Monday CoronaBuzz, March 16, 2020: 36 pointers to articles, new resources, useful stuff, and more.

This newsletter now has its own Twitter account at @buzz_corona , if you want to see individual items as they’re added. I’m only doing one of these newsletters a day so they’re going to be enormous. Wash your hands. I love you.


It started off as a Google Sheet and then it moved to its own domain because it got really, really big: Amazing Educational Resources. It’s described on the front page as “Education Companies Offering Free Subscriptions due to School Closings (Updated) : Amazing Educational Resources.” There are also links to a Facebook support group.

A new Web site is trying to track how many institutions of higher education have gone online: Expensive Online Schools. From the front page: “This website complies a list of around 8K schools, and lists which schools decided to move their classes online. This website is NOT ENTIRELY ACCURATE, but if there is a mistake, YOU CAN REPORT IT and the website will be updated.” There’s a Gmail address on the page.

BetaNews: Microsoft launches Bing Coronavirus (COVID-19) Tracker. “Yes, the search engine (that people love to hate) has a new landing page regarding COVID-19. You can… see real-time tracking of Coronavirus across the globe. Microsoft shares that this data is being aggregated from the CDC, ECDC, Wikipedia, and The World Health Organization. In other words, this new tool is thankfully using more than one data source.”

BetaNews: As coronavirus forces millions to work from home, Microsoft Teams suffers major outages. “Just as millions of people settle into the idea of remote working or learning, many for the first time, Microsoft Teams is suffering with major problems. Users found that they were unable to send messages via Teams, and were met instead by a notification reading: ‘we’re sorry — we’ve run into an issue’.”

Marketscreener: John Wiley & Sons : Wiley Opens Access to Support Educators, Researchers & Professionals Amid Growing COVID-19 Impact (PRESS RELEASE). “Beginning today, instructors without an adopted online learning solution, such as WileyPLUS, Knewton Alta or zyBooks, can receive free access for their students for the remainder of the Spring 2020 term.”

NoCamels: New Israeli App Alerts Users If They’ve Been Exposed To Coronavirus. “The app, Track Virus, sources data collected by the Israeli Health Ministry which conducts interviews with confirmed patients on their whereabouts and releases the information publicly to help stem the spread of the coronavirus in Israel. The country has 213 confirmed cases as of March 14, according to ministry data, and some 45,000 people are currently in quarantine either because they had traveled abroad or came into contact with someone diagnosed with the disease.”


New York Times: How to Make College Decisions When Campuses Are Closed. “With coronavirus closings, tours for admitted students are off the table. Here are some workarounds in this time of social distancing.”

The Atlantic: The Dos and Don’ts of ‘Social Distancing’. “…what exactly does ‘social distancing’ look like for a woman trying to go about her life while staying healthy and helping keep the people around her healthy? Even detailed instructions are difficult to sift for actionable advice. If I have a fourth date tonight, do I go? If I’m invited to a wedding in two weeks in another state, is it too late to cancel? If we’re on lockdown, and I live alone, can I walk to my friend’s apartment when I feel sad? If I end up officially quarantined, can I walk around the park at night for some fresh air?”

It says journalists in the headline but really these are good reminders for anybody. Poynter: How journalists can fight stress from covering the coronavirus. “Journalists tell me they spend all day talking with experts who are warning that the worst is yet to come and with people who are worrying about how to keep themselves and their families healthy. They report cancellation after cancellation while watching their retirement savings dwindle in the Wall Street storm. My wife, licensed psychotherapist Sidney Tompkins, and I have been doing a lot of training for newsrooms and media organizations about traumatic stress and trauma. I asked Sidney what she would tell you this morning. ”

AlticeUSA: Altice USA Brings Free Broadband to K-12 and College Students During Coronavirus Pandemic. “Altice USA is committed to helping schools and students stay connected during this unprecedented time. For households with K-12 and/or college students who may be displaced due to school closures and who do not currently have home internet access, we are offering our Altice Advantage 30 Mbps broadband solution for free for 60 days to any new customer household within our footprint.”

Decaturish: Dear Decaturish – In response to coronavirus, resources for addicts move online. “In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, something amazing is happening that I think most people don’t realize. It’s historical but if you’re not a part of the 12-Step community you might not even know that it’s happening. For the first time in its entire history, an entire subsect of American culture is going digital. Millions of people, who suffer from alcoholism and addiction, are taking their meetings online. Over a dozen meetings in Decatur alone will now be streamed over the internet.”

