Tuesday CoronaBuzz, March 31, 2020: 32 pointers to new resources, useful stuff, research news, and more.

The IFTTT kludge I’m using to retweet @corona_buzz to @ResearchBuzz on Twitter isn’t going to work; it maxes out at 25 per day. I’m going to try to use HootSuite in tandem with Buffer, though I am not a HootSuite fan. On a scale of 1-10, this problem is like a -2 so I really need to shut my mouth. I’m only doing one of these newsletters a day so they’re going to be enormous. Wash your hands. I love you.


Supermarket Perimeter: New data modeling tool can help retailers predict consumer demand from COVID-19 for free. “Data forecasting company, Crisp, has developed a new tool that uses real-time European consumer date to help US grocers and food manufacturers predict consumer behaviors resulting from the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the country.”

The Press Democrat: Analy High grads create Disinfect Connect, a database connecting distilleries with nursing homes, hospitals that need hand sanitizer. “Amid a nationwide shortage of hand sanitizer and other disinfectants that nursing homes, hospitals and most everyone else relies on to stop the spread of germs, Analy High School graduate Miles Pepper wanted to help. His idea: connect those most in need of such products with those who might provide them. The result is Disinfect Connect, an online database whipped together last week by Pepper, a close friend from the class of 2013 and a variety of others, including several other Analy alumni, who volunteered their skills and time to make the project a reality.”

Brian Kemp, Governor of Georgia: Gov. Kemp: DCA Launches New Resources for Georgians to Access High-Speed Internet. “To support social distancing requirements, broadband providers are offering various options for Georgians to connect to the internet. By visiting, Georgians can find locations to which they can drive for accessing WiFi around the state, made available from telecommunications cooperatives and government agencies. While many public libraries are currently closed, some are still offering limited services such as WiFi outside their buildings.”

WKAR: Gov. Whitmer Urges Volunteerism At New State Website. “On Monday Whitmer signed two supplemental budgets that will send another $150 million towards the fight against COVID-19. To date, Michigan has conducted at least 15,000 tests for the coronavirus, but officials warn the state is still several weeks away from the peak. Whitmer is urging the public to volunteer at a new website: .”

Statesman: Out of stock? UT students build website to track store inventories amid pandemic. “Rithwik Pattikonda and Darshan Bhatta, a sophomore and freshman studying computer science, recently launched, a website designed to check inventories of big stores like Target and CVS and tell users where they can find the items they need.”

Wine Industry Advisor: Wineries Versus the Virus. “St. Helena-based publicist Julie Ann Kodmur has launched a website which gathers in one place the programs her clients have put in place because of the Coronavirus.”

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Emory launches a new online tool for COVID-19 screening. “Is it COVID-19, a common cold or seasonal allergies? And, if it is likely COVID-19, do you need to go to the ER?Emory doctors have helped to create a new online tool…that allows people to screen themselves for symptoms of the coronavirus and to receive recommendations on what to do next.”

NECN: Vt. Businesses Struggling With COVID-19 Losses Get New Promotional Boost. “Monday, positive tests for COVID-19 in Vermont climbed to 256, up 21 from Sunday, while deaths remained flat at 12, according to the Vermont Department of Health. Positive test results are expected to continue climbing, as the state recently made more options for testing available by a doctor’s referral, said Dr. Mark Levine, Vermont’s health commissioner. Meanwhile, as losses to many small businesses grow day-by-day during the COVID-19 crisis, a new push is underway in Vermont to encourage support for mom-and-pop operations.”


Tom’s Guide: How to share your screen on Zoom. “With more people using Zoom than ever before, we’ve put together a general how to use Zoom guide and more specific step-by-step guides on how to set up a Zoom meeting, how to join a Zoom meeting and how to see everyone on Zoom.”

Glamour: Look What Quarantine Made Me Do: One Millennial’s Guide to Using TikTok. “…this week I jumped on the bandwagon and started learning how to use TikTok, the popular social media app responsible for all those viral dance routines and heartwarming quarantine moments that everyone has been sharing on other social media apps. Sure, when it was called, it was a somewhat pointless app that let kids lip-synch to songs (why?), but now it’s used to make hilarious memes and killer makeup transformations. Rihanna is even dedicating an entire house to producing these vids, so it’s cool and I want in.”

9to5Google: How to mute coronavirus-related content on Twitter. “It’s great to stay informed about what’s going on in the world, but it’s also very much possible to be over-informed. As the novel coronavirus wreaks havoc on the world, one of the easiest ways to control your level of information intake is Twitter mute filters. I needed them, so I thought you might too. Here’s how to cut down on coronavirus content on Twitter…” Includes a list of selected keywords to mute.

