coronabuzz

Sunday CoronaBuzz, May 10, 2020: 25 pointers to new resources, useful stuff, research news, and more.

Added some new categories. Wash your hands and stay at home as much as you can. Please be careful. I love you.

NEW RESOURCES – MEDICAL/HEALTH

Institute of Cancer Research: Scientists bring together world’s coronavirus research in ‘intelligent’ online database. “Scientists have created a dynamic database driven by artificial intelligence which is collecting together the world’s research on coronavirus in a single online space. The new resource will make freely available vast amounts of data on the biology and treatment of COVID-19 – accelerating the search for new drugs and ensuring we learn rapidly from international efforts to understand and overcome the disease. A team at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, has fast-tracked development of the powerful database by adapting an existing system called canSAR which already pulls together data from across cancer research and drug discovery.”

NEW RESOURCES – EDUCATION/ENTERTAINMENT

Wicklow People: New website aims to beat lockdown boredom. “A student from Wicklow town has built and programmed a website to help people cope with boredom during Covid-19 lockdown. The website… created by Jack Kennedy features music, youtube videos, movies, TV shows, documentaries, articles, and Wikipedia rabbit holes that are deemed interesting and entertaining. The site also contains content that Jack prepares on a daily basis.”

USEFUL STUFF

NBC News: Coronavirus conspiracy theorists have now revealed themselves. What can the rest of us do? . “I’ve been a psychologist for 25 years and, though it was an initially challenging concept for me to accept, I do know that some people are incapable of change. On a personal level, this lesson was admittedly difficult for me to absorb but, once I did, it allowed me to accept certain people in my life, and to accept them and their decisions for who and what they are. In the age of COVID-19, I find that I am not so accepting. Political and personal decisions feel like they have life-and-death consequences. Misinformation skewed toward a political view may cause people to disregard social distancing or to take dangerous or unproven medication. And it’s affecting the people I love the most.”

UPDATES

WJLA: FEMA giving D.C. 6 trailers to hold bodies after surge in COVID-19 deaths. “The D.C. Medical Examiners has trailers (pictured above) parked in front of the Forensics Lab for transporting multiple bodies. They are transporting them to six larger trailers on loan from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. D.C. has confirmed that FEMA is loaning the city six, 53-foot trailers to hold bodies because there have been so many COVID-19 deaths in the city – 277 as of today.”

Channel 3000: 72 got COVID-19 after being at large event. “More than 70 people who tested positive for the coronavirus since an April 24 rally at the Wisconsin state Capitol indicated they had attended a large gathering, but the state Department of Health Services cant’ say if they were at the rally because it is not tracking specific events.”

Burlington Free Press: Fired after raising concerns about unsafe conditions, UPS whistleblower gets her job back. “Marge Harvey got her job back. Harvey, a 33-year veteran driver for UPS in St. Johnsbury, was fired on April 10 after pushing management on unsafe conditions at her workplace, including no personal protective equipment, no soap in the bathrooms and no social distancing. Harvey was concerned the novel coronavirus could easily spread in such an unprotected environment.”

SOCIETAL IMPACT

California Literary Review: What coronavirus costs to the Italian cultural heritage.. “Given that Italy’s is generally considered the world’s richest cultural heritage, maintenance of its historic monuments and museum, with exhibits dating from the early Neolithic era through today’s avantgarde, is costly. But with international tourism virtually at the end for an indefinite period because of Covid-19, income to maintain the precious heritage is dangerously reduced. The Roman Colosseum, for one example, attracts some 7.6 million visitors a year. Ticket sells for $17, meaning that solely during the lockdown months from March through April, income lost for maintenance and staff wages was well over one million dollars. Air traffic to Rome has shut down one airport altogether, Ciampino, plus the important Terminal One at Leonardo Da Vinci airport.”

Vice: The Ghanaian Pallbearers Lean Into Their Role as Pandemic Grim Reapers. “The Ghanaian pallbearers have become the most explicit cultural icons of this pandemic. They are cultural icons of death and dying. In a new video, they warn you to stay inside, lest you wish to dance with them in death.”

