Saturday CoronaBuzz, May 16, 2020: 33 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.


The Strad: Classical Encounters goes online this Sunday. “Classical Encounters, the international chamber music festival normally based in the region of The Hague and Leiden, Holland, goes online on Sunday, 17 May. Originally scheduled for 13 -17 May, it will now take place in one day from noon until 6pm, livestreamed on the festival website.”

CNN: See the gardens of famous designers as Britain’s prestigious Chelsea Flower Show goes virtual. “Horticultural enthusiasts will be able to take a virtual tour of award-winning designers’ gardens when Britain’s famous Chelsea Flower Show goes online later this month for the first time in its history. Famous Japanese designer Ishihara Kazuyuki will open his garden — albeit virtually — to green-fingered fans as part of the show, which has closed its doors to the public for the first time since World War Two as a result of the coronavirus crisis.”

AJC: Bond with your children with online Nickelodeon cartoon drawing tutorial. “Nickelodeon has a new way you can enjoy its cartoons that puts the power in your hands — and it could be a great way to bond with your children. The Viacom-owned network recently released a list of drawing tutorials being posted on the video streaming service Twitch throughout the summer.”

KUTV: Retirees, isolated by virus, become DJs for new radio hour. ” Tucked away inside his room at a senior care facility, Bob Coleman knew he couldn’t go out into the world with the coronavirus raging. But he could share with the world his first love — country music. ‘Hello everybody, it’s a bright day in Franklin, Tennessee,’ the 88-year-old Air Force veteran crooned into his microphone. ‘This is Bob Coleman, better known as the “Karaoke Cowboy,” coming to you from Room 3325. … Let’s just jump right into it.’… Coleman is one of several retirees who have turned into DJs for a new online radio hour known as ‘Radio Recliner.'”


WXYZ: Royal Oak Company helps local small businesses find loans and grants by using zip code. “Roy Lamphier is the CEO of the virtual company making it his mission to help small business owners who have found themselves facing unprecedented hardships. The portal helps to relieve some of the anxiety. In less than five seconds, it breaks down opportunities tailored to you. ‘If it’s a loan, what are the percentages, what are the requirements?” said Lamphier. “And then we have a vetted link to more information for that program.'”


KNWA (Arkansas): Gov. announces new website for coronavirus testing. ” Finding a COVID-19 testing site in Arkansas just got a lot easier for you. The state has launched a new website with an interactive map that tells you the closest facility you can go to be tested.”


Independent: Online Surname Dictionary Goes Free To Allow Families In Lockdown To Trace Their Ancestry. “Searching your surname on the website could help you shine a light on where your ancestors came from, offering information regarding surnames with English, Scottish, Welsh, Irish, Cornish origins, in addition to family names from immigrants who have settled in Britain and Ireland since the 16th century. While the website is usually only accessible through subscription services, from 15 May until 21 May the online database is free to use, as part of a collaboration between Oxford University Press and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to mark the UN’s International Day of Families on Friday.”


Mashable: How to download free ebooks and digital audiobooks from public libraries. “Among the 2,500 library systems the Public Library Association surveyed over the last week of March, 74 percent have expanded their online ebook and audio streaming services. Part of that, some libraries told Mashable, is due to the increase in demand since states issued shelter-in-place orders in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Still, the number and diversity of digital offerings vary from metropolitan to rural libraries and remain limited relative to physical materials — but more on that later. The best thing you can do now is put your name on the waiting list (I know, I know) for all the free ebooks and digital audiobooks you want. Good news: We’re here to tell you everything you need to know about digital lending so you can get the darn thing done already.”

Duke University Libraries: Putting the ‘Global’ Back Into Global Pandemic, Part I. “In order to help foster a more informed and compassionate approach to the current global health crisis, the subject specialists of Duke Libraries’ International and Area Studies Department have decided to devote a series of blog posts to the topic of plagues, epidemics, and pandemics in each of the world regions for which they collect materials and about which they offer reference and library instruction. Our goal is not to provide exhaustive coverage of the topic, but merely to suggest one or two resources—preferably those available online and in English—that each subject specialist has found particularly meaningful or useful in helping him or her to understand the role that infectious diseases have played in the countries, continents, and world areas for which s/he is responsible.”

CNET: Who can be tested for coronavirus right now? Here’s who qualifies. “Testing tells us a few things, whether it’s a nasal swab or an antibody test: It confirms COVID-19 in people who are presumed to have it — that is, they show symptoms. But it also tells us if people who appear asymptomatic are also harboring the virus. If they are, they may spread it unknowingly. This knowledge helps protect vulnerable groups at higher risk of fatality from the COVID-19 disease. Here’s what you need to know about who can get tested for the coronavirus.”

