Wednesday CoronaBuzz, June 17, 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.


Columbia University: COVID-19 Will Affect Food and Financial Security of Many for Years to Come. “The complex food shopping patterns that financially insecure families employ have been upended by the COVID-19 crisis. While increasing the maximum benefit for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamps) is an essential step in addressing the current food insecurity crisis, this policy change alone will not address many of the barriers low-income families are facing in acquiring food during the pandemic. To facilitate advocacy and policy change around this food insecurity crisis among children and families, researchers at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health developed a web mapping tool that details states where SNAP shoppers can purchase groceries online and key SNAP policies related to food shopping during the pandemic.”


CNET: Warner Bros. announces DC FanDome virtual convention. “Warner Bros. has announced DC FanDome, a free 24-hour virtual convention for fans of the DC superhero comics, movies, games and TV series. It’ll host panels and reveal upcoming content, with director James Gunn announcing that he and the cast of The Suicide Squad will be taking part.”

Lifestyle Asia: Art Basel 2020 goes online with over 4000 artworks to admire. “Art Basel‘s parent company MCH Group has announced the cancellation of the 2020 edition of its Swiss flagship fair, which had already been postponed from June to September due to the coronavirus pandemic. Organizers are now launching the second instalment of Art Basel’s Online Viewing Rooms, which made their debut in March in lieu of the physical edition of its Hong Kong fair. Art Basel has assembled an international lineup of 281 galleries from 35 countries across the globe, offering collectors the opportunity to discover over 4,000 works from the Modern to post-war and contemporary periods.”


Lifehacker: How to Tell If That New COVID-19 Story Is Worth Getting Excited About. “Maybe someday there will be a vaccine or a miracle cure for COVID-19. But if that occurs, it will not be immediately obvious from a news story that’s trumpeted across your TV or your social media feed. Big, important-looking studies come along all the time, and most turn out to be disappointing once you learn the whole story. Here’s a few questions to ask if you think you’re looking at something big.”

Brit+Co: 18 Virtual Summer Camps That Make Us Want to Be a Kid Again. “Summer camp IRL is up in the air this year as some are opening up to smaller groups and others are just plain shutting down due to coronavirus, leaving many working parents in a panic. Not to worry! There are a bunch of cool online camps to fill up the school-free weeks of summer, many with actual camp counselors who will teach them everything from coding to cooking to opera and more! S’mores optional.;)”


New York Daily News: Pence suggests Trump rally in Tulsa may be moved outdoors amid coronavirus worries. “Vice President Mike Pence said Tuesday the controversial Trump reelection rally planned for this weekend in Tulsa, Oklahoma may be moved to an outdoor venue amid coronavirus worries. Pence claimed the potential shift was in response to the ‘overwhelming’ demand for tickets to the event from President Trump’s #MAGA faithful.”

U.S. News and World Report: Spike in Oregon COVID-19 Cases Tied to Union County Church. “Oregon’s coronavirus cases continue to rise, with 184 new cases reported Monday – the highest daily count in the state since the start of the pandemic. The Oregon Health Authority says a portion of the increase is due to an outbreak in Union County in the rural northeastern part of the state, where 99 people tested positive for COVID-19. A number of cases are associated with the Lighthouse Pentecostal Church in Union County, said Dr. Paul Cieslak, medical director for infectious diseases and immunizations at the Health Authority Public Health Division.”

NBC News: FDA pulls emergency use authorization of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19. “The Food and Drug Administration rescinded the emergency use authorization for hydroxychloroquine to treat hospitalized COVID-19 patients on Monday, saying the drug carries too many risks without any apparent benefit. The authorization was first issued in March, and applied to patients hospitalized with the illness and those in clinical trials. In April, the FDA warned doctors against prescribing the drug to COVID-19 patients outside of those settings. Monday’s action will not affect clinical trials, which are expected to continue.”

