Monday CoronaBuzz, April 6, 2020: 43 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.


Indulge (Indian Express): Isolation Cooks is a social media project chronicling our collective food journey in times of global isolation. “Cooking = coping. And that’s what inspired ‘Isolation Cooks’ – a social media initiative documenting what’s going on in kitchens around the world – as a window to how people are dealing with fears and anxieties in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Started four days ago, by a group of friends in India, working from home under the 21-day nation-wide lockdown, the idea we are told was birthed from a conversation in the kitchen.”

WACH: Clemson students launch website to help SC restaurants during coronavirus crisis. “‘Save Maps means, “Save Mom and Pop Shops,”‘ explained [Sudarshan] Sridharan, who is also the founder of Second Reality Interactive, INC. – a Virtual Reality start-up creating digital watch parties for eSports tournaments and live stream. ‘We’re an online directory that enables people to buy digital gift cards from their favorite restaurants in their community. The restaurants that don’t have the ability to sell gift cards online, we provide the infrastructure to do so.'”

PopSugar: Mattel’s Online “Playroom” Offers Free Activities, Games, and Parent Resources. “Although there are plenty of educational resources and movement and exercise videos available online for kids, toy brand Mattel wants everyone to remember that ‘Play is never canceled.’ Through its new website, Mattel Playroom, the brand is delivering free games, activities, coloring sheets, DIY projects, and more featuring favorite characters like Barbie, Thomas the Tank Engine, and American Girls (plus, there are a bunch of resources for parents and caregivers).”

Found in my RSS feeds: Covid19Conversations. From the front page: “Brought to you by the American Public Health Association and the National Academy of Medicine, this webinar series will explore the state of the science surrounding the current outbreak of COVID-19 in the United States and globally, with a focus on the emerging evidence on how to best mitigate its impact. Hear from trusted experts in such fields as public health, infectious disease, risk communication, and crisis standards of care.”

Imbibe: New website to help people find local food and drinks deliveries. (This is for the UK.) “Social media strategist Charlotte Spencer is the mind behind Your Local Delivered, a free online platform that allows people to search local food and drinks businesses that are delivering during the lockdown The website went live last week and was developed in less than a week following the government’s lockdown announcement on 23 March. It lists on-trade venues such as pubs and restaurants, as well as bakeries and butchers.”


TimeOut: Hong Kong art galleries offering virtual tours and online viewing rooms. “Like many establishments in our city, Hong Kong’s art galleries have been hit hard due to the ongoing pandemic. Many shows have cancelled, postponed, and galleries have temporarily closed or have limited their on-ground visits to private viewing only. Some local galleries have turned online to deliver the viewing experience straight to your home.”

Casper Star-Tribune: Wyoming ramps up online educational lessons and activities for kids. “With schools closed across Wyoming, educators, museums, libraries and more are offering online educational lessons and activities for kids to do at home.” Lots of resources here.

New York Times: Film Treasures, Streaming Courtesy of the Library of Congress. “‘Sneeze’ is just one of many films that you can watch for free online courtesy of the Library of Congress, which partly acquires deposits through the United States Copyright Office. The biggest library in the world, it has an extraordinary trove of online offerings — more than 7,000 videos — that includes hundreds of old (and really old) movies.”

Mashable: How to live with anxiety disorders — and not develop one — during coronavirus lockdown. “As an agoraphobe (which for me manifests as a fear of crowds and public spaces) with social anxiety and panic disorder, ‘safer-at-home’ is what I was built for. What I wasn’t prepared for though was just how debilitating it would feel to watch my internal, irrational fears of imagined threats become everyone’s external reality in facing a very real threat. While the rest of the world is struggling to believe in this terrifying post-pandemic world, those of us with anxiety disorders are struggling to maintain our disbelief in the apocalyptic scenarios we’ve always been waiting for.”

QNS: Free and discounted online language-learning resources for kids amid coronavirus crisis. “With schools closed and students learning from home, a wide range of online language-learning resources are offering free or discounted courses to children of all ages. Resources like these, ranging from online tutors to video lessons to interactive games, can start your child on the path to advancing their skills in a foreign language or learning a new one from scratch!”

