Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

Resources for Teaching about Coronavirus - June 2020

Scanning electron microscope image of SARS-CoV-2

Please see: this Teaching Resources page for current information.

Lesson Plan from NSTA
A lesson plan entitled “Coronavirus – What’s the real story” is available at

Where do new viruses come from?

This Stated Clearly video does a good job of explaining how mutation and natural selection can start with a virus that infects a non-human animal and produce a virus that infects humans, thus resulting in a new human infectious disease. It is available at

This AsapSCIENCE video does a good job of explaining how the corona virus infects your body and causes illness. It is available at

Paper Model
A paper model that can be used to teach the structure and lifecycle of the coronavirus ( costs $6.

Data Science Perspective
“Covid-19, your community, and you — a data science perspective” ( provides a variety of helpful information in multiple languages, including English, Spanish and Chinese.

Case Study with Activities
“Outbreak! Coronavirus Diagnosis and Transmission” ( is a case study that was originally written before the current outbreak of COVID-19, but is nevertheless timely and could easily be adapted to include it. It uses a PowerPoint presentation to guide students through two activities designed to teach them about the basics of coronavirus diagnosis and transmission. The first activity involves a set of five “clicker questions” that students answer using either a personal response system, online polling application, or show of hands as they consider symptoms and test results of a hypothetical patient. The second activity is an outbreak simulation in which students consider the spread of a pathogen in various geographical settings and from different perspectives. Students work together to draft a list of precautions that could be taken to limit the spread of the disease and minimize healthy individuals’ risk of contracting it. The simulation is designed for a biology lesson pertaining to outbreaks.

Useful PowerPoint on Coronavirus
Prepared by Dan Peluso <>

A description of resources for teaching about the coronavirus is available at:

These resources include four activities (Model of Viral Spread; Infection Curve Simulation; Considering COVID 19 from Multiple Perspectives; Media and Information Literacy), all available at

 A compilation of resources about the coronavirus is available at

Another compilation of resources for teaching about the coronavirus is available at:

A teaching resource that high school biology teachers may find helpful is “The Power of a Test: How COVID-19 Is Diagnosed and Who Does It” ( Section 2 of this case study helps students understand the basic biology of testing for the RNA of the coronavirus. This section has helpful links to two useful New York Times graphic articles:

•        How Coronavirus Hijacks Your Cells

•        Bad News Wrapped in Protein: Inside the Coronavirus Genome

Analysis and discussion biology activities for use in remote teaching are listed at Also, multiple resources for virtual teaching, including online games and puzzles, plus experiments and activities that students can do at home are available at

The comments section below includes additional resources for teaching and learning about coronavirus and for teaching remotely. If you know of other good resources, please provide the information in a comment (see below).

Subscribe to Listserv for Updates

To subscribe, please type in your e-mail address below and click on Send.


Subscribe | UnSubscribe


You will receive an email that you must reply to in order to complete your subscription. 


iwaldron's picture

Opening schools in the fall?

This article ( reviews evidence that indicates that preschools and elementary schools probably can be opened safely for in-person instruction, if the community rate of coronavirus infection is low.

iwaldron's picture

Coronavirus and COVID-19

Here are two links to interesting Washington Post articles: – laying out the reasons why three scientists think it is not safe to reopen colleges this fall – describing autopsy findings with relevance to understanding the pathophysiology of COVID-19

iwaldron's picture

Scientific American resources on coronavirus

There is a great deal of useful information in the links in a message from Scientific American ( I particularly enjoyed Inside the Coronavirus (the first link in that source).


iwaldron's picture

Risk of coronavirus infection in different situations

A useful analysis of risks of coronavirus infection in different situations and the best ways to stay safe is available at

For a good overview of the risk of becoming infected with the coronavirus in different environments, I recommend “The Risks – Know Them – Avoid Them” ( I found the analysis persuasive and the conclusions helpful in identifying which risks I should avoid vs. risks that are not too great.


iwaldron's picture

Possible additional ways to protect yourself


I’m writing with two articles that suggest that:

(1) you should give a wide berth to runners

(2) it might be smart to avoid using public toilets and at home perhaps close the lid when you flush.