AL .com: Hospitals in several Alabama cities now seeing all-time highs in coronavirus patients. “The number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals in Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Montgomery and Decatur has hit all-time highs this month, filling beds and taxing staff as the state struggles with a wave of new cases. Nearly one-third of those patients will require ventilators during treatment, said Assistant State Health Officer Dr. Karen Landers.”

AP: Flights canceled as Beijing’s new outbreak raises concerns. “More than 60% of commercial flights in and out of Beijing have been canceled as the Chinese capital raised its alert level Wednesday against a new coronavirus outbreak and other nations confront rising numbers of illnesses and deaths.”

Scotsman: Scots economy shrinks by 19% as COVID lockdown bites. “The official GDP statistics which indicated a 2.5% contraction between January and March are worse than the 2% contraction recorded across the UK as a whole, But the figures only take in the first week of full lockdown at the end of March and the true scale of the recession will be made clear when the figures for the second quarter emerge.”


Bloomberg Law: Millions of Gallons of Stale Beer Is One Hangover From Lockdown. “In March, even before the lockdowns became widespread, about 10 million gallons of beer held by retailers had already expired, according to estimates from the National Beer Wholesalers Association. As thousands of kegs are now being returned to distributors daily, Vanguard Renewables in Wellesley, Massachusetts, is among companies seeking to make use of it by turning the beverage into natural gas for electricity generation. Others will use it to make hand sanitizer, but a great deal of the beer will simply be decanted and dumped.”

Trill: World’s Biggest Music Festivals Cancelled Over Coronavirus Fears. “Many major festivals have obviously been postponed due to Coronavirus, but as the US surpasses the 2 million mark for positive test results for the virus it seems like some festivals are now taking the decision to cancel for good. Two of the biggest to have announced a cancellation are Coachella and Stagecoach, musical festivals taking place in California. ”


CNN: China’s new coronavirus outbreak sees Beijing adopt ‘wartime’ measures as capital races to contain spread. “eijing is reintroducing strict lockdown measures and rolling out mass testing after a fresh cluster of novel coronavirus cases emerged from the city’s largest wholesale food market, sparking fears of a resurgence of the deadly outbreak. The Chinese capital reported 36 new Covid-19 cases on Monday, bringing the total number to 79 since a locally transmitted infection was reported on June 12 for the first time in nearly two months, according to the National Health Commission.”

Straits Times: Coronavirus: Hong Kong will allow public gatherings of up to 50 people. “Hong Kong will further relax virus-related social distancing measures by allowing public gatherings of up to 50 people, as the city continues to be a rare global success story in containing Covid-19. Top health official Sophia Chan said the easing would go into effect on Friday (June 19), dramatically raising the size of gatherings from just eight people.”

Georgia Tech News Center: Redesigning hand sanitizer and donating 7,000 gallons to fight COVID-19. “So many people Seth Marder spoke to didn’t see the hand sanitizer crisis brewing. The country was going to run dangerously short if someone did not act urgently. The professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology rallied colleagues and partners around the cause in March, and by early June, they had replaced a key component of hand sanitizer, created a new supply chain, and initiated their own donation of 7,000 gallons of a newly designed sanitizer to medical facilities.”

Reuters: Russia’s Putin protected from coronavirus by disinfection tunnel – RIA. “Russian President Vladimir Putin is protected from the novel coronavirus by a special disinfection tunnel that anyone visiting his residence outside Moscow must pass through, the state-controlled RIA news agency reported on Tuesday. The special tunnel, manufactured by a Russian company based in the town of Penza, has been installed at his official Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow where he receives visitors, it said.”

Design Week: How designers are bringing virtual museums and galleries to life. “As COVID-19 shut down institutions, art galleries and museums have made pushes to be virtual. Could it be part of a bigger shift in the cultural sector?”

Washington Post: Amtrak is ending daily service to hundreds of stations. Blame the coronavirus pandemic, the railroad says.. “Amtrak is ending daily service to hundreds of stations outside the Northeast, and you can blame the coronavirus pandemic, the railroad said this week. Starting Oct. 1, most Amtrak long-distance trains will operate three times a week instead of daily, the company said in a memo to employees Monday.”


