Friday CoronaBuzz, May 8, 2020: 32 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.


Denbighshire Free Press (UK): National bereavement service rolled out for mourners during coronavirus lockdown. “An end-of-life charity has launched a national bereavement service to support people struggling with losing loved ones during the coronavirus lockdown. People finding it difficult to grieve will be able to access up to six weeks of support over the phone from a dedicated volunteer trained by the Marie Curie charity.”


WOWT: Nebraska sets up new education portal; state making headway in COVID-19 unemployment claims. “Dr. Matthew Blomstedt, Nebraska’s commissioner of education, on Thursday unveiled of a new website… that will house all the new materials and resources for the upcoming academic year. He said the site will also have details about new protocols for schools and examples of how education will move forward for summer and fall. It will also provide professional learning tools as well as a webinar series on how teachers can make effective use of online learning tools.”

Hindustan Times: Milan’s La Scala opera house ‘re-opens’ via Google virtual tour during coronavirus lockdown. “Milan’s famed La Scala opera house on Thursday unveiled a virtual journey through its ornate premises and rich archives via Google Arts & Culture, with serendipitous timing as theaters throughout Italy and the western world remain closed due to the coronavirus.”

TechRadar: Google launches a new Read Along app to help you with homeschooling. “If you’re stuck at home trying to keep the kids entertained and educated, you’ve now got one more online resource to draw on – Google just launched a Read Along app for Android that helps kids over five with their reading. The app has previously been launched in India under the name Bolo, but is now available much more widely, across 180 countries and in nine languages.”


Pacific Business Journal: Restaurant database now includes new section for farmers markets, local food producers. “Hawaii Agricultural Foundation continues to expand its efforts to support the food industry during the Covid-19 pandemic. Earlier this week, the nonprofit launched a new addition to its Food-A-Go-Go platform, Food-A-Go-Go Farms, in an effort to help local farmers, ranchers and fishermen. Just as Food-A-Go-Go lists restaurants that are open for take-out, delivery and pickup, the new database compiles info on farmers markets and local growers. Food-A-Go-Go Farms also features other food producers in two categories — Aloha Inside for food products made in Hawaii, and Local Inside, which refers to products made with local ingredients.”

Workday Minnesota: New Website Documents Accountability Track Records of CARES Act Recipients. “The non-profit Good Jobs First launched COVID Stimulus Watch. The website is a database of public traded companies awarded federal loans under the Paycheck Protection Program. The data collected shows that at least 16 of those corporations pay their workers less than the national median household income level. Five pay wages so low they fall below the poverty line for a family of four.”

ABC 11: Free legal clinic aids NC small businesses, nonprofits affected by COVID-19. “The N.C. Pro Bono Resource Center has partnered with law firms across the state and the nonprofit group, Lawyers for Good Government Foundation, to offer a remote legal clinic for pro bono legal consultations. Businesses are matched with an attorney who provides 45 minutes of free, confidential legal advice for issues dealing with the coronavirus crisis and small business.”

Harvard Gazette: Real-time data to address real-time problems. “Called the Opportunity Insights Economic Tracker, the tool was created as a public resource to help policymakers assess the effects of the downturn in different regions of the U.S. with the most up-to-date information possible. With a more complete and current picture of the nation’s economic standing, policymakers should then be able to make evidence-based decisions as they move to reopen the nation. The tool provides lawmakers real-time analysis of data such as consumer spending and job postings, which normally takes them several weeks to get.”

The Hindu: Calcutta University’s digital collection goes online. “In what can be seen as a sign of the times to come, when social distancing may just become the new normal, the University of Calcutta has placed the entire digital collection of its library online so that physical visits are no longer necessitated and the world at large benefits from it. The decision of the University, set up in 1857, has placed in public domain countless articles, journals and dissertations, including issues of The Calcutta Review dating back to 1844 and Tagore Law Lectures dating back to 1870. Now anybody, anywhere in the world, can access them any time.”

SunHerald: Mississippians can now buy meat, produce directly from farms amid COVID-19. Here’s how.. “Mississippi has a new website where people can buy a side of beef, a basket of blueberries or a jar of honey direct from the rancher, farmer or beekeeper. Department of Agriculture Commissioner Andy Gipson announced Thursday the Mississippi Farm Marketplace website and two other initiatives to make sure people in Mississippi can get fresh food during the coronavirus pandemic. He signed an order during the morning press conference that immediately allows farmers to sell a portion of an animal, such as a side of beef, directly to consumers.”

