown Will End! Matt Hancock Loses His Cool as He Tells Radio Interviewer that the Government Won't Release Exit Plan Because Public Can't Be Trusted with It

    The British Health Secretary Matt Hancock om Thursday insisted the public cannot be trusted with a coronavirus “exit strategy” as they might stop obeying lockdown rules. James Tapsfield writrs in the Daily Mail that in a bad-tempered interview as the government prepares to extend draconian curbs for another three weeks, the Health Secretary said he recognized that “everybody wants to know what the future looks like.” But he flatly dismissed calls for the government to flesh out how the restrictions will finally be eased, despite mounting fears that they are wreaking havoc on the economy. Hancock said the “clarity of messaging” had a “direct impact on how many people obey” social distancing rules.

  • Vanda Pharmaceuticals Starts Phase III COVID-19 Trial of Tradipitant

    Vanda Pharmaceuticals has partnered with The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research’s arm Northwell Health to conduct a Phase III clinical trial of tradipitant to treat severe Covid-19 pneumonia. Clinical Trials Arena reports that enrolment for the trial, called ODYSSEY, has begun. The first patient was enrolled on 15 March at Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City. Tradipitant is a neurokinin-1 receptor (NK-1R) antagonist licensed by the company from Eli Lilly. The drug is being developed to treat gastroparesis, motion sickness, and atopic dermatitis. The double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomised ODYSSEY trial will assess the safety and efficacy of oral, 85mg twice-daily dose of the drug in treating neurogenic inflammation of the lung caused by Covid-19.

  • What Are Germany's Updated Lockdown Measures?

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday announced the next phase of the country’s plan to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus and its resulting disease, COVID-19. Elizabeth Schumacher writes in DW that the new regulations are as follows: Retailers smaller than 800 square meters (8,610 square feet) will be allowed to open under the current physical distancing rules on April 20; schools will slowly re-open their doors on May 4, with pupils in their last years of primary and secondary school having the priority. Schools that re-open must have a strict hygiene plan in place; hair salons can resume business on May 4 if strict protective measures are observed; the ongoing rule that individuals may only meet with one person outside their household remains in place, as well as the rule about keeping a minimum of 1.5 meters (5 feet) away from others; large events, such as sports and concerts, will remain banned until August 31; bars, restaurants, day care centers, theaters, and cinemas will stay closed until further notice. Religious gatherings are also canceled for the foreseeable future; protective masks are “strongly recommended,” but not mandatory, in shops and on public transportation; strict controls at Germany’s borders will stay in place for at least 20 more days.

  • Don't You Dare Ask When the Lockdown Will End! Matt Hancock Loses His Cool as He Tells Radio Interviewer that the Government Won't Release Exit Plan Because Public Can't Be Trusted with It

    The British Health Secretary Matt Hancock om Thursday insisted the public cannot be trusted with a coronavirus “exit strategy” as they might stop obeying lockdown rules. James Tapsfield writrs in the Daily Mail that in a bad-tempered interview as the government prepares to extend draconian curbs for another three weeks, the Health Secretary said he recognized that “everybody wants to know what the future looks like.” But he flatly dismissed calls for the government to flesh out how the restrictions will finally be eased, despite mounting fears that they are wreaking havoc on the economy. Hancock said the “clarity of messaging” had a “direct impact on how many people obey” social distancing rules.