Sunday CoronaBuzz, April 12, 2020: 32 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.


Texas Scorecard: Homeschool Help: New Online Program Gives Parents Free Daily Lesson Plans, Advice. “During the coronavirus outbreak, countless new families are suddenly grappling with having to figure out school at home—and the Texas Home School Coalition has come to the rescue.”

EdSource: New website offers tips for teachers about virtual special education. “To help teachers better serve special education students during the school closures, a coalition of more than 30 disability and education groups has created a digital one-stop shop of teaching resources.”

University of Arkansas: Webinar Series to Give Caregivers Tips for Teaching Children With Disabilities During Pandemic. “University of Arkansas professor Peggy Schaefer-Whitby has teamed up with the state’s Center for Exceptional Families to support caregivers who are educating children with disabilities at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly a dozen special education experts across Arkansas — and two other states — have created a three-part webinar series to assist parents who may be struggling.”


The Denver Channel: Hair getting long while social distancing? Cut it yourself with the help of this website. “The site offers two types of haircuts for men. The least expensive is $18 for a 20 minute haircut. They encourage you to leave a $5 tip. About 80% of the cost goes to the barber. The rest goes to running the website. As soon as you book, you’ll get a Zoom link. There, the barber will tell you what to do.”

The National: Missing the office? This website helps recreate the sound of your workplace from home. “From ringing phones and printers to the distant hum of background conversation, the website allows you to play white noise to help you feel like you are in the office. There is even the odd sneeze and sniff thrown in, as well as the sound of heels clicking as a virtual colleague walks by.”

Allure: The New Makeup Museum Launched a Digital Exhibit for Different Generations to Connect Over Beauty Memories. “Beauty lovers had something very special to look forward to this spring: New York’s new Makeup Museum was scheduled to open on May 1 with its debut exhibit, Pink Jungle: 1950s Makeup in America. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, like so many events, the launch is on hold and visitors will have to wait a little longer to see the exploration of a past era’s cosmetics icons and artifacts. But in the meantime, the museum has launched an interactive online exhibit of sorts that will not only delight viewers but also foster meaningful connections and conversations during this socially isolated time.”


MakeUseOf: 5 Ways to Focus on Work at Home and Avoid Distractions. “Hopefully, by now you are familiar with some of the best work from home resources that will teach you the tricks of the trade. Once you have a workspace set up in your house, it’s still not easy to deal with the many interruptions that pop up throughout the day. Here are some of the best apps, tools, and techniques to avoid distractions and maintain focus.” But if you can’t maintain focus, it’s okay. Who can blame you?

MakeUseOf: Bored During Self-Isolation? 100+ Tips for Staying Entertained and Engaged. “Trapped inside and going stir-crazy due to quarantine? You aren’t the only one! Here are all kinds of things you can do to stay sane while self-isolating and social distancing!” Huge meta-list of pointers to MakeUseOf articles.

Business Insider: How to play the best educational game classics of all time, from ‘The Oregon Trail’ to ‘Number Munchers’. “Whether you grew up in the ’80s, the ’90s, or the ’00s, you’ve almost certainly got fond memories of the gaming classic ‘The Oregon Trail.’ It’s part of a group of early ‘edutainment’ games intended to educate, as well as delight, young players. Games like ‘The Oregon Trail,’ ‘Number Munchers,’ and ‘Lemonade Stand’ were all created by one group — MECC — that no longer exists. But the games have managed to live on, and they’re available these days entirely for free on the web.”

CNET: How to plan a remote funeral and grieve a loved one during the coronavirus pandemic. “Online resources and tools are no replacement for a gathering of loved ones and friends, but they can help families organize online memorials, memory books and donations made in your loved one’s memory. We present some resources to help plan a remote funeral or memorial and otherwise honor those who have died as a result of COVID-19. Remember that performing a physical act can sometimes help you regain some agency during a situation you can’t otherwise control.”

TrekMovie: Frugal Trekkies’ Guide To Enjoying Star Trek For Free. “These are difficult times with many tightening their belts, yet at the same time finding themselves with more free time. But even if you are on a strict budget there are many ways to enjoy Star Trek without actually spending any money, including some new limited time free offers from companies looking to help during the pandemic that is keeping so many of us under quarantine. So, we have put together a number of ways Star Trek fans can watch, read, listen, and more without leaving home or spending any money at all.”


Man of Many: Dating App Hinge Launches ‘Date From Home’ Quarantine Feature. “People have more time than ever to workshop pick-up lines and refine the subtle art of the dick-pic, so it’s no surprise apps like Hinge are blowing up right now. But the app isn’t forgetting about what happens after a good opener. In a new move, Hinge has dropped a new ‘Date From Home’ feature that allows users to continue dating while maintaining social distancing measures.”

