Wednesday CoronaBuzz, April 8, 2020: 45 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.


PR Newswire: IEEE Provides Free Access to COVID-19 Relevant Research Articles and Standards in IEEE Xplore(R) Digital Library (PRESS RELEASE). ” IEEE, the world’s largest technical professional organization advancing technology for humanity, is committed to supporting the global response to COVID-19. The organization is providing free direct access to a collection of various COVID-19 related research articles, and standards to help researchers understand, manage and combat the different aspects of the pandemic.”

PR Newswire: CJS Releases World’s First Website for Sharing Information on Scientific Papers’ Reproducibility (PRESS RELEASE). “Japan’s CJS Inc. released the website SciGen.Report ( ) on March 20 as a platform for researchers to share information about the reproducibility of scientific publications. Amidst soaring worldwide concerns regarding COVID-19 and expedition of related publications, SciGen.Report permits swift information sharing to keep up with research pace, contributing to controlling the pandemic.”

BusinessWire: Mendel Launches AI-powered Search Engine to Analyze More Than 50,000 Coronavirus Papers (PRESS RELEASE). “Mendel, the leader in clinical AI technologies, announced the launch of a new search engine using proprietary AI to absorb more than 50,000 coronavirus research papers and answer questions related to COVID-19. DCM, a global venture capital firm with $4 billion in assets under management, is co-sponsoring this initiative. The search engine is now available for researchers at”

Express Computer: New AI-powered search engine to fight COVID-19. “University of Waterloo professor Jimmy Lin has spearheaded the creation of a dedicated search engine for those who are engaged in the fight against COVID-19. The system, called Neural Covidex, provides quick and easy access to the Allen Institute for AI’s COVID-19 Open Research Dataset (CORD-19). CORD-19 is a publicly-available, curated resource of over 45,000 scholarly articles, medical reports, journal articles, and preprints about COVID-19 and the coronavirus family of viruses for use by the global research community.”

Africa Times: Africa CDC rolls out new COVID-19 dashboard tool. “There’s a new tool in the fight against COVID-19, and it’s a tech tool from the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention that shows the impact of the coronavirus pandemic across the continent in one easy-to-use dashboard.”

Vermont Public Radio: Vermont Coronavirus Updates For Tuesday, April 7. “The Vermont Department of Health has unveiled a new COVID-19 data dashboard. In addition to showing numbers for testing, monitoring, related deaths and a county-by-county map of cases, the new tool breaks down the number of coronavirus cases by age, sex and per capita.”


Billboard: LDH Japan Streaming Concerts Free for Fans Affected by Coronavirus Measures: Watch. “LDH JAPAN — home of popular J-pop vocal and dance groups EXILE, Sandaime J SOUL BROTHERS, GENERATIONS, E-girls and more — has announced it will make approximately 40 of its artists’ live concert footage available for streaming on its official YouTube channel free of charge for a limited lime until the end of the month.”

MIT News: Learning about artificial intelligence: A hub of MIT resources for K-12 students. “In light of the recent events surrounding Covid-19, learning for grades K-12 looks very different than it did a month ago. Parents and educators may be feeling overwhelmed about turning their homes into classrooms. With that in mind, a team led by Media Lab Associate Professor Cynthia Breazeal has launched to share a variety of online activities for K-12 students to learn about artificial intelligence, with a focus on how to design and use it responsibly.”


BusinessWire: Earnin Creates New Community Tool to Help Find COVID-related Resources (PRESS RELEASE). “Earnin, the leader in innovative solutions to some of the world’s tougher financial problems, today announced that it has created a new tool to easily find and access COVID-19 resources related to finances, job loss, access to nutrition, shelter, renter or homeowner services, elder care and child services, among other categories. The free tool is available to anyone, easily accessible on the Earnin website.” This appears to be America-focused.

Engadget: Uber built a tool to help its drivers find work at other companies. “Uber recognizes that its drivers are facing major work shortages, as fewer people travel via rideshare during the pandemic. The company is already offering 14 days of financial assistance to drivers diagnosed with COVID-19, and it fought for its gig workforce to receive federal stimulus money. Now, it’s taking another step. Today, Uber launched Work Hub to connect drivers in the US with additional employment opportunities.”

Journalism co uk: New website to support furloughed journalists’ mental well-being through writing. “The Focus, a new non-profit news website that gives furloughed journalists from across all media outlets a space to publish stories, will officially launch next Monday. Its main aim is to support the mental well-being of out-of-work staffers who may find themselves with nothing to do, stuck inside their homes during the coronavirus lockdown.”


