Sunday CoronaBuzz, May 31, 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.


UCLA: UCLA creates multilingual website for coronavirus information. “It’s abundantly clear that the COVID-19 pandemic has not hit all people equally, and part of that disparity is informational. Many communities have an increased vulnerability because of a lack access to official news, public health information and safety recommendations in a language other than English. To help remedy that, faculty from the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and the Asian American Studies Center quickly came together recently to launch This new website presents health and safety recommendations and other information in more than 40 languages, including Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Armenian, Japanese and Vietnamese.”

Daily Hive: GrocerCheck allows you to monitor grocery store lineups. “A new website, GrocerCheck, allows users to determine how busy a grocery store is by viewing a map with color-coded bubbles that represent how many people are inside each store. It analyzes location data from Google servers to show real-time data and weekly crowd averages for each grocery store.” Currently only available for specific cities, including Vancouver, Seattle, the Greater Toronto Area, Silicon Valley, and Las Vegas. More cities are planned for the future development.

Galway Bay FM: Researchers at NUI Galway co-create new online Coivd-19 tracing tool. “Researchers from NUIG have co- created a new tool that calculates a person’s risk of contracting and spreading Covid-19. The group of behavioural science experts from NUIG, Trinity College Dublin, UL and Queen’s University Belfast have collaborated with an international team of experts to develop ‘Your Covid-19 Risk’ – a website that aims to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on communities while providing researchers with valuable information.”


Lifehacker: Learn How to Make Pretzels from Auntie Anne Herself on Facebook Live. “Whether you got your Auntie Anne’s pretzel fix at the mall or the airport (do they exist anywhere else?), you may be missing those salty, buttery treats now that we’re not spending much time in either place. If this is the case, mark your calendar for Sunday, May 31 at 4 p.m. EST, when THE Auntie Anne herself (the chain’s founder Anne Beiler) will be doing a Facebook Live pretzel-making tutorial.”

The Guardian: Guardian to stream Unicorn theatre’s new Saturday morning family shows. “Three tales about the mischievous folkloric webspinner, designed for audiences aged three to eight, will be streamed on Saturday mornings on the Guardian website and the Unicorn’s YouTube channel in May and June. The episodes, which will then be available on demand for three weeks, reunite the original cast of the production, Afia Abusham, Juliet Okotie and Sapphire Joy, who filmed themselves performing in their homes.”

Crunchyroll: Anime Expo Goes Online with Anime Expo Lite Livestream. “Head’s up, anime fans! Anime Expo Lite, a ‘Virtual Japanese Pop Culture Event’, will be livestreamed on July 03 – 04, 2020, and the newly announced virtual convention will feature industry panels as well as an appearance by illustrator Yoshitaka Amano (Vampire Hunter D, the Final Fantasy video game series).”

Beyond the Joke: News: Amnesty Goes Online For Shows With Eddie Izzard, Nish Kumar, Guilty Feminist & Goodness Gracious Me Reunion. “Amnesty International is to put classic comedy moments online alongside new live Q&As with a week of Secret Policeman’s Ball Unlocked, which will include a special reunion with the Goodness Gracious Me team.” Starts tomorrow, June 1.

WTOP: Livestream concert calendar for May 30-June 13. “What’s a live music lover to do? Live concert streams! There is something for everyone, from national acts playing in their homes for charity to local faves with a guitar and iPhone trying to keep the money flow coming in through PayPal and Venmo.”

State of Delaware: Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs launches At Home Concert Series. “As part of a growing effort to bring Delaware’s historic places, stories and artifacts to life online, the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs (HCA) has introduced a new digital feature highlighting local music and historic sites across the First State: The At Home Concert Series, now live on HCA’s YouTube channel. The first concert in the series, a solo, half-hour performance by singer/guitarist Mike Miller, was recorded live in the historic courtroom of The Old State House in Dover. The series will continue with additional concerts featuring artists from around the region performing in historic venues across the state.”

IBC: BBC Launches Corona Bot To Tackle Covid-19 Questions. “The Corona Bot will try to answer questions on these issues typed in by a user. It uses experimental AI technology to draw on the BBC News archives to respond with an answer to the specific question where possible. It will also redirect users to other services, such as the NHS, where necessary, while providing access to articles and broadcast content from BBC News.”


