Thursday CoronaBuzz, April 9, 2020: 35 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.


WFIR: New website shows how many beds, ventilators are available statewide. “The association that represents Virginia hospitals now has a website that allows you track how many beds and ventilators are currently in use – and how many remain available.”

KSTP: New U of M website offers state-by-state comparison of COVID-19 hospitalizations. “Researchers at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management launched a new website Tuesday to help the country’s public health managers better compare state-by-state data related to the coronavirus pandemic. Despite daily updates on the death toll from COVID-19, researchers say a nationwide clearinghouse for even more critical data such as hospitalization rates and ICU capacity had not existed until now.”


TechRadar: Google Stadia now has a free two-month trial to entertain self-isolators. “As gamers self-isolate around the world, Google Stadia gets a two-month free trial for Stadia Pro subscription service for anyone in the 14 countries supported by the service. Already signed up foe Google Stadia? You’ll get two months free, too, according to a blog post by Stadia VP Phil Harrison.”

WEAU: White House Historical Association launches educational resources to help students working at home. “[Senior Vice President at the White House Historical Association Colleen] Shogan said the online lessons are geared for kids anywhere from kindergarten all the way to 12th grade with history lessons, pictures, videos and assignments. They can learn why some puppies born at the White House were called pupniks or find out which President’s daughter hosted the first and only high school prom at the White House.”

Beat: You can now take a virtual tour of the Tate Modern’s Andy Warhol exhibition. “The major retrospective features a career-spanning look at Warhol’s most famous works including pop art images of Marilyn Monroe, Coca-Cola and Campbell’s soup cans, along with works from his Ladies and Gentlemen series which haven’t been shown in 30 years. Art-lovers around the world can now visit the exhibition with a curator-led virtual tour and room by room digital archive of the works featured. As well as taking a look at some of Warhol’s most renowned pieces, the virtual tour also sheds light on the man behind the art.”

Sacramento Bee: Closed museums pump up online content to aid coronavirus shut-ins. “Audiences missing the arts during coronavirus-related museum closures can still engage with local museum content online thanks to efforts by teams at the Crocker Art Museum, the Manetti Shrem Museum of Art and the Mondavi Center. All three centers for art have refocused on online content while the masses practice social distancing, providing videos of current exhibitions and performances as well as access to blogs, links and long reads to help audiences dive into material they may otherwise not explore while museums are closed.”

Independent Ireland: Virtual show: Exhibition of best press photographs goes online. “For the first time in 42 years, the renowned Press Photographers Association of Ireland’s (PPAI) Press Photographer of the Year exhibition will not embark on its nationwide tour, due to Covid-19 restrictions. But the emergency will not stop the public from being able to view some of the best photojournalism in the country – including Independent News and Media photographer Mark Condren’s stunning portrait of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, which won him the Press Photographer of the Year 2020 award.”


EdScoop: Researchers publish social media data early for pandemic response. “To help represent the spread and impact of the coronavirus pandemic, researchers at the Georgia State University on Monday released a data set of more than 140 million tweets related to COVID-19 as a resource for the global research community. The work is part of research that collects and tracks social media chatter to understand mobility patterns during natural disasters, but researchers decided to release their data before finalizing their own results to assist other researchers studying the current pandemic.”

UCI News: Coronavirus Twitter map developed at UCI displays social media reactions to COVID-19. UCI is the University of California, Irvine. “To give the public a sense of how social media conversations about COVID-19 are happening in real time, UCI computer scientists have developed and launched a coronavirus Twitter map. The interactive resource visualizes the spatial and temporal distribution of tweets related to the pandemic, allowing users to view the growth and transformation of social media activity as the contagion spreads.”

FlaPol: AIF, Space Florida and FloridaMakes team up to connect manufacturers with businesses. “The Associated Industries of Florida, Space Florida and FloridaMakes have teamed up to launch an online database for Florida manufacturers to connect with businesses in need of their products. Connex Florida was developed in the wake of Hurricane Irma for disaster risk mitigation, but its functionality is just as suited to the chronic woes of coronavirus pandemic as it is the aftermath of a storm.”


From David Lawrence: Teach Your Course Online. “Teach Your Course Online is designed to help teachers quickly set up a home teaching space, select and set up a camera, microphone, lighting and all other gear they need to teach and to create a safe and effective online class culture. If you’re a teacher who wants to teach your coursework online and get up to speed as quickly as possible, and don’t know where to start, this course is for you.” The course is free for the next 30 days.

T.H.E. Journal: Updated: Free Resources for Schools During COVID-19 Outbreak. ” In many cases, the companies are making their paid services free through the rest of the school year; in other cases, they’re lifting limits to services and/or adding premium features to what’s free. The following list will be updated regularly as announcements are made.” This list was originally published March 13 and updated April 8.

Classical Music: How to join virtual orchestras, choirs and music masterclasses online “An up-to-date round-up of the music and performance masterclasses, workshops, choirs and ensembles you can take part in online during the coronavirus pandemic.”