Good Housekeeping: 35 Virtual Field Trips for Kids to Get Them Learning About the World. “While your kids may be stuck inside physically, online tours still give them some access to the rest of the outside world. The same way school has gone digital — with remote homeschooling, live-streamed extra-curricular classes, and learning-at-home portals wherever you look — class trips have moved online, too. These virtual field trips for kids will have them gazing at world-class art, learning about history, discovering science, and even checking out what it’s like in outer space.”


AP: VA says it won’t stop use of unproven drug on vets for now. “Facing growing criticism, the Department of Veterans Affairs said Friday that it will not halt use of an unproven malaria drug on veterans with COVID-19 but that fewer of its patients are now taking it.”

KATV: ‘We’re not prepared to go into Phase 2’: 130 new cases of COVID-19 in Arkansas. “With 130 new COVID-19 cases reported on Thursday, Arkansas saw one of its biggest jumps in confirmed cases since the virus reached the state in March. There are 928 active cases in the state, with 522 cases in the community, 305 cases in correctional facilities and 101 cases in nursing homes. Of the 130 new cases, 113 come from the community in Union, Pulaski, Craighead, Jefferson, Sharp and St. Francis counties.”


BuzzFeed News: Quarantine Has Taught Kids On TikTok How To Be Patient And Adult Influencers How To Apologize. “There were two Big™ public apologies this week. If you’ve been following and indulging in niche online dramas to keep your mind off the global pandemic, then you know influencer chef Alison Roman and OG YouTuber Colleen Ballinger both issued statements about their controversies.”

Wall Street Journal: Is That a Rooster on My Customer-Support Call? Yes, Blame Coronavirus.. “Thousands of call-center employees in the Philippines and India are working from home, often on the outskirts of urban areas or outside them, during their countries’ coronavirus lockdowns. That has given cows and pigs—but mainly roosters—a chance to chime in.” Kind of here for it honestly.

Philadelphia Inquirer: He gets no sleep collecting the bodies of coronavirus victims: ‘It’s not a job for everyone’. “Preston Griffin never sleeps. Not really. Even when he sneaks a nap, his iPhone, set at maximum volume, is angled on the pillow, brushing his earlobe. He can’t miss the customized ringtone. The first note blares, and Griffin hops up. A funeral home director is on the line. He listens to the scant details. Someone just died in a nursing home. A hospital. A home. The funeral director tells him if the coronavirus was to blame. Sometimes, it’s a mystery.”


New York Times: They Lost Their Jobs. Now They May Have to Leave the U.S.. “Like millions of American workers, an Indian software engineer, a British market researcher and an Iranian architect lost their jobs amid the coronavirus pandemic. Unlike Americans, they are not entitled to unemployment benefits, despite paying taxes, because they are on foreign work visas. And, if they fail to find similar jobs soon, they must leave the country.”

Mississippi Clarion Register: State health agency says its too busy to tell public which nursing homes have COVID-19 outbreaks. “The Mississippi Department of Health has a list of all the state’s nursing homes with outbreaks of coronavirus, but the agency claims it’s too busy to release it to the public. The Clarion Ledger filed a public records request on April 2 asking for the names of nursing homes with coronavirus outbreaks. In violation of state open records law, the Department of Health did not respond for a month.”

Des Moines Register: If COVID-19 breaks out in an assisted living center, Iowans won’t be alerted “Iowa has reported coronavirus outbreaks at 35 nursing homes, but the state health department would not alert the public if it learned of such an outbreak at an assisted living facility, the department’s deputy director said Thursday. Two advocates for tighter regulations on the industry said later Thursday that the state should notify the public of such outbreaks.”

Center for Public Integrity: As Georgia Reopens, Its Intensive-Care Beds Are Largely Full. “Georgia — one of the first states to reopen its economy — may not have enough hospital beds to treat a new wave of critically ill patients infected with the coronavirus, according to internal federal government documents obtained by the Center for Public Integrity. A slide prepared by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for an interagency briefing last week said Georgia’s intensive care unit beds were 79 percent full on May 6, based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”


The Lancet: Reviving the US CDC. “The COVID-19 pandemic continues to worsen in the USA with 1·3 million cases and an estimated death toll of 80 684 as of May 12. States that were initially the hardest hit, such as New York and New Jersey, have decelerated the rate of infections and deaths after the implementation of 2 months of lockdown. However, the emergence of new outbreaks in Minnesota, where the stay-at-home order is set to lift in mid-May, and Iowa, which did not enact any restrictions on movement or commerce, has prompted pointed new questions about the inconsistent and incoherent national response to the COVID-19 crisis.”

Hindustan Times: Coronavirus could cause 28 million cancelled surgeries globally: Study. “Some 28.4 million planned surgeries could be cancelled or postponed globally due to the new coronavirus pandemic, according to new research warning that huge backlogs risk ‘potentially devastating’ consequences for patients and health systems. The study, published this week in the British Journal of Surgery, modelled the expected number of elective operations that would be put on hold in 190 countries during a 12-week peak of COVID-19 disruption.”

