Saturday CoronaBuzz, May 23, 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.


I am not covering every single university and institution doing a coronavirus-related archive because frankly if I did it would take all my time. But I will make an exception for this one because a) it’s specific and not just a “national memory” archive and b) I’m a sucker for ephemera. University of Southern Maine: USM historian invites public to contribute to online archive of COVID-19 signs. “Some of the fleeting Maine images of COVID-19 — of light-up marquees, lawn signs and storefront warnings — are being collected in an online archive by the University of Southern Maine. The crowd-sourced archive, titled ‘Signs of the Times: Documenting Covid-19 Signs in Southern Maine,’ currently consists of about 200 photos. But creator Libby Bischof, a history professor and the executive director of the Osher Map Library and Smith Center for Cartographic Education at the University of Southern Maine, thinks many more signs are out there.”


RFD TV: Iowa State University releases new tool to track ag economy amid coronavirus pandemic. “Iowa State University has created a new webpage to track the impact of COVID-19 on the economy, agriculture and business across local, regional and global economies. The hub includes relevant publications and press releases as well as comprehensive graphs, tables, maps and other visual data to explain the impact. The impact on individual sectors like corn, soybeans, ethanol, pork and beef are explored as well. There are also tools that specifically look at Iowa’s estimated corn, soybean and ethanol losses.”


ProPublica: What Parents Should Know About Coronavirus as Kids Return to Babysitters, Day Cares and Camps. “Instead of coming home with a snotty nose, is your child going to bring back the coronavirus? And how do you know your in-home babysitter or nanny, even your child’s teacher, isn’t a symptom-free spreader? The short answer is that there are no easy answers. Every family’s budget and needs and risk tolerance are going to be different. ProPublica scoured the latest research and talked to seven infectious disease and public health experts to help think through the issues facing parents.”

ZDNet: How to binge watch some great classic sci-fi for free. ” Are you SO BORED YOU COULD SCREAM?!? Yeah, you’re not alone. And while I can’t provide you with any new science fiction on TV, or even reassure you that there will EVER be new science fiction on TV, I can take you down memory lane, into the ultra-secret vaults where some classic science fiction series have gone to hide out the pandemic.”

Vox: 6 feet away isn’t enough. Covid-19 risk involves other dimensions, too.. “…how can we assess the risk of going places outside the home? The story is a little more complicated than the simple ‘stay 6 feet away’ guidelines. Coronavirus risk is simply not one-dimensional. We need to think about risk in four dimensions: distance to other people, environment, activity, and time spent together. Let’s walk through them.”


Washington Post: Trump’s signature effort to direct farm surplus to needy families abruptly withdraws large contract amid criticism of rollout. “The Trump administration withdrew one of the largest contracts in its signature effort to use farm surplus to feed hungry Americans, capping a chaotic process that industry experts say relied too heavily on companies with little demonstrated experience in farming, food chains or food banks. Contracts totaling more than $107 million went to a San Antonio event planner, an avocado mail-order company, a health-and-wellness airport kiosk company and a trade finance corporation, according to the Agriculture Department’s announcement of contract awards.”


New York Times: Another Casualty of the Coronavirus: Summer Internships. “For millions of college students, internships can be a steppingstone to full-time work, a vital source of income and even a graduation requirement. But like so much else, summer internships have been upended by the pandemic, with a wide range of major companies, including tech firms like Yelp and entertainment behemoths like the Walt Disney Company, canceling programs and rescinding offers.”

New York Times: The Circus Came to Town, Then It Couldn’t Leave. “In reality, the Rony Rollers aren’t trapped so much as unwilling to go their separate ways. Like other dynasties in Italy’s vibrant, 60-circus strong big-top culture, the Vassallos own homes and property about an hour south in Latina, a town which is to circus people what Tampa is to professional wrestlers.”

TIME: How COVID-19 Will Shape the Class of 2020 For the Rest of Their Lives. “College graduation is often marked by an adjustment period, as students leave the comforts of campus to find their way in the raw wilderness of the job market. But this year’s graduates are staggering into a world that is in some ways unrecognizable. More than 90,000 Americans have died; tens of millions are out of work; entire industries have crumbled. The virus and the economic shock waves it unleashed have hammered Americans of all ages. But graduating in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic will have enduring implications on the Class of 2020: for their memories, their earning power, and their view of what it means to have a functional society. For these young adults, the pandemic represents not just a national crisis but also a defining moment.”

