Sunday CoronaBuzz, June 21, 2020: 26 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.


Hürriyet Daily News: Turkish cultural group brings virus emotions to life. “A Turkish cultural institute launched a digital art project that brings together expressions of emotions from around the world during the coronavirus pandemic. The Turkish nonprofit Yunus Emre Institute began the project when the pandemic struck the globe with a sea of unexpected experiences.”


Tampa Bay Times: Florida logs another 4,000-plus day as state approaches 94,000 coronavirus infections. “On yet another record-breaking day for Florida, coronavirus claimed its youngest victim in the state yet: a 17-year-old boy in Pasco County. Only three people statewide under 24 have died from COVID-19, the respiratory illness causes by the virus. This is the first time someone under 18 has died from coronavirus in Florida. The state added 4,049 new cases on Saturday, bringing the overall total to 93,797 total infections since the first recorded case in March.”


WXII: EXCLUSIVE: Bankruptcy cases plunge during coronavirus pandemic. “The number of bankruptcy filings nationwide during the coronavirus pandemic has actually plunged, down 34 percent for individuals and down 28 percent for businesses. Some states saw even steeper drops, including reductions of filings by individuals of 46 percent and 54 percent in Massachusetts and New York, respectively…. At first glance, it’s a counter-intuitive finding during the worst economy since the Great Depression. But Chris Mayfield, a business manager at Fitch Solutions for the PacerMonitor product, says trillions in federal stimulus and aid programs are temporarily keeping families and businesses afloat and out of bankruptcy court.”

BNN Bloomberg: The Pandemic Is Exacerbating America’s Systemic Food Inequality. ” Access to food has been unequal in America long before the onset of the coronavirus. But the pandemic has deepened the problem, with images of snaking lines at food banks bringing the harsh reality to light. Even in the U.S., one of the most food-secure nations in the world, millions face difficulty in accessing nutritious meals. Food inequality disproportionately impacts Americans of color, who’ve already been among the hardest hit by Covid-19 and its economic fallout.”


Variety: AMC Theatres Unveils Plans to Reopen During Coronavirus. “AMC Theatres, the world’s largest exhibitor, has unveiled plans to re-open after coronavirus forced it to close its more than 600 venues in the U.S. for nearly four months.”


DigitalVA: New Tool Helps VA Track and Analyze COVID-19 Data on the Ground. “In collaboration with VHA and Microsoft, experts in VA’s Office of Information and Technology (OIT) set out to build a summary and tracking tool that would help VHA gain better situational awareness of its patients and resources during the pandemic. The team rapidly built the National Surveillance Tool (NST) to meet VHA’s needs, and the tool has drawn interest across—and even outside—VA.”

Politico: Navy upholds firing of carrier captain who warned of coronavirus. “The Navy is upholding the firing of Capt. Brett Crozier, the former commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt who was relieved of duty after raising the alarm about a Covid-19 outbreak on his ship in March. The decision marks a major reversal of senior leaders’ previous recommendation to reinstate the captain, the Navy announced Friday.”

MilitaryTimes: Despite steady rise in coronavirus cases, VA officials push ahead with return to normal operations. “The number of Veterans Affairs patients with active cases of coronavirus rose to its highest level in three weeks on Thursday, but department officials insist the steady recent increase is not a cause for concern. As of Thursday morning, VA researchers reported 1,755 active cases of the deadly virus spread across 130 department medical centers. That’s the highest level since mid-May and is up more than 26 percent from May 28, when the department reported a low of 1,390 cases.”

CBS News: We bailed out banks. Should we bail out restaurants?. “A bipartisan coalition of lawmakers on Thursday introduced legislation to bail out restaurants, which have been battered by economic shutdowns around the U.S. caused by the coronavirus pandemic. More than 8 of 10 independent restaurants could close permanently, according to an analysis from the Independent Restaurant Coalition (IRC), a group formed to save afflicted restaurants, and Compass Lexecon, an economic consulting firm.”

WCBS: Cuomo Considers 14-Day Quarantine For Travelers From Florida. “Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he is considering requiring a 14-day quarantine for people arriving in New York from Florida as the Sunshine State sees an uptick in COVID-19 infections.”

Washington Post: Vermont borders states with major covid-19 outbreaks, but you won’t find that here. “Months into the pandemic, Vermont’s governor says the state is ‘the envy of the nation,’ with little more than 1,100 confirmed covid-19 infections and 56 deaths. Perhaps most remarkable is that Vermont has been relatively spared the effects of the disease even though a huge swath of the nation’s cases are mere hours from its borders; neighboring New York and Massachusetts have approximately half a million confirmed cases between them, and more than 37,000 deaths.”

Washington Post: CDC coronavirus test kits were likely contaminated, federal review confirms. “The test kits for detecting the nation’s earliest cases of the novel coronavirus failed because of ‘likely’ contamination at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, whose scientists did not thoroughly check the kits despite ‘anomalies’ during manufacturing, according to a new federal review. The review, conducted by two Department of Health and Human Services lawyers, also said there was ‘time pressure’ at the CDC to launch testing, and ‘lab practices that may have been insufficient to prevent the risk of contamination.’ The lawyers, from the department’s general counsel’s office, were not named.”