The Atlantic: How You Should Get Food During the Pandemic. “If you’re not a person who keeps a stocked pantry, that’s when confusion sets in: Is it safe to order delivery, both for you and for the person bringing you food? Is it safe to go to a grocery store that might be packed with panicked people? How do you support community businesses while social distancing? How do you lessen the burden that you put on people in service jobs? It’s time for America to figure out how to feed itself during a pandemic.”


Google Blog: COVID-19: How we’re continuing to help. “For 21 years, Google’s mission has been to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. Helping people get the right information to stay healthy is more important than ever in the face of a global pandemic like COVID-19. Since my last update, we’ve accelerated our work to help people stay safe, informed and connected. Here are the latest developments in our ongoing global response.”

Radio .com: Coronavirus Twitter Emoji Makes Its Debut. “The coronavirus pandemic has spawned a new Twitter hashtag emoji for #handwashing: a pair of hands being lathered up by bubbly pink soap and rinsed by off by blue drops of water.”

CNET: Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian buys Times Square billboard about coronavirus. “Once described as the ‘Mayor of the Internet,’ Alexis Ohanian has reportedly bought a billboard in the real world to encourage people to stay home to avoid spreading the coronavirus.”

New York Times: The Man With 17,700 Bottles of Hand Sanitizer Just Donated Them. “A Tennessee man who became a subject of national scorn after stockpiling 17,700 bottles of hand sanitizer donated all of the supplies on Sunday just as the Tennessee attorney general’s office began investigating him for price gouging.”

The Register: Apple bans COVID-19 games and restricts virus-related apps to authoritative souces. “Apple has proclaimed it won’t let COVID-19-related games into its app store, because it’s the responsible thing to do. Cupertino’s new guidance issued to developers late last week said ‘Communities around the world are depending on apps to be credible news sources — helping users understand the latest health innovations, find out where they can get help if needed or provide assistance to their neighbors.'”

TechCrunch: Alphabet’s Verily launches its California COVID-19 test screening site in a limited pilot . “Alphabet-owned health technology company Verily has launched the COVID-19 screening site that was first misrepresented by President Trump as a broadly focused coronavirus web-based screening and testing utility developed by Google. After a flurry of blog posts by Google and Verily over the weekend, as well as a follow-up press conference by the White House, it became clear that the screening and testing site was a Verily project, limited in scope to California residents, with a specific focus on a couple of counties for now.”


NME: Australian music industry reports nearly $50million in lost income due to coronavirus and bushfires so far. “A new website has in the span of two days logged nearly $50million in lost income due to coronavirus- and bushfire-related cancellations. These numbers come from, which was launched by the Australian Music Industry Network and the Australian Festivals Association on Saturday, March 14 as a way of tracking the Aussie music industry’s financial losses.”

Malay Mail: Covid-19: What are Malaysia’s public universities doing? Online classes and more…. “Malaysia yesterday saw its highest-ever jump in Covid-19 cases when numbers of confirmed cases almost doubled to its current tally of 428 cases, further highlighting the need to ramp up precautionary measures to curb the spread of the virus…. Here’s a list of what all the 20 public universities in Malaysia have been doing or have announced this month up to noon today, based on their websites and official Facebook pages.”

CNN: Workers say gig companies doing ‘bare minimum’ during coronavirus outbreak. “One after the other, many gig companies have said in recent days that they will compensate workers diagnosed with coronavirus or placed under quarantine by public health authorities. Putting aside the fact a diagnosis may be difficult to prove given availability and criteria for a test, many workers can’t afford to stop working, yet fear contracting the virus. Now, some workers say there are inherent contradictions in how some companies are approaching them during the pandemic.”

Digital Trends: Coronavirus exposes digital disparities between students as learning goes online. “With universities across the country closing their campuses, canceling classes, and moving everything online, the coronavirus pandemic has complicated learning for many students and faculty, despite the wide use of technology to keep classes going. Perhaps the most basic issue is what students will do when they do not have reliable high-speed internet access.”

Man of Many: Steam Smashes Record with 19.7 Million Concurrent Players. “According to Steam’s own statistics tracker, peak player count hit 19,728,027 users Saturday morning, or late Saturday if we’re talking Australian EDT. The previous Steam record was set back in February this year with around 18.8 million concurrent players, making the new record close to 1 million greater.”

Notes from Poland: Polish museums, theatres and universities move online during coronavirus shutdown. “In response to the strict measures imposed by the Polish government to tackle the coronavirus outbreak, many Polish galleries, museums, universities and other institutions have turned to the internet to provide services to the shutdown nation.”

