Monday CoronaBuzz, March 30, 2020: 35 pointers to new resources, useful stuff, research news, and more.

This newsletter now has its own Twitter account at @buzz_corona. I have managed to kludge up an IFTTT recipe so the same tweets will also appear on the @ResearchBuzz Twitter feed, only the hashtags aren’t good and the link is to RB Firehose, and not directly to the articles. I apologize but it’s the best I can do without adding a good chunk to my workflow. I’m only doing one of these newsletters a day so they’re going to be enormous. Wash your hands. I love you.


Metro: Mental health support website launched for NHS staff battling coronavirus. “Trained cognitive behavioural hypnotherapists Slee Parrish and Alex James designed NHS in Mind after feeling that staff were being ‘sent out with watering cans to put out a bush fire’. The new website features instructions for a set of eight techniques, accompanied by simple YouTube videos, for employees who are experiencing feelings of fear or stress while at work.” These are basic, quick exercises that look like they’d be good for anybody experiencing anxiety or stress.

Patch: MA Coronavirus: Companies Can Donate, Sell Protective Gear Online. “State officials have launched a new website allowing companies to donate or sell masks, gloves and other personal protective equipment to hospitals battling the new coronavirus. Gov. Charlie Baker announced the launch of the state’s ‘COVID-19 PPE Procurement and Donation Program.’ The site went live Sunday.” The site also has volunteering opportunities.

KCRG: New website hopes to streamline small businesses efforts to stay open. “While [Adamn] Hadjis and many other restaurants struggle to adapt in these unprecedented times, Monica Vernon, the Executive Director of the Czech Village New Bohemia, is hoping to streamline people’s efforts with a new website “Loveyourlocaliowa. The website launches Monday and will allow businesses to show people what they are doing to stay open while also giving customers a chance to learn how to get in touch with them all in one place.” The formatting for the URL is a little messed up; I’m hoping that’ll be fixed.

News 5 Cleveland: Web developer creates website to help shoppers navigate COVID-19 pandemic. “With COVID-19 concerns causing many to panic-buy items at the grocery store, getting the essentials might end up a struggle for many shoppers. That’s how one web developer got the idea for a new website to help shoppers out., the website created by Chris Violette, allows users to check the stores around them and see what they have in stock before they leave the house.”

Williamson Herald: UT Extension identifies resources for direct farm marketers during COVID-19 outbreak. “Like other businesses and families, Tennessee’s direct farm marketers, value-added agriculture entrepreneurs and agritourism operators are facing new and imposing challenges posed by the COVID-19 outbreak and by local, state and national efforts to flatten the curve of infections. Navigating the situation is a daunting task, so the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture has developed a website to support farmers who are making critical decisions and business adjustments.”

Hawaii News Now: Entrepreneurs launch website to collect data, provide info on coronvirus in Hawaii. “A group of entrepreneurs with Hawaii ties is launching a new website to provide information to the public — and to gather data on the spread of COVID-19 in the islands. The ‘Hawaii Towards Zero’ website was developed by Traven Watase, Rose Wong, Denise Sangalang and Leo Koloamatangi. Their site will include links ranging from local businesses to health advice and financial tips for those affected by the coronavirus.”

The Local France: France sets up website for people wanting to help out during coronavirus crisis. “The French government site aims to connect those who need help during the strict lockdown with those who want to help – while keeping to the principle of social distancing to avoid spreading coronavirus further.”

PR Newswire: Trip. com launches COVID-19 international traveler’s guide (PRESS RELEASE). ” In light of the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on international travel, today launched the ‘COVID-19 International Traveler’s Guide’, a one-stop information source designed to make planning travel safer and easier in a period of uncertainty.” Am kind of ambivalent about posting this. On one hand I don’t think you should travel if you can possibly avoid it. On the other hand I can imagine scenarios where you can’t avoid it.

KTVL: My NeighbOR initiative helps over 200 foster families during COVID-19. “According to Lynette Hasse, Every Child Director of Jackson County, ‘As of Friday, there have been 650 Oregonians that have stepped up to say they would like to help the foster care crisis and 207 foster families have stepped up to say “we need help.”‘ My NeighbOR was created to help foster children and foster families during the COVID-19 spread throughout Oregon.”

Reason: New Twitter Feed, @EpidemicLaw, for Posts About Law and Epidemics (and This Epidemic). “I’ll post links there to interesting new items, from both our blog and elsewhere.” That’s pretty much the whole article.

Vintage Guitar: Vintage Guitar Opens Large Digital Back Issue Archives to All. “Subscribers to Vintage Guitar enjoy access to the magazine’s online digital archive of every complete issue going back to 2013. Now, to celebrate our 400th issue and help entertain homebound guitarists worldwide, we are waiving the subscription requirement and making the entire archive available to everyone for the next two months (ends May 31, 20120.)”

