Tuesday CoronaBuzz, June 9, 2020: 35 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.

This one needs to go right on top. Washington Post: Are asymptomatic people spreading the coronavirus? A WHO official’s words spark confusion, debate. “A comment by a WHO official on Monday — calling such asymptomatic transmissions ‘very rare’ — touched off a furious scientific debate over the unresolved question and attracted widespread criticism of the organization. Less than 24 hours later, WHO convened a special news conference to walk back its comments, stressing that much remains unknown. But the comment from Monday had already spread widely and been seized upon by conservatives and others to bolster arguments that people do not need to wear masks or maintain social distancing precautions.”


Nippon: Japan Govt Opens COVID-19 Support Finder Website. “The Japanese government Tuesday opened a website where users pick the type of problem they are facing over the novel coronavirus to look for support measures that match their needs. It can be accessed from the Cabinet Secretariat’s webpage on COVID-19 information. About 120 assistance measures provided by the government are listed on it.”


Expats CZ: Interactive map: A new tool released by the Czech government clarifies COVID-19 travel rules. “Earlier this month the Czech Ministry of Health issued a ‘traffic-light map’ classifying individual European countries by infection risk and the rules for re-entry into the Czech Republic from these countries.”


USA Today: Coronavirus outbreaks climb at U.S. meatpacking plants despite protections, Trump order. “Coronavirus outbreaks at U.S. meatpacking plants continue to soar as the beleaguered industry ramps up production, scales back plant closures and tries to return to normal in the weeks after President Donald Trump declared it an essential operation.”

Clarion Ledger: Mississippi coronavirus: Health department reports 498 new cases, the highest number for a single day. “The state Department of Health reported 20 new deaths and 498 new cases Monday, bringing the state total to 17,768 cases and 837 deaths. The nearly 500 new cases represent the highest number the health department has reported in a single day during the pandemic.”

Washington Post: 14 states and Puerto Rico hit highest seven-day average of new coronavirus infections. “Since the start of June, 14 states and Puerto Rico have recorded their highest-ever seven-day average of new coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, according to data tracked by The Washington Post: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Kentucky, New Mexico, North Carolina, Mississippi, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.”

New York Times: Furious Backlash in Brazil After Ministry Withholds Coronavirus Data. “Brazil’s health ministry took down the website where it had been reporting coronavirus statistics on Friday. And then, when it came back online on Saturday, the site omitted the historical data — leaving out how many people had already been infected or killed because of the virus. Lawmakers and health experts quickly attacked Mr. Bolsonaro in unusually blistering terms.”

McClatchy: Maskless protester tests positive for coronavirus after large rally, KS officials say. “A man who attended a large protest in Kansas without wearing a mask tested positive for coronavirus a few days later, health officials said. The man attended the protest in downtown Lawrence on May 31, Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health said in a news release. He was tested for coronavirus on June 4 and health officials received the positive result on June 5, according to the release.”

McClatchy: D.C. National Guard members test positive for COVID-19 after responding to protests. “Members of the D.C. National Guard who were responding to protests in the nation’s capital over the death of George Floyd have tested positive for COVID-19, a spokeswoman said on Tuesday. The service members were part of the 1,300 D.C. National Guard members called up to help law enforcement respond initially to rioting on May 31, that was followed by days of peaceful protests. A Guard spokeswoman did not identify how many positive tests the unit has recorded.”


The Atlantic: Rats Have Not Changed. We Have.. “The coronavirus pandemic has upended human life in cities, which means it has also upended the habitat of city rats. In their millennia-long coexistence with humans, rats have acclimated to our changing ways of life and they are acclimating again to pandemic-stricken cities. ‘This is sort of a natural experiment,’ says Maureen Murray, a wildlife-disease ecologist at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. Cities are now slowly reopening, and rats will adapt again—as they always have.”

AP: World leaders won’t gather at UN for first time in 75 years. “The president of the U.N. General Assembly said Monday that world leaders will not be coming to New York for their annual gathering in late September for the first time in the 75-year history of the United Nations because of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

New York Times: When 511 Epidemiologists Expect to Fly, Hug and Do 18 Other Everyday Activities Again. “Many epidemiologists are already comfortable going to the doctor, socializing with small groups outside or bringing in mail, despite the coronavirus. But unless there’s an effective vaccine or treatment first, it will be more than a year before many say they will be willing to go to concerts, sporting events or religious services. And some may never greet people with hugs or handshakes again.”