CNET: How to help restaurants, hospitals, people during the coronavirus outbreak. “You’re quarantined at home, but your community still needs help. An urgent shortage of N95 face masks in hospitals, stock in blood banks and volunteers for food banks is creating real road blocks for the first responders who are providing care and food to people in need during the coronavirus outbreak. Since many states are ordering or urging residents to stay home, knowing how to volunteer and donate is key.”

Quartz: How to read coronavirus news like a science writer. “If you’re being bombarded with facts about Covid-19 and aren’t sure whether to trust them, think like we do here at Quartz. Questioning new information with a measured sense of skepticism and a little digging can help you avoid taking in sensationalized information. The following is good advice not just during this pandemic, but any time you pick up the health and science section of a given publication.”

The Globe and Mail: A gym rat’s guide for staying at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. “When it comes to finding fitness information – or any information at all – the internet has always been a double-edged sword. Yes, there are all sorts of excellent pages curated by experts who know what they’re talking about. The opposite is also very much true. With no gyms to train at and no trainers to set us straight, what’s a poor ol’ quarantined soul to do? Rather than have you roll the dice and hope for the best, I’m going to share some of the best online fitness and health resources that I’ve come across, resources I direct all of my clients to whenever our sessions are on hold.”

CNET: The best kids TV shows to watch during quarantine. “Anyone who has looked after their own children for a long period of time understands this one simple fact: At some point you’re gonna have to plonk them in front of the TV for a while. So you might as well make sure they’re watching something good.”

MakeUseOf: Be Positive! 5 Good News Websites for Uplifting & Inspirational Stories. “These days, it seems like every news media outlet only reports on death, disease, and distress. While you shouldn’t shy away from harsh realities, the incessant bad news can affect your mental health. That’s when you should turn to these people who highlight the good. There are news websites, apps, podcasters, and YouTubers who focus on the steps taken for betterment. This includes small acts of goodness and kindness to large leaps that inspire you to fight the good fight.”

NiemanLab: Are you a local reporter doing data-heavy coronavirus reporting? This service will check your stats for free. “Coronavirus reporting is profoundly driven by numbers. Tests administered, cases diagnosed, deaths attributed; doubling speed, growth curves, R0; county data, state data, national data. It’s a lot. And as efforts to collect and organize this data — released under different standards and methods from jurisdiction to jurisdiction — have shown, the numbers don’t always say what you think they say.”

IanVisits: Help the National Archives uncover WW1 ships crew logs. “If you’re stuck at home and want to do something good, then the National Archives is seeking volunteers to help transcribe First World War Royal Navy service records for a free online database it is building. Service records for the First World War can provide information about individuals and their lives. However, as crew lists for ships and submarines during this period rarely survive, it is difficult for researchers to determine who was on a ship or in a certain battle together.”

New York Times: How to Thrive in Online Life. “I called — on Zoom, of course — Thomas Biery, a 24-year-old who works in marketing and has a second life streaming video games to his followers. While this extremely online life is new to me, Thomas has been living it for years. He assured me that we can sustain meaningful connections over broadband — and, forced into the virtual world, we might even become a more honest version of ourselves.”

TechHive: The best online film festivals and virtual art house movie screenings. “Luckily, SXSW isn’t the only cancelled film festival that’s going virtual. A variety of the biggest national and regional film fests are taking their programs online, while some of the best art-house theaters are offering virtual screenings of new releases and repertory classics.”


Variety: Craig Melvin to Anchor Special MSNBC Daytime Coronavirus Series (EXCLUSIVE). “Craig Melvin will take MSNBC viewers to live, on-location looks at various pandemic ‘hot spots’ as part of a new special series at the NBCUniversal-owned cable-news network that will air over the next two weeks.”

Mashable: Queen Elizabeth II delivers very British social distancing solidarity speech. “Queen Elizabeth II took decidedly rare action Sunday, delivering a televised speech to the United Kingdom and British Commonwealth. The 93-year-old monarch spoke about the need for solidarity and strength as the world battles coronavirus and feels the economic impact of social distancing. It was only the fourth such appearance during a time of national trouble she has made.”

