Wednesday CoronaBuzz, April 1, 2020: 44 pointers to new resources, useful stuff, research news, and more.

Set up HootSuite, so now tweets about these resources will appear on both my @ResearchBuzz Twitter account and @buzz_corona . Hope this newsletter is doing somebody some good and all y’all are feeling okay. I’m only doing one of these newsletters a day so they’re going to be enormous. Wash your hands and stay at home as much as you can. I love you.


Spotted on Reddit: Coronavirus Phishing Scams. “Hackers are taking advantage of the coronavirus chaos to trick people into handing over personal details, sensitive information and money. Hundreds of thousands of Covid-19 emails are being sent every week and some cyber security experts say the virus has become the largest theme for phishing scams in years, if not ever. This site collates them and categorises them by attributes.”

CNET: Facebook rolls out tool to make it easier to help during the coronavirus outbreak. “Called Community Help and released in the US and four other countries on Tuesday, the online hub displays fundraisers and posts from Facebook users within 50 miles of their location who are requesting or offering assistance. Users can filter posts by categories such as supplies, transportation and business support, making it easier for them to connect with the right person or volunteer group. People on Facebook are already using features such as groups to help out, but the new Community Help tool will display all this information in one place.”

ABC News: ‘Calling all scientists’: Experts volunteer for virus fight. “Michael Wells was looking for a chance to use his scientific training to help fight the coronavirus when — on the same day the pandemic forced his lab to temporarily close — he decided to create his own opportunity. ‘CALLING ALL SCIENTISTS,’ he tweeted on March 18. ‘Help me in creating a national database of researchers willing and able to aid in local COVID-19 efforts. This info will be a resource for institutions/(government) agencies upon their request.’ That’s how the 34-year-old neuroscientist at the Broad Institute and Harvard University launched a national effort to marshal scientists to volunteer in the fight against the virus.”

CNET: Comcast launches home schooling resources on Xfinity. “Comcast has announced bringing 2,000 hours of kids’ shows and movies to Xfinity on Demand streaming video customers for free. It’s part of the internet provider’s aim of providing educational content available for children and parents self-isolating or quarantining at home during the spread of the coronavirus.”

EurekAlert: D-Wave provides free quantum cloud access for global response to COVID-19. “D-Wave Systems Inc., the leader in quantum computing systems, software, and services, today announced the immediate availability of free access to its quantum systems via the Leap quantum cloud service for anyone working on responses to the COVID-19 crisis. Joining the effort are partners and customers including CINECA, DENSO, Forschungszentrum Jülich, Kyocera Corporation, KYOCERA Communication Systems, MDR/Cliffhanger, Menten AI, NEC Solution Innovators Ltd., OTI Lumionics, QAR Lab at LMU Munich, Sigma-i, Tohoku University, and Volkswagen, who will provide access to engineering teams with expertise on how to use the quantum computer and formulate problems, as well as help in developing solutions.”

A newly-open archive: Baseball Digest. From the front page: “As fans await the return of Baseball on the field, Baseball Digest has unlocked its archive and made its complete inventory of more than 800 issues from 1942 through 2019 available to baseball fans at no cost online. We hope during these unprecedented times this may, in some small way, help fill the void until we can all return to the ballpark.”

BusinessWire: National Labor Exchange Launches Job Resource to Support Displaced Workers During Pandemic (PRESS RELEASE). “Today, nonprofits DirectEmployers Association and the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA), announce the launch of, a job site dedicated to providing a centralized location for displaced workers to access employment opportunities from U.S. corporations with immediate hiring needs due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Powered by the National Labor Exchange (NLx), the site houses jobs from vetted employers in all industries and provides an opportunity for Americans to return to work and gain meaningful employment.”

PR Newswire: Clinical Trial Media Introduces New Website, Covid19ClinicalTrial. com (PRESS RELEASE). “The website is designed to help average people make sense of the ever-changing research landscape of the global COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) pandemic. The website will provide useful information and some much-needed hope, all based on facts and scientific studies, regarding how clinical research is evolving and leading the charge for a vaccine and treatment.”

Morocco World News: CGEM Guides Moroccan Companies Through COVID-19 Crisis Via New Website. “The bilingual platform, available in Arabic and French, offers regularly-updated information and advice for businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The website also contains the latest coronavirus-related news such as the number of COVID-19 cases in Morocco, along with the various initiatives launched to support Moroccan companies and entrepreneurs.”

