coronabuzz

Tuesday CoronaBuzz, April 21, 2020: 35 pointers to new resources, useful stuff, research news, and more.

Added a new section: INSTITUTION / CORPORATE / GOVERNMENT RESPONSE. Wash your hands and stay at home as much as you can. Please be careful. I love you.

NEW RESOURCES – MEDICAL/HEALTH

BetaNews: Facebook and Carnegie Mellon University launch COVID-19 symptom map. “Facebook, in partnership with Carnegie Mellon University, has launched a new interactive map to help people keep up to date with the spread of coronavirus across the US. For now, the map is based on surveys carried out around the country and it enables you to see how many people are experiencing symptoms associated with the disease. The map only covers the US at the moment, but there are plans to expand it to cover other countries soon.”

Bing Blogs: Bing delivers new COVID-19 experiences including partnership with GoFundMe to help affected businesses. “Bing has already released a full-page map tracker of case details by geographic area. Now, those working in academia and research can access our data on cases by geographic area at bing.com/covid/dev or on GitHub. This dataset is pulled from publicly-available sources like the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control, and more. We then aggregate the data and add latitude and longitude information to it, to make it easier for you to use. Since COVID-19 data is constantly evolving, we have a 24 hour delay so we can ensure the stability of the data that we include. This data is available for non-commercial, public use geared towards medical researchers, government agencies, and academic institutions.”

The Straits Times: Volunteers build crowdsourced databases to capture scale of virus outbreak in Indonesia. “The Covid-19 outbreak has prompted members of the public to launch their own crowdsourced databases on the spread of the virus in their respective communities in a bid to shed some light on cases that have otherwise slipped under the government’s radar.”

BGR: New website visualizes how fast the coronavirus is spreading across each U.S. state. “The site is called RT.live and uses data from the Covid Tracking Project which boasts that it houses the most complete and up-to-date data regarding coronavirus cases in the country. What makes the website unique is that it doesn’t just provide users with raw Covid-19 data — which can be found anywhere — but rather uses a statistical method to gauge the rate at which the virus is spreading.”

NEW RESOURCES – EDUCATION/ENTERTAINMENT

Troy Today: College of Education provides database of online resources to assist teachers, parents. “Founded in 1887 as a teacher’s college, Troy University has a long history of preparing teachers and equipping them with resources to help them to be successful in the classroom. Now, as the COVID-19 coronavirus has forced the closure of schools, the University’s College of Education is helping teachers adjust to teaching from a distance, while also assisting parents who have now found themselves playing an increased role in their children’s education. The College of Education, and, in particular, the Department of Teacher Education, has developed a website that offers tips for parents and teachers, while also providing a vast database of online resources that can prove helpful as students adjust to learning at home.” Occasionally the annotation is not great, but it’s a huge list of resources.

3 News Las Vegas: UNLV creates ‘story time’ resource for children & families. “UNLV has created a ‘story time’ resource for children and families amid the coronavirus outbreak. The university’s College of Education is creating read-aloud videos to recreate storytime for kids virtually while libraries and schools stay closed. An online library of nearly 50 stories is available, along with other videos and resources for parents and teachers, with new videos uploaded daily.”

ArtsHub: Digital art guide to beat coronavirus closures. “The world may be in lockdown, but self-isolation doesn’t mean we have to stop experiencing art. Despite COVID-19 closures, Australian art is finding new ways to go viral. Artists, museums, galleries, institutions, and more are exploring innovative ways to reach audiences, spreading some timely comfort and unity. Below is our ever-growing list of Australian art ready for you to discover.” Not all events are free, but it’s a huge list and the annotation is excellent.

NEW RESOURCES – OTHER

ABC 7 Denver: New website aims to be a one-stop shop for Coloradans to find jobs and services. “On Monday, technology company Bitwise Industries and the Kapor Center launched a new website for Coloradans to find jobs and connect to other vital services. Onward Colorado is described as a one-stop shop for those who have lost their jobs due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. The site provides information and links to resources including job postings, food assistance, childcare, and housing.”

