Download: How a Zambian morgue exposes the real numbers in Africa

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How a Zambian morgue is exposing the real numbers in Africa

The morgue at Lusaka University Teaching Hospital (UTH), near the center of the Zambian capital, is not the most pleasant place to conduct a clinical study. Inside the cave, the newly arrived bodies remained unattended. Others lay stacked on outdoor stands, where some remained unclaimed for months. The stench covers.

But it is here, among autopsies at Zambia’s largest hospital, that researchers have finally come close to solving one of the pandemic’s enduring mysteries: why Africa doesn’t seem to have affected by the number of deaths elsewhere. The truth, it is increasingly appearing, is that it is not.

That’s the claim of a new, unreviewed study, based on autopsies of corpses carried out by staff members armed with nasal swabs and a heavy tolerance for the macabre. It is perhaps the strongest clinical evidence that the 19 deaths in Lusaka, and possibly much of Africa, have been very low. Read full story.

Jonathan W. Rosen

Things to read

I’ve scoured the internet to find you today’s most interesting/important/scary/fascinating stories about tech.

New study adds to everything we know about particle physics
A particle known as the W boson is much heavier than previously thought. (Quanta)
+ Physicists are stressing over it. (Cnet)

2 The war in Ukraine has spread to Google Maps
After Putin’s invasion, some cartographers changed Crimea from a disputed territory to part of Ukraine. (Slate $)
+ Hackers tried to break into the Facebook account of Ukrainian soldiers. (The Verge)
+ Holding Russia accountable for war crimes will not be easy. (New Yorkers $)

3 China wants to prevent web giants from abusing their algorithms
By asking people who like ByteDance to reveal how they work. (Bloomberg$)

4 Gig drivers are being killed while they are working
Why not do more to protect them? (Tick)

5 We Really Don’t Know How Many Billionaires There Are
Mainly because they don’t want to be identified. (NYT$)

Can Twitter’s edit button really be a force for good?
Spelling corrections are good, but changing the entire tweet would be terrible. (Wired$)
+Perhaps the company should focus on anti-abuse instead?(FT$)
+Elon Musk is holding an AMA to put the minds of anxious employees at ease. (WP$)
+Twitter will now allow you to exempt tweets you don’t want to be tagged.(Cnet)

7 How do you live with a psychotic disorder that doesn’t officially exist?
The complex nature of trauma makes identifying triggers difficult. (Slate$)
+Ukrainian children devastated by war.(Wired$)

8 brands are pouring serious cash into the metaverse
But virtual space is still attracting very few visitors. (The rest of the world)
+The main problem of the metaverse? Lack of primary uses.(FT$)
+Virtual reality was kicked off by a skydiving accident in the 90s.(IEEE Spectrum)
+Lego wants to make the metaverse kid-friendly.(WP$)

9 If you recently received a text message from yourself, you are not alone
It was part of a huge wave of spam. (NYT $)

10 Do people quit YouTube?
Subscribers are growing, but creators say their views are down. (OneZero)
+The conservationist’s art restoration videos are having a hard time attracting viewers.(Artnet)

Quote of the day

“We have significant losses in numbers. And that is a great tragedy for us.”

—Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Vladimir Putin, admits Sky News that Russian forces suffered heavy losses in the war in Ukraine.

We can still have good things

A place for comfort, fun and distraction during these strange times. (Any comments? Drop me a line or tweet ’em with me.)

+ A long oral history of classical disco music, “Barbie Girl.
+ This sweet guy got the right idea.
+ Orville Peck is back, with a brand new album and even more horse metaphors.
+ I really like this lil praises friendship (thanks Robbie!)
+ Have you ever seen a bird wheezing? Oh yes, and whistling to Harry Potter theme tunes.
+ Just watch this strongly hot air balloon race makes me feel tired.
+ Movies based on video games are mostly junk. Are these the only good ones?

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