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Coronavirus Roundup – Updates, Research, Fact-Checking, More

I have had enough coronavirus news come over the transom that I wanted to gather it all in one place for easy reference. Some of the things I’ve included here have not yet been included in ResearchBuzz. The news and update items at the top are to the best of my knowledge updated on a regular basis; the other categories should be self-explanatory.

I will probably update this, depending on what kind of new information is released. I’m not trying to catalog every coronavirus mention; that would not be possible.

News and Updates

World Health Organization: Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)
Includes news, basic overview information, what appear to be daily situation reports, travel advisory, and some fact checking. I like the downloadable graphics you can use to help combat misinformation.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Situation Summary
This United States-based site also has an overview and some travel advisories, but I suspect US users will find most useful the daily-updated 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in the U.S. page, which offers daily counts of infections in the United States (at this writing, 11 confirmed in five states.)

New York Times: Coronavirus Live Updates
Reverse-order blog with lots of updates, some pointers to basic information as well. Very little outside linkage, but what do you expect. Good photography. Unfortunately based on my test in an incognito browser window, this page does appear to be paywalled.

Illinois Public Radio: Coronavirus Information Center
Good old-fashioned beautifully annotated linkblog in reverse order, looks like it’s updated daily. Doesn’t try to exhaustively add every possible story (which would be impossible) but hits the “highlights,” covering travel, trade deals, and the impact of the coronavirus outside China.

Johns Hopkins: 2019-nCoV Global Cases by Johns Hopkins CSSE
Map/dashboard of cases, deaths, and recoveries. Tallies cases both inside and outside China. Appears to be updated constantly. Excellently done. You can get more information on how the dashboard was put together here.

Unpaywalled Resources

US National Library of Medicine: Get Rapid Access to Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Sequence Data from NLM’s GenBank®
“NLM, through its GenBank® sequence database, is providing the biomedical community free and easy access to genome sequences from the novel coronavirus associated with the recent outbreak of pneumonia in Wuhan, China. The outbreak was declared a global health emergency on January 30, 2020 and GenBank® continues to rapidly release data associated with this outbreak as it comes in and welcomes sequence data submissions as well.  GenBank® is the world’s largest collection of publicly available annotated nucleotide sequences.”

The Bookseller: Elsevier puts together free resource on coronavirus
“Elsevier has set up an Information Centre on the newly emerged coronavirus featuring in the current outbreak in China, with free information in English and Mandarin. The resource is intended to help healthcare professionals, medical researchers and the public, bringing together content from Elsevier’s medical journals, textbooks and clinical experts, alongside resources from other information providers and major health organisations. The centre will be updated regularly with the most current research and evidence-based information available.”

Reuters: China science database scraps paywall to aid virus battle
“A major scientific database run by China’s Tsinghua University has made its contents available free of charge from Wednesday in order to help researchers work from home, following a virus outbreak in the central city of Wuhan.” The current plan is to keep the paywall down until July 1.

Research Results and Efforts

Neowin: An AI epidemiologist was among the first to break news of the coronavirus outbreak in China
“The Canadian firm which specializes in automated infectious disease surveillance, used a system based on artificial intelligence that combs through news reports, animal and plant disease networks, and official proclamations and gave its clients warnings of danger zones like Wuhan ahead of the outbreak. With access to global airline ticketing data, the firm correctly predicted the spread of the virus from Wuhan to Bangkok, Seoul, Taipei, and Tokyo in the days following its initial appearance.”

PLOS Blog: Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak
“The novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak is both saddening and concerning. The scientific community has come together rapidly to address this outbreak in an open and collaborative manner. As a publisher, we look to support the global response to this outbreak by sharing and amplifying research data and findings relevant to the outbreak.”

Science: Chinese researchers reveal draft genome of virus implicated in Wuhan pneumonia outbreak
“News about the sequence came from Edward Holmes, a virologist and evolutionary biologist at the University of Sydney, who tweeted the first notice about the availability of what he referred to as an ‘initial’ sequence of the virus early this morning.” This is from January 11.

Emory University: Emory, collaborators testing antiviral drug as potential treatment for coronaviruses
“In testing with collaborators at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Vanderbilt University Medical Center, the active form of EIDD-2801, which is called EIDD-1931, has shown efficacy against the related coronaviruses SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome)- and MERS-CoV (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus). Some of the data was recently published in Journal of Virology.”

Motherboard: ‘It’s a Moral Imperative:’ Archivists Made a Directory of 5,000 Coronavirus Studies to Bypass Paywalls
“A group of online archivists have created an open-access directory of over 5,000 scientific studies about coronaviruses that anyone can browse and download without encountering a paywall. The directory is hosted on The-Eye, a massive online archiving project run by a Reddit user named ‘-Archivist.'”