US Department of Defense: Army Deploys Medical Task Forces to Help Hard-Hit Communities. “The Army has mobilized eight Urban Augmentation Medical Task Forces to the East Coast to support the coronavirus relief efforts and curb the spread of disease, senior Army leaders said.”


New York Times: Inside the Strip Clubs of Instagram. “For the past three weeks, Justin LaBoy, 28, a former professional basketball player and a social media personality, and Justin Dior Combs, an entrepreneur and P. Diddy’s 26-year-old son, have been hosting virtual pop-up strip clubs on Instagram Live. ‘If it wasn’t for Justin and his Lives I don’t know what I would have done or how I would have paid my bills or gotten food in my house,’ said Sasha, a dancer who has been featured on the pop-up show.”

Africa News: Coronavirus: Malawi banks suspend key payments, reduce digital banking rates. “The coronavirus epidemic continues to disrupt life across the world. The disruption is all but gathering steam in affected even virus-free African countries. The rate of infection is lower on the continent as compared to Europe, Asia and parts of the Americas, where lockdowns are in place…. Our main coronavirus hub is seized with major developments around the epidemic. This piece will focus on the impact on business with emphasis on a raft of incidents that have been undertaken.”

Irish Examiner: #CoronavirusSolidarity diary: Florist gives flowers ‘free of charge’ to Glasnevin Cemetery. “In the days and weeks ahead we will be highlighting for posterity those stories which capture the unique community spirit of Ireland’s repsonse to the ongoing crisis. Please let us know about community initiatives which have been set up to offer support to those most impacted by the crisis or examples of people who are going above and beyond the call of duty. Tag us at @irishexaminer and use #CoronavirusSolidarity.” Up to four parts, and a lovely read if you’re feeling down.

Montana Free Press: Realtors, renters and landlords adjust to an uncomfortable new normal. “A week after Gov. Steve Bullock issued a stay-at-home order designed to slow the spread of COVID-19, the Montana Association of Realtors got on a conference call with the organization’s leaders across the state. Realtors wanted to know how to help people move when movement is restricted. While similar orders in California and New York have designated real estate activity as nonessential, and thus subject to stay-at-home directives, Montana’s order defines real estate as ‘essential’ and, as such, unrestricted.”

BBC: Coronavirus: The US clothing firms now making gowns and gloves. “In a normal year Michael Rubin’s athletic apparel factory in Pennsylvania would be ramping up for the start of baseball season, churning out team uniforms and clothing to sell to fans. Instead his company, Fanatics, has remade itself into a gown and mask manufacturer for hospitals facing shortages of protective gear as they fight the coronavirus. Fanatics isn’t alone. Thousands of companies across the US have responded to pleas for help from hospitals facing shortages of critical health supplies.”

The Guardian: Burning Man cancels festival amid coronavirus and plans virtual event. “The organizers of Burning Man announced on Friday that they will not be assembling 80,000 people in the Nevada desert this summer to build giant works of art and then set them on fire. Instead, due to an ongoing global pandemic, they will hold a ‘Virtual Burning Man’, which they hope will attract 100,000 participants.”

BuzzFeed News: Why Mundane Daily Twitter Hashtags Keep Trending During The Coronavirus Pandemic. “As a pandemic ravages the globe and the economy plummets like Dan Cortese in spandex shorts and a bungee cord, we are all desperately looking for some form of stability and normalcy. Luckily, you, a chronically online person, do not have to look far to find this tiny shred of pre-COVID-19 life that grounds us back in our base humanity. Just fire up Twitter before 10 a.m. and check the trending topics — chances are you will see the most banal and useless hashtags trend each morning: #MotivationMonday, #ThursdayThoughts, #FridayFeeling.”

NiemanLab: Under stress but seeing their work resonate, local news orgs are experimenting through the pandemic. “The coronavirus outbreak and its economic impact are forcing news organizations of every size to make life-or-death business decisions. Small independent publications, even those not chiefly dependent on advertising, are staring down short-term financial challenges and long-term uncertainty. Still, there’s a sense that there are still opportunities afoot for those nimble enough to capitalize on them. Newsrooms are keen to fortify reader-generated revenue streams and demonstrate the value of local journalism while the interest — and the stakes — are at historic highs.”

UT News: Seeing Your Mental Health Provider Virtually is Here to Stay. “In the United States alone, millions of Americans live with mental illnesses, and less than half of them receive the support they need. The COVID-19 impact exponentially amplifies this concern, given lack of physical access to providers due to stay-at-home orders across the country. Hospitals are overwhelmed by the influx of infected patients, and so other health issues such as psychiatric concerns, while still ever pressing, become a challenge to address. This raises the critical question: Will COVID-19 transform mental health care in the United States? We think so, and we hope it is here to stay.”

