Saturday CoronaBuzz, June 27, 2020: 33 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.


The Brussels Times: Belgians can now track coronavirus per municipality. “This week, Belgium’s national research institute Sciensano launched a new tool with which both authorities and citizens can track the number of new infections in their municipality. As the institute has stopped holding press conferences to announce the latest figures for new infections, hospital admissions and deaths in Belgium, it launched a tool for citizens to keep track of the situation themselves.”


Connacht Tribune: Cathedral’s annual series of summer recitals goes online. “The Galway Cathedral annual season of summer recitals will take place online this year due to Covid-19, and is running from next Thursday, July 2, to Thursday, July 30, at 8pm nightly. Each organ recital will last for 20 minutes.”


Politico: Trump administration restores federal funding for Texas testing sites. “The Trump administration is reversing its decision to cut federal support for five drive-thru coronavirus testing sites in Texas this month after a formal request from Gov. Greg Abbott and criticism from Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz.”


CNN: Fact check: As pandemic situation worsens, Pence paints a deceptively rosy picture. “At a Friday press briefing by the White House’s coronavirus task force, the first in nearly two months, task force leader Pence painted a rosy picture of a country steadily getting safer and back to normal. It was a picture at odds with reality. Leaving out critical information, Pence delivered a more polished version of the upbeat, all-is-well dishonesty that was a hallmark of previous briefings by President Donald Trump, who did not attend the Friday session.”

BBC: Coronavirus: 5G and microchip conspiracies around the world. “Some of the most persistent conspiracy theories surrounding the coronavirus pandemic have continued to spread around the world. We’ve picked out some of the most pervasive false claims and look at how far they’ve travelled.”


Phys .org: Global economic stability could be difficult to recover in the wake of the COVID-19, finds study. “Analysis from the University of Surrey suggests that the economies of countries such as America, the United Kingdom and Germany should prepare for a long slow recovery with prolonged periods of instability.”

Hollywood Reporter: Remote Comedy From ‘Blindspot’ Creator Nabs NBC Series Pickup. “NBC is the first broadcast network to greenlight a scripted comedy series set in the time of the novel coronavirus pandemic. The network has handed out an eight-episode, straight-to-series order for Connecting, an ensemble comedy about a group of friends trying to stay close — and sane — through video chats as they share the highs and lows of these extraordinary times.”

Refinery29: The New Instagram Drama That’s Based On Real Women’s Sex Lives In Lockdown. “This is Sex Lives, a new project which asks women to share, anonymously, their experiences of sex in lockdown. Their stories, memories, fantasies and feelings have been made into a new online series of mini dramas, performed by a cast of British actors, filmed on Zoom and released weekly on Instagram.”


Washington Post: Airlines tried social distancing on board. For many, that experiment is ending.. “After capping the number of people on flights since April, American Airlines announced Friday that its planes will likely be full in a few days. ‘As more people continue to travel, customers may notice that flights are booked to capacity starting July 1,’ the airline said in a news release. ‘American will continue to notify customers and allow them to move to more open flights when available, all without incurring any cost.'”


NBC News: Florida counties fight coronavirus surge by closing beaches, mailing out masks. “Amid rising numbers of coronavirus cases in Florida, all beaches in Miami-Dade County will be closed for the July 4 weekend, the county’s top executive said Friday. Beaches and parks will also be off-limits for public viewing of fireworks, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez said in a statement.”

New York Times: E.U. Plans to Bar Most U.S. Travelers When Bloc Reopens. “The European Union is ready to bar most travelers from the United States, Russia, and dozens of other countries considered too risky because they have not controlled the coronavirus outbreak, E.U. officials said Friday.”

ProPublica: FEMA Ordered $10.2 Million in COVID-19 Testing Kits It’s Now Warning States Not to Use. “The Federal Emergency Management Agency has warned states not to use COVID-19 testing supplies it bought under a $10.2 million contract after a ProPublica investigation last week showed the vendor was providing contaminated and unusable mini soda bottles.”

