A Blog by Jonathan Low


Sep 30, 2020

Researchers Begin To Identify Reasons Covid Disproportionately Impacts the Obese

It is tied to underlying conditions which affect the immune system, which also impact racial and economically disadvantaged groups due to diet and their need to work despite the danger from Covid. JL

Katherine Wu reports in the New York Times:

Recent studies has shown that people with extra weight are more susceptible to severe bouts of disease. And experiments in animals and human cells have demonstrated how excess fat can disrupt the immune system. Excess weight goes with other medical conditions, like high blood pressure and diabetes, which may by themselves make it harder to fight Covid-19. Obesity disproportionately affects Black or Latino groups at much higher risk of contracting and dying from Covid-19, because of exposure at their workplaces, limited access to medical care and other inequities tied to systemic racism.

Disney Laying Off 28,000 As Pandemic Fears Keep Consumers Away

Despite favorable rules in Florida and recovery in China and Europe, the reality for Disney is that consumers are not yet comfortable traveling, spending a lot of money and being in close proximity with others. JL

Sarah Whitten reports in CNBC:

Prolonged closures at Disney’s California-based theme parks and limited attendance at its open parks has forced the company to lay off 28,000 employees. While Disney’s parks in Florida, Paris, Shanghai, Japan and Hong Kong have been able to reopen with limited capacity, both California Adventure and Disneyland have remained shuttered. Disney has been hemorrhaging money since the outbreak began. In the second quarter, the company reported a loss of $1 billion due to the closures of its parks, hotels and cruise lines. In the third quarter, the company reported a steeper loss of $3.5 billion.

The Reason Covid Scientists Seek Convalescent Plasma Super-Donors

Researchers believe - but do not yet have overwhelming proof - that plasma from Covid-recovered donors with high antibody levels may reduce Covid mortality levels. JL

Amy Marcus reports in the Wall Street Journal:

Recovered Covid-19 patients who could be blood plasma “superdonors,” (are) people who have high levels of antibodies against the disease and are willing to donate regularly. Vaccinating patients who have recovered from a Covid-19 infection might boost their level of neutralizing antibodies, which scientists believe are critical for attacking the virus. Transfusions of high-titer plasma might be effective in reducing mortality in hospitalized patients.

Why Preventing Pandemic Burnout Requires Human-Centered Leadership

Leadership in a pandemic is doubly disruptive: in addition to directing their enterprises through treacherous and uncharted obstacles, leaders have to be aware of how additional financial and familial stresses on their employees may affect performance. Research shows that burnout is as great for those working remotely as it is for those in a workplace.

To optimize long and short range outcomes, leaders have to increase two-way communication, adapt to real-time data and maintain flexibility in order to turn uncertainty into a given, not a shock. JL

Jennifer Moss reports in Harvard Business Review:

A new survey discovered that burnout and fatigue are equally concerning for employees working remotely (43%) and those in a physical workplace (43%). 46% of parents say their stress level is high. 80% of hourly workers had less than $500 saved for an emergency, and 52% had $0 saved because of the pandemic; 76% delayed or missed a bill. What may have been helpful at the start of the Covid-19 lockdown could turn well-being into workload. “To take pressure off, adjust the workload.” Human-centered leaders give their companies a chance to flourish in the middle of a global pandemic.

Sep 29, 2020

Rapid Antigen Covid Tests Are Ready For Global Distribution

Test results take 15-30 minutes to deliver. The tests are high quality and will be made available first to frontline healthcare workers. 20% of test inventory will be provided to lower income countries. JL

Sarah Boseley reports in The Guardian:

Tests for Covid-19 that show on-the-spot results in 15 to 30 minutes are about to be rolled out across the world. The tests, which look like a pregnancy test, with two blue lines displayed for positive, are read by a health worker. One test has received emergency approval from the WHO and the other is expected to get it shortly.The quick but high-quality tests will allow mass screening of health workers. In return for a volume guarantee from the Gates Foundation, the companies are making 20% of their production available to low- and middle-income countries and 80% to the rest.

Cord-Cutting Has Grown Exponentially During the Pandemic

The pandemic has heightened public awareness of options and costs. Which has meant enlightened consumers are increasingly choosing streaming over cable. JL

Karl Bode reports in TechDirt:

The first quarter of 2020 alone saw more than 1.8 million users cancel traditional cable -- a record. "By the end of this year, 31.2 million US households will have cut the cable TV cord in aggregate. And 6.6 million households will cancel their pay TV subscriptions. By 2024, more than one-third of US households will have cut the pay TV cord." With competition heating up in streaming, and consumer financial headaches persisting throughout 2020, downplaying one of the biggest trends in TV history is no longer an option for the least liked companies in American industry.

The Reason Drones Are Beginning To Transport Human Organs

The decrease in the number of commercial flights has impacted the availability of human organs for transplant. Drones may be able to alleviate that challenge. JL

Adrianna Rodriguez reports in USA Today, image by Sammy Vassilev, Photographika:

The first flight transported research corneas from one hospital to another 2½ miles away. On the same day, a second flight delivered research kidneys 10 miles, from an airport to a location outside a small town in the Las Vegas desert. Scientists who took biopsies before and after the flight concluded there were no changes to the tissue architecture and cell viability.A kidney can survive outside the body for 36 to 48 hours after it has been recovered. “Drones (can) be revolutionary in increasing the number of organs utilized and decreasing discards.”