The Verge: Coronavirus screenings force travelers to wait hours in long lines at US airports. “Travelers entering the US from Europe waited for hours in long lines Saturday as new coronavirus screenings led to bottlenecks at major airports, the Washington Post reports. The Trump administration unveiled its new ‘enhanced entry screenings’ on Friday, which route passengers on flights from 26 European countries through 13 US airports, including Chicago’s O’Hare and Dallas-Fort Worth.”

The Guardian: Prepare for the coronavirus global recession. “If history is any guide, the global economy will eventually recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, but the idea that this is going to be a V-shaped recession in the first half of 2020 followed by a recovery in the second half of the year looks absurd after the tumultuous events of the past week.”

World Economic Forum: How a top Chinese university is responding to coronavirus. “The deadly coronavirus outbreak presents a host of challenges for different sectors of society. University campuses with their congregate settings are considered particularly susceptible to contagion. As China continues to battle the epidemic, universities across the country have followed public health guidance to shut campuses.”

LA Times: TV networks scramble and dig into archives to fill sports broadcasting void. “When U.S. professional basketball, hockey, baseball, soccer and football leagues, college and most high school sports shut down last week because of the global coronavirus pandemic, it left television network executives scrambling to fill hours of air time devoted to live sporting events. If the first weekend without live sports action is any indication, the pickings are going to be pretty slim for those who are holed up in their living rooms with the TV remote in one hand and a bottle of hand sanitizer in the other.”


SingularityHub: Coronavirus: Seven Ways Collective Intelligence Is Tackling the Pandemic. “Advances in digital technologies have transformed what can be achieved through collective intelligence in recent years—connecting more of us, augmenting human intelligence with machine intelligence, and helping us to generate new insights from novel sources of data. It is particularly suited to addressing fast-evolving, complex global problems such as disease outbreaks. Here are seven ways it is tackling the coronavirus pandemic.”

CNET: Coronavirus vaccines and treatment: Everything you need to know. “Since it was first discovered as the causative agent of the new disease, scientists have been racing to get a better understanding of the virus’ genetic makeup, how it infects cells and how to effectively treat it. Currently there’s no cure and medical specialists can only treat the symptoms of the disease. However, the long-term strategy to combat COVID-19, which has spread to every continent on Earth besides Antarctica, will be to develop a vaccine.”

The Conversation: How to flatten the curve of coronavirus, a mathematician explains. “This general concept of slowing the virus’s spread has been termed “flattening the curve” by epidemiologists – experts who study how often diseases occur in different populations, and why. The term has become widespread on social media as the public is encouraged to practise ‘social distancing’. But how does social distancing help to flatten the curve? We can explain by referring to what mathematicians call ‘exponential growth’.”

BusinessWire: ClosedLoop. ai Announces Release of Free Open Source AI-based Tool to Identify Individuals Vulnerable to Severe Complications of COVID-19 (PRESS RELEASE). “, Healthcare’s Data Science Platform, announced the release of the COVID-19 Vulnerability Index (CV19 Index) — a free, open-source tool designed to help healthcare organizations identify and protect individuals that are most vulnerable to COVID-19. By releasing the CV19 Index as free and open-source, ClosedLoop aims to distribute this tool as widely and quickly as possible while leveraging the collective knowledge and experience of the open source community to quickly improve the Index.”

NBC News: Sixty percent believe worst is yet to come for the U.S. in coronavirus pandemic. “A majority of American voters say they’re worried that someone in their immediate family might catch the coronavirus, and 6 in 10 believe the worst is yet to come in the U.S., according to a new national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.”


Neowin: Malicious Coronavirus tracking app for Android locks users out of their device. “If you are thinking of installing an app on your Android device from a third-party source to keep track of the coronavirus outbreak, think again. It has been discovered that CovidLock posing as a COVID-19 tracking app is a malicious ransomware Android app in disguise that is locking users out of their phones.”

Washington Post: Without guidance from the top, Americans have been left to figure out their own coronavirus solutions. “They prayed and turned to neighbors. They listened to public health experts on television. They listened to their gut. As the country lurched toward its first collective counteroffensive to the rapidly escalating coronavirus crisis, the big and small decisions in the mobilization fell largely to nervous parents, wary pastors, incredulous mayors and harried desk workers who waited in vain for clear guidance from federal authorities.”

New York Times: When Facebook Is More Trustworthy Than the President. “After four years in which social media has been viewed as an antisocial force, the crisis is revealing something surprising, and a bit retro: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and others can actually deliver on their old promise to democratize information and organize communities, and on their newer promise to drain the toxic information swamp. The question, which I put to Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive of Facebook, in an interview Thursday, is why it took a global health crisis for them to do so.”

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