Click Orlando: Coronavirus: You can no longer drink alcohol at bars in Florida. “With coronavirus numbers climbing and cases trending younger, Florida officials made the decision to immediately prohibit the consumption of alcohol at bars statewide — again. The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, which oversees alcohol licenses, made the announcement Friday morning on Twitter. No information was offered on how long the moratorium will be in place.”

The Guardian: Florida governor under fire over claims state is ‘cooking the books’ on Covid-19. “Republican Florida governor Ron DeSantis’s faltering response to soaring new coronavirus numbers in his state is descending into acrimony, after an accusation his administration is ‘cooking the books’ in an effort to hide the true impact of the devastating pandemic. The claim from the state’s former leading Covid-19 data scientist comes as Florida smashed its own one-day record for new cases of the disease on Friday with 8,942, after two successive days above 5,000 – by far the highest figures since the pandemic began.”


New York Times: A Governor on Her Own, With Everything at Stake. “One of the many disorienting features of this disorienting time has been the stark absence of executive leadership. The job of steering the nation through these epic convulsions has instead fallen to the nation’s governors. I first spoke with [Gretchen] Whitmer on April 29, seven weeks after Michigan reported its first two cases of Covid-19. At the time, I wanted to understand what it was like to govern through a global pandemic. ”

Hollywood Reporter: TikTok Trump Impersonator Becomes Hollywood Commodity: “It’s Been Insane”. “Sarah Cooper has been called many things — writer, actress, stand-up comedian, former Google staffer, TikTok superstar, etc. But on a recent outing from her Brooklyn apartment, someone on the street saw her and shouted out a name that perfectly summed up Cooper’s surprise pandemic fame: Donald Trump.”

Raw Story: Co-founder of ReOpen Maryland tests positive for COVID-19: ‘It’s funny how capricious this thing is’. “The co-founder of the ReOpen Maryland movement says he has tested posted for the coronavirus. Tim Walters posted a series of Facebook videos about his illness, but said he would not cooperate with contact-tracing efforts by public health officials, reported The Baltimore Sun.”


Phys .org: 1/3 of parents in 3 states may not send children to school because of COVID-19. “And as lawmakers and educators reimagine the K-12 model for fall, a new survey assessed parents’ plans for in-person school and support for 15 potential measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 in schools in Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio.”


Nature: Mounting clues suggest the coronavirus might trigger diabetes. “Diabetes is already known to be a key risk factor for developing severe COVID-191 and people with the condition are more likely to die2. ‘Diabetes is dynamite if you get COVID-19,’ says Paul Zimmet, who studies the metabolic disease at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. Now Zimmet is among a growing number of researchers who think that diabetes doesn’t just make people more vulnerable to the coronavirus, but that the virus might also trigger diabetes in some3. ”

Washington Post: Is it safer to fly or drive this summer? 5 health experts weigh in.. “With more than 100,000 deaths in the United States attributed to the coronavirus, Allison Walker, a senior epidemiologist in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Travelers’ Health Branch, says ‘there’s really no such thing as safe travel.’ Whether you’re driving or flying, there may be health concerns because of a variety of factors.”

CNET: What’s anosmia? Loss of smell a hot topic in states hit hard by coronavirus. “People in US states hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic are searching for information on one of its more unusual symptoms — anosmia, the loss of ones sense of smell. According to Google Trends, searches related to the symptom over the last week are significantly rising in states such as Texas and Arizona, which are among the places with the highest rates of new cases in the US.”

New York Times: 43% of U.S. Coronavirus Deaths Are Linked to Nursing Homes. “At least 54,000 residents and workers have died from the coronavirus at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities for older adults in the United States, according to a New York Times database. As of June 26, the virus has infected more than 282,000 people at some 12,000 facilities.”

