Saturday CoronaBuzz, May 30, 2020: 31 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.


Food Integrity Campaign: Does The Need For Truth Ever Stop? Check Out The New Instagram Story Series From Food Integrity Campaign.. “We are excited to announce our new Instagram story series. Throughout these unprecedented times, we will be sharing updates from FIC whistleblowers and how the pandemic has impacted their lives and food integrity advocacy. The work of a whistleblower never stops, even in a pandemic. As you know, Covid-19 has exposed serious flaws in our food system across several sectors. Whistleblowers have never been more needed and necessary. The FIC team is working closely with whistleblower farmers, federal inspectors, plant workers and many others to keep track of what is happening in our supply chains. We will be keeping you informed as we work to rebuild a more resilient, just and sustainable food system!”


Creative Loafing Tampa: Here’s how to stay connected to more than 30 Tampa Bay theater companies during coronavirus. “Whether livestreaming to Facebook and YouTube or live and prerecorded performances streamed live on Zoom, theaters are thinking outside of the box to continue their mission statements to entertain. Creative Loafing Tampa Bay caught up with over 30 local theaters, who despite living with uncertainty, remain hopeful and positive. We wanted to find out how they’ve been staying connected and what their plans are for summer and beyond.”


USDA: USDA Now Accepting Applications for Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. “You can now apply for USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, which provides direct payments to farmers and ranchers to offset impacts from the coronavirus pandemic. Applications will be accepted through August 28, 2020. We now have the application form and a payment calculator available on And we have a call center (877-508-8364) set up to help you with your questions.”


CNBC: How to stop friends and relatives from spreading misinformation about Covid-19. “False claims have become so widespread during the pandemic that the World Health Organization has been referring to an ‘infodemic.’ So what should you do if you spot people sharing falsehoods on social media? And is there a way to convince them otherwise? CNBC spoke to a range of experts to get their advice on how to call out misinformation, ideally without alienating friends or family members in the process. They all agreed that the exercise is absolutely worth trying — and numerous studies support that — but to recognize that you might not always be successful.”

CBC: ‘Zoom fatigue’ is setting in: What it is and how to prevent it. “Although the term may not be found in psychology textbooks, some psychologists say the condition has become all too common in the COVID-19 era, with so many people working from home and holding meetings through video conferencing applications such as Skype, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet or Cisco Webex. The fatigue can stem from any such software.”

New York Times: How to Recover From Covid-19 at Home. “My husband and I got sick from the coronavirus in late March. We had so-called mild cases, meaning only that we weren’t hospitalized: In fact, we were sicker than we had ever been. Because we could breathe fine, we knew we weren’t supposed to go to the hospital. But what were we supposed to do? The standard advice — rest, fluids and fever reducers — was and is essential, but at times it felt inadequate to the severity of the illness. As we recovered, I spoke with many friends, colleagues and internet strangers going through similar ordeals. Here is some collective wisdom on how to manage noncritical cases of Covid-19.”

NPR: How To Make A Mini-Zine About Life During The Pandemic. “Check the hashtag #quaranzine on social media and you’ll see thousands of mini books — called zines — that people are making to document their lives in the pandemic. Read the comic to find out how you can make one yourself — including how to fold your zine and what to write about. All you’ll need is a sheet of paper, a pen, 30 minutes and a little creativity.”

BBC: Coronavirus: Bill Gates ‘microchip’ conspiracy theory and other vaccine claims fact-checked. “Speculation about a future coronavirus vaccine is ramping up and social-media posts from anti-vaccination campaigners are gaining more traction online. We’ve been debunking a few recent claims.”

New York Times: Hire a D.J. and Turn the Music Up. “In real life, the people who have the most fun are the people who just let themselves go. So, in your apartment, do the same thing. Set up a private event on Zoom or another platform with your friends, and then livestream a D.J.’s set, so you’re all sharing the same music. Then, just groove. Here are some tips to find the vibe, no matter what age you are.”


AZ Central: Arizona saw highest single-day ER visits; Yuma sees spike in cases related to COVID-19 over weekend. “The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients at Yuma Regional Medical Center has tripled over the past two weeks, at least 14 have died, and Arizona emergency room visits related to the new coronavirus pandemic reached a new one-day high over Memorial Day weekend. A spike in cases at the Yuma hospital contributed to record-high levels of hospitalizations and ER visits related to the coronavirus statewide over the weekend.”

New York Times: Its Coronavirus Caseload Soaring, India Is Reopening Anyway. “Its coronavirus cases are skyrocketing, putting it among the world’s most worrisome pandemic zones in recent weeks. Nonetheless, India is reopening, lifting its lockdown at what experts fear may be the worst time. Migrant workers are becoming infected at an alarmingly high rate, leading to fresh outbreaks in villages across northern India. Public hospitals in Mumbai are so overwhelmed that patients have taken to sleeping on cardboard in the hallways.”


