coronabuzz

Wednesday CoronaBuzz, May 27, 2020: 38 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.

NEW RESOURCES – MEDICAL/HEALTH

Motherboard: This Map Shows the Staggering Number of Reported OSHA Complaints. “A new interactive web tool that maps all COVID-19-related health and safety complaints filed in the United States allows users to get a staggering sense of the worksites where workers feel that employers have jeopardized their health and safety. The tool uses data from complaints filed with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the federal agency tasked with ensuring safe and healthy working conditions for workers. Each complaint is geotagged onto the location of the worksite, and includes the name of the employer, descriptions of the offenses, and a breakdown of these complaints by industry.” You might have to disable extensions to get this to work. Didn’t work in my regular browser, but it was in Incognito mode.

NEW RESOURCES – EDUCATION/ENTERTAINMENT

Beyond the Joke: News: Free Edinburgh Fringe Festival Goes Online. “The Free Edinburgh Fringe Festival is launching its 2020 summer series of Fringe shows powered by Cisco and streamed live on Twitch. It starts on Saturday 30th May, with its first-ever online show – a Pick of the Fringe gig featuring six top comedians.”

Westword: Marshmallo, Chainsmokers, Steve Aoki and More Online Concerts. “For those who are craving live music as much as we are during the COVID-19 pandemic, bands around the world are rising to the occasion, offering streaming concerts, archival shows and more.”

Time Out Abu Dhabi: NYU Abu Dhabi’s art gallery is hosting a series of virtual events. “NYU Abu Dhabi’s (NYUAD) Art Gallery is marking the opening of its first ever digital archive by hosting a series of online events that you can join from home. The institute has revealed a schedule to virtually unite art and culture lovers in the city with artists and curators from past exhibitions through the Gallery’s first-ever digital archive.”

NEW RESOURCES – STATE-SPECIFIC

Green Bay Press Gazette: As giant retailers dominate online shopping, Wisconsin small businesses turn to new searchable database to draw customers. “Hundreds of small-business owners in Wisconsin, walloped by a pandemic that sent shoppers online more than ever, can now attract customers through a new state website. Main Street Marketplace went live Tuesday morning with a searchable, sortable database of more than 230 small businesses in 34 Main Street Communities, according to Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., the state’s business support and recruitment agency.”

NEW RESOURCES – OTHER

Wallpaper: 3D renders bring this New York digital design fair to life. “New York City’s annual design festival, NYCxDesign may officially be postponed until October, but for the online design magazine Sight Unseen, which has championed emerging design since it was established in 2009, the underlying uncertainty of present times propelled founders Jill Singer and Monica Khemsurov to press on with organising their annual showcase Sight Unseen Offsite, at its regularly scheduled time. Launching this week, Sight Unseen Offsite’s very first digital design fair, which the duo have christened Offsite Online, showcases a varied selection of 60 designers and brands bringing new furniture and objects to the web-based exhibition.”

Curve: Dear Queerantine: A Virtual Archive For Queer Stories. “Dear Queerantine is a digital writing project for women & non-binary/trans people who are queer, questioning, or curious, however we self-identify (or don’t). Our goal is to crowdsource stories from around the world through writing prompts on our website. Anyone who writes a letter receives one from someone else in the community. Everyone can read excerpts on our Instagram and newsletter. Here’s the thing. Desire is complicated. We can’t be what we can’t see, and it’s hard to express what we don’t know we can feel. By writing, you make it easier for other people not just to share their story, but to let themselves feel in the first place. We hope that you’ll be moved and inspired by others in turn, as we’ve been.”

USEFUL STUFF

MakeUseOf: 5 Free Homeschooling Websites to Teach and Educate Children at Home. “With the internet, education comes to your home as you can teach kids through online classes. Where do you start? Try these best free websites and apps for homeschooling children. If homeschooling is a permanent plan for you, you’ll likely want to spend on premium apps and websites that offer robust packages. But if you are temporarily homeschooling or trying it out for the first time, the internet makes it easy to do it for free.”

UPDATES

Richmond Times-Dispatch: UPDATE: Virginia COVID-19 cases increase by 1,615. “The Virginia Department of Health reported Tuesday that the state has 39,342 COVID-19 cases, an increase of 1,615 from the 37,727 reported Monday. The jump in cases comes a day after an increase of 1,483 cases. A note on the VDH website on Monday said its disease reporting system was down for maintenance Sunday and data reported during that time were added to Monday’s numbers.”