USEFUL STUFF

CNET: Coronavirus chronicles: Here’s some good news amid the dire reports. “Right now the coronavirus pandemic and COVID-19 are all anyone can talk about. You’re not alone if you feel overwhelmed or find yourself focusing on worst-case scenarios. So let’s take a second, breathe deep and look at some of the positive things going on in these strange times.” A nice read if you need something hopeful.

Popular Science: How to read the news without doom scrolling through social media. “Social media has plenty of uses—it allows us to stay in touch with our loved ones in spite of social distancing and keeps us informed of what’s going on out there in the world. But even in the best of times, these platforms can be a hell-pit, where relatives rant about the latest political activity and anonymous trolls and bots turn every headline into a hill to die on. It can seem hard to take time away from Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit if you want to stay on top of the latest news, but it doesn’t have to be. There are other ways to stay up to date on current events without relying on the hive mind. And you won’t be less-informed by using them.”

UPDATES

BBC: Facebook bans events that violate social distancing orders. “Facebook has banned event listings that violate government social distancing policies. On Monday, the social media giant removed the listing for anti-quarantine protests in California, New Jersey, and Nebraska.”

CNET: Coronavirus movie delays: New release dates for 2020 and 2021 blockbusters. “For many, it came as a shock to hear that the latest James Bond premiere was being called off because of the coronavirus outbreak. But the Bond announcement was just the first in a cascade of movie blockbusters being canceled or postponed, causing a huge reshuffle of the release schedule throughout 2020 and into 2021.”

Associated Press: AP: Publicly traded firms get $300M in small-business loans. “The Paycheck Protection Program was supposed to infuse small businesses, which typically have less access to quick cash and credit, with $349 billion in emergency loans that could help keep workers on the job and bills paid on time. But at least 75 companies that received the aid were publicly traded, the AP found, and some had market values well over $100 million. And 25% of the companies had warned investors months ago — while the economy was humming along — that their ability to remain viable was in question.”

NBC News: 7 Wisconsin virus cases linked to in-person voting, health official says. “Officials have identified seven people who appear to have contracted the coronavirus through activities related to the April 7 election in Wisconsin, Milwaukee’s health commissioner said. Commissioner Jeanette Kowalik said six of the cases involve Milwaukee voters and one is a Milwaukee poll worker, the Journal Sentinel reported.”

NPR: Nursing Home COVID-19 Reporting Rules To Be Strengthened. “After shocking instances of nursing homes failing to disclose the existence and extent of COVID-19 cases within their facilities, the federal government will require nursing homes to inform residents, their families and representatives when residents or staff contract the illness. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced Sunday night that notification must come within 12 hours of a confirmed single case of COVID-19. Residents, families and representatives must also be told when three or more individuals develop respiratory symptoms within a 72-hour period.”

Internet Archive: The National Emergency Library – Who Needs It? Who Reads It? Lessons from the First Two Weeks. “At a time when every day can feel like a month, it’s hard to believe that the National Emergency Library has only existed for two weeks. Recognizing the unique challenges of connecting students and readers with books now on shelves they cannot reach, the Internet Archive loosened the restrictions on our controlled digital lending library to allow increased lending of materials. Reactions have been passionate, to say the least—elation by teachers able to access our virtual stacks, concern by authors about the program’s impact, and fundamental questions about our role as a library in these dire times when one billion students worldwide are cut off from their classrooms and libraries.”

SOCIETAL IMPACT

Gulf News: COVID-19: A 19th century Japanese ‘spirit’, Amabie, is going viral on Twitter in hopes for end to coronavirus pandemic. “As many countries extend their coronavirus lockdown, a Japanese monster is going viral on Twitter, in hopes for an end to the pandemic. Recently, tweeps have been getting creative with images of a legendary 19th century Japanese yōkai or spirit that was said to have emerged from the sea and spoken of an epidemic. Many people across the globe have shared depictions of the amabie, that has apparently become a mascot of sorts, alongside messages wishing for a swift end to the spread of COVID-19.”

BuzzFeed News: At This Coronavirus Graveyard, Family Members Have To Bury Their Loved Ones With Their Own Hands. “By noon, Shameem was digging his fourth grave for the day. That’s when he got the call telling him that “a corona case” was on its way to him. In the past week, he had watched 22 people, all victims of COVID-19, as they were buried on the stretch of 45 acres where he lives. ‘Time to wear your mask,’ he told his father. Shameem, 42, is the third generation in a family of gravediggers, but the first in his family to supervise burials in a pandemic.”

