Thursday CoronaBuzz, April 30, 2020: 26 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.


Pro Bono Australia: The project filling in the coronavirus language gap. “There’s a lot of information out on how to keep safe from coronavirus, but if English isn’t your first language, it can be difficult to track down essential information. It’s an issue that Selena Choo is trying to fix. She has created Videos in Language: Coronavirus and Handwashing, a digital library of important coronavirus health information, videos, and tips, in 28 different Middle-Eastern, African and Asian languages.”


Times of India: Gujarat: World’s largest image bank of Ravi Varma goes online. “Amid nationwide lockdown, works of India’s celebrated artist Raja Ravi Varma, who gave face to Hindu gods and goddess, have gone virtual.”


Data Journalism: Verification Handbook. “The latest edition of the Verification Handbook arrives at a critical moment. Today’s information environment is more chaotic and easier to manipulate than ever before. This book equips journalists with the knowledge to investigate social media accounts, bots, private messaging apps, information operations, deep fakes, as well as other forms of disinformation and media manipulation. The first resource of its kind, it builds on the first edition of the Verification Handbook and the Verification Handbook for Investigative Reporting.”

WBRZ (Louisiana): Ag Center creates tool to safely connect community with local farmers amid COVID-19 crisis. “Supporting your local farmers during the shutdown is just a click away with a new brand new tool. ‘Farms especially have lost a lot of their market, restaurants especially, even those that are open have very limited capacity and schools are a big one as well,’ Johannah Frelier with the LSU Ag. Center said. Frelier has compiled a state-wide list of local farms, butchers, and distributors providing farm-fresh food.”

WENY: NYS Bar Association to offer free legal aid for denied unemployment insurance applicants. “The Bar Association is helping people who have applied for unemployment insurance but were denied. The Bar Association President says people have a much better case to make while challenging that denial if they have an attorney in their corner, but as you can imagine, someone without a job may not be able to afford one. If you’re denied an unemployment insurance claim with New York, you can challenge it and get a hearing, if the ruling stands, you can then appeal it.”

Film News: BFI launches Britain On Lockdown a public call out to map the digital video response to Coronavirus. “Today the [British Film Institute] launches a public campaign, Britain on Lockdown, calling on the British public to recommend those online videos that best represent how Britain has experienced the impact of Coronavirus. From Joe Wicks to Boris Johnson, solidarity for NHS frontline workers and local communities coming together through to comedy parodies, public health videos about the importance of proper handwashing and charity campaign films, online video has played a key role in our collective experience of the lockdown in a way that has never been experienced before.”


Los Angeles Times: Teens are feeling lonely and anxious in isolation. Here’s how parents can help. “Normally adolescence, a developmental period marked by impulsivity and feelings of invincibility, is a time in which teenagers separate from their parents and bond with their peers. Now that families are confined at home, parents are in a peculiar position in which they have to balance the seriousness of the novel coronavirus with their teen’s desire for social interaction.”


New York Times: New York Attorney General Scrutinizes Amazon for Firing Warehouse Worker. “Amazon may have violated federal worker safety laws and New York State’s whistle-blower protections when it fired an employee from its Staten Island warehouse who protested the company’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, according to a letter the office of the New York attorney general, Letitia James, sent the company last week.”

New York Times: Commissioner Resigns After He Threw a Cat During Zoom Meeting. “The city Planning Commission meeting in Vallejo, Calif., last week followed the same humdrum pattern of so many municipal meetings: There was the Pledge of Allegiance and a roll call, followed by various reports…. But things took an unexpected turn about two hours and 24 minutes into the session after one of the commissioners, Chris Platzer, was asked if he had any comments after reviewing a project application. ‘Yes, if I’m allowed to make them,’ he said, just after a cat could be heard loudly meowing offscreen, according to a video of the meeting.”

Marine Corps Times: Dozens test positive for COVID-19 at San Diego boot camp. “Nearly four dozen recruits within Bravo company aboard the recruit depot in San Diego, California, have tested positive for COVID-19, according to a Marine official. Training at the depot has not been halted and there is no current pause in receiving incoming new recruits, the official said.”

