Friday CoronaBuzz, April 10, 2020: 52 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.


North Carolina State University: Visualization Tool Tracks COVID-19. “How does where I live compare with other regions in reports of COVID-19 infections and deaths? When should we expect our region to start ‘flattening its curve,’ or showing declines in the number of COVID-19 cases? NC State analytics experts Christopher Healey and Susan Simmons built a visualization dashboard using publicly available data that shows these comparisons and predictions.”

Newsweek: Exclusive: First Public Map Reveals Military Bases With Coronavirus Cases As Pentagon Secrecy Draws Backlash. “More than 150 military bases in 41 states have been hit with coronavirus, according to new information exclusively obtained by Newsweek. The Pentagon on Tuesday also said that the armed forces had surpassed 3,000 cases, more than doubling their number of people tested positive for coronavirus in less than a week’s time. The scope of geographic spread among the military in the United States mirrors the civilian world and also shows few signs of abating.”

The Nigerian Voice: The Future Project, Y! Africa launches new website ‘Beating Corona’ to provide real-time information on pandemic interventions across Nigeria. “Beating Corona website provides a comprehensive database of all current and past interventions across the 36 states of the federation; broken down state by state in a detailed, yet accessible form. Other features on the website include daily updates on all that governmental bodies, corporations and others are doing to fight the scourge. To further provide context and insight into COVID-19’s impact across the country, the site will also constantly run nuanced, human-focused content through short videos, photography and on-the-street interviews.”

Manchester Evening News: New website launches to show NHS and health workers where they can find free parking spaces . “Health and social care workers can now get free parking at key locations. A new website set up by the Government allows health workers to find free parking spaces quickly and easily.”

PR Newswire: Excelra Releases COVID-19 Drug Repurposing Database to Support Global Drug Development Efforts Against Novel Coronavirus (PRESS RELEASE). “Excelra, a leading global data and analytics company, today announced the release of the COVID-19 Drug Repurposing Database ( The ‘open-access’ database presents a compilation of ‘previously approved’ small molecules and biologics with known preclinical, pharmacokinetic, pharmacodynamic, and toxicity profiles that can rapidly enter either Phase 2 or 3 clinical trials on fast track basis for COVID-19. In addition, the database also includes information on promising drug candidates that are in various ‘clinical, pre-clinical and experimental’ stages of drug discovery and development for COVID-19.”

Times News Online: Pa. database shows beds, ventilators available, in use. “On Wednesday, Gov. Tom Wolf signed an order which allows the state to take personal protective equipment and ventilators from any facility in the state and allocate it to areas where they feel it is needed…. Along with the order, the Department of Health has unveiled an interactive map which shows cases, available ICU beds and ventilator usage.”

Medical XPress: New tool helps compare different COVID-19 spreading scenarios. “Researchers from the Multidisciplinary Institute of Medium Study Institute Ramón Margalef (IMEM) from Alicante University (UA), in collaboration with epidemiologists from the National Centre for Tropical Medicine of the Carlos III Health Institute of Madrid, have developed the first open modeling tool with which to compare different COVID-19 spreading scenarios.”

Medical XPress: Live public street cams are tracking social distancing. “With advanced computer vision models and live public street cam video, a University of Michigan startup is tracking social distancing behaviors in real time at some of the most visited places in the world. Voxel51’s new tool shows—quite literally—an uptick in public gathering in Dublin on St. Patrick’s Day, for example, and at New Jersey’s Seaside Heights boardwalk during a recent weekend of unusually good weather.”


SC Now: South Carolina Department of Education creates online resource website. “The website provides teachers with remote instruction information, website resources and learning resources that are broken down for elementary, middle and high school students. The website provides parents and students with instructional resources.”

Red Tricycle: American Girl Offers Free Online Library. “While your kids are home from school, explore different times and places through books. American Girl has opened up their online library, free for everyone to access. You’ll also find lots of expert advice to help your kids sort through their feelings, family and friendships during social distancing.”

