coronabuzz

Sunday CoronaBuzz, June 28, 2020: 48 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

University of Colorado Boulder: COVID-19 Airborne Transmission Tool Available. “Many of us face a constant barrage of decisions during this global pandemic: How dangerous is it to ride the bus? To teach and/or attend class? What’s my risk in a public demonstration? University of Colorado Boulder atmospheric chemist Jose-Luis Jimenez has released a pilot tool that may help us answer some of these questions, or at least provide some informed guidance.”

Diagnostic Imaging: RSNA Launches Own Open COVID-19 Medical Images Database. “The Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) launched what could likely become the largest open international database of COVID-19 images. Known as RICORD (RSNA International COVID-19 Open Radiology Database), and created in concert with the RSNA COVID-19 Task Force, it already has received expressed interest to participate from more than 200 institutions globally. With accompanying clinical information and expert annotations, RSNA leaders say the intent is for radiologists to use the significant de-identified data compilation for research and educational efforts that will save lives.”

New Indian Express: CCMB’s web app gives peek into one thousand plus coronavirus genomes. “As India crossed the milestone of sequencing 1,000 genomes of SARS-CoV-2, Hyderabad-based Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) has come out with an interactive web app named Genome Evolution Analysis Resource for COVID-19 (GEAR-19). GEAR-2019 gives an interesting peek into the outcome of efforts put in by scientists and researchers from 33 contributing laboratories across the country, for sequencing 1,031 genomes of SARS-CoV-2.”

NEW RESOURCES – EDUCATION/ENTERTAINMENT

University of Toronto News: U of T librarian creates online resource to fight COVID-19 misinformation . “In the midst of the pandemic, experts are raising alarms about another public health threat: an ‘infodemic’ of online medical misinformation and disinformation about COVID-19. In an effort to fight the spread of faulty facts, Vincci Lui, a librarian at the University of Toronto’s Gerstein Science Information Centre, has put together a new online library resource for the U of T community: ‘How can I spot misinformation about the coronavirus and COVID-19?'”

UPDATES

NBC News: China declares new outbreak contained after massive testing effort. “Two weeks ago the Chinese capital went into ‘wartime emergency mode,’ renewing fears about a potential second coronavirus spike. Now, according to health officials, the outbreak is contained and the daily increase in cases has now mostly fallen to single digits.”

ABC News: US tops 2.5 million confirmed cases. “Over 9.8 million people across the globe have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new respiratory virus, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. The actual numbers are believed to be much higher due to testing shortages, many unreported cases and suspicions that some governments are hiding the scope of their nations’ outbreaks. The United States has become the worst-affected country, with more than 2.5 million diagnosed cases and at least 125,039 deaths.”

FACT CHECKS

Poynter: How Faktograf worked across borders to stem COVID-19 misinformation in southeastern Europe. “Misinformation doesn’t care about borders, especially in southeastern Europe, where trust in the media tends to be low and news avoidance is sky-high. False news can spread quickly via popular messenger apps like Viber and WhatsApp. That has been the key takeaway from Faktograf’s COVID-19 experience. The Zagreb-based fact-checking organization knows that mis- and disinformation are as much of a problem in nearby Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia as they are in Croatia. Tackling the issue in one country isn’t enough.”

SOCIETAL IMPACT

AP: Nurses, doctors feel strain as virus races through Arizona. “They saw the ominous photos: Crowded hospitals, exhausted nurses, bodies piling up in morgues. It was far away, in New York, northern Italy and other distant places. Now, after three months of anxiously waiting and preparing, Arizona nurses and doctors are on the front lines as the coronavirus rips through the state, making it one of the world’s hot spots. The trickle of a few virus patients in March became a steady stream two weeks after Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey ended a stay-home order in mid-May and allowed most businesses to reopen, and is now a scourge with no end in sight.”

