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Table of Contents

Coronavirus Inflicts its Own Kind of Terror

   by Steven Erlanger, The New York Times

COVID-19: Melatonin as a potential adjuvant treatment

   by Rui Zhang, et al.,  Life Sciences

The Road Back to Normal

   by Scott Gottlieb and Lauren Silvis, The Wall Street Journal

Camus on Coronavirus

   by Alain de Botton

Pandemics Kill Compassion, Too

   by David Brooks

I Spent a Year In Space, and I have Isolation Tips to Share

   by Scott Kelly, astronaut

For Those Struggling to Stay Sober, Coronavirus Shutdowns Offer Hope as Well as Temptation

   by Sarah Hepola, for CNN (March 25, 2020)

COVID-19: Melatonin as a potential adjuvant treatment

Author: Rui Zhang, Xuebin Wang, Leng Ni, Xiao Di, Baitao Ma, Shuai Niu, Changwei Liu, Russel J. Reiter

Publication: Life Sciences

Publisher: Elsevier

Date: Available online 23 March 2020

© 2020 Published by Elsevier Inc.

Abstract: This article summarizes the likely benefits of melatonin in the attenuation of COVID-19 based on its putative pathogenesis. The recent outbreak of COVID-19 has become a pandemic with tens of thousands of infected patients. Based on clinical features, pathology, the pathogenesis of acute respiratory disorder induced by either highly homogenous coronaviruses or other pathogens, the evidence suggests that excessive inflammation, oxidation, and an exaggerated immune response very likely contribute to COVID-19 pathology. This leads to a cytokine storm and subsequent progression to acute lung injury (ALI)/acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and often death. Melatonin, a well-known anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative molecule, is protective against ALI/ARDS caused by viral and other pathogens. Melatonin is effective in critical care patients by reducing vessel permeability, anxiety, sedation use, and improving sleeping quality, which might also be beneficial for better clinical outcomes for COVID-19 patients. Notably, melatonin has a high safety profile. There is significant data showing that melatonin limits virus-related diseases and would also likely be beneficial in COVID-19 patients. Additional experiments and clinical studies are required to confirm this speculation.

Camus on Coronavirus

By Alain de Botton

Mr. de Botton is a writer and philosopher


In January 1941, Albert Camus began work on a story about a virus that spreads uncontrollably from animals to humans and ends up destroying half the population of “an ordinary town” called Oran, on the Algerian coast. “The Plague,” published in 1947, is frequently described as the greatest European novel of the postwar period.


As the book opens, an air of eerie normality reigns. The town’s inhabitants lead busy money-centered and denatured lives. Then, with the pacing of a thriller, the horror begins. The narrator, Dr. Rieux, comes across a dead rat. Then another and another. Soon an epidemic seizes Oran, the disease transmitting itself from citizen to citizen, spreading panic in every street.

I Spent a Year in Space, and I Have Isolation Tips to Share

By Scott Kelly, astronaut


Being stuck at home can be challenging. When I lived on the International Space Station for nearly a year, it wasn’t easy. When I went to sleep, I was at work. When I woke up, I was still at work. Flying in space is probably the only job you absolutely cannot quit.


But I learned some things during my time up there that I’d like to share — because they are about to come in handy again, as we all confine ourselves at home to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. Here are a few tips on living in isolation, from someone who has been there.

The Coronavirus Inflicts Its Own Kind of Terror

The virus generates much the same fear and anxiety caused by terrorism, but it is brought by nature, not by humans. And it demands a different response: staying alone.


By Steven Erlanger, The New York Times
April 6, 2020    Updated 3:23 p.m. ET

The coronavirus has created its own form of terror. It has upended daily life, paralyzed the economy and divided people one from another. It has engendered fear of the stranger, of the unknown and unseen. It has emptied streets, restaurants and cafes. It has instilled a nearly universal agoraphobia. It has stopped air travel and closed borders.

It has sown death in the thousands and filled hospitals with wartime surges, turning them into triage wards. People gird for the grocery store in mask and gloves, as if they were going into battle.

Particularly for Europe, which has experienced waves of terrorism that achieved some of the same results, the current plague has eerie echoes. But this virus has created a different terror, because it is invisible, pervasive and has no clear conclusion. It is inflicted by nature, not by human agency or in the name of ideology. And it has demanded a markedly different response.

The Road Back to Normal: More, Better Testing 

Rapid diagnosis, targeted surveillance and boosting lab supplies will help beat back the coronavirus

The Wall Street Journal  OPINION | COMMENTARY


By Scott Gottlieb and Lauren Silvis 

March 29, 2020 135 pm ET

Americans are afraid of the health risks from Covid-19. But many also rightfully worry about when the intense restrictions on movement and activity will end. Addressing both concerns will require setting up a robust testing system that can catch outbreaks before they become difficult to manage. 

April will be a hard month as the epidemic spreads across the nation. The priorities are maintaining the health-care system, preserving life, protecting the vulnerable, and supporting the economy. The epidemic may calm down by July and August, but Covid-19 is likely to be seasonal and could return with a vengeance in the fall. 

How do we crack the current outbreak, develop a plan to return to normal life, and ensure that the virus never poses the same threat again? That will require a system that can detect when the virus is spreading. The system would have three components: is spreading. The system would have three components: 

Pandemics Kill Compassion, Too

By David Brooks


Some disasters, like hurricanes and earthquakes, can bring people together, but if history is any judge, pandemics generally drive them apart. These are crises in which social distancing is a virtue. Dread overwhelms the normal bonds of human affection.


In “The Decameron,” Giovanni Boccaccio writes about what happened during the plague that hit Florence in 1348: “Tedious were it to recount how citizen avoided citizen, how among neighbors was scarce found any that shewed fellow-feeling for another, how kinfolk held aloof, and never met … nay, what is more, and scarcely to be believed, fathers and mothers were found to abandon their own children, untended, unvisited, to their fate.”


For Those Struggling to Stay Sober, Coronavirus Shutdowns Offer Hope as Well as Temptation

by Sarah Hepola, for CNN (March 25, 2020)

There's no easy time to get sober, but a global pandemic is tougher than most.


Back when I was trying and failing to quit, I'd reach for any excuse to bail on my better self. A bad day. A text from my ex, or no text.


One day, a snowstorm walloped the city, shuttering my office, and I pulled on my rubber boots with a sigh as if to say, "I guess I'm drinking now."


I didn't want to be this person, passing out on the futon with the television flickering on her face, waking up to green empties mashed with cigarette butts, but I didn't know another way.