Social Media / Internet Response

Mashable: Coronavirus: Google Launches SOS Alerts For Searches Of The Fatal Virus
“The spread of the deadly coronavirus is no different, with fake stories going viral in an attempt to accomplish who knows what. Google, however, wants no part of that, and today announced a new feature in collaboration with the World Health Organization that will hopefully both reduce the spread of misinformation and get valuable information to those in need.”

Mashable: Twitter will tweak search results to fight coronavirus disinformation
“As conspiracy theories about the coronavirus spread on social media, Twitter is taking new steps to fight disinformation about the virus.  The company announced that it will prevent automated search results that are ‘likely to direct individuals to non-credible content’ and, instead, use search to direct users to authoritative information from organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).”

Tubefilter: YouTube, Facebook, Twitter Try To Crack Down On Coronavirus Conspiracies
“YouTube tells Tubefilter it combats the spread of false information by surfacing authoritative content like trustworthy news sources in its search results and Up Next panels. For breaking news topics like coronavirus, it adds short previews of text-based news articles interspersed between videos, and posts a reminder that breaking and developing news can rapidly change, the platform says.” Tubefilter tried this and found neither reminders or text-based news articles, for what it’s worth…

Internet Impact

Slate: How Not to Be an Influencer During a Coronavirus Outbreak
“Arizona State University has been on edge since the Arizona Department of Health Services announced on Sunday that someone at the school had been diagnosed with the 2019 novel coronavirus…. The university has tried to dispel concerns, advising the community that the immediate risk to the public is low and that the diagnosed individual is in isolation, not severely ill, and did not live in school housing. But ASU also found itself containing something else this week: a foolhardy joke about the coronavirus scare by an undergraduate with a famous dad and a considerable social media presence. ”

Tubefilter: China’s New Digital Stars Are Construction Vehicles–And They Have 40 Million Viewers
“The respiratory illness has sickened nearly 10,000 and killed 213, and with cases presenting in all areas of China, transportation across the country has been suspended, and people have been urged to isolate themselves in their homes to prevent further spread. Stuck there, they’ve been keeping themselves busy by tuning in to digital livestreams–which, obviously, isn’t so unusual. What is unusual is the subjects of these livestreams: two currently-under-construction hospitals, and the people and vehicles building them.”

Reuters: Google temporarily shutting down all China offices
“Alphabet Inc’s Google said on Wednesday it is temporarily shutting down all its offices in China due to the outbreak of a new coronavirus in the country. The shutdown includes all offices in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.”

New York Times: As Virus Spreads, Anger Floods Chinese Social Media
“Recently, someone following the coronavirus crisis through China’s official news media would see lots of footage, often set to stirring music, praising the heroism and sacrifice of health workers marching off to stricken places. But someone following the crisis through social media would see something else entirely: vitriolic comments and mocking memes about government officials, harrowing descriptions of untreated family members and images of hospital corridors loaded with patients, some of whom appear to be dead.”

Misinformation / Disinformation Problems

FactCheck: Coronavirus Misinformation Spreads Like a Virus
“China first reported an unusual cluster of pneumonia cases in the city of Wuhan on Dec. 31, and, within a month, the internet was infected with misinformation about the responsible virus, now called the 2019 novel coronavirus. Fact-checking organizations, including FactCheck.org, from 30 countries collaborated through the International Fact-Checking Network at the Poynter Institute to debunk the false claims as they developed. So far, those organizations have published more than 80 fact-checking articles.”

Harvard Health Publishing: Be careful where you get your news about coronavirus
“News about a deadly virus that appeared in Wuhan, China in December (now called 2019 novel coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV) is everywhere lately. And as the number of cases rises, it’s understandable if you’re wondering how likely it is that you or a loved one will become ill. And quite likely, you’re also wondering how to prevent this. So, where should you turn for the latest information on a rapidly changing situation?”

Poynter: Photos and videos allegedly showing the coronavirus are now challenging fact-checkers
“… more than 60 fact-checkers from different countries have been working together in a collaborative project coordinated by the International Fact-Checking Network to debunk hoaxes related to the lethal virus. So far, the group has flagged more than 80 pieces of misleading content — mainly regarding the origins of the fatal virus, a false patent created years ago and some weird ways to prevent or cure it. But the toughest barriers fact-checkers have faced so far are images and videos that supposedly show scenes of what is happening in China.”

Poynter: Panic and fear might be limiting human reasoning and fueling hoaxes about coronavirus
“As of Saturday, the group of 78 fact-checkers based in more than 30 countries has published 180 fact-checks, many of which carried extremely wild hoaxes and/or totally unbelievable information. Some fact-checkers started to ask themselves: How far can fear of this new disease fuel the spread of misinformation? And can panic limit human reasoning in times like this?”

TechCrunch: Everyone loves the coronapocalypse
“The 2019-nCoV coronavirus is a global public health emergency of significant concern. It is also, simultaneously, a fount of misinformation, wild conspiracy theories and both over and under-reactions. Whose fault is this? So glad you asked. I happen to have a little list.”

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