The Moscow Times: Nurses Quit En Masse From Russia’s Top Coronavirus Hospital: Reports. “Nurses have quit en masse from Russia’s top coronavirus hospital in Moscow over poor working conditions and low wages, the investigative news website Open Media reported Monday. A former nurse who said she quit the Kommunarka hospital after almost two months told the outlet that more than a dozen nursing staff had left in that period. They reportedly quit because they were denied clean protective gear, food and adequate accommodations, and were not paid bonuses promised by President Vladimir Putin.”


Geo Awesomeness: 10 ways people are using this amazing Google tool to create custom COVID-19 maps. “Google is witnessing a huge surge in the number of people using its custom mapmaking tool, My Maps, during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Google, there have been nearly 3 billion creations, edits, and views in My Maps between December 2019 and April 2020. In the same time period last year, that number was only 2 billion.” Nice roundup but minimal annotation.

The Print (India): Zoom, Google Meet classes ‘next to impossible’ as J&K students struggle with 2G speed. “Schools and colleges, among the worst affected by the lockdown to contain Covid-19, are now increasingly resorting to online classes to salvage their academic sessions. But that has proved a problem for educational institutions in Kashmir where an internet blackout was only recently lifted. In the first week of March, the Jammu and Kashmir government lifted the seven-month long ban on the internet but restricted the speed to 2G, creating hurdles for those who might want to attend online classes.”

The Star: FOMO is dead, and social media influencers are sputtering. “COVID-19 has turned a lot of brick-and-mortar businesses upside down, but it’s upending virtual occupations, too. Suddenly social media influencers — i.e. professional jet-setters who, pre-COVID, chronicled their lives from tropical beaches and elite parties — have nothing to do but sit around at home and wait out the plague like the rest of us.”

The Daily Free Press: Coronavirus brings unseen effects even when sleeping. “In this unprecedented time, many people quarantined in their homes have turned to sleep for relaxation and escape from the daily stress of the coronavirus. Yet these worries in one’s waking life are now carrying over to the unconscious, producing vivid and often illogical dreams. As a result of newfound concerns and societal shutdowns, many are reporting increasingly detailed dreams. This phenomenon is tied to rising cortisol levels and emotion-associated neurotransmitters, Sanford Auerbach, associate professor of psychiatry at the Boston University School of Medicine, said.”

Daily Beast: Meet the Out-of-Work Women Stripping on Instagram for Celebs During the Pandemic. “For Munni, a 23-year-old Manhattanite, things were looking particularly dire. She was laid off from both of her jobs—cashier at a bagel shop and hostess at a Japanese restaurant—in mid-March, and had just $60 to her name. ‘I was late on my rent and got laid off from my job a few days before the pandemic really hit New York,’ she tells The Daily Beast. ‘It was really scary for me, and I was stressed out about how I would make ends meet.’ Then a friend told her about Demon Time, a roving virtual strip club on Instagram Live, where women could dance anonymously (in a ski mask, or by leaving their head out of the frame) for an online audience of thousands, including celebrities ranging from The Weeknd to Kevin Durant, and rake in thousands of dollars a night.”

Washington Post: ‘What happens if you and Daddy die?’. “Some health-care workers have moved away from their families, and many others have isolated in spare bedrooms or basements, trying to explain to their kids that they can no longer hug them because the consequences of even a single touch could be dire. Most of all, parents have wrestled with how much to divulge, because what their children do and don’t know about the pandemic could consume them. In many cases, it already has: Kids have endured nightmares and recorded their anguish in journals, written parents goodbye letters and created detailed plans of what they’ll do in case they never see their mom or dad again.”

The Appeal: Black Women Have Long Faced Racism In Healthcare. Covid-19 Is Only Amplifying It.. “Across the United States, Black women like [Rana Zoe] Mungin have long faced significant social, economic, and racial barriers to receiving healthcare. Wage disparities, lack of access to hospitals and doctors’ offices, and the chronic stress of racism and implicit biases from providers all contribute to worse healthcare outcomes for Black women versus their white peers. Now, doctors and policymakers are concerned that those factors are compounding in the COVID-19 pandemic, creating greater gaps in care, and potentially increasing the virus’s spread.”