I hope you all continue in good health,


Can runners spew viruses farther than 6 feet? (From Philadelphia Inquirer)

Health officials have been advocating for 6 feet as the accepted threshold for social distancing. But no one knows for sure what the correct distance is.

The Brits are using a a 2-meter rule, an extra 7 inches of protection against the coronavirus. The Australians, at 1.5 meters, are standing a bit closer.

“But," my colleague Tom Avril asks, "what if the droplet-spewer is on the move?”

A new simulation from engineers in Belgium and the Netherlands show people running side by side, behind each other, and in a staggered formation. As the simulation continues, it shows how runners leave a “slipstream” of particles from their mouth.

“It makes complete sense that if you are following someone who is exhaling the virus, you have more of a chance breathing it in,” said Jose-Luis Jimenez, a chemistry professor at the University of Colorado-Boulder who was not involved in the study.

So take extra precautions when near someone who is exercising, said study author Bert Blocken,

If running, stay 30 feet behind someone going in the same direction. For biking, aim for 60 feet or go to another lane.

Or as Avril writes: “For those huffing and puffing through their morning jog, Blocken said the solution is simple: stay in your own lane.”

Toilets May Pose Risk for Spreading COVID-19

David A. Johnson, MD

Medscape – April 09, 2020

Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape's Coronavirus Resource Center.

Hello. I'm Dr David Johnson, professor of medicine and chief of gastroenterology at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Virginia.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage the United States and the world at large, the reasons behind its rapid epidemiologic spread remain astoundingly unknown. We don't really have a good answer for why most patients develop this disease. Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that approximately 25% of infected patients may not have clinical signs or symptoms, meaning gastrointestinal (GI) or the classic respiratory illness, but may still be viral shedders. A percentage of patients with an asymptomatic prelude may also have viral shedding for about 2 to 3 days before they then develop the more classic respiratory illness.

In light of the puzzling nature of this epidemiologic spread, we've adapted social distancing. However, I want to talk about one other potential means of its spread: the toilet.

As we know, GI diseases can be transmitted via the fecal-oral route. Now researchers looking at hospitals in Wuhan, China, that treated COVID-19-positive patients have provided valuable new data on its transmission. They found that although the intensive care units were good at containing the spread of the virus outside of the patients' rooms, there was a high concentration of the virus in the air samples taken from the patients' toilets.

What are the implications of that finding? Droplets of SARS-CoV-2, which causes the disease COVID-19, can be spread and live in the air for up to 3 hours, and be disseminated to hard surface areas where they can live up to 3 to 4 days. That is quite concerning when you consider that flushing a toilet can create an aerosolized plume of these viral particles, which can then spread elsewhere within proximity. We know that toothbrushes left in proximity to the toilet gain viral spread quite rapidly, mirroring levels observed in the toilet itself. That same thing can occur for cell phones, which many people take with them into the bathroom. However, this mode of transmission has not been well studied as it relates to COVID-19.

We do have available evidence with another coronavirus, the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). Researchers looked at the Amoy Gardens apartment complex in Hong Kong, which experienced a large community outbreak of SARS during the 2003 epidemic. Using airflow dynamics studies, they were able to retrospectively track the spread of the virus from one individual patient—the index case—to other residents of the complex. They reported that the patient's toilet exhaust fan, which created a negative pressure effect, vented into the apartments above and also to the outside. They linked this to 187 cases in the complex with available data. This analysis suggests that the SARS virus was able to be transmitted by microdroplets through inhalation, touch, and potentially fecal-oral routes.We can and should practice social distancing, taking a step back so we're 6 feet away from each other. But what do we do to address concerns that the toilet microbiome may put us at risk for COVID-19?

Certainly, hospitals caring for these patients need to pay close attention to toilet cleansing and determine whether there are venting systems that expel air from the toilet via a negative pressure effect. It also raises questions about the use of toilets in the public domain. Six-feet social distancing means I can see you, you can see me, and we can stay apart. But if I use a toilet, there's no way of knowing whether it was used prior by a symptomatic or asymptomatic viral carrier or shedder.