AZ Central: State health director tells Arizona hospitals to ‘fully activate’ emergency plan. “As COVID-19 numbers in Arizona climbed last week, the state health director sent a letter to hospitals urging them to ‘fully activate’ emergency plans. Hospitals are also being asked to prepare for crisis care, and to suspend elective surgeries if they are experiencing a shortage of staff or bed capacity, Dr. Cara Christ, Arizona Department of Health Services director, says in the June 6 letter.”

Connecting Vets: ‘We’re not there yet’ with COVID-19 tests for staff, VA leaders tell Congress. “On May 28, Department of Veterans Affairs officials told House lawmakers VA had ‘adequate testing’ and employees could get tested, too. Less than a week later, VA leaders would say the opposite.”

Salt Lake Tribune: Former public health lab director says she was demoted after voicing concern about TestUtah. “The director of Utah’s public health lab says state officials stripped her of her position Monday because of her unwillingness to send coronavirus test samples to TestUtah’s hospital lab — which has been deemed “not in compliance” with federal certification guidelines.”

WRAL: Experts, judge voice concern as NC’s prisons resume moving inmates amid COVID-19 spread. “…documents obtained by a collaborative network of reporters across the state show that some symptomatic inmates have been transferred between facilities since the outbreaks began — moves prison officials say are consistent with medical guidance. Late on Monday — the same day inmates began flowing back into Piedmont CI and other prisons — a state judge issued an order requiring inmates to be tested for COVID-19 before being transferred.”


Washington Post: CDC wants states to count ‘probable’ coronavirus cases and deaths, but most aren’t doing it. “Fewer than half the states are following federal recommendations to report probable novel coronavirus cases and deaths, marking what experts say is an unusual break with public health practices that leads to inconsistent data collection and undercounts of the disease’s impact. A Washington Post review found that the states not disclosing probable cases and deaths include some of the largest: California, Florida, North Carolina and New York. That is one reason government officials and public health experts say the virus’s true toll is above the U.S. tally as of Sunday of about 1.9 million coronavirus cases and 109,000 deaths — benchmarks that shape policymaking and public opinion on the pandemic.”

Fierce Pharma: As COVID-19 social media fatigue sets in, pharma begins to restart other health conversations. “COVID-19 fatigue is setting in with many people, and for pharma companies, that means an opportunity to return to social media messages on other health topics. Evoke Kyne and its new social media chief Kate Callan have been tracking social media conversations throughout the crisis, and the latest numbers show a 65% drop in global conversations around COVID-19, from 204 million weekly mentions in mid-March to just 71 million in late May. The mood around those conversations is also shifting away from disgust, which is still the top feeling at 34%, toward feelings such as anticipation, now at trending at 15% of the conversation mood.”

New York Times: Exclusive: U.S. Navy Test Shows 60 Percent of Carrier Crew Have Coronavirus Antibodies. “A U.S. Navy investigation into the spread of the coronavirus aboard the Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier has found that about 60 percent of sailors tested had antibodies for the virus, two U.S. officials told Reuters on Monday, suggesting a far higher infection rate than previously known.”

Healthline: A “Double Bubble” Strategy Can Help During COVID-19: Here’s How to Do It Properly. “Are ‘bubbles’ the next phase as the United States begins to reopen businesses and public facilities in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic? Alameda County, which includes Oakland and Berkeley in the San Francisco Bay Area, issued new guidelines on Friday that allow for ‘social bubbles.’ These are groups of 12 or fewer people from different households who can gather together outdoors.”

CNN: The US government’s supply of Covid-19 drug remdesivir runs out at the end of the month. “The US government’s current supply of remdesivir, the only drug known to work against Covid-19, will run out at the end of the month, Dr. Robert Kadlec, a US Department of Health and Human Services official, told CNN. The government’s last shipment of the drug will go out the week of June 29. Gilead Sciences, the company that makes the drug, is ramping up to make more, but it’s unclear how much will be available this summer.”

The Atlantic: America Is Giving Up on the Pandemic. “The risk of transmission is complicated by, and intertwined with, the urgent moral stakes: Systemic racism suffuses the United States. The mortality gap between black and white people persists. People born in zip codes mere miles from one another might have life-expectancy gaps of 10 or even 20 years. Two racial inequities meet in this week’s protests: one, a pandemic in which black people are dying at nearly twice their proportion of the population, according to racial data compiled by the COVID Tracking Project at The Atlantic; and two, antiblack police brutality, with its long American history and intensifying militarization.”

WTTW: Report: 1 in 6 Chicago COVID-19 Cases Can Be Tied to Cook County Jail. “New research has found that nearly one in six cases of COVID-19 in Chicago and Illinois can be connected to people moving through the Cook County Jail, which at one point was dubbed the ‘largest-known source’ of coronavirus cases in the U.S. According to a new study published Thursday in the journal Health Affairs, cycling through Cook County Jail is associated with 15.7% of all documented cases of the virus in Illinois and 15.9% in Chicago through mid-April.”


