The Psychology of Survivors
April 2, 2020
“Some people with little or no survival training have managed to survive life-threatening circumstances. Some people with survival training have not used their skills and died. A key ingredient in any survival situation is the mental attitude of the individual involved. Having survival skills is important; having the will to survive is essential. Without a desire to survive, acquired skills serve little purpose and invaluable knowledge goes to waste.”
“We need stress because it has many positive benefits. Stress provides us with challenges; it gives us chances to learn about our values and strengths. Stress can show our ability to handle pressure without breaking. It tests our adaptability and flexibility, and can stimulate us to do our best. Because we usually do not consider unimportant events stressful, stress can also be an excellent indicator of the significance we attach to an event—in other words, it highlights what is important to us.”
– Survival, United States Army Field Manual 3-05.70, and perhaps the best link we’ll share in today’s edition: Why slowing your breathing helps you relax. Another read: In Stressful Times, Make Stress Work for You (NYT, $)
Sylvain Lefevre via Getty Images
World War Z Is Being Fought With Microscopes And Test Tubes
“I never hear scientists — true scientists, good quality scientists — speak in terms of nationality. My nation, your nation. My language, your language. My geographic location, your geographic location. This is something really distant from true top-level scientists.” Dr. Francesco Perrone, currently leading a coronavirus clinical trial in Italy.
While political leaders have closed their borders, scientists have thrown theirs wide open, creating a global collaboration unlike any other in history. Never before have so many experts in so many countries focused simultaneously on a single topic with such urgency.
Virtually all other research is on hold. Normal pursuits like academic credit have been set aside. Researchers have identified and shared hundreds of viral genome sequences and uploaded studies to online repositories for access by scientists everywhere. Over 200 clinical trials have been launched, bringing together hospitals and laboratories from Pittsburgh to Paris, India to Austria, Montana to Iran. A team of Harvard doctors at Massachusetts General are testing the effectiveness of inhaled nitric oxide on Covid-19 patients, in conjunction with Xijing Hospital in China and two hospitals in northern Italy.
Coronavirus has ignited a collaborative spirit in the scientific community like no other medical mystery. It reflects the scope of the pandemic, and the fact that, for many researchers, the hot zone isn’t an impoverished village in the developing world. It’s their hometowns.
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Indefinite Power Corrupts Indefinitely
- Citing the need for emergency measures to confront the coronavirus pandemic, the Hungarian parliament voted Monday to suspend elections, and to allow far-right populist leader Viktor Orban to suspend existing laws and rule by decree indefinitely.
- Hungary was already facing Article 7 proceedings under the EU treaty, used when a country is considered at risk of breaching the bloc of 27 democracies’ core values. Orban has been openly dismissive of EU values, saying he does not believe in liberal democracy.
- The EU is the one institution that can take on Orban, but judging from its subdued response on Tuesday, the bloc appears to place balancing the political imperative of cooperation during the pandemic ahead of pointed criticism.
- “It’s of utmost importance that emergency measures are not at the expense of fundamental principles and values,” the president of the European Commission said in a statement that didn’t mention Orban or Hungary. Even so, the severe measures adopted in Budapest may dramatically speed up confrontation between the Orban government and European institutions in Brussels. (NYT)
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Putting The Me In “Failing Economy”
- Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro has taken the most deliberately dismissive position on the coronavirus pandemic of any major world leader. Despite the rising number of infections and deaths in his country, the 65-year-old right-wing president who models himself on Donald Trump continues to call the virus “a little flu” and the pandemic a momentary minor problem that doesn’t need a strong response.
- He even called state governors’ aggressive measures to halt the disease crimes, and told reporters he feels Brazilians’ natural immunity will protect the nation. Whether or not Bolsonaro actually believes this, analysts say a more calculated political gamble likely underlies his increasingly defiant position.