Cineuropa: RTVE Digital offers Spanish films to watch online, for free. “More than 60 features, many of which have won a Goya Award, can be enjoyed online, for free, thanks to Somos cine, a platform launched on RTVE’s website. Standing out among them are arthouse titles such as the drama Julieta [+] by Pedro Almodóvar and the road movie The Olive Tree [+] by Icíar Bollaín, together with box-office smashes like Champions [+] by Javier Fesser, the horror flick Verónica [+] by Paco Plaza and the musical Holy Camp! [+] by Javier Ambrossi and Javier Calvo. In addition, there is a batch of edgier films, such as Magical Girl [+] by Carlos Vermut, as well as others that refuse outright to be pigeonholed, like People in Places [+] by Juan Cavestany.”


Alabama Governor’s Office: Governor Ivey Launches New COVID-19 Search Engine Tool. “Governor Kay Ivey on Thursday announced the launch of a COVID-19 search engine tool that enhances the state’s official resource site, Through a public-private partnership between Yext and the state of Alabama, this innovative platform will provide real-time answers to questions about everything from the virus itself, through a symptom checker that was developed at UAB, to upcoming COVID-19 testing site locations.”

BuzzMachine: COVID Journalism: Episodes 1-3. “In our Social Journalism program at the Newmark Journalism School, we believe community journalism must start with listening to the community. Well, science journalism must start with listening to the scientists. This is why I have been maintaining a COVID Twitter list of more than 500 credentialed, relevant experts. So I have spoken so far with an epidemiologist, an infectious disease expert, and a virologist. I will continue with other experts in more disciplines. Here are the first three interviews.”

ABC 23: New website allows people to connect, spread love amid COVID-19 pandemic. “Esparza Digital + Advertising, an Albuquerque-based advertising agency, recently announced the launch of a website they created designed to help people connect, spread love and express themselves during the COVID-19 pandemic. The website encourages people to post ‘love notes’ to anywhere in the world.”

GeekWire: Two Seattle tech workers stick it to coronavirus with virtual ‘Gumwall’ to benefit restaurant workers. “Seattle’s famously gooey Gum Wall tourist attraction was scrubbed of an estimated 1 million pieces of chewing gum back in 2015. In 2020, visitors to a new website called Gumwall can spend a buck to remove a single piece of virtual ‘gum,’ and cleaning the wall this time will benefit restaurant and hospitality workers affected by the coronavirus outbreak.”

BBC: Coronavirus: Online newspaper archive made free during outbreak. “Thousands of Isle of Man newspapers dating from 1792 to 1960 have been made available online for free during the coronavirus outbreak. Manx National Heritage (MNH) has suspended its subscription charge to view the items. The digital collection features about 450,000 pages of newsprint and can be accessed through the iMuseum.”

UCLA Newsroom: UCLA Law builds databases on prisons and COVID-19. “UCLA School of Law has created expansive databases that keep track of developments related to COVID-19 in prisons and jails nationwide. Launched amid the mounting coronavirus crisis — including reports of infections in high-risk places where large numbers of people are packed into tight quarters — the resources address two key areas.”

CitiesToday: The GovLab launches coronavirus resource database. “New York University research centre The GovLab has compiled a comprehensive global library of apps and initiatives used by city and national governments in fighting the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The repository, which launched last month, is part of a call for action from the research group to build a responsible infrastructure for a data-driven pandemic response.”

TechCrunch: Free tool helps manufacturers map where COVID-19 impacts supply chain. “Assent Compliance, a company that helps large manufacturers like GE and Rolls Royce manage complex supply chains through an online data exchange, announced a new tool this week that lets any company, whether they’re a customer or not, upload bills of materials and see on a map where COVID-19 is having an impact on their supply chain.”


The Guardian: Do breathing exercises really work? UK doctors on how to protect against coronavirus – and manage symptoms. “There is a lot of confusion about how to protect yourself from illness – and what to do if do you contract coronavirus. Here is the expert advice.”

Mathematica: COVID-19 Curated Data, Modeling, and Policy Resources. “COVID-19 presents an urgent need for data and tools for states, health care decision makers, providers, and others to predict need and direct resources, based on the best available evidence. Data sources, analytic tools, policy options, and other resources are increasing rapidly. Below is a preliminary list of resources organized by Mathematica from publicly available resources.” Extensive roundup, goooood annotation.

