🦠 COVID-19 | Don't play with fire

I am a scientist by education, banker at JPMorgan for a few years, then mature PhD student in Chemical Biology at Oxford under the supervision of Christofer Schofield (FRS) and Peter Ratcliffe (Nobel laureate in medicine in 2019). Founder and tech investor focusing on media and education. I care about science, learning and Democracy which are good bedfellows.

📊 Daily Data Brief:  (❗️changes +/- are for 48 hours)

3,640,692  (+168,617cumulative cases 

Active cases: 2,195,934 (+82,832)  (this is the number of currently infected patients)

Total Deaths:  251,838  (+7,733)

Serious/Critical Cases: 49,627 (-1,217)

Recovered:   1,192,920 (+78,052)

Source: Worldometers

Death curves (updated daily as ECDC releases). Major update with per country graphs now available (Link) (USUKFranceGermanySweden) (👈NEW❗️)


As the first countries and US states re-open, a lot of the articles today are advocating caution both on when and how to re-open.

In today’s Corona Daily, a physicist modelling pandemics bluntly writes: “Don’t play with fire”. A science journalist reminds us that we also know little about the role children play in this infection, as authorities reopen schools.

A report of the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) obtained by the New York Times provides some grim forecasts about the situation in the US. Another study highlights that most re-opening states were not ready, and a bio-ethicist looks at the racial bias on fatality of re-opening decisions.

Pressure grows on China internationally (not only from the US) to accept an independent investigation on the origin of SARS-CoV2. A Chinese group reports on immunity characteristic of recovering COVID19 patients. A great security review of the soon-to-be-launched UK contact tracing app.

A worthwhile short podcast and twitter thread from a German psychotherapist.


NEW❗️I am open-sourcing my curated feeds and making them freely available below.

Free COVID19 curated feeds


🌍 Tweet of the day 1: Yaneer Bar-Yam (Physicist studying social challenges including pandemics) urges: “Don’t play with fire”.

🧒 Tweet of the day 2: As most countries look to reopen schools (and parent agonise about whether or not to send their kids), Helen Branswell from STAT News writes about the launch of a study by the NIAID (National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases):


🇺🇸 Report of the day: “Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Situation Update” published by the New York Times. (Link)

This is a chilling report from the US CDC forecasting 3,000 deaths per day on June 1 and 200,000 cases per day by the end of the month (versus 1,750 and 25,000 currently and respectively). There is also great visualisation by status of the epidemic across US states.


🇺🇸 Jennifer Tolbert, Jennifer Kates, and Larry Levitt write “Lifting Social Distancing Measures in America: State Actions & Metrics) for the Kaiser Family Foundation. The authors look at re-opening policies of 27 US states. Worryingly they find that only 9 of the 27 states which have re-opened meet their criteria for doing so. (Link)

🇨🇳 “Pressure grows on China for independent investigation into pandemic’s origins” in Science. US and Trump are not the only ones asking for an investigation. German Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas said:

“The whole world wants the exact origin of the virus to be clarified.”

and continuing by stating that the way China responds to such call will inform us on:

“how transparent it wants to be with the virus.”

While the US through Trump and Secretary of State Pompeo have been the most vocal and critical on China, the call for an independent investigation was also made by the European Commission, Sweden, Australia and others. Expect the calls to grow louder. (Link)

⚖️ Fabiola Cineas writes “A bioethicist on why reopening states will kill more black people” for Vox. Cineas interviews Reuben C. Warren (director of Tuskegee University’s National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care).  

“For the black community, the decision to reopen — despite the alarming data that shows they are disproportionately suffering from the disease (black people make up 30 percent of coronavirus cases, according to the CDC, even though they represent just 13 percent of the US population) — fuels the community’s distrust of government and health leadership.”

Warren goes through the issue of trust, the priority of health over economics and of social justice versus utilitarian ethics.