American Alliance of Museums: How Museums Can Experiment with Social Media to Boost Audience Engagement During Coronavirus (Webinar). The Webinar takes place tomorrow, April 1. “Cuseum will be hosting another webinar (#3), on what has become an on-going webinar series on adapting and responding during COVID-19. This week, we’ll have special guests Hilary-Morgan Watt (Digital Engagement Manager @ Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden), & Emily Haight (Social Media Manager @ New-York Historical Society) as they talk through the ways museums can begin experimenting with social media, hashtags, digital outreach, and other means to boost engagement among their audiences.”

WCYB: Dolly Parton will read children’s books at bedtime on social media. “Beginning on Thursday, April 2, at 7 p.m., Dolly Parton will be reading a children’s book for bedtime in a series entitled ‘Goodnight with Dolly.’ Dolly will welcome the viewers and introduces the title, author and illustrator. She will be reading it on her social channels.”

The Guardian: Smartify makes all museum audio tours free for rest of 2020. “Stories behind art treasures such as Delacroix’s The Death of Sardanapalus in the Louvre and a 19th-century relief of Phaeton driving the Chariot of the Sun at the Royal Academy of Arts are to made free for the rest of the year by the world’s most downloaded museum app. Smartify is often known as the ‘Shazam for art’ app in that it allows people to identify works of art by simply scanning them on a smartphone. It has about 2m artworks from more than 120 venues.”


New York Times: ‘Emergency’ Online Library Draws Ire of Some Authors. “After NPR and The New Yorker ran reports praising the National Emergency Library (the headline over the historian Jill Lepore’s essay in The New Yorker called it “a gift to readers everywhere”), several prominent writers, including Colson Whitehead, took to social media to condemn the project.” I just checked to see if any of my books are in the Emergency Library. Several of them are. If you want to read them you go right ahead. They’re old but I recommend WEB SEARCH GARAGE and INFORMATION TRAPPING as they’re more philosophical (how I search and more importantly how I think about search)

Internet Archive: Internet Archive responds: Why we released the National Emergency Library. “According to IMLS FY17 Public Libraries survey (the last fiscal year for which data is publicly available), in FY17 there were more than 716 million physical books in US public libraries. Using the same data, which shows a 2-3% decline in collection holdings per year, we can estimate that public libraries have approximately 650 million books on their shelves in 2020. Right now, today, there are 650 million books that tax-paying citizens have paid to access that are sitting on shelves in closed libraries, inaccessible to them. And that’s just in public libraries.”

NPR: Facebook Pledges $100 Million To Aid News Outlets Hit Hard By Pandemic. “Facebook says it’s dedicating $100 million to prop up news organizations pummeled by the financial effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Just two weeks ago, the company announced it would devote $1 million to aid local newsrooms in the U.S. and Canada covering the crisis. It turns out, Facebook was already thinking about giving far more.”

Arab News: King Salman orders free coronavirus treatment in Saudi Arabia, including residency violators. “King Salman has ordered free treatment be provided to all coronavirus patients in all government and private health facilities in Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom’s health minister, Dr. Tawfiq bin Fawzan Al-Rabiah, announced the king’s order at a press conference in Riyadh on Monday and said it included citizens and residents – even those in violation of residency laws.”


CBS Philly: Coronavirus Cleaning: Exclusive Behind-The-Scenes Look At Technology Used To Clean Potentially Contaminated Areas. “Cleaning crews are dealing with a heavier workload during the coronavirus pandemic as they head into potentially contaminated spaces. CBS3 got an exclusive look at the technology used to get the job done.”

Washington Post: ‘We care, we grieve, we love’: Dispatches from doctors, nurses on the front lines in the battle against coronavirus. “An emergency room doctor in New Jersey who had to intubate a fellow physician. A doctor in New York who had to tell her patient’s wife he was dying over FaceTime. An ICU nurse in Michigan who had to spend a 13-hour shift caring for two critically ill patients essentially on her own. These are just some of the firsthand accounts from health professionals in emergency departments and critical care units across the United States that have emerged on social media in recent weeks — providing raw, unfiltered glimpses into the lives of those on the front lines of the country’s battle against the novel coronavirus.”

Smithsonian Magazine: Shuttered Museums Use Social Media to Share Bouquets of Floral Artwork. “Last week, museums started showing love to one another by posting photos of floral artwork labeled with the hashtag #MuseumBouquet, reports Noor Brara for artnet News. The New-York Historical Society and the Smithsonian Institution’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden kicked off the trend by sending digital bouquets to other art institutions. The former shared its first petaled missive—a cluster of apple blossoms painted by American artist Martin Johnson Heade—with the Smithsonian American Art Museum, while the latter sent Tate Britain ‘a little cheer’ in the form of an Andy Warhol bouquet.”

