coronabuzz

Tuesday CoronaBuzz, June 23, 2020: 30 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 – MEDICAL/HEALTH

Bungalower: New tool lets local governments identify urban populations most at-risk for COVID-19. “The Urban Health Vulnerability Index helps local governments and health planners to identify urban populations that are at high risk for COVID-19, including older adults and people with serious medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease based on Census data.”

The Sun: Map shows where public toilets are open near you. “FINDING a loo during lockdown is tricky – but a new map will help you locate your nearest public toilet. The Lockdown Loo website launched last week reveals the location of open public toilets as well as loos in pubs, restaurants and stations which can be used across the UK.”

NEW RESOURCES – EDUCATION/ENTERTAINMENT

Arizona State University: ASU psychology researcher creates game to promote understanding of how COVID-19 spreads. “The COVID-19 pandemic has led to widespread unemployment, remote working, school closures, business closures and overwhelmed health care systems. Mina Johnson-Glenberg, a research scientist in the Arizona State University Department of Psychology, created a web-based and augmented reality COVID-19 Modeling Simulation to create an engaging way to teach people how the virus spreads and ways to reduce transmission.” The game is currently available in alpha.

UPDATES

BBC: Coronavirus: Cinemas and museums set to reopen in England from 4 July. “Cinemas, museums and galleries will be able to reopen in England from 4 July, Boris Johnson is expected to announce on Tuesday as he outlines a further easing of coronavirus restrictions. Venues closed since the middle of March will be able to welcome visitors as long as safety measures are in place.”

SOCIETAL IMPACT

Bloomberg: An Epidemic of Contaminated Waste Is Following the Coronavirus. “During the peak of the crisis, Wuhan, the city where the outbreak began, generated 240 tons a day of medical refuse — six times the normal level, according to the nation’s Environment Ministry. Manila in the Philippines produced an additional 280 tons a day of medical trash, while Jakarta generated 212 tons, the Asian Development Bank estimated. Only a few countries have the capacity to handle the additional volumes, the bank said.”

NPR: Remembering Front-Line Workers Lost To COVID-19. “It has been five months since the novel coronavirus started infecting Americans. Since then, the U.S. has lost more than 120,000 people to the sickness it causes — COVID-19. So many have been touched by the deaths of family and friends. Here we remember just a few of those who continued working during the pandemic because their jobs called for it and who, ultimately, lost their lives.”

EurekAlert: “Bright spot” during COVID-19: Increased power from solar panels thanks to cleaner air. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, one unexpected outcome in cities around the world has been a reduction in air pollution, as people stay home to avoid contracting the coronavirus. Based on data collected in Delhi, India, researchers report that this cleaner air has led to more sunlight reaching solar panels, resulting in the production of more clean energy. The work appears June 19 in the journal Joule.”

CORPORATIONS

New York Times: New Yorkers Can Now Go Back to Offices, but Many Won’t. “Even as New York City has made significant progress fighting the coronavirus — its positive test rate now hovers around 1 percent, down significantly from about 60 percent in early April — many companies still see the virus as enough of a threat that they have decided to not bring workers back for months, if not longer. In a survey conducted this month by the Partnership for New York City, an influential business group, respondents from 60 companies with Manhattan offices predicted that only 10 percent of their employees would return by Aug. 15.”

GOVERNMENT

Union Bulletin: US seeks to reassure diplomats returning to Beijing after uproar. ” The State Department is seeking to reassure dozens of diplomats who are preparing to return to Beijing that China won’t be given total control over their coronavirus testing and that children and other family members won’t be separated if they are found positive, according to several people familiar with the matter.”

Tampa Bay Times: Florida’s surgeon general advises everyone to wear masks. ” As Florida’s positive COVID-19 cases soared to a one-day record on Saturday, Surgeon General Scott Rivkees quietly issued a public health advisory recommending people wear face masks in public.”

Buffalo News: NYS lawmakers still want hearings on Covid-19 nursing home deaths. ” New York lawmakers have held hearings on the disproportionate health effects by the Covid-19 pandemic on minority communities. They have held hearings on the pandemic’s impact on small businesses across the state. Still not called yet, however, is a public airing of why so many people – more than 6,000 – died from Covid-19 or Covid-suspected illnesses in state-regulated nursing homes.”