Dallas News: A Dallas blogger’s images of parked planes show just how far the airline industry has fallen. “Andy Luten usually takes pictures of planes in the air, taking off or landing. But in the depths of the COVID-19 downturn, the 37-year-old financial software consultant in Dallas wanted to put his hobby to work showing planes in their current state — on the ground. So Luten packed his Tesla and drove from Dallas to airports as close as DFW and Fort Worth Alliance and as far away as Arizona to document how the COVID-19 pandemic has thrashed airlines. He published the images this week on his blog, where he usually posts vacation pics, rocket launch photos and even shots from Dallas Mavericks games.”

BuzzFeed News: The J.Crew Bankruptcy Has Exposed A Hard Truth About The Influencer Economy. “The news this week that the parent company of beloved preppy brand J.Crew and its hip millennial sister, Madewell, had filed for bankruptcy led to an outpouring of sadness from fans across social media. It also led to a stark revelation about the influencer economy being exposed in a way I haven’t quite seen before.”

INSTITUTION / CORPORATE / GOVERNMENT

State of Pennsylvania: Gov. Wolf Outlines Plans to Create Commonwealth Civilian Coronavirus Corps to Support Fall COVID-19 Recovery Efforts. “As Pennsylvania plans to safely reopen the economy and recover from COVID-19, Governor Tom Wolf announced the creation of the Commonwealth Civilian Coronavirus Corps, a public service initiative that will support efforts this fall to increase testing and contact tracing and provide critical new job opportunities in the public health sector.”

Miami Herald: Florida’s lax oversight of nursing homes spills over from one deadly crisis to the next. “Florida’s solution for one potential crisis — the failure of nearly 100 elder-care facilities to comply with the state’s emergency power law, even as hurricane season approaches — is to allow the homes to pack all their residents into a confined space to keep them cool during a power outage. But the plan, spelled out in a series of orders signed by health regulators the past two weeks, could collide with a far deadlier crisis: the coronavirus pandemic, an extraordinarily contagious menace that already has claimed the lives of more than 600 long-term care residents.”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: ‘We have to test more people’: Wisconsin expands coronavirus testing for African American, Latino and tribal communities. “All African Americans, Latinos and tribal community members in Wisconsin will have access to free COVID-19 testing under a plan announced Thursday by Gov. Tony Evers. Evers’ plan is an effort to combat the staggering racial and ethnic disparities Wisconsin and many other states are facing when it comes to COVID-19 cases and deaths.”

BuzzFeed News: Grubhub Collected Record Fees From Restaurants Struggling To Stay Alive During The Pandemic. “Restaurant owners have long complained that fees charged by ordering platforms like Grubhub, often ranging from 15% to 30%, make orders less profitable, and sometimes unprofitable — but businesses have no choice but to use them if they want to retain customers. They also discovered Grubhub was secretly buying up thousands of restaurant domain names and using them to build shadow websites that competed with pages operated by restaurants. Now, with dining rooms closed and lockdowns still in effect, takeout orders facilitated by platforms like Gruhub have become a crucial source of business.”

HEALTH

The Guardian: ‘It’s irresponsible’: Washington state warns against ‘coronavirus parties’. “Washington health officials have warned residents against holding so-called ‘coronavirus parties’ after receiving reports that non-infected guests were socialising with those who have tested positive for the virus, ostensibly in hopes of speeding up the process of catching and overcoming it.”

Dallas Morning News: Dallas therapists already seeing ‘pandemic of a mental health crisis,’ and Texas is dead last in fighting back. “As the coronavirus crisis drags into another month, an Oak Cliff-based nonprofit that’s long been devoted to healing the social-emotional wounds of children and their families can sense the pandemic ratcheting up pressure to the rupturing point: A job stripped away from a mother already struggling to feed her kids. An adolescent’s faltering foothold on stability as tensions turn to blows between his parents. The zombie-like shutting down of a 5-year-old after a family member’s coronavirus death.”

New York Times: One-Third of All U.S. Coronavirus Deaths Are Nursing Home Residents or Workers. “At least 25,600 residents and workers have died from the coronavirus at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities for older adults in the United States, according to a New York Times database. The virus so far has infected more than 143,000 at some 7,500 facilities.”