New York Times: Facebook Hampers Do-It-Yourself Mask Efforts. “As health workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic plead for personal protective equipment, volunteer efforts to create hand-sewn masks and deliver them to medical professionals have quickly sprung up across the internet. But those efforts were hampered by Facebook’s automated content moderation systems over the past week, according to sewing organizers who have used the social network to coordinate donation campaigns.”

Chalkbeat: NYC forbids schools from using Zoom for remote learning due to privacy and security concerns. “New York City has banned the video conferencing platform Zoom in city schools weeks after thousands of teachers and students began using it for remote learning. The education department received reports of issues that impact the security and privacy of the platform during the credentialing process, according to a document shared with principals that was obtained by Chalkbeat on Friday night.”

Neowin: SoundCloud will let musicians add a direct donation button to their profiles. “Musicians whose livelihood depends on live concerts and festivals are hurting as public gatherings have been indefinitely postponed due to the coronavirus crisis. In an effort to make up for the shortfall, SoundCloud is allowing artists to add a button to their profiles so that listeners can directly support their favorite musicians, according to Engadget. Once the button is clicked, users will be redirected to payment services like PayPal, Patreon, and Bandcamp.”

Neowin: YouTube will remove videos that claim 5G and COVID-19 are related. “YouTube has announced that it will delete videos from its platform if they promote the idea that there is a correlation between the spread of the COVID-19 disease and 5G networks, according to Business Insider.”


New York Times: They Were the Last Couple in Paradise. Now Their Resort Life Continues.. “They were surrounded by a fleet of staff, who were stranded themselves, trapped in an eternal honeymoon in the Maldives. Their adventure continues.”

US News & World Report: US Allowing Longer Shifts at Nuclear Plants in Pandemic. “U.S. nuclear plants will be allowed to keep workers on longer shifts to deal with staffing problems in the coronavirus pandemic, raising worries among watchdogs and some families living near reactors that employee exhaustion will increase the risks of accidents.”

InDaily: Fighting COVID-19 isolation and frustration with craftivism. “An open-access Stitch & Resist project by Adelaide’s Centre of Democracy encourages people to pick up a needle and thread and cross-stitch messages about social and political issues – including the COVID-19 crisis.”

Sacramento Bee: Religious worship in the age of coronavirus: How centuries-old traditions are being upended. “As one of the holiest times of the year approaches for the world’s major religions and faithful believers like [Matthew] Yamzon, the coronavirus pandemic has upended traditions that houses of worship have relied upon for centuries. Some have scrapped all services in favor of online models using technologies like Zoom computer conferencing. Some are offering limited hours of prayer inside, while eliminating live celebrations of Easter.”

BBC: Coronavirus: Domestic abuse calls up 25% since lockdown, charity says. “The National Domestic Abuse helpline has seen a 25% increase in calls and online requests for help since the lockdown, the charity Refuge says. It received hundreds more calls last week compared to two weeks earlier, the charity which runs the helpline said.”

CNET: Robots replace university students in Zoom graduation ceremony. “Can’t be at a big life event because of the coronavirus? Send in the robots. These Japanese university students refused to let the coronavirus lockdowns get in the way of celebrating their graduation ceremony.”

Nieman Lab: No paywall in the chicken coop: A fast-food chain is paying to take down 16 Canadian newspapers’ paywalls this month. “Canadians will be able to keep abreast of the latest news for the next month, thanks to a sponsorship from Mary Brown’s Chicken & Taters, home of the Tater Poutine. This thing could have legs.”

BBC: Coronavirus: South African bride and groom arrested over ‘lockdown wedding’. “Married life got off to an unexpected start for a pair of newlyweds in South Africa when police showed up to the party. They had received a tip-off that the wedding in KwaZulu-Natal was happening on Sunday despite a nationwide ban on all public gatherings because of coronavirus. All 40 wedding guests, the pastor who conducted ceremony, and the newlyweds themselves were promptly arrested and taken to a police station outside Richards Bay.”