The Lily: ‘I had to choose being a mother’: With no child care or summer camps, women are being edged out of the workforce. “If day cares closed because of the novel coronavirus, Aimee Rae Hannaford expected her family to fare better than most. She worked full time as the chief executive of a tech company while her husband stayed home. He’d been taking some time off from his own tech career, managing a rental property while considering his options. He could look after their 3-year-old son, she thought — at least for a while. ‘That lasted a grand total of three days,’ Hannaford said.”


New York Times: Can Anyone Save New York’s Bars and Restaurants?. “I have worked in the restaurant industry for 41 years, as a server, a bartender and, for the past 22 years, an owner. We have weathered upheavals, 9/11, the downturn of 2008 and Hurricane Sandy. But the food and beverage service industry has been hit harder than almost any other in this pandemic, accounting for 60 percent of the jobs lost in March. Those are unprecedented numbers, and none of us has ever seen anything like the troubles looming on the horizon for our industry, particularly for smaller, independent owners like me.”

CNN: Some chain restaurants have turned to food delivery apps but they’re hidden behind different names. “When Kendall Neff tasted the pizza she ordered from a local shop in her town of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, she thought it tasted very familiar. She had never heard of Pasqually’s Pizza & Wings when it appeared as an option on Grubhub, but she figured she’d give it a shot. ‘I was just searching for something that wasn’t a chain,’ Neff told CNN, noting that she wanted to support local businesses during the coronavirus pandemic. But after a bit of investigating, her suspicions were confirmed. The pizza wasn’t from a mom-and-pop restaurant, but from Chuck E. Cheese. Yes, that Chuck E. Cheese, the one filled with arcade games, sweaty children and unexpectedly fresh-made pizza.”

Washington Post: Prince George’s jail officials acted with ‘reckless disregard’ to coronavirus outbreak, judge finds . “Finding that jail officials in Prince George’s County acted with ‘reckless disregard’ of a coronavirus outbreak among inmates last month, a federal judge on Thursday ordered the county’s jail to submit plans to ensure proper testing, improve health care and properly protect medically vulnerable inmates. ‘Sick calls ignored, temperature checks inaccurate, and nurses telling symptomatic detainees, “If you can walk, then you are OK,” ’ U.S. District Judge Paula Xinis wrote in a 33-page opinion, ticking off what she described as troubling procedures in the jail at the height of the outbreak.”

ProPublica: Nike Turned Away a Public Health Official From Its Warehouse Days After a Worker With COVID-19 Died. “The Health Department received a complaint that a Nike warehouse wasn’t being cleaned thoroughly or allowing for social distancing. Its inspector wasn’t allowed inside. Twenty-one workers have tested positive for COVID-19 at Nike’s Memphis locations.”

CNN: Inside the FDA’s reversals and walk-backs as it grapples with the coronavirus pandemic. “Whether due to political pressure — a charge [Dr. Stephen]Hahn denies — or the natural burden of dealing with a global pandemic, the FDA has had to issue a number of high-profile walk-backs and revisions to its efforts to tackle Covid-19. The agency’s initially strict regulations for diagnostic test developers were removed after complaints. Its emergency authorization for hydroxychloroquine was followed by a sharp warning about deadly side effects. It issued a pullback after letting faulty antibody tests flood the market. In April it changed its guidance to allow the use of Chinese-made KN95 masks in healthcare settings, only to reverse course in May and ban many of them. There were even issues with the FDA-authorized test the White House used to screen visitors.”

The City: Brooklyn Field Hospital Shuts After $21 Million Construction — And Zero Patients. “A nearly $21 million field hospital green-lit by the de Blasio administration when coronavirus threatened to overrun local hospitals has opened and shuttered without treating a single patient, officials confirmed to THE CITY. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced plans on March 31 to transform the temporarily idle Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in Red Hook into a 670-bed makeshift medical site. That same day, he launched a smaller transformation of the Billie Jean King Tennis Center in Flushing into a 350-bed overflow facility — at a time when more than 8,400 patients were being treated in local hospitals for presumed or confirmed COVID-19.”

The Moscow Times: 1 in 3 Russian Medics Told to Doctor Coronavirus Data – Poll. “One in three Russian doctors who treat coronavirus patients have been told to change how they report cases, according to a survey cited by the Meduza news website Thursday amid questions over Russia’s low Covid-19 death toll. The survey on the Russian app ‘Doctor’s Handbook’ involved 509 medics, Meduza reported.”

