TWiV 594: Coronavirus update – Shelter in place

March 25, 2020

A TWiV foursome provides an update on the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, including antibody testing kits, FDA emergency approval of convalescent sera, and answer listener questions about the dangers of mail delivery and take out foods, decontamination of PPE, diagnostic testing, and much more.

Hosts: Vincent Racaniello, Alan Dove, Rich Condit, and Brianne Barker

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Intro music is by Ronald Jenkees.

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10 comments on “TWiV 594: Coronavirus update – Shelter in place

  1. Bob Landers Mar 25, 2020

    Update Minnesota has issued a shelter in place order

    ST. PAUL, Minn. (FOX 9) – Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has issued a statewide stay-at-home order, joining at least 19 other states, including neighboring Wisconsin, in taking that step to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The governor announced the new restrictions during a 2 p.m. speech televised to the state Wednesday.

    The order will be effective from Friday, March 27 through April 10. Minnesotans are being asked to limit movement outside their homes during that time.

    Walz said the stay-at-home order will buy the state more time, pushing the peak infection rate out about 14 weeks. He said if there were no mitigation efforts, modeling shows Minnesota would run out of its 235 intensive care unit beds in six weeks. With the order in place, the state will not reach its ICU capacity for 11 weeks.

    The order will allow state health officials time to convert arenas and hotel space into hospital units to get enough ventilators to patients that will need them, the governor said.

    The order also extends the current restrictions on bars, restaurants and other businesses until May 1. Restaurants and bars will be closed to dine-in customers, but can remain open for takeout. Schools will remain closed until May 4.

    “I’m asking you to buckle it up for a few more weeks,” Walz told Minnesotans. “Follow the media. Don’t trade in theory or innuendo. Try to get the best facts possible.”

  2. Cameron Rogers Mar 25, 2020

    Vincent and TWiV team,
    They have started to bring in some more restrictions in Australia since you recorded this episode. SCHOOLS ARE STILL OPEN, though many parents are choosing to keep their kids at home anyway and one state, Victoria just closed theirs anyway. The government has recently limited gatherings, down from the 500 that were allowed till the end of last week. Funerals are now only allowed to have 10 people and weddings are only allowed to have 5 to attend. They have also closed clubs, pubs and limited food outlets to deliveries or takeaway (take out) only. Essential employment is considered by our prime minister to be “anybody who still has a job”. This was only done in the last few days. People are advised to stay at home if they can but it is not enforced unless you are in self isolation as a case of COVID-19 or quarantined due to contact with a case or travel from overseas in the last 14 days.

    We also have had multiple cruise ships land in Sydney with infected passengers where they let hundreds of infected passengers into the community, even though they had symptoms and found they were infected after the fact, they had told passengers that there was no need for them to self quarantine when they disembarked (despite the normal 14 day recommendation of self isolation for travellers), since they had only gone to New Zealand! We now have had 2 deaths from passengers from two of those ships and a spike of well over a 100 cases.

    I still think that examples like the Diamond Princess indicate that the case fatality ratio is pretty high, they tested everybody on the ship and had 712 cases, 10 deaths and have 115 active cases, with 15 in serious / critical condition. CFR of 1.4% so far. They were an older demographic, but fit enough to take a cruise and received the highest levels of medical care available. Could you please comment on the lag between case detection and fatalities and how it affects the case fatality ratio. I have seen so much in the media in government where they are taking the raw unadjusted data and quoting the cases to deaths, as how well countries are doing, without understanding that detected cases can increase quickly but it can take week before those new cases are reflected in fatalities.

    Thanks everybody for your wonderful work! I appreciate everybody’s contribution to this wonderful podcasts.

  3. Greg Porter Mar 25, 2020

    An Instant Pot could be used to sterilize the most heat-resistant bacteria spores. It performed as well as an autoclave. I was thinking one might be able to fix some “surgical mask” stew for dinner !

    Only 60 degC (140F) is needed to sterilize the SARS coronavirus, and the Instant Pot, of course, can easily exceed 100 degC. The thin polypropylene filter layer might survive a good stewing. Its melting point is 160C(320F) while the Instant Pot default high setting is 244F @ 12psi.

    Could this inexpensive kitchen accessory be useful when mask supply is low ?


    Del Bigtree just made the appearace that there is a cure for COVID-19 when in reality it’s just a candidate for clinical testing on the same line as the various COVID-19 vaccines in progress.

  5. Rob Garnett Mar 26, 2020


    Love your podcast. I’ve been watching Vincent’s videos on viruses and like him I have fallen in love with them.

    They are a bit like poisonous snakes, beautiful creatures, but in some cases extremely dangerous. We get a lot of poisonous snakes in Australia, we have some of the world’s most deadly so I kind of understand the problem.

    The animation of the HIV virus merging with the host cell was incredible.

    I finally decided I had to understand DNA and replication after watching these videos. I’ve been putting it off for 65 years, because I thought it was a bit “left-field” for an engineer. But once I got the base pair thing it wasn’t as hard as I thought.

    I thought the discussion on ACE inhibitors was very interesting as I have hypertension and am on Telimisarten. The jury seems to be having trouble making up it’s mind on whether to “keep taking the tablets” so I’ve got my fingers crossed.

    Best regards

    Rob Garnett
    Toongabbie Light and Power

  6. April Prichard Mar 26, 2020

    When you say that live virus surviving on a package that has been tossed around in a truck for a few days, you are failing to consider that at any point, the last person who interacted with the virus might have sneezed or coughed around it or on it. For example, the person that removed the box from the truck and placed it in the mail carriers vehicle, or the mail carrier themselves. Please be careful about giving people false reasons to relax their guard.

  7. Nancy Webb Mar 26, 2020

    Thank you for much needed information

  8. Suzanne Mar 26, 2020

    I’m in Austin and had a bad cold in mid to late February, too. I stayed home and mostly slept for 2 days and it was nearly 2 weeks before I was rid of the sore throat. A month later I still get out of breath if I exert myself. I have never had anything last that long. I’ve been telling my husband I think it might have been this coronavirus. He thinks I’m nuts. We’ve got such a close connection with the west coast, though. I was glad to hear someone else mention the possibility!

  9. Michael Irvine Mar 27, 2020


    Selling supplies on this site. They don’t appear to be gouging but I have no idea what normal market prices for surgical masks are.