Thursday CoronaBuzz, April 16, 2020: 32 pointers to new resources, useful stuff, research news, and more.

Found some good stuff today, I hope you like it. Wash your hands and stay at home as much as you can. Please be careful. Love you lots.


EurekAlert: Measuring the risk among clinicians who intubate patients with COVID-19. “A team at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania launched the United States component of a global registry that aims to help protect health care providers who intubate patients with COVID-19 and better quantify their risk of developing the disease. The intubateCOVID registry–established by a team in the United Kingdom–tracks exposures and outcomes among providers who perform intubations, with the ultimate goal of reducing the transmission of COVID-19 to these providers.”

EdScoop: U. Maryland’s new coronavirus tool grades social distancing efforts. “Researchers from the University of Maryland announced this week they’ve developed an analytics-driven website that measures how well people in each state are complying with stay-at-home and social distancing guidelines.”

ABC 10: New ‘Try Telemedicine First website to increase access to virtual care. This site is for New York and Vermont only. “MVP Health Care and Media logic have launched a new website called Try-Telemedicine-First. The site provides access to telemedicine services, allowing people to search by their health insurance company or zip code.”

Hartford Business: New website, grant program aim to link manufacturers with healthcare facilities in need. “State officials in partnership with two of Connecticut’s largest business groups launched a website to match healthcare facilities seeking equipment with manufacturers looking to produce it during the COVID-19 crisis.”

University of Hawai’i: UH team launches new website to help public housing residents. “In an effort to help 40,000 residents across Hawaiʻi who live in Hawaii Public Housing Authority (HPHA) housing, the University of Hawaiʻi Community Design Center (UHCDC) and UH Mānoa’s School of Architecture students and faculty have designed and launched a COVID-19 resource website that provides updates on HPHA initiatives, COVID-19 information and connects residents to assistance programs.”

CNN: A new website is helping Nigerians check if they have coronavirus. “A new website is helping Nigerians find out whether they’re at risk of Covid-19. Created through a partnership between the Wellbeing Foundation and PocketPatientMD, the site will determine if a person needs to visit a coronavirus test center based on a series of questions. The Wellbeing Foundation works with mothers and midwives across the country to ensure adequate maternal and newborn health, while PocketPatientMD is a platform that allows patients and physicians to manage their medical records digitally.”

PR Newswire: Free Statewide Program Seeks To Connect 10,000 Older Adults Isolated By COVID-19 With Background-Checked Phone Volunteers (PRESS RELEASE). “Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly (LBFE) today is launching a statewide effort to enroll 10,000 lonely and isolated older adults in Minnesota in its new Elder Friends Phone Companions program, which matches elders with background-checked volunteer phone companions who are ready to share an on-going friendship by phone during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.”


Campus Technology: Coursera Machine Learning Tool Matches On-Campus Courses with MOOC Resources. “CourseMatch can ‘ingest’ on-campus course catalogs in more than 100 languages and map them to the most relevant Coursera courses in any of the languages available on the platform. It then returns up to five ‘matches’ along with a relevance score, with higher scores given for stronger matches.”

EdSurge: Students Need More Financial Aid Than What They Applied for. A Free New Tool Can Help.. “Unbeknownst to many students, there is a way they can request additional aid from their colleges and universities when their financial circumstances have changed. This option has long existed, but a new online service launched today hopes to make that process simpler and more transparent. Called SwiftStudent, the website walks students through the documents and forms they need in order to submit a financial aid appeal to their institution’s aid office. It includes information about the different situations in which a student is eligible, and includes templates they can use to generate an appeals letter.”

Tennis TourTalk: ITF Opens Davis Cup And Fed Cup Video Archive. “Over the course of the next 10 weeks the [International Tennis Federation] will show full matches on its YouTube channel starting with the last time that Spain won the Fed Cup title as Conchita Martinez and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario clinched a thrilling tie against Switzerland with victory in the doubles over Martina Hingis and Patty Schnyder in 1998.”

PR Newswire: PEBBLES™ Cereal Launches New Video Series to Help Parents and Inspire Creativity in Kids with the “Daily Yabba Dabba Doo™” (PRESS RELEASE). “Starting Wednesday, April 15, PEBBLES cereal will post a daily video on Facebook, Instagram and the PEBBLES cereal website to inspire kids’ imaginations and teach them something new each day for the next 30 days. The videos feature artists and creators whose work has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including artists, dancers, chefs, crafters, magicians and more. In addition to sparking kids’ creativity, the series aims to give parents a short break and support the creative community by hiring them to share their talents. In exchange for their talents, PEBBLES cereal is paying each creator $1,500, which is roughly the monthly U.S. median housing cost*.”


