The Download: How a Zambian morgue is exposing the real covid toll in Africa

This is today’s edition of The Download, our daily newsletter that provides a daily dose of what’s happening in the world of technology.

How a Zambian morgue is exposing the real number of covid in Africa

The morgue of the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) in Lusaka, near the center of the Zambian capital, is not the most pleasant place to conduct a clinical study. Inside the cavernous interior, the newly arrived bodies remain unattended. Others lie stacked on open-air shelves, where some remain unclaimed for months. The stench is overwhelming.

But it is here, among the corpses at Zambia’s largest hospital, that researchers are finally close to solving one of the pandemic’s enduring mysteries: why Africa seemed to have been spared the brunt of the Covid death toll experienced elsewhere. places. The truth, it seems more and more, is that it was not.

That’s the claim of a new study, not yet peer-reviewed, based on cadaver tests conducted by staff equipped with nasal swabs and a high tolerance for the ghoulish. It constitutes perhaps the strongest clinical evidence yet that Covid-19 deaths in Lusaka, and probably in much of Africa, have been grossly underestimated. Read the full story.

jonathan w rosen

The must reads

I’ve searched the internet to find today’s funniest/important/scary/fascinating stories about technology.

1 A new study turns everything we know about particle physics upside down
A particle called the W boson is much heavier than previously thought. (How much)
+ Physicists are stressed about 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. ($ blackboard)
+ Hackers tried to infiltrate the Facebook accounts of Ukrainian military personnel. (The edge)
+ Holding Russia accountable for its war crimes will not be easy. (The New Yorker $)

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

4 Gigas drivers are being killed on the job
Why isn’t more being done to protect them? (The market)

5 We don’t actually know how many billionaires there are
Mainly because they don’t want to be identified. (NYT$)

6 Can Twitter’s edit button really be a force for good?
Editing typos is fine, but altering entire tweets would be extremely bad. ($ wiring)
+Perhaps the company should focus on combating abuse?(FT$)
+Elon Musk is holding an AMA session to reassure anxious employees. (WP$)
+Twitter will now let you excuse yourself from tweets you don’t want to be tagged in.(CNET)

7 How do you live with a mental disorder that does not officially exist?
The nature of complex trauma makes identification of triggers especially difficult. ($ blackboard)
+Ukraine’s children are deeply scarred by the war.($ wiring)

8 brands are investing a lot of money in the metaverse
But virtual spaces still attract few visitors. (Rest of the world)
+The main problem of the metaverse? The lack of main uses.(FT$)
+Virtual reality was fueled by a parachute accident in the 1990s.(IEEE spectrum)
+Lego wants to make the metaverse kid-friendly.(WP$)

9 If you recently received a text from him, you’re not alone
It’s part of a huge wave of spam. (NYT$)

10 Are People Leaving YouTube?
The number of subscribers is increasing, but the creators say that their view counts are falling. (One zero)
+This conservator’s art restoration videos have no problem attracting viewers.(Artnet)

quote of the day

“We have significant troop losses. And it is a great tragedy for us.”

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

We can still have nice things

A place for comfort, fun and distraction in these strange times. (Do you have any idea? drop me a line either tweet them to me.)

+ An oral history of the classic classic album, “Barbie Girl” by Aqua.
+ This sweet little you have the right idea.
+ Orville Peck is back, with a new album and even more horse metaphors.
+ I really enjoyed this little ode to friendship (Thanks Roberto!)
+ Have you ever seen a bird pant? Oh yeah, and whistle the Harry Potter theme.
+ Just watching this vigorous balloon popping race makes me feel tired.
+ Movies based on video games are largely garbage. Are these the only good ones?

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