AP: Saudi Arabia to hold ‘very limited’ hajj due to virus. “Saudi Arabia said Tuesday that because of the coronavirus only ‘very limited numbers’ of people will be allowed to perform the annual hajj pilgrimage that traditionally draws around 2 million Muslims from around the world.”

Talking Points Memo: WH Ends Mandatory Temperature Tests For Staffers And Visitors. “The White House is no longer requiring its staffers and visitors to take temperature checks before entering the premises amid COVID-19. ‘In conjunction with Washington, D.C. entering Phase Two today, the White House is scaling back complex-wide temperature checks,’ White House spokesperson Judd Deere said in a statement.”

INDIVIDUALS / BANDS / GROUPS

Dunya News: As lockdown lifts, Barcelona plants enjoy a day at the opera. “The lights dim, the curtain rises and the music begins — all signs normal life has returned to Barcelona’s Liceu opera house, were the seats not filled with some 2,300 plants. After months of silence, the emblematic opera house located in central Barcelona decided to throw open its doors with a unique performance — a metaphor for the months of lockdown when nature took back space from people.”

HEALTH

Bloomberg: U.S. Preps for ‘Tremendous Burden’ of Flu, Covid Hit at Once. “Covid activity is expected to ‘continue for some time’ and ‘could place a tremendous burden’ on an already stretched health-care system if coupled with the influenza season that comes each fall, top officials including Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, will tell House lawmakers on Tuesday, according to prepared testimony.”

Raw Story: Arizonans waiting in 104 degree heat for over 5 hours to get COVID-19 tests before Trump arrival: NBC News reporter. “Coronavirus cases have climbed past 52,500 in Arizona, giving the state its highest hospitalization rate for the virus since April. In the midst of the ongoing health crisis, NBC News reporter Vaughn Hillyard told his own story about trying to get tested for the virus in the state — a test he’s seeking out after reporting amongst the massive crowds of protesters.”

NOLA: This new coronavirus evidence is plain as day, y’all. Wear a mask, Jeff Asher says.. “While some question the utility of masks, the evidence is clear. Experts and scientific studies clearly support face coverings as an effective means of preventing the spread of COVID-19. Universal adoption of this easy act would play a critical role in reducing the spread of the disease while enabling the resumption of many normal activities.”

OUTBREAKS

ESPN: Orlando Pride pull out of NWSL Cup after 10 positive coronavirus tests. “The Orlando Pride have withdrawn from the upcoming NWSL Challenge Cup after six players and four staffers tested positive for the coronavirus, a significant setback for a league attempting to become the first in American professional team sports to resume competition.”

Washington Post: Fear in the elevators, plexiglass in the mailroom: Coronavirus has spread inside D.C.’s largest apartment building. “Once, the Woodner was a swanky hotel and apartment complex, the largest air-conditioned building in the world when it opened in 1951. But the glitz and glamour have long since faded. And since March, the building’s managers have cut exterminators and repair work to reduce the risk of contagion. Residents have taken photos of trash piling up in the hallways and dirty floors in the laundry room. They gripe about bug and rodent infestations and about inconsistent answers when residents try to set up payment plans to delay their rent. And they worry especially that the management company has not shared any information about coronavirus cases in the building, even as more and more residents seem to have gotten infected. Frustrated tenants are withholding rent, signing petitions and, one day last month, holding a protest with social distancing outside the building.”

BBC: Coronavirus: Germany outbreak sparks fresh local lockdown. “German authorities in North Rhine-Westphalia are bringing back lockdown measures after a coronavirus outbreak linked to a meatpacking plant. More than 1,500 employees of the Tönnies plant have tested positive.”

TECHNOLOGY

CNN: Fugaku, the world’s fastest computer, is researching the spread of Covid-19. “For the first time in years, Japan has the fastest supercomputer in the world and it’s being used to research the spread and treatment of the novel coronavirus. Fugaku, which was developed by Fujitsu (FJTSF) and government research institute Riken, ranked first in the Top500 list of global supercomputers, Fujitsu and Riken announced on Tuesday. It marks the first time a Japanese system has taken the top slot since 2011.”