10 Daily News: New Website Shows Aussies Which Local Businesses Are Still Open In Lockdown. “If you’re eager to support local businesses but don’t know where to start, a new website just launched which will point you in the right direction. ‘Still Open For Business’ allows Australians to search a database of local businesses across the country who are still in operation during the coronavirus crisis.”

Google Blog: Google for Nonprofits adds new countries and G Suite discounts. “With the spread of coronavirus, nonprofits need access to tools to help them work remotely and raise awareness online. To serve the unique needs of the nonprofit community, the Google for Nonprofits team is expanding the program to new countries and offering discounts for nonprofits who use G Suite Business and Enterprise editions.”

Public Service Commission of Wisconsin: PSC and DPI Announce Emergency Internet Finder. I am linking to the page where the news release is because the news release itself is a PDF and the link to display the news release is in JavaScript. Yes, really. “On Tuesday, the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) announced a new web tool that can assist users in finding free-to-use public broadband locations in their area. These ‘Emergency Internet’ locations are for when a user’s own internet is too slow or not available. While many of the identified location buildings are closed to the public, their Wi-Fi connections remain accessible. Users should stay in their vehicles while accessing the Wi-Fi and only use it long enough to access critical services.”


Washingtonian: 100 Ways To Virtually Experience DC During the Coronavirus Pandemic. “Just because you’re stuck at home doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy some of what our great city has to offer. Many of the DC area’s businesses and cultural institutions have gone virtual, offering all sorts of ways to stay connected (and fill your days). We’ve put together a big list of things you can do to experience what Washington has to offer—online.” Big list, decent annotation.


Business Insider: Google’s Nest cameras will downgrade video quality to preserve bandwidth during lockdown. “Google is temporarily reducing the video quality of its Nest security cameras in an attempt to preserve bandwidth. Nest cameras’ quality and bandwidth setting will be set to the default setting in the next few days, amid the strain placed on internet resources caused by worldwide coronavirus lockdowns and an uptick in people working from home.”

Washington Post: The $1,200 stimulus checks are arriving. People are mostly spending them on food. “The U.S. government has started sending $1,200 checks to Americans to help ease the financial pain caused by shutting down the economy to fight the deadly coronavirus. By Wednesday, 80 million people are expected to receive a direct deposit in their bank account, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.”

Free Press: Notre Dame Cathedral restoration halted by coronavirus one year after blaze. “The restoration of Notre Dame Cathedral has been halted by the coronavirus crisis a year after fire gutted its interior and toppled its spire. Some scaffolding that was erected for an earlier renovation project melted in the blaze on April 15 2019. The unstable scaffolding further endangers the cathedral. The restoration of the landmark from the 12th and 13th centuries has been halted and workers sent home because of France’s coronavirus lockdown that began on March 17, thwarting plans to start removing the 250 tonnes of metal scaffolding.”


The Verge: Formula E launches a virtual racing season, joining NASCAR, F1, IndyCar. “All-electric racing series Formula E is launching a nine-week sim racing competition after having to put its sixth season on pause due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. The series joins the likes of NASCAR, Formula One, and IndyCar, all of which are already leaning on the robust software and community of online sim racing to keep fans and drivers entertained and occupied in the absence of real-world racing.”

BuzzFeed News: The Social Media Shame Machine Is In Overdrive Right Now. “When we’re confronted with lived experiences of how the virus works, our first inclination is often to try to solve the puzzle of contamination: Where’d they go wrong? And how can I avoid it? It’s policing masquerading as detective work. I find myself doing something similar every time I open Instagram: This weekend I saw a picture of a gaggle of kids playing in a backyard on a gorgeous Pacific Northwest afternoon. My first thought: No playdates! It took me a moment to realize it was just the family of a friend — who happens to have six children.”

New Zealand Herald: Banksy unveils ‘work from home’ rats masterpiece on social media during coronavirus lockdown. “Anonymous England-based street artist Banksy has unveiled his new masterpiece on social media as he ‘works from home’ during the Covid-19 pandemic. The mysterious artist, who remains unknown to the public, has shared a rare insight into his life at home during lockdown as he posted a series of photos on his new artwork on Instagram.”

MIT Technology Review: Why games like Animal Crossing are the new social media of the coronavirus era. “Released in September, Kind Words was originally designed as an antidote to an increasingly vitriolic internet environment, says co-creator Ziba Scott. In recent weeks, though, it’s taken on an additional role as a comforting, safe way for people to communicate. Last week, the game saw an increase of 17,000 messages from the week before, many of which included words like ‘quarantine,’ ‘covid,’ and ‘sick,’ says Scott. Chris Ferguson, a video game researcher at Stetson University, says that games like Kind Words and Animal Crossing are following in the footsteps of microniche online communities that have popped up over the past few years. Much of the game play is built around the relationships that gamers can form with like-minded players. That’s especially important in the coronavirus era.”

