Wednesday CoronaBuzz, April 22, 2020: 37 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.


Boston Globe: Database: Coronavirus cases by nursing home. “The state on Monday released a list of coronavirus cases by nursing homes, rest homes, and skilled nursing facilities with at least two cases to date (staff and residents). Data for assisted living residences are not currently being provided by the state.”

FierceBiotech: Life science companies combine to form COVID-19 research database. “A group of major CRO, life science, data analytics, publishing and healthcare companies joined forces to release a pro bono research database to build up and integrate a central hub on the latest data out for COVID-19. On the technical side, it’s a secure repository of HIPAA-compliant, de-identified and limited patient-level data sets that will be ‘made available to public health and policy researchers to extract insights to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic,’ according to the group.”

World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO): WIPO Launches New Search Facility For PATENTSCOPE Database to Support COVID-19 Innovation Efforts. “The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) today launched a new search functionality for its global patent database, PATENTSCOPE, to facilitate the location and retrieval of information contained in published patent documents that may be useful for innovators developing new technologies to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. The WIPO COVID-19 search facility of PATENTSCOPE will provide scientists, engineers, public health policymakers, industry actors and members of the general public with an easily accessible source of intelligence for improving the detection, prevention, and treatment of diseases such as the novel coronavirus.”

AWS (Amazon): AWS launches machine learning enabled search capabilities for COVID-19 dataset. “As the world grapples with COVID-19, researchers and scientists are united in an effort to understand the disease and find ways to detect and treat infections as quickly as possible. Today, Amazon Web Services (AWS) launched CORD-19 Search, a new search website powered by machine learning that can help researchers quickly and easily search tens of thousands of research papers and documents using natural language questions.”


University of Arkansas: Arkansas Doctors, Gov. Hutchinson and U of A Professors to Teach on COVID-19. “The University of Arkansas Honors College will present a daily online forum titled Pandemic, which will bring together medical professionals, faculty experts and Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson to provide context on the global health crisis. Pandemic, to be offered May 11-22, is one of the first college courses in the nation to focus on COVID-19 and will examine the crisis from multiple perspectives, from public health to supply chain management and economic impacts. Honors students across the state may enroll in the course, and anyone who is interested may sit in.”


The Yeshiva World: KavodAcharon. Com : A New Website Giving Victims Of COVID-19 The Kavod They Deserve. “We created so that the friends and families of the niftarim can post personal stories, recollections and words of nechama. In this way, the niftarim will receive the kavod acharon they deserved but were denied due to the terrible situation, and the families will be able to read the divrei chizuk and words of comfort we could not offer in person.”


BetaNews: 10 top tips to help you use Zoom safely. “Zoom’s privacy and security issues have been in the headlines for a number of weeks now, causing concern for lots of users. But many people have no option but to use the software after it has been selected by the company they work for. If you find that you have to use Zoom, there are steps you can take to ensure your experience is as safe as possible. Security firm Kaspersky has offered up a series of tips to boost your security and privacy on the platform.”

Digital Trends: Where to donate your stimulus check to help people affected by coronavirus. “Millions of Americans have received stimulus checks from the IRS as part of the government’s relief program for the economic fallout caused by COVID-19, also known as coronavirus. If you got your stimulus money but don’t feel like you need it, there’s never been a better time to donate your stimulus check to charity.”

Thrillist: The Best Atlanta Art Experiences You Can Enjoy From Home. “Quarantine life has given us the chance to run through shows that we never would have time for and try food from local restaurants that we’ve never visited, but it’s also presented an opportunity to stimulate our creativity and escape the monotony of staying indoors. As 20th-century writer Thomas Merton once wrote, ‘Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.’ At times like this, we need inspiration, and these museums, galleries, and arts establishments in Atlanta are virtually supplying it.”


Native News Online: Navajo Nation Covid-19 Cases Increase By 124; 1,321 Total Cases – Death Toll At 45. “The Navajo Nation released an update last Monday evening that show an increase of 124 new COVID-19 cases since Saturday, which brings the total to 1,321 confirmed cases. The overall number of positive cases includes cases on the Navajo Nation and nearby border towns.”

CNET: Google makes it free for sellers to list items on its shopping platform. “Google on Tuesday said it’s opening up its shopping platform to make it free for sellers to list their products on the company’s search engine. Previously, search results for the shopping section of the site came from advertisers bidding on specific search terms, like workout gear or rice cookers. Now, sellers will be able to list products on the shopping tab of the search engine even if they’re not advertisers.”

NPR: NIH Panel Recommends Against Drug Combination Trump Has Promoted For COVID-19. “A panel of experts convened by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases recommends against doctors using a combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin for the treatment of COVID-19 patients because of potential toxicities.”