ProPublica: Trump’s Food Aid Program Gives Little Funding to the Northeast, Where Coronavirus Hit Hardest. “President Donald Trump’s signature food aid program is sending less relief to New York and New England than other parts of the country, even though the Northeast has the most coronavirus cases. Some states — Maine and Alaska at least — have been left out completely so far. The regional imbalances are an unintended side effect of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s strategy in hiring private contractors to distribute food, the agency said. It is now looking for ways to reach areas that were passed over.”

Federal News Network: Could the pandemic force the intelligence community to reconsider workplace flexibilities?. “With many civilian agencies now considering how they’ll reopen and modify office spaces, the pandemic has shown federal and industry leaders in the intelligence community that work arrangements for the classified workforce can — and likely will — need to change too.”

9News: Denver Public Health orders a closure of facility that handles all mail for Colorado and Wyoming. “The Denver Department of Public Health and Environment (DDPHE) has ordered the closure of a mail facility that handles all mail for Colorado and Wyoming. The public health order was issued to the United States Postal Service (USPS) Processing and Distributing Center at 7550 E. 53rd Place in Denver, following an investigation on Wednesday. The state of Colorado has confirmed five employees have tested positive for COVID-19 at the facility that employs 1,800.”


Washington Post: A fever is 100.4 in Ohio; it’s 99.5 in Delaware: States, companies write their own rules for temperature screening in a pandemic. “Covid-19 screening guidelines in Georgia, Ohio and Pennsylvania suggest that workers with temperatures of at least 100.4 degrees should be sent home because they could be infected with the novel coronavirus. But the cutoff is 100 degrees in Texas. And even lower in Delaware: 99.5 degrees. Some states don’t suggest temperature screenings at all. As states slowly start to reopen after weeks of coronavirus shutdowns, companies and workers face a patchwork of safety guidelines about what temperature should be a covid-19 warning sign.”

Washington Post: Study estimates 24 states still have uncontrolled coronavirus spread. “The coronavirus may still be spreading at epidemic rates in 24 states, particularly in the South and Midwest, according to new research that highlights the risk of a second wave of infections in places that reopen too quickly or without sufficient precautions. Researchers at Imperial College London created a model that incorporates cellphone data showing that people sharply reduced their movements after stay-at-home orders were broadly imposed in March. With restrictions now easing and mobility increasing with the approach of Memorial Day and the unofficial start of summer, the researchers developed an estimate of viral spread as of May 17.”

Impact 2020: Hairstylist with COVID-19 served 84 clients while symptomatic, Missouri officials say. “A Great Clips hairstylist exposed dozens of clients to coronavirus while showing symptoms, Missouri health officials say. The stylist at a salon franchise in Springfield served 84 clients and exposed seven coworkers, the Springfield-Greene County Health Department said Friday. The hairstylist also visited a Dairy Queen, Walmart and fitness center, officials said.”

The Atlantic: Social Distancing Is Not Enough. “COVID-19 has mounted a sustained attack on public life, especially indoor life. Many of the largest super-spreader events took place inside—at a church in South Korea, an auditorium in France, a conference in Massachusetts. The danger of the indoors is more than anecdotal. A Hong Kong paper awaiting peer review found that of 7,324 documented cases in China, only one outbreak occurred outside—during a conversation among several men in a small village. The risk of infection indoors is almost 19 times higher than in open-air environments, according to another study from researchers in Japan.”

AP: AP count: Over 4,500 virus patients sent to NY nursing homes. “More than 4,500 recovering coronavirus patients were sent to New York’s already vulnerable nursing homes under a controversial state directive that was ultimately scrapped amid criticisms it was accelerating the nation’s deadliest outbreaks, according to a count by The Associated Press. AP compiled its own tally to find out how many COVID-19 patients were discharged from hospitals to nursing homes under the March 25 directive after New York’s Health Department declined to release its internal survey conducted two weeks ago. It says it is still verifying data that was incomplete.”

Yahoo News: New Yahoo News/YouGov poll shows coronavirus conspiracy theories spreading on the right may hamper vaccine efforts. “As states relax their lockdown restrictions and responsibility for containing the coronavirus shifts, in part, to the American people, the vast gap between the right and the left over Gates reflects a growing problem: the dangerous, destabilizing tendency to ignore fundamental facts about the deadly pathogen in favor of misinformation peddled by partisans, including President Trump, and spread on social media. That tendency is more widespread on the right, although liberals also believe some false narratives (including that COVID-19 deaths have already surged in states that were quick to reopen).”

