We have been bringing our readers stories from Mansfield’s sister city in England, each profiling responses there to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Today, thanks to the Solutions Jourmalism Network, we are sharing stories from elsewhere in the world, including closer to home.
Today’s round-up includes links to stories that examine unique approaches to treatment and coping.
The coronavirus pandemic offers ordinary people many ways to help. People make masks. They volunteer at food banks. They donate money. And now, people can play online puzzle games.
KING-TV in Seattle reports that scientists at the University of Washington designed a computer game to crowdsource a possible coronavirus treatment. They’re looking for proteins of a certain shape, and to find it, they’re asking everyone. The Fold It lab will teach people how to solve these puzzles, starting with easy ones — and working up to coronavirus challenges. The newest Fold It game seeks another protein that can stop an infected person’s immune system from overwhelming the body.
There are many more ways to stop coronavirus. One startling example comes from Kerala, the first Indian state to report a coronavirus case, back in January. Now the number of new Kerala cases is dropping — and the state has seen only two deaths. The Washington Post reports that Kerala has achieved that through early detection, aggressive testing, and tracing the contacts of sick people.
As coronavirus peaks in some areas of the U.S., many people are thinking about what comes next. How do we keep the economic impact from becoming just as deadly as the virus itself? Another Washington Post story explains why unemployment — soaring in the United States — isn’t soaring in many countries in Europe. And that’s even though European countries have shut down their economies as well. How? Governments are paying businesses to keep their people on payroll. It’s expensive — but perhaps less expensive than 20 percent unemployment.
Germany is one country that is successfully managing the virus: relatively few cases, few deaths, and little economic damage. Another is Taiwan. And New Zealand. What do all these countries — plus others that are responding well — have in common? Forbes reports that all of them are led by women.
Pandemics make the strangest bedfellows. The U.S. State Department recently congratulated the Taliban for its effective health teams in remote areas of Afghanistan. The Taliban — yes, that Taliban — are joined by Mexican drug cartels, which offer aid packages to the unemployed. And in Brazil and El Salvador, gangs are enforcing social distancing curfews. Of course, these rebels, gangs and cartels are scoring propaganda victories with these actions, the Washington Post says. But it’s propaganda for good works — and they get sick, too.
Have you been craving a video of Kentucky firefighters rapping about proper COVID behavior? Now’s your chance, thanks to Kaiser Health News. You can also see health messages from Danny DeVito and Larry David. And Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot, who’s funnier than both those comics put together. Watch her play refrigerator basketball. It’s a treat.
This post comes from the Solutions Journalism Network, a nonprofit organization dedicated to rigorous reporting about responses to social problems.