He outlines the three constructs of public health ethics: first, community engagement, second beneficence and “third is social justice, doing what’s in the best interest of the population at the greatest risk”. Of course they talk about Sweden. (Link)

🦠 Ling Ni et al. publish “Detection of SARS-CoV-2-specific humoral and cellular immunity in COVID-19 convalescent individuals” in Immunity journal. This paper looks at the immunity developed by 14 convalescent patients infected with COVID-19. All but one of the patients developed neutralising antibodies for SARS-CoV2. Importantly Ni et al. write that:

“These findings suggest both B and T cells participate in immune-mediated protection to viral infection”

This paper is important in confirming that most patients develop immunity and that this immunity involves both B- and T- cells. It is interesting both in relation to anti-body test designs and vaccine development. (Link)

🚔 Ian Levy writes “The security behind the NHS contact tracing app” as a blog on the National Cyber Security Centre. A rather good and candid attempt at explaining the forthcoming UK contact tracing application. Towards the end Levy writes:

“As our understanding of the virus evolves, so will our response, including how the app works. It may turn out that one of the other models proposed actually helps manage the virus better. No-one knows today, but the UK is responding based on the best scientific advice available today. If that advice means the app has to change, we'll evolve the design. But the NHS will always be transparent about what the app does and how.”

This needs to be better addressed. Once you have downloaded an app, the power shifts towards the app developer with regards to the updates and potentially the user not freely consenting to new privacy models of the application. The anticipated changes should be submitted to scrutiny and democratic debate. It is not enough for them to be “transparent”. (Link)


🎙 Alex Beisenherst is a German psychotherapist and psychiatrist. His excellent Twitter threads on COVID-19 have deservedly gone viral. Here is the latest one on #BreaktheChain: first tweet and Twitter Thread.

He is on DW “Science unscript” podcast in English today about how a psychotherapist goes viral talking about epidemiology. Thread worth reading and podcast worth listening. (4 min 44 sec) (Link)


📊 A picture is worth a thousand words:  Global (🌎) and local (with relevant flag) visualisation and forecasting tool

  1. 🇺🇸 NEW❗️ “Is your community ready to reopen?”: A map of the US (50 states and 2,100+ counties) looking at reopening risks with metrics around 3 criteria: 1. Is COVID in retreat? 2. Are we testing enough? 3. Are our hospitals ready? (Link)

  2. 🌎 The Financial Times (visualisation) has a data tracking page which is in front of the paywall, looking at cases and fatality curves for selective countries and metropolitan areas/region. It is not as extensive as the Madlag link below, where you can see static as well as animated images for a greater number of individual countries. (Link)

  3. 🇺🇸  The John Hopkins University resource center was the first one I used back in January they have now made available in their latest iteration a county by county dashboard in the US including information about health capacity, insurance coverage, ethnicity and age breakdown of the population (New York example below) (Link)

  1. 💊 The "Map of Hope" provides a geographical overview of planned, ongoing and completed clinical trials. It is put together with data from WHO Clinical Trials Search Portal by the Heidelberg Institute for Geoinformation technology. (Link)

  2. 🌍 MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis started to publish weekly death estimates for countries (Link)

  3. 🇺🇸 The US Center for Disease Control and Surveillance (CDC) publishes “A Weekly Surveillance Summary of U.S. COVID-19 Activity” (Link)

  4. Google has published a new website to “See how your community is moving around differently due to COVID-19”. They have a lot of data to do so… (Link)

  5. 🌎 Country by Country Curves: This is a GitHub made by my friend Francois Lagunas. He has written a script to scrape deaths and number of cases in order to visualise the rate of growth on a logarithmic scale.  Great resource (Link)

  6. 🌎A great resource put together by Ben Kuhn and Yuri Vishnevsky.  At a time when we need solidarity and cooperation, I prefer their subtitle “We need stronger measures, much faster” than their title. It’s a simulator on what case growth looks like depending on your community’s measures. Fantastic resource to stir communities and governments to action (Link)

  7. 🇩🇪 The COVID19 dashboard for Germany is one of the best around. (Link)

  8. 🌎Data and chart regularly updated by the  Centre for the Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. It maps the effective reproduction number (also known as R0) of COVID19. You want to get it below 1 as fast as possible to contain an epidemic. (Link to see charts and more data about your country)


📰 Cronycle resource:

Cronycle has made available a number of open-access feeds on its website which I extensively use for the Corona Daily. The four first feeds are:

1.  COVID-19 General (Link

2.  COVID-19 x Resilience (Link)  

3.  Gig Economy x COVID-19 (Link

  1. NEW❗️Human Challenge Trials x Covid-19 (Link

5. Supply Chain x COVID-19 (Link)

  1. Human Rights x COVID-19 (Link)