The Coronavirus Explained + Resources for this time

Kurzgesagt (In a Nutshell) does it again. This is the most comprehensive and well-made video I have seen so far on the ongoing pandemic.

Another great video, this one explains vaccines:

Understanding numbers for COVID-19:

Associated visualization:

Safe Grocery Shopping in COVID-19 Pandemic (updated)


University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation has good projections across the US and per state:

Effect on Lungs (Apr 6)

PS: I might consider adding COVID-19 live chart on this forum. If anyone thinks that’s a bad idea, please let me know.

6 posts were split to a new topic: Issues with Zoom and updates

The Internet Archive is making digital copies of books from public libraries available to everyone: Announcing a National Emergency Library to Provide Digitized Books to Students and the Public - Internet Archive Blogs

Further Cambridge University Press among other publications are making some of their digital offerings such as textbooks free:

ACM has also made their Digital Library open for everyone:

See more here: Home - Expanded and Upgraded Access to Resources - Library Guides at UChicago

As cases have exceeded even that of China, I have added a dashboard from JHU on the right side of /top /latest and the default homepage on the forum. Currently only works on the desktop version of the site. Screenshot:

If we press the left pointing button, we can see the US numbers:

PS: A follow up here.

Useful info for everyday living:

TL;DR version:

If you live in/close to Hyde Park, this may be useful: Updates on Essential Hyde Park Businesses – March 30 – 53rd Street

Goes without saying at this point: Let's All Wear A Mask (Idle Words) (includes compelling reasons for doing so and links to good tutorials for making our own and research on efficacy of masks)

For reporting racist attacks against people of Asian descent due to COVID-19 (link in article): Nonprofits launch site for Asian Americans to report coronavirus-related racism

The groups say they plan to use the information to create targeted education and media campaigns, provide resources to those affected and advocate for policies to curb racial profiling. The collected data will also allow the organizations to figure out the scope of discrimination nationwide and determine the best solutions from there, CAA Co-Executive Director Cynthia Choi said.

(Note that name and email address are required, but “information will be used collectively, not individually, and that privacy will be protected.”)

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IDPH has published a map that allows to track number of confirmed cases in fine granularity (e.g., zip code). Here is the link:

Please notice that “Zip code is zip code of residence, which may not be location of exposure.”

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I read this good description of some of the more mature privacy-preserving contact tracing protocols at

There is also a comic version summary of DP-3T protocol: Protecting Lives & Liberty: How Contact Tracing Can Foil COVID-19 & Big Brother

Have people started using contact tracing apps yet? Any recommendations?

Reminds me of What’s the deal with the coronavirus tracing app? Cassandra the Information Technology Wobbegong explains | First Dog on the Moon | Opinion | The Guardian

This is not shared widely enough:

See also:

And this neither:

3B1B just posted a video version of this comic:

I still haven’t figured out what app to install for contact tracing, but it seems like one recommended in the description of the video uses the TCN protocol (according to Wikipedia):

Anyone else has recommendations based on their experience?

Found a good summary of issues at Benedict's Newsletter: No. 335 :

Contact tracing confusion. Part of an exit from lockdown is testing and contact tracing, and part of that is using smartphones to automate some of this, even across contacts you might not know about - ‘you were in a coffee shop and someone else there then tested positive’. It’s mostly agreed that the right technical layer is for each phone to broadcast a local bluetooth beacon and listen for other nearby beacons, so each phone builds a list of beacons that it might have exposed or been exposed to. If you get a positive test, there is a record of which beacons were near you while you might have been spreading. After that, things get very complicated.

  1. Apple & Google are building a beacon system to launch this month that will work on every smartphone (on an opt-in basis) but be anonymous, won’t collect location and won’t have a central record of what matches are found: all the matching is done on the phones.
  2. Some countries argue they need (or at least want) that data and are building their own apps (or anyway started building before Apple/Google announced their project). Collecting that data has privacy issues and might lead to weaker adoption of an app, and it’s debated how much you really need it, as opposed to just testing way more.
  3. iOS & Android limit apps from running continuously in the background and from running when the screen is off, for privacy/security and battery life reasons - this would normally stop an app from collecting and broadcasting beacons reliably. Their own project bypasses this but others cannot: some other projects (such as the UK’s NHS) claim to have worked around this but it’s not yet clear how reliably.
  4. The beacons from different projects are not interchangeable, so this doesn’t work if people travel; the Apple/Google project uses one kind of beacon for all phones globally (that have opted in) but still has national databases of which beacons relate to people who tested positive (this is anonymised), and your phone will only talk to your home country database, so those will need to be interconnected.
  5. It gets more complicated after that, as, for example, countries change plan and join and leave different projects (the UK is testing its own app but is also investigating using the Apple/Google system)

A survey here:

The COVID-19 Dashboard is reinstated as we are nowhere close to the end of the pandemic. See latest, categories or top on a desktop browser.

I had turned it off at the end of May when the situation seemed to be stabilizing, but I think it is important to remind ourselves that we are still in the middle of a pandemic and not take it lightly.

As an aside, I looked at the notes shared during a previous town hall and even the guidelines shared by Provost Lee earlier today, but nowhere do I see a provision of getting tested without having symptoms before coming back to work. Does even UChicago does not have the capacity to test the few people who are returning to campus? Anyone knows why is that?

There are efforts starting now such as the following to donate blood plasma for those who have had the virus with the goal to provide both near-term transfusion to sick patients and long-term drug/vaccine development:

One action that you can take right now is to help COVID-19 survivors help others. If you or someone you know has recently recovered from COVID-19, a plasma donation can help those who are currently sick with the disease as well as aid in the development of potentially life-saving treatments. A coalition of more than 30 organizations has come together to create a national donor recruitment campaign – The Fight Is In Us – with the goal of connecting survivors with licensed blood and plasma donor centers.

The university is maintaining exposure data since June on this webpage:

From latest email from the Provost:

The University provides a weekly update on the number of reported COVID-19 cases and their close contacts on campus, along with additional information about COVID-19 exposures. Based on self-reports and contact tracing investigations to date, the University has had 18 known cases of COVID-19 at its Chicago campuses since June 7, resulting in 11 close contacts with others from the University. This is early data and we must remain extremely vigilant as Autumn Quarter approaches.

I have turned the COVID dashboard again as I was noticing increasing delays in load times on the forum. Hope everyone is keeping safe.

A post was split to a new topic: Resources and updates on the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 Edition