Updated: 2020-05-18 ** Added a link to Science Magazine’s fact check of the “Plandemic” video.
I want to start out by saying that I am not a doctor (not the medical kind, anyways) and nothing I say here should be interpreted as medical advice. I am, however, a scientist, and I thought I could do my part by putting together a list of some resources for people who are dealing with COVID-19 and the associated lockdowns, quarantines, etc. I wanted to gather all these resources in one place for myself and other and also avoid spamming my social media with each of these things individually.
FYI: Myself and my immediate family are all safe and healthy. Vanessa and I live in Taiwan, which has done a fantastic job of controlling the spread of the COVID-19. As of March 31, there have been just over 300 cases, and no community transmission.
My personal advice for staying safe and sane:
- Don’t listen to me, listen to your public health authorities.
- Wash your hands frequently for 20 seconds with soap (sing the chorus of Toto’s Africa to yourself)
- Wear a cloth face covering when you are in public.(how-to)
- Practice social distancing
- Keep track of the news in moderation
- Spend some time each day not thinking about the pandemic
How to help out (NEW)
- STAY HOME
- Smarter Every Day on YouTube: How to get involved with producing protective gear
Understanding what is going on
- Minutephysics on Youtube explains How to tell if we’re beating COVID-19 and how exponential growth works in simple language with some great graphs and animations.
- A mathematician explains how “flattening the curve” works with a mathematical model of infections on Numberphile (YouTube). They’ve also posted their Geogebra file so you can play around with it yourself (Geogebra is a free math program).
- 3Blue1Brown has a great video demonstrating the importance of testing and social distancing using a bunch of simulations of transmission.
- Washington Post simulation article
- You might also want to check out this really cool interactive outbreak simulation where you can adjust the parameters yourself and see what happens.
- Harvard Business Review article about the lessons we can learn from Italy’s experience with Covid-19.
- The Atlantic’s long-term view about what will happen with Covid-19 in the coming weeks, months and years and how the world will be different afterwards.
- New World map of COVID-19 cases from John Hopkins (updated frequently)
- New Fivethirtyeight: a comic explaining why COVID models are so uncertain (with SMBC)
- New Fact checking the claims in “Plandemic” (from Science Magazine)
- WASH YOUR HANDS
- New 30 Days to slow the spread: the President’s Coronavirus guidelines for America (pdf)
- New CDC Recommends wearing a mask in public
- New How to make your own mask (NYT)
- Wired: How does the Coronavirus spread?
- CDC: Social distancing guidelines
- CDC COVID-19 symptoms and testing
- BBC: Coronavirus and sex: What you need to know
This is a tough time and it’s totally normal to be scared or worried. Few people alive remember a crisis like this. On top of all that, many of us are quite literally isolated and physically separated from our usual support networks. Hopefully some of these things will help.
- Partners in Health, a renowned, effective international aid organization, shares their tips for not freaking out. You can also have them read to you by John Green.
- Science Magazine: How I faced my coronavirus anxiety
- Wired: Mass panic is unlikely, even during a pandemic
- The sudden obliteration of expectation, Hank Green talks about how COVID-19 is a little like getting diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. It’s a big shock and things won’t be the same again.
- If you want a safe, positive interaction with a stranger, Text for Humanity facilitates sending and receiving positive messages from random strangers.
- If you or someone you know are in crisis and maybe in danger of self-harm, call 1-800-273-8255 (in the US) or go to https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
Sciencey activities you can do at home
If you’re stuck in the house all day, you might as well try to do some cool science. I am a theoretical physicist because I am not good in the lab, but fortunately other people have figured out that there are tons of ways you can do some science at home, especially if you have kids.
- Watch recordings of Skype A Scientist livestreams on YouTube
- Wired: How to make your own hand sanitizer (I haven’t tested these techniques myself)
- Physics Girl on Youtube: 20 easy experiments in five minutes (but don’t worry, they can fill a lot more time than that.
- Make a cloud chamber at home (I’ve not tested this myself, and it does require some hard-to-find ingredients)
- New Try contributing to Project Implicit by doing some easy implicit association tests online (great way to contribute to science from home and learn something about yourself)
- New Help scientists identify penguin colonies from your home.
If you have suggestions for things to add to this page, please send them my way.