Federal Housing Finance Agency: FHFA Announces Tools to Help Renters Find Out if They are Protected from Eviction. “To help renters find out if they are protected from evictions during the COVID-19 national health emergency, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced today that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) have created online multifamily property lookup tools. The property lookup tools allow renters to find out if the multifamily property where they reside has an Enterprise-backed mortgage. Under the CARES Act, renters living in a property with an Enterprise-backed mortgage are covered by a temporary eviction moratorium.”

1060AM KYW: New website aims to showcase kids’ experience with pandemic through artwork. “The site, Quarantined Kids, was created by Lauren Rowello to give kids a space to express themselves through their art. ‘Sometimes I’m reading a little about what the kids are going through, but it’s always told from the adult’s perspective. It’s a parent or a grandparents or a reporter telling the story and this is really a space where the kids are going to tell it themselves,’ she said.”


First Draft: How to analyze Facebook data for misinformation trends and narratives. “There is a mountain of data that can help us examine topics such as the spread of 5G conspiracy theories or where false narratives around Covid-19 cures came from. It can help us analyze cross-border narratives and identify which online communities most frequently discuss certain issues. While Twitter’s public data is accessible through its Application Programming Interface (API), it can be much more complicated for researchers to access platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. Facebook-owned platform CrowdTangle is the most easily accessible tool to handle three of the most important social networks — Facebook, Instagram, and Reddit — and it is free for journalists and researchers.”


NBC News: ‘What are we doing this for?’: Doctors are fed up with conspiracies ravaging ERs. “At the end of another long shift treating coronavirus patients, Dr. Hadi Halazun opened his Facebook page to find a man insisting to him that “no one’s dying” and that the coronavirus is “fake news” drummed up by the news media. Hadi tried to engage and explain his firsthand experience with the virus. In reply, another user insinuated that he wasn’t a real doctor, saying pictures from his profile showing him at concerts and music festivals proved it.”

CNET: Zoom eyes security boost, acquiring secure messaging platform Keybase. “In an effort to shore things up after a string of security issues, video conferencing platform Zoom has acquired secure messaging service Keybase.”

Ausdroid: Google introduces new features to Lens to especially help those working from home. “COVID-19 has caused businesses of the world to quickly adapt to the new way of life and as these businesses evolve and pivot into online spaces we, the consumers and users, are seeing some great new innovations. Google is one such company, fast tracking many features from virtually all of their products to help us all in our times of need. Google has today added new features yet again to one of their products, this time Google Lens has been enhanced with some handy additions. Today’s additions are designed to help users be more productive in their new work from home environments.”


NPR: ‘1st Time To See It Like This’: Petra Tourism Workers Long For Visitors To Return. “In the ancient city of Petra, Jordan’s best-known tourist destination, bird song echoes against the multicolored rock and the elaborate monuments instead of the din of tour groups and souvenir sellers. The coronavirus pandemic has done what war did not — bring this Middle Eastern country’s vital tourism industry to a dramatic halt, and with it, the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of workers.”

AdWeek: Social Media Is Providing a Sense of Community for Those Targeted by Racist Attacks During the Pandemic. “Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, I’ve felt fearful of a possible confrontation due to my ethnicity, to the point of holding in a cough to divert unwanted attention. And I am sure there are many others who share similar or worse experiences. With more incidents being shared online, Asian Americans are using social media more than ever to organize and fight against bigotry.”


Reuters: Exclusive: Iran hunts for grains as coronavirus compounds economic woes. “Iran is scrambling to buy millions of tonnes of wheat, corn and soybeans to shore up its reserves, Iranian officials and traders said, despite President Hassan Rouhani’s assertions that the coronavirus would not endanger food supplies to the Middle Eastern country worst hit by the pandemic.”

ABC4: Kroger to provide free COVID-19 testing to frontline associates. “Kroger Health announced Monday that the company will begin offering free COVID-19 testing to frontline associates based on their symptoms and medical need, according to a release.”

Washington Post: Faith activism amid pandemic spans causes and denominations. “One religious leader appeared with nursing home workers seeking safer conditions. Another broadcast a roundtable with colleagues in three states. Another talked about a campaign he helps lead that’s raised more than $1 million for masks and hand sanitizer. In one 24-hour period this week, three prominent people of faith from different denominations pushed for more aid to workers and areas most acutely affected by the coronavirus. All three are leaders in the black church –- underscoring the outsized pain the pandemic has exacted on communities of color -– but Christian advocacy on behalf of lower-income populations struggling with the virus is a diverse and nationwide cause.”