PR Newswire: NotForgotten Announces Free Video Archives to Record the Real History of the COVID-19 Pandemic (PRESS RELEASE). “NotForgotten enables users to capture stories, significant life events and journal them through an easy-to-use app interface. NotForgotten is inviting the general public to contribute to a future, accurate record of history. People can share their personal experience of the COVID-19 pandemic that will be immortalized for generations to come.”


Slate: My Anxiety About COVID-19 Is Through the Roof. “I want to begin by saying this: Anyone who is not anxious right now is in denial. That’s fine: If denial helps them to cope, I’m not criticizing them—as long as they are also following the guidelines for social distancing, hand-washing, and other sensible precautions.”

Food & Wine: How to Support Your Favorite Wineries During the Pandemic. “The wine industry as a whole is bracing for the reality of continued uncertainty. From California to Oregon and Washington, east to Texas, Virginia, and New York, along with every state in America where wine is made, wineries are adapting as fast as they can. The best advice the industry is giving itself is: don’t panic; and to everyone else the message is: keep buying wine.”

TODAY: This anti-bullying advocate is hosting virtual knitting circles. Here’s how to join. “Twice a day, Shira Blumenthal has become a calming presence for her followers who join her for Facebook Live knitting sessions while they’re practicing social distancing. It’s about ‘having that opportunity not only to talk to someone, but see someone,’ she told TODAY. ‘I’m cooped up in my apartment in Manhattan with my two cats. I am quarantining and haven’t seen any people and it’s hard for me.'”

CNET: How to help restaurants, hospitals and people during the coronavirus outbreak. “While the world braces for cases of the COVID-19 disease to swell and for the economic and social impacts to fully make themselves known, read on for ways you can act — from donating personal protective equipment to hospitals to remote volunteering or sending a letter to a stranger just to let them know you’re there.”

Philadelphia Inquirer: The best ways to professionally network while socially distancing during coronavirus. “A record 3.3 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, the U.S. Department of Labor reported Thursday. And 540,000 of those new lost jobs claims came from Pennsylvanians, the Labor Department reported.This makes it even more important to stay connected as business conversations resume on Slack, Skype and Zoom from our dining room tables.”

Wired: Coronavirus lies are going viral. It’s essential we all fight back. “Once again, the agents of disinformation are hijacking the algorithms of social media to sow chaos and confusion. Some are doing so to make money, others more maliciously to undermine public trust in our governments and institutions. As the coronavirus lockdowns continue, and the infection rates continue to rise, these problems will only get worse. At a time when people need to be able to rely on accurate public information, this problem is more serious than ever.”

Chicago Tribune: Bored and on a budget? Here’s how to read for free while social distancing. “In the past week, publishers and audio entertainment companies have offered a deluge of free e-books and audiobooks to keep readers of all ages engaged while they’re hunkered down at home. Parents, teachers and kids can choose from electronic editions of beloved stories such as Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein,’ Ann McGovern’s ‘Stone Soup,’ Jack London’s ‘The Call of the Wild’ and Charlotte Brontë’s ‘Jane Eyre.'”


New York Times: Liberty University Brings Back Its Students, and Coronavirus, Too. “Mr. Falwell — a staunch ally of President Trump and an influential voice in the evangelical world — reopened the university last week, igniting a firestorm, epidemiologically and otherwise. As of Friday, Dr. Eppes said, nearly a dozen Liberty students were sick with symptoms that suggest Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus. Three were referred to local hospital centers for testing. Another eight were told to self-isolate.”

Hindustan Times: Zoom, the viral video conferencing app, races to the top of Google Play Store. “On the Google Play Store (India version), Zoom’s Android app is at the top under the ‘top free’ section. The app is followed by TikTok, UVideo, Aaj Tak, Helo, and Shareit. WhatsApp is at the sixth position of the rankings. Zoom, rated 4 stars on Play Store, has over 50 million downloads. Most downloads have come in the recent weeks.”

Search Engine Journal: Facebook Focusing on Live Streaming As Usage Spikes During COVID-19 Lockdowns. “Facebook is abruptly shifting the focus of product development toward live streaming as COVID-19 lockdowns lead to increased demand. Fidji Simo, head of the Facebook app, told Bloomberg over the weekend that Facebook Live is ‘exploding’ right now.”


Defense One: How to Counter China’s Coronavirus Disinformation Campaign. “Whether we like it or not, the United States is engaged on a new battlefield defined by the ‘speed, spread, and accessibility of information,’ as P.W. Singer and Emerson T. Brooking write in their prescient book, Like War: The Weaponization of Social Media. But our government does not appear to have received the memo. As a result, we’re losing the global war over the narrative about COVID-19 in the midst of a global pandemic. And there is much more at stake than words.”

