COVID-19 Brief Rundown

Daniel Clelland
Mar 19 · 4 min read

As I’ve found it cumbersome to share everything I want to share with people relating to the current viral outbreak, I’ve compiled a link roundup from the past couple of months which should help tie a number of threads together.

Please be aware that some of the information presented here may still be quite speculative.

Twitter has been an amazing source since early January; I’ve seen most of what I’ve included here break first on Twitter before being followed by confirmation in the media.

Anyway, here’s everything I’ve been collecting:

Masks

There’s been a fair bit of misinformation around masks. tl;dr: Regular masks are worth your time, N95 respirators are better if you have one. The United States government lied to the public about mask effectiveness (with presumably good intentions) as they thought it would help secure a supply for medical workers.

Treatment

The antimalarials chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are showing promising results (hydroxychloroquine has less severe side effects):

Unknown whether you can buy hydroxychloroquine over the counter in New Zealand; presumably it’s normally prescribed to travellers about to visit regions with malaria risk.

If you’re in the USA you might be able to order the relevant stuff from here (haven’t looked into whether they ship internationally yet). Quote from a chat group I’m in: “tl;dr: Prescription is 200mgs HCQ 3 times a day for course, 5 days of zithro 500 day one, 250 each following”

Additionally, favipiravir is showing promising results in Japan:

Ibuprofen

COVID-19 tends to hit younger patients less hard, but it seems using painkillers like ibuprofen can make symptoms much worse. I became aware of this right after buying a couple tubs of Neurofen… went straight back out and bought a box of Panadol.

If concerned about toxicity, N-acetyl cysteine can be used 1:1 alongside high doses of paracetamol to avoid liver damage:

Opioids

Additionally, using opioids can put you at risk of respiratory depression if you do contract the virus; looks like we’re shit out of luck so far as good painkillers go (again, buy some Panadol); please consider this before you might use codeine etc to get you past the symptoms

Tobacco

Tobacco also worsens symptoms and may have resulted in greater mortality rates in China (where everybody chuffs the durries all day long) — now might be a prudent time to buy a vape — or a box of 216 2mg Habitrol lozenges is ~$35 at any given pharmacy.

ACE Inhibitors

If you have high blood pressure it’s likely you’re prescribed ACE inhibitors as part of your treatment.

ACE (angiotensin converting enzyme) is in the lungs. Covid-19 attaches to ACE. ACE inhibitors, eg lisinopril, upregulates ACE in the lungs and makes Covid-19 more dangerous.

ARB (angiotensin receptor blockers) eg Avapro, Losartan, Valsartan block the receptor and may be protective.

This is early and speculative — but fits the observation of increased mortality among people with high blood pressure.

Viral load

Unexpectedly, it seems that infection severity is dose dependant (so presumably if somebody coughs in your face, you will contract a more severe case vs. say if you touched a contaminated surface)

Climate

I’ve seen some speculation as to whether climate/temperature might play a part in spreading the virus, with a 5–11°C band correlated with the areas greatest hit:

This would be welcome news, as it would grant the northern hemisphere a welcome respite as temperatures increase into spring, but the jury’s still out:

(Perhaps this particular climate/latitude simply correlates with areas supporting dense human population…?)

Blood type

Blood type is potentially relevant; type O good, type A bad:

Multiple strains

It’s possible that we are seeing multiple strains of the virus, the ‘L type’ being more aggressive, and the ‘S type’ being milder (this article is quite old, however, and I haven’t revisited it yet)

Vaccine research

There are multiple viral research efforts currently underway, in Seattle, Israel, and China:

As well as some drama/misinformation over the USA apparently trying to ‘buy out’ a vaccine effort in Germany:

And a poster on r/slatestarcodex seems to think a really basic exposure method might grant immunity:

Immunity

One of the more alarming stories (epistemic status: weak): we don’t necessarily have confirmation that infection grants immunity. There was an initial report from China which indicated this might not be the case:

As the implications here are somewhat dire I’m going to leave it at that.

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