WRAL: New website helps consumers find local farmers selling meat in bulk. “To help address the increased demand for meat and higher prices due to Covid-19, NC Choices, a program of the Center for Environmental Farming Systems and NC Cooperative Extension, launched Through the website, consumers can find nearby local farms selling pasture-raised meat in bulk quantities.” Oddly, this site is available for just North Carolina and New York.

NASA: #NASAatHome – Let NASA Bring the Universe to Your Home. “NASA at Home offers something for the whole family. It brings together a repository of binge-worthy videos and podcasts, engaging E-books on a variety of topics, do-it-yourself projects, and virtual and augmented reality tours, which include the agency’s Hubble Space Telescope and International Space Station, as well as an app that puts you in the pilot’s seat of a NASA aircraft.”

Irish Legal News: New website tracks use of online courts amid coronavirus pandemic. “Legal technologist Professor Richard Susskind, who is president of the Society for Computers and Law, said is ‘designed to help the global community of justice workers – judges, lawyers, court officials, litigants, court technologists – to share their experiences of “remote” alternatives to traditional court hearings’.”

TechCrunch: Wide Open School organizes free educational resources to help parents and teachers homeschool. “Nearly 300 million kids are missing school worldwide because of the coronavirus outbreak, including some 54 million in the U.S. alone. That’s left parents scrambling for resources to help continue their children’s education, often while also working from home themselves — an almost insurmountable challenge. Today, the nonprofit media organization Common Sense is launching a site to help parents.”

StateScoop: New York City launches portal to crowdsource COVID-19 information. “New York City’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications this week launched a new website aimed at getting residents to contribute to the city’s response to the novel coronavirus pandemic by self-reporting symptoms or encounters with people who may have been diagnosed with the COVID-19 illness.”

PR Newswire: Sterile Processing Platform, oneSOURCE, Creates Free Database to Address COVID-19 Pandemic (PRESS RELEASE). “Today, oneSOURCE, a leading healthcare management solution, announced a new database to assist healthcare professionals during the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) pandemic. The COVID-19 database will be available to new and current users at no cost and will feature tools that include instructions for use (IFUs) to help protect healthcare workers, reduce community spread and maintain patient safety related to ventilators, respirators, bypass machines, and reusable surgical gowns.”


SiriusXM: Howard Stern Announces Free Access To Full SiriusXM Premier Streaming Service Through May 15. “Listeners will have free access to more than 300 channels of dynamic programming, featuring the acclaimed TheHoward Stern Show, hundreds of exclusive ad-free music channels, and vital news and information sources. SiriusXM is also adding entirely new curated content, and bringing back some beloved music channels by top artists. #StayHome Radio, a feel-good, ad-free music channel, will launch April 1 on the streaming platform and channel 179 on most SiriusXM radios. The channel will feature happy and uplifting songs from artists like Lizzo and Coldplay to P!nk and Bob Marley.” A credit card will not be required to access the content.

TechRepublic: IBM providing 9 free public cloud business services to customers during coronavirus pandemic. “With more and more companies seeking ways to get their essential work done with a workforce that is now primarily home-based during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, IBM has joined a legion of IT vendors that have been offering some of their critical IT applications and services for free to existing customers to help in this time of crisis.”

Inside the Magic: British Library Makes “Harry Potter: A History of Magic” Exhibit Available Online For Free. “The British Library has decided to make its exhibit: ‘Harry Potter: A History of Magic’ available online so everyone magic-born and muggle alike can have a chance to experience it during the current crisis.”

3DPrint: The Possibilities of 3D Printing for COVID-19, Part One. “At the moment, there are news stories about various ways that 3D printing is being used to address the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Many of these stories are being sent to us directly, hoping to spread the word. For this reason, we will be publishing a series of articles discussing some of the ways that additive manufacturing (AM) has so far served medical efforts. However, it’s important during a time of overwhelming media hype and disinformation that we look at these stories with a critical eye.” Up to nine parts at this writing. Extensive.

CNET: Coronavirus unemployment: Everything you need to know about payments, applying and more. “If you’ve never lost a job or been furloughed, the COVID-19 outbreak might have changed that for you. More than 3 million Americans filed for unemployment the week ending March 21. But that number doesn’t reflect the magnitude of people who are financially suffering right now. Normally, filing for unemployment doesn’t account for those who are self-employed, part-time workers or independent contractors.”

