Friday CoronaBuzz, April 3, 2020: 44 pointers to new resources, useful stuff, research news, and more.

Wash your hands and stay at home as much as you can. Please be careful. I love you.


BusinessWire: The American Hospital Association and AVIA Launch New Tool to Support Members on the Front Lines of the COVID-19 Crisis: Introducing the COVID-19 Digital Response Pulse (PRESS RELEASE). “Today, the American Hospital Association (AHA) & AVIA are reaching out to all AHA members with a new tool for rapid, critical support to deal with COVID-19. The nationwide roll out of the COVID-19 Digital Response Pulse to all 5,000 members of the AHA provides a free online tool that allows hospitals and health systems to immediately assess critical digital capabilities they will need to meet the challenges of COVID-19 over the weeks and months ahead, and links directly to further information about how members can access and implement the solutions they select.”

The Next Web: This startup made a coronavirus knowledge graph to help doctors with diagnosis. “The freely available tool is powered by an AI engine, which was fed more than 2,000 papers and articles sourced from the medical library PubMed. It allows doctors and researchers to devise a score from various symptoms to decide if a patient is at high risk of moving to a critical stage.”

University of Alabama at Birmingham: New coronavirus symptom tracker launches to improve disease tracking in rural communities across Deep South. “As the Deep South sees a surge in cases of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, experts from the University of Alabama at Birmingham have created a symptom checker to identify hot spots where the virus is spreading. The new website,, will provide public health officials insight into underserved areas based on the symptomatic data collected from the region and could help inform and enhance public health observation.”

EurekAlert: Coronavirus overview: Here’s the app you were looking for. “There is nothing quite like a quarantine to make one itch to do something useful. Three PhD students from the Department of Mathematical Sciences have done just that. The trio of statisticians have repurposed their tedium and isolation to develop a web app that provides an overview of the coronavirus pandemic in Denmark and across the globe, in a way that is more interactive than other maps and statistics.”

Catholic Philly: Catholic community across U.S. praying live, on YouTube. “The number of Masses, Stations of the Cross, meditations and other devotions being livestreamed by dioceses, parishes and other groups around country continues to grow. In addition, an online database called ‘With Your Spirit’… lists livestreamed Masses around the country and allows Catholics to add Masses and other online services they know of to the database, which has been compiled by Michael Bayer, director of evangelization and adult formation at St. Clement Catholic Church in Chicago, with the help of many volunteers.”

Future of Privacy: FPF Offers New Resources on Privacy and Pandemics. “Today, the Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) released a collection of  new publications and resources  to help governments, educators, researchers, companies, and other organizations navigate essential privacy questions regarding the response to the coronavirus pandemic. Global leaders responding to the coronavirus pandemic are increasingly relying on data from individuals and communities to analyze the virus’ progression, deploy resources, and make policy decisions.”

9News: New website provides opportunities to help Non-profits in Colorado. “GroundFloor Media, a public relations firm in Denver, wanted to match people who have some extra time right now, with non-profits in Colorado that are really hurting to meet the community need amid the coronavirus pandemic.”

Berkeley News: New live online COVID-19 series connects experts with public. “Across the UC Berkeley campus, researchers are rising to meet the complex challenges of COVID-19, even as the crisis generates waves of news and information that can be confusing and contradictory at times. In response, the university is launching a new online video series, ‘Berkeley Conversations: COVID-19,’ to connect our experts with the public and each other. Through Q&As, seminars, and panel discussions, faculty from a wide range of disciplines – from epidemiology to economics to the computing and data now undergirding their work – will share what they know, and what they are learning.”

BusinessWire: CTA, ATA Launch Directory of Telehealth Technologies Amid COVID-19 Pandemic (PRESS RELEASE). “Today, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)® and American Telemedicine Association (ATA) launched a new website of telehealth technology solutions amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The website,, is developed and hosted in conjunction with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and features a growing list of digital health resources – from remote monitoring to telemedicine – to assist the health care industry during the coronavirus outbreak.”

Texas A&M: Texas A&M, NC State Researchers Develop Online Tool For Covid-19 Risk Assessment. “The COVID-19 pandemic is a global crisis, and government and health care organizations around the world are generating vast amounts of data and models to help inform decisions. However, the majority of impactful decisions on how to handle the crisis are made at the local level, where consistent access and analysis of the data and models can be challenging. To help solve this issue, a team of researchers from Texas A&M University and North Carolina State University have created an online dashboard, the COVID-19 Pandemic Vulnerability Index (PVI), located at, to assist local, state, and federal authorities in making decisions about ‘hot-spots’ in COVID-19.”

