coronabuzz

Friday CoronaBuzz, June 12, 2020: 36 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 – EDUCATION/ENTERTAINMENT

BusinessWire: Milken Institute Teams with First Person to Explain the Race to a COVID-19 Vaccine (PRESS RELEASE). “The Milken Institute, the nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank, and First Person, a San Francisco design and storytelling company, together tell the urgent story of the global race for a COVID-19 vaccine in a newly released interactive experience at: https://www.covid-19vaccinetracker.org/.”

University at Buffalo: UB to host virtual Bloomsday celebration with Joyce fans around world. “As the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of James Joyce materials, the UB Poetry Collection will host a distinctive Bloomsday event featuring readings from Ireland’s Ambassador to the United States Daniel Mulhall, acclaimed Irish author Colm Tóibín, New York State Senator Tim Kennedy and other notable guests. The event, scheduled on Tuesday, June 16, from 3-4:30 p.m. EDT, is free and open to the public.”

CNET: Minecraft’s Deadmau5-headlined virtual music festival looks bonkers. “Taking place June 25 to 28, Electric Blockaloo is Minecraft’s first virtual music festival, featuring a whopping 850 performers on 65 stages. Just like a real festival, you can design your own campsite — and then there are a bunch of features that are very much not like a real festival, taking advantage of the crazy virtual world of Minecraft.”

The Scotsman: Young people can apply for virtual internships with companies like Google and M&S this summer – here’s how. “Students across the UK are being invited to apply for free virtual internships this summer with some of the biggest companies in the world. The move comes following a reported fall in confidence among young people around future job prospects, as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.”

NEW RESOURCES – STATE-SPECIFIC

WDSU: Gov. Edwards introduces new Get Back To Work Safely tool. “Gov. John Bel Edwards introduced a new tool to help Louisiana workers return safely to work. The new tool is a quick survey to help identify personal risk in contracting COVID-19.”

NEW RESOURCES – OTHER

The Jewish News: New Website Fills Void of In-Person Jewish Events During Quarantine. “The COVID-19 pandemic has made us feel physically distant to each other. We cannot congregate at our synagogues, community centers or summer camps. However, the Jewish community has not shifted away from community during the quarantine. Rather, we have been brought together virtually thanks to the Internet and streaming video conferencing. Three cutting-edge Jewish visionaries saw this 21st-century phenomenon as a prime opportunity to launch a website that’s a ‘one-stop shop’ for those interested in plugging in and learning or praying with a community of Jews anywhere in the country.”

USEFUL STUFF

New York Post: How to wash a face mask properly — and when to throw it away. “Whether it be a bandanna, scarf or gas mask, we now know that any mouth and nose covering is better than none at all when it comes to coronavirus prevention. So, keeping our health in mind, Dr. Rita Linkner, an NYC-based dermatologist, is now talking to her patients about more than how to ‘treat your skin properly underneath the mask.'”

UPDATES

MarketWatch: Dow plunges 7%, marks worst day since March as Fed’s grim outlook and rising cases of coronavirus unsettle bulls. “U.S. stocks on Thursday marked the worst day since the height of the coronavirus-induced rout, amid signs of a re-acceleration of cases of COVID-19, and as investors digested Wednesday’s sobering economic outlook from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. The market moves came even as the number of Americans filing for first-time jobless benefits declined again in the most recent week.”

Bloomberg: Houston on ‘Precipice of Disaster’ as Virus Cases Spread. “Houston-area officials said they are ‘getting close’ to reimposing a stay-at-home order and prepared to reopen a Covid-19 hospital established but never used at a football stadium as virus cases expand in the fourth-largest U.S. city. The announcement by Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner on Thursday came a day after the Lone Star state recorded its highest one-day tally of new cases since the pandemic emerged.”