Boston Globe: A stark reality: Sunday’s Boston Globe runs 16 pages of death notices. “With coronavirus cases surging in Massachusetts, the Boston Sunday Globe offered a stark reminder of the death toll that COVID-19 is taking on the state, with the paper running 16 pages worth of death notices in the print edition. For comparison, on the same Sunday last year — April 21, 2019 — the Globe ran seven pages of death notices, according to an archive of the paper.”

INSTITUTION / CORPORATE / GOVERNMENT RESPONSE

STAT News: The months of magical thinking: As the coronavirus swept over China, some experts were in denial. “TThe response to the coronavirus pandemic in the United States and other countries has been hobbled by a host of factors, many involving political and regulatory officials. Resistance to social distancing measures, testing debacles, and longtime failures to prepare for the possibility of a pandemic all played a role. But a subtler, less-recognized factor contributed to the wasting of precious weeks in January and February, when preparations to try to stop the virus should have kicked immediately into high gear.”

Gulf News: This small tribal town in India used puppetry & social media to beat COVID-19. ” Dungarpur, a triTbal dominated district, is silently shooing away the dreadful coronavirus from its periphery by merging simple traditional methods with modern means to spread awareness about COVID-19, using puppet shows and pictorial stories, says District Collector Kanaram. So much so that the state health department now wants to replicate it elsewhere. Kanaram added that all five COVID-19 positive patients in this district have tested negative and are undergoing quarantine as advised by medical team since the last six days.”

BuzzFeed News: Smithfield Foods Is Blaming “Living Circumstances In Certain Cultures” For One Of America’s Largest COVID-19 Clusters. “Was there any way to prevent the Smithfield Foods pork processing plant in South Dakota from becoming one of the country’s largest known coronavirus clusters, with more than 700 workers infected? It’s hard to know ‘what could have been done differently,’ a Smithfield spokesperson said, given what she referred to as the plant’s ‘large immigrant population.’… But internal company communications and interviews with nearly a dozen workers and their relatives point to a series of management missteps and half measures that contributed significantly to the spread of the virus.”

The Guardian: ‘No way food safety not compromised’: US regulation rollbacks during Covid-19 criticised. “The US government is accelerating controversial regulatory rollbacks to speed up production at meat plants, as companies express growing alarm at the impact of Covid-19 on their operations.”

WPVI: Delaware County workers sleep at job for 28 days to make gear for health care workers. “In Delaware County, Pennsylvania, there’s a group of people sleeping at work for nearly a month to make equipment to help keep others safe. At Braskem America in Marcus Hook, workers are sleeping, eating and working at their plant for 28 days to make equipment for health care workers.”

RESEARCH

ScienceBlog: COVID-19 Treatment Depends Upon Disease Severity. “How individuals, and health care professionals, deal with infection from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, varies depending on the severity of the infection. While the infection almost always starts with relatively mild, flu-like symptoms that can be treated at home, this can change depending on a number of factors. What follows is a breakdown of treatment protocols, based on the nature of the infection.”

Phys .org: Restarting the coronavirus economy: 4 possible steps. “Successfully re-establishing businesses in a COVID-19 economy requires government, health-care and business leaders working together to implement a phased return to employment. The first phase is the one in which we now find ourselves: working from home or unemployed. Many professional and business-to-business companies have learned to facilitate working from home using web-based technology over the past few weeks. This has been critical in reducing COVID-19 transmission, but it’s not sustainable in the long term. So what’s next?”

Phys .org: Why social distancing is a big challenge in many African countries. “While African countries have acted decisively to prevent large outbreaks, the conditions of many people’s everyday lives there could make a Swiss-style lockdown difficult to enforce—and, even more importantly, highly inequitable. A virus does not distinguish between poor and rich, but it is much more difficult for the poor to protect themselves. Lockdowns are intended to ‘flatten the curve’: to slow the spread of COVID-19, and thereby ensure that the health system is not overwhelmed at any one point in time. Given many African countries’ weak medical infrastructure and capacity to handle severe COVID-19 cases, their curves need to be flattened even more aggressively.”

