Wednesday CoronaBuzz, May 6, 2020: 35 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.


Pharmafield: New website to report COVID-19 treatment adverse events. “A new online reporting site, dedicated to reporting any COVID-19 treatment adverse events, including suspected side effects from medicines, future vaccines and incidents involving medical equipment relating to COVID-19 treatment, has been launched. The new and tailored Yellow Card COVID-19 reporting site makes it quicker and simpler for healthcare professionals, patients and carers to report side-effects or incidents.”


BetaNews: New free tool makes it easy to create videos for work and education. “Seattle-based Panopto is launching a new, free tool to help people make video presentations by simply visiting a website. Panopto Express means anyone with a computer and a web browser can record presentations and classes that blend together webcams, screen and application captures, and other video sources into rich, engaging presentations. It introduces a revolutionary camera framing technology called Smart Camera. This uses artificial intelligence to automatically center the video frame, smoothly following presenters who want to stand back from the camera or move around while speaking.”

CNET: YouTube’s virtual graduation will include Barack and Michelle Obama, BTS, Lady Gaga. “Not to be outdone by John Krasinski’s star-studded virtual graduation, YouTube is holding one of its own on June 6, for people whose celebrations have been stopped by the coronavirus pandemic. ‘Dear Class of 2020’ plans to feature Barack and Michelle Obama, BTS and Lady Gaga, along with Google CEO Sundar Pichai and activist Malala Yousafzai.”

Live for Live Music: Dave Matthews Band Announces Weekly Archival Concert Webcast Series, ‘DMB Drive-In’. “Dave Matthews Band is getting into the archival concert webcast game with a new series, the DMB Drive-In. The weekly livestream series will see Dave Matthews Band broadcast a show from their archives each Wednesday night at 8 p.m.”

Wizarding World: Introducing the next phase of Harry Potter At Home. “With so many of us still staying at home, we are asking friends from the Wizarding World and beyond to read all seventeen chapters of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone/Sorcerer’s Stone for us. Some of the best-loved faces from global entertainment, music and sport have lent their voices to the story they love by recording videos of themselves reading the timeless first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone/Sorcerer’s Stone.”


World Intellectual Property Organization: WIPO Launches Tool to Track IP Policy Information in Member States during COVID-19 Pandemic. “WIPO today launched a new tool that tracks COVID-19 related intellectual property (IP) policy changes or other measures being implemented by WIPO member states in their response to the global pandemic.”

Church Executive: Faithlife Offers Free Access to More than 700 Bible-based Resources During COVID-19. “Church technology company and makers of Logos Bible Software, Faithlife, is offering free access through June 30 to its Digital Church Library containing more than 700 Bible-based resources to help church leaders and their congregations sustain spiritual growth throughout COVID-19 and beyond…. Faithlife’s Digital Church Library includes seminary-level courses from Logos Mobile Education, audio Bibles, Bible commentaries, dictionaries and encyclopedias from Lexham press, devotionals, Bible translators, books by theological source-experts, family-friendly Bible study sources from InterVarsity Press and much more.”


CNET: How to watch Korean Baseball Organization games on ESPN without cable. “Baseball is back! On the Korean peninsula. South Korea’s professional baseball league, the 10-team Korean Baseball Organization or KBO, just celebrated Opening Day and the start of its planned 144-game season. With Major League Baseball on hold, ESPN announced it will televise six KBO games per week.”

Daily Record: Tennent’s launches free online service to help fans create their own pub quizzes. “Now with Google Trends showing that searches for ‘pub quiz questions UK’ are up 710 per cent, Tennent’s is aiming to helping budding quizmasters with the release of a new free online quiz service. Dubbed PinTless, the new platform, which changes weekly, features a bank of questions comprised of seven different themes including staples like general knowledge, music and sport as well as some Tennent’s inspired questions thrown in to challenge beer fans.”