TimeOut: This new Instagram account is calling out the Miami businesses violating social-distancing guidelines. “The number of confirmed coronavirus cases continues to rise in Miami-Dade and some locals are fed up by the negligent behavior causing them to climb. One, in particular, is the person behind the new Instagram account @Covid_305, who, according to their bio, is ‘exposing business not following coronavirus guidelines here in Miami.’ The anonymous account launched on Friday, June 19, and has already chronicled dozens of violations at restaurants, rooftop bars and event spaces across the county.”

RESEARCH

Institute of Museum and Library Services: Research Shows Virus Undetectable on Five Highly Circulated Library Materials After Three Days. “Over the past few weeks, scientists at Battelle tested the virus on a variety of surfaces, in environments with standard temperature and relative humidity conditions typically found in air-conditioned office space. Materials tested in phase one included the cover of hardcover books (buckram cloth), the cover of softback books, plain paper pages inside a closed book, mylar protective book cover jackets, and plastic DVD cases. Battelle tests found the virus undetectable after one day on the covers of hardback and softback books as well as the DVD case. The virus was undetectable on the paper inside of a book and mylar book jackets after three days.”

Arizona State University: Limited access to water can increase COVID-19 risks. “Arizona State University School of Human Evolution and Social Change President’s Professor Amber Wutich co-authored an article citing reasons why households with unstable access to water may be more at risk for COVID-19. Beyond being unable to wash one’s hands frequently, water-sharing is common in communities with limited access to water, meaning increased contact in people’s homes or at public water sources. The article references a spike in COVID-19 in communities with limited water service within the Navajo Nation.”

EurekAlert: Lehigh University awarded state grant to develop coronavirus-killing functional material. “Lehigh’s project will address the transmission of SARS CoV viruses, including COVID-19, through contact with common surfaces, such as in healthcare settings and in public spaces. The team seeks to ‘chemically functionalize’ these surfaces with a novel polymer coating that will incapacitate the virus and prevent further transmission. The coating, which will disable the outermost ‘lipid or fatty envelope’ of the virus, will have long-lasting effects compared with typical disinfectants and cleaning products that primarily destroy the existing virus but become ineffective after a short time.”

Embry-Riddle: Random Boarding May Help Airlines Reduce Covid-19 Risks. “To reduce the spread of illness, some airlines have been keeping middle seats open, which is effective in reducing infection risk. Preliminary research based on computer simulations, however, suggests that random boarding of aircraft, rather than back-to-front boarding – a procedural response to the Covid-19 pandemic – may have an even greater impact, reducing exposure rates by about 50 percent.”

CRIME / SECURITY / LEGAL

New York Times: N.Y.’s Legal Limbo: Pandemic Creates Backlog of 39,200 Criminal Cases. “Since February, the backlog of pending cases in the city’s criminal courts has risen by nearly a third — to 39,200. Hundreds of jury trials in the city have been put on hold indefinitely. Arraignments, pleas and evidentiary hearings are being held by video, with little public scrutiny. Prosecutions have dropped off, too, as the authorities have tried to reduce the jail population.”

BuzzFeed News: A Judge Ruled The Trump Administration Must Face A Lawsuit Over Denying Coronavirus Checks To Undocumented Parents. ” A lawsuit filed by US citizen children whose undocumented immigrant parents were denied coronavirus stimulus checks can move forward after a judge rejected the Trump administration’s early attempt to get the case tossed out.”

OPINION

World Economic Forum: Why it’s crucial we redefine the workplace in the wake of the pandemic. “Last month, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced that the company would allow its employees, currently working from home in accordance with social-distancing protocols, to stay there for good. Several other big businesses – from Facebook to the French automaker PSA – have followed suit with plans to keep far more employees at home after the COVID-19 crisis ends. Will the office be yet another casualty of the pandemic?”

POLITICS

Voice of America: White House Downplays Rising US Coronavirus Rates . “The White House is downplaying the rising number of cases of the coronavirus in the United States. ‘We are trending in the right direction,’ White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters on Monday. The United States accounts for 20% of new coronavirus cases globally.”

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