Saturday CoronaBuzz, June 6, 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.


Diabetes .co .uk: COVID-19 resource website launched for people with diabetes. “The central reference site was created by the JDRF-Beyond Type 1 Alliance and has been endorsed by the American Diabetes Association, Harvard Medical School and the International Society for Pediatric Adolescent Diabetes. Available in English, Spanish, French and Turkish, the website also provides advice on what to do should a person with diabetes contracts COVID-19, people’s stories about how they coped when they became ill with the virus and a range of toolkits for people with diabetes to follow.”

EurekAlert: New tool employs air travel data to predict global spread of COVID-19. “The COVID-19 Air Traffic Visualization (CAT-V) tool is unique in that it combines infection case data from Johns Hopkins University with detailed air travel data from the International Air Transport Association. Together, these data sets make it possible to generate estimates over time of the numbers of infected passengers who travel from one place to another. The tool allows users to visualize the risk of virus importation or exportation associated with individual air-travel routes. Understanding the COVID-19 propagation patterns, regionally and globally, may help policymakers mitigate the resulting threats to public health.”

SciTechHealth: International Death Counts Show Peaks of the Coronavirus Pandemic. “How much does the coronavirus pandemic affect mortality in different countries? This question can best be answered with weekly death counts by gender and age. For 15 countries including Germany, England, Sweden, and the USA, these data are now publicly available in the Human Mortality Database, the joint project of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock and the University of California, Berkeley. The data for other countries will be published over the course of the year.”


Travel+Leisure: The Metropolitan Opera Is Offering a Ridiculously Cool Virtual Summer Camp — and It’s Free (Video). “On June 15, the Metropolitan Opera will launch its Met Opera Global Summer Camp, an educational initiative to ‘engage and support students worldwide.’ According to a statement provided by the Metropolitan Opera, the eight-week online summer camp will run from June 15 to August 7 and will include a featured opera each week from the Met’s own digital library of performances. And best of all, it will be completely free for children and teens to attend.”


WTHR: IRS launches new tool for low-income Americans who haven’t received stimulus checks. “The IRS said on Wednesday it launched a non-filers tool for Americans who aren’t required to file a tax return to register for a payment. The non-filers tool is designed for people with incomes typically below $24,400 for married couples, and $12,200 for singles. This includes couples and individuals who are homeless. This tool does not need to be used by anyone who has already filed either a 2018 or 2019 tax return.”

Phys .org: New website shows impact of European virus confinement. “Environmental and economic impacts of the coronavirus in Europe can now be seen using satellite data provided by the European Space Agency, it announced Friday. The ESA and the European Commission launched an internet-based programme that compares pollution levels during the health crisis with a baseline scenario, measures chlorophyll concentrations or illustrates economic parameters such as harvests.”


Washington State Department of Health: Updated COVID-19 risk assessment dashboard provides deeper insight into regional and county trends. “Gov. Jay Inslee and the state’s Joint Information Center have launched an updated version of the state’s COVID-19 risk assessment dashboard. The updated dashboard provides researchers and the public a better ability to see what’s happening at the regional and county level when it comes to COVID-19 activity, testing, and healthcare system readiness.”

WABI: Maine CDC releases COVID-19 info by ZIP code. “The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention has released a new tool that breaks down cases of COVID-19 by ZIP code. By scrolling over individual ZIP codes, one can find the number of confirmed cases in that area as well as the population.”

TexasMonthly: A New Texas COVID-19 Tracker Offers a Ton of Useful Information. “The COVID-19 Data Resource breaks down information into three categories: where Texas stands, as a whole, in relation to the White House’s reopening guidelines; overall statewide data; and individual data for each of Texas’s 254 counties. Then, within each category, the information gets more specific. You can see the economic impact of the pandemic, as it relates to jobless claims (and which industries are facing the largest percentage of them). You can look at both a daily tally of COVID cases and a rolling seven-day average, which provides a more representative picture of the spread of the disease. (Rolling averages smooth out unusual daily spikes that might occur if, say, a particular lab reports several days’ worth of information at once.) You can get a clear visual representation of the trends of the disease as it has changed over time—for daily cases, fatalities, and hospitalizations.”

Michigan Live: Find takeout near you with Michigan restaurant association’s new guide. ” The Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association has a new website…to help consumers find up-to-date information about eateries across the state. Users can search by location or their favorite fare to find restaurants offering curbside, delivery, pick-up and more.”

Rolla Daily News: Area families can now locate summer food programs through online map. “The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) is supporting families in need during the COVID-19 public health emergency through the Summer Food Service Program…. The DHSS has provided an online interactive map to help families in Missouri find out where their children can receive free meals this summer. In Phelps County Newburg R-II School District at 701 Wolf Pride Drive is participating in the Summer Food Service Program.”