University of Texas at Austin: New Online Resources Available for Deaf Students During COVID-19. “USTIN, Texas — Parents and educators can make online learning accessible for deaf and hard of hearing students during the COVID-19 pandemic with new online resources from the National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes at the College of Education at The University of Texas at Austin.”


Phys .org: Routine and learning games: How to make sure your dog doesn’t get canine cabin fever. “Staying home and not socializing your dogs, most notably puppies, risks them becoming afraid of unfamiliar people and other dogs. This, combined with a being in an urban environment for a long time, relative inactivity, and sub-optimal training activities, could set up a COVID-19 generation of dogs who aren’t equipped for urban and suburban living. And considering the biggest killer of dogs under three years old is behavioral euthanasia, it’s important to take steps to enrich your dog’s environment.”

WP Beginner: How to Run a Virtual Classroom Online with WordPress (Tools). “Luckily, there are easy tools that allow you to run a virtual classroom online without any special technical skills. In this article, we’ll be showing you how to setup a virtual classroom and teach an online class with WordPress.”

CNET: 10 free Zoom alternative apps for video chats. “Stuck at home due to the coronavirus pandemic? Use these videoconferencing options to keep in touch with family, friends and your workplace.”

e-flux: Italian museums, art galleries, foundations and fairs respond to COVID-19. “The organizations collected here have joined the #iorestoacasa social campaign by promoting virtual initiatives with the aim of establishing a stronger dialogue with the public and jointly fighting the spread of COVID-19. Their new digital programs range in topic and approach: from deep dives into the archive to daily art lessons for kids, from artists’ responses to the crisis to new ways to find community through art, these organizations have re-purposed their websites and social media channels to ensure that art remain a relavent, productive, and positive force during these challenging times.”

Variety: HBO Will Stream 500 Hours of Free Programming, Including Full Seasons of ‘Veep,’ ‘The Sopranos,’ ‘Silicon Valley’. “The WarnerMedia-owned premium cabler is making almost 500 hours of programming available to stream for free (without ads) for a limited time on HBO Now and HBO Go services without a subscription, starting this Friday, April 3.”

Broadway World: Belarus Free Theatre Opens Up Its Digital Archive To Share 24 Theatrical Productions From The Past 15 Years. “2020 marks the 15th anniversary of Belarus Free Theatre (BFT), the foremost refugee-led theatre company in the UK and the only theatre in Europe banned by its government on political grounds. Ahead of the announcement of the full programme of BFT’s 15th anniversary celebrations, and in response to the virus pandemic, the company will open up its digital archive to make 24 acclaimed stage productions free to watch online, alongside the launch of a new fairy-tale-inspired campaign: #LoveOverVirus.”

Consequence of Sound: Quarantine Livestreams: A List of Live Virtual Concerts to Watch. “With all tours and events grounded because of the coronavirus, artists have been using livestreaming to stay close to their fans. Below, you’ll find an updated list of livestreams scheduled for the coming days and details on how to watch them. In particular, fans can catch Dave Matthews, Neil Young, Charli XCX, Miley Cyrus, Ben Gibbard, Rufus Wainwright, Peter Bjorn and John, Big Freedia, Christine and the Queens, Amanda Shires, and more.”


BBC: Zoom boss apologises for security issues and promises fixes. “Zoom is to pause the development of any new features to concentrate on safety and privacy issues, in the wake of criticism from users of the app. In a blog, the chief executive of the video conferencing app apologised for ‘falling short’ on security issues and promised to address concerns.”

CNET: Google pledges $6.5 million to fight misinformation online. “Google has announced plans to donate $6.5 million to fighting misinformation online. The funds, which will go to fact-checkers and other nonprofits fighting misinformation, will have a primary focus on responding to the coronavirus crisis.”

CNET: Amazon restricts sale of N95 face masks, surgical gloves to the public. “Amazon has stopped selling some face masks, antibacterial wipes and other hard-to-find health care products to the general public, saying it’ll sell these items only to governments and health providers during the coronavirus pandemic.”