Palm Beach Post: Coronavirus investigation: DeSantis’ ‘whack-a-mole’ approach fails the frail in nursing homes. “COVID-19 fatalities linked to elder care centers comprise nearly half of the deaths in Florida and the percentage rises every day. Yet nursing homes and ALF residents and staff comprise only 2 percent of the state’s population. Between April and May, the death toll at nursing homes and ALFs increased nearly 600 percent. By Thursday, COVID-19 deaths of residents and staff had topped 1,000. Mary Mayhew, secretary for the Agency for Health Care Administration, said way back on March 16 that ‘timely testing for our elderly and medically frail is mission critical.’ But it took a month after the first Florida cases bubbled up
on March 1 before the administration even tried to get a grip on outbreaks by ordering elder-care homes to report their COVID cases to the state.”

Reuters: Exclusive: A quarter of Americans are hesitant about a coronavirus vaccine – Reuters/Ipsos poll. “A quarter of Americans have little or no interest in taking a coronavirus vaccine, a Reuters/Ipsos poll published on Thursday found, with some voicing concern that the record pace at which vaccine candidates are being developed could compromise safety.”


Washington Post: Antimalarial drug touted by President Trump is linked to increased risk of death in coronavirus patients, study says. “A study of 96,000 hospitalized coronavirus patients on six continents found that those who received an antimalarial drug promoted by President Trump as a ‘game changer’ in the fight against the virus had a significantly higher risk of death compared with those who did not. People treated with hydroxychloroquine, or the closely related drug chloroquine, were also more likely to develop a type of irregular heart rhythm, or arrhythmia, that can lead to sudden cardiac death, it concluded.”

Princeton University: AI tool gives doctors a new look at the lungs in treating COVID-19. “Spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, Princeton researchers have developed a diagnostic tool to analyze chest X-rays for patterns in diseased lungs. The new tool could give doctors valuable information about a patient’s condition, quickly and cheaply, at the point of care.”

The Legal Aid Society: Racial Disparities in NYPD’s COVID-19 Policing. “To better understand the disproportionate impacts of the NYPD’s COVID-19 related enforcement, the Legal Aid Society analyzed social distancing complaints made through 311 between March 28 and May 12, COVID-19 related summonses reported by the NYPD between March 16 and May 5, and internally-tracked COVID-19 related arrests that took place between March 27 and May 2.”


New York Times: Son Stabs Father 15 Times on Zoom Call, Killing Him, Prosecutors Say. “A 32-year-old Long Island man was arrested and charged with murder on Thursday after fatally stabbing his father more than a dozen times while he was on a Zoom video chat with about 20 people, the authorities said. The father, Dwight Powers, 72, had been participating in the Zoom call at his home on Dixon Avenue in Amityville, N.Y., when he was attacked by his son Thomas Scully-Powers, just after noon on Thursday, the Suffolk County Police Department said.”

Department of Justice: Hollywood Film Producer Charged with $1.7 Million COVID-Relief Fraud. “A California man has been charged with allegedly filing bank loan applications fraudulently seeking more than $1.7 million dollars in forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. William Sadleir, 66, of Beverly Hills, California, was charged in a federal criminal complaint filed in the Central District of California with wire fraud, bank fraud, false statements to a financial institution, and false statements to the SBA.”


The Register: To test its security mid-pandemic, GitLab tried phishing its own work-from-home staff. 1 in 5 fell for it. “Code hosting biz GitLab recently concluded a security exercise to test the susceptibility of its all-remote workforce to phishing – and a fifth of the participants submitted their credentials to the fake login page.”

NBC News: Four states warn unemployment benefits applicants about data leaks. “At least four states are warning residents who have applied online for unemployment benefits because of the coronavirus that their personal information may have been leaked.”


AP: Trump lashes out at scientists whose findings contradict him. “As President Donald Trump pushes to reopen the country despite warnings from doctors about the consequences of moving too quickly during the coronavirus crisis, he has been lashing out at scientists whose conclusions he doesn’t like. Twice this week, Trump has not only dismissed the findings of studies but suggested — without evidence — that their authors were motivated by politics and out to undermine his efforts to roll back coronavirus restrictions.”

ProPublica: The Feds Gave a Former White House Official $3 Million to Supply Masks to Navajo Hospitals. Some May Not Work.. “A former White House aide won a $3 million federal contract to supply respirator masks to Navajo Nation hospitals in New Mexico and Arizona 11 days after he created a company to sell personal protective equipment in response to the coronavirus pandemic…. The IHS told ProPublica it has found that 247,000 of the masks delivered by [Zach] Fuentes’ company — at a cost of roughly $800,000 — may be unsuitable for medical use. An additional 130,400, worth about $422,000, are not the type specified in the procurement data, the agency said.”

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