March 27, 2020

Coronavirus: crisis or opportunity? A microbiologist and public health expert answers

Disponible en español. Disponibile in italiano. Verfügbar in Deutsch. Available in Spanish, Italian, Arabic and German.  I don’t have to be a microbiologist and public health professional to know that humankind has faced pandemics before. Between 1918-1920, the Spanish flu took approximately 50 million lives in a world population of about 1.8 billion. Since then we have heard of Ebola, Zika virus, SARS, MERS, swine flu and avian flu among others. Except that they seemed so far away, or not as severe. The new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a novel infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was characterized as a pandemic by the World Health Organization in March 2020….

March 19, 2020

How to survive Coronavirus self-isolation: An analog astronaut explains

Disponible en español. Disponibile in italiano. Verfügbar in Deutsch. Available in Spanish, German,  Arabic and Italian.  After exiting my sleeping quarters, three steps lead me to the sanitary room which is only a few steps wide itself. I have my privacy there but, as soon as I leave it and join my fellow teammates at the breakfast table, I won’t be alone for hours. In the small, restricted confines of our habitat we eat, sleep, carry out experiments, do our fitness routine and our daily housekeeping chores. After one week in isolation, my mood starts taking a slight downturn. As much as I like my teammates – we were tested extensively and chosen for…