BookRiot: Where To Find Free Poetry Online. “As everyone knows, April is National Poetry Month! A lot of poetry challenges are going on, like writing a poem a day and finding the best poem to carry around in a pocket (for Poem In Your Pocket Day; this year it’s April 30). Buying all the poetry books is also a big way to celebrate. When your book budget busts, you can visit these websites to find free poetry online.”

Eater: Miss Going Out to Restaurants? Here’s How to Make Takeout Feel Special.. “During a global pandemic, a sense of occasion is still possible to find, and it might be even more valuable than before. As many diners turn to takeout and delivery to feed themselves and to support restaurants whose other revenue streams have run dry, regaining that feeling of ceremony associated with a restaurant meal might be as simple as getting out the good plates and the nice olive oil. And while there’s no evidence of food being associated with COVID-19 transmission, it is recommended that you throw away or disinfect packaged materials that come with takeout and delivery — so fresh plates are a doubly good idea.”

NBC News: How to help struggling Asian American communities amid coronavirus pandemic. “Now, as isolation has led to loss of employment and further stagnation of business for many Asian Americans, initiatives at the city and state level seek to provide financial support for struggling Asian American communities. And as reports of racism and hostility continue to rise as a result of the virus — with one organization reporting over 1,100 reports of verbal harassment, shunning and physical assault in just two weeks — some groups are working to raise awareness of the issue.”


Slate: WhatsApp Limits Message Forwarding to Curb the Spread of Coronavirus Rumors. “On Tuesday, WhatsApp announced that it will impose strict limits on forwarding messages. It’s part of the messaging service’s push to slow the spread of false information about the coronavirus.”

Fox 28: School meal delivery and pick up services starting to reduce and stop across county. “School bus drivers in Central Ohio are demanding better protection as they claim meal drop offs are exposing them to deadly coronavirus dangers. A day after Scoring Our Schools found out face masks weren’t mandatory for area districts continuing to serve meals, drivers wishing Westerville City Schools started calling in with concerns.” The headline says “county” but includes examples from across the country.

CNET: TikTok pledges $250 million in COVID-19 aid. “TikTok has committed $250 million to coronavirus aid as of Thursday. According to a statement by TikTok’s president, Alex Zhu, the funds will go toward supporting ‘front line medical workers, educators, and local communities deeply affected by the global crisis.'”

Local 12: Puerto Rico seeks ban on flights from US COVID-19 hot spots. “Puerto Rico’s governor on Wednesday asked federal officials to ban all flights from U.S. cities with a high number of coronavirus cases to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S. territory.”


BBC: Coronavirus fuels a surge in fake medicines. “Growing numbers of fake medicines linked to coronavirus are on sale in developing countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned. A BBC News investigation found fake drugs for sale in Africa, with counterfeiters exploiting growing gaps in the market.”

Road|Show: Broadcasters buy in to air Torque Esports virtual race series. “We don’t know when we’ll see real life motorsport return to the track as the world works to control the coronavirus outbreak. Even though the hope is racers take to the grid sooner rather than later, plenty of organizations are starting to look at esports more seriously.”

Phys .org: Coronavirus forces new approaches to fighting wildfires. “They are two disasters that require opposite responses: To save lives and reduce the spread of COVID-19, people are being told to remain isolated. But in a wildfire, thousands of firefighters must work in close quarters for weeks at a time. Wildfires have already broken out in Texas and Florida, and agencies are scrambling to finish plans for a new approach. They are considering waivers for some training requirements to previously-certified crew members, and moving some training online.”

Vietnam Times: Exclusive ‘Rice ATM’ launched in Vietnam amid coronavirus pandemic. “Hoang Tuan Anh came up with the idea of creating a ‘Rice ATM’, or automatic rice dispenser, to offer the disadvantaged free rice 24 hours a day, expecting to curb the potential nCoV cross transmissions when rice from charitable organizations are distributed in person. ”

New York Times: Ecuador Struggles to Bury Coronavirus Dead; Some Bodies Lost. “Alfonso Cedeño died at a crowded hospital in the Ecuadorian city of Guayaquil, where the only bed doctors could offer was an ambulance stretcher. Two weeks later, his family doesn’t know where his body is. ‘My uncle is nowhere to be found,’ Alfonso Mariscal said Tuesday. Relatives who have lost loved ones to the coronavirus in this sweltering metropolis of 2.6 million say burying their family members is as agonizing as trying to get them care here in one of Latin America’s most infected cities.”

