Tuesday CoronaBuzz, June 16, 2020: 39 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.


Good E-Reader: OverDrive is Launching a Digital COVID Response Collection. “Overdrive is going to be launching a digital Covid response collection available to libraries for free. The first set of titles donated by OverDrive will be a Kids & Teens bundle including hundreds of ebooks, audiobooks, and Read-Alongs from Rosen Publishing, Lerner Publishing Group, Britannica Digital Learning, Triangle Interactive, and other participating publishers. The company is also working with major publishers for a Adult Fiction and Nonfiction collections.”

Chronicle Live: Operating Theatre Live goes online with free lessons for teens during coronavirus lockdown. “Award-winning show Operating Theatre Live is now running free online lessons for teenagers in lockdown. The show – described as the UK’s only touring surgical experience – has launched an educational channel to help 14 to 19-year-olds with distance learning. The viewers will follow the role of a trauma doctor as body systems are dissected and can ask questions during a live stream through social media.”


New York Times: Coronavirus Cases Spike Across Sun Belt as Economy Lurches into Motion. ” The warning has echoed ominously for weeks from epidemiologists, small-town mayors and county health officials: Once states begin to reopen, a surge in coronavirus cases will follow. That scenario is now playing out in states across the country, particularly in the Sun Belt and the West, as thousands of Americans have been sickened by the virus in new and alarming outbreaks.”

ProPublica: State Investigating Hospital With Coronavirus Policy That Profiled Pregnant Native American Mothers and Separated Them From Newborns. “Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham cited ‘significant, awful allegations’ in a ProPublica and New Mexico In Depth story on a hospital where clinicians said pregnant Native women were singled out for COVID-19 testing and separated from newborns after delivery.”

Twin Cities Pioneer Press: Early test results show few protesters caught COVID-19. “Early data from coronavirus tests of Minnesotans who participated in demonstrations after the death of George Floyd suggest the mass gatherings may not result in a spike in COVID-19 infections. More than 3,300 people who participated in protests and community events after Floyd’s death were tested for the coronavirus this week at four community testing sites.”

Yahoo News: West Virginia sees coronavirus outbreaks in churches. “Less than a month after President Trump urged churches to reopen, West Virginia has reported a significant number of coronavirus outbreaks linked to houses of worship. According to the state’s public health office, a total of five churches have seen outbreaks.”

AZ Central: ICU bed use, ER visits hit new highs for Arizona COVID-19 cases. “The state reported 1,014 new cases Monday. More than 1,000 new cases have been reported on 10 of the past 14 days, including on the past six days. ICU beds for patients with suspected and confirmed COVID-19 hit its highest number on Sunday, with 464 patients in the ICU, surpassing Saturday’s 452 patients.”

Reuters: Meatpacking workers often absent after Trump order to reopen. “Smithfield Foods Inc [SFII.UL] is missing about a third of its employees at a South Dakota pork plant because they are quarantined or afraid to return to work after a severe coronavirus outbreak, according to the workers’ union.”

ABC News: Miami pauses reopening as Florida’s new coronavirus cases rise. “Miami, which is among Florida’s most populous cities, will not move into the next phase of reopening because of concerns about rising COVID-19 cases, Mayor Francis Suarez announced during a Monday news conference.”


New York Times: After the Virus Came, 22 Parents Moved Into Their Children’s Hospital. “Ultimately, 20 mothers and two fathers moved into St. Mary’s, in the Bayside neighborhood, bringing pajamas, sweatpants, toiletries, vitamins and laptops. Most now have been there for nearly three months, sleeping on recliners in their children’s rooms and becoming immersed in their care — and sharing just one shower.”

BBC: Sri Lanka holds coronavirus-proof test vote ahead of election. “Authorities in Sri Lanka have held mock elections as part of a test of new anti-coronavirus voting measures. Voters wore face masks, stood 1m (3ft) apart in queues and brought their own pens and pencils to mark ballot papers. Officials were protected by plastic screens or face shields, and sprayed disinfectants on voters.”

CNET: Coronavirus movie delays: New release dates for 2020 and 2021 blockbusters. “When the latest James Bond premiere was called off because of the coronavirus outbreak, it came as a shock. But that was just the first in a cascade of movie blockbusters being canceled or postponed, causing a huge reshuffle of the release schedule throughout 2020 and into 2021.”

BBC: Coronavirus: The first thing I bought when the shops reopened. “As stores across England selling non-essential goods opened their doors for the first time since the lockdown began, shoppers arrived early to centre:mk in Milton Keynes. Some were picking up goods they had been waiting months to buy, such as baby clothes and home furnishings. Others were here for the sales. These shoppers told us what they bought – and why.”


New York Times: Libraries Strive to Stay ‘Community Living Rooms’ as They Reopen. “Libraries around the country are tiptoeing toward reopening, but they’re not just trying to figure out how to safely lend out books. These are community hubs where parents bring their toddlers for story time, where people come to use the computer, where book groups meet. Now all of that has to be rethought.”