Fast Company: Masks, gloves, and other coronavirus waste are starting to fill up our oceans. “It’s not news that our trash eventually finds its way to the ocean. Because oceans are downstream, litter will eventually find a pathway into our bodies of water if it’s not discarded properly—and often even if it is. But as the COVID-19 crisis slowly generates a new kind of waste, made up of disposable masks and other PPE items, it’s posing new problems for the Earth’s oceans. The flood of PPE could cause immediate danger to wildlife and long-term plastic pollution that threatens to contaminate food supplies.”

Route Fifty: Don’t Bet on a Quick Recovery. “Mary Daly is the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. (She does not sit on the Fed panel that sets the country’s interest rates, but will next year.) As a labor economist and a policy maker, she has been vocal about using the tools of government to address financial inequality, and about the ‘diversity crisis’ in economics. We discussed this unusual recession, the limits of monetary policy, and representation at the Fed. This interview has been lightly edited for clarity and length.”

New York Times: The Post-Coronavirus Cruise? Not Ready to Sail. “W. Bradford Gary spent 10 days trapped inside a cruise ship cabin off the coast of Brazil in March while health authorities in several countries scrambled to figure out what to do with a vessel full of older people who had potentially been exposed to the coronavirus. But when faced with the question of whether he’d ever cruise again, he doesn’t hesitate. ‘We are very anxious to get back on board,’ he said, and he believes he’s not alone: ‘There are people like us who want to do this.'”

The Guardian: UK theatres sweat on whether make-or-break panto season can go ahead. “The UK’s beleaguered theatres have warned that panto season could be cancelled, leading to catastrophic losses in revenue, unless the government is able to reassure people that live performances will continue in the winter.”

New York Times: Going Up? Not So Fast: Strict New Rules to Govern Elevator Culture. “Small, crowded, enclosed spaces are petri dishes for the coronavirus. But in urban office buildings, elevators are a necessity, so companies are wrestling with how to make them safer.”

Under the Ancient Oaks: Online Pagan Rituals: We’re Learning As We Go. “The last public ritual I attended was Denton CUUPS’ Anthesteria celebration on January 25. That’s five months and counting, with no end in sight. I haven’t gone this long between major group rituals since 2003. But the work of ritual goes on, pandemic or no pandemic. We still have Gods to honor and holy days to celebrate. Plus we’re 21st century Pagans – if we can’t be together, we can gather online. I’ve done video rituals for the Spring Equinox, Beltane, and the Summer Solstice. I’m learning the ins and outs of online rituals, and that’s what I want to discuss in this post.”

Washington Post: Almost one-third of black Americans know someone who died of covid-19, survey shows. “Nearly 1 in 3 black Americans know someone personally who has died of covid-19, far exceeding their white counterparts, according to a Washington Post-Ipsos poll that underscores the coronavirus pandemic’s profoundly disparate impact. The nationwide survey finds that 31 percent of black adults say they know someone firsthand who has been killed by the virus, compared with 17 percent of adults who are Hispanic and 9 percent who are white.”

BUSINESS / CORPORATIONS

MikeShouts: adidas Collaborates With Carbon To Produce 3D Printed Face Shields For U.S. Healthcare Workers. “The German sporting equipment maker has collaborated with 3D printing specialist, Carbon, Inc., to make face shields using the same material co-created for adidas’ 4D midsoles. The material is Elastomeric Polyurethane, a highly elastic, tear resistant material that can be sanitized and reused which should help eliminate waste.”

GOVERNMENT

CBS News: Federal officials allowed distribution of COVID-19 antibody tests after they knew many were flawed. “Federal officials failed to immediately stop the distribution of many COVID-19 antibody tests they knew were flawed, leading to inaccurate data about the spread of the virus. Congress is now investigating why the FDA did not review the tests it allowed to be distributed widely throughout the U.S.”

Salt Lake Tribune: Utah businesses can get a ‘seal of approval’ if they commit to these steps to fight COVID-19. “The Salt Lake Chamber has launched its latest strategy for making customers feel safer as they venture out to Utah businesses during the pandemic. Unveiled to the public Thursday in collaboration with the Utah Department of Health, the chamber’s Stay Safe to Stay Open campaign offers business owners a publicly visible ‘seal of approval’ if they pledge to stick with the latest health guidelines.”