Houston Chronicle: As Texans try to escape COVID-19 in Big Bend, the virus follows along. “It’s 114 degrees in the Chihuahuan Desert but the Texans just keep coming. Typically tourism to Big Bend National Park dwindles in June and July when temperatures reach life-threatening levels. But this year the numbers at the park are climbing along with the temperature, said Tom VandenBerg, chief of interpretation and visitor services at the park. ‘We are getting a lot more than usual for this time of year,’ said VandenBerg, assuming many people are looking for a reprieve from the months of COVID-19 restrictions.”


Reuters: France reports more than 1,500 new coronavirus cases, a first since end-May. “France reported more than 1,500 new confirmed novel coronavirus cases on Friday, a spike unseen since May 30, while the number of additional fatalities linked to the virus rose by the highest amount in three days. French health authorities said in a statement the total of newly confirmed infections rose by 1,588, way above both the daily average of 498 seen over the last seven days and the 430 daily average since the beginning of June.”


City A.M.: Google reveals coronavirus support package for UK businesses “Google has today launched a number of pledges to support British small businesses during the pandemic, as part of a bid to help companies stay open through boosting online performance. The tech firm said it has set a goal of helping 1m businesses by the end of 2021, particularly focusing on those which rely on in-person interactions such as in the hospitality industry.”

Skift: Google Is Providing Search Data to Air France, Lufthansa, Other Airlines Looking to Decide Which Routes to Restart. “Google is rolling out a new tool that provides airline partners with search data that carriers are using to help decide which routes to restart and when. Unlike existing data from Google for airlines about their own performance across Google products, the newly provided data provides a market-wide view of consumer intent based on flight searches regardless of airline.”

BetaNews: How COVID-19 sparked a revolution in healthcare machine learning and AI. “As with nearly every element of the healthcare system, applications of machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) have also been transformed by the pandemic. Although the power of machine learning and AI was being put to significant use prior to the Coronavirus outbreak, there is now increased pressure to understand the underlying patterns to help us prepare for any epidemic that might hit the world in the future.”


CNET: The CDC expands its list of coronavirus symptoms. “As the rate of new coronavirus cases climbs and the White House Coronavirus Task Force reconvenes after a nearly two-month break, the US Centers for Disease Control has added new symptoms to its list of signs that a person could have the COVID-19 illness.”

EurekAlert: Brazilian startup seeks to develop a wholly indigenous COVID-19 diagnostic test. “Researchers at Biolinker, a biotech startup based in São Paulo, Brazil, are developing a low-cost high-performance COVID-19 diagnostic test using only locally sourced inputs. Biolinker is incubated at the University of São Paulo’s Center for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Technology (CIETEC), jointly run by the University of São Paulo (USP) and the Nuclear and Energy Research Institute (IPEN).”


BBC: Liverpool: Crowds celebrating title win despite coronavirus fears ‘told to leave’. “Football fans who gathered in Liverpool for a second night after their team netted the Premier League title have been asked to leave by police. A dispersal order was issued around the city centre after groups came out again on Friday to celebrate Liverpool’s first title win in 30 years.”

New York Times: U.S. Must Release Children From Family Detention Centers, Judge Rules. “The order to release the children by July 17 came after plaintiffs in a long-running case reported that some of them have tested positive for the virus. It applies to children who have been held for more than 20 days in the detention centers run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, two in Texas and one in Pennsylvania.”

Courthouse News Service: Alaska Native Corporations Owed Share of Covid-19 Emergency Aid, Judge Rules. “Corporations operating for-profit and providing health care to Alaskan Natives deserve a share of the $8 billion Congress set aside for tribal governments during the coronavirus pandemic, a federal judge in Washington ruled Friday. U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta had originally blocked the Treasury Department from sending money out to the Alaska Native Corporations after twelve tribes fired off lawsuits arguing the private organizations do not operate as tribal governments.”


CNN: Measures to protect Trump from coronavirus scale up even as he seeks to move on. “When he travels to locations where the virus is surging, every venue the President enters is inspected for potential areas of contagion by advance security and medical teams, according to people familiar with the arrangements. Bathrooms designated for the President’s use are scrubbed and sanitized before he arrives. Staff maintain a close accounting of who will come into contact with the President to ensure they receive tests.”

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