SOCIETAL IMPACT

BuzzFeed News: The Real Economic Catastrophe Hasn’t Hit Yet. Just Wait For August.. “More than 40 million people lost their jobs in the last few months, in the fastest and deepest economic slowdown ever recorded. More than half of all households with low incomes in the United States have experienced a loss of earnings, as have a quarter of all adults. The numbers are grim — but as bad as things look today, they’re on track to get much, much worse. The US economy right now is like a jumbo jet that’s in a steady glide after both its engines flamed out. In about six weeks, it will likely crash into the side of a mountain.”

BBC: World Athletics: Anti-viral sand part of ‘new normal’. “Anti-viral sand, a ban on post-race hugs and open-air call rooms are some of the measures proposed to protect athletes and officials when international athletics resumes. World Athletics’ Health and Science department has drawn up guidelines to advise event organisers.”

Vox: Quarantine has changed us — and it’s not all bad. “Although being on lockdown has been pretty grueling on balance, the surprise is that many of us have realized there are some things about quarantine life that are worth preserving. We’re questioning the very fundamentals of the ‘normal’ we’d all come to unthinkingly accept — and realizing we don’t want to go back, not to that.”

INSTITUTION / CORPORATE / GOVERNMENT

Politico: Quarantine fatigue: Governors reject new lockdowns as virus cases spike. “The coronavirus is spiking in more than a dozen states and intensive care beds are filling again, but several governors have no plans to reimpose shutdown measures or pause reopenings, a sign that the political will to take drastic measures has dissipated even as the virus is still raging. In Texas, where total cases have shot up by one-third in the last two weeks, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott is moving ahead with plans to let virtually all businesses keep expanding capacity by the end of this week.”

Fortune: Sweden to drop daily coronavirus briefings as scandal grows over its loose handling of the pandemic. “Sweden’s top health authority will drop daily press briefings that had provided updates on the country’s Covid-19 infection rate and death toll. The decision comes amid a furore over Sweden’s strategy to fight the pandemic, after state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell admitted his approach was flawed.”

BBC: British Airways to sell art collection to raise cash. “British Airways is selling some of its multi-million-pound art collection to raise cash to help it through the coronavirus pandemic. The collection includes art by Damien Hirst, Bridget Riley and Peter Doig, with one work believed to have been valued at more than £1m.”

BuzzFeed News: New York’s Latest Coronavirus Sex Advice Basically Encourages Glory Holes And Zoom Orgies. “Remember back in mid-March, right as the coronavirus pandemic was taking off in the United States, New York City officials issued some helpful advice on sex practices during the outbreak? The guide, issued by the New York City Health Department, advised residents on ‘how to enjoy sex and avoid spreading COVID-19’ by essentially sticking to masturbation and only having sex with people in your household, meaning your partner or consenting roommate (if that’s the deal you have with them — not wise, IMHO!!!). Well, get ready, you horny quarantinos, because the good folks at the health department are back, and they are feeling KINKY.”

AL. com: Birmingham schools, housing authority cut ties with Church of the Highlands. “Hodges and Christ Health Clinic’s CEO responded today to the Birmingham Housing Authority banning the church and clinic because of a controversy over Hodges liking social media posts by the politically conservative group Turning Point USA. The services provided by Christ Health Clinic included free COVID-19 testing for residents of Birmingham public housing. The Housing Authority of Birmingham Division voted on Monday to no longer allow church volunteers and clinic workers to do work at public housing communities.”

BuzzFeed News: Peloton Warehouse Workers Begged Not To Do Home Deliveries During The Pandemic. “The early months of the coronavirus pandemic were a boon for Peloton. Nationwide shelter-in-place orders inspired a surge in purchases of its luxury stationary bikes and treadmills and created a massive new, captive audience for the $12 billion exercise technology company’s streaming video workouts. But it also caused consternation and conflict inside Peloton’s nascent logistics operation, where workers feared the company’s ‘high-touch’ in-home delivery policy put them at risk of contracting the novel coronavirus.”

