Virus

A Virus-Hunter Falls Prey to a Virus He Underestimated

“This is the revenge of the viruses,” said Dr. Peter Piot, the director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. “I’ve made their lives difficult. Now they’re trying to get me.”

Dr. Piot, 71 years old, is a legend in the battles against Ebola and AIDS. But Covid-19 almost killed him.

“A week ago, I couldn’t have done this interview,” he said, speaking recently by Skype from his London dining room, a painting of calla lilies behind him. “I was still short of breath after 10 minutes.”

Looking back, ruefully, on being brought down by a virus after a life as a virus-hunter, Dr. Piot said he had misjudged his prey and had become the hunted.

“I underestimated this one — how fast it would spread. My mistake was to think it was like SARS, which was pretty limited in scope. Or that it was like influenza. But

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What We Know About Your Chances of Catching the Virus Outdoors

The warmer weather across the country calls to mind carefree summers — picnics in the park, swimming at the beach, fireworks on the Fourth. But nothing feels carefree now.

Is it safe to meet friends in the park, as long as they stay six feet away, on the other side of a blanket? What about a burger and beer at an outdoor restaurant? How risky is a trip to the beach or swimming pool with the kids?

The good news: Interviews show a growing consensus among experts that, if Americans are going to leave their homes, it’s safer to be outside than in the office or the mall. With fresh air and more space between people, the risk goes down.

But experts also expressed particular

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California’s Plan to Trace Travelers for Virus Faltered When Overwhelmed, Study Finds

In the early days of the coronavirus outbreak, the United States, like many countries, had a very brief chance to limit the spread of the disease at its borders. Identifying travelers from high-risk countries and tracing their contacts with others would have been critical measures, if put in place early enough.

In California, the largest state and a point of entry for thousands of travelers from Asia, a program was established to do just that. But its tracing system was quickly overwhelmed by a flood of passengers, many with inaccurate contact information, and was understaffed in some cases, rendering the program ineffective, according to a study released on Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which looked exclusively at California.

“Despite intensive effort, the traveler screening system did not effectively prevent introduction of Covid-19 into California,” the report said.

In early February, over 11,000 travelers from China

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Summer Is Coming, but the Virus Won’t Be Going

“Everybody hopes for seasonality” when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic, Peter Juni of the University of Toronto acknowledged. Maybe, just maybe, the summer will diminish the spread of Covid-19.

But a new study, by Dr. Juni, an epidemiologist, and his colleagues in Canada and Switzerland, offers very little encouragement for warm-weather worshipers. In countries around the world, his research found, variations in heat and humidity had little to no effect on the spread of the pandemic. Differences in how the disease spread were instead strongly associated with public health measures like social distancing and school closures.

Several other studies have found or projected modest effects of warmer climates or the increase of sunlight in diminishing the spread of the coronavirus, but all have emphasized the need for public health interventions.

One reason is that most of the world’s population has no immunity to the virus. “This means the virus

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