March 22nd & 23rd: Coronavirus Link Updates

by habryka3 min read25th Mar 2020No comments



Update: We just launched a new version of our link database. We now have over 350 links categorized in total, and the database is now properly integrated into LessWrong and even works on mobile! 

You can find the full database here:

As part of the LessWrong Coronavirus Link Database, Ben, Elizabeth and I are publishing update posts with all the new links we are adding each day that we ranked a 3 or above in our importance rankings. Here are all the top links that we added over the last two days (March 22nd and 23rd), by topic.


Sources of state and local legal info (USA)

Collection of resources to follow specific states, and a spreadsheet of each state's current, uh, state in regard to C19

Financial Times C19 Coverage

Rob Wiblin describes FT's coverage of C19 as ahead of the curve and worth paying for

(EV): I can't verify this as I'm not yet paying for FT coverage

Chinese language version of Quora on COVID

Chinese Q&A site discussing Covid.

(RS) Interesting to see general day to day activity and response to international news from the Chinese mainland perspective. Lots of thought provoking questions being discussed.


Current state of states and localities (USA)

Columns like "contacts", "executive orders", "travel restrictions"

Map of tests per capita by country

Worldwide map with countries colored by testing per capita, with exact counts in a table


Cost of coronavirus reaction

Two approaches to calculating how much the money lost from the economy due to shutdowns could have saved lives

(EV) Starts with the current death count, no projected uncontrolled death count, which is a terrible sign. Leaves out lives saved for non-C19 reasons from shut downs (via e.g. polllution and reduced driving)

Diagnostics briefing

22 page doc on the current state of C19 testing and what you need to know to make decisions to increase it

Medical System

Census of USA hospital resources

Society for Critical Care Medicine's newly conducted census of US ICU beds, vents, and other medical resources. Staffing strategies to cope with overload

Virologist explains why vaccine may be possible

Virologist/investor explains why people are unnecessarily pessimistic about creating a vaccine for C19.

Standards for a minimally acceptable ventilator

This is a specification of the minimally (and some preferred options) clinically acceptable ventilator to be used in UK hospitals during the current COVID-19 pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 virus. It sets out the clinical requirements based on the consensus of what is ‘minimally acceptable’ performance in the opinion of the anaesthesia and intensive care medicine professionals and medical device regulators. 

Review of evidence around chloroquine

Summarizes all available evidence around chloroquine and finds it worth further study but not particularly established.

USArmy Engineers have plans for fast creation of new medical facilities, starting to act

US Army plans to create field hospitals out of existing structures (e.g. hotels) and initial action in NY.

FDA bans at home C19 testing

FDA specifically ammends rules to bar at-home collection of samples for C19 tests.

(EV) I am so angry about this


Summary of Metaculus Covid19 Forecasts

Goes through the main predictions, showing how they changes over time.

Progression & Outcome

Half of patients reported to hospital with digestive issues as their chief complaint

84% of digestive cases reported anorexia, 29% diarrhea. 3.5% of patients had digestive but no respiratory symptoms

Loss of smell an early indicator of C19?

Several doctors anecdotally report a lot of patients presenting with loss of sense of smell (anosmia).


What does C19 do to your lungs?

An "Explain it to me like I'm 5" for how lungs should work and how C19 interferes with them.

Why is C19 so successful

Layman-accessible description of why C19 is so infectious and so dangerous.

Spread & Prevention

Model of multiple outcomes based on configurable inputs

High polish visualization of multiple outcomes (spread, effect of intervention, hospital capacity..) based on inputs configurable by slider

Flattening the curve is shrinking the curve

Basic SIR models demonstrate that flattening the curve (by shrinking R0) also shrink the total number of people infected

Estimates prevalence by looking at exports

Estimates C19 prevalence using data from countries that check travelers at the border

Can we conserve tests by pooling?

In a world where most tests are negative, you could pool samples and test them together to get results for more people

Lit Review on Melatonin As Covid Treatment

Fairly substantial amount of literature covered by a Human Biology PhD. Key takeaway: "Melatonin appears to reduce exacerbated immune responses by lowering production of pro-inflammatory cytokines including IFN-gamma and IL6 which are responsible for inflammation in the lung and loss of function during 'cytokine storm' a feature of COVID19. This is found in both animal studies and in human studies."

Type A blood especially susceptible to C19?

Pre-print says that those with type A blood are more likely to test positive in a hospital (implying hospitalization?) than B or AB, who are in turn more likely than those with type O. All differences were statistically signficant but modest

Chef claims restaurant food is safe

Pretty thorough article on why C19 is not transmissible through food, and precauations to take around food.

(EV): I am not 100% convinced on this given the digestive symptoms evidence

Work & Donate

When do donate PPE to hospitals?

Model of when to do the most good with donations to hospitals, given institutional resistance to change

Possible donation targets

Currently 10 options, some of which are aggregators but some of which I haven't seen elsewhere.

Request for volunteers to find local testing data

Oxford PhD student looks for volunteers to find up-to-date testing numbers for all countries

Prophylactic hydroxychloroquine trial for medics

A project recruiting front line healthcare workers to test using hydroxychloroquine as a preventative measure against C19

Link to Full Database