The aerosolization effect that can occur in toilets, leading to microdroplets that can be inhaled or persist on surface areas, raises some real concerns regarding epidemiologic spread. It may also be helpful in understanding why this rapid spread can occur when not linked to known contact with those positive for COVID-19.

Turning our attention to the toilets is something we need to do. It's very prudent for those caring for patients in the hospital. And for those who are out of the hospital and trying to stay healthy, consider avoiding public-domain toilets.

We don't have the answers yet, but there are some evidence-based steps that I encourage you to consider.

I'm Dr David Johnson. Thanks again for listening.

David A. Johnson, MD, a regular contributor to Medscape, is professor of medicine and chief of gastroenterology at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Virginia, and a past president of the American College of Gastroenterology. His primary focus is the clinical practice of gastroenterology. He has published extensively in the internal medicine/gastroenterology literature, with principal research interests in esophageal and colon disease, and more recently in sleep and microbiome effects on gastrointestinal health and disease.


iwaldron's picture

Resources for teaching

Good afternoon Biology Teachers,

An interesting article that describes the proteins of the coronavirus and their functions, provides a good molecular understanding of viral function (

Can We Really Develop a Safe, Effective Coronavirus Vaccine? This provides a useful introduction to immunity and vaccines. (

The University of Pennsylvania Department of Biology is offering a weekly series, Penn Biology Chats. The first session will be this Friday at 2pm. Katie McCluskey will be giving a talk on entomology, including what insects are and why insects are important. You can send any questions you want Katie to answer to These chats will be fun, interactive sessions hosted each week, where we have biologists from the department give brief talks about an interesting biological topic, with the goal being to interact with and engage middle and/or high school-age students. They are open to anyone who wants to participate. Here is the link to participate –

Take care,


iwaldron's picture

Webinar on April 2 on COVID-19

Good morning Biology Teachers,

You may be interested in a webinar this afternoon, 3 PM-4 PM EDT.

COVID-19 and Other Dangerous New Viral Diseases: Where do they come from? How can we fight them?

Join scientist, educator, and author Joseph Levine in an engaging webinar on COVID-19 this Thursday, April 2nd at 3:00 pm EDT. SARS-CoV-2 is the newest viral threat to humanity, following HIV, SARS, MERS, and flu strains like the one that caused the 1918 pandemic. Why are some viruses so deadly? How do new ones arise and spread? Can we draw from experience to defeat this one? This webinar, ideal for online teaching, puts coronaviruses in context, invoking NGSS CCC’s and DCI’s in genetics, ecology, evolution, and immunology.

To sign up, go to


iwaldron's picture

Switching gears + Webinar for Biology Teachers

Good morning Coronavirus Subscribers,

I will not be posting regular updates anymore, since so much good information is available through so many channels. You may want to subscribe for free daily briefings:

and/or (sign-up is partway down on the right)

For biology teachers:

You might want to join a webinar Friday, April 3 at 7:30 p.m. EDT on how various teachers use different platforms to teach biology remotely. For more info, go to

Best wishes for your continuing good health,


iwaldron's picture

Updates, some with practical implications

A new paper explains exactly what makes it different than other coronaviruses and how we know that it wasn’t created in a lab.

Computer programs that scientists use to model the interactions between a virus's spike and ACE-2 don’t predict that the receptor SARS-CoV-2 has would work very well. And yet, it does—as Wrapp found, 10 times better. It’s an indication that the alterations in the binding were selected for through natural selection, not genetic engineering. (

Coronavirus Patients May Carry Virus for a Week after Symptoms Have Resolved (

A lot of people don't have the symptoms that are considered standard.

The new study published online by the American Journal of Gastroenterology tracked 204 COVID-19 patients at three different Wuhan hospitals. Nearly half arrived at the hospital with digestive issues like loss of appetite and prolonged diarrhea as their chief complaint, not respiratory ailments.