Reuters: Google to allow some advertisers to run coronavirus-related ads. ” Alphabet Inc’s Google will begin to allow some advertisers to run ads relating to the coronavirus on its platforms, in a change to its rules on ads around ‘sensitive events,’ according to a copy of a memo to advertising clients seen by Reuters.”

Winnipeg Free Press: DiCaprio, others launch $12M coronavirus relief food fund. “Leonardo DiCaprio will help launch America’s Food Fund, which has already raised $12 million to help communities impacted by the coronavirus. The organization said Thursday that the funds will be aimed to help low-income families, the elderly, individuals facing job disruptions and children who rely on school lunch programs.”

WLNY: Coronavirus Update: All New Yorkers Can Now Get Free Meals; COVID-19 Food Czar Kathryn Garcia Discusses Her ‘Biggest Concern’. “Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday that all New York City residents can now get free meals at one of the city’s 435 grab-and-go food locations at schools.”

Slashgear: That 2-minute coronavirus test FDA approval was a “misunderstanding”. “After claiming they’d received FDA authorization for a 2-minute coronavirus antibody test earlier this week, a company called Bodysphere just changed their tune. They made clear in their press release released at the tail end of March, 2020, that the Food and Drug Administration had approved their coronavirus (COVID-19) testing kit. It all seemed too good to be true. Turns out, it was.”


CNN: Kansas City’s WWI Museum is avoiding layoffs by giving employees thousands of pages from its archives to digitize. “A museum in Kansas City, Missouri is avoiding laying off its employees during the coronavirus pandemic by giving some of them a big project to take on. The National WWI Museum and Memorial said it is moving 10 of its employees to a team dedicated to digitizing thousands of letters, diaries and journals.”

BetaNews: Grand National goes virtual to give fans their racing fix. “The Grand National is a highlight of the British sporting calendar. An event that prompts people who never normally bet on a horse race to venture a few pounds at the bookies or take part in a workplace sweepstake. With this year’s race canceled due to the coronavirus it looked like they might miss out, but virtual reality is coming to the rescue.”

Glamour: Please stop the ‘Smugsolation’: The boastful new social media trend that sees people flaunting their quarantine privilege. “Smugsolation: (noun) the act of quarantining oneself during a global crisis in an enviable location (penthouse, townhouse, mansion, villa, 15-bedroom ancestral country seat) with expensive foods, booze and/or adorable pets and outdoor space and proceeding to broadcast said situation on social media (see also: tone deaf).”

Nylon: High Fashion Houses Are Launching Social Media Projects For Fans At Home. “Fashion houses are finding ways to keep the creativity going, even while working from home. Alexander McQueen, Balmain, and Bottega Veneta have all launched new initiatives all meant to thrive while the world is in isolation. On Wednesday, Alexander McQueen announced the McQueen Creators project, inviting fans to offer new interpretations of classic McQueen pieces presented through social media. For the first week, fans are encouraged to sketch, paint, or color the rose dress from its Fall 2019 collection, with some to be featured on Alexander McQueen’s Instagram page.”

Vice: DIY Pandemic Haircuts Are the Latest Social Media Trend. “In the latest social media trend in this period of social distancing, people are collectively grabbing the nearest pair of scissors and hacking at their hair. While many rocked their new hairdos, the impulse makeovers didn’t go too well for others.”

The Guardian: Finland enlists social influencers in fight against Covid-19. “Finland has enlisted social influencers in the government’s efforts to contain the coronavirus pandemic, arguing that they are just as useful as mainstream media in a crisis when it needs to inform the population fast, clearly and accurately.”

School Library Journal: School Librarians Can Help During Crisis, But Some Fear Being Shut Out. “April is School Library Month but instead of creating brilliant book displays and highlighting their contributions, school librarians across the country are struggling to find their place in remote learning forced by the coronavirus pandemic. This is a situation prime for their expertise, but many themselves frustrated and on the sidelines of administrative decisions and lesson planning.”

The Guardian: Getty uses remote working in effort to preserve photo archive. “Millions of images – including never-before-seen shots of Marilyn Monroe, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones – are being preserved remotely as one of the largest photography archives in the world attempts to prevent damage during the Covid-19 lockdown. The Getty Images archive in Canning Town, east London, holds 80m photographs and negatives, some of which are more than 100 years old and need careful preservation and protection to stop them quickly degrading.”