Road|Show: How to effectively clean the inside of your car if you’re worried about COVID-19. “If the coronavirus outbreak has you cleaning up against bacteria and viruses, your car can prove a real challenge. It has lots of fussy nooks and crannies, all crammed into a closed space shared by multiple people. I recently showed you some new tech that will use ultraviolet light to keep cars sanitary, but in the meantime let’s go after germs in your car with solutions we have right now.”

PC Magazine: How to Host a Virtual Game Night. “Game nights usually include in-person gatherings with physical board games or cards, but coronavirus has turned our social lives upside down and shifted these hangouts to the internet. Read on for a primer on how to host a virtual game night.”

WTHR: BP, Amoco gas stations offering 50 cents off per gallon to first responders, health care workers. “BP said it is offering 50 cents off per gallon to first responders and health care workers for their next fill-up at a BP or Amoco gas station. According to BP, the discount is being offered this month to first responders, doctors, nurses and hospital workers to thank them for their efforts amid the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.”

I feel ambivalent about this one as it involves Turbo Tax and I do not trust Turbo Tax at all. But it is in association with the IRS. So here it is. Yahoo Money: Coronavirus stimulus checks: TurboTax launches tool to help Americans who don’t file tax returns. “TurboTax has launched a new stimulus registration tool in partnership with the Internal Revenue Service to help low-income Americans who don’t usually file taxes get their stimulus aid checks. The tool is free and allows people to file a minimum tax return with the IRS to determine if they’re eligible for the stimulus payment. If eligible, users will need to answer a few questions and choose whether to get the payment though direct deposit or check.”

CBS News: Online arts for kids: Museums, arts organizations bring the experience home. “Lights are out at theaters and museums around the country due to the coronavirus pandemic. But arts organizations are finding ways to stay connected, even with the youngest art lovers.”

Teen Vogue: How to Deal With Coronavirus Isolation if You’re in a Relationship. “I’m riding out isolation with my partner in the same house. It’s only been a few days, but I’m nervous for the future if this lasts a while. What should I expect? Is our relationship going to be ruined from the stress and the 24/7 contact?”


BET: NAACP and BET Present: A COVID-19 VIRTUAL TOWN HALL SERIES. “To address the ways in which Covid-19 is impacting Black people specifically, the NAACP and BET are partnering for a four-part virtual town hall series called Unmasked: A COVID-19 Virtual Town Hall Series Powered by NAACP & BET. The town hall will be focused on how the pandemic is affecting African Americans and what steps the community can take to build an action plan for positive change. The first town hall kicks-off on Wednesday, April 8, at 8 PM ET/ 5 PM PT, and will focus on the health, emotional, economic toll, congressional response and how activists can apply pressure to ensure legislation is equitable.”

Google Blog: Ways to stay informed on coronavirus news. “The new COVID-19 experience on Google News pulls together and organizes all the latest news at the global and local level and provides easy access to the latest guidance regarding prevention, symptoms, and treatment from the World Health Organization (WHO) and other authoritative sources. This feature is available across iOS, Android and web platforms in more than 20 countries and will be coming to more in the upcoming weeks.”

The Indian Express: Twitter launches new ‘Stay At Home’ emoji: How to use. “Twitter has now come out with a new feature to encourage its users to stay at home and stay safe. The company is now activating its ‘Stay At Home’ emoji for people to use globally.”

City A.M.: Coronavirus: Google bans adverts on 5G conspiracy theories. “Google has rolled out new measures to crack down on misleading health claims about 5G and conspiracy theories that the mobile technology is linked to coronavirus. The search giant has banned advertising on search terms and keywords that relate to false information about 5G to prevent profiteering from the public health emergency.”

Engadget: Facebook’s new tool lets gamers plan their own esports tournaments. “Today, Facebook Gaming is launching Tournaments, a new feature that lets users create, join or follow virtual game tournaments. The tool offers everything from registration to seeding, bracket management and score entry. You can host single elimination, double elimination or round robin tournaments, and best of all, it’s open to anyone.”

BetaNews: Taiwanese government bans agencies from using Zoom because of security concerns. “Following on from numerous schools across America implementing bans on the use of Zoom, the government of Taiwan is forbidding agencies from using the video conferencing service because of concerns about security.”

CNET: Etsy encourages sellers to make face masks. “As the US struggles to fill a coronavirus-driven demand for more personal protective equipment, Etsy, the online seller of homemade goods, is encouraging its network of sellers to make face masks. The move comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an updated set of guidelines on wearing face coverings in public, including homemade face masks.”