NPR: Memorializing Those Who Died In The Time Of COVID-19. “Virtual vigils, streamed live on Facebook. Websites that collate the names and photos of the dead. Video projections of those we have lost, shining onto building facades. In the absence of collective public gatherings, people are coming up with new ways to memorialize those who have died from COVID-19. Perhaps the simplest, most essential gesture is to say their names.”

EdTech Magazine: How to Plan a Virtual Graduation Celebration Like No Other. “As colleges and universities across the U.S. virtually send off the class of 2020, the University of Missouri (Mizzou) went the extra mile by helping families plan virtual celebrations for their newly minted graduates. With the ongoing pandemic hindering traditional graduation festivities, the university’s staff was forced to be creative as they brainstormed different ways to honor the big day for students and families. From designing animated graduation-themed social media stickers to publishing popular dining hall recipes, the university was thinking outside of the box when it came to 2020’s virtual celebrations.”

Arizona State University: New study reveals how COVID-19 is shifting our public, private behaviors. “Whether or not you wear a face mask in public probably has a lot to do with your political affiliation. And if you’re wearing a mask to show consideration to others, your motivation is likely related to your race. Those were just a few of the findings in a recent study partially sponsored by Arizona State University that looked at how Americans are behaving during the COVID-19 pandemic. Edward D. Vargas, an assistant professor with ASU’s School of Transborder Studies, was a principal investigator on a seven-member interdisciplinary team that pooled its research funds together to start the National Panel Study of COVID-19.”

Edinburgh News: Glasgow woman, 94, rescued after not eating for five days during lockdown because she was ‘too scared’ to leave flat. “The Glasgow woman, who lived on the top floor of a tenement block, was discovered on March 23rd by a mobile food support project of the Salvation Army, a Christian Church and charity, and by Govan housing association. Tracy Bearcroft, a major in the Govan Salvation Army, told the Guardian she had ‘no one to get anything for her’ and was ‘too frightened to go out,’ adding: ‘At first it was very scary for a lot of old folk, who didn’t want to go out because they thought they would catch (Covid-19) immediately and have to go to hospital.'”

USDA Blog: Another Look at Availability and Prices of Food Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic. “Last month I discussed the impact of COVID-19 on availability and prices of food based on data and information we had available at the time. Since then, USDA released its first assessment of U.S. and world crop supply and demand prospects and U.S. prices for 2020/21, and more data on market prices, production, and trade flows during the crisis became available. Of particular note, temporary closures of some meat packing plants have affected meat supply and prices seen by consumers and farmers. Hence, I want to take another look at food availability and prices in light of the new data and information we have and share with you some insights on market conditions.”


New York Times: Google Rescinds Offers to Thousands of Contract Workers. “Google, facing an advertising slump caused by the pandemic, has rescinded offers to several thousand people who had agreed to work at the company as temporary and contract workers.”

Slate: Roberts Upholds COVID-19 Restrictions on Churches, Scolds Kavanaugh. “Friday at midnight, the Supreme Court rejected a church’s challenge to California’s COVID-19 restrictions by a 5–4 vote, with Chief Justice John Roberts joining the liberals. In a pointed opinion, Roberts indicated that he will not join conservative judges’ escalating efforts to override public health measures in the name of religious freedom. Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s dissent, by contrast, falsely accused the state of religious discrimination in an extremely misleading opinion that omits the most important facts of the case. Roberts went out of his way to scold Kavanaugh’s dishonest vilification of the state.”

International Business Times: After Silencing Coronavirus Whistleblowers, China Now Detains Citizens Documenting Outbreak. “Doriane Lau, from Hong Kong, is a researcher for Amnesty International, a human rights advocacy organization that was formed in 1961. She told the Financial Times about the Chinese Communist government, ‘The [Chinese] government has been trying to control the circulation of information and build a narrative that hides the wrongdoing of the government. Curbing freedom of expression and press . . . only fuels frustration and blocks people’s access to information that can be crucial for fighting COVID-19.'”


The Guardian: Covid-19 spreading too fast to lift lockdown in England – Sage advisers. “Government advisers have voiced unease over the decision to lift England’s lockdown while thousands of people a day are still becoming infected with the coronavirus, warning that loosening restrictions could easily lead to a second wave. ‘We cannot relax our guard by very much at all,’ said John Edmunds, a professor of infectious disease modelling at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine who attends meetings of Sage, the scientific advisory group on emergencies.”


