Saturday CoronaBuzz, April 18, 2020: 31 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. Enjoy your weekend. I love you.


Cardiff University: Researchers launch project to investigate how Covid-19 affects pregnancy. “Cardiff University is collaborating with Imperial College London to establish a global registry of those affected by Covid-19 in pregnancy. The Centre for Trials Research (CTR) will host the PAN-COVID online database of women with suspected and confirmed coronavirus from early pregnancy to after delivery of the baby.”

NBC 25: State launches new website to help Michiganders with mental health during COVID-19. “Starting Friday, residents across the state can access a specially-curated collection of science-backed, evidence-based guided meditations, along with at-home workouts that guide people through mindful exercises, sleep and kids content to help address rising stress and anxiety.”

WSET: Sheetz expands free meal program to all 600 locations. “Sheetz has announced the expansion of the Kidz Meal Bagz program providing free food to help children and families in need as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the Meal Bagz will be available at all 600 Sheetz locations and will be available all day. The Meal Bagz include a turkey sandwich, chips and a drink.”

SelectScience: Online ventilator training in 30 minutes to help doctors and nurses care for COVID-19 patients. “The new online tool, developed by Imperial College London, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and Fundamental VR, allows these redeployed clinicians to gain the key knowledge they need for ventilating patients in 30 minutes. The training consists of a short how-to video that teaches the essentials of operating ventilators. Clinicians can use the tool on their smartphone at home or in real-time as they care for patients, enabling them to begin running ventilators immediately under the supervision of an intensive care consultant. It can be accessed for free by any clinician across the world, regardless of health system or specialism.”

Imperial College London: Pandemic planning tool could help hospitals meet surges in critical care demand. “A new planning tool could help hospitals to plan critical capacity more effectively, enabling them to meet increased demand from COVID-19. Developed by researchers at Imperial College London, the tool can calculate the capacity of beds, staff and ventilator equipment when implementing a number of healthcare provision interventions – such as cancelling elective surgeries and converting operating theatres to critical care wards.”


St. Albert Today: St. Albert’s Métis museum goes international. “A St. Albert museum has gone online and international to help keep the Michif language alive during the COVID-19 pandemic. St. Albert’s Michif Cultural Connections is now hosting free weekly online meetings where people can learn to speak Michif, the traditional language of the Métis.”

5280: Online Outdoor Education Is Popping Up—For Free. “From expedition planning to remote leadership, Colorado’s outdoor industry pioneers are creating new ways for communities to forge ahead during a pandemic.”

The Southern Illinoisian: Illinois releases tool aimed at connecting students to internet. “As students across Illinois get accustomed to remote learning, state agencies have released a new tool aimed at connecting those who need internet to drive-up Wi-Fi hotspots. The interactive map is searchable by ZIP code and municipality, and the hotspots contain information as to how internet service can be accessed. As of April 15, the map had 200 hotspots aimed at allowing students and parents or guardians to continue social distancing by remaining in their cars while using the internet.”


Waterford Live: Irish researchers address coronavirus myths on brilliant new website. “Members of the public can submit any health claims they are curious about to the iHealthFacts website. A team of researchers in NUI Galway have established a process for assessing prioritised health claims by searching for evidence to support or refute the claim. The prepared responses are also reviewed by a team of Evidence Advisors from NUI Galway, UCD, TCD, UL, UCC and RCSI and by a panel of Public and Patient Advisors (PPI Ignite, NUI Galway). The result is a short, easy to read, clearly presented response to help the public make informed decisions about their own health.”


BBC: Coronavirus: BCG rumours and other stories fact-checked. “BBC teams are fact-checking some of the most popular fake and misleading coronavirus stories on social media. Jack Goodman brings together what’s been debunked this week by BBC Monitoring, Trending and Reality Check.”

BBC: Five tips to look your best on video calls. “Whether for work or pleasure, virtual meetings just got a lot more popular. Here are tips to make it work and look your best, even hunched over a laptop.”


BBC: Coronavirus: Ecuador sees massive surge in deaths in April. “Ecuador’s official coronavirus death toll is 403, but new figures from one province suggest thousands have died. The government said 6,700 people died in Guayas province in the first two weeks of April, far more than the usual 1,000 deaths there in the same period.”

