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Showing posts with the label covid-19

Contact tracing: A guide to one possible pandemic solution

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What is contact tracing? Should I be concerned about it? How does it work? With the coronavirus pandemic perhaps showing signs of letting up in some countries throughout Europe and beyond, you might have heard a good deal of conversation around contact tracing. Particularly, in the context of reducing lockdown and stay at home measures as countries look toward life after COVID-19. But what is contact tracing? How does it work? What's that thing Apple and Google are doing? Should I be concerned about my privacy? For answers to all these questions and more, check out our deep dive into the world of contact tracing. Tracing contact In essence, contact tracing does exactly what it says on the tin, it traces contact. It's used the world over to chart and manage the spread of infectious diseases (including sexually transmitted ones) by establishing who an infected person has had contact with. This, in turn, allows people who've potentially been exposed to a disease or viru

Amazon is slashing commission rates for its affiliate program

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Amazon’s affiliate program members are getting less money starting on April 21st. According to CNBC, the e-commerce giant has notified Amazon Associates — affiliates that link to products on its website in exchange for a percentage of the sales — that it’s slashing commission rates across various categories. The changes are quite significant in some cases: The furniture and home improvement category’s affiliate cut fell from 8 percent to 3 percent, for instance, while grocery items’ commission rate is now down to 1 percent from 5 percent. As you can tell, it could have a huge impact on websites, including media outlets, that rely heavily on Amazon’s affiliate program to make money. The company spokesperson CNBC talked to wouldn’t say whether the changes were made in response to COVID-19. But as the publication notes, there have been quite a few changes to Amazon’s operations due to the pandemic. The company had to focus on shipping medical and cleaning supplies due to the outbreak. It

NASCAR's virtual race was the most-watched esports TV show to date

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NASCAR and Fox Sports might have started airing virtual races out of pandemic-induced necessity, but it appears their efforts paid off. Fox has revealed that the inaugural eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race on March 22nd drew 903,000 viewers on FS1, making it the highest-rated esports TV program to date. It was also the most-watched broadcast on FS1 since mass sports event cancellations on March 12th and the most-watched sports broadcast on cable that Sunday, although those last two feats weren't too difficult given the dearth of live sports. Accordingly, Fox has committed to cover the rest of the season, starting with a race at a simulated Texas Motor Speedway on March 29th at 1PM Eastern. It'll air on both the Fox broadcast network as well as FS1 and the Fox Sports app. There's little doubt that NASCAR and Fox had the advantages of both an audience with nowhere to go as well as a bevy of real-world pro drivers, including race winner Denny Hamlin. Viewershi

New coronavirus research suggests vaccines developed to treat it could be long-lasting

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A new study from Italian researchers suggests that the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which is the cause of the COVID-19 disease currently causing a global health crisis, is relatively slow to mutate – meaning that any effective vaccine that is developed to prevent people from getting infected should be broadly effective across geographically separated populations over a relatively long period of time. The research, conducted by two independent teams working separate from one another, including scientists at the “Lazzaro Spallanzani” National Institute for Infectious Diseases (IRCCS) in Rome and the Forensic Division of the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Public Health (DSBSP) at Ancona University Hospital, performed genetic sequencing tests using tech developed by Thermo Fisher Scientific on samples of the virus taken from Italian patients. They then compared these samples to a reference genome that was sequenced from a sample of the virus taken from the original Wuhan outbr

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