New York Times: Coronavirus in the U.S.: An Unrelenting Crush of Cases and Deaths. “In New York City, the daily onslaught of death from the coronavirus has dropped to half of what it was. In Chicago, a makeshift hospital in a lakefront convention center is closing, deemed no longer needed. And in New Orleans, new cases have dwindled to a handful each day. Yet across America, those signs of progress obscure a darker reality. The country is still in the firm grip of a pandemic with little hope of release. For every indication of improvement in controlling the virus, new outbreaks have emerged elsewhere, leaving the nation stuck in a steady, unrelenting march of deaths and infections.”


ProPublica: Los New Yorkers: Essential and Underprotected in the Pandemic’s Epicenter. “In a city besieged, undocumented New Yorkers have been left outside public measures to help those impacted by the spread of the coronavirus. Instead, they weigh impossible choices: medical help and exposure, safety or sustenance.”

The Next Web: How the soap and crown emoji subtly communicate fears and advice about coronavirus. “In digital communication, where visual information often conveys key ideas in memorable, pithy and fun ways, emoji is king. And as our world has changed due to COVID-19, new ways of deploying emoji have sprung up in response.”

CTV News: ‘He never got a chance’: B.C. man dies after surgery cancelled due to COVID-19. “Hospital protocols surrounding the cancellation of surgeries are being called into question after a B.C. man died waiting for surgery that was cancelled due to COVID-19. Chris Walcroft, a 50-year-old father of two, died on April 15 after a scheduled surgery to prepare his kidney dialysis was cancelled. According to his wife, the surgery, which would have given him access to the life-saving treatment, was cancelled without explanation from the hospital.”

CNN: Americans are getting fewer robocalls because of the pandemic. “One of the biggest consumer headaches has eased up at least in part due to the pandemic. Americans experienced a drop in the amount of robocalls flooding their phones in April, helped by international call centers being shut down during the global pandemic and government efforts to stop Covid-19-related scams.”

AP: Coronavirus cuts ‘deep scars’ through meatpacking cities. “As the coronavirus spread from the nation’s meatpacking plants to the broader communities where they are located, it burned through a modest duplex in Waterloo, Iowa. In the downstairs unit lived Jim Orvis, 65, a beloved friend and uncle who worked in the laundry department at the Tyson Foods pork processing facility, the largest employer in Waterloo. Upstairs was Arthur Scott, a 51-year-old father who was getting his life back on track after a prison term for drugs. He worked 25 miles (40 kilometers) away at the Tyson dog treats factory in Independence, Iowa. The two men were not well acquainted. But both fell ill and died last month within days of each other from COVID-19 — casualties of an outbreak linked to the Waterloo plant that spread across the city of 68,000 people.”

New York Times: 3 Hospital Workers Gave Out Masks. Weeks Later, They All Were Dead.. “They did not treat patients, but Wayne Edwards, Derik Braswell and Priscilla Carrow held some of the most vital jobs at Elmhurst Hospital Center in Queens. As the coronavirus tore through the surrounding neighborhood, their department managed the masks, gloves and other protective gear inside Elmhurst, a public hospital at the center of the city’s outbreak. They ordered the inventory, replenished the stockroom and handed out supplies, keeping a close count as the number of available masks began to dwindle. By April 12, they were all dead.”

Coconuts Bali: On social media, Indonesians fight back against dangerous COVID-19 conspiracy theories. “The COVID-19 pandemic has created a fertile ground for conspiracy theories to flourish, so much so that we’re seeing well-known figures here in Indonesia taking it upon themselves to echo these questionable ideas on their massive platforms. While the current state of our economy and society may in turn encourage these conspiracy beliefs, some Indonesians are not shying away from using social media to fight back against the dangerous infodemic.”


RTE: ‘The favour is returned’: 173 years on, Irish donors thank Native Americans. “The organisers of a fundraising campaign for Native Americans hit by the coronavirus have thanked Irish donors for their support. People from Ireland have been sending money through a ‘GoFundMe’ page set up to help Navajo and Hopi families, with many of the Irish donors saying it was a way of saying thank you for the support shown to Ireland during the Great Famine.”

