“How Swimming Frees Their Minds”

(p. 11) Tsui endears herself to the reader . . . . Her universal query is also one of self, and her articulations of what she learns are moving. Long-distance swimmers speak to her about how swimming frees their minds, of their sense of “sea-dreaming.” And Tsui’s argument about the unique state of flow one enters while swimming makes you desperately long to be in the pool or the ocean. Water becomes the mind’s sanctuary while the body moves in its best imitations of a fish.

For the full review, see:

Mary Pols. “Deep Dive.” The New York Times Book Review (Sunday, June 14, 2020): 11.

(Note: ellipsis added.)

(Note: the online version of the review has the date April [sic] 14, 2020, and has the title “Eat. Sleep. Swim. Repeat.”)

The book under review is:

Tsui, Bonnie. Why We Swim. New York: Algonquin Books, 2020.

CDC Urges Americans to Wear Masks

(p. A6) The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged Americans on Friday [June 12.2020] to wear masks and distance themselves from others as states reopen and large gatherings take place, including protests related to the killing of George Floyd and events tied to the presidential election.

For the full story, see:

Brianna Abbott, and Betsy McKay. “CDC Sets Guidelines For Safety In Public.” The Wall Street Journal (Saturday, June 13, 2020): A6.

(Note: bracketed date added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date June 12, 2020, and the title “CDC Encourages Wearing Masks, Other Coronavirus Precautions at Gatherings.” Where there is a minor difference between versions, the passage quoted follows the online version. But the online version lists McKay’s name first.)

Poll Says Two-Thirds of Voters Wear Mask When Outside the House

(p. A4) . . . an overwhelming majority, 80%, feel that the country is spiraling out of control, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll.

. . .

Roughly two-thirds of voters said they always wear a mask when they leave the house, compared with 21% who sometimes wear one and 15% who said they rarely or never do.

. . .

The Journal/NBC News poll surveyed 1,000 registered voters from May 28 through June 2. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

For the full story, see:

Michael C. Bender. “Nation Deeply Worried, Poll Finds.” The Wall Street Journal (Monday, June 8, 2020): A4.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date June 7, 2020, and has the title “Americans Are More Troubled by Police Actions in Killing of George Floyd Than by Violence at Protests, Poll Finds.” The last two sentences quoted above appear in the online, but not the print, version.)

Vaccine Progress Gives Hope That Pandemic Will Begin to End in September

(p. A1) In a medical research project nearly unrivaled in its ambition and scope, volunteers worldwide are rolling up their sleeves to receive experimental vaccines against the coronavirus — only months after the virus was identified.

Companies like Inovio and Pfizer have begun early tests of candidates in people to determine whether their vaccines are safe. Researchers at the University of Oxford in England are testing vaccines in human subjects, too, and say they could have one ready for emergency use as soon as September.

. . .

(p. A11) The coronavirus itself has turned out to be clumsy prey, a stable pathogen unlikely to mutate significantly and dodge a vaccine.

“It’s an easier target, which is terrific news,” said Michael Farzan, a virologist at Scripps Research in Jupiter, Fla.

An effective vaccine will be crucial to ending the pandemic, which has sickened at least 4.7 million worldwide and killed at least 324,000. Widespread immunity would reopen the door to lives without social distancing and face masks.

For the full story, see:

Carl Zimmer, Knvul Sheikh and Noah Weiland. “Tests Fuel Hope That Vaccine Is Months, Not Years, Away.” The New York Times (Thursday, May 21, 2020): A1 & A11.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the story was updated June [sic] 10, 2020 and has the title “A New Entry in the Race for a Coronavirus Vaccine: Hope.” The online versions says that the title of the New York print version is “Labs Step Up Race to Be First, Or Even 4th, to Find a Vaccine.” the title of my National print version was “Tests Fuel Hope That Vaccine Is Months, Not Years, Away.”)

Rigid Merged Health Systems Cause Slow Covid-19 Testing

(p. A1) When a stay-at-home order in March all but closed the revered labs of the gene-editing pioneer Jennifer Doudna, her team at the University of California, Berkeley dropped everything and started testing for the coronavirus.

They expected their institute to be inundated with samples since it was offering the service for free, with support from philanthropies. But there were few takers.

Instead, the scientists learned, many local hospitals and doctors’ offices continued sending samples to national laboratory companies — like LabCorp and Quest Diagnostics — even though, early on, patients had to wait a week or more for results. The bureaucratic hurdles of quickly switching to a new lab were just too high.

. . .

(p. A5) In normal times, scientists at the Innovative Genomics Institute at Berkeley spend their time advancing the gene-editing technology called Crispr that the lab’s founder, Dr. Doudna, is known for.

But after the pandemic shut down the institute’s research in March, Dr. Doudna called for volunteers to redirect most of the labs’ work to coronavirus testing. The country was clamoring for more tests, after all, and her lab was full of researchers with the technical skills to make it happen.

Unlike many other major research institutions, Berkeley does not have a medical school or run its own hospital. So Dr. Urnov reached out to others in the area, who were still ordering from LabCorp and Quest, despite lengthy delays in processing results at the time.

“We would come to these entities and say, ‘Hi, we hear you have problems,’” Dr. Urnov recalled. “And they said, ‘Well, you have to basically work with our EHR,’” the acronym for electronic health records.

For the full story, see:

Katie Thomas. “In Testing Chaos, Some Labs Drowned While Others Sat Idle.” The New York Times (Friday, May 22, 2020): A1 & A5.

(Note: ellipsis added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date May 21, 2020 and has the title “These Labs Rushed to Test for Coronavirus. They Had Few Takers.”)

“For Every Scientist Employed by the F.D.A., There Are Three Lawyers”

(p. 5) Imagine that the fateful day arrives. Scientists have created a successful vaccine. They’ve manufactured huge quantities of it. People are dying. The economy is crumbling. It’s time to start injecting people.

But first, the federal government wants to take a peek.

That might seem like a bureaucratic nightmare, a rubber stamp that could cost lives. There’s even a common gripe among researchers: For every scientist employed by the F.D.A., there are three lawyers. And all they care about is liability.

For the full commentary, see:

Stuart A. Thompson. “How Long Will a Vaccine Really Take?” The New York Times, SundayReview Section (Sunday, May 3, 2020): 4-5.

(Note: the online version of the commentary was updated April 30, 2020 and has the same title as the print version.)