Japan Times: Fashion week is compelled to go online. “The runway shows and their accompanying exhibitions, where buyers’ orders are actually taken, incur astronomical costs. The size of the brand doesn’t matter, they all have to send out invitations via PR agencies, book models and plan after-parties — a significant financial outlay that must be recouped though sales in order to survive. For smaller brands, fashion weeks are already a gamble.”

Vice: Whole Foods Employees Are Staging a Nationwide ‘Sick-Out’. “Whole Foods employees are planning to strike on Tuesday to protest the lack of protections offered to workers during the coronavirus pandemic—the first national collective action led by workers at the company since it was founded in 1980. On March 31, Whole Foods employees will call in sick to demand paid leave for all workers who stay home or self-quarantine during the crisis, free coronavirus testing for all employees, and hazard pay of double the current hourly wage for employees who show up to work during the pandemic.”

Vice: General Electric Workers Launch Protest, Demand to Make Ventilators. “On Monday, General Electric factory workers launched two separate protests demanding that the company convert its jet engine factories to make ventilators. At GE’s Lynn, Massachusetts aviation facility, workers held a silent protest, standing six feet apart. Union members at the company’s Boston headquarters also marched six feet apart, calling on the company to use its factories to help the country close its ventilator shortage amid the coronavirus pandemic.”

WZTV: Social Media movements encourage communities to produce masks amid COVID-19 shortage. “The COVID-19 outbreak is leading to a shortage of face masks, but an increase in creativity. Social media movements are encouraging communities to produce makeshift masks for the most vulnerable.”


New York Times: Restrictions Are Slowing Coronavirus Infections, New Data Suggest. “Harsh measures, including stay-at-home orders and restaurant closures, are contributing to rapid drops in the numbers of fevers — a signal symptom of most coronavirus infections — recorded in states across the country, according to intriguing new data produced by a medical technology firm.”

EurekAlert: New tool exploring different paths the corona pandemic may take. “Umeå University in Sweden is leading a team of researchers across Europe in the development of a coronavirus simulation framework that can support decision makers to experiment and evaluate possible interventions and their combined effects, in a simulated controlled world.”

Medical XPress (University of Sydney): World-first tool to improve COVID-19 diagnosis, free and online. “The cloud-based life-saving technology, developed by Australian-based radiation and imaging experts DetectED-X, will help doctors and radiologists diagnose cases faster and more accurately. Computed tomography (CT) lung scans, which produce cross-sectional images using X-rays and computers, have typically been used after swabs are taken, to identify the extent and location of the disease; the CT scans produce images within minutes and are also able to diagnose COVID-19 in the very early stages that escape detection with the nucleic acid tests.”

Datanami: DarwinAI Unleashes COVID-Net. “Differentiating between COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 pneumonia on x-rays or CT scans is key to quickly diagnosing the disease in critically ill patients, but differentiation can be difficult for humans, leaving ample room for AI to improve the process. COVID-Net isn’t the first tool to apply AI for COVID-19 diagnosis: early in the pandemic, Chinese hospitals deployed an AI-powered detection tool by Beijing startup Infervision at 34 hospitals, helping to examine more than 32,000 patients, and another Chinese AI-based model was trained by China’s first petascale supercomputer to perform a similar function.”

WLNY: Exclusive: First Coronavirus Survivors Offering Antibodies, Hope For Others’ Recoveries. “The Tri-State Area’s first COVID-19 survivors are beginning to come out of isolation, and that is giving researchers hope they can harness those patients’ antibodies to fight the disease in others.”


The Atlantic: Exclusive: Kushner Firm Built the Coronavirus Website Trump Promised. “On March 13, President Donald Trump promised Americans they would soon be able to access a new website that would ask them about their symptoms and direct them to nearby coronavirus testing sites. He said Google was helping. That wasn’t true. But in the following days, Oscar Health—a health-insurance company closely connected to Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner—developed a government website with the features the president had described. A team of Oscar engineers, project managers, and executives spent about five days building a stand-alone website at the government’s request, an Oscar spokesperson told The Atlantic. The company even dispatched two employees from New York to meet in person with federal officials in Washington, D.C., the spokesperson said. Then the website was suddenly and mysteriously scrapped.”

FBI: FBI Warns of Teleconferencing and Online Classroom Hijacking During COVID-19 Pandemic. “As large numbers of people turn to video-teleconferencing (VTC) platforms to stay connected in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, reports of VTC hijacking (also called ‘Zoom-bombing’) are emerging nationwide. The FBI has received multiple reports of conferences being disrupted by pornographic and/or hate images and threatening language.”

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