On Sunday, an association of ear, nose, and throat specialists, the American Academy of Otolaryngology, proposed that patients who have lost their sense of smell or taste be considered for COVID-19 screening. It noted that patients without any other symptoms have tested positive for the novel virus. “We’re learning more and more about this virus and it’s exposing how egregiously narrow the scope of our current testing protocol is,” Spiegel said. (

The right way to clean and disinfect household surfaces (

'Stealth Transmission' of COVID-19 Demands Widespread Mask Usage

(I’ve included the whole article here, because you can only access it by subscription to Medscape and the argument is complex.)

In a striking contrast to prevention guidelines in the Western world, Asian countries such as China, Japan, South Korea, and Hong Kong have made masks a cornerstone of their strategy in fighting the pandemic. China has even enforced compulsory face mask policies in some regions.

The rationale against mask use in the community partially relies on the premise that people without symptoms don't spread the virus. But this view is changing as new data are accumulated. Even the CDC has acknowledged reports of asymptomatic and presymptomatic transmission: "Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms…but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads."

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine evaluated a group of returning travelers from Wuhan, China, to Frankfurt, Germany. The researchers discovered "that shedding of potentially infectious virus may occur in persons who have no fever and no signs or only minor signs of infection."

Asymptomatic transmission was also estimated in multiple modeling studies of the outbreak. A study published in the journal Science shows that "nondocumented infections were the infection source for 79% of documented cases." Jeffrey Shaman, the lead author, stated that this "stealth transmission" is flying under the radar and becoming a major driver of the epidemic.

Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, expressed similar views and urged health authorities to "tell the public what we know and don't know."

As the weight of evidence shifts toward supporting a major role for asymptomatic transmission, the use of personal facemasks, especially in crowded areas, becomes instrumental in preventing community spread of the virus. We can no longer rely on symptoms or screening to tell us whether mask protection is needed.

So why voice a need for widespread mask use in desperate times when we do not even have enough masks for hospitals?

The reason is that by making the facts public, more resources may become available. The message that masks not only can protect healthcare workers but also can help control the outbreak may recruit more efforts, allocate more resources, and make this a national top priority.

This was exactly what happened in Asia, where universal mask wear has been advised. Both Taiwan and South Korea faced shortages of masks, and they responded by increasing mask production. Taiwan opened 60 new productions at various manufacturing plants across the country to produce 10 million masks a day.

The same can be done in the United States. Resources can be mobilized to fill that need. The president has the power to order the industry to produce more masks by further executing the Defense Production Act. In the meantime, homemade cloth masks could be used in the community, similar to CDC advice to HCWs "when no facemasks are available." Limited data suggest that cloth masks protect against droplet transmission better than no barrier.

iwaldron's picture

Miscellaneous updates

How to Tell If We’re Beating COVID-19. This 7-minute video presents a very helpful and informative analysis of exponential growth and deviations from exponential growth that indicate effective actions to stop exponential growth in some countries. (

Suggestions about how to safely grocery shop and receive package deliveries (

 Science Take-Out from RTNN 

RTNN is pleased to announce a weekly microscopy program for your quarantined viewing pleasure. Science Take-out will begin at noon on Tuesday, March 31st. Each week, Dr. Holly Leddy will explore a different theme using both a light microscope, a portable scanning electron microscope, and the support of RTNN technical staff. We’ll broadcast all sessions live and answer your questions. Join us for some take-out science as we explore the world at a much smaller scale. To learn more, please visit the Science Take-Out (Maude Cuchiara, PhD, Research Triangle Nanotechnology Network,, (919) 515-6171)


iwaldron's picture

Model to predict outcomes under different intervention scenarios

Trump Wants to ‘Reopen America.’ Here’s What Happens if We Do. This includes a model to predict what will happen; you can set different parameters to predict the number of cases, hospitalized cases, and deaths under different scenarios. (
iwaldron's picture

Coronavirus testing and $ help for Internet access

A ‘negative’ coronavirus test result doesn’t always mean you aren’t infected (

Below, you will find resources for students in the US who are having trouble with paying for internet access.  