HEALTH

Yahoo News: Coronavirus infections appear to spike in U.S. even as they decline elsewhere. “In a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention document dated June 9, the U.S. had the highest spike of percentage change in daily cases, with a 36.5 percent jump in recent days. Of the top 10 countries in total cases, that is the biggest spike by a significant margin, compared with drops in cases in Brazil, Spain, Italy, Germany and Iran and growths of under 5 percent in Russia, India and Peru.”

Washington Post: The coronavirus pandemic isn’t ending — it’s surging. “As restrictions are lifted around the world, the sense of urgency surrounding the novel coronavirus pandemic has weakened. Hundreds of millions of students have returned to school; restaurants, bars and other businesses are slowly reopening in many countries. In parts of Europe, vaccine researchers worry that they will not have enough sick people for testing. But this historic pandemic is not ending. It is surging. There were 136,000 new infections reported on Sunday, the highest single-day increase since the start of the pandemic. There are more than 7 million confirmed cases so far. The number of deaths is nearing half a million, with little sign of tapering off, and global health experts are continuing to sound the alarm.”

Intelligencer: An Epidemiologist’s Lessons From the ACT UP Era, for Today’s Protesters. “As demonstrations against police brutality engulfed the country, over a thousand public-health professionals came out in support of the protests in an open letter. One person who signed was Gregg Gonsalves, a professor of epidemiology at Yale and MacArthur genius who is no stranger to protest movements.”

TECHNOLOGY

CNN: Facebook now allows ads for some face masks. “Facebook announced Wednesday that it will lift the blanket ban on advertisements for face masks, which it introduced in the early weeks of the pandemic to help combat price gouging and medical supply shortages. Now the ban will only apply to medical-grade masks, or ads that make dubious claims about certain masks offering protection from the virus to profit from the pandemic.”

RESEARCH

Reuters: Widespread mask-wearing could prevent COVID-19 second waves: study. “Population-wide face mask use could push COVID-19 transmission down to controllable levels for national epidemics, and could prevent further waves of the pandemic disease when combined with lockdowns, according to a British study on Wednesday.”

ScienceBlog: Study Identifies Potential Approach To Treat Severe Respiratory Distress In Patients With COVID-19. “Early data from a clinical study suggest that blocking the Bruton tyrosine kinase (BTK) protein provided clinical benefit to a small group of patients with severe COVID-19. Researchers observed that the off-label use of the cancer drug acalabrutinib, a BTK inhibitor that is approved to treat several blood cancers, was associated with reduced respiratory distress and a reduction in the overactive immune response in most of the treated patients.”

ScienceBlog: How Airborne Is The Virus?. “In March, an Italian study claiming that pollution particles could be a vector for spreading SARS-CoV-2 made the headlines. The physicist and chemist Jean-François Doussin explains why this thesis does not hold up and tells us what we know about the spread of the virus through the air.”

Phys .org: Researchers aim to help cities prioritize interventions for public transit. “The New York City Subway—which, under normal circumstances, serves 5.5 million riders daily—resumed service June 8, amid concerns from residents about exposing themselves to the closed, crowded conditions that could be ripe for coronavirus transmission. Researchers at Penn State aim to help minimize the risk of COVID-19 spread by identifying specific subway stations in which intervention resources—such as setting up testing sites, allocating additional personnel to disinfect frequently touched surfaces in subway stations, and distributing masks and hand sanitizer—could be of greatest benefit.”

SECURITY / LEGAL

ABC News: North Carolina racetrack ordered to close for defying executive order. “The racetrack has acted in ‘open defiance’ of the governor’s orders, the health department said. Its abatement order noted that on May 23, the Alamance County racetrack had ‘possibly as many as 4,000 spectators’ who came in ‘close proximity.’ Subsequent events on May 30 and June 6 also had more than 2,500 spectators and violated social distancing requirements despite notices from the state and Alamance County Sheriff’s Office to comply with the executive order, the health department said.”