I can’t think of a single good reason to do this. Not one. This is just cruel. CNN: People are luring Instacart shoppers with big tips — and then changing them to zero. “Demand for grocery delivery is surging amid the Covid-19 pandemic, and many customers are struggling to get the items they want or even a time slot for a delivery. Some people are dealing with that by offering big tips, as high as $50 or more, to entice Instacart workers to pick up their orders. But some of those people have turned the tactic into a bait-and-switch, offering up the big tip and then taking it away as soon as the person who risked their health to get them their groceries has made the delivery.”

American Libraries: How Public Libraries Are Responding to the Pandemic. “On April 9, the Public Library Association (PLA) announced the release of the broadest survey to date—with 2,545 unique responses nationwide, representing 28% of all US public libraries—on how public libraries are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. The findings show that as public libraries close their buildings to the public, staff continue to serve their communities in innovative ways.”

New York Times: In Ohio, the Amish Take on the Coronavirus. “For centuries, the Amish community has been famously isolated from the hustle of the outside world. Homes still lack telephones or computers. Travel is by horse and buggy. Home-sewn clothing remains the norm. And even now, as the coronavirus rages in the country at large, there is resistance from people sustained by communal life to the dictates of social distancing that have brought the economy to a halt — in Amish country as everywhere else. But as the virus creeps ever closer, the Amish community is joining the fight.”

Telegraph India: How are Indian research scholars stranded abroad faring?. “Staying shut in a small room with little money and no help from the embassy has me panicked and depressed. It seems that the door to any solution has also been locked. We are stuck, mentally and financially. We are appealing to the Indian government to evacuate us from this country. If the situation continues — many are saying the lockdown may be in place for six months — we will die for sure without any help.”

The Guardian: US newspapers face ‘extinction-level’ crisis as Covid-19 hits hard. “As journalists across the US scramble to cover the impact of the coronavirus, they are grappling with a bitter irony: as demand for their stories soars, the decline of the business model that funds them is speeding up catastrophically. The devastating sweep of Covid-19 is the biggest story in a generation, and for most newspapers and news sites it has triggered record numbers of readers. Yet the virus, industry experts warn, will spell the end for ‘hundreds’ of those organizations, laying off journalists and closing titles.”

Publishers Weekly: How Kids’ Lit Is Responding to the Coronavirus. “With widespread school and library closures due to the new coronavirus outbreak, children’s authors and publishers are going digital to provide kids with ways to read, draw, engage, and support other children who might need a helping hand. PW is tracking some of the most creative efforts on social media and across the web, and will be updating our list regularly. Updated for the April 9 issue, this list includes National Geographic’s NatGeo@Home platform, Workman’s free content in support of remote learning, Magination Press’s family resource page, and more.”


BBC: Virus could push half a billion people into poverty. “The economic fallout from coronavirus could increase global poverty by up to half a billion, Oxfam has warned. Using research by the Australian National University (ANU) and Kings College, London, the charity says it will be the first time poverty has risen globally in 30 years.”

CU Boulder Today: Mathematician using Facebook data in the fight against COVID-19. “CU Boulder researcher Daniel Larremore has never held a nasal swab and doesn’t wear scrubs. Instead, he relies on math to track the spread of human diseases. This week, Larremore and several colleagues from Colorado joined a nationwide study that seeks to use social media data to better understand how coronavirus cases might grow and travel in the coming weeks. The COVID-19 Mobility Data Network will draw on huge volumes of anonymized location information supplied by Facebook to follow how groups of people move from spot to spot over time. That will allow researchers like Larremore, an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science and in the BioFrontiers Institute, to build maps that show where people are still traveling in the age of social distancing.”

CNET: Google searches could illuminate the shadowy spread of the coronavirus. “Thanks to limited testing and data, the pathways that the novel coronavirus uses to spread remain relatively invisible and challenging to track. Now researchers are mining Google search data for insights into the propagation of the coronavirus and the respiratory disease it causes, COVID-19, as well as its symptoms and other impacts.”