BBC: Coronavirus: Prince Charles’s sense of smell and taste still not back. “Prince Charles has still not fully regained his sense of smell and taste after having coronavirus in March, he revealed on a visit to NHS staff. The prince discussed his personal experience with the virus as he met workers at the Gloucestershire Royal Hospital – at a 2m distance.”


CNN: Universities and high schools are readying high-tech ways to curb the spread of Covid-19. “With the last school year upended by the pandemic and the start of the next school year months away, educators are weighing what they can do to safely welcome students back to classrooms. Some schools like Queen’s Grant High School are embracing bold — and sometimes controversial — technologies to help cut down on exposure to and spread of coronavirus. The methods range from trackable student IDs and ‘exposure alert’ apps to UV lights and thermal cameras that automatically perform temperature checks.”


News4Jax: Woman, 15 friends test positive for coronavirus after night out at Lynch’s. “Erika Crisp has been short of breath for several days and has tested positive for COVID-19. So have more than a dozen of her friends. The one thing they all had in common: a night out at Lynch’s Irish Pub on June 6 in Jacksonville Beach.”

NBC News: Is this the second wave of COVID-19 in the U.S.? Or are we still in the first?. “A second wave of the coronavirus suggests that the first wave has come and gone. That hasn’t happened. ‘We never made it out of the first wave,’ said Dr. David Weber, medical director of hospital epidemiology at the University of North Carolina Medical Center in Chapel Hill.”

New York Times: Airlines Say Everybody Onboard Must Wear a Mask. So Why Aren’t They?. “As airlines try to convince Americans to fly again, they have touted their policies for keeping passengers safe, including the requirement that everyone onboard a plane wear a mask. But travelers on recent flights said the rules are not being enforced. And flight attendants said they have been told not to confront passengers who opt to not follow them.”

New York Times: Flushing the Toilet May Fling Coronavirus Aerosols All Over. “Scientists have found that in addition to clearing out whatever business you’ve left behind, flushing a toilet can generate a cloud of aerosol droplets that rises nearly three feet. Those droplets may linger in the air long enough to be inhaled by a shared toilet’s next user, or land on surfaces in the bathroom.”

Insurance Journal: Health Experts Caution Over Disinfectants, Cleaning Methods Used in Rush to Reopen. “Businesses across the U.S. have begun intensive Covid-19 disinfection regimens, exposing returning workers and consumers to some chemicals that are largely untested for human health, a development that’s alarming health and environmental safety experts.”

New York Times: Most Coronavirus Tests Cost About $100. Why Did One Cost $2,315?. “In a one-story brick building in suburban Dallas, between a dentist office and a family medicine clinic, is a medical laboratory that has run some of the most expensive coronavirus tests in America. Insurers have paid Gibson Diagnostic Labs as much as $2,315 for individual coronavirus tests. In a couple of cases, the price rose as high as $6,946 when the lab said it mistakenly charged patients three times the base rate.”

National Review: Fauci Confirms Public Health Experts Downplayed Efficacy of Masks to Ensure They Would Be Available to Healthcare Workers. “Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical advisor to the Trump administration’s coronavirus task force, confirmed that public health experts discouraged the public from wearing face masks towards the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak because they were concerned there would not be enough available for health care workers.”


CNET: Yelp restaurant pages will now show coronavirus safety protocols. “Yelp will be launching a COVID-19 section on each business page, according to a release Tuesday. The new section aims to help businesses share the ways they plan on keeping customers and employees safe amid the coronavirus pandemic.”


ProPublica: How — and When — Can the Coronavirus Vaccine Become a Reality?. “It is likely we’ll eventually have a coronavirus vaccine — but perhaps not as quickly as some expect. From development, to clinical trials and distribution, ProPublica reporter Caroline Chen explains the tremendous challenges that lie ahead.”