CBC: Métis dancers keep connected by putting a spin on a social media trend. “A group of Métis jiggers from Manitoba are keeping connected by putting their own spin on a new social media trend. The trend, which is often found in videos on the app TikTok, involves users covering their phone camera with a makeup brush and then pulling it away, revealing their new outfit, makeup styles or in some cases traditional regalia and dance styles.”


American Library Association: Public libraries launch, expand services during COVID-19 pandemic. “As public libraries close their buildings to the public, staff continue to serve their communities in innovative ways. Those are among the chief findings the Public Library Association (PLA) announced today in the broadest survey of public libraries’ response to the pandemic to date, with 2,545 unique responses nationwide. Most respondents (98%) reported their buildings were closed to the public but, in many cases, staff continued to expand access to digital resources, launch virtual programs and coordinate services with local government agencies.”

Mashable: Why suicide risk may increase as we cope with COVID-19. “Trauma and grief follow in COVID-19’s wake as the disease destroys our collective sense of normalcy, kills thousands of Americans, and threatens to be deadly for a projected 60,000 people in the U.S. The loneliness, anxiety, and depression that, for some, accompany the pandemic has prompted concern about a brewing mental health crisis. Now, a new article published in JAMA Psychiatry suggests that COVID-19 may lead to increased risk of suicide. The suicide rate, which is 14.2 per 100,000 people, has been rising steadily for years.” I wish I could give everyone who reads this a hug. Except those of y’all who don’t like hugs. I wish I could stand a respectful distance away and tell you a funny joke. And if you don’t like being told funny jokes — well, I can’t do it and I’m not there now! Ain’t it great?

MIT Technology Review: The race to find a covid-19 drug in the blood of survivors. “In the US, a slow and confused rollout of coronavirus testing helped the new virus get a foothold and cause what is now a raging outbreak. But drug and biotech companies have been searching for a cure since January, when the severity of the epidemic in China became evident. Among the most promising candidates are antibody drugs, a type that already accounts for most of the top-selling medicines in the US.”

ABC News: Sewage analysis suggests a New England metro area with fewer than 500 COVID-19 cases may have exponentially more. “Preliminary findings released this week from a new effort to track the spread of the coronavirus through sewage data suggests that one metro region in Massachusetts that’s reported fewer than 500 positive tests actually may actually have exponentially more.”

MIT Technology Review: Here’s what it will take to live in a world with covid-19. “This new social order will seem unthinkable to most people in so-called free countries. But any change can quickly become normal if people accept it. The real abnormality is how uncertain things are. The pandemic has undercut the predictability of normal life, the sheer number of things we always assume we will still be able to do tomorrow. That is why everything feels unmoored, why the economy is collapsing, why everybody is stressed: because we can no longer predict what will be allowed and what will not a week, a month, or three or six or 12 months hence.”


Reuters: Exclusive: Coronavirus-hit airlines in push for divisive route subsidies. “Major airlines are seeking operating subsidies for key routes once coronavirus restrictions are lifted, a leaked lobbying document shows, stoking tensions with some low-cost carriers that are less likely to benefit from the additional funds.”

Associated Press: Libertarians debate: How to respond to coronavirus pandemic?. “Libertarian principles of self-reliance and minimal government have been around for centuries. But they are being tested as never before in a time when much of the world, and many of their adherents, see a clear role for government restriction on basic liberties. From trillions of dollars in government aid to the enforced closings of schools and businesses around the world, the spread of the coronavirus has renewed a long-running debate among libertarians over such core beliefs as private enterprise and individual autonomy.”

New York Times: The ‘Red Dawn’ Emails: 8 Key Exchanges on the Faltering Response to the Coronavirus. “As the coronavirus emerged and headed toward the United States, an extraordinary conversation was hatched among an elite group of infectious disease doctors and medical experts in the federal government and academic institutions around the nation. Red Dawn — a nod to the 1984 film with Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen — was the nickname for the email chain they built.”

Mother Jones: Delta Tells Sick Flight Attendants: “Do Not Post” on Social Media or Notify Fellow Crew. “Delta Air Lines has directed flight attendants who test positive for the coronavirus to ‘refrain from notifying’ fellow crew members or posting about their health on social media, according to an email HuffPost reviewed. The email, sent Thursday afternoon to more than 25,000 flight attendants, stated that Delta management will ‘follow an established process’ to alert co-workers who recently came in contact with flight attendants who ‘are symptomatic or diagnosed with COVID-19,’ the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus. ”

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