Lovin Ireland: Mass Isolation Project – An online photo album gorgeously capturing Irish life under lockdown. “Using specially created hashtags, the project is a crowd-sourced online archive already boasting over 18,000 photos from people around the world with close to 6k photos shared in Ireland alone. Detailing the impact of Covid-19 on daily life, it provides people with a platform through which they can share both the beauty and the struggle of everyday experiences.”


STAT News: Lancet, New England Journal retract Covid-19 studies, including one that raised safety concerns about malaria drugs. “The Lancet, one of the world’s top medical journals, on Thursday retracted an influential study that raised alarms about the safety of the experimental Covid-19 treatments chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine amid scrutiny of the data underlying the paper. Just over an hour later, the New England Journal of Medicine retracted a separate study, focused on blood pressure medications in Covid-19, that relied on data from the same company.”

KTAR: Arizona reports daily record of 1,579 new cases; death count passes 1,000. “The Arizona health department reported 1,579 new coronavirus cases Friday morning, the most ever in a daily update, and the state’s death toll for the pandemic eclipsed 1,000. With 16 additional fatalities, Arizona documented totals stand at 24,332 cases and 1,012 deaths.”


Politico: Suddenly, Public Health Officials Say Social Justice Matters More Than Social Distance. “For months, public health experts have urged Americans to take every precaution to stop the spread of Covid-19—stay at home, steer clear of friends and extended family, and absolutely avoid large gatherings. Now some of those experts are broadcasting a new message: It’s time to get out of the house and join the mass protests against racism.”

Arizona State University: How Americans are coping without sports during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Last month, ESPN began airing the documentary series titled ‘The Last Dance’ that followed Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls during their 1997-1998 season. The 10-part series also follows Jordan’s rise to stardom beginning with his high school career to his current position as a cultural icon in sports and society. As current sporting events have been cancelled or delayed due to COVID-19, America is experiencing a culture without sports for the first time since major sports began. Many in the audience are enjoying the documentary as a way to make up for the absence of sports.”

Reuters: FEATURE-As lockdown fuels food shortages, Africa goes online for groceries. “In many African countries, measures put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19 have made it harder for people to access affordable, nutritious foods, sparking warnings from aid groups that the pandemic will worsen malnutrition rates. An estimated 73 million people in Africa are already acutely food insecure, noted Matshidiso Moeti, the World Health Organization’s Regional Director for Africa in a press release last month.”


ProPublica: How Germany Saved Its Workforce From Unemployment While Spending Less Per Person Than the U.S.. “The pandemic has cost jobs around the world. Comparing people who lost the same position in the two countries reveals that the U.S. government is spending more on unemployment — but its citizens are getting less.”


National Geographic: Why rural hospitals may not survive COVID-19. “TO REACH NORTH Sunflower Medical Center from any direction, travelers must first drive through miles of open fields filled with cotton, corn, and soy. Eventually, they’ll land in the center of Ruleville, Mississippi, whose population of 2,800 is smaller than the number of monthly visitors the clinic sees ordinarily. Some patients travel from as far as 45 miles away to receive care here. But the past couple months have not been ordinary. Since March, when the World Health Organization labeled COVID-19 a pandemic, almost 50 percent of North Sunflower Medical Center’s patients have stopped showing up.”

Huffpost: Federal Agents Release Coronavirus Masks Seized From Black Lives Matter Protesters. “Federal agents on Friday morning released boxes of cloth masks that Black Lives Matter organizers mailed to cities across the county to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 during nationwide demonstrations against police brutality. Four boxes of the masks were shipped to Washington, St. Louis, New York City and Minneapolis on Wednesday afternoon, and were supposed to arrive in each city by Thursday. But until Friday morning, the boxes of 500 masks apiece that read ‘stop killing Black people’ and ‘defund police’ never left Oakland, California, because they were seized by the government. Federal agents with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service were involved with the seizure.”

The Atlantic: COVID-19 Can Last for Several Months. “COVID-19 has existed for less than six months, and it is easy to forget how little we know about it. The standard view is that a minority of infected people, who are typically elderly or have preexisting health problems, end up in critical care, requiring oxygen or a ventilator. About 80 percent of infections, according to the World Health Organization, ‘are mild or asymptomatic,’ and patients recover after two weeks, on average. Yet support groups on Slack and Facebook host thousands of people like [Vonny] LeClerc, who say they have been wrestling with serious COVID-19 symptoms for at least a month, if not two or three. Some call themselves ‘long-termers’ or ‘long-haulers.'”