AP: Governors face competing voices as reported virus cases rise. “With reported coronavirus cases rising rapidly in many states, governors are getting lots of advice on what they should do. Unions want to be sure workers are protected on the job. Many business owners say they can’t afford another forced shutdown. Public health officials urge them to make mask-wearing a statewide requirement. At the same, governors are facing blowback on the right over business restrictions and mask regulations.”

ProPublica: A Company Run by a White House “Volunteer” With No Experience in Medical Supplies Got $2.4 Million From the Feds for Medical Supplies . “A $2.4 million deal to supply the Bureau of Prisons with surgical gowns was the second multimillion dollar contract for coronavirus supplies that went to somebody who did work for the White House but had little relevant experience.”

CNBC: Washington state stops counties from moving to full reopening as coronavirus cases rise. “Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced on Saturday that the state would halt some of its counties from moving into the next phase of reopening as the coronavirus shows signs of accelerating.”

INDIVIDUALS / BANDS / GROUPS

The Hindu: Kerala Dialogue | Counterforces will emerge post COVID-19 pandemic: Noam Chomsky. “Academician and author Noam Chomsky said on Friday that power-wielding people who are benefiting from U.S. President Donald Trump’s malice are working hard to ensure that the world that comes emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic will be structurally like the one that caused it.”

CBS News: Texas governor says “If I could go back and redo anything, I would slow down the reopening of bars”. “As the number of people hospitalized in Texas from the coronavirus surpassed 5,000 on Friday, Governor Greg Abbott said he should not have rushed ahead with reopening bars. The news comes as Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House Coronavirus Task Force coordinator, said Friday that Texas is one of the two states with the largest increase in positive coronavirus cases as the country reported the highest single-day increase in new cases.”

EDUCATION

New York Times: Many Students Will Be in Classrooms Only Part of the Week This Fall. “Some American school districts are beginning to announce hybrid schedules that include a mix of online and in-school learning, presenting a difficult challenge for working parents.”

HEALTH

Poynter: We are likely a couple of weeks away from a surge in COVID-19 deaths. “For more than a month, health officials have warned us that if we do not stop spreading the virus, we will pay a price in July. COVID-19 illness cases are way up in the United States but deaths are down. But deaths lag behind new cases by a few weeks, so we can expect these record-breaking new cases will show up in deaths in July. The bill is coming due. We knew when the country loosened up around Memorial Day that cases would go up. Now, we are on the cusp of July 4, and we are also spreading the virus like crazy. If we don’t collectively act to protect each other, health experts are warning we could see a July that marks an exponential growth in cases. Not just a little rise — an explosive increase.”

Bloomberg: Trump’s Tulsa Rally Drew People From Dozens of Virus Hot Spots in U.S.. “Mobile-phone location data from people who attended President Donald Trump’s rally in Oklahoma show that most came from outside Tulsa, hailing from at least 44 counties spread across 12 states. Covid-19 is on the rise in 33 of them.”

Washington Post: Young people urged to take virus more seriously as pandemic worsens in U.S.. “While the virus is most dangerous to the elderly, it can be devastating to younger victims as well, health professionals said. Younger coronavirus patients are a widening percentage of total coronavirus hospitalizations, with those in the 18 to 49 age group growing from about 27 percent of hospitalizations the week ending March 7 to 35 percent this past week, CDC figures show.”

New York Times: How the World Missed Covid-19’s Silent Spread. “Symptomless transmission makes the coronavirus far harder to fight. But health officials dismissed the risk for months, pushing misleading and contradictory claims in the face of mounting evidence.”

ABC 7: CDC adds pregnant women to list of people at higher risk of severe coronavirus illness. “The nation’s top public health agency on Thursday revamped its list of which Americans are at higher risk for severe COVID-19 illness, adding pregnant women and removing age alone as a factor. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also changed the list of underlying conditions that make someone more susceptible to suffering and death. Sickle cell disease joined the list, for example. And the threshold for risky levels of obesity was lowered.”