Vice: Coronavirus Killed the Influencer Market – Maybe for Good. “Both brands and influencers are at high risk of looking crass in the current climate. There has been a significant backlash against influencers (see: Arielle Charnas) producing content about coronavirus. A scroll through any influencer’s feed will show them attempting to grapple with the fact they can’t go out to make content and that some of their followers might be sick or be key workers who put themselves at risk of infection every day. Some post emotional essay-length captions about how we have to stay inside. Others who choose to continue as usual now get questioned by their own followers over whether they should be selling frivolous items.”

Reuters: Exclusive: Brazil battles dozens of coronavirus cases on offshore oil rigs. “There have been 126 confirmed cases of the coronavirus among oil and gas workers in Brazil, including 74 people who were recently on offshore oil platforms, regulator ANP told Reuters on Tuesday, exposing an outbreak far worse than previously thought. The regulator said via email that as of Monday evening there were another 897 suspected cases of coronavirus in the industry, which employs tens of thousands of Brazilians and is a key bulwark of Latin America’s largest economy.”

KGO: EXCLUSIVE: Patients with serious health problems avoiding ER over coronavirus concerns, Bay Area hospitals say. “Emergency room doctors around the Bay Area are pleading with patients not to be afraid to seek medical care for a serious issue amid the coronavirus outbreak. ‘We’re not seeing patients coming in with strokes that have been delayed for several days, people sitting at home with appendicitis for five or six days,’ explained Dr. Russell Rodriguez M.D., the Director of Emergency Medicine for John Muir Health. [Note a caption with the article reads “We’re now seeing,” not “We’re not seeing”.] Rodriguez told ABC7 News his hospitals in Walnut Creek and Concord have seen an alarming drop in the number of patients coming in for serious non-COVID-19 related issues.”

Free Press: Coronavirus: Quirky UK events cancelled due to lockdown. “In an attempt to implement social distancing and stop mass gatherings, large events across the country have been cancelled, including some of the UK’s quirkiest and most bizarre traditions that take place in springtime.” Shin kicking! Worm charming! Custard pies!


Mashable India: This New Tool Might Be Able To Diagnose COVID-19 Based On Cough, Speech Sounds. “Given that our entire world is currently grappling with the coronavirus pandemic, researchers, governments, and organizations are working towards finding solutions that can help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. To that end, researchers at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, are working on development of a tool that can diagnose COVID-19 in people based on respiratory, cough, and speech sounds.”

Washington Post: Coronavirus destroys lungs. But doctors are finding its damage in kidneys, hearts and elsewhere.. “The new coronavirus kills by inflaming and clogging the tiny air sacs in the lungs, choking off the body’s oxygen supply until it shuts down the organs essential for life. But clinicians around the world are seeing evidence that suggests the virus also may be causing heart inflammation, acute kidney disease, neurological malfunction, blood clots, intestinal damage and liver problems. That development has complicated the treatment of the most severe cases of covid-19, the illness caused by the virus, and makes the course of recovery less certain, they said.”

TechRepublic: COVID-19: Quantum computing could someday find cures for coronaviruses and other diseases. “When it comes to finding a vaccine that can halt and eradicate the deadly COVID-19 virus, today’s supercomputers can only do so much. While supercomputers can do amazing things, they are not complex enough to find answers to nature’s deepest and most complicated secrets, such as quickly and carefully mapping out the molecular structures of viruses so they can be defeated with modern medicines and treatments. But an answer awaits perhaps five to 10 years away in the form of quantum computers, which are exponentially more powerful than traditional classic computers, according to computer scientists and other researchers.”


Pornhub: Pornhub Announces Partnership with Creators of Amazon Dating to Launch Scrubhub, a Safe-For-Work Parody Site Championing Handwashing. “Pornhub, the premier online destination for adult entertainment, in partnership with creative duo Ani Acopian and Suzy Shinn, today announced the launch of Scrubhub, a collection of satirical videos made by everyday people as well as select models — including Brand Ambassador Asa Akira, Angela White, Austin Wolf and others.”


Balkan Insight: Turkish Plan to Muzzle Social Media Delayed by Pandemic. “As Turkey, like the rest of the world, struggles with the coronavirus pandemic, its government plans to take another step to further restrict digital rights in the country. A draft law will create new responsibilities for answering the government’s demands on their content for social media giants such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and popular messaging apps like WhatsApp and Messenger.”

New York Times: FEMA’s ‘Air Bridge’ to Coronavirus Hot Spots Leaves Other Regions on Their Own. “The federal government’s program to expedite the shipping of valuable protective equipment to coronavirus hot spots has left hospitals that are out of the spotlight struggling to secure their own protective gear as they watch the outbreak creep closer.”

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