The Star: Fighting ‘the essence of scapegoating’: Facing racist violence during COVID-19, Chinese Canadians launch new website. “Chinese Canadians have launched a website they hope can help track and flatten the curve of anti-Asian racism during the coronavirus pandemic. The public can go to the website, Fight COVID Racism, to file incident reports, trace documented cases through an interactive timeline and map, and find support to tackle the wave of hate crimes that has been targeting the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

CNET: As jails and prisons face coronavirus, a new app tries to bridge the mail gap. “More than half of all Americans have had a family member in jail or prison, according to a 2018 survey. Yet the cost of making phone calls with prisoners has skyrocketed, leaving families to bear the burden of hefty fees to get critical information past prison walls. Even sending mail to a prisoner can become expensive to families in need. Amid the urgent COVID-19 crisis in jails and prisons, a nonprofit tech company is stepping up to help bridge the communications gap between those behind bars and their loved ones outside.”


Bangor Daily News: New campaign helps Maine residents plan local outdoor adventures this summer. “The new website… offers listings of local guides, public lands and camping options, as well as discounts on guided trips, rentals and outdoor gear, featuring local businesses that have committed to COVID-19 prevention checklists. The website also provides updated tips and resources for safely exploring the Maine outdoors.”

Public News Service: Consumers Can Go Online to Find Missouri Meats. “There’s a new tool to help both Missouri consumers and farmers affected by recent meat shortages. The Missouri Farm Bureau has launched a new database of farmers who sell their meat products directly to consumers.”

KVVU: Nevada Health Response adds COVID-19 testing locator map to site. “Nevada Health Response, the healthcare team assembled by the governor’s office, has added a new COVID-19 testing locator map to its website, according to a release sent Friday.”


ABC 7: Job Hunting With Jobina: Glassdoor creates new tool to find open jobs during COVID-19. “Are you feeling like you’ve been searching for the right job, but no luck? It’s possible you may not be looking in the right place. ‘Things have changed so quickly,’ Sarah Stoddard, Glassdoor career expert said. ‘It might be difficult to understand who has open jobs.’ Glassdoor has launched a new tool called the ‘hiring surge explorer.’ It identifies employers that are actively and aggressively hiring.”


BBC: Coronavirus: Brazil now fourth-highest nation in Covid-19 deaths. “The number of coronavirus fatalities in Brazil has risen by almost 1,000 in a day, making the country’s overall death toll the world’s fourth highest. Its figure of 28,834 has now surpassed France, and only the US, the UK and Italy have recorded more deaths. President Jair Bolsonaro has consistently played down the outbreak, although the country has the world’s second-highest number of cases.”


The Next Web: How coronavirus is reshaping the mobility industry, from EVs to supply chains. “The following anticipation of the likely winners and losers of the Covid-19 crisis is based on the drivers behind the various segments that constitute the future of mobility. Overall, I do not foresee any aspects of the pre-crisis future being completely absent from the post-crisis future. I rather anticipate an acceleration for some segments and deceleration for others. Likewise, programs with a long term benefit will trigger more collaboration to share costs and risks.”


Lonely Planet: Japanese zoo employs stuffed animals to help with social distancing. “After the end of the Japanese lockdown, the Izu Shaboten Zoo in Itō had to make sure all safety measures were respected – from giving out masks and installing hand sanitizer dispensers to ensuring social distancing was respected everywhere, including the zoo’s restaurants. In its ‘GIBBONTEI Forest Animal’ restaurant, the Zoo made sure that guests would sit the appropriate distance from one another by deploying an army of stuffed animals to occupy seats that weren’t meant to be used.”

Reuters: Exclusive: India may need to pump $20 billion into coronavirus-hit state banks – sources. “India may need to inject up to 1.5 trillion rupees ($19.81 billion) into its state-owned lenders as their pile of soured assets is expected to double during the coronavirus pandemic, three government and banking sources told Reuters.”