Neowin: WhatsApp works with WHO to launch a new sticker pack. “WhatsApp has announced that it has collaborated with the World Health Organization to develop a new sticker pack called ‘Together at Home’. The new stickers are designed to be funny and educational. The stickers were also called universal by WhatsApp because they’re available in ten languages and break through other barriers such as the age barrier. The two entities hope the stickers will encourage people to stay home to stop the spread of COVID-19.”


CNET: Amazon workers reportedly plan nationwide protest tied to coronavirus. “Amazon warehouse workers across the US are reportedly planning to ‘call out sick’ this week as part of a protest demanding more protections amid the coronavirus pandemic. More than 300 workers from at least 50 Amazon facilities plan to take part, according to CNBC.”

BBC: Coronavirus: World risks ‘biblical’ famines due to pandemic – UN. “The world is at risk of widespread famines ‘of biblical proportions’ caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the UN has warned. David Beasley, head of the World Food Programme (WFP), said urgent action was needed to avoid a catastrophe. A report estimates that the number suffering from hunger could almost double from 135m to more than 250m.”

CNET: Coronavirus just lopped 10% off the value of your car. “Automotive News reported Monday dealers find themselves in an odd situation where retail prices are off by just 1%, while wholesale values are down between 10% and 12%. Yes, the novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, likely sucked at least 10% of your car’s value away, according to data from Cox Automotive.”

CNN: Doctors and nurses are using VR to learn skills to treat coronavirus patients. “As hospitals worldwide face severe shortages of health professionals, people are being called off the sidelines to help COVID-19 patients — even those with little to no experience in treating infectious diseases. To train thousands of doctors and nurses with expertise in other areas such as knee surgery or neurology — and retired practitioners reentering the medical field — some hospitals are implementing an unlikely method: virtual reality simulations.”

New York Times: This Pandemic Exposes the Downsides of Cheap Uber Rides. “Many of us have benefited from the convenience of services like Uber and Instacart. But now in an economic and health crisis, their workers are highly vulnerable, and no one has their backs. Here’s how this happened, and who is to blame. Short version: Blame everyone, including ourselves.”

Poynter: Following respirators and personal protective equipment, dialysis supplies are running short due to the coronavirus. “Kidney specialists now estimate that 20% to 40% of patients in intensive care suffered kidney failure and needed emergency dialysis. Outside of New York, the growing demand for kidney treatments is becoming a major burden on hospitals in emerging hot spots like Boston, Chicago, New Orleans and Detroit. Baxter, a medical products company and one of the biggest suppliers of dialysis materials, said it is running plants at full capacity and has seen demand increase fivefold because of COVID-19 care.”

Pew: Speeders Take Over Empty Roads — With Fatal Consequences. “Daily vehicle traffic dropped by two-thirds nationally from March 1 through April 10, according to StreetLight Data, a San Francisco-based traffic analytics company. And while many states, such as California and Ohio, have seen a reduction in overall crashes during the pandemic compared with last year, some are reporting a jump in traffic fatalities that they say is linked to speeding or reckless driving.”

Route Fifty: Fearing Coronavirus, Many Rural Black Women Avoid Hospitals to Give Birth at Home. “Pregnant women in Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi have been calling nonstop to CHOICES Midwifery Practice in Memphis, but the center is booked. The callers are terrified that they or their babies will contract the novel coronavirus if they deliver in hospitals. Some women live in rural areas far from hospitals and obstetrics units. The center’s clients are primarily black and other women of color. ”


CNET: Ferrari banks on coronavirus testing and phones to restart production. “The scheme starts with blood tests for workers, which works with a smartphone app. The blood tests will give workers a green light to return to work and show there’s no trace of illness. If the blood test flags a disease, workers will then receive a COVID-19 test. All the while, the app tracks those registered and lets other workers know if they’ve come in contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19. It should help isolate cases and quarantine those quickly and effectively.”

WISN: Wisconsin Republicans sue governor over stay-at-home order. “Republican leaders of the Wisconsin Legislature are asking the conservative-controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court to block an order from Gov. Tony Evers’ administration extending a stay-at-home order until May 27.” Note that research has already linked seven cases of coronavirus to Wisconsin’s election day..

The Register: House of Commons agrees to allow Zoom app in Parliament, British MPs will still have to dress smartly. “The House of Commons today approved so-called ‘hybrid sessions’ – MPs participating in Parliament in person and via video conferencing – marking arguably the biggest change in British parliamentary procedure in centuries.”


Associated Press: More deaths, no benefit from malaria drug in VA virus study. “A malaria drug widely touted by President Donald Trump for treating the new coronavirus showed no benefit in a large analysis of its use in U.S. veterans hospitals. There were more deaths among those given hydroxychloroquine versus standard care, researchers reported. The nationwide study was not a rigorous experiment. But with 368 patients, it’s the largest look so far of hydroxychloroquine with or without the antibiotic azithromycin for COVID-19, which has killed more than 171,000 people as of Tuesday.”