Hindustan Times: Facebook, Google will let most employees work from home through 2020. “Covid-19 outbreak forced employees working in companies across the globe, including the ones in Google and Facebook, to work from home. Now, the two companies have announced that they would let most of their employees work from home through 2020.”


Reuters: Colombia’s coronavirus app troubles show rocky path without tech from Apple, Google. “Colombia has removed the contact-tracing feature in its official app for informing residents about the novel coronavirus after experiencing glitches, but aims to rebuild using potentially more reliable technology from Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google, a government official told Reuters.”

New York Times: Travel From New York City Seeded Wave of U.S. Outbreaks. “New York City’s coronavirus outbreak grew so large by early March that the city became the primary source of new infections in the United States, new research reveals, as thousands of infected people traveled from the city and seeded outbreaks around the country. The research indicates that a wave of infections swept from New York City through much of the country before the city began setting social distancing limits to stop the growth. That helped to fuel outbreaks in Louisiana, Texas, Arizona and as far away as the West Coast.”

BuzzFeed News: These Detailed Maps Show How COVID-19 Is Spreading In Five Major Cities. “COVID-19 has hit urban America hard. The country’s 15 largest metro areas account for just one-third of the nation’s population, but more than 60% of coronavirus cases and deaths. But even within hard-hit cities, the novel coronavirus has spread unequally — largely sparing some neighborhoods, while devastating others, according to a ZIP code-level analysis of case counts from five major cities by BuzzFeed News.”


Found on YouTube: one of those rare Mr. Rogers parodies that doesn’t go for salacious laughs but sticks to deadpan satire. Mr. Rogers’ voice is not great but Lady Elaine, X the Owl, Queen Saturday, and Henrietta are perfect. Extremely well done and highly recommended. Lady Elaine encourages panic buying during quarantine – Mister Rogers Neighborhood parody.


People: Pa. Researcher Making ‘Very Significant Findings’ in Coronavirus Killed in Suspected Murder-Suicide. “A University of Pittsburgh researcher on the cusp of ‘very significant findings’ tied to COVID-19 infections was shot dead Saturday in what police say appears to be a murder-suicide. Ross Township police discovered the body of Bing Liu, 37, a research assistant professor in the university’s School of Medicine, in his home with gunshots to his head, neck, torso and extremities, according to a statement from the department obtained by PEOPLE.”

NBC News: 3 McDonald’s workers hurt after customer attack over coronavirus limits, Oklahoma police say. “Three workers at an Oklahoma City McDonald’s were injured Wednesday by gunfire and a scuffle that appeared to have started because the restaurant’s dining area was closed for social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic, police said. Two of three were injured by gunfire and the third was hurt in a scuffle, said Lt. Michelle Henderson of the Oklahoma City Police Department.”


MediaMatters: A coronavirus conspiracy theory film attacking vaccines has racked up million of views and engagements on YouTube and Facebook. “A film featuring a known anti-vaxxer pushing conspiracy theories and false claims about the novel coronavirus, including attacking vaccines, has racked up more than 9 million views on YouTube. Additionally, the video and its reuploads have tallied more than 16 million Facebook engagements. The spread of the film — called ‘Plandemic’ — through reuploads on YouTube shows the platform’s continuing issues with enforcing its policies against coronavirus misinformation during this public health crisis.”

Washington Post: Arizona halts partnership with experts predicting coronavirus cases would continue to mount. “Hours after Doug Ducey, the Republican governor of Arizona, accelerated plans to reopen businesses, saying the state was ‘headed in the right direction,’ his administration halted the work of a team of experts projecting it was on a different — and much grimmer — course. On Monday night, the eve of President Trump’s visit to the state, Ducey’s health department shut down the work of academic experts predicting the peak of the state’s coronavirus outbreak was still about two weeks away.”

Daily Beast: Trump Wants a Quick Reopening. Data His Own White House Is Examining Shows It Could Be a Disaster. “One of the studies that the Trump administration is relying on as it moves ahead with plans to reopen the U.S. economy warns that even if states take the necessary steps to ease social distancing restrictions, counties across the country—both big and small—will see a significant spread of coronavirus.”

New Hampshire Public Radio: Glitch On State’s New COVID-19 Testing Website Displayed Patient’s Personal Info. “The new state website where people can sign up for coronavirus tests got off to a rocky start today. Some visitors to the online portal Thursday morning found the form already filled in – with someone else’s personal info.”

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