Sunday CoronaBuzz, May 17, 2020: 37 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.


World Health Organization: Launch of the WHO Academy and the WHO Info mobile applications. “Today, the WHO Academy, World Health Organization’s lifelong learning centre, launched a mobile app designed to enable health workers to expand their life-saving skills to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. The app provides health workers with mobile access to a wealth of COVID-19 knowledge resources, developed by WHO, that include up-to-the-minute guidance, tools, training, and virtual workshops that will help them care for COVID-19 patients and protect themselves.”

Columbia University: COVID-19 Trial Finder Provides Simplified Search Process For COVID-Related Clinical Trials. “Researchers at Columbia University have developed COVID-19 Trial Finder, a simplified method for patients, clinicians and healthy volunteers to search for appropriate COVID-related clinical trials in their general location. This system also allows potential candidates to pre-screen their eligibility for such trials through a set of short medical questions.”\

KUSI: San Diego teen creates a web app to help find food banks during COVID-19 pandemic. “A San Diego teen recently created a web app where individuals financially struggling from the coronavirus pandemic can find food banks near them. Sebastian Carbonero said he created this app because he personally knew people who are financially struggling and are in the need of food; especially during these harsh times.”

The Next Web: Microsoft open-sources its coronavirus threat data for security researchers. “For the last couple of months, cybercriminals have taken advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to launch a series of attacks on individuals and companies, with a COVID-19 angle. In order to fight these threats, Microsoft has open-sourced its threat knowledge to help the security community build protective solutions for users.”


Footwear News: Crocs Is Giving Away Free Shoes to Essential Workers — Here’s How to Get Them. “Through its ‘Free Pair for Healthcare’ initiative, Crocs has delivered tens of thousands of shoes at no cost to medical professionals on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. Now, the clog-maker is expanding its relief efforts to include many other essential workers.”


Pendle Today: The best online gardening websites and Youtube tutorials for beginners. “With garden centres reopening, people are set to flock to stores to purchase new, seeds, compost, and planters, to help keep their gardens looking pristine. Watching seeds grow, and successfully taming your little slice of nature is extremely fulfilling work and there really is no better way to pass the time, than with a spot of gardening. So if you’re a beginner to the wonderful world of gardening, here’s a list of the best online resources to get you started.”


FDA: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: FDA Informs Public About Possible Accuracy Concerns with Abbott ID NOW Point-of-Care Test. “Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is alerting the public to early data that suggest potential inaccurate results from using the Abbott ID NOW point-of-care test to diagnose COVID-19. Specifically, the test may return false negative results.”

Vox: America’s coronavirus testing numbers are really improving — finally. “After an April that some experts described as “wasted,” it looks like America is finally making some real progress on coronavirus testing in May. Over the past couple of weeks, the United States has seen significant improvements not just with the raw number of Covid-19 tests but also with other metrics experts use to gauge the scope of the US’s coronavirus outbreak and its testing capacity.”


Autosport: WEC News: Virtual Le Mans 24 in association with Motorsport Games announced. “Organised by the FIA World Endurance Championship, Le Mans organisers the Automobile Club de l’Ouest and Motorsport Games, the 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual will feature a 50-car entry consisting of LMP2 and GTE machinery, with four-driver teams made up of a mix of professional drivers and Esports racers.”

Los Angeles Times: Cleanup on aisle everywhere: A day in the life of supermarket workers during coronavirus. “For the last few months, grocery stores, deemed essential businesses, have served as public theaters for the traumatized American consumer. Thrust into the role of front-line soldiers amid a war against the coronavirus, employees have had to manage panic attacks, cursing, near-fights and counseling sessions at the checkout stand. They’ve been threatened by customers who are angry about having to wear masks. Some workers have received an hourly bump in appreciation pay. A growing number across the U.S. have become ill. Dozens have died.”

Bloomberg: Frantic Food Banks Use Driverless Cars and Jobless Workers to Survive. “The coronavirus pandemic is forcing food banks across the country to find new ways to feed people — from slaughtering animals to enlisting car dealerships and unemployed restaurant workers to serve homebound clients. With more than 36 million Americans thrown out of work since mid-March, agencies are experiencing a surge in demand not seen since the financial crisis more than a decade ago. In some ways, the pandemic is even more cruel, depriving them of legions of volunteers, and closing the restaurants they rely on for donations.”

New York Daily News: Queens EMS instructors who found themselves on coronavirus front lines as pandemic hit now fear second wave of deadly virus. “COVID-19 war-weary paramedics Kim Benson and Chris Feliciano lived through hell. Now the EMS instructors wonder if it was all just a ‘rough drill’ for the worst yet to come. ‘Not really scared, just apprehensive,’ Benson told the Daily News about a possible rebound. ‘Is it going to happen? I have a feeling it will. It’s kind of like a flu illness, so I wonder if around flu season in the fall it might happen.'”