NoCamels: Fearing Another Outbreak, Israel Launches Local Production Line for N95 Masks. “The Israeli Ministry of Defense… said that a new production line in Sderot would make up to two million N95 masks per month, as Israel prepares for another round of an outbreak of COVID-19 infections. Israel emerged from over six weeks of lockdown – at times partial, at times, full – in mid-May and has fared relatively well with nearly 18,000 confirmed infections and close to 300 deaths. But the country has seen small outbreaks, specifically in schools, and government authorities have urged Israelis to adhere to social distancing and mask-wearing rules in public spaces.”

ProPublica: “Fire Through Dry Grass”: Andrew Cuomo Saw COVID-19’s Threat to Nursing Homes. Then He Risked Adding to It.. “A nursing home in Troy, New York, followed the governor’s order to accept patients being treated for COVID-19. Six weeks later, 18 residents were dead of the disease.”

San Francisco Chronicle: Women’s prison journal: State inmate’s daily diary during pandemic. “April Harris, a 44-year-old inmate at a California women’s prison, tested positive for the coronavirus in mid-May. Since then she has battled a dry cough, but that’s not the bad part of being sick behind bars. The bad part, she says, is the atmosphere of neglect and chaos that has taken hold as the virus burns through the California Institution for Women, a 1,500-inmate prison in Riverside County owned and operated by the state. The bad part is listening to the screams of her fellow prisoners and her friends.”

Variety: Studios and Movie Theaters Want to Reopen, but Coronavirus May Still Scramble Plans. “From delaying ‘Tenet’ by two weeks to pushing the Oscars by two months, Hollywood is scrambling to adjust to a new reality. In the coronavirus era, it’s nearly impossible to predict what the world will look like next week, much less for the rest of the year and even into 2021. Because of this persistent fluidity, studios have been gripped by a new and growing sense of uncertainty.”

CNN: 24 Hour Fitness files for bankruptcy and closes 100 gyms . “24 Hour Fitness said Monday in its Chapter 11 filing that it has secured $250 million in funding to help reopen some of its clubs and expects a majority of locations to be open by the end of June. However, it’s emerging as a smaller chain: It permanently closed 100 US locations in 14 states with roughly 300 clubs remaining.”


Chronicle of Higher Education: In Some States This Fall, Masks at Public Colleges Will Be ‘Encouraged’ but Not Required. “Georgia plans to reopen its 26 public colleges and universities this fall without requiring face masks — despite clear evidence that they play a critical role in reducing the spread of Covid-19. The optional policy worries some faculty.”

Chalkbeat New York: 20% of NYC teachers might work from home because of health concerns, according to education department estimates. “Much about the coming school year remains uncertain, including how many New York City teachers will feel comfortable returning to their classrooms: Up to 20% could teach from home over concerns of being at higher risk for severe complications from the coronavirus, education department officials told principals last week. That could mean up to 15,000 city teachers will work from home, a number that represents more teachers than Houston’s entire public school system.”

Phys .org: COVID-19 pandemic could decimate outdoor environmental, science education programs. “The COVID-19 pandemic threatens the survival of organizations nationwide that provide critical outdoor environmental and science education to K-12 students, with an alarming 63% of such groups uncertain about their ability to ever reopen their doors, according to a study released this week by the Lawrence Hall of Science at the University of California, Berkeley.”

Colorado State University: How teachers are adapting to COVID-19 disruptions is subject of new CSU study. “The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a spotlight on many of society’s unsung heroes – among them teachers, who took their duties online this spring and kept teaching, even as schools shuttered and ‘homeschooling’ became the new norm. For Colorado State University researchers, this environment of disruption across the country’s public schools provides a new opportunity to take a deep dive into what makes teachers resilient, even in the midst of a pandemic.”


CNN: He was a Covid-19 patient. She cleaned his hospital room. Their unexpected bond saved his life. “They are sometimes called ‘invisible’ workers, the custodians and housekeepers who clean and restock hospital rooms. But while we often don’t see them, they see us. Doctors, nurses and chaplains have rightly been hailed as heroes for their brave efforts during the coronavirus pandemic. [Chaplain Melinda] Plumley jokes that spiritual healers haven’t gotten this much press since the Reformation. But the work of hospital housekeepers has been just as vital, said Dr. Neil Prose, a pediatric dermatologist and professor at Duke University’s Global Health Institute.”

Reuters: AstraZeneca agrees to supply Europe with 400 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine. ” AstraZeneca Plc has signed a contract with European governments to supply the region with its potential vaccine against the coronavirus, the British drugmaker’s latest deal to pledge its drug to help combat the pandemic.”

CNBC: Public health officials are facing political pressure, threats and armed protests as states push to reopen. “In the battle against COVID-19, public health workers spread across states, cities and small towns make up an invisible army on the front lines. But that army, which has suffered neglect for decades, is under assault when it’s needed most. Officials who usually work behind the scenes managing tasks like immunizations and water quality inspections have found themselves center stage. Elected officials and members of the public who are frustrated with the lockdowns and safety restrictions have at times turned public health workers into politicized punching bags, battering them with countless angry calls and even physical threats.”