Poynter: As the U.S. prepares for its ‘hardest moment’ yet, a look at how we got here and the media’s role in the coronavirus pandemic. “There appears to be a struggle now because of mistakes made in the past. Which means any mistakes made right now could hurt the future. And that makes the media’s role all the more critical right now: to hold the powerful to account, while being sure to produce the most reliable information based on facts and science. So that’s where I’ll start with today’s newsletter — looking at how we got here and the media’s role in this crisis.”


Stanford University: What Twitter Reveals About COVID-19’s Impact on Our Mental Health. “Stanford HAI junior fellow Johannes Eichstaedt is a psychologist who uses social media to understand the psychological states of large populations. He examined Twitter posts to learn how the virus and social distancing are affecting our anxiety and life satisfaction and how factors such our age, education, and hometown size can impact our emotions. The picture, he says, is grim. ‘We need to think about scalable mental health care,” he adds. “Now is the time to mobilize resources to make that happen.'”

News10: News10 Exclusive: Emerson College poll reveals the reality of coronavirus in New York. “News10 partnered with Emerson College to take your pulse with an exclusive poll about health, finances, and how our leaders are handling the outbreak. When asked, ‘When this is finally over, will your life return to the way it was before or not?’ More than half of you who responded, 54%, say life will never be the same.”

The Thaiger: Japan offers anti-flu drug Avigan for free to fight coronavirus. “Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe says Japan is offering the anti-flu drug Avigan free of charge to countries battling the Covid-19 coronavirus. The drug, developed by a group firm of Fujifilm Holdings, has shown early signs of being effective in helping to treat the virus.”

BusinessWire: Free Accelerated Data Transfer Software for COVID-19 Researchers (PRESS RELEASE). “High-performance data transfer software that can move files ranging from megabytes to terabytes among research institutions, cloud providers, and personal computers at speeds many times faster than traditional software…. Available immediately for an initial 90-day license; requests to extend licenses will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to facilitate continued research.”

NoCamels: Israeli Hack Could Help Teams On COVID-19 Frontlines Produce Quick, Affordable Ventilators. “Amid a global shortage of ventilators – a potentially life-saving device for coronavirus patients in severe or critical conditions – an Israeli group made up of Air Force electronics experts, robotics specialists, and medical professionals has come up with an innovative hack that could help hospitals around the world produce them quickly and at low cost.”

NoCamels: Israel Adapts Military Radar Systems For Remote COVID-19 Patient Monitoring. “The Defense Ministry’s National Emergency Team at the Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D) said this week that the two systems, developed by Israeli defense company Elbit Systems and Elta (a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries), were tested successfully under the medical supervision of doctors from the Beilinson – Rabin Medical Center. The systems use an array of radar and electro-optical sensors with which vital signs were measured and displayed on monitors for doctors in a sterile environment, allowing medical staff to avoid direct contact for risk of infection.”


Make Tech Easier: Security Researchers Develop Tool that Harvests Zoom Meeting Info. “In light of the recent coronavirus pandemic, many people have been forced to work at home. When it comes to interpersonal meetings, companies had to find a solution that would allow them to teleconference for cheap. Zoom was one solution that was adopted and recommended the world over, to the point where Zoom is being used for both business and education. Unfortunately, Zoom isn’t very secure. Security researchers proved this by developing a tool that can harvest information from Zoom meetings.”

Associated Press: U.S. ‘wasted’ months before preparing for virus pandemic. “After the first alarms sounded in early January that an outbreak of a novel coronavirus in China might ignite a global pandemic, the Trump administration squandered nearly two months that could have been used to bolster the federal stockpile of critically needed medical supplies and equipment.”

New York Times: Official Counts Understate the U.S. Coronavirus Death Toll. “Across the United States, even as coronavirus deaths are being recorded in terrifying numbers — many hundreds each day — the true death toll is likely much higher. More than 9,400 people with the coronavirus have been reported to have died in this country as of this weekend, but hospital officials, doctors, public health experts and medical examiners say that official counts have failed to capture the true number of Americans dying in this pandemic.”

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