Jerusalem Post: Meet the 107-year-old woman who survived the coronavirus and Spanish flu. “After Marilee Shapiro Asher was admitted to the hospital in mid-April sick with COVID-19, her daughter got a call from the doctor telling her she ought to get down there right away. Her mother likely had only 12 hours to live. ‘Well, he doesn’t know my mother, does he?’ Joan Shapiro said. What the doctor didn’t know was that Asher, a 107-year-old working artist, had already survived one global pandemic. And she was about to survive another.”

RESEARCH

National Institutes of Health: NIH-supported research survey to examine impact of COVID-19 on rare diseases community. “For the millions of people living with a rare disease, the novel coronavirus disease COVID-19 presents challenges, from potential reduced access to needed medical care to possible heightened anxiety and stress. A new online survey launched by the National Institutes of Health-supported Rare Diseases Clinical Research Network (RDCRN) aims to find out how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting individuals with rare diseases, their families and their caregivers. Results will help the rare disease research community shed light on the needs of people with rare diseases during the COVID-19 pandemic and other potential health crises, in addition to informing future research efforts.”

ProPublica: Early Data Shows Black People Are Being Disproportionally Arrested for Social Distancing Violations . “ProPublica analyzed court records for the city of Toledo and for the counties that include Columbus and Cincinnati, three of the most populous jurisdictions in Ohio. In all of them, ProPublica found, black people were at least four times as likely to be charged with violating the stay-at-home order as white people.”

FDA: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: FDA Authorizes First Diagnostic Test Using At-Home Collection of Saliva Specimens. “Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the first diagnostic test with the option of using home-collected saliva samples for COVID-19 testing. Specifically, the FDA issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) to Rutgers Clinical Genomics Laboratory for their COVID-19 laboratory developed test (LDT), which had been previously added to the high complexity molecular-based LDT ‘umbrella’ EUA, to permit testing of samples self-collected by patients at home using the Spectrum Solutions LLC SDNA-1000 Saliva Collection Device.”

Science Magazine: ‘Finally, a virus got me.’ Scientist who fought Ebola and HIV reflects on facing death from COVID-19. “Virologist Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, fell ill with COVID-19 in mid-March. He spent a week in a hospital and has been recovering at his home in London since. Climbing a flight of stairs still leaves him breathless. Piot, who grew up in Belgium, was one of the discoverers of the Ebola virus in 1976 and spent his career fighting infectious diseases. He headed the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS between 1995 and 2008 and is currently a coronavirus adviser to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. But his personal confrontation with the new coronavirus was a life-changing experience, Piot says.”

POLITICS AND SECURITY

Associated Press: AP Exclusive: Docs show top WH officials buried CDC report. “The decision to shelve detailed advice from the nation’s top disease control experts for reopening communities during the coronavirus pandemic came from the highest levels of the White House, according to internal government emails obtained by The Associated Press. The files also show that after the AP reported Thursday that the guidance document had been buried, the Trump administration ordered key parts of it to be fast-tracked for approval. The trove of emails show the nation’s top public health experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spending weeks working on guidance to help the country deal with a public health emergency, only to see their work quashed by political appointees with little explanation.”

Politico: Azar faulted workers’ ‘home and social’ conditions for meatpacking outbreaks. “The country’s top health official downplayed concerns over the public health conditions inside meatpacking plants, suggesting on a call with lawmakers that workers were more likely to catch coronavirus based on their social interactions and group living situations, three participants said. HHS Secretary Alex Azar told a bipartisan group that he believed infected employees were bringing the virus into processing plants where a rash of cases have killed at least 20 workers and forced nearly two-dozen plants to close, according to three people on the April 28 call.”

Washington Post: In the early days of the pandemic, the U.S. government turned down an offer to manufacture millions of N95 masks in America. “It was Jan. 22, a day after the first case of covid-19 was detected in the United States, and orders were pouring into Michael Bowen’s company outside Fort Worth, some from as far away as Hong Kong. Bowen’s medical supply company, Prestige Ameritech, could ramp up production to make an additional 1.7 million N95 masks a week. He viewed the shrinking domestic production of medical masks as a national security issue, though, and he wanted to give the federal government first dibs…. But communications over several days with senior agency officials — including Robert Kadlec, the assistant secretary for preparedness and emergency response — left Bowen with the clear impression that there was little immediate interest in his offer.”

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