   FCC agreement stating that providers will waive late fees, not cutoff service for lack of payment, and open hot-spots.
·        Comcast COVID-19 response: offers free WiFi for 2 months to low income families plus all Xfinity hot-spots are free to the public during this time
·        Charter Free Internet offer for 2 months
·        AT&T COVID-19 response: offers open hot-spots, unlimited data to existing customers, and $10/month plans to low income families
·        Verizon COVID-19 response: no special offers, but following the FCC agreement.
·        Sprint COVID-19 response: follows FCC agreement, provides unlimited data to existing customers, and, starting Tuesday, 3/17/2020, will allow all handsets to enable hot-spots for 60 days at no extra charge (others will probably follow).
·        T-Mobile COVID-19 response: follows FCC agreement, plus unlimited data to existing customers, and, coming soon, will allow all handsets to enable hot-spots for 60 days at no extra charge (others will probably follow).

iwaldron's picture

More about the coronavirus

The coronavirus isn’t mutating quickly, suggesting a vaccine would offer lasting protection (

Have questions about the COVID-19 virus? Join Franklin Institute live on Facebook at 3:00 pm Monday–Friday as Chief Bioscientist Dr. Jayatri Das gives us updates.

iwaldron's picture

News, including people who aren't sick can spread coronavirus

You could be spreading the coronavirus without realizing you’ve got it

“The study concluded that 86 per cent of cases were “undocumented” – that is, asymptomatic or had only very mild symptoms (… Such undocumented cases are still contagious and the study found them to be the source of most of the virus’s spread in China before the restrictions came in. Even though these people were only 55 per cent as contagious as people with symptoms, the study found that they were the source of 79 per cent of further infections, due to there being more of them, and the higher likelihood that they were out and about.” (


Losing sense of smell may be a hidden symptom of coronavirus, doctors warn



How South Korea Flattened the Curve

“The country showed that it is possible to contain the coronavirus without shutting down the economy, but experts are unsure whether its lessons can work abroad.”


iwaldron's picture

Early advice to prevent the spread of corona virus

Preventing Coronavirus Infection Article
The best article we've seen about what to do and not do to prevent coronavirus infection is available at

More In-depth Article about What People Should Do - Scientific American blog post
A more in-depth article about what people should do is available at

iwaldron's picture

Teaching resources and advice about packages

The article at the link below shows models and discusses various strategies to prevent coronavirus from spreading. To summarize: the most interesting basic point is that quarantining doesn’t really work, since it seldom can be maintained—instead those efforts are better directed at social distancing over a broader range. In other words, given a LARGE-sized population, it is less effective to try to isolate the sick SUBSET of the population (because some inevitably will escape/violate it), than it is to implement social distancing across the ENTIRE population.


Here is another valuable document that is a crowd sourced list of resources from the American Society of Microbiologists. It includes links for teaching tools and a free online textbook.


FedEx and UPS delivery truck drivers are showing up for work sick.  The conditions described in the facilities could make them a breeding ground for the transmission of the virus.  Since the virus can live for possibly 24 hours on cardboard, be very careful how you handle the outer boxes of your packages.  And, of course, you have no idea how healthy the people are who packed the cartons in the first place (or for that matter, the people at Giant who gather your groceries for delivery or stock the shelves). Maybe online shopping is not such a great idea these days.

Bruce Aptowicz's picture

Yes, would like to receive

Yes, would like to receive your posts on the virus. Thanks

iwaldron's picture

Helpful advice about cleaning surfaces to avoid coronavirus risk

The article at the link below explains why soap is generally better than bleach for cleaning surfaces. New research suggests that the virus lasts for up to four hours on clothes and wood, about a day on cardboard, two days on stainless steel, and three days on a type of hard plastic called polypropylene, although it might last longer on heavily contaminated surfaces in public spaces.