Washington Post: Most rate Trump’s coronavirus response negatively and expect crowds will be unsafe until summer, Post-U. Md. poll finds. “Most Americans expect no immediate easing of the health risks associated with the coronavirus pandemic, despite calls by President Trump and others to begin reopening the economy quickly. A majority say it could be June or later before it will be safe for larger gatherings to take place again, according to a Washington Post-University of Maryland poll. Most Americans — 54 percent — give the president negative marks for his handling of the outbreak in this country and offer mixed reviews for the federal government as a whole. By contrast, 72 percent of Americans give positive ratings to the governors of their states for the way they have dealt with the crisis, with workers also rating their employers positively.”

EurekAlert: Expansion of world’s cities creating ‘new ecological niches’ for infectious diseases. “An interdisciplinary team of researchers from the University of Lincoln, UK, and York University, Canada, investigated how the global trend towards urbanisation has contributed to the rise in the total number of disease outbreaks per decade since the 1980s. Their study, a major literature review published in the academic journal Urban Studies, shows that urban expansion at the periphery of cities – sometimes called ‘extended urbanisation’- is fundamentally altering the spatial relationships which shape how millions of people live and interact with each other and with nature. In doing so, it is creating ‘new ecological niches’ for the spread of infectious diseases, the researchers warn.”

EurekAlert: US Army doctors invent COVID-19 isolation chamber to protect hospital staff. ” Army doctors working at hospitals within the Defense Health Agency have prototyped an isolation chamber that can be placed over the head and chest of patients diagnosed with COVID-19. The Agency has asked the FDA for an emergency use authorization, paving the way for rapid implementation to help protect health care providers on the front lines of the pandemic.”

Washington Post: CDC director warns second wave of coronavirus this winter will likely be worse. “Even as states move ahead with plans to reopen their economies, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Tuesday that a second wave of the novel coronavirus will be far more deadly because it is likely to coincide with the start of flu season.”

San Diego State University: Study: Nearly 5,000 COVID-19 Deaths Avoided in First Three Weeks of California’s Order. “Primarily, the team estimated that California’s order reduced the number of COVID-19 cases by nearly 200,000 and deaths by about 4,800 during the first three weeks after the order was enacted. Results from the study provide strong evidence that the order generated substantial public health benefits via reduced coronavirus-related mortality.”

Reuters: Coronavirus very likely of animal origin, no sign of lab manipulation: WHO. “The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday that all available evidence suggests the novel coronavirus originated in animals in China late last year and was not manipulated or produced in a laboratory.”


File under funny-not-funny, then file under funny because I laughed. Slate: America’s Funniest Work Videos. “With so many Americans working from home due to the coronavirus, lots of us are on far more video calls than we ever were before, and it’s pretty evident that we don’t have video etiquette mastered yet. Here are some of my favorite stories I’ve heard recently on video calls gone very wrong.”

Mashable: 17 of the best Zoom memes that’ll make you laugh while working from home. “There’s nothing quite so 2020 as Zoom memes. Sure, we’re all stuck inside and on endless video calls but, hey, at least we’re getting some internet content out of it! To be fair, Zoom memes are good mostly because it’s so much of reality these days. There are whole Facebook groups dedicated to the genre and we at Mashable even went out of our way to gift you great backgrounds. Without further ado, here are 17 of our favorites.”


The New York Times: Trump (the Company) Asks Trump (the Administration) for Rent Relief. “President Trump’s signature hotel in the nation’s capital wants a break on its rent. The landlord determining the fate of the request is Mr. Trump’s own administration. Trump International Hotel, just a few blocks from the White House, had been a favored gathering place for lobbyists, foreign dignitaries and others hoping to score points with the president. But like most hotels, it is now nearly empty and looking to cut costs because of the coronavirus pandemic.”

Politico: White House still scrambling to cover virus treatment for the uninsured. “The White House pledged over two weeks ago to cover coronavirus treatment for uninsured Americans — but the administration still doesn’t have a plan for how to do it. Trump officials are still grappling with key questions about how exactly to implement the treatment fund, including how to determine if a patient qualifies for the new federal dollars, an administration source said. Adding to the challenge, they’re still figuring out how to divvy up funding that hospitals and physicians say is desperately needed.”

Salon: States smuggle COVID-19 medical supplies to avoid federal seizures as House probes Jared Kushner. “Governors have long complained that the Trump administration has left them to bid against each other on the open market for critical supplies for health workers. However, numerous officials recently claimed that the federal government had seized supplies ordered by the states. Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, told CNN that the state bought 500 ventilators before they were ‘swept up’ by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, said the Trump administration ‘confiscated’ its order of 3 million masks.”

Associated Press: Senate approves $500B virus aid deal; sends to House. “A nearly $500 billion coronavirus aid package flew through the Senate on Tuesday after Congress and the White House reached a deal to replenish a small business payroll fund and provided new money for hospitals and testing. It now goes to the House. Passage was swift and unanimous, despite opposition from conservative Republicans, and President Donald Trump tweeted his support pledging to sign it into law.”

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