AZ Central: Navajo Nation president says the ‘curve is flattening’ with COVID-19 cases. “As of Monday, the Navajo Nation had 4,794 cases of COVID-19 and the number of deaths associated with the disease reached 157. Nearly 1,500 people have recovered from the virus, according to updated numbers from the Navajo Department of Health.”

Washington Post: The meat industry is trying to get back to normal. But workers are still getting sick — and shortages may get worse.. “Tyson Foods, the largest meat processor in the United States, has transformed its facilities across the country since legions of its workers started getting sick from the novel coronavirus. It has set up on-site medical clinics, screened employees for fevers at the beginning of their shifts, required the use of face coverings, installed plastic dividers between stations and taken a host of other steps to slow the spread. Despite those efforts, the number of Tyson employees with the coronavirus has exploded from less than 1,600 a month ago to more than 7,000 today, according to a Washington Post analysis of news reports and public records.”

Reuters: Exclusive: Coronavirus spreads in Brazil’s oilfields, as six offshore operators register cases. “Norway’s Equinor ASA (EQNR.OL), Brazil’s Dommo Energia SA (DMMO3.SA) and Anglo-French firm Perenco are among at least six oil producers that have registered coronavirus cases among employees or contractors at facilities off the coast of Brazil, according to industry and regulatory sources.”

SOCIETAL IMPACT

McGill University: COVID-19 Pandemic Uniting Canadians Like No Other Event In Decades. “A new study by researchers from McGill University and the University of Toronto finds a cross-partisan consensus on battling COVID-19 in Canada. Unlike in the U.S., this consensus is fostering broad agreement on the threats posed by the pandemic and the actions necessary to contain it – all of which is crucial to efforts to fight the virus.”

University of Bristol: New report shows survival of the fittest and most agile will make or break retailers as lockdown eases. “Customers panic buying in droves, running out of stock on many basic essentials, and imposing product purchase restrictions may now be less of a headache for retailers, but plenty of other hurdles lie ahead as life slowly returns to some semblance of normality and non-essential shops prepare to reopen in mid-June.”

The Conservation: Coronavirus: an architect on how the pandemic could change our homes forever. “As an architect and researcher in housing and sustainability, my research examines adaptations ranging from extensions and loft conversions, through to the installation of renewable technologies and retrofits. Many homeowners view their homes in desirable areas as a financial asset they plan later to cash in. For this reason, renewable and energy efficiency measures are often not included in adaptations, due to uncertainties about how these will be valued when they come to sell. But with fewer people now commuting and more people working from home, where people choose to live and how they want their houses to function may change after this prolonged period of lockdown.”

Washington Post: World’s fastest blind athlete and his running partner try to stay in sync as they remain apart. “The relationship between David Brown and Jerome Avery is as unique as they come in the sports world. Avery has been by Brown’s side for all of his most successful moments. They have been literally tethered together as they have sprinted down the track, legs pumping and arms swinging in perfect rhythm. Brown, 27, is the fastest blind sprinter on the planet and the first to run 100 meters in under 11 seconds. Avery, 41, serves as his eyes on the track. As Brown’s running guide, Avery sprints right next to him in training and competitions, escorting him from the starting blocks to the finish line…. Over the past four years, the two have been preparing for the Tokyo Paralympics, but their training has been upended by the novel coronavirus pandemic. Social distancing guidelines recommend they remain at least six feet apart, which is difficult when the string that connects them on the track is less than a foot long.”

Mashable: Social distancing on a reality TV show looks weird, but ‘MasterChef Australia’ is making it work. “On Monday night, MasterChef Australia finally reached the point where social distancing rules came into effect during filming earlier this year. It made for a very different-looking kitchen than viewers were used to. The show’s 12th season has become a record of how reality television could navigate the coronavirus pandemic.”

NPR Planet Money: How The Crisis Is Making Racial Inequality Worse. “COVID-19 is killing African Americans at a rate three times higher than white people. You can see the disparity on the map with places like the Bronx, the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans and the South Side of Chicago grappling with thousands of deaths from the disease. The health crisis, however, is also an economic crisis, and the virus is clobbering these communities on this front, too.”

INSTITUTION / CORPORATE / GOVERNMENT

BBC: Coronavirus: Egypt doctors accuse government over medics’ deaths. “Doctors have accused Egypt’s health ministry of negligence in its handling of Covid-19 and said it bears ‘full responsibility’ for medics’ deaths. A union said on Monday that 19 doctors had so far died from the disease and more than 350 others had been infected. It blamed a lack of personal protective equipment and beds for sickened staff, and warned the system could ‘collapse’.”