Reuters: Exclusive: Moscow has more coronavirus cases than state testing shows, private lab data suggest. “Moscow, a city of 12.7 million people, is at the epicentre of Russia’s coronavirus outbreak, having officially recorded 18,105 cases as of April 17, equivalent to just over 0.1% of its population. Early results from the first commercial Russian tests suggest that a much higher proportion of people in Moscow are infected, and that the disease has spread among residents without symptoms.”


Slate: What the People Organizing “Reopen the Businesses” Protests Are Thinking. “The supporters of the protest movement appear to generally fall into two categories: those interested in preserving local businesses and those who complain of an infringement on their personal liberties. Groups geared toward the latter more often veer stridently political, while some of the other groups are trying to take a more collaborative and conciliatory tack.”

Business Insider: People are sharing hormones on Google Docs and turning to ‘grey market’ pharmacies to get gender-affirming care during the pandemic. “Since the lockdowns came into effect across the US, mutual-aid networks for queer and transgender people have popped up, including grocery delivery and resources for people with lost incomes. Among them are efforts geared toward redistributing hormones and needles to those in need, including hormone-sharing Google Docs, and grey-market pharmacies, which buy and sell unregulated hormones.”

Associated Press: Racial toll of virus grows even starker as more data emerges. “As a clearer picture emerges of COVID-19’s decidedly deadly toll on black Americans, leaders are demanding a reckoning of the systemic policies they say have made many African Americans far more vulnerable to the virus, including inequity in access to health care and economic opportunity. A growing chorus of medical professionals, activists and political figures are pressuring the federal government to not just release comprehensive racial demographic data of the country’s coronavirus victims, but also to outline clear strategies to blunt the devastation on African Americans and other communities of color.”

TechRepublic: How a 2017 snowstorm prepared an Oregon hospital system for the COVID-19 pandemic. “When the growing pandemic and expected work-from-home orders became apparent by March 1, the health system put the lessons learned from that snowstorm into place.” An excellent look at how an IT team tackled the problems revealed by a snowstorm and applied their solutions to the coronavirus restrictions.

New York Times: How Millions of Women Became the Most Essential Workers in America. “From the cashier to the emergency room nurse to the drugstore pharmacist to the home health aide taking the bus to check on her older client, the soldier on the front lines of the current national emergency is most likely a woman. One in three jobs held by women has been designated as essential, according to a New York Times analysis of census data crossed with the federal government’s essential worker guidelines. Nonwhite women are more likely to be doing essential jobs than anyone else.”

Las Vegas Sun: Las Vegas magicians get creative on social media. “The classic ‘Ambitious Card’ trick became extra ambitious, even viral, on March 31. Penn Jillette kicks off a nearly 20-minute video featuring many magicians from around the world — including Vegas performers Mat Franco, Jen Kramer, Matt Donnelly, Xavier Mortimer, Piff the Magic Dragon, Mac King, David Copperfield’s right-hand man Chris Kenner, and of course Teller, plus Penn’s daughter Moxie Jillette — passing along a virtual deck of cards and flashing some sleight-of-hand skills. That video, viewed more than 85,000 times, is just one example of our local illusionist community keeping busy during the Vegas shutdown and sharing the fun online.”

Bronx Times: NCAA coaches start social media campaign to unite against COVID-19. “On April 15, New York’s 44 Division I men’s and women’s basketball coaches united under the banner of TEAM NEW YORK, designed to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. Over the coming weeks, each of the coaches has committed to using his or her platform to coordinate sharing messages that will encourage proper action to stop the spread of the virus.”

Inverse: Inside The Global Social Media Movement That Claims It Changed The CDC’s Mind On Masks. “Writer Leslie Schrock went to a grocery store recently in Tahoe, California, wearing a homemade mask. ‘I’ve been watching people give me crazy looks for months,’ she tells Inverse. But that day, something changed. A woman, not wearing a mask, approached Schrock at the store. ‘She said, ‘I have a mask in my car, but I was looking in the store and wasn’t seeing anyone wearing one. But now that I see you wearing one, I realize it’s silly that I’m not wearing one.'” The woman isn’t the first Schrock has convinced to wear a mask. Likely, she has convinced many more she may never encounter.”