USA Today: Coronavirus shortage: Looking for a Logitech? Webcams hard to find as we all work from home. “It’s not just toilet paper that’s hard to find. For tech-savvy consumers, webcams, those little plug-in cameras for letting you broadcast to the internet, are now missing in action, too. Logitech, the company that dominates webcam sales, is sold out of every one it makes. Amazon and Best Buy are out of stock. And price gougers on eBay are selling used models for as high as $420, or more than twice as much as the most expensive Logitech model, the $199 Brio.”

Phys .org: Why coronavirus impacts are devastating for international students in private rental housing. “About half of international students in Australia are private renters and more than half of them rely on paid work to pay the rent, but most of the casual jobs they depend on have been lost in the coronavirus pandemic. The results of our recent survey (conducted pre-COVID-19) of international students living in private rental accommodation suggest up to half of them may now be unable to pay their rent. Many also live in quite crowded conditions, so will struggle to self-isolate even if they don’t lose their current housing.”

BBC: Coronavirus: Offline sex workers forced to start again online. “Most sex workers meet customers in person. For them, the coronavirus spells economic ruin. ‘The virus is a disaster for client-facing businesses – and sex work is no different,’ says Goddess Cleo, a dominatrix from London. ‘Most of my income is generated from one-on-one sessions and events. I [normally] only make a bit of money through online avenues.’ But like many others, Cleo has switched focus to digital since the lockdown came into effect.”

NTD: 460,000 Chinese Firms Went Under in First Quarter, Underscoring Impact of Virus on Economy. “Nearly half a million businesses in China closed down in the first quarter of 2020, according to data collected by online databases, revealing the extent of the epidemic’s impact on the country’s economy. Meanwhile, business owners began protesting for government financial support as their businesses are on the brink of bankruptcy.”

BBC: Coronavirus: Four out of five people’s jobs hit by pandemic. “A total of 81% of the global workforce of 3.3 billion people have had their workplace fully or partly closed. Restrictions on daily life have led to the closure of many companies and the laying off of staff – either permanently or temporarily. The International Labour Organization (ILO), an agency of the United Nations, has been looking at the global impact with a series of charts.”

The Guardian: Filth in a time of handwashing: why lockdown erotica is the hottest trend in publishing. “You can’t write traditional erotica now because it wouldn’t ring true. There are no chance encounters any more. The plumber doesn’t come to visit. Your personal trainer has to stay two metres from you. Your babysitter has been declared nonessential. Your child’s teacher now gives you feedback solely through Google Classroom. Erotica has to adapt, or it will die.”

CNN: As hospitals enforce strict rules, parents are using FaceTime to see their newborns. “Hospitals across the United States continue to be overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients; in New York, patient beds line the hallways of some facilities, morgues are overflowing and supplies like ventilators are in short supply. As a result, an increasing number of hospitals are banning or limiting visitations to nurseries specializing in the care of ill or premature newborns — a demographic that is particularly vulnerable to contracting outside sicknesses.”

Mashable: Band creates a trippy music video using Zoom. “Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, a band based in California, which has a statewide stay at home order, filmed the video for their song ‘Phenom’ over the video conferencing software. It starts with singer and frontrunner Thao Nguyen opening the app. Background dancers join the call as the beat picks up.”

RESEARCH Coronavirus is not the ‘great equalizer’—race matters. “The fear and mistrust of health systems expressed by many in Black, Indigenous and racialized communities stem from historical eugenic practices of both governments and individual doctors. These communities have experienced systemic racist violence for generations. They have recently experienced xenophobic responses to COVID-19 and historically, other health crises. I have worked for over 25 years in community health and as a health scholar. I have worked with survivors of trauma who have experienced colonial violence. I am concerned how anti-Black racism, anti-Indigenous racism and other forms of intersectional violence will impact the health of our communities during this crisis.”

GW Today: How Does Twitter Shape the Conversation around Covid-19?. “Researchers at the George Washington University are part of a multi-institutional initiative to create an open database tracking online attitudes toward COVID-19, an essential tool for researchers and public health professionals working to slow the pandemic.”

BBC: Coronavirus in Formula 1: Mercedes make breathing aid freely available. “Mercedes has made the design of a new breathing-aid device it helped develop freely available to help fight the coronavirus crisis. The device helps patients with lung infections breathe more easily when an oxygen mask alone is insufficient. The device was designed in conjunction with University College London.”

