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January 19, 2021
Another Day, Another Mutation

Recently, the media has been issuing warnings about new COVID-19 virus mutations. Many of our friends and family have asked if they needed to worry about the mutations they’re hearing about. As a small company, we too, find ourselves gnawing on our nails and worrying about our team. We have a three-step program to restore our zen:

  1. Knowledge is power. Get a background. Our team recommends this video by Earth's Virologist, Vincent R. Racaniello, the Higgins Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons.
  2. Find a source of truth. We spend a few minutes daily with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) which updates its mutation/variant information as research progresses. From the January 15 update:
    Information about the characteristics of these variants is rapidly emerging. Scientists are working to learn more about how easily they might spread, whether they could cause more severe illness, and whether currently authorized vaccines will protect people against them. At this time, there is no evidence that these variants cause more severe illness or increased risk of death. ...
    What we [the CDC] know ...
    What we [the CDC] do not know ...
    What it means
  3. Double down on your self-help tools: Physical distance, masks, hand hygiene, isolation & quarantine, testing are the self-help tools that keep your bubble safe. And when available, get a vaccination.

The day-to-day of an early-stage startup is all-consuming. While I am so very proud of this RapidRona team and what we have accomplished together, the days leave little time to think about the deeper reserves we have had to call on to survive 2020. This holiday week has given me a moment to take a step back and reflect on my feelings. This Thanksgiving, with Covid-19 cases rising to levels beyond our imagination, the chairs of over 250,000 loved ones will be empty at our holiday tables. Many of us will look around that table and grow somber as we register the missing. My boys will be looking for their grandmother, whom we lost to COVID-19 in May. And they will be comforted by the friends and family who are gathered, physically and virtually. We will tell Irene's stories, laugh and cry, and be thankful for the time we had with her. We will be thankful for all the comforters and carers who mourned her loss with us. And we will be thankful for the health care workers who held the hospital phone to Irene's ear so we could tell her she was loved as she slipped away. My prayers this Thanksgiving are with each of us who has an "empty chair" caused by this pandemic. I hope the memories of your loved ones bring happiness to your tables.

Heather Mlodinow, CEO.

In the midst of the U.S. presidential elections, coronavirus cases began climbing. The numbers are higher than ever. The U.S. has now surpassed 10 million Covid-19 cases. Last week, the country reached record highs of 150,000 daily cases and 60,000 hospitalizations while hospital capacity across the country approached breaking points.

Make your holidays safe! Guard your bubble. Consider gathering via Zoom™. Keep in-home gatherings small. Care for yourself and your family by asking out-of-state visitors to test before traveling. Wear masks. Let's all work together to have a happy and healthy holiday season!

Read the article

The pandemic spread across countries has certainly changed forever our social behavior, work logistics, and economies. One market that has rapidly been expanding alongside the viral spread is the e-commerce. In the first quarter of this year, the online market set a new record at just under 12% of total retail sales. The second quarter set a new record when online captured over 16%.

RapidRona’s goal is to combine retail and healthcare online, bringing much-needed COVID-19 testing to your home. No lines. No crowds. No long waiting times. Access to testing to help stop the spread. Let’s achieve our new normal faster!

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A look at the future of healthcare by Julie Yoo at a16z:

"The next generation healthcare system will need a fundamentally new infrastructure layer that treats the patient as a primary end user, has flexible and scalable data models to address non-traditional patient information, and is inherently wired for connectivity and interoperability between providers, payors, patients, and connected devices."

Watch the video

Whether it is weight or COVID-19 cases, measurements reflect progress. Let's show some! This trend line represents daily United States 2020 COVID-19 cases since January. We are not flat yet! And the entire country is in this together. No state can do the victory dance until every state can do the victory dance. Protect the freedom of unrestricted movement we enjoy here with a few simple exercises!

  • Keep your hands clean
  • Keep your face masked
  • Deploy at a six-foot physical distance
  • Get tested before you travel
  • Get tested after you travel

Like all progress, there is no magic. There is only putting in the work!

View the entire dashboard

Feeling helpless against the coronavirus? You can make a difference to the spread of the coronavirus pandemic! Get some facts about COVID-19 produced by the World Health Organization. You may be in the peak of health – and infected! Protect your friends and family. Wash your hands. Put on your mask. Keep your physical distance. And smile with your eyes! We've got this.

Watch the video

No country is an island. We are ALL in this together. Dr. Larry Brilliant discusses the promise of a COVID-19 vaccine in WIRED:

"When one or two or three of [the] vaccines are declared workable and we have made sufficient quantities, you don’t get rainbows and unicorns ... you would hold a global meeting, bring all the countries and organizations together, and decide on a plan to divvy it up, I would hope, for equitable distribution... there would be that conversation among all the funders and the distributors, everybody in. It has happened, absent one player: the United States of America. We are not in these meetings."

Let's join our global brothers and sisters in the conversation by supporting of World Health Organization.

Read the interview

RapidRona incorporated on March 17th with the mission to test everyone in the United States. Two days later, WIRED published an interview with Dr. Larry Brilliant, the epidemiologist who helped eradicate smallpox. His words deepened our commitment to the mission:

"Tests would make a measurable difference. We should be doing a stochastic process random probability sample of the country to find out where the hell the virus really is. Because we don't know. ... We need something that looks like a home pregnancy test, that you can do at home."

Read the interview