Reuters: Exclusive: KKR raises $4 billion to invest in coronavirus-stricken credit – sources. “KKR & Co Inc (KKR.N) has raised close to $4 billion from investors to snap up corporate debt at significant discounts, as the coronavirus outbreak weighs on big swathes of the corporate world, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.”

The Next Web: This German town replicated itself in VR to keep its tourism alive. “Tourists may soon be able to explore the picturesque cross-timbered houses and historic churches of Herrenberg via virtual reality (VR), thanks to a digital twin developed with the High-Performance Computing Center Stuttgart (HLRS).”


South Florida SunSentinel: These cleaners mopped up crime scenes. Now they’re killing the coronavirus.. “Wiping counters with disinfectant is one thing, but showing up with a team of people covered head to toe in protective gear to blast away the coronavirus? Many things stand out about how specialists do extensive cleaning at restaurants, hotels and hospitals across South Florida. Some even resemble Ghostbusters as they lug cleaning backpacks to spray every surface. Here are some key details that may surprise you about the lucrative, largely unregulated coronavirus disinfection industry.”

Houston Chronicle: Report: Head of $295M contract awarded by Texas leaders falsified degree. “The CEO of a technology company that has been entrusted with state contact tracing efforts for Texans exposed to the coronavirus has claimed a doctorate he never got, according to a Houston-based podcast. Das Nobel, CEO of MTX Group Inc., says in an online profile on LinkedIn that he has a ‘Doctorate of Management, Organizational Development and Leadership’ from Colorado Technical University, and that he attended the school from 2008-2012.”


WRAL Tech Wire: Google rolls out ‘Scam Spotter,’ a new tool to combat online fraud. “Google is teaming with the Cybercrime Support Network in an effort to crack down on internet and phone fraud – which has surged during COVID-19 – with a new initiative called ‘Scam Spotter.’ Unveiled today, the program provides advice to help people identify and protect themselves from scams.”


Phys .org: Scientists develop method to help epidemiologists map spread of COVID-19. “Rochester Institute of Technology scientists have developed a method they believe will help epidemiologists more efficiently predict the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Their new study, published in Physica D: Nonlinear Phenomena, outlines a solution to the SIR epidemic model, which is commonly used to predict how many people are susceptible to, infected by, and recovered from viral epidemics.”

Phys .org: Researchers develop experimental rapid COVID-19 test using nanoparticle technique. “Scientists from the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) developed an experimental diagnostic test for COVID-19 that can visually detect the presence of the virus in 10 minutes. It uses a simple assay containing plasmonic gold nanoparticles to detect a color change when the virus is present. The test does not require the use of any advanced laboratory techniques, such as those commonly used to amplify DNA, for analysis. The authors published their work last week in the American Chemical Society’s nanotechnology journal ACS Nano.”

Seattle PI: As mental illness rates rise, 68% of Americans say social media, news cause anxiety during pandemic. “As social media has increasingly become a source of information about the COVID-19 pandemic, a new study from Digital Third Coast is giving insight into how much news Americans are consuming during the virus and how it’s affecting mental health. By analyzing a survey of over 2,000 Americans, the study illuminated how news consumption has dramatically increased during the pandemic. Sixty-six percent of respondents said they are consuming more news than usual, and 40% said their social media use has increased since the start of the pandemic.”

Axios: Coronavirus accelerates AI in health care. “While machine learning algorithms were already becoming a part of health care, COVID-19 is likely to accelerate their adoption. But lack of data and testing time could hinder their effectiveness — for this pandemic, at least.”

WEHT: Ford invents tool to neutralize COVID-19 in police vehicles. “Ford has developed a new tool to help neutralize COVID-19 inside police vehicles. The heated software enhancement temporarily raises the interior temperature of the car to at least 133 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes.”


BBC: Coronavirus: Belgian Prince Joachim tests positive after lockdown party. “Prince Joachim, 28, travelled from Belgium to Spain for an internship on 26 May, the palace said. Two days later, he went to a party in the southern city of Córdoba, before testing positive for Covid-19. Spanish reports suggest the prince, a nephew of Belgium’s King Philippe, was among 27 people at the party. Under Córdoba’s lockdown rules, a party of this size would be a breach of regulations, as gatherings of no more than 15 people are currently permitted.”

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