University of Cincinnati: UC student develops tool for health care workers interacting with COVID-19 patients. “Clear, concise communication is one of the key elements for health care providers in treating patients. With many COVID-19 patients requiring treatment on ventilators and respirators, communication is a big hurdle. A doctoral student in the University of Cincinnati’s College of Allied Health Sciences (CAHS) is developing a tool designed to help bridge that critical gap. The communication tool is the work of Chitrali Ramakant Mamlekar, a fourth-year doctoral student in the Communication Sciences and Disorders Department (CSD) in CAHS.”

Reuters: EXCLUSIVE-CureVac becomes second company to test coronavirus vaccine in Germany -sources. “Unlisted biotech firm CureVac, which is due to receive German state backing, will become the second coronavirus vaccine developer to launch human trials of an experimental immunisation in the country, two people familiar with the plans told Reuters on Tuesday.”


Gizmodo AU: NY Attorney General Calls on Apple, Google to Crack Down on Shady Contact-Tracing Apps. “As more states and cities around the world explore reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic, Apple and Google have struggled to keep up with the flood of third-party contact-tracing apps in their respective app stores. Now, New York Attorney General Letitia James is urging both companies to impose stricter protections for consumers.”

The Sacramento Bee: ‘My father has a factory.’ How hucksters flooded Gov. Newsom’s coronavirus marketplace. “The chaotic marketplace offers a window into the Newsom administration’s frantic efforts to make sure California has enough equipment to handle a surge of COVID-19 cases in the state’s hospitals. State officials leading that effort were forced to wade through the thousands of offers, rejecting most of them, but also accepting some questionable offers posted on the website that later fell through, including a $456 million deal to buy masks that is now under federal scrutiny.”


The Guardian: Jailed for a Facebook post: garment workers’ rights at risk during Covid-19. “Several leading European fashion brands have launched investigations into allegations that factories in Myanmar are suppressing union activity under the guise of redundancies due to Covid-19 disruption. Workers in at least three factories making clothes for Zara, Primark and Mango have told the Guardian that managers are using Covid-19 disruptions as an excuse to dismiss hundreds of union members at different factories across the country.”


The Atlantic: It Didn’t Have to Be Like This. “The coronavirus outbreak has crippled the economies of most of the wealthy countries it has afflicted. But the particular desperation of American workers in its aftermath was not inevitable. It was the predictable impact of a series of policy decisions and missed opportunities in the past few decades that benefited the wealthy at the expense of everyone else. The food lines in San Antonio, and across the country, are an indictment of the past four decades of policy making. But it was Trump who vowed to confront a rigged system, to drain the swamp, to break the power of entrenched elites whose greed had left the American people behind. Instead, tens of millions of hardworking Americans were swiftly forgotten by the man who vowed to remember them.”

Washington Post: A president who promised to put ‘America First’ instead turned us into this. “The world is reopening, safely in many places, because responsible governments made the right decisions about the pandemic. Life there is slowly returning to normal. And then, there is the United States. We just regained our worldwide lead in reported new cases, passing Brazil, with nearly 24,000 per day. USA! USA! We have had a world-leading 2.1 million infected and 116,000 dead. Much of the world doesn’t want America’s infected hordes traveling there. Who can blame them?”

Tulsa World: Tulsa World editorial: This is the wrong time and Tulsa is the wrong place for the Trump rally. “Tulsa is still dealing with the challenges created by a pandemic. The city and state have authorized reopening, but that doesn’t make a mass indoor gathering of people pressed closely together and cheering a good idea. There is no treatment for COVID-19 and no vaccine. It will be our health care system that will have to deal with whatever effects follow. The public health concern would apply whether it were Donald Trump, Joe Biden or anyone else who was planning a mass rally at the BOK. This is the wrong time.”


CNN: Republicans urge Trump not to terminate relationship with World Health Organization. “Despite alleging that the World Health Organization “enabled” the Chinese government’s sweeping cover-up of the coronavirus pandemic’s origins, House Republicans are urging the Trump administration to reconsider its recent decision to terminate relations with the international body, arguing the US can do more to affect change as a member.”

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