USA Today: DOJ warns Nevada its plan to reopen discriminates against religious groups. “The Justice Department on Tuesday warned Nevada that its plan allowing certain businesses to gradually reopen amid coronavirus threats discriminates against religious organizations and places of worship. Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband, who heads the department’s Civil Rights Division, told Gov. Steve Sisolak that his plan to let businesses, such as restaurants and hair and nail salons, to reopen, while banning religious gatherings of 10 or more people may violate constitutional rights for free expression.”

CNET: Apple to reopen more than 100 stores this week. “Apple plans to reopen more than 100 of its 271 US stores across 21 states, though many will only offer storefront or curbside service. The move is in line with plans described in an open letter penned by Apple’s head of retail earlier this month, outlining the iPhone maker’s phased reopening strategy as coronavirus lockdown ease around the world.”

Motherboard: Local News Stations Run Propaganda Segment Scripted and Produced by Amazon. “Local news stations across the U.S. aired a segment produced and scripted by Amazon which touts the company’s role in delivering essential groceries and cleaning products during the COVID-19 pandemic, and its ability to do so while ‘keeping its employees safe and healthy.'”

Google Blog: Working from home and the office. “Beginning July 6, assuming external conditions allow, we’ll start to open more buildings in more cities. This will give Googlers who need to come back to the office—or, capacity permitting, who want to come back—the opportunity to return on a limited, rotating basis (think: one day every couple of weeks, so roughly 10 percent building occupancy). We’ll have rigorous health and safety measures in place to ensure social distancing and sanitization guidelines are followed, so the office will look and feel different than when you left. Our goal is to be fair in the way we allocate time in the office, while limiting the number of people who come in, consistent with safety protocols.”

Vox: The NBA might be returning this summer — in Disney World. “The NBA — among the first professional sports leagues in the US to suspend play due to the coronavirus pandemic — is looking to relaunch its season in late July at Walt Disney World’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, according to a statement from Mike Bass, the league’s chief communications officer.”

EDUCATION

BBC: Schools will be part-time ‘only for as long as required’. “Children will be at school part-time ‘as long as required but not a moment longer’ according to the Education Secretary John Swinney. Pupils across Scotland are expected to return to school from 11 August. Initially they will only be in the class part-time so they will also be working from home in a ‘blended learning’ model. Mr Swinney said he took the view that the date of 11 August was set in stone as long as it was safe.”

HEALTH

Associated Press: White House goal on testing nursing homes unmet. “Nearly two weeks ago the White House urged governors to ensure that every nursing home resident and staff member be tested for the coronavirus within 14 days. It’s not going to happen. A review by The Associated Press found that at least half of the states are not going to meet White House’s deadline and some aren’t even bothering to try.”

Mashable: The real impact of not having been touched in months. “What makes the coronavirus pandemic unlike any other collective tragedy is that we can’t commiserate together. Post-layoff drinks at a dive bar near the office; embracing someone you haven’t seen in months; pats on the back — these are seemingly small comforts that have morphed into luxuries in the past few months. While there are many things I miss about the Before, these touches of comfort are high on the list. As we round the corner into another month of social distancing I find myself thinking about touch constantly. One look at dating apps or porn sites and I know I’m not alone in that.”

The BMJ Opinion: Martin McKee: Trust is essential in a pandemic, but the British prime minister is squandering it. “Of all the words that journalists used to describe Boris Johnson when he became British prime minister, ‘divisive’ was among the most frequent. He inherited a country that was split down the middle, and within months, launched a general election campaign that played on these divisions. Yet in late May 2020 he did something few thought he was capable of—uniting people of all political persuasions and none. It was little surprise that he was being criticised by the leader of the opposition. It was more surprising that there was a bench of Church of England bishops condemning him, with one asking ‘do we accept being lied to, patronised and treated by a PM as mugs?’, against a backdrop of concerns from some of his own MPs and a number of scientists advising the government. However, what really made people take notice was when the Daily Mail, normally one of his strongest supporters in the media, carried a front page bearing a picture of the prime minister and his closest adviser, Dominic Cummings, asking ‘What planet are they on?'”

Washington Post: Crowded housing and essential jobs: Why so many Latinos are getting coronavirus. “Inside crowded courtyard buildings, where blue-collar Latino families share apartments meant for one, the sick are multiplying. Isabela Rivera was the first in her home to test positive for the novel coronavirus. Unable to fully isolate in the three-bedroom apartment she and her husband, Danilo, share with two other Northern Virginia families, the Riveras sent their 7-year-old son to live with a family friend. Danilo sleeps on the couch, unsure whether he is infected. The other families have taken cover in their rooms, hoping a closed door will protect them from the deadly and highly contagious virus. But their apartment complex in Herndon has become a coronavirus magnet. Soon, others were coughing and wheezing.”

