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Selected Background Information on COVID-19 Research & Response

MIT Information

May 5 Town Hall FAQ

Provides an extensive summary of the nearly 600 questions voiced by the MIT community during the May 5 Town Hall.

Values for Residential Planning at MIT for Fall 2020

MIT Heads of House 

Describes the overarching set of values held by MIT Heads of House that guide their planning and policies for Fall 2020 and beyond.

MIT Medical COVID-19 Updates

MIT Medical

Features data on MIT community cases as well as answers to common questions about COVID-19. The post from May 4 is particularly helpful for understanding the shortcomings of antibody testing.

External Guidelines

Background Reading/Watching

Amid the Coronavirus Crisis, a Regimen for Reentry

Dr. Atul Gawande, surgeon, public-health researcher, and staff writer at The New Yorker | Source: The New Yorker, May 13, 2020

Using the Mass General Brigham system to illustrate success, Dr. Gawande describes the elements of safe reopening: hygiene measures, screening, distancing, masks, and culture change to sustain it all. (18-minute read)

A Day in the Life This Fall (Faculty Edition)

Lia Paradis, professor of history at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania | Source: Inside Higher Ed, June 3, 2020

Lia Paradis envisions a professor’s typical day on campus come September, compiled from conversations with faculty members about the preparations, consultations, and new policies at colleges and universities — public and private, big and small — in 11 states. (5-minute read)

Opinion: Lockdown Can’t Last Forever. Here’s How to Lift It.

Dr. Gabriel Leung, infectious disease epidemiologist and dean of medicine at the University of Hong Kong | Source: The New York Times, April 6, 2020

Leung explains how to calculate the rate of infection spread in a given area and compare that number to hospital capacity to effectively inform policy. (8-minute read)

The Risks – Know Them – Avoid Them

Erin S. Bromage, Ph.D., Comparative Immunologist and Associate Professor of Biology at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth | Source: blog post, May 6, 2020 (updated May 20)

Bromage explains how the virus is spread in different common scenarios (restaurants, churches, etc.), emphasizing that chances of getting infected are a function both of the dose of the virus and the duration of exposure. (12-minute read)

Rules of Thumb for Reopening – Part 2: Opting out of testing

Source: MIT IDSS, May 2020

As a follow-up to an article on testing, the IDSS team models the effects of some percentage of the population OPTING OUT of testing, noting that it is more like drunk driving (risky for individual and community) rather than not wearing a seatbelt (only risky for individual). (5-minute read).

Potential impact of seasonal forcing on a SARS-CoV-2 pandemic

Richard A. Neher, Robert Dyrdak, Valetin Druelle, Emma B. Hodcroft, Jan Albert  | Source: Swiss Med Weekly, March 16, 2020

This paper explores how seasonal variation in transmissibility could modulate a SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Data from routine diagnostics show a strong and consistent seasonal variation of the four endemic coronaviruses (229E, HKU1, NL63, OC43). Simulations of different scenarios show that plausible parameters result in a small peak in early 2020 in temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere and a larger peak in winter 2020/2021.

Three potential futures for Covid-19: recurring small outbreaks, a monster wave, or a persistent crisis

Sharon Begley, senior science writer | Source: STAT, May 1, 2020

This article, which draws on an analysis by epidemiologist Michael Osterholm of the University of Minnesota and his colleagues, describes three possible scenarios for COVID-19’s resurgence, varying in timing, duration, and severity.

What Will College Be Like in the Fall?

Emily Bazelon | Source: New York Times Magazine, June 3, 2020

Administrators, professors, a union representative, and students consider the new realities of life on campus in the midst of a pandemic.

Here’s a List of Colleges’ Plans for Reopening in the Fall

Source: Chronicle of Higher Education, April 23, 2020 (updated June 8)

The coronavirus pandemic has left higher-education leaders facing difficult decisions about when to reopen campuses and how to go about it. The Chronicle is tracking individual colleges’ plans. Two-thirds say they are planning for an in-person fall semester. They’re currently tracking about 910 colleges.

COVID-19 vaccine development pipeline gears up

Asher Mullard | Source: The Lancet, June 6, 2020

Vaccine makers are racing to develop COVID-19 vaccines, and have advanced ten candidates into clinical trials. But challenges remain.

Does contact tracing necessarily sacrifice privacy?

3Blue1Brown via Nicky Case | Source: YouTube, May 14, 2020

This short video explains how contact tracing apps can protect both health and privacy. The video is based on a public domain comic and includes links to Github code and a white paper for further information. (7 minutes)

Show evidence that apps for COVID-19 contact-tracing are secure and effective

Editorial | Source: Nature, May 29, 2020

Governments see coronavirus apps as key to releasing lockdowns. In exchange for people’s health data, they must promise to work together to develop the highest standards of safety and efficacy.

“Immunity passports” in the context of COVID-19: Scientific Brief

Source: World Health Organization, April 24, 2020

Developing a National Strategy for Serology (Antibody Testing) in the United States

Gigi Gronvall, PhD; Nancy Connell, PhD; Amanda Kobokovich, MPH; Rachel West, PhD; Kelsey Lane Warmbrod, MS, MPH; Matthew P. Shearer, MPH; Lucia Mullen, MPH; Tom Inglesby, MD

Source: The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, April 22, 2020

External Data

COVID-19 Projections

Source: Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (University of Washington)

Simple visualization of COVID-19 deaths and hospital capacity including forward projections with uncertainty.

Massachusetts COVID-19 Response Data

Source: Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency

Massachusetts-specific data including cases and deaths by county and by hospital. Also includes regional and worldwide data.

Coronavirus tracked: the latest figures as countries fight to contain the pandemic

Source: Financial Times

Visualizations of COVID-19 mortality data from around the world.

Coronavirus in the U.S.: Latest Map and Case Count

Source: New York Times

This map shows where the number of new cases is rising and where it is falling in the last 14 days.