Backstage: These Orgs Are Helping Out-of-Work Actors Affected by Coronavirus. “The show must go on—and now you can watch it from your living room. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encouraging self-isolation to halt the coronavirus’ spread, those who are financially dependent on the television, film, and theater industries have seen their livelihoods flash before their eyes. But in true showbiz fashion, nobody is going down without a fight.”


Institute of Museum and Library Services: IMLS Authorizes New Grant Flexibilities for Libraries, Museums. “The Institute of Museum and Library Services today announced the first of a number of critical measures to aid museums, libraries, and communities across the nation in response to COVID-19. The new guidelines outline how institutions with open IMLS grants may adapt their existing fund balances to address immediate needs and extend timelines for their work to accommodate the disruption caused by coronavirus. Examples include continuing to employ staff, modifying project activities to align with social distancing requirements, and covering basic costs necessary to resume work once the emergency has passed.”

BetaNews: Twitter’s Jack Dorsey donates $1 billion to fund coronavirus research. “In times of crisis, billionaires are often criticized for failing to help out. But when it comes to fighting coronavirus, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey is digging deep and offering up more than a quarter of his personal wealth. In all, Dorsey is donating $1 billion to help fund global COVID-19 relief. The philanthropic venture sees the Twitter chief executive moving $1 billion worth of shares in his payments company Square into a charitable fund, called Start Small LLC.”

Reuters: Zoom hires ex-Facebook security chief as Google bans desktop app. “Zoom Video Communications Inc has tapped former Facebook security chief Alex Stamos as an adviser as safety and privacy concerns about its fast-growing video-conferencing app drive a global backlash against the company.”

London Free Press: Google bans Zoom desktop app from employee laptops. “Alphabet Inc’s Google said on Wednesday it had banned Zoom video conferencing desktop application from its employees’ work laptops, citing security concerns.”

House Beautiful: Airlines Will Now Be Mandated to Provide Refunds to Passengers With Cancelled Flights Due to Coronavirus. “If 2020 was supposed to be a big travel year for you but your plans got completely shattered by the coronavirus pandemic, here’s a silver lining: The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has mandated that airlines give full refunds to passengers with cancelled flights or significant delays. The announcement comes after a series of complaints from ticketed passengers who were denied refunds and only offered vouchers or credits for future travel. The order applies to all flights to, within, or from the United States.”


Skilled Nursing News: Once an Afterthought, Nursing Homes Embrace Social Media as Essential During COVID-19 Crisis. “…for most nursing home operators, the perceived risk has long outweighed the rewards. With most people choosing a post-acute or long-term care center based on proximity to family and word-of-mouth recommendations, why invest the time and money in developing a social media presence for what amounts to a need-based business? Why invite the potential for negative reviews or comments in a space that has always been hyper-conscious about its portrayal in the media? Then the COVID-19 outbreak of 2020 provided the answers to those questions.”

CNN: Coronavirus lockdown could give online education a lasting boost in India. “Schools around the world have closed their doors because of the coronavirus pandemic, leaving more than 1.5 billion children stuck at home. While it’s a great inconvenience for many, it has created a spike in demand for online learning. Educational institutions are introducing online courses and some education technology startups are temporarily offering free classes to help offset the impact of school closures.”

MIT Technology Review: Why the coronavirus lockdown is making the internet stronger than ever. “More people started using the video-conferencing software Zoom in the first two months of 2020 than in all of 2019. Stay-at-home entertainment is also booming. Record numbers of people are using Steam, a popular online PC game store. At one point this weekend more than 24 million players were logged on at the same time, a 25% jump since February. And online grocery stores are unable to handle the surge in business, with customers waiting for hours in virtual lines tens of thousands of people long. So how is the internet coping with the most sudden burst of usage in its history? There are understandable signs of strain: Wi-Fi that slows to a crawl, websites that won’t load, video calls that cut out. But despite the odd hiccup, the internet is doing just fine. In fact, the covid-19 crisis is driving the biggest expansion in years.”

Screen Shot: Google Docs is becoming the best entertainment of the coronavirus pandemic. “Apparently, keeping people under lockdown makes them go back to simpler digital pleasures. A few days ago, the MIT Technology Review questioned its readers: Why does it suddenly feel like 1999 on the internet? It seems like extreme loneliness and boredom have a way of forcing us to get out of our digital comfort zone. Just like those students who used Google Docs as a way to pass notes in class in 2019, adults all around the globe have started using the document authoring tool in very inventive ways, to say the least. Here’s how Google Docs is slowly becoming our new entertainment during self-isolation.”

FiercePharma: Docs are talking about COVID-19 on social media—and pharma is looking for lessons. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare providers want to talk. So they’re logging onto social media, joining conversations and offering insights more actively than ever before, according to CM/Compas research. COVID-19 conversations around disease states have increased 1,000% among healthcare professionals (HCPs) and 2,500% among consumers, with both sharing the same types of content, according to a social listening study that ran from Jan. 1 through March 19.”