BetaNews: You need to take action if you want to avoid being cut off from Zoom. “Zoom 5.0 came out of Zoom’s 90-day focus on security updates, and one of the key improvements was the addition of GCM encryption. But to take advantage of this security feature, and others, people need to be using the latest version of the software. As such, it is important that you update your Zoom client, or you risk being cut out of meetings completely.”

Fast Company: This new Twitter bot has Asian front-line workers responding directly to COVID-19 racism. “The First Responder Twitter Bot responds to COVID-19-inspired racist tweets with videos that aim both to educate the perpetrators and uplift Asian front-line workers. It also responds to those tweeting in support of Asians, with tips on how to be first responders to racism when you witness it in person.”

Sydney Morning Herald: ‘Slap them down’ or hear them out: How to handle misinformation ‘superspreaders’?. “Almost as disturbing as the heat maps showing official death rates from COVID-19 every night on the news are those starting to circulate showing vast networks of influence of the global anti-vaccination movement, some of them run from Australia. At a time when trust in science and gratitude for modern medicine should be high, it’s been terrifying to watch traction gained recently by vaccination conspiracy theorists, some with (opportunistic) Australian celebrity support.”

ZDNet: Social distancing: Google’s new tool lets you see a two metre gap with AR. “Sodar draws a two-metre radius around you by placing markers in AR onto your real-world environment. Through your phone screen, you can visualize exactly where your two-metre bubble starts and ends, so that you can immediately see if someone dares come in a little too close.” This is experimental, and getting to use it seems a little Byzantine.


USA Today: 103-year-old Massachusetts woman beats coronavirus, celebrates with Bud Light. “Shelley Gunn describes her Polish grandmother, Jennie Stejna, as having a feisty spirit. Stejna certainly displayed that spirit as the 103-year-old woman recently survived a bout with the coronavirus.”

Salt Lake Tribune: Utah Farm Bureau helps deliver 500 live sheep, 16,000 pounds of lamb to the Navajo Nation. “Looking at the twin problems of food insecurity caused by the economic crises and a drop in market demand for food products, a coalition of groups including the Utah Farm Bureau formed Farmers Feeding Utah, a new effort designed to address both issues at once. In less than three weeks, the initiative raised enough money, mostly from grassroots donors, to pursue its first project: purchasing 16,000 pounds of lamb and 500 live sheep from Utah ranchers and donating them to families on the Navajo Nation.”


New York Times: Trump Said, ‘I Have the Best Words.’ Now They’re Hers.. “Donald Trump has some ideas about fighting the coronavirus. ‘We hit the body with a tremendous, whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful light,’ the president says, to the bafflement of nearby aides. ‘Supposing, I said, you brought the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or … in some other way,’ continues the president, gesturing toward her — Her? I should explain. The words are 100 percent Donald J. Trump’s. The actions belong to the comedian Sarah Cooper, whose homemade lip-syncs of the president’s rambling pandemic-related statements have become the most effective impression of Mr. Trump yet.”


BuzzFeed News: The Trump Administration Wants To Cut Back A Billion-Dollar Healthcare Program. Hospitals Say Now Is A Really Bad Time.. “Park Ridge and other hospitals have been battling with the administration in court for three years over a plan to slash by nearly 30% the reimbursement rate that hospitals get for certain drugs prescribed to Medicare patients. The hospitals won the first round. The US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit heard arguments in November and has yet to rule, and for now the cut is still in effect. In the meantime, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is exploring another way to make the cut if they lose the case, over the objection of hospitals. The litigation predates the coronavirus pandemic, but the stakes are higher as hospitals nationwide lose tens of billions of dollars weekly while nonessential services and elective surgeries are on hold because of the ongoing crisis.”

Washington Post: Trump’s mockery of wearing masks divides Republicans. “A growing chorus of Republicans are pushing back against President Trump’s suggestion that wearing cloth masks to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus is a sign of personal weakness or political correctness. They include governors seeking to prevent a rebound in coronavirus cases and federal lawmakers who face tough reelection fights this fall, as national polling shows lopsided support for wearing masks in public.”

Voice of America: New York Governor Pushes Trump for Infrastructure Spending. “New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo pushed President Donald Trump on Wednesday to embrace a massive infrastructure spending plan to get Americans back to work in the face of the coronavirus commerce shutdowns.”

BBC: Coronavirus: Backlash after Trump signals US exit from WHO. “President Donald Trump has been criticised at home and abroad after announcing he is ending US ties with the World Health Organization (WHO). The EU urged him to reconsider the decision, while Germany’s health minister called it a ‘disappointing setback for international health’. The head of the US Senate’s health committee, a Republican like Mr Trump, said now was not the time to leave.”

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