Daily Archives: March 17, 2020

The Power of Pandemics

Paul Beckwith

Mar 17, 2020
“It is the microbes who will have the last word.” — Louis Pasteur

“The conditions for infectious disease emergence and contagion are more dangerous than ever … due to overpopulation, urbanization, industrial livestock crowds and mobility; there was (is) a 20% chance that four pandemics could unsettle the globe over the next century” — 2016 Commission on Creating a Global Health Risk Framework for the Future

“As dramatic agents of biological change pandemics represent tsunamis or bombs…pandemics have the energy to rattle and even collapse civilizations.” —Andrew Nikiforuk

See related:

History of Pandemics; Will Covid-19 Slow Down in Summer?


Paul Beckwith

Mar 17, 2020

Throughout human history, as we spread across the world we have had infectious diseases as a constant companion. Outbreaks continue to happen, even more frequently in our modern era. First, I discuss a timeline over the last 2000 years and chat about some of histories most deadly pandemics, including the biggies such as Black Death (Bubonic Plague); with 200 million dead (30-50% of Europe); smallpox killing 90% of Native Americans, and the Spanish flu. Next I discuss what we know about seasonal cycles of many infectious diseases, and then some recent papers considering whether Covid-19 may be seasonal, perhaps weakening as we head to Northern Hemisphere summer.

Will the Coronavirus Pandemic Weaken in the Northern Hemisphere as we move into Summer?


Paul Beckwith

Mar 17, 2020

I discuss a new scientific paper that examines the present coronavirus spread and shows correlations of the hardest hit regions to temperature and humidity changes with latitude. This is only one paper, but it seems to indicate that the hardest hit regions are within an average temperature band from 5C to 11C, with low specific humidity (3-6 g/kg) and absolute humidity (4-7 g/cm3). If this is confirmed in subsequent scientific studies then it could indicate that Covid-19 is a seasonal respiratory virus. Promising (since it would slow down in summer); but too early to tell for sure at the moment.

Should I disinfect my fruits and vegetables to protect against COVID-19?

CBC News: The National

Mar 17, 2020

Doctors answer your questions about the coronavirus in Canada.

alking to kids about the coronavirus


CBC News: The National

Mar 17, 2020
How to talk to your kids about the COVID-19 pandemic.

How to social distance in the grocery store


CBC News: The National

Mar 17, 2020
As Canadians avoid gatherings and crowds amid the COVID-19 outbreak, grocery stores present a challenge as people stock up and pick shelves bare.

Resources To Learn About Arts & Culture While You’re Cooped Up In The House


WGBH News

Mar 17, 2020
Jim Braude shares his thoughts on an online tool that can help you explore some of the great artistic wonders of the world while practicing social distancing.

Update on COVID-19 Response


Boston City TV

Mar 17, 2020
Mayor Martin J. Walsh provides updates on the City’s response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) public health emergency. The Mayor will share a situation summary and planning updates to mitigate the spread of the virus.