NPR: Whistleblower: TSA Failed To Protect Staff, Endangered Passengers During Pandemic. “The Transportation Security Administration withheld N95 masks from staff and exhibited ‘gross mismanagement’ in its response to the coronavirus crisis – leaving employees and travelers vulnerable during the most urgent days of the pandemic, a senior TSA official alleges in a new whistleblower complaint.”


CNN: Fauci warns of ‘anti-science bias’ being a problem in US. “The White House coronavirus task force has been out of public view as President Donald Trump has shown an urgency to move past the pandemic, downplay recent surges in Covid cases in some states, and get Americans back to work. But the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, has been warning Americans about the risk of further spread of the virus.”


Straits Times: Coronavirus lockdowns may be driving another virus wave: Dengue fever. “Getting people to hunker down at home has helped stem the coronavirus pandemic, but in parts of South-east Asia, it’s spurred another potentially deadly disease: dengue. The mosquito-borne viral illness, sometimes known as break-bone fever because of the joint-pain it inflicts, has skyrocketed in the tropical region just as the usual dengue-spreading season begins.”

NPR: As States Reopen, Do They Have The Workforce They Need To Stop Coronavirus Outbreaks?. “An NPR survey of state health departments shows that the national coronavirus contact tracing workforce has tripled in the past six weeks, from 11,142 workers to 37,110. Yet given their current case counts, only seven states and the District of Columbia are staffed to the level that public health researchers say is needed to contain outbreaks.”

ABC News: Latinos shoulder disproportionate coronavirus cases: CDC data. “Under the scorching Florida sun, Adriana Enrique picks fresh fruit and vegetables every day. Bearing the responsibility of being the only provider for her family and being deemed by the federal government as ‘essential,’ Enrique is among a demographic that new data suggests is bearing a disproportionate share of coronavirus cases.”

CNBC: Black doctors push for anti-bias training in medicine to combat health inequality. “George Floyd’s last words, ‘I can’t breathe,’ have become a rallying cry during the weeks of protests against police violence. Doctors writing in the New England Journal of Medicine use those words as a refrain to lay out how systemic racism has negatively impacted the health of African Americans and how this is the moment to change it.”


NBC Sports: Coronavirus outbreak at Phillies camp in Clearwater hits 5 players. “Five Phillies players who had been training at the team’s facility in Clearwater, Florida have tested positive for coronavirus in recent days, multiple sources tell NBC Sports Philadelphia. In addition to the five players, three staff members have tested positive. The identities of those infected is not known.”


Complex: Here’s the ‘Smart Ring’ NBA Players Will Wear to Monitor COVID-19 Symptoms While in Orlando. “Included in the NBA’s plan to restart the 2019-2020 season at Walt Disney World in Orlando is that players will be given the option to wear Oura smart rings to detect if and when they begin showing symptoms of COVID-19.”


New York Times: You May Have Antibodies After Coronavirus Infection. But Not for Long. “It’s a question that has haunted scientists since the pandemic began: Does everyone infected with the virus produce antibodies — and if so, how long do they last? Not very long, suggests a new study published Thursday in Nature Medicine. Antibodies — protective proteins made in response to an infection — may last only two to three months, especially in people who never showed symptoms while they were infected.” The article stresses that the antibodies might not last long, but that doesn’t speak to how long immunity may or may not last.


Bloomberg Opinion: Can Independent Bookstores Survive Covid-19?. “The pandemic has crushed independent booksellers across the country so ferociously, their futures are as precarious as they’ve ever been. There were about 1,887 independent book-selling companies running 2,524 stores nationwide in 2019, up from 1,401 booksellers running 1,651 stores a decade earlier, according to the American Booksellers Association. It’s hard to see how this growth spurt won’t be reversed now, given how many booksellers say they’re struggling to remain afloat. During the first few weeks of the corona-crisis alone, the Book Industry Charitable Foundation, a nonprofit that supports indies, received applications for emergency financial support from more than 670 booksellers.”

New York Times: In This Pandemic, Personal Echoes of the AIDS Crisis. “The understanding that we were sheltering in place because this was our best chance at surviving our health care system’s ability to respond to the coronavirus felt like a distinct crisis from the older one I knew. But after a trip to the grocery store, while separating the items that needed washing, I found the spray bottle of bleach solution the cashier used to wipe down the counter in my bags — in the chaos, she had included it. As I walked with it to the bathroom to wash it, I had a 30-year-old memory of a walk from my bedroom to my bathroom in my old apartment in San Francisco, to dispose of a condom, conjured by the fear that an unseen virus was on an object in my home.”


ProPublica: Inside the Trump Administration’s Decision to Leave the World Health Organization. “Despite Trump’s declared exit from the WHO, officials continued working toward reforms and to prevent withdrawal. This week, they were told they must justify any cooperation with the WHO on the grounds of national security and public health safety.”

New York Post: Florida gov blames coronavirus rise on ‘overwhelmingly Hispanic’ workers. “Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis pointed to clusters of ‘overwhelmingly Hispanic’ day laborers and agriculture workers driving the state’s recent coronavirus spike — but farmworkers and industry associations argue that resources and testing came too late to those communities, according to new reports.”

CREW: Jacksonville Apparently Has No Health Guidelines For Republican National Convention. “A lack of records around responding to the coronavirus pandemic is getting to be a pattern. FEMA told us it could not find any records of criteria it uses to make distributions of PPE to states from the Strategic National Stockpile or records of any communication with the White House about making the distributions.”

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