The Scotsman: Why people are flocking online for Scottish ‘therapy sheep’. “Now, what was already one of Scotland’s most idiosyncratic tourist attractions has devised a bespoke solution to the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, allowing people to take part in online meditation sessions alongside three Herdwick sheep.”

Phys .org: Leopards spotted in Pakistan capital’s park as virus clears way. “Leopards, jackals and other creatures living in Islamabad’s tree-covered hills have been enjoying a rare respite from the throngs of hikers and joggers that normally pack the trails. Rangers in the Pakistani capital’s Margalla Hills National Park saw animal activity increase soon after the city was locked down in March to counter the coronavirus.”a

The Register: Beer gut-ted: As many as ’70 million pints’ spoiled during coronavirus pandemic must be destroyed in Britain. “Setting aside the serious consequences of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic – loss of life, economic hardship, rising authoritarianism, and blissfully clear roads – there is a lesser but still troubling development. On Friday, the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) let it be known that as many as 70 million pints of British beer will have to be destroyed due to the outbreak.”

CNN: These therapists are using TikTok to help you get through the pandemic. “In one 15-second clip on TikTok, clinical psychologist Dr. Julie Smith can be seen dancing while text encourages people not to compare their isolation to others. In another 60-second video, Smith breaks down five ways to tackle anxiety, including slow breathing techniques. Smith, who also uses Instagram and YouTube, joined TikTok last fall because she didn’t see mental health professionals on the short-form video app, which is popular with teens and known for lighthearted content, comedy and dance routines. She hoped to call attention to simple skills people can use to improve their mental health. That goal has arguably only taken on greater urgency in recent months due to the pandemic.”


Politico: Twitter CEO gives $10M to help prisons battle coronavirus. “Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey pledged $10 million Monday to help U.S. prisons battle the ongoing coronavirus pandemic as inmates living in confined quarters remain particularly vulnerable to the disease. The donation to REFORM Alliance, a criminal justice advocacy group led by CNN analyst Van Jones, will buy 10 million face masks and other personal protective equipment for people who are incarcerated, as well as correctional officers, health care workers and other prison employees.”

NPR: As COVID-19 Fears Grow, 10,000 Prisoners Are Freed From Overcrowded Philippine Jails. “As COVID-19 sweeps through many of the world’s prisons and jails, the Philippine Supreme Court has ordered the release of nearly 10,000 inmates in one of the world’s most congested prison systems. Chief Justice Diosdado M. Peralta said in the order… that granting bail and releasing indigent prisoners on ‘recognizance’ would help staunch the spread of the novel coronavirus that has infected both prisoners and staff.”

Reuters: As U.S. meat workers fall sick and supplies dwindle, exports to China soar. “U.S. President Donald Trump ordered meat processing plants to stay open to protect the nation’s food supply even as workers got sick and died. Yet the plants have increasingly been exporting to China while U.S. consumers face shortages, a Reuters analysis of government data showed.”

ABC News: What’s your state’s coronavirus reopening plan?. “As 45 states, plus Puerto Rico, begin easing restrictions to some extent, no state has yet to see a decline in terms of new reported cases for 14 days in a row, according to an ABC News analysis, and questions remain about whether there will be a resurgence of the virus. Here is a look at when stay-at-home orders will be lifted, what each state’s reopening plan looks like, and what phase each state is in in terms of reopening.”

CNET: Amazon to reopen French warehouses after union deal for COVID-19 safety. “Amazon reportedly will reopen six warehouses in France on Tuesday after reaching an agreement with labor unions about how to operate safely in a time during the COVID-19 pandemic caused by the coronavirus.”

CNN: Amazon insists sharing data on coronavirus cases in its warehouses isn’t useful. “Amazon is famed for its data-driven approach to management and decision-making. It measures worker “rates” to determine productivity; collected extensive local data as part of its search for a second headquarters; takes pains to predict what customers want next based on prior purchases; and frequently issues press releases dense with random stats about product sales. But when it comes to the total number of coronavirus cases in its warehouses, Amazon’s view is, as one executive recently put it, that information isn’t ‘particularly useful.'”

CNET: Rock band Devo selling energy dome face shields for coronavirus protection. “Is any band more prepped for a pandemic than Devo, the surreal, futuristic rockers famed for their yellow jumpsuits and red energy dome helmets? Now the group is selling coronavirus merchandise, including not just themed face masks, but Devo’s iconic red plastic energy dome, complete with clear plastic face shield.”

The Next Web: Uber introduces AI to make sure its drivers wear face masks. “Uber is making face masks mandatory — and will use AI to ensure drivers follow the rules. From Monday, every time drivers go online they’ll have to take a selfie, which a computer vision algorithm will scan to check if they’re wearing a mask.”

Digital Trends: Fitbit is looking to make ventilators for COVID-19 patients. “Wearable device maker Fitbit is looking to join the list of companies that are making ventilators to be used on people infected with COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.”