OUTBREAKS

New York Post: NY student sparks COVID-19 cluster after returning from Florida. “Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Saturday called on state investigators to probe a COVID-19 cluster in Westchester, believed to be caused by a student who returned from coronavirus hotspot Florida — and then attended a graduation ceremony in posh Chappaqua.”

Washington Post: How Arizona ‘lost control of the epidemic’. “Arizona has emerged as an epicenter of the early summer coronavirus crisis as the outbreak has expanded, flaring across new parts of the country and, notably, infecting more young people. Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, is recording as many as 2,000 cases a day, ‘eclipsing the New York City boroughs even on their worst days,’ warned a Wednesday brief by disease trackers at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, which observed, ‘Arizona has lost control of the epidemic.'”

CNN: Patrons are asked to self-quarantine after about 85 people who visited a Michigan bar get Covid-19. “People who visited a bar in East Lansing, Michigan, are being asked to self-quarantine because roughly 85 people contracted Covid-19 after visiting the establishment this month, a health official says. That number is up from the 34 reported Wednesday and is expected to rise, Ingham County Health officer Linda S. Vail told CNN.”

TECHNOLOGY

NPR: Parts Of Myanmar Unaware Of COVID-19 Due To Internet Ban, Rights Advocates Say. “An Internet shutdown that began a year ago in parts of Myanmar is keeping some villages unaware of the coronavirus pandemic, humanitarian groups say. Restrictions on mobile Internet were put in place in eight townships in the state of Rakhine – and one in nearby Chin state — in June of last year amid fighting between the country’s military and an ethnic minority, the Rakhine, and their Arakan Army.”

ZDNet: Middle East: Web-chat services unblocked but big tech projects take a hit in COVID crisis. “Businesses and societies around the world have been hit hard by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. But what has been the specific impact on tech use and adoption in a region as diverse as the Middle East?”

RESEARCH

Route Fifty: How Did Americans Spend Their Stimulus Payments? New Data Offers Clues.. “More than two-thirds of people living in households where someone has received or expects a cash payment under a federal coronavirus relief program have used the money mostly for expenses—particularly costs like housing, utilities and food, according to new survey data.”

ZDNet: Surveilling the virus: unprecedented amounts of genetic data and smart software are tracking how COVID-19 metamorphoses around the world. “The world has been obsessed with surveillance of a particular kind for six months: watching people to see who’s sick. There is another form of surveillance that is just as important but less well understood, and that is the attempt to track how the SARS-CoV-2 virus itself is metamorphosing as it spreads around the world.”

Reuters: Special Report: As world approaches 10 million coronavirus cases, doctors see hope in new treatments. “Doctors say they’ve learned enough about the highly contagious virus to solve some key problems for many patients. The changes could be translating into more saved lives, although there is little conclusive data. Nearly 30 doctors around the world, from New Orleans to London to Dubai, told Reuters they feel more prepared should cases surge again in the fall.”

STAT News: When Covid-19 hits the brain, it can cause strokes, psychosis and a dementia-like syndrome, new survey shows . “A new survey reveals a wide range of serious psychiatric and neurological complications tied to Covid-19 — including stroke, psychosis, and a dementia-like syndrome. The study underscores how aggressively the coronavirus can attack beyond the lungs, and the risk the disease can pose to younger adults.”

CRIME / SECURITY / LEGAL

New York Times: Russian Criminal Group Finds New Target: Americans Working at Home. “A Russian ransomware group whose leaders were indicted by the Justice Department in December is retaliating against the U.S. government, many of America’s largest companies and a major news organization, identifying employees working from home during the pandemic and attempting to get inside their networks with malware intended to cripple their operations.”