AP: Accuracy still unknown for many coronavirus tests rushed out. “How accurate are the coronavirus tests used in the U.S.? Months into the outbreak, no one really knows how well many of the screening tests work, and experts at top medical centers say it is time to do the studies to find out.”

Eater Los Angeles: Half of Inspected LA Restaurants Aren’t Following Coronavirus Rules, County Says. “Fully half of Los Angeles County restaurants inspected for coronavirus health and safety regulation compliance are not meeting the minimum standards, county health director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said today. Dr. Ferrer told the public that inspectors had been sent out to check up on thousands of restaurants over the weekend, and they collectively found that ’50 percent of the restaurants were still not in compliance’ with at least a portion of the mandated protocols, including things like correct six-foot spacing between tables, or servers wearing both cloth face coverings and plastic face shields.”

The City: NYC COVID-19 Contact Tracers Not Asking About George Floyd Protest Participation, Despite Fears of New Virus Wave. “Over the two last weeks, Mayor Bill de Blasio and others have voiced concerns that packed police brutality protests across the city could trigger a new wave of COVID-19 infections. Whether or not that’s the case, however, remains unknown — and de Blasio’s team won’t be directly trying to find out.”


BBC: Coronavirus: Blood clots targeted in treatment trial. “Scientists are to test whether an experimental drug can prevent potentially deadly blood clots associated with Covid-19. The trial, funded by the British Heart Foundation, will test the theory the clots are caused by a hormone imbalance triggered by coronavirus infection. It will become one of several drugs currently being trialled to prevent the disease’s worst effects.”

Financial Times, and not paywalled, at least for me: Coronavirus could infect human brain and replicate, US study shows. “US scientists have found the first direct evidence that coronavirus could infect the human brain and replicate inside its cells, heightening concern about the disease’s poorly understood neurological symptoms. Thomas Hartung and colleagues at Johns Hopkins University made the discovery after adding low levels of Sars-Cov-2, the virus responsible for Covid-19, to tiny neuronal balls known as mini-brains that are grown from human stem cells.”

BBC: Dexamethasone is a first life-saving coronavirus drug. “A cheap and widely available drug called dexamethasone can help save the lives of patients who are seriously ill with coronavirus. UK experts say the low-dose steroid treatment is major breakthrough in the fight against the deadly virus. It cut the risk of death by a third for patients on ventilators. For those on oxygen, it cut deaths by a fifth.”


The Onion: City Enters Phase 4 Of Pretending Coronavirus Over. “Saying the city remained on track for progressing into the final stage, Mayor Eric Johnson told Dallas residents Friday that they would soon officially be entering Phase 4 of pretending the coronavirus was over.”


BBC: Greater Manchester illegal raves: Man dies, woman raped and three stabbed. “A 20-year-old man has died, a woman has been raped and three people have been stabbed during two illegal ‘quarantine raves’ that attracted 6,000 people. Thousands flocked to Daisy Nook Country Park and Carrington in Greater Manchester late on Saturday.”


Vice: A Medical Device Maker Threatens iFixit Over Ventilator Repair Project. “iFixit has built a comprehensive online database of repair manuals for ventilators and medical equipment to help fight the coronavirus pandemic. Last week it received a letter claiming copyright infringement.”


NBC News: Trump rally attendees will have fewer safety measures than high-dollar donors. ” Top Republicans donors at President Donald Trump’s two recent fundraisers had to have tested negative for the coronavirus, fill out a wellness questionnaire and pass a temperature check to be near him, but thousands of supporters who attend his upcoming rally will not be screened as thoroughly.”

Daily Beast: Mike Pence Lies About Oklahoma’s COVID-19 Numbers Ahead of Trump Rally. “During a White House roundtable meeting called ‘Fighting for America’s Seniors’ on Monday afternoon, Vice President Mike Pence blatantly lied to reporters about the trajectory of COVID-19 cases in Oklahoma, where President Trump is scheduled to hold a large campaign rally on Saturday.”

New York Post: Rep. Ilhan Omar’s father dead at 67 from coronavirus. “Rep. Ilhan Omar’s father died on Monday from complications of coronavirus, the congresswoman announced. The Minnesota Democrat released a statement that said Nur Omar Mohamed had passed earlier in the day after battling the virus which has sparked a worldwide pandemic. He was 67-years-old.”

Washington Post: Trump signals a move past coronavirus with rallies, even as cases spike in many states. “To observe Trump and his entourage this month as he prepares to resume normal campaign activity coast to coast could lead one to conclude that the coronavirus pandemic is over. In reality, the virus continues to ravage the United States and is fast spreading in some midsize and small cities that avoided bad outbreaks this spring. Recent spikes in coronavirus cases have been recorded in Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, Texas and Oklahoma — all states where Trump has said he plans to soon hold campaign rallies.”

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