Phys .org: New data capture eviction laws in 40 US cities. “New data released today on LawAtlas.org describe a patchwork landscape of laws governing eviction in 40 of the largest US cities. Nearly 1 million households are evicted from their homes each year, a number that is likely compounded by the impact of COVID-19. Twelve states will lift their moratoriums on eviction between June 15 and August 31, affecting five of the 40 cities on the new LawAtlas maps—Charlotte, NC, Jacksonville, FL, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Pittsburgh.”

CNN: ACLU files lawsuit against border coronavirus restrictions. “The American Civil Liberties Union, along with two other immigrant advocacy organizations, filed the first lawsuit Tuesday against stringent border restrictions related to coronavirus that largely bar migrants from entering the United States.”

BuzzFeed News: Coronavirus Contact Tracers Are Facing Death Threats And Comparisons To Nazis On Facebook And YouTube. “In reality, contact tracers carrying out the essential work of tracking the spread of the novel coronavirus are key public health responders to the pandemic. But online, they are being compared to the German secret police and facing death threats, according to a new report shared exclusively with BuzzFeed News. The Institute for Strategic Dialogue, a London-based think tank researching online disinformation, has found dozens of Facebook posts and YouTube videos spreading hoaxes and lies about contact tracers have received hundreds of thousands of views since the beginning of the pandemic.”

POLITICS

Dayton Daily News: Lawmaker asks if ‘colored population’ not washing their hands as well as others behind COVID rates. “During a hearing on whether to declare racism a public health crisis, state Sen. Steve Huffman, R-Tipp City, asked if ‘the colored population’ is hit harder by the coronavirus because perhaps they don’t wash their hands as well as other groups. Huffman, an emergency room physician, asked a witness before the Senate Health Committee on Tuesday why COVID-19 is hitting African Americans harder than white people.”

Politico: White House goes quiet on coronavirus as outbreak spikes again across the U.S.. “It’s been more than a month since the White House halted its daily coronavirus task force briefings. Top officials like infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci have largely disappeared from national television — with Fauci making just four cable TV appearances in May after being a near fixture on Sunday shows across March and April — and are frequently restricted from testifying before Congress. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump is preparing to resume his campaign rallies after a three-month hiatus, an attempted signal to voters that normalcy is returning ahead of November’s election, and that he’s all but put the pandemic behind him.”

MarketWatch: Trump administration has OK’d more than 100 breaks for oil, gas fees. “The Trump administration has awarded energy companies hundreds of breaks on payments for oil and gas extraction from U.S. lands and the Gulf of Mexico during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a government database and federal officials. The breaks on royalty and rental payments are intended to help companies with workforce problems or other issues after the pandemic caused fuel demand to temporarily plummet worldwide.”

Mother Jones: The Coronavirus Is Still Killing Thousands of Americans Every Week, But Trump Isn’t Very Interested. “Trump has essentially shoved the pandemic aside. Been there, done that. Time to move on. Even though the crisis continues and worsens in parts of the country. Puerto Rico and fourteen states—Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Kentucky, New Mexico, North Carolina, Mississippi, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah—just experienced their highest weekly average of coronavirus cases. And the total number of COVID-19 cases in the United States this week topped 2 million.”

NC Policy Watch: With state elections bill sleight of hand, GOP seeks to revive enjoined voter ID law. “What started as a bipartisan effort to address the challenge of administering an election during the COVID-19 pandemic has devolved into a battle over another Republican attempt to require North Carolinians to show a photo ID to cast a ballot in November.”

Florida Bulldog: No-bid Florida COVID contracts flow to DeSantis donors. “Millions of dollars in no-bid state contracts issued as part of Florida’s COVID-19 response have gone to a trio of firms tied to men who’ve contributed hefty sums to support Gov. Ron DeSantis’ political ambitions.”

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