Saturday CoronaBuzz, June 20, 2020: 28 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.


Northwestern Now: New A.I. tool is a potential timesaver for COVID-19 researchers. “Northwestern University computer scientists are aiming to speed up treatments and vaccines for COVID-19 — by making researchers’ jobs easier. The team has developed a new tool that searches through scientific literature, predicting the most useful results for each user. After pulling documents of interest, the tool then uses artificial intelligence to generate a short, easy-to-skim summary of each paper.”

Emory University: Emory launches national dashboard to help visualize and target COVID-19 disparities. “On the homepage, users can see a snapshot of COVID-19 deaths across the country. Selecting a state brings up a map displaying COVID-19 mortality by county. Drilling down, users can select a county to see how it compares to the rest of the state and to the country in average daily cases and deaths, and in social characteristics, such as percentage of residents who are African-American, percentage who live in poverty, percentage who are obese, percentage who have diabetes, and more. The dashboard allows users to compare counties within the same state, aggregating key metrics that tell a story of a community’s social and economic health.”


Small Business Administration: SBA Rolls Out Dedicated Tool for Small Businesses to Connect with CDFIs, Small Asset Lenders Participating in PPP. “Today, U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Jovita Carranza announced the launch of a dedicated online tool for small businesses and non-profits to be matched with Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs), Certified Development Companies (CDCs), Farm Credit System lenders, Microlenders, as well as traditional smaller asset size lenders in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).”


ABC 7: Is it safe to fly now? SoCal doctor lists extra precautions to take before and after boarding flight amid COVID-19 crisis. “From the new California mask mandate to what you need to know before getting on a plane this season — Dr. Anthony Cardillo, CEO of Mend Urgent Care and ER specialist, joined ABC7 via Skype to discuss the latest on the coronavirus pandemic.” Includes abbreviated text article.


WPTV: ‘Dramatic decline’ in average age of Florida coronavirus patients, Gov. Ron DeSantis says. “Calling it a ‘dramatic decline,’ Gov. Ron DeSantis says the average age of coronavirus patients in Florida has dropped significantly from the 60s months ago to 37 just last week. The governor held a news conference on Friday at the Ernest R. Graham Center on the campus of Florida International University in Miami-Dade County.”


BBC: Coronavirus: ‘Deadly masks’ claims debunked. “This week, face masks became mandatory on public transport in England, and changes to the use of face coverings in hospitals were introduced. The BBC’s anti-disinformation team has been investigating misleading claims about the health risks of face masks. Here is a look at some of the most widely seen examples on social media.”


Slate: “You’re Starting to Get Vacation Travelers Who Are Just Willing to Risk It.”. “Demand for flights is picking up. While the airline industry is still struggling to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, there have been reports of packed flights, filled primarily with vacation travelers defying warnings from public health experts. This development has been met by complicated feelings from those working in the industry: more flights means better job security, but also greater potential for exposure in the airports and staffing the planes. Slate spoke to a 34-year-old flight attendant with one of the ‘Big Three’ airlines (American, Delta, and United). He spoke on the condition of anonymity out of concern for his employment. His answers have been edited and condensed for clarity.”

San Diego Union-Tribune: Coronavirus puts poor Argentines’ soccer dreams on hold. “Worried the lost time is costing them shots at professional careers, some young players are giving up and succumbing to the temptations of drugs and alcohol. Others desperate to stay in shape are playing for money in dangerous illegal games that have caused outbreaks of COVID-19 among players, spectators and people who live near soccer fields.”


Baltimore Sun: How a West Baltimore nursing home has zero COVID-19 infections | COMMENTARY. “Here’s a key question for the Rev. Derrick DeWitt, director of the Maryland Baptist Aged Home in West Baltimore, a 100-year-old nursing facility that has had no coronavirus infections: What was the moment you realized the threat was real and that you had to take action to protect your residents and staff? ‘Right after President Trump said we had 15 cases and it would soon be down to zero.’ I dare not put words in a Baptist minister’s mouth, but it sounds like he listened to what the President of the United States had to say, then decided just the opposite would be true. ‘It does sound like that,’ Reverend DeWitt agreed.”

The Hill: WHO warns world faces ‘dangerous phase’ of coronavirus. “The World Health Organization (WHO) issued a sobering warning late this week about the status of the coronavirus pandemic, saying that the virus that has killed more than 460,000 people worldwide is still malignant.”


Deseret News: American Airlines passenger removed from flight for not wearing a mask. “American Airlines removed a passenger from a recent flight after the passenger refused to wear a mask onboard, a sign the national airline company is looking to enforce strict mask-wearing policies, according to multiple reports.”

CNN: Airlines ban alcohol on planes in response to Covid-19. “Alcohol sales may have boomed during lockdown, but our return to air travel will be an altogether more sobering experience. Airlines including Easyjet and KLM in Europe, Delta Air Lines and American Airlines in the United States, and Asia’s Virgin Australia, are suspending all or part of their alcoholic drinks service in response to Covid-19.”


The Scotsman: Face coverings to be made compulsory on Scottish public transport. “Industry sources said the move is expected to be announced as part of the next phase of lockdown easing. Demand for public transport is expected to increase, such as more shops are allowed to re-open.”