The Conversation: Coronavirus: three misconceptions about how animals transmit diseases debunked. This article was written by a lecturer in epidemiology at the University of Cambridge. “Zoonotic diseases are caused by pathogens which originate in other animal species. Some diseases, such as rabies, cause sporadic outbreaks, often self-contained but deadly and traumatising for the communities they infect. Others manage to spread worldwide and become pandemic, circulating in the global population. Some are repeat offenders that re-emerge from animal hosts in a mutated form every few decades – think influenza, plague and cholera. Many others are now part of our burden of endemic diseases, such as measles, mumps or HIV. The coronavirus causing COVID-19 is closely related to those that caused the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) pandemic in 2003. Despite speculation, it’s too early to tell whether COVID-19 will disappear within a year or stay with us permanently like the flu.”

Mic: How coronavirus is affecting mental health, according to our social media posts. “At the AI Institute of the University of South Carolina, my colleagues and I have processed more than 700 million social media posts since the beginning of March and more than 700,000 news articles about the COVID-19 pandemic. We are monitoring these information sources to capture the evolving human experience in the U.S. during the pandemic. We have found troubling indications of a growing mental health crisis and an increase in social ills such as substance abuse and gender-based violence.”

Washington Post: Hundreds of nursing homes with cases of coronavirus have violated federal infection-control rules in recent years. “Forty percent of more than 650 nursing homes nationwide with publicly reported cases of the coronavirus have been cited more than once by inspectors in recent years for violating federal standards meant to control the spread of infections, according to a Washington Post analysis. Since 2016, the nursing homes accrued hundreds of deficiencies for unsafe conditions that can trigger the spread of flu, pneumonia, urinary tract infections and skin diseases. Dozens were flagged by inspectors only months before the coronavirus pandemic struck the United States.”

FUNNY

The Irish Times: Dalkey locals spin Matt Damon yarns: ‘Seen down the nudist swimming hangout’. “In a very funny scene in the film that’s sure to emerge from Matt Damon’s accidental sojourn in south Co Dublin during the Covid-19 shutdown, the people of Dalkey came out over the weekend to defend the Hollywood star from prying paps. Well, not quite prying paparazzi, but a journalist named Heather Murphy, who introduced herself on the Dalkey Open Forum Facebook page.”

POLITICS AND SECURITY

BBC: Coronavirus: Immigration to US to be suspended amid pandemic, Trump says. “President Donald Trump has said he will sign an executive order to temporarily suspend all immigration to the US because of the coronavirus. On Twitter, he cited ‘the attack from the invisible enemy’, as he calls the virus, and the need to protect the jobs of Americans, but did not give details.”

Washington Post: Brett Giroir, Trump’s testing czar, was forced out of a job developing vaccine projects. Now he’s on the hot seat. . “Brett Giroir, the federal official overseeing coronavirus testing efforts, says that his experience working on vaccine development projects at Texas A&M University helped prepare him for this historic moment. He once said that his vaccine effort was so vital that ‘the fate of 50 million people will rely on us getting this done.’ But after eight years of work on several vaccine projects, Giroir was told in 2015 he had 30 minutes to resign or he would be fired. His annual performance evaluation at Texas A&M, the local newspaper reported, said he was ‘more interested in promoting yourself’ than the health science center where he worked. He got low marks on being a ‘team player.'”

The Next Web: Scammers are using fake coronavirus stimulus payment sites to steal your money. “Last month, the US Congress passed a historic $2 trillion stimulus package to help Americans fight the devastating economical effects of the coronavirus epidemic. As a part of the program, the government started sending out $1,200 checks to US citizens last week. So far so good. Unfortunately, cybercriminals are taking advantage of this situation to trick people out of their money in these difficult times. According to a study by cybersecurity company Check Point, attackers are targeting people through stimulus-themed websites and emails for stealing data and money.”

New York Times: Trump, Head of Government, Leans Into Antigovernment Message. “First he was the self-described ‘wartime president.’ Then he trumpeted the ‘total’ authority of the federal government. But in the past few days, President Trump has nurtured protests against state-issued stay-at-home orders aimed at curtailing the spread of the coronavirus.”

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