BBC: Coronavirus: ‘Travel bubble’ plan to help kick-start flights. “Australia and New Zealand are planning a “travel bubble”, or corridor, that will allow the quarantine-free flow of people between the two neighbours. Both countries have severely restricted international travel to prevent the spread of coronavirus. However, if successful, the ‘bubble’ could grow to include more countries that have a low number of cases.”

Charlotte Observer: NC hospital chair resigns after posting about stay-at-home ‘tyranny’ and COVID-19 conspiracy . “CaroMont Health board of directors chairman Donnie Loftis has resigned from his position after eight years. His resignation comes four days after The Charlotte Observer reported he’d shared on his Facebook posts calling stay-at-home orders ‘tyranny’ and messages about COVID-19 conspiracies. Loftis’ public posts came as the hospital system urged people to stay home to protect healthcare workers and one of CaroMont’s own nurses was hospitalized in critical condition with COVID-19.”

CNET: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pledges $125 million for COVID-19 vaccine, therapy. “The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on Monday said it’s committing $125 million toward the international effort to develop and distribute COVID-19 diagnostics, therapies and vaccines. The pledge includes $50 million in new funding for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and $75 million of earlier announced funding for diagnostics and therapeutics.”


Arizona State University: Experts explore digital contact tracing for COVID-19. “Arizona State University’s School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning and Spatial Analysis Research Center (SPARC) brought together geospatial experts from across the nation in an online conversation about both the technical and ethical issues of digital contact tracing in response to COVID-19.”

BBC: The groundbreaking way to search lungs for signs of Covid-19. “When Covid-19 was at its height in China, doctors in the city of Wuhan were able to use artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms to scan the lungs of thousands of patients. The algorithm in question, developed by Axial AI, analyses CT imagery in seconds. It declares, for example, whether a patient has a high risk of viral pneumonia from coronavirus or not.”

Phys .org: Coronavirus has led to major change in attitudes about parental responsibility for children’s education. “School closures have led to a change in attitudes among parents about who should be responsible for their child’s education, a major new survey shows. Families are more likely to think they should be involved in their child’s education since the coronavirus pandemic began, the research, from the Centre for Social Mobility at the University of Exeter, shows.”

Penn Today: ‘Rooted in fear’: Two science historians discuss the historical association of disease, shame, and social stigma.. “One of the early cases of COVID-19 spread within the United States happened at a glamorous birthday party in Westport, Connecticut. The event included dinner and dancing with guests that flew in for the occasion, including a man from Johannesburg, South Africa, who developed symptoms on the flight home. Yet the party host would not disclose the guest list to public health officials for contact tracing. Shame and social stigma, says David Barnes, associate professor in the History and Sociology of Science Department, ‘is a huge issue in public health.'”

Reuters: After retesting samples, French hospital discovers COVID-19 case from December. “A French hospital which has retested old samples from pneumonia patients discovered that it treated a man who had COVID-19 as early as Dec. 27, nearly a month before the French government confirmed its first cases.”

University of Saskatchewan: Feeling COVID-19 stress? Video games could be the cure, says USask computer scientist. “For a brief moment, all thoughts of quarantine, COVID-19 infection, and unrelenting uncertainty melt into the background noise of the video game. Playing video games may be the salve we need for our mental health during the pandemic, according to University of Saskatchewan (USask) computer scientist Dr. Regan Mandryk (PhD), who studies how video games can promote mental wellness. ”

Southern Illinois University News: SIU researcher’s tool would improve tracking, avoidance of COVID-19 cases. “In today’s information-heavy society, balancing the handy tools technology provides with the need for privacy is a constant concern. A health crisis such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic puts that tension in stark relief, as health authorities struggle with keeping the public informed while also protecting private health information. A faculty member at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, however, believes he and his students have developed an application that will not only provide the public with the latest data on COVID-19 case locations locally, but also protect the identity of those diagnosed or exposed to the virus. Once populated with the proper data and synced with common GPS information, the Virus Contact Map (VCM) would provide an important tool for avoiding exposure and tracking the virus’ spread.”

