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October 2, 2020

Weekend reads: The coronavirus epidemic is fueling loneliness—but robotic pets can help

Daily Briefing

    Ben Palmer's reads

    What it was like in the NBA bubble. The NBA set up a bubble at DisneyWorld in Orlando, Florida, where teams participating in the league's playoffs were isolated in an effort to prevent a Covid-19 outbreak. In New York Times Magazine, Sam Anderson writes about his experiences as a journalist inside the bubble and how the political climate in the United States affected the NBA—and vice versa. 

    What people in other countries think of the US' handling of Covid-19. The United States has been hit harder by Covid-19 than nearly every other developed country in the world. Writing for the New York Times, Hannah Beech reveals how citizens of other countries, from Myanmar to Germany to Cambodia, think about the United States' response to the virus and why Eduardo Bohórquez, director of Transparency International Medico, believes the United States is no longer looked to "for democratic governance inspiration."  

    José Vasquez's reads

    Scientists 'cured' him of HIV, but then he died of recurring leukemia. In 2007, Timothy Brown underwent an experimental bone marrow transplant, which eliminated both his leukemia and HIV, Sam Roberts writes for the New York Times. Brown's procedure "offered hope though not a realistic treatment for most people with the virus"—and spurred further research on long-term HIV remission, Roberts explains. Although Brown's transplant allowed him to live free of HIV, he continued to face recurring leukemia, which was not related to the virus. He died from leukemia at his home on Tuesday, Roberts writes.

    How robotic pets ease loneliness among seniors during the coronavirus epidemic. America's coronavirus epidemic is preventing families and friends from gathering—and leaving countless Americans, particularly seniors, feeling lonely, Paula Span writes for the New York Times' "The New Old Age." But research shows fluffy robotic pets with simulated heartbeats and sensors to replicate the panting, barking, and tail wagging of actual pets can help seniors feel less stress, anxiety, loneliness, and isolation—and improve their moods and appetites, Span writes.

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