TECHNOLOGY

USC News: How Do You Motivate Workers Who Are Managed By An Algorithm?. “Many businesses turned to remote workers to continue their operations after states issued stay-at-home orders to reduce COVID-19 infections. It’s a trend that is likely to continue long after the coronavirus is controlled. To help companies ease the transition online, USC researchers studied the challenges to increasing the use of crowdwork — a manifestation of the gig economy in which companies offer ad-hoc, mundane tasks to prospects via a website. The move minimizes disruptions that organizations would experience as a result of COVID-19 or other crises.”

Wired: Covid-19 Makes the Case for More Meatpacking Robots. “… on the other side of the ocean, inside Europe’s largest pig slaughterhouse, the only visible sign that there’s a global pandemic going on is in the break room, where every other chair has been spirited away to leave conspicuous gaps between any would-be socializers. Otherwise, it’s business as usual. That’s because, at this meat plant, robots do most of the work.”

RESEARCH

Arizona State University: ASU develops state’s first saliva-based COVID-19 test. “Diagnostic tests detect an active COVID-19 infection by measuring the amount of virus present in the body. Because it can take as long as eight to nine days for an individual to develop symptoms after infection, a diagnostic test is the only test that can accurately detect an early infection. But individuals with early infections can still spread the virus. The saliva diagnostic test starts with a collection kit that is as simple as spitting into a screw-top tube through a straw, making collections possible at drive-thru sites, doctors’ offices, the workplace, and even at home. This will not only make the supply chain of test kits easier to maintain, but could also help bring the cost of testing down.”

Livemint: ICMR to fight pandemics in future with covid database. “The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said it is documenting all research work related to covid-19, as the number of infections in the country neared 150,000. India’s apex biomedical research body is maintaining a database on covid-19, a zoonotic disease, transmitted from animals to humans, so that the adopted strategy—ranging from testing to treatment—can help the country in tackling such pandemics in future.”

CRIME

Department of Justice: New Jersey Man Arrested For $45 Million Scheme To Defraud And Price Gouge New York City During COVID-19 Pandemic. “Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Margaret Garnett, the Commissioner of the New York City Department of Investigation (‘DOI’), announced the arrest of RONALD ROMANO for attempting to deceive and price gouge New York City (the ‘City’) into paying him and his co-conspirators approximately $45 million for personal protective equipment that ROMANO did not possess and was not authorized to sell. ROMANO committed this scheme in an attempt to exploit NYC as it was trying to manage the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and obtain these resources to help protect the lives of hospital and other frontline workers.”

SECURITY / LEGAL

The Conversation: How the coronavirus increases terrorism threats in the developing world. “As the coronavirus reaches developing countries in Africa and Asia, the pandemic will have effects beyond public health and economic activity. As the disease wreaks its havoc in areas poorly equipped to handle its spread, terrorism likely will increase there as well. We are political scientists who study the developing world and political conflict. Our recently published research identifies a potential link between the pandemic and an uptick in violence. We find that food insecurity – the lack of both financial and physical access to nutritious food, which leads to malnutrition and undernourishment in a population – makes citizens angry at their governments.”

News & Observer: Inmates file coronavirus lawsuit seeking more releases from Butner federal prison in NC. “Attorneys for 11 inmates filed the suit in the U.S. Eastern District Court of North Carolina and have asked a judge to name an expert to identify all vulnerable inmates who then can be released within 24 hours. The inmates are being represented by the Charlotte law firm Winston & Strawn, the ACLU and the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs.”

POLITICS

CNN: Trump’s threat to pull GOP convention came as surprise to Republicans working on event. “Top Republicans had been working closely with North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper and other state Democratic officials as recently as Friday to plan the upcoming GOP national convention amid the coronavirus pandemic. Then President Donald Trump threatened to pull the convention from Charlotte. Trump’s tweet not only came as a surprise to Republican officials on Monday, but it also was completely at odds with the position that top convention officials expressed during the Friday meeting, CNN has learned.”

Detroit News: Purported Northern Michigan boat launch request fuels controversy for Whitmer. “The owner of a Northern Michigan dock company says Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s husband wanted his boat placed in the water before the Memorial Day weekend as Whitmer urged residents not to rush to the region.”

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