USDA: Will COVID-19 Threaten Availability and Affordability of our Food?. “As the COVID-19 virus continues to spread in the U.S., its impacts have reached every aspect of our lives and shook all sectors of the economy. Amid this crisis, there have been widespread worries that the disease could threaten the nation’s food production and supply systems and stoke inflation. Many began to wonder whether the food they need will continue to be available and affordable as we work our way out of the outbreak. While we can’t track COVID-impacts on the agri-food sector in real time, I wanted to share some of the data currently available at USDA, which show that the U.S agricultural market will remain well supplied and food will continue to be affordable.”\

Local12: Virus-fueled conspiracy theories take aim at hospitals. “The video lasts just 13 seconds and shows nothing more than the view from a car quietly driving past a hospital entrance. But the person who posted it on Twitter used the footage to sarcastically question reports of ‘apocalyptic conditions’ at Mount Sinai Queens in New York City. That video and dozens of others like it have been spreading on social media through the #FilmYourHospital hashtag. The people taking and posting videos of quiet scenes outside hospitals are promoting a right-wing conspiracy theory that fear-mongering media outlets and Democrats are intentionally exaggerating COVID-19’s deadly toll.”


Arizona State University: What it takes to fast-track a vaccine. “In a matter of months, COVID-19 changed the world. More than 2.1 million cases are now documented worldwide, and as that number keeps rising, scientists are facing the challenge of quickly finding a vaccine — a process that normally takes about a decade. Health experts hope to see results in 12 to 18 months. But is that feasible?”

Slate: There’s a Problem With Facebook’s Coronavirus Misinformation Features. “Facebook said that users who encounter warning labels don’t go on to view the original content 95 percent of the time. But misinformation warnings and notifications don’t always have the intended effect: They can lead to what researchers have called the ‘implied-truth effect,’ where the selective labeling of false information makes all unlabeled content seem legitimate. ‘This is a huge problem, because fact-checking is hard and slow, whereas making up fake stories is fast and easy,’ David Rand, an associate professor of management science and brain and cognitive sciences at MIT, told Intelligencer. In Facebook’s case, 24 percent of the platform’s false or misleading content has remained up without a warning as of last Tuesday, according to the Reuters Institute study.”

National Institutes of Health: Antiviral remdesivir prevents disease progression in monkeys with COVID-19. “Early treatment with the experimental antiviral drug remdesivir significantly reduced clinical disease and damage to the lungs of rhesus macaques infected with SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, according to National Institutes of Health scientists.”

STAT News: Coronavirus pandemic threatens to take crushing toll on rural areas, data show. “Some are areas where concerns have already been raised — including segments of the Deep South, where some governors were slow to implement physical distancing measures, and sparsely populated expanses in Western states outside larger cities. Others, like the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, which has suffered hospital closures, have received less attention.”

Duke Today: Duke Creates Open-source Protective Respirator. “A protective respirator created by a Duke University medical and engineering task force is now being used by Duke Health doctors as they treat patients with suspected cases of COVID-19. In an effort to combat the worldwide shortage of protective medical equipment, Duke is making the design widely available as an open-source design.”


Neowin: Google is blocking 18 million coronavirus-related scam emails on a daily basis. “Amidst the coronavirus crisis, there has been a lot of misinformation going around, including fake virus cures, deceptive ads, and attempts to link the virus to 5G networks. In that vein, Google has detected a spike in phishing attacks in which criminals attempt to deceive users into revealing personal information.”

The Register: India says ‘Zoom is a not a safe platform’ and bans government users. “The nation’s Cyber Coordination Centre has issued advice (PDF) titled ‘Advisory on Secure use of Zoom meeting platform by private individuals (not for use by government offices/officials for official purpose)’. The document refers to past advisories that offered advice on how to use Zoom securely and warned that Zoom has weak authentication methods. Neither of those notifications mentioned policy about government use of the tool, meaning the new document is a significant change in position!”

Washington Post: Trump’s ‘LIBERATE MICHIGAN!’ tweets incite insurrection. That’s illegal.. “President Trump incited insurrection Friday against the duly elected governors of the states of Michigan, Minnesota and Virginia. Just a day after issuing guidance for re-opening America that clearly deferred decision-making to state officials — as it must under our Constitutional order — the president undercut his own guidance by calling for criminal acts against the governors for not opening fast enough.”

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