- My Cancer Doesn’t Care About the Coronavirus
- Coronavirus Resources & Readings – Andreessen Horowitz
- official sources
- trackers & data visualizations
- lists & data sites
- paper sites + medical journal hubs
- recommended agency & media hubs
- system preparedness
- company plans & remote working strategies
- other background readings
- countering the misinfodemic
My Cancer Doesn’t Care About the Coronavirus
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There is a checkpoint as you enter the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, where I am being treated for cancer of the prostate and lymph nodes.
With all but two sets of doors to the building locked shut, patients are corralled into an area roped off from the rest of the first-floor lobby.
You are required to show your orange Hopkins patient identification card and proof that you have an appointment.
Questions are asked. Questions that have become the norm in the new normal. “Have you had a cough?” “Have you visited New York or New Jersey in the last 14 days?”
Your temperature is taken. You are given a checkpoint security bracelet which you wrap around your wrist. You are instructed to not deviate from the floor-taped path assigned to your appointment location. You are urged not to share an elevator. That last instruction is really not necessary. No one wants to share a hospital elevator in the age of coronavirus.
The anxiety of the nurses manning these checkpoints is often palpable. Decked out with face mask, full face shield and full protective gown, a nurse checking me in was so overwrought, she began to cry as she asked, “Are you having any trouble breathing?”
In the parking garage for the Kimmel Center, you notice many cars with their drivers still inside. Just sitting there, checking their phones, probably filling out crosswords and solving Sudoku puzzles.
At first glance, this seems somewhat peculiar. Then, you realize these are the loved ones of those receiving radiation therapy or chemotherapy. Visitors are not allowed in the hospital in the age of coronavirus.
So, patients sit by themselves in the waiting room. They fidget in light blue leather chairs measured six feet apart. Frightened eyes peering out over face masks, they have the look of lost souls. I know this look. I saw it on my father during one of his last hospital stays years ago.
From his bed, he gazed up at me and begged, “Please take me home.” I could not.
But at least I was there with him. The patients in the waiting room of the Kimmel Center are isolated, some feeling abandoned. It’s understandable. In many cases, some cancer treatments are now considered as elective.
My urologist gave me my first round of androgen deprivation injections and my oncologist said he would administer the second round. But the state’s stay-at-home order left that in limbo, and I wasn’t sure how I’d get my shot.
“You really should not be at a hospital right now,” my urologist told me.
“Do you think my cancer knows that?” I replied.
This is your choice in the age of coronavirus. Risk exposure or don’t treat the cancer.
It was a nurse named Ann who came to my aid and volunteered to administer my shot. She has a young child at home, a girl. Ann’s career now comes with a new peril. The risks she brings home from her work weigh heavily on her.
You can see this in her face. She is tired. Her voice is quiet. Nurse Ann admits that a visit to her hairstylist would be nice. When I thanked her for coming to my aid, she dutifully replied that she was only doing her job.
Nearly all the nurses and technicians I’ve met have been more than patient and kind. For me, the catheter changes, M.R.I.s, CT scans and fiber optic cameras shoved in places the human body did not intend have been a series of compounded indignities and humiliations. Nurses and technicians take such things in stride. They offer support and comfort.
Anyone who has had an M.R.I. scan knows they make significant noise. They bang. They buzz. They clang. You are given ear plugs. You are given headphones. You are offered a choice of music. The intention being that these will drown out the clatter. They don’t.
As a renowned music snob, I asked the nurse at my most recent scan, for something other than smooth jazz. “What would you to hear?” she asked. “Charles Mingus.” Five minutes later I was listening to Mingus’ elegy to the beloved saxophonist Lester Young, “Goodbye, Pork Pie Hat,” a sentimental favorite. It was a small thing. Small things mean a great deal these days.
More than your doctors, nurses and technicians have your health, your life, in their hands. They are decent, hard-working, well-meaning and caring hands.
This should not be a revelation. In the age of coronavirus, one hears heroic stories every day. It hit home, hard, for me, when I had to go to the hospital. Two hours at there is nerve wracking. I leave each visit emotionally exhausted.
Nurses’ shifts are 12 hours, day after day. It is amazing what you learn to live with. Though I imagine we all have a breaking point.
In a few days I start radiation therapy. There will be permanent tattoos on my stomach and legs marking where the beams are to be targeted. The X-rays (hopefully) kill the cancer. They will also compromise my immune system. A cold will now be much easier to catch. A cold that can quickly escalate to pneumonia. Covid-19? Well …
Radiation five days a week for eight weeks. Forty trips to the hospital in the age of coronavirus.
As I said, it is amazing what you learn to live with.
Richard Goggin is a television creative director.
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Coronavirus Resources & Readings – Andreessen Horowitz
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Editor’s note: This is a list of selected resources on the novel coronavirus (formerly known as as 2019 n-CoV, now known as SARS-CoV-2) that causes COVID-19 disease.
The list spans everything from official sources, trackers, and data sites to medical journal information hubs, background readings, and accounts.
If you have suggestions for what to add here (please note, the list is not crowdsourced but carefully curated), please email sonal [at] a16z [dot] com.
CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, part of the U.S. Health and Human Services Department)
WHO (World Health Organization)
- situation reports (now posted daily)
state/local resources (from the states with early community spread)
trackers & data visualizations
[more on who they are]
Johns Hopkins CSSE
Center for Systems Science and Engineering at John Hopkins University
[see also: https://coronavirus.jhu.edu]
phylogeny of the viruses around the world and over timecan filter by location, see sequences to see how closely related viruses are
map of reported cases from the New York Times
COVID-19 tracker by journalists from the Atlantic and otherscollects information from all 50 U.S. states and D.C. to provide comprehensive public data on state-level testing
[more on who and on their methodology]
COVID-19 test capacity tracking from AEI
from the American Enterprise Institute [about/funding sources]
doubling time from Our World in Data
[ data from WHO, more about them]
summary data at a glance
[data from official sources, dashboard built by highschooler]
[from editor at the Verge; see context at bottom (see also The Verge, The Atlantic on the topic)]
lists & data sites
cluster of related topics on knowledge engine Golden
includes lists/updates of potential treatments, vaccine development activity, screenings, & related materials [about]
nucleotide sequences, SRA sequences, reference genome
GenBank sequence data
search, retrieve, and analyze SARS-CoV-2 data [more about GenBank (from National Library of Medicine NCBI Virus)]
list of clinical studies
[these are their search terms; includes appropriate synonyms]
paper sites + medical journal hubs
LitCovidcurated, comprehensive hub for tracking up-to-date scientific information from the National Library of Medicine National Center for Biotechnology Information (provides access to research articles in PubMed)
[old link we had on this list of their search terms for PubMed/Medline is here]
articles in the Public Health Genomics and Precision Health Knowledge Base
selected by the Office of Public Health Genomics just to provide current awareness of the literature and news
New England Journal of Medicine
Journal of the American Medical Association
Elsevier(publisher of The Lancet among several other journals)
Nature Publishing Group
recommended agency & media hubs
National Library of Medicine (from the National Institutes of Health)
coronavirus disease resources & information
FDA updates from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration including approvals and authorizations
Stat News (from The Boston Globe)free coverage outside paywall as well as weekday recap newsletters
on hospital preparedness
Eric Toner & Richard Waldhorn, John Hopkins Center for Health Security Clinicians’ Biosecurity News, February 27, 2020
“What U.S. hospitals should do now to prepare for a COVID-19 pandemic”
on country-based mitigation measures, defining factors, and unknowns with this epidemicRoy Anderson, Hans Heesterbeek, Don Klinkenberg, T Déirdre Hollingsworth, Lancet, March 9, 2020
on ‘flattening the curve’Helen Branswell, Stat, March 11, 2020
see also: The Economist, New York Times
annual report on global preparedness for health emergenciesGlobal Preparedness Monitoring Board, WHO, September 19, 2019
community mitigation guidelines to prevent pandemicsCDC, et al, April 21, 2017
company plans & remote working strategies
these are from companies sharing their own plans and strategies, culled here (without including our own recommendations or commentary on them):
proactive steps for employers to takeCooley (law firm)
adapting the way we work when offices need to closeSlack on Slack
planning and responseCoinbase blog on Medium [from a Google doc first shared by CEO]
sharing our remote first processes, tools, and guidelinesSuper Evil Megacorp
readings on global supply chain impact:
other background readings
on comparing coronavirus to the fluRoxanne Khamsi, Wired, February 8, 2020
“the whataboutism of infectious disease is as dangerous as it is hackneyed”
on understanding R0, what it does and doesn’t tell usEd Yong, The Atlantic, January 28, 2020
“The deceptively simple number sparking coronavirus fears”
on understanding definitions of pandemics, etc.Helen Branswell (with additional reporting by Andrew Joseph), STAT, February 12, 2020
“Understanding pandemics: What they mean, don’t mean, and what comes next with the coronavirus”
countering the misinfodemic
myth bustersadvice for the public from the World Health Organization
how to sift through misinformation during an infodemic
OneZero on Medium [see also: “sifting through the epidemic”]
fact checking memes & misinformation
fact checking government responses
investigates rumors about how governments and organizations around the world have responded to the crisis
high signal-to-noise accounts from those immersed in specific aspects (with links to backgrounds for more information about their credentials, affiliations/funding sources, etc.)
@helenbranswell – Helen Branswell
@kakape – Kai Kupferschmidt
@sciencecohen – Jon Cohen
agencies & institutions
@cdcdirector – Robert Redfield
@drnancym_cdc – Nancy Messonnier
@drtedros – Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
@uwvirology – University of Washington Department of Virology
@jhsph_chs – Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security
@lshtm – London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
topical experts (including lab affiliations/researchers)
@mlipsitch – Marc Lipsitch
@cmyeaton – Caitlin Rivers
@t_inglesby – Tom Inglesby
@trvb – Trevor Bedford
@k_g_andersen – Kristian Andersen
@florian_krammer – Florian Krammer
@p_openshaw – Peter Openshaw
@arimoin – Anne Rimoin
@michaelmina_lab – Michael Mina
@jennifernuzzo – Jennifer Nuzzo
@krutikakuppalli – Krutika Kuppalli
@angie_rasmussen – Angela Rasmussen
@rozeggo – Rosalind Eggo
@scottgottliebmd – Scott Gottlieb
@maiamajder – Maia Majumder
@ameshaa – Amesh Adalja
We’ve also been covering the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 disease on our news show, 16 Minutes, here.
Thanks also to Jorge Conde, Nate Chang, Judy Savitskaya, Andy Tran, and Julie Yoo for their contributions to some of the above as well!