The Globe and Mail: Love is not cancelled: How these Canadians found coronavirus-safe ways to mark weddings, birthdays and more. “They were about to get married, retire from a fire department, celebrate the end of cancer treatment – and then COVID-19 changed their plans. These are their stories.”

DMARGE: Influencers Face Criticism For ‘Blogging As Usual’ During Bali Shutdown. “Indonesia has so far recorded just 790 positive cases of Covid-19 across a nation of more than 270 million, and 58 deaths. However, ‘For the past few days, the number of positive cases has increased by about 100 each day.’ ‘Many health care professionals fear Indonesia is on the brink of a crisis and that the true number of cases and deaths is much higher.’ In other words: for now, stay inside. This is exactly what couple Marie Fe and Jake Snow, who make a living blogging the world, are doing.”

The Guardian: New Zealand site to report Covid-19 rule-breakers crashes amid spike in lockdown anger. “So many New Zealanders have reported their neighbours to the authorities for breaking lockdown rules that a new police website to record such incidents crashed. More than 2,000 people rang an emergency police line last week to report rule-breakers. As a result, a dedicated website was set up in the hope it would dissuade them from ringing 111.”

Asharq Al-Awsat: Exclusive – Egyptians Turn to Jokes to Break Fear Barrier amid Coronavirus. “Traffic in Cairo, which used to move at 11 kilometers an hour before the virus struck, has now reached humanly possible limits. The choice to remain in self-isolation is being laxly implemented during the day and turns into curfew at night at the order of the prime minister. This has weighed heavily on nighttime internet traffic. People have clamored to send and receive information about the pandemic, but above all else, they exchange jokes in order to break the barrier of fear.”

Ahval News: Confined to homes, Turks post comedic lockdown videos on social media. “As Turkey’s deadly coronavirus figures continue to soar, the public is seeking to lighten the sombre atmosphere created by the nation-wide restrictions in effect during the pandemic. People have been creating comical social media videos about the hurdles faced in complying with the precautionary measures.”

Tech Times: Social Media Misinformation That Led to 300 Deaths in Iran Claimed That Drinking Methanol was a Cure for COVID-19. “300 Iranians have died and at least 1,000 became sick from poisoning after drinking methanol. This was because of misinformation being passed around saying that it was a cure for the novel coronavirus or COVID-19.”

Vice: Instagram Parents Are Documenting ‘Baby’s First Pandemic’. “As we all try to find levity by any means possible, some parents have turned to a new Instagram milestone: “baby’s first pandemic,” the hashtag for which has close to 1,300 associated Instagram posts as of this writing. (There’s also #myfirstpandemic.)”

Canton Repository: Readers flock to apocalyptic fiction amid coronavirus outbreak. “Many people are choosing to seek out fiction that hits close to home right now. Rachel Colby’s choice for a recent Sunday night movie was hardly the sort of escapism that many people seek in times of crisis. Instead, it was the all-too-real 2011 Matt Damon movie ‘Contagion.’ But rather than add to any possible distress due to the current coronavirus crisis, the film about a deadly infection spreading across the globe allayed some of Colby’s fears.”


Khaleej Times: BCG vaccine a potential new tool to fight Covid-19: Study. “Examining how the Covid-19 has impacted different countries, researchers have found that Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG), a vaccine for tuberculosis (TB), could be a potential new tool in the fight against the disease.”


CNN: Exclusive: Justice Department reviews stock trades by lawmakers after coronavirus briefings. “The Justice Department has started to probe a series of stock transactions made by lawmakers ahead of the sharp market downturn stemming from the spread of coronavirus, according to two people familiar with the matter.”

Turkey Purge: Turkey investigates at least 372 social media users over coronavirus posts: report. “Turkish prosecutors have launched investigations into 372 people due to their social media posts or behavior that violates prohibitions aimed at controlling the spread of the new coronavirus. As part of the investigations, three people have been arrested and three others have been indicted, while 21 of them have been released from detention on judicial probation.”

New York Times: The U.S. Tried to Build a New Fleet of Ventilators. The Mission Failed.. “Today, with the coronavirus ravaging America’s health care system, the nation’s emergency-response stockpile is still waiting on its first shipment. The scarcity of ventilators has become an emergency, forcing doctors to make life-or-death decisions about who gets to breathe and who does not. The stalled efforts to create a new class of cheap, easy-to-use ventilators highlight the perils of outsourcing projects with critical public-health implications to private companies; their focus on maximizing profits is not always consistent with the government’s goal of preparing for a future crisis.”

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