- They think Bolsonaro may have concluded that when he faces reelection in two and a half years, the economy will matter more to most Brazilians than the death toll from Covid-19. By labeling the virus as overblown and decrying state governors’ quarantines and shutdowns as unnecessary, Bolsonaro could be laying the groundwork to blame others if a recession occurs. (AP News)
- Bolsonaro, Isolated and Defiant, Dismisses Coronavirus Threat to Brazil (NYT)
- Gun Ownership Soars in Brazil Under Bolsonaro (NYT, $)
Additional World News
- Fears for civilians in Chad after army suffers devastating Boko Haram attack (Guardian)
- China Chases Indonesia’s Fishing Fleets, Staking Claim to Sea’s Riches (NYT, $)
- Oceans can be restored to former glory within 30 years, say scientists (Guardian) & ‘Really amazing’: scientists show that fish migrate through the deep oceans (Guardian)
- This is great news. But like all news we hope for the best and still plan for the worst: White House advisor Fauci says coronavirus vaccine trial is on target and will be ‘ultimate game changer’ (CNBC)
- Coronavirus is not the flu. It’s worse. (Vox)
- Fighting COVID-19 Is Like ‘Whack-A-Mole,’ Says Writer Who Warned Of A Pandemic (NPR)
- Why It’s So Freaking Hard To Make A Good COVID-19 Model (Five Thirty Eight)
- This Isn’t Going to End Soon (Lifehacker)
- The coronavirus crisis has exposed the ugly truth about celebrity culture and capitalism (Guardian)
- Special Report: The Mask Middlemen – How pop-up brokers seek big paydays in a frenzied market (Reuters)
- CDC Director Says 1 In 4 May Have No Coronavirus Symptoms (NPR)
- “I Have No Ideology. My Ideology Is Health”: Dr. Anthony Fauci on the Tactics of Dealing With the Novel Coronavirus—And Trump (Vanity Fair)
- What a disgrace. When politicians use inside information to bet against America: Sen. Kelly Loeffler sold at least $18 million more in stocks before the coronavirus crash than previously reported: Loeffler is one of many lawmakers under fire for suspicious stock-trading activity following a coronavirus intel briefing. (Vox)
- New York governor says US won’t ‘get back to normal’ after coronavirus: Andrew Cuomo said country will ‘get to a new normal’ and emphasized all states must be prepared for such crises (Guardian)
- For some Chinese businesses, there’s no going back to life before the coronavirus (CNBC)
- Fountains Of Wayne’s Adam Schlesinger Dies At 52 After Contracting COVID-19 (NPR), we are big fans of Fountains of Wayne and think Adam might have asked all of us to: Shine On, Shine On, Shine On.
- At Daily Pnut we collect quotes and some of the team lives in California so we smiled when we saw this quote: “California is full of nuts and fruits. Every fruit is a little nutty and every nut is a little fruity.” We proudly identify as people who love fruits, nuts, and peanuts. (Yes, we know that peanuts are not nuts.)
- Peanuts are one of the best food items to have in your pantry. They contain 25g of protein per 100g servings as well as other important minerals, nutrients, antioxidants, fibers, and vitamins!
- Peanuts are not just healthy they are also really useful in a variety of ways: George Washington Carver didn’t just popularize peanut butter, he came up with more than 300 uses for the peanut and he is credited with helping to save the agricultural economy of the southern United States using the peanut!
- In 1954, Dot and HJ Hubbard revolutionized how peanuts were cooked by hand picking the largest peanuts on the farm and cooking them in an extra special way. To make sure that you’re eating healthy snacks while reading Daily Pnut, Hubs is giving our readers 15% off with the promo code DAILYPNUT.
My Achey-Burny Heart
- On Wednesday the US Food and Drug Administration requested manufacturers to immediately remove from the market all prescription and over-the-counter ranitidine drugs, known by the brand name Zantac. The FDA noted that an ongoing investigation has determined that the drugs pose a risk to public health because levels of a contaminant in the heartburn medications increase over time and when stored at higher-than-normal temperatures.
- The contaminant, N-nitrosodimethylamine or NDMA, is a probable human carcinogen; the FDA has been investigating levels of it in ranitidine since the summer of 2019. Consumers are advised to stop taking any ranitidine tablets or liquid medications they currently have, dispose of the medications properly, and not buy more.
- Consumers who still need to treat their heartburn should consider other approved medications like famotidine (Pepcid), esomeprazole (Nexium), omeprazole or (Prilosec). (CNN)
First There Was The Freshman 15, Now There’s The Covid-19
- Health experts say that amid all the coronavirus rules about sheltering-in-place and staying-at-home, it’s still important to remember to keep moving. Exercise, outdoors and indoors, helps maintain good physical and mental health during this stressful time.
- Furthermore, the risk of infection is actually lower outside than inside. “That’s due to a variety of factors,” said Dr. Kevin Winthrop, professor of Infectious Diseases in Epidemiology and Public Health at Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland. “Usually there’s a lot more social distancing outside. And environmental factors like wind and UV [radiation, which degrades most viruses] make it less likely you’re going to come in contact with viral particles.”
- Biking, running, power-walking can be done while maintaining at least a 6-foot social distance. And what about playing baseball, basketball, football or frisbee with a friend? Winthrop says it’s OK, if common sense rules are followed: participants haven’t been sick, distances of 6 feet are maintained (no contact play), and hands are washed before and after.
- For those who want to exercise indoors, there’s countless online fitness classes. Or, as Mayo Clinic exercise physiologist Dr. Michael Joyner says, “Two words: jump rope.” (NPR)
- Coronavirus: How to avoid overeating when working from home (BBC)
- Stuck Inside? Keep Walking (NYT, $)
- Taking Baths May Be Good for Your Heart (NYT, $)
- How Eliud Kipchoge Broke Running’s Mythic 2-Hour Barrier (GQ) That man is wicked fast. And one of our coronavirus resolutions is to use this time to drop our mile splits. It has never been a better time to experience the loneliness of a long distance runner by physically distancing while jogging. The amount of times we have jaywalked in San Francisco the past few weeks equals the total amount since moving here years ago. Compared to a month ago it’s a runner’s and a jaywalker’s paradise now.
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