Snopes: Did Johns Hopkins Publish This ‘Excellent Summary’ of COVID-19 Advice?. “This is not something produced by Johns Hopkins Medicine (JHM). We have seen rumors and misinformation about COVID-19 citing our experts and circulating on social media, and we have received several inquiries from the general public about these posts. We do not know their origin, and they lack credibility.”


Washington Post: CDC considering recommending general public wear face coverings in public. “Should we all be wearing masks? That simple question is under review by officials in the U.S. government and has sparked a grass-roots pro-mask movement. But there’s still no consensus on whether widespread use of facial coverings would make a significant difference, and some infectious disease experts worry that masks could lull people into a false sense of security and make them less disciplined about social distancing.”

BBC: Coronavirus: Three out of four Americans under some form of lockdown. “About three out of four Americans are now, or about to be, under some form of lockdown, as more states tighten measures to fight the coronavirus. Maryland, Virginia, Arizona and Tennessee became the latest states to order citizens to stay at home, meaning 32 of 50 states have taken such steps. Meanwhile governors are quarrelling with President Donald Trump about the availability of testing kits.”

Reuters: Google Japan defends impartiality of search results amid lockdown rumors. “Google (GOOGL.O) on Tuesday defended the impartiality of its search results after users in Japan seeking to corroborate rumors of an imminent state of emergency declaration by the government were met with no results on its website. Climbing coronavirus cases in Tokyo have seen politicians call for residents to reduce social mixing and have led to a slew of messages circulating on social media asserting a broader lockdown is imminent.”

CNET: UK developing coronavirus-tracking app to ease lockdown restrictions. “A report by Sky News on Tuesday described how NHSX, the innovation arm of the UK’s National Health Service, has teamed with US company Pivotal to develop the app, which could be released when the British government eases the current lockdown restrictions. According to Sky, people will have to opt in to use the app, though the NHS hopes at least 50% of the population will choose to do so.”


BBC: Coronavirus outbreak: Teddy bear hunt helps distract kids under lockdown. “A mass teddy bear hunt is under way around the world to help distract the millions of children locked down because of the coronavirus pandemic. Stuffed toys are being placed in windows to give children a fun and safe activity while walking around their neighbourhood with parents.”

Slate: “I Would Just Love to Put My Arms Around Everybody”. “Two years ago, I talked to Gertrude Johnson Howard—who is now 84 years old and lives in Phoenix—for Slate’s ‘Interview With an Old Person’ series. (It’s exactly what it sounds like.) Our conversation stuck with me because of Johnson Howard’s candor, vivid memories, and spirited optimism. In this moment of widespread uncertainty and fear, as older people are being told with particular urgency to stay indoors and isolated, I checked back in to see how she was processing everything. This conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.”

CNET: Marvel and DC grind to a halt due to coronavirus lockdown. “Both Marvel and DC have delayed their April 1 comic releases due to the coronavirus outbreak. Following distributor Diamond’s decision to stop shipping print comics to retailers last week, the two publishers opted to stop or cut back on their digital releases as well, as previously reported by CNET sister site”

CNN: Doctors turn to Twitter and TikTok to share coronavirus news. “Ali Raja spends his nine-hour shifts in the emergency room at Massachusetts General Hospital treating gunshot wounds, sprained ankles, heart attacks and now a growing number of coronavirus cases. But before the emergency physician steps on to his long shift and after he’s done, he’s on Twitter, usually for at least an hour a day.”

The Hindu: COVID-19: Social media overrun by DIY standing desks during lockdown. “With people around the world working from home during the ongoing lockdown, ergonomics is still taken seriously as they try fashion their own standing desks.”

Associated Press: Funding for various Olympic committees might dry up. “The postponement of the Tokyo Games has catapulted the sports organizations that make up the backbone of the U.S. Olympic team into crisis. At least one already has started layoffs and others are desperate to stay solvent. Some are expecting a major downturn in membership dues, while others are reeling from event cancellations totaling more than 8,000 across all sports.”

US News & World Report: Many Schools Are Not Providing Any Instruction Amid Closures. “WITH SCHOOLS CLOSED FOR more than 55 million children across the country – and shuttered for the rest of the academic year in seven states – school district leaders are scrambling to establish some kind of distance learning routine.”

Malta Today: Can our cultural sector survive the pandemic?. “Government’s revised covid-19 economic recovery package did offer some relief to self-employed artists by even acknowledging them as members of Malta’s workforce, but in speaking to stakeholders in the industry TEODOR RELJIC finds that the onset of the virus may have brought to the fore some already existing challenges for creative professionals on the island.”