CNBC: Here’s how coronavirus may change how Big Tech works. “Tech companies have traditionally been at the forefront of revolutionizing office space. Open floor plans have become the norm in many industries after tech companies touted the advantages they offer for collaboration and innovation. And perks like in-office gyms, child-care centers and communal cafeterias have also gained traction as companies compete to attract top talent. But, the coronavirus may make this type of work environment a thing of the past, at least for the near future.”

Google Blog: Get around safely with these new Google Maps features. “Getting from A to B can be more complicated these days. Because of COVID-19, it’s increasingly important to know how crowded a train station might be at a particular time or whether the bus is running on a limited schedule. Having this information before and during your trip is critical for both essential workers who need to safely navigate to work and will become more important for everyone as countries around the world begin to reopen. In our latest release of Google Maps on Android and iOS, we’re introducing features to help you easily find important information if you need to venture out, whether it’s by car or public transportation.”


CNBC: Asymptomatic spread of coronavirus is ‘very rare,’ WHO says. “Preliminary evidence from the earliest outbreaks indicated that the virus could spread from person-to-person contact, even if the carrier didn’t have symptoms. But WHO officials now say that while asymptomatic spread can occur, it is not the main way it’s being transmitted.” This is being argued about all over Twitter.

KGIN: UNL researchers using thermometer data to track how social distancing impacts COVID-19. “A team of experts from the University of Nebraska are using data from thermometers to get a better idea of how COVID-19 has impacted Nebraska.”

Newswise: More evidence of no survival benefit in COVID-19 patients receiving hydroxychloroquine. “A study of electronic medical records from US Veterans Health Administration medical centers has found that hydroxychloroquine–with or without azithromycin–did not reduce the risk of ventilation or death and was associated with longer length of hospital stay. This analysis, published June 5 in the journal Med, is the first in the US to report data on hydroxychloroquine outcomes for COVID-19 from a nationwide integrated health system.”

PsyPost: Psychopathic traits linked to non-compliance with social distancing guidelines amid the coronavirus pandemic. “New research provides some initial evidence that certain antagonistic personality traits are associated with ignoring preventative measures meant to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. The study has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication in the journal Social Psychology and Personality Science. It is currently available on the PsyArXiv preprint website.”


CNN: 9-year-old Kenyan wins presidential award for building wooden handwashing machine. “A 9-year-old Kenyan boy who made a wooden hand washing machine to limit the spread of Covid-19 received a presidential award on Monday. Stephen Wamukota, from Bungoma County in western Kenya, was the youngest of 68 people to receive the award from President Uhuru Kenyatta Wamukota built a semi-automatic machine to help curb Covid-19 in Kenya, which has reported more than 2,000 confirmed cases.”


WRAL: NC strip clubs lose legal bid to re-open in pandemic. “A federal judge declined Monday to let North Carolina strip clubs re-open in defiance of an executive order, saying she wouldn’t second guess state officials’ thinking on this particular COVID-19 control.”

Reuters: Judge dismisses lawsuit against Michigan governor over coronavirus orders. “A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s since-rescinded executive orders requiring that residents stay home and most businesses close to combat the coronavirus pandemic.”

ABC News: Social distanced justice? Courts restart trials, struggle to adapt to COVID-19 precautions. “As courts across the country begin to cautiously resume in-person hearings through the COVID-19 pandemic, judges are confronting a vexing challenge: how to safely convene jury trials at a time when health officials continue to caution against public gatherings.”


Washington Post: ‘This is what happens to us.’: How U.S. cities lost precious time to protect black residents from the coronavirus. “Interviews with nearly 60 public health experts, lawmakers and community leaders show that many of the first coronavirus testing sites went up in areas that happened to be whiter and more affluent, despite the requests of black leaders. Local governments — sometimes ignoring the pleas of community activists — targeted few of their education campaigns about prevention and social distancing specifically to African Americans, even as conspiracy theories spread that black people were immune to the disease.”

Daily Kos: Maine COVID-19 test swab factory destroys all swabs that were made during Trump’s maskless visit. “The impeached, popular vote-losing U.S. president stomped around one of just two manufacturers of the nasal swabs required to test patients for the novel coronavirus on Friday, predictably refusing to wear a mask. Shortly after he left, all of the swabs produced during Donald Trump’s factory photo op were destroyed, according to a company spokesperson.”

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