WRAL: Lt. Gov. Forest to sue Cooper over coronavirus shutdown orders. “Lt. Gov. Dan Forest said Thursday that he plans to sue Gov. Roy Cooper over alleged violations of the state Emergency Management Act during the coronavirus pandemic. ‘The governor has repeatedly ignored the law, enacting mandates that selectively target the businesses and citizens of North Carolina without concurrence from a majority of the Council of State,’ Forest said in a statement.”

OPINION

Washington Post: Making men feel manly in masks is, unfortunately, a public-health challenge of our time. “It’s weird, the things that will break you sometimes. The world is a giant toilet right now, but you’re still paddling as best you can, and then something random and minuscule causes you to throw up your hands and say, ‘I give up — flush us all!’ For me this week that thing was Dick Cheney launching the hashtag #RealMenWearMasks.”

POLITICS

AP: What to wear: Feds’ mixed messages on masks sow confusion. “First there was the don’t-do-it phase. Then the nice-but-not-for-me dissonance. Followed by the local-rules-don’t-apply exceptions. Topped off by Trump’s stated suspicion that some people wear masks just to troll him. It has all added up to a murky message about one of the critical tools in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. And the politicization of the to-wear-or-not-to-wear debate is clear in recent public polling.”

Washington Post: Workers removed thousands of social distancing stickers before Trump’s Tulsa rally, according to video and a person familiar with the set-up. “In the hours before his rally in Tulsa, President Trump’s campaign directed the removal of thousands of ‘Do Not Sit Here, Please!’ stickers from seats in the arena that were intended to establish social distance between rallygoers, according to video and photos obtained by The Washington Post and a person familiar with the event.”

Texas Monthly: The COVID-Related Death of a Local Republican Official Points to the Risks of an In-Person Texas GOP Convention. “On June 6, Bill Baker, a longtime GOP activist, attended the Kaufman County Republican Party convention, at a church in the town of Talty, thirty minutes outside Dallas. There, a handful of party faithful gathered in preparation for the statewide party convention in Houston next month. Figures like Baker make the Texas GOP run at its most fundamental level. He had been a party activist for twenty years, he wrote on his Facebook page in March, seven of which he had served as the chairman of the Kaufman County GOP. This year’s county convention was one of many local and state conventions he had been to over the years, but it would also be his last. On June 11, Baker was admitted to the hospital. He had contracted COVID-19. On June 25, while being intubated, he had a heart attack and died. He was 75.”

Washington Post: With Trump leading the way, America’s coronavirus failures exposed by record surge in new infections. “The White House has blocked Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, from some appearances that he has requested to do in recent weeks, according to two people familiar with the matter. White House aides have argued that television interviewers often try to goad Fauci into criticizing the president or the administration’s approach, and that Fauci is not always good about ‘staying on message,’ in the words of a senior administration official. Aides did allow Fauci to appear on CNN recently for a town hall, the official said.”

Washington Post: The data is in: Fox News may have kept millions from taking the coronavirus threat seriously. “Three serious research efforts have put numerical weight — yes, data-driven evidence — behind what many suspected all along: Americans who relied on Fox News, or similar right-wing sources, were duped as the coronavirus began its deadly spread. Dangerously duped.”

Politico: Trump’s dilemma: How to prevent super-spreading churches. “One month after President Donald Trump ordered the nation’s governors to immediately reopen churches, his administration is facing a difficult dilemma. Clusters of Covid-19 cases are surfacing in counties across the U.S. where in-person religious services have resumed, triggering questions about whether his administration should reassess its campaign to treat houses of worship the same as other essential businesses, or leave them alone and risk additional transmission of the deadly coronavirus — including in communities that are largely supportive of the president.”

AP: Virus whistleblower alleges retribution has only intensified. “A government whistleblower ousted from a leading role in battling COVID-19 alleged Thursday that the Trump administration has intensified its campaign to punish him for revealing shortcomings in the U.S. response. Dr. Rick Bright, former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, said in an amended complaint filed with a federal watchdog agency that he has been relegated to a lesser role in his new assignment at the National Institutes of Health, unable to lend his full expertise to the battle against COVID-19.”

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