ZDNet: Debian Linux readies an anti-coronavirus hack-a-thon. “Open-source programmers and engineers have been working on a wide variety of projects to beat coronavirus. These range from hospital management programs to speeding up drug development to building inexpensive ventilators. Now, Debian Linux, one of the oldest and largest Linux distribution communities, is throwing its programming resources behind a hack-a-thon trying to beat COVID-19.”

School Library Journal: The Publishing Industry Adapts to COVID-19 While Offering Support. “The COVID-19 pandemic has kicked off a series of changes in the American book world that may well lead to permanent changes down the line. Among the most immediate effects were the closing of numerous bookstores, while others shifted to curbside delivery only; the cancellation or postponement of major events, including Book Expo America and the American Library Association’s Annual Conference; and a shift toward digital media and online events.”


National Geographic: Key ingredient in coronavirus tests comes from Yellowstone’s lakes. “MICROBIOLOGIST THOMAS BROCK was tramping through Yellowstone in the 1960s when he stumbled upon a species of bacteria that would transform medical science. Brock was investigating the tiny life-forms that manage to eke out a living in the superheated waters of the park’s thermal pools. There, he and a student found golden mats of stringy growth in Yellowstone’s Mushroom Spring containing a microbe that produces unusual heat-resistant enzymes.”

Phys .org: How to quickly and efficiently identify huge gene data sets to help coronavirus research. “Thanks to the advancement of sequencing technology, it’s possible to produce massive amounts of genome sequence data on various species. It’s crucial to examine pan-genomic data—the entire set of genes possessed by all members of a particular species—particularly in areas like bacteria and virus research, investigation of drug resistance mechanisms and vaccine development. For example, why is the coronavirus resistant to common drugs? Can big data help to rapidly identify the characteristics of such novel virus strains? A group of researchers supported by the EU-funded PANGAIA project is now tackling this challenge by developing methods for comparing gigantic gene data sets.”

CNET: Can zinc protect you from the coronavirus? Don’t believe this myth. “As the coronavirus continues to spread across the globe, many people are hunkering down and buying as many supplies as possible to last them through a quarantine. You’ve probably already heard of the toilet paper and hand sanitizer shortages, but if you take a trip to your local drugstore you may see an unusual product missing: zinc supplements. People are flocking to zinc supplements because of an email that virologist and pathologist James Robb wrote to family and friends in late February advising them on common-sense ways to protect themselves from the novel coronavirus.”

The Guardian: Astrophysicist gets magnets stuck up nose while inventing coronavirus device. “An Australian astrophysicist has been admitted to hospital after getting four magnets stuck up his nose in an attempt to invent a device that stops people touching their faces during the coronavirus outbreak.”


From the always-great xkcd: Pathogen Resistance.


San Francisco Chronicle: Exclusive: Captain of aircraft carrier with growing coronavirus outbreak pleads for help from Navy. “The captain of a nuclear aircraft carrier with more than 100 sailors infected with the coronavirus pleaded Monday with U.S. Navy officials for resources to allow isolation of his entire crew and avoid possible deaths in a situation he described as quickly deteriorating. The unusual plea from Capt. Brett Crozier, a Santa Rosa native, came in a letter obtained exclusively by The Chronicle and confirmed by a senior officer on board the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, which has been docked in Guam following a COVID-19 outbreak among the crew of more than 4,000 less than a week ago.”

Boston Globe: Warren to feds: Why did you take Massachusetts’ medical supplies?. “Senator Elizabeth Warren is pressing federal officials for answers on why they seized at least two of Massachusetts’ recent orders for protective equipment, charging that it appears they are still interfering with states’ efforts to track down medical supplies amid the coronavirus pandemic.”

Radio Farda: Exclusive Report Shows Higher Coronavirus Infection, Death Rates In Iran. “An exclusive report by Radio Farda puts the number of those who have been hospitalized with coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms in Iran at over 70,000 people, will over the official figure of positive cases. The report which sums up the figures released by local officials and the Health Ministry in Tehran as well as media reports says 70,108 patients with clinical symptoms of COVID-19 have been hospitalized in Iran’s 31 provinces, while as many as 4,762 people have died as of March 31.”

POLICE: Exclusive POLICE Survey: Officers Speak Out About Coronavirus. “An exclusive POLICE survey of law enforcement officers working during the coronavirus crisis paints a picture of the nation’s police as not always properly equipped to protect themselves from the disease, confused by their commanders’ and political leaders’ rules of engagement, and praying the conditions they now face are not the new normal.”

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