NBC News: Library workers fight for safer working conditions amid coronavirus pandemic. “In Hennepin County, Minnesota, 220 library workers face a dilemma: take unpaid leave or get reassigned to work in hotels housing homeless people, including some with COVID-19 symptoms, with no extra pay. The offer came last week from county Administrator David Hough, who told staff that there wasn’t enough work for them to do from home while the libraries were closed. Workers who don’t want to move to the higher-risk jobs — of which there are only 50 positions — can use their remaining paid time off or eat into future paid leave allocations that they will owe the county.”


BBC: Coronavirus: ‘Pets no risk to owners’ vets stress. “Veterinary scientists have recommended cat owners keep their pets indoors to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus among animals. But the British Veterinary Association stressed ‘owners should not worry’ about risk of infection from pets.” Also, birds everywhere will thank you.

University of South Carolina: COVID-19 impact: Geographer tracks movement with Twitter data. “During historic flooding five years ago across the Palmetto State, faculty members at the University of South Carolina demonstrated how real-time social media data could aid in tracking the extent of a natural disaster. Geography assistant professor Zhenlong Li led that research and has deployed similar methods during the current COVID-19 pandemic, gathering Twitter data to visually map human travel across the country and around the world.”

Chattanooga Times Free Press: African Americans more than half of Mississippi coronavirus deaths. “African Americans in Mississippi are being disproportionately affected by the new coronavirus, and many have underlying health problems that make them more vulnerable to it, the state epidemiologist said Tuesday. Dr. Paul Byers said about 50% and ‘maybe a little bit more’ of those testing positive for the highly contagious virus and more than 50% of those dying from it in the state are black.” Mississippi’s population is about 38% Black.

Hattiesburg American: Coronavirus in Mississippi: UMMC makes ventilators with basic hardware store supplies. “Made with “primarily a garden hose, a lamp timer and electronic valve,” the ventilator, named the Robertson Ventilator, for less than $100, can be assembled in approximately 20 to 30 minutes, meaning a dedicated team of four to five could produce nearly 100 in a day if needed, he said.” “He” is Dr. Charles Robertson, a pediatric anesthesiologist at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

Wired: To Beat Covid-19, Scientists Try to ‘See’ the Invisible Enemy. “ROMMIE AMARO HAS barely slept over the last month. Her voice buzzes with restless energy; her long sentences are punctuated with abrupt pauses as she recovers her train of thought. ‘Oh my God, can you tell I’m getting tired?’ the UC San Diego biophysicist asks. But ‘now is the time to not sleep,’ she says. In the past few weeks, she and her international research team have been working at all hours to deliver a powerful new tool to be used to fight the global pandemic. They are creating a moving digital replica of the coronavirus—simulated using a supercomputer—that strives for scientific accuracy down to the microbe’s individual atoms.”

Hartford Courant: Most New York coronavirus cases came from Europe, genomes show. “New research indicates that the coronavirus began to circulate in the New York area by mid-February, weeks before the first confirmed case, and that travelers brought in the virus mainly from Europe, not Asia. ‘The majority is clearly European,’ said Harm van Bakel, a geneticist at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, who co-wrote a study awaiting peer review.”


BetaNews: Stolen Zoom account credentials are freely available on the dark web. “Loved, hated, trusted and feared in just about equal measure, Zoom has been all but unavoidable in recent weeks. Following on from a combination of privacy and security scandals, credentials for numerous Zoom account have been found on the dark web.”

The Hans India: Coronavirus in Kurnool: Police uses google maps with geotagging system to implement lockdown. “In the wake of the increasing number of coronavirus cases in the Kurnool district, the police have become even more vigilant and are using technology to contain the virus. They have made arrangements for monitoring through online by setting up of COVID-19 Command Control Center at Vyas Auditorium at the District Police Offices and the red zone regions are geotagged using google maps to identify the suspects and patients who come out from their houses.”

San Francisco Chronicle: Exclusive: Coronavirus cleanup crews on infected Navy ship using T-shirts for masks. “As the Navy races to contain a coronavirus outbreak on the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, sailors left onboard to maintain and disinfect the ship are doing so with minimal protective equipment, fashioning homemade masks out of T-shirts at the direction of the Pentagon. Some are working while they await test results, not knowing if they are spreading or catching the virus.”

Washington Post: Ninety thousand medical workers volunteered to help New York battle coronavirus. Most are sitting idle.. “Every day, he goes online and checks his messages again and again, and every day is the same: no response. George Weinhouse, a 67-year-old retired anesthesiologist, answered the call weeks ago for volunteers with medical experience to help New York weather the worst pandemic since 1918. Weinhouse stepped out of his comfortable post-career life, submitted his registration and credentials, and waited. Even as the coronavirus crisis approaches its peak in New York, straining the medical system like no other previous disaster, he’s still waiting.”

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