Why we might not get a coronavirus vaccine, a well-thought-out article from The Guardian (thanks to lindahoyland for the link!)
A Quick Summary of the COVID-19 Literature So Far, from Medscape
Cats observing social distancing, from The Philippine Star, on Twitter
“Where is all the toilet paper going? Charmin and other manufacturers say they are producing 24/7. I haven't been able to buy any since March 6. I realize this is not the No. 1 problem we face, but I'm still curious as to how so much could be produced and not show up on grocery shelves.” —Eileen in Minnesota
Ah yes, the elusive roll of toilet paper, universal symbol of American quarantine culture. TP shortages have been a constant since the early days of the pandemic, when manufacturers assured us they'd be temporary. They were not. Why?
"Early on it was straight-up panic hoarding, but more recently it's gotten a little complicated," Post business reporter Laura Reiley said.
It's a three-ply problem, if you will. First, all those stay-at-home orders have led to more stay-at-home pooping. "Companies have estimated that 40 percent more toilet paper is being used at home than during normal times," Reiley said.
Second, retailers can't simply restock their shelves with office-grade toilet paper when they run out of the plush stuff. "Toilet paper destined for commercial use is different than the Charmin, etc., we use at home," Reiley said. "It is often made of recycled material and isn't the quilted multi-ply we buy for home. Often those rolls are bigger, fit into different kinds of dispensers, and so forth. So that toilet paper destined for commercial use is sitting in limbo with no takers."
And the final layer of the problem: "Because profit margins are low for toilet paper, the companies that produce it have just enough equipment to fill ordinary orders," Reiley said. "Even running the machinery around the clock, companies haven't been able to keep up with retail demand."
If you're in desperate need, she recommends scouting out smaller shops, convenience store and dollar stores that might not have been picked clean. "Everyone has been swarming the big box stores for it, so outsmart them and look elsewhere."
Prince Charles wants furloughed workers to pick berries. Farmers wonder if Brits are up to the task., from The Washington Post
("Pick for Britain! We want pickers who are stickers!")
Virginia hotel uses empty rooms to illuminate messages of hope for commuters
And this cafe at a Japan zoo uses stuffed capybaras to enforce social distancing (here's another photo)
And on a more serious note, Studies find huge benefit from life-saving social distancing policies, despite economic pain
("The calculation — known as Value of a Statistical Life or VSL — is the amount people are willing to spend to cut risk enough to save one life. The VSL at most federal agencies, developed over several decades, is about $10 million. If a new regulation is estimated to avoid one death a year, it can cost up to $10 million and still make economic sense.")