Reuters: Exclusive: Sanofi to enroll thousands for its coronavirus vaccine trials. “French drugmaker Sanofi SA said it plans to enroll thousands of subjects globally for trials of an experimental vaccine for the coronavirus it is developing with GlaxoSmithKline Plc, and that it has started to discuss advanced purchases with several countries.”

NBC News: Countries pledge $8 billion for coronavirus vaccine, but U.S. absent. “An international campaign to find a vaccine for the coronavirus raised $8 billion from governments and organizations on Monday, but the United States was notably absent from the effort. The European Commission co-led a virtual conference in response to the World Health Organization’s appeal for global collaboration in the response to the pandemic, which saw support from leaders across Europe, Japan, Saudi Arabia and Canada. China, where the virus originated, was only represented by its ambassador to the European Union.”

Washington Post: Americans widely oppose reopening most businesses, despite easing of restrictions in some states, Post-U. Md. poll finds. “Americans clearly oppose the reopening of restaurants, retail stores and other businesses, even as governors begin to lift restrictions that have kept the economy locked down in an effort to combat the coronavirus pandemic, according to a Washington Post-University of Maryland poll. The opposition expressed by sizable majorities of Americans reflects other cautions and concerns revealed in the survey, including continuing fears among most people that they could become infected by the coronavirus, as well as a belief that the worst of the medical crisis is not yet over.”


NBC News: Warren to grill stimulus IG-nominee Miller on independence from Trump. “President Donald Trump’s nominee to oversee investigations into federal corporate loans as part of the $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill is coming under fire by Democrats on the eve of his confirmation hearing. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., sent Brian Miller, nominated to be special inspector general for pandemic recovery, an 11-page letter Monday, detailing a litany of questions about his role during the impeachment proceedings and his ability to show independence from a president who has reduced the ranks of inspectors general conducting oversight in recent weeks.”

Washington Post: Kushner coronavirus effort said to be hampered by inexperienced volunteers. “The coronavirus response being spearheaded by President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has relied in part on volunteers from consulting and private equity firms with little expertise in the tasks to which they were assigned, exacerbating chronic problems in obtaining supplies for hospitals and other needs, according to numerous government officials and a volunteer involved in the effort. About two dozen employees from Boston Consulting Group, Insight, McKinsey and other firms have volunteered their time — some on paid vacation leave from their jobs and others without pay — to aid the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to administration officials and others familiar with the arrangement. Although some of the volunteers have relevant backgrounds and experience, many others were poorly matched with the jobs they were assigned, including those given the task of securing personal protective equipment, or PPE, for hospitals nationwide, according to a complaint filed last month with the House Oversight Committee.”

USA Today: ‘It makes no sense’: Feds consider relaxing infection control in US nursing homes. “The federal government is considering rolling back infection control requirements in U.S. nursing homes – even as the long-term-care industry’s residents and workers are overwhelmed by the coronavirus. A rule proposed last year by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) would modify the amount of time an infection preventionist must devote to a facility from at least part-time to ‘sufficient time,’ an undefined term that lets the facility decide how much time should be spent. The regulation has not been finalized, but CMS last week defended its proposal, saying it aims to reduce regulatory burden and strengthen infection control.”

Daily Beast: Texas Gov. Admits Dangers of Reopening State on Private Call With Lawmakers. “During a private call on Friday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott admitted that ‘every scientific and medical report shows’ state reopenings ‘ipso facto’ lead to an increase in novel coronavirus cases, even as he publicly announced plans that same week to end an executive stay-at-home order in the state.”

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