Reuters: The religious retreat that sparked India’s major coronavirus manhunt. “It was late on Sunday night when officials in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh received the alert. Federal authorities said they needed to track down more than 1,000 people linked to a large Muslim missionary gathering nearly 2,000 km away in the capital New Delhi. Authorities in Andhra Pradesh, a region of about 50 million people, used cell phone towers, government databases and even village volunteers over the next five days to find almost everyone on the list — from attendees to the people they had been in close contact to fellow travellers.”

Thank you Wallace S! From the New Yorker: The Great Zoom-School Experiment. “All across the world, students and parents are involved in a vast cyber-education experiment. Public schools in forty-six U.S. states have closed, and New York City’s 1.1 million public-school students have moved to remote learning, many using iPads and Chromebooks distributed by the city. Day-care centers were doing sing-alongs and circle time via video chat. Parents were moonlighting as technical assistants and home-school instructors.”


WKYC: Researchers at Case Western Reserve University testing map that assess COVID-19 risk in real time. “The coronavirus pandemic has researchers around the world working in overdrive to create solutions to lessen and ultimately eliminate the impacts of the crippling disease. New developments are being released everyday, including from right here in Northeast Ohio. On Wednesday, researchers at Case Western Reserve University announced that they have developed a new tool to help citizens better assess the risk of COVID-19 based on geographic location, in real-time.”

The Conversation: Meet ‘Sara’, ‘Sharon’ and ‘Mel’: why people spreading coronavirus anxiety on Twitter might actually be bots. “COVID-19 is being described as the first major pandemic of the social media age. In troubling times, social media helps distribute vital knowledge to the masses. Unfortunately, this comes with myriad misinformation, much of which is spread through social media bots. These fake accounts are common on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. They have one goal: to spread fear and fake news.”

EurekAlert: Arkansas researchers developing prediction models for coronavirus. “Data science professor Justin Zhan is collaborating with University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences professors David Ussery and Xuming Zhang to develop accurate predictions of genomic variation trends of coronavirus.”

South China Morning Post: Researchers target bat genes in quest for drug to combat Covid-19. “A multinational research team has identified a gene inhibitor in bats that could have potential in the search for antiviral drugs to treat the pandemic disease Covid-19. In a research paper published online on Monday, scientists from China, Singapore and the United States said carolacton, which inhibits a specific bat gene, could help suppress the infection of Sars-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes Covid-19.”


Geeks are Sexy: Samuel L. Jackson reads “Stay the F**k at Home”. “While Jimmy is in quarantine, he checks in with the great Samuel L. Jackson at his home. Sam talks about canceling his trip to Italy with Magic Johnson, Jimmy wanting to be a part of their annual vacation, watching ‘Tiger King’ with his daughter, the go-to meal he likes to cook himself, and with all the social distancing demands and calls to stay indoors, Sam delivers an important message to everyone – ‘Stay the F**k at Home!’ ”


NPR: Exclusive: California Company Under Scrutiny For ‘At-Home’ Coronavirus Test Claims. “With government authorities warning an anxious public about scams related to the coronavirus, a California company is facing scrutiny by members of Congress and the city attorney of Los Angeles for selling COVID-19 test kits that it claimed can be used ‘in the home or at the bedside.'”

Reuters: Exclusive: Hackers linked to Iran target WHO staff emails during coronavirus – sources. “Hackers working in the interests of the Iranian government have attempted to break into the personal email accounts of staff at the World Health Organization during the coronavirus outbreak, four people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.”

New York Times: Jared Kushner Is Going to Get Us All Killed. “Reporting on the White House’s herky-jerky coronavirus response, Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman has a quotation from Jared Kushner that should make all Americans, and particularly all New Yorkers, dizzy with terror. According to Sherman, when New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, said that the state would need 30,000 ventilators at the apex of the coronavirus outbreak, Kushner decided that Cuomo was being alarmist.”

ProPublica: In Desperation, New York State Pays Up to 15 Times the Normal Prices for Medical Equipment. “With the coronavirus outbreak creating an unprecedented demand for medical supplies and equipment, New York state has paid 20 cents for gloves that normally cost less than a nickel and as much as $7.50 each for masks, about 15 times the usual price. It’s paid up to $2,795 for infusion pumps, more than twice the regular rate. And $248,841 for a portable X-ray machine that typically sells for $30,000 to $80,000.”

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