CNBC: Why, in the midst of a U.S. health crisis, there are major challenges for doctors to access patient records. “If you want to solicit a furious stare from a doctor, ask them about their electronic medical record systems. Studies have shown that electronic health records are directly attributable to the growing problem of physician burnout because of the time spent filling out fields in these systems for hours, even after a grueling day of seeing patients. Even more troubling, doctors are still struggling to access medical information about their patients, particularly if that patient was seen at a hospital or clinic that uses a different medical record vendor.”


Science Magazine: T cells found in COVID-19 patients ‘bode well’ for long-term immunity. “Immune warriors known as T cells help us fight some viruses, but their importance for battling SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, has been unclear. Now, two studies reveal infected people harbor T cells that target the virus—and may help them recover. Both studies also found some people never infected with SARS-CoV-2 have these cellular defenses, most likely because they were previously infected with other coronaviruses.”

Washington Post: Places without social distancing have 35 times more potential coronavirus spread, study finds. “The study, published in the journal Health Affairs, looked at the policies mandating social distancing, and found that the longer a measure was in effect the slower the daily growth rate of covid-19, the virus’s disease. Researchers from the University of Kentucky, University of Louisville and Georgia State University looked at confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States between March 1 and April 27, totaling about 1 million reported instances at the time, illustrating ‘the potential danger of exponential spread in the absence of interventions.'”

The Atlantic: How Virginia Juked Its COVID-19 Data. “The United States’ ability to test for the novel coronavirus finally seems to be improving. As recently as late April, the country rarely reported more than 150,000 new test results each day. The U.S. now routinely claims to conduct more than 300,000 tests a day, according to state-level data compiled by the COVID Tracking Project at The Atlantic. But these rosy numbers may conceal a problem: A lack of federal guidelines has created huge variation in how states are reporting their COVID-19 data and in what kind of data they provide to the public.”

Georgetown University Medical Center: Automated COVID-19 Research Tracking Tool Wins International Data Challenge. “A new online tool that gathers and organizes COVID-19 research and trending conversations about virus-related research was recognized as the winning professional entry to the COVID-19 Data Challenge from the Pandemic Data Room. The Data Challenge was led by QED Group in partnership with Georgetown University, Medstar Health, Amazon, Tableau, The Reis Group, IDS, Clear Outcomes, Geopoll, Exovera and others. The winning tool, created by John Bohannon of Primer AI, updates every 24 hours, tracking the exponentially growing number of COVID-19 research papers, which topped 13,000 on May 9. It lists research titles of the most cited studies from news outlets and Twitter, along with trending terms, topics and quotes.”

The American Independent: Pennsylvania becomes first state to collect data on LGBTQ coronavirus cases. “Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf will become the first governor to include the LGBTQ community in data the state collects on COVID-19, he announced this week. Wolf said in a press release that the Department of Health has asked for a system modification from the data collection platform it works with, Sara Alert, that would include information on gender identity and sexual orientation.”


New York Times: DeVos Funnels Coronavirus Relief Funds to Favored Private and Religious Schools. ” Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is using the $2 trillion coronavirus stabilization law to throw a lifeline to education sectors she has long championed, directing millions of federal dollars intended primarily for public schools and colleges to private and religious schools.”

New York Times: He Saw ‘No Proof’ Closures Would Curb Virus. Now He Has De Blasio’s Trust.. “The head of New York City’s public hospitals pushed to keep the city open in early March. Now the mayor has put him in charge of contact tracing, deepening a rift with the Health Department.”

Bloomberg: Michigan Cancels Legislative Session to Avoid Armed Protesters. “Michigan closed down its capitol in Lansing on Thursday and canceled its legislative session rather than face the possibility of an armed protest and death threats against Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer.”

BuzzFeed News: JetBlue’s Founder Helped Fund A Stanford Study That Said The Coronavirus Wasn’t That Deadly. “A highly influential coronavirus antibody study was funded in part by David Neeleman, the JetBlue Airways founder and a vocal proponent of the idea that the pandemic isn’t deadly enough to justify continued lockdowns. That’s according to a complaint from an anonymous whistleblower, filed with Stanford University last week and obtained by BuzzFeed News, about the study conducted by the famous scientist John Ioannidis and others. The complaint cites dozens of emails, including exchanges with the airline executive while the study was being conducted.”

CNBC: Private jet company founded by Trump donor gets $27 million bailout. “The company appears to have received the largest grant of any private jet company on the list. The vast majority of the other 96 recipients of government funding or loans on the list are major commercial airlines, regional carriers or support companies. Other large private jet operators such as NetJets are not on the list.”

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