Washington Post: Free coronavirus testing sites pop up as protests continue. “As mass demonstrations continue across the country in the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, multiple states and cities are starting to offer free coronavirus testing. Public health officials are warily eyeing caseloads and hospitalizations to see if there is a spike in infections resulting from the protests, while the total U.S. deaths from the virus near 108,000. In San Francisco, city officials have set up free, pop-up mobile testing for those who are concerned about exposure. Illinois announced that the coronavirus test would be available for anyone without insurance, without a doctor’s note, and without a car, free of charge. And Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced on Thursday that the city would be offering free testing starting Friday.”

CNN: Confirmed coronavirus cases are rising faster than ever. “In April, new cases never topped 100,000 in one day, but since May 21, there have only been less than 100,000 on five days, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Newly reported cases reached a high of 130,400 on June 3. The increase in case rates may be partially explained by increases in testing capacity, but there’s still not enough testing to capture an accurate picture in many countries.”


BBC News: Medics call for action on social media Covid-19 ‘infodemic’. “A paramedic has described how a patient with symptoms of a heart attack refused treatment after reading on Facebook that she would die if she went to hospital during the Covid-19 crisis. The account was among hard-hitting testimony given by medics to MPs about the damage misinformation on social media is doing to frontline healthcare.”

TechCrunch: UK’s COVID-19 health data contracts with Google and Palantir finally emerge. “Contracts for a number of coronavirus data deals that the U.K. government inked in haste with U.S. tech giants, including Google and Palantir, plus a U.K.-based AI firm called Faculty, have been published today by openDemocracy and law firm Foxglove — which had threatened legal action for withholding the information. Concerns had been raised about what is an unprecedented transfer of health data on millions of U.K. citizens to private tech companies, including those with a commercial interest in acquiring data to train and build AI models. Freedom of Information requests for the contracts had been deferred up to now.”

ITPro Today: Distributed Computing Can Contribute to COVID-19 Cures. “The COVID-19 pandemic will end with either with an effective treatment or the development of a vaccine. The research necessary to bring that to fruition is expensive, of course, especially during a time when economic forecasts are discouraging and funding is being cut. The good news is that there are ways that citizens can join the fight to beat the pandemic that require neither money nor an at-home bedroom-turned-virus-laboratory. Distributing computing projects, in which individuals contribute computing processing power or data crunching, can contribute to analyzing and modeling data in the fight against the coronavirus.”


UMass Med Now: UMass Medical School and UMass Memorial create risk scoring tool to triage COVID-19 patients. “A COVID-19 risk prediction tool developed at UMass Medical School and deployed at the DCU Field Hospital helped UMass Memorial Health Care hospitals manage the COVID-19 surge in Worcester. The Decompensation Electronic COVID Observational Monitoring Platform Triage (DE-COMP-Triage) provided a score to determine which patients at the field hospital were at highest risk of rapid deterioration and, thus, should be transferred to a regular hospital with an intensive care unit.”

EurekAlert: New antibody technology for monitoring MS patients may have potential in COVID-19 testing. “A new study led by Queen Mary University of London has demonstrated the effectiveness of using a novel light technology to monitor the presence of anti-drug antibodies in the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS), which can lead to drug resistance and treatment failure. The researchers say that they have also applied the technology to COVID-19 for potential use in antibody testing to determine whether someone has previously been infected with the virus.”

USC News: COVID-19-fueled anxiety and depression peaked in early April, then declined. “As Americans nationwide hunkered down during stay-at-home orders and tens of millions of workers lost their jobs, 40% of U.S. residents reported feeling anxious and 29% felt depressed in early April. By late May, that percentage had dropped to 27% who felt anxious and 25% who felt depressed. The survey found that 1 in 3 people said they felt lonely, up from 1 in 5 who reported feeling lonely prior to COVID-19.” I hate to find yet another thing for which I am behind schedule.

The Daily Pennsylvanian: Penn Med professor leads research team on repurposing drugs for COVID-19 treatment. “Penn researchers are studying how drugs that are typically prescribed for other diseases may also be used to treat coronavirus patients. Perelman School of Medicine Assistant Professor of Medicine David Fajgenbaum, who is leading the drug repurposing efforts, said doctors across the world have treated coronavirus patients with over 150 drugs so far. Fajgenbaum said he began studying the effectiveness of these drugs on March 13, with researchers from Penn’s Center for Cytokine Storm Treatment & Laboratory, the Castleman Disease Collaborative Network, which is his independent foundation, and the Medical School.”


New York Times: Despite Virus, Hundreds Arrested in Unrest Are Held in Cramped Jails. “In the week since the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, hundreds of people arrested in New York City — some while looting, others while clashing with the police during largely peaceful demonstrations — have been detained in cramped cells for more than 24 hours, their health at risk in the midst of a pandemic, defense lawyers said.”

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