Sydney Morning Herald: Google races to replace Zoom as live video app of choice. “Google says its Meet service is more secure because it’s a part of the company’s existing portfolio of accounts and services, which is subject to stringent security testing. The Meet service has, until now, been offered as part of the company’s G-Suite services that businesses and schools pay for. However, Google has now started rolling it out gradually to everyone with a personal or business Google account.”

Philadelphia Tribune: Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Black churches aid free testing. “It was early last Friday morning when Andrea Lawful-Sanders, an on-air personality at WURD Radio, witnessed dozens of cars waiting to get into the parking lot of the Mt. Airy Church of God in Christ. People were waiting at the 6401 Ogontz Ave. church for COVID-19 tests administered by the Black Doctors COVID19 Consortium, which had organized yet another one of its free-of-charge community testing events. Lawful-Sanders was there to drop off face masks.”

ProPublica: Health Insurers to Investors: We’re Good. Health Insurers to Lawmakers: Please Help.. “Executives at Cigna, the health insurance giant, have signaled to investors that the coronavirus pandemic isn’t hurting the company’s business and might actually be a boon. But that hasn’t stopped the trade group that represents Cigna and other health insurers in Washington from asking lawmakers for aid.”


New York Times: Data on Gilead Drug Raises Hopes in Pandemic Fight, Fauci Calls It ‘Highly Significant’. “The top U.S. infectious disease official said Gilead Sciences Inc’s experimental antiviral drug remdesivir will become the standard of care for COVID-19 after early results from a key clinical trial on Wednesday showed it helped patients recover more quickly from the illness caused by the coronavirus.”

Washington Post: Scientists know ways to help stop viruses from spreading on airplanes. They’re too late for this pandemic.. “On March 14, 1977, a woman with the flu climbed aboard a 737 and headed for Kodiak, Alaska, with 53 other passengers and crew. After an engine failed, most of them sat on the runway with the cabin doors shut, and the ventilation system off, for two hours. Within three days, 38 more people were sick. More than four decades after state and federal epidemiologists showed how easily viruses spread from person to person on airplanes, the novel coronavirus has decimated global aviation. Daily passenger screenings are down 95 percent, according to the Transportation Security Administration. Though there have been significant advances since the 1970s, and airlines spent weeks touting the safety of flying and their steps against the coronavirus, passenger cabins still pose a danger for the spread of infectious diseases, experts said. It is a problem of biology, physics and pure proximity, with airflow, dirty surfaces and close contact with other travelers all at play.”


The Daily Beast: Fake Utah Doc Peddled ‘Ingestible Silver’ as a Bogus COVID Cure: Feds. “Gordon Pedersen says his ingestible silver products can ‘destroy’ the coronavirus and help protect people from contracting the deadly illness. The Department of Justice says that is flat-out wrong and has taken legal action to stop him.”

BuzzFeed News: A Judge Sided With Native American Tribes Challenging How The Trump Administration Is Handling Coronavirus Relief Money. “The Trump administration cannot distribute coronavirus relief money intended to help Native American communities respond to the coronavirus pandemic to certain for-profit Native corporations, a federal judge ruled Monday evening.”

Vanity Fair: Inside Donald Trump and Jared Kushner’s Two Months of Magical Thinking. “On the afternoon of Thursday, March 19, Donald Trump sat in the Oval Office obsessing over the beaches in Florida. CNN footage of shirtless spring breakers packed onto the sand while the coronavirus pandemic raged sparked national outrage—and pressure on Trump to act. The next morning, New York governor Andrew Cuomo would announce strict stay-at-home orders for residents, but Florida’s Republican governor Ron DeSantis refused to close his state’s beaches, a position even Florida’s Republican senator Rick Scott called reckless.”

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