EurekAlert: Bluetooth signals from your smartphone could automate COVID-19 contact tracing. “A team led by MIT researchers and including experts from many institutions is developing a system that augments ‘manual’ contact tracing by public health officials, while preserving the privacy of all individuals. The system relies on short-range Bluetooth signals emitted from people’s smartphones. These signals represent random strings of numbers, likened to ‘chirps’ that other nearby smartphones can remember hearing.”

EurekAlert: Researchers seek new drugs to fight coronavirus using computers in schools across Kentucky. “The novel coronavirus may have K-12 students in Kentucky’s school districts learning at home, but researchers at the University of Louisville are using the computing power of thousands of computers in classrooms across the state to identify drugs to treat COVID-19. The desktop computers are part of the DataseamGrid, a network of computers housed in classrooms of 48 Kentucky school districts as part of a partnership designed to support research, education and workforce development.”

EdScoop: After the pandemic, AI tutoring tool could put students back on track. “The coronavirus pandemic forced students and researchers at Carnegie Mellon University in March to abruptly stop testing an adaptive learning software tool that uses artificial intelligence to expand tutors’ ability to deliver personalized education. But researchers said the tool could help students get back up to speed on their learning when in-person instruction resumes.”

NextGov: Wi-Fi Peeks into Buildings to Check Social Distancing. “A new tool lets college administrators estimate how many people are in campus buildings to make sure people are social distancing to fight COVID-19, researchers report. The tool, which went live on April 3, lets decision makers identify places on campus where concentrations of people are high. Like an eye in the sky, it allows leaders to make principled choices about what actions to take to reduce the likelihood of person-to-person COVID-19 transmission.”

Vice: The Viral ‘Study’ About Runners Spreading Coronavirus Is Not Actually a Study. “In the last 24 hours, a computer simulation by a team of Belgian engineers that tracks the ‘spread droplets’ and ‘slipstream’ of the exhalations, coughs, and sneezes of people who are running, walking, or cycling has gone viral. Perhaps you have seen this gif on Twitter, Facebook, or NextDoor. Or, as some people on our staff have seen, perhaps write-ups of it have been texted to you by concerned friends or family.”

Washington Post: A leading model now estimates tens of thousands fewer covid-19 deaths by summer. “The Post reported last week that Washington, D.C., is relying on a separate model offering a starkly different picture for how the virus will affect the district. At the time, IHME saw the peak number of deaths arriving in mid-April. The D.C. model, developed by Penn Medicine, estimates the peak will come in late June. That variance is a function of the difficulty of modeling the pandemic, something FiveThirtyEight explored last month. Models should get more accurate as the actual peak approaches — though identifying when the peak has arrived is itself tricky, predictive models aside.”


Slate: Kansas Republicans Undo Governor’s Coronavirus Order Prohibiting Large Religious Gatherings. “The Kansas State Legislature voted Wednesday to override a provision of the governor’s stay-at-home order that limited religious gatherings to 10 people, even as the coronavirus cases in the state grew this week, jumping 40 percent to over 1,000 with 38 deaths.”

Phys .org: Most laws ignore human-wildlife conflict—this makes us vulnerable to pandemics. “The current available evidence indicates COVID-19 was first transmitted in a wildlife market in Wuhan. The disease likely originated in pangolins, bats, or a combination of both and was then transmitted to humans. While various commentators have blamed pangolins, bats, or even our lack of ‘mastery’ of wildlife, the real cause of this pandemic goes deeper—into the laws, cultures and institutions of most countries.”

Daily Beast: Feds Warn Alex Jones to Stop Hawking Coronavirus Scams. “The Food and Drug Administration is demanding that conspiracy theorist Alex Jones stop advertising dubious dietary supplements as coronavirus treatments and threatening legal action if he doesn’t comply.”

Los Angeles Times: Hospitals say feds are seizing masks and other coronavirus supplies without a word. “Although President Trump has directed states and hospitals to secure what supplies they can, the federal government is quietly seizing orders, leaving medical providers across the country in the dark about where the material is going and how they can get what they need to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.”

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