Washington Post: New Zealand isn’t just flattening the curve. It’s squashing it.. ” It has been less than two weeks since New Zealand imposed a coronavirus lockdown so strict that swimming at the beach and hunting in bushland were banned. They’re not essential activities, plus we have been told not to do anything that could divert emergency services’ resources. People have been walking and biking strictly in their neighborhoods, lining up six feet apart outside grocery stores while waiting to go one-in-one-out, and joining swaths of the world in discovering the vagaries of home schooling. It took only 10 days for signs that the approach here — ‘elimination’ rather than the ‘containment’ goal of the United States and other Western countries — is working.”

Geeks in Cambodia: More Than 35 Solutions To Fight Covid-19 In Cambodia Found At #Hackhthecrisis. “An online hackathon #HacKHtheCrisis, to rapidly build solutions to challenges related to COVID-19, brought together more than 200 participants and over 55 mentors who tried to tackle challenges submitted by the public. After hacking for 48 hours last weekend, the teams developed over 35 solutions, which covered topics such as wellbeing, agriculture, SME support, healthcare, medical support community support, and access to information.”


Geeks are Sexy: The Queen Wore a “Green Screen” Dress, and The Internet is Having a Field Day. “In a live address to the population last Sunday about the coronavirus pandemic, Queen Elizabeth II wore a green dress, which acted as a green to the greatest enjoyment of the Internet. Peter Chiykowski started the ball, but as you’ll see, things did not stop there.” The Animal Crossing one made me fall out.


New York Times: Trade Adviser Warned White House in January of Risks of a Pandemic. “A top White House adviser starkly warned Trump administration officials in late January that the coronavirus crisis could cost the United States trillions of dollars and put millions of Americans at risk of illness or death.”

BetaNews: Zoom CEO and other executives offloaded millions of dollars of shares before privacy and security scandals. “Zoom has had something of a rocky ride in recent weeks and months, enjoying a surge in popularity due to increased homeworking. But there have also been controversies with numerous privacy and security issues leading to some users choosing to jump ship to alternative platforms such as Microsoft Teams. Filings with the SEC show that executives at Zoom Video Communications offloaded millions of dollars’ worth of shares before the controversies started to upset users.”

CNET: Zoom: Every security issue uncovered in the video chat app. “Here’s everything we know about the Zoom saga, and when it happened. If you aren’t familiar with Zoom’s security issues, you can start from the bottom and work your way up to the most recent information. We’ll continue updating this story as more issues and fixes come to light.”

Mother Jones: Exclusive: Elizabeth Warren Has a Plan to Protect Your Right to Vote From the Coronavirus. “Today, Warren is releasing a new plan—shared in advance exclusively with Mother Jones—that calls for a series of provisions in Congress’ next coronavirus recovery package that would protect voters’ ability to safely cast a ballot during the pandemic. The proposals would require states to mail a ballot to every registered voter with a prepaid return envelope, as is standing practice in states like Oregon and Washington; outline $4 billion in federal funding to help states transition to universal vote-by-mail before November (10 times what Congress allocated in its first recovery package); and say states should refrain from removing voters from registration rolls unless they can prove the person has moved or died since it will be very difficult for anyone removed to reregister during the outbreak.”

CNET: Senators raise privacy questions about Google’s COVID-19 tracker. “Two US senators want to make sure Google’s COVID-19 tracker isn’t infringing on millions of people’s privacy. In a letter sent to Google CEO Sundar Pichai on Tuesday, Sens. Ed Markey and Richard Blumenthal raised questions about how the tech giant’s tracker is ensuring that the location data it’s collecting and presenting stays confidential.”

France24: Internet overseers seek crackdown on coronavirus website scams. “The agency that oversees online addresses on Tuesday called for those issuing website address to vigilantly thwart cyber scams exploiting coronavirus fears. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers took the unusual step of firing off a letter to ‘registrars’ entrusted with the business of issuing website names around the world.”

Gothamist: Staggering Surge Of NYers Dying In Their Homes Suggests City Is Undercounting Coronavirus Fatalities. “As of Monday afternoon, 2,738 New York City residents have died from ‘confirmed’ cases of COVID-19, according to the city Department of Health. That’s an average of 245 a day since the previous Monday. But another 200 city residents are now dying at home each day, compared to 20 to 25 such deaths before the pandemic, said Aja Worthy-Davis, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner’s office. And an untold number of them are unconfirmed.”

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