Engadget: How Instagram’s anti-vaxxers fuel coronavirus conspiracy theories. “Instagram’s efforts to curb health misinformation have done little to stem the flow of conspiracy theories and misinformation about vaccines. The app continues to be a hotbed of anti-vaccine conspiracy theories, which often spread without the promised fact-checks and are further fueled by Instagram’s search and recommendation algorithms.”

ProPublica: Superintendent Bragged About VA Review of Short-Staffed Soldiers Home. Two Months Later, 73 Veterans Are Dead.. “State-run veterans homes, which have suffered enormously in the pandemic, fall between the regulatory cracks. The VA disclaims responsibility for them, and its inspections have overlooked issues later identified by other investigators.”

BBC: Psychiatrists fear ‘tsunami’ of mental illness after lockdown. “Psychiatrists are warning of a “tsunami” of mental illness from problems stored up during lockdown. They are particularly concerned that children and older adults are not getting the support they need because of school closures, self-isolation and fear of hospitals. In a survey, psychiatrists reported rises in emergency cases and a drop in routine appointments. They emphasised that mental-health services were still open for business.”

EurekAlert: Using telehealth to transition diabetes inpatients to virtual care during COVID-19. “Data collected over a 15-week period showed that using virtual care to manage diabetes patients in the hospital does not have a negative impact on their glycemic outcomes. This study, aimed at reducing provider and patient exposure during the COVID-19 pandemic, has broader implications for implementing telehealth to diabetes care in remote locations and to limit the transmission of hospital-acquired infections.”


Science Magazine: Scientists have turned the structure of the coronavirus into music. “You’ve probably seen dozens of images of the novel coronavirus—now responsible for 1 million infections and tens of thousands of deaths. Now, scientists have come up with a way for you to hear it: by translating the structure of its famous spike protein into music.”

Vanity Fair: If 80% of Americans Wore Masks, COVID-19 Infections Would Plummet, New Study Says. “It sounds too good to be true. But a compelling new study and computer model provide fresh evidence for a simple solution to help us emerge from this nightmarish lockdown. The formula? Always social distance in public and, most importantly, wear a mask.”

BBC: Coronavirus: A third of hospital patients develop dangerous blood clots. “Up to 30% of patients who are seriously ill with coronavirus are developing dangerous blood clots, according to medical experts. They say the clots, also known as thrombosis, could be contributing to the number of people dying. Severe inflammation in the lungs – a natural response of the body to the virus – is behind their formation.”

EurekAlert: New device could reduce COVID-19 infection risk and demand for invasive ventilators. “Led by Lawson Health Research Institute, London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC), University Health Network (UHN) and General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada (GDLS-Canada), researchers have designed a non-invasive ventilation mask that could significantly reduce aerosolization – the production of airborne respiratory droplets that may contain viruses or bacteria – when treating patients with COVID-19. The new device aims to reduce infection risks associated with non-invasive ventilation and lessen the demand for invasive ventilators. It is currently being tested through a clinical trial with patients at LHSC.”

BuzzFeed News: Three Teens Have Been Charged With Kicking An Asian Woman In The Face At A Metro Stop. “Officials in Minnesota have arrested three teens after a viral Instagram video showed them allegedly taunting an Asian woman who was alone at a metro stop before kicking her in the face, then running away, laughing. The assault occurred just after midnight on Monday, May 4, at the Green Line light-rail station in St. Paul, Metro Transit spokesperson Howie Padilla told BuzzFeed News Friday night.”


Politico: ‘They are angry’: Pandemic and economic collapse slam Trump across Rust Belt. “The Industrial Midwest was always going to be a battleground in November. The region is now becoming a new front line for Americans’ lives and livelihoods as coronavirus hot spots proliferate and jobless rates spiral. The confluence of a ferocious pandemic, deepening economic turmoil and rising political tensions is more pronounced here than anywhere else in the country. And it sets the stage for a combustible campaign season that is testing President Donald Trump’s efforts to move on and insulate himself from the crisis—and Joe Biden’s ability to blame him for the fallout.”

Washington Post: Top White House advisers, unlike their boss, increasingly worry stimulus spending is costing too much. “Senior Trump administration officials are growing increasingly wary of the massive federal spending to combat the economic downturn and are considering ways to limit the impact of future stimulus efforts on the national debt, according to six administration officials and four external advisers familiar with the matter.”

AP News: Trump eyes older voters in Florida for any sign of faltering. “President Donald Trump’s path to reelection runs through places like Sun City Center, a former cow pasture south of Tampa, Florida, that’s now home to a booming retirement community. But some residents in this conservative swath of America’s premier battleground are growing restless. Irvin Hilts is among them. The 72-year-old retiree voted for Trump in 2016 but has grown frustrated with the tumult surrounding his administration. His support for Trump collapsed entirely amid the coronavirus pandemic, which Hilts blames the president for mishandling.”

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