CNN: ‘There are two realities.’ What is really happening in Nicaragua during the pandemic?. “In the past three months, at least six politicians have died, although the details are vague on some of the causes. ‘Express burials’ are happening at night, witnesses told CNN, and doctors have been allegedly fired for raising alarm about the virus’ spread. Medical experts have also questioned government-released details about the country’s coronavirus infection rate.”


Washington Post: First female African American senior zookeeper at Baltimore zoo dies of covid-19. “There was magic and greatness when Mary Wilson interacted with the animals. Those who know her describe how a sick and immobile gorilla stirred for the first time in three months after she walked into a room. A chimpanzee that had just bitten off a woman’s ear hung his head in shame upon seeing her. And an elephant that had been roaming wildly through the zoo obediently marched back into his cage when she appeared. ‘She took time to sit and watch animals, enjoying the world from their perspective, not ours,’ said Mike McClure, who worked with Wilson as a zookeeper at the Maryland Zoo. ‘I never once got the feeling that Mary looked down on them or in any way saw them as pets. She treated the animals like equals.'”

Tennessean: Kid Rock’s honky-tonk, other bars have beer permits suspended for violating pandemic health rules. “The Metropolitan Beer Permit Board on Thursday issued a five-day beer permit suspension against four downtown bars for violating one of the Health Department’s COVID-19 restrictions. Moxy Nashville Downtown, Kid Rock’s Big Honky Tonk and Steakhouse, Broadway Brewhouse and Nudie’s Honky Tonk were seen serving patrons at the bar on Saturday.”


Slate: COVID Cases Are Rising. COVID Deaths Are Declining. Why?. “Cases of coronavirus are increasing in 20 states, with dramatic spikes found in places from Florida to California. Even so, overall deaths due to coronavirus are on the decline in the U.S. Part of that is thanks to how much better things are finally getting in New York, the former national epicenter of the pandemic. But even in some places where cases are spiking, the number of people checking into hospitals and dying of the coronavirus is actually stable, or even going down. What’s going on?”


Washington Post: In countries keeping the coronavirus at bay, experts watch U.S. case numbers with alarm. “As coronavirus cases surge in the U.S. South and West, health experts in countries with falling case numbers are watching with a growing sense of alarm and disbelief, with many wondering why virus-stricken U.S. states continue to reopen and why the advice of scientists is often ignored.”

Local 10: Coronavirus: Florida reports 4,049 more cases of COVID-19, third straight record day. “Florida reported 4,049 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, marking three straight days of record-breaking numbers. A then-record 3,822 new cases were confirmed by the state Friday, after 3,207 on Thursday.”

NBC News: Brazil tops 1 million cases as coronavirus spreads inland. “Brazil’s government confirmed Friday that the country has risen above 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases, second only to the United States. The country’s health ministry said that the total now stood at 1,032,913, up more than 50,000 from Thursday. The ministry said the sharp increase was due to corrections of previous days’ underreported numbers.”


Fortune: E-book reading is booming during the coronavirus pandemic. “The COVID-19 crisis forced bookstores and libraries to close across the country, which has ignited a revival in reading electronic books. The e-book market had been in decline for the past six years, but now that it’s one of the easiest ways to get new books during the pandemic, libraries and publishers report a surge of new interest.”

The Conversation: Domestic abusers use tech that connects as a weapon during coronavirus lockdowns. “The coronavirus pandemic has driven much of daily life – work, school, socializing – online. Unfortunately, perpetrators of violence against women and girls are also increasingly turning to technology in response to the pandemic.”


National Institutes of Health: All of Us Research Program launches COVID-19 research initiatives. “The All of Us Research Program, part of the National Institutes of Health, today announced that it is leveraging its significant and diverse participant base to seek new insights into COVID-19—through antibody testing, a survey on the pandemic’s impacts and collection of electronic health record information.”

Phys .org: Global urbanization created the conditions for the current coronavirus pandemic. “Wildlife trade, deforestation, land conversion, industrial animal farming and burning fossil fuels are contributing to the increasing frequency of novel zoonotic diseases. Urbanization is both a driver of zoonosis and a determining influence on human-nature and human-animal relationships.”


BBC: Coronavirus: Zimbabwe health minister in court on corruption charges. “Zimbabwe’s health minister is appearing in court in Harare charged with corruption over the procurement of coronavirus tests and equipment. Obadiah Moyo was arrested on Friday after the government came under pressure from the opposition and on social media.”

The Oklahoman: Oklahoma Supreme Court OKs Trump campaign rally. “The Oklahoma Supreme Court on Friday denied a request for a temporary injunction to stop the BOK Center in Tulsa from hosting a campaign rally for President Trump on Saturday.All nine justices agreed that the groups filing the lawsuit could point to no law requiring that the BOK Center management force people to wear masks or maintain certain distances.”


NBC News: Warren wants to know why Pence rejected U.S. goods in COVID fight. “Sen. Elizabeth Warren said Thursday that the Trump administration’s failure to prioritize American manufacturing during the initial stages of its COVID-19 response ‘likely contributed’ to the “ongoing spread of the disease.””

NBC News: Top members of coronavirus task force advised against Trump’s Tulsa rally. “Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, and task force response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx both vocalized concerns internally in the last week about the safety of holding a rally on Saturday with as many as 19,000 people in an enclosed arena in Tulsa, Oklahoma.”

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