iwaldron's picture

Proposed Approach to Dealing with Coronavirus Effectively

The article at the link shown below argues for strong coronavirus countermeasures immediately to prevent a surge of cases that would overwhelm the healthcare system (especially the limited number of ventilators and ICU beds). These countermeasures would include that people cannot leave their home except for groceries, pharmacy hospital or required work and most businesses where people could mingle would be closed. These strong measures could work within a couple of months and prevent millions of deaths. Then the controls could be reduced and return of the coronavirus could be strictly limited by widespread testing, quarantining, and tracing contacts. This strategy has brought the rate of new infections to low levels in places like Singapore and South Korea. Meanwhile, researchers could develop treatments and vaccines.

iwaldron's picture

Resources from Vernier for Online Teaching

Sharing from Vernier:

So far, 39 states have announced widespread school cancellations and closures as a result of COVID-19. Consequently, educators and administrators are currently scrambling to find remote learning solutions because they’re having to transition their classes to an online format with no prep time.

To give you the support you need during this precarious time, Vernier has put together some online resources to help engage students with STEM remotely.

Our online resources include free trials to Vernier Video Analysis™ and Pivot Interactives, and over 80 free experiments with sample data covering a large range of subjects. With these tools, you can help your students form a deep understanding of key scientific concepts outside the classroom and laboratory.

Contact us by email at 

Or by phone at 1-888-837-6437 

Vernier Software & Technology released a new Online Resources web-page. The link is right at the top of the Vernier website under "Explore Resources", so it's easy to find.  However, to make it even easier here's the direct link: <>

Here’s the news flash from Vernier :

"To give you the support you need during this precarious time, Vernier has put together some online resources to help engage students with STEM remotely.

Our online resources include free trials to Vernier Video Analysis™ and Pivot Interactives, and over 80 free experiments with sample data covering a large range of subjects. With these tools, you can help your students form a deep understanding of key scientific concepts outside the classroom and laboratory."

iwaldron's picture

More resources about COVID-19

 1)  An outstanding set of 31 slides dated March 15 is by Michael Lin, PhD & MD, at Stanford. It's on coronavirus research, drugs that show promise in relieving symptoms of seriously ill people, practical ideas to protect yourself (in categories from elderly to youth) and WHY; I recommend especially slides 13 and 27. He suggests a peak hospitalization rate in early June. Download it here:<>

2) A March 16 report on coronavirus research (20 pages) is by a HUGE team of researchers at Imperial College in the UK. It uses worldwide data, new and old (including U.S. deaths until March 14) and develops a model. It suggests that social distancing and other aggressive societal measures are likely to be needed for the next year and a half, until a vaccine is developed and readily available. In pdf:<

[An excerpt:]  We show that in the UK and US context, suppression will minimally require a combination of social distancing of the entire population, home isolation of cases and household quarantine of their family members. This may need to be supplemented by school and university closures, though it should be recognised that such closures may have negative impacts on health systems due to increased absenteeism. The major challenge of suppression is that this type of intensive intervention package – or something equivalently effective at reducing transmission – will need to be maintained until a vaccine becomes available (potentially 18 months or more) – given that we predict that transmission will quickly rebound if interventions are relaxed.

iwaldron's picture

Free Course on COVID-19

If you’re looking for fact-based information about COVID-19 and how it spreads, one source is Science Matters: Let’s Talk About COVID-19, a free 19-our course by Imperial College of London, one of the top public health research universities in the world. 


To be aware of the scale of the emerging outbreak and know how to track trends using reliable sources of information

  • To recognise the key scientific underpinnings of evidence-based outbreak control methods

  • To recognise the importance of community involvement, multidisciplinary working and global cooperation in outbreak response

  • About how infectious disease modelling informs strategic and operational response at the local, national, and international level.

iwaldron's picture

Useful PowerPoint on coronavirus

Date:    Fri, 13 Mar 2020 13:37:57 -0700

From:    Dan Peluso <danielopeluso@GMAIL.COM>

Subject: Coronavirus Science Literacy, Information, and Inspiration Slides

The official Listserv for the American Modeling Teachers Association


 Hello fellow modelers!

Hope all of you are well and staying healthy and positive! I made these slides for my physics classes and my superintendent decided to share it across our entire school district. Maybe they will be useful for you too.

If you would like to use this, please do so, or share with others that might. It may also be useful for online classes, if your districts will be having online classes. I am going to try and make a screencast YouTube of me going through the slides this weekend, if I can. I may make some minor improvements and adjustments as well.

At the very least, I hope you will find this informative and mostly inspirational (especially last several slides). We can help save the world and decrease the amount of suffering/death with science. We're science teachers and we need to step up. Be positive and believe! I believe in you!

Mr. Peluso’s COVID-19 Science, Information, and Inspiration Slides <>



*Dan Peluso*

*Astrophysics PhD Student, USQ | Physics Teacher, MIT Academy *

cell: 412-225-6445


Twitter: @astropartydan <> | Web:

iwaldron's picture

More information about coronavirus risk

Another source that explains why people in the US are at substantial risk is

As you probably already know, is a good source of information and advice.

Wishing you good health,


iwaldron's picture

Why we should all self-quarantine as much as possible

A detailed analysis of the risk due to the new coronavirus is available at My summary of the main points is as follows.

– In Wuhan, the confirmed cases were much lower (by roughly an order of magnitude) and lagged behind the true cases. Strict social distancing was effective in minimizing further spread.

– Widespread testing plus isolation of the patient and his/her contacts, limiting who comes into the country, and good protective gear for health workers can keep the infection rate low and keep hospitals from being overwhelmed, resulting in a mortality rate of around 0.5%-0.9%.

– In Iran, Italy and Wuhan without these precautions, hospitals were completely overwhelmed and mortality rate has been around 3%-5%.

– The US is following the latter course. If somebody is coughing, virus can spread within 2 meters. The virus survives for up to three days on surfaces like doorknobs, tables, elevator buttons. So, stay home as much as possible!

In this context, I quote the advice of a friend of mine who has unfortunately had to have a great deal of experience in self-quarantining.

See people in safe ways often, like go walking outside and use FaceTime/Skype to connect.
Have interesting projects to do, and I'm not talking about (only) Netflix!
Have something specific to look forward to every day.
Read a lot. Not the New York Times (or other newspapers).

Wishing you good health,


iwaldron's picture

Resources for remote teaching

I received the following from Wiley.

Open Access to Support Educators and Students Amid Growing COVID-19 Impact

As campuses and communities contend with the increasing impact of COVID-19, providing continuity of learning is more important than ever. We want to ensure instructors who need to teach remotely have the necessary tools to help their students.

Beginning today, instructors and their students without an adopted online learning solution, such as WileyPLUS, Knewton Alta, or zyBooks, can receive free access to our courseware for the remaining Spring 2020 term. This access will provide personalized, auto-graded assignments, activities, assessments, and lecture replacement resources, as well as dedicated support from our Customer Success Teams.

Instructors teaching at impacted institutions looking to provide continuity of learning can request access to WileyPLUS or Knewton Alta by simply completing this request form . Instructors looking for zyBooks access can apply through the zyBooks website.

Current WileyPLUS, Knewton Alta, or zyBooks users, please connect with our support teams to help with any transitions to teaching online.

We hope these resources will ease the stress of impacted campuses as well as the many students they need to support. To learn more about how Wiley is helping the global community, such as researchers and professionals, please see our news release here.



iwaldron's picture

Hands-on learning activity to provide biology background

To help your students understand the underlying basic biology, you may want to use "

Some Similarities between the Spread of Infectious Disease and Population Growth

First, students analyze a hypothetical example of exponential growth in the number of infected individuals. Then, a class simulation of the spread of an infectious disease shows a trend that approximates logistic growth. Next, students analyze examples of exponential and logistic population growth and learn about the biological processes that result in exponential or logistic population growth. Finally, students analyze how changes in the biotic or abiotic environment can affect population size; these examples illustrate the limitations of the exponential and logistic population growth models. This minds-on, hands-on learning activity is aligned with the NGSS.


Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
1 + 5 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.