coronabuzz

Friday CoronaBuzz, July 3, 2020: 32 pointers to new resources, useful stuff, research news, and more.

Wash your hands and stay at home as much as you can. When you go out, please wear a mask. Please be careful. I love you.

NEW RESOURCES – STATE-SPECIFIC

Idaho News 6: Gov. Little launches new Recreate Idaho website. “Governor Little announced a new website to help people recreate safely in Idaho during the COVID-19 pandemic. The website is part of the Recreate Responsibly Idaho campaign that was established to provide guidances and resources for recreating Idahoans to adapt their activities to the situation.”

Kansas State Library: COVID-19 Publications in KGI Online Library. “State Library of Kansas Cataloging/Kansas Documents employee, Vicky Wolf, has been busy for many weeks gathering, documenting, preserving and providing access to over 170 publications issued by Kansas libraries and state government agencies regarding COVID-19 prevention, detection, policies and procedures. We have these publications up in the [Kansas Government Information] Online Library and will be adding more.” This blog post notes that some of the information is outdated and has been updated with more recent government publications.

UPDATES

Alabama Political Reporter: Alabama’s COVID-19 surge is not slowing. “The number of patients in Alabama hospitals being treated for COVID-19 surged past 800 on Thursday, marking a fourth straight day of record-high hospitalizations as concerns grow over the possibility that hospitals could become stressed due to the influx of patients.”

FACT CHECKS

Poynter: Infrared thermometers won’t blind you, damage your neurons nor affect your meditation. “People who have recently tried to resume their lives by leaving home and going to shops and restaurants have probably stopped at some temperature check control system. Usually, someone with an infrared thermometer in hand points the machine-looking tool to the client’s forehead and finds out if the person is running a fever. This device, however, is the new victim of COVID-19 falsehoods.”

SOCIETAL IMPACT

Museums Association: Is online cultural content good for mental health and wellbeing?. “The University of Oxford has launched a project exploring whether online cultural content has been beneficial to mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus lockdown. The project, which is being funded through the university’s Covid-19 Research Response Fund, is being run by an interdisciplinary team from its department of psychiatry and the Oxford Internet Institute, using the Ashmolean Museum’s digital collections and resources.”

Poynter: With schools closed and Americans heading back to work, a day care crisis is looming. “Dr. Anthony Fauci gave senators conflicting advice this week. On one hand, he said the number of COVID-19 deaths and infections are ‘going to be very disturbing.’ But he also said, “I feel very strongly we need to do whatever we can to get the children back to school.” As workplaces begin to open up in some places, the pandemic’s economic aftereffects are closing day care centers nationwide.”

New York Times: For Maine Lobstermen, a Perfect Storm Threatens the Summer Season. “With the Fourth of July holiday around the corner, Mr. [Mike] Hutchings and his fellow lobstermen were supposed to be gearing up for a major payday as out-of-staters, cruise ships, warmer weather and bounties of lobsters, having just molted their shells and been lured into the thousands of traps anchored on the rocky bottom of Maine’s coastal waters, came together in a seasonal windfall. But like many businesses across the country, the Maine lobster industry, which makes up the bulk of the fishing revenue the state brings in every year, is being battered by the coronavirus, which has crushed the tourism trade that Mr. Hutchings and his fellow fishermen rely on for a living.”

Washington Post: ‘We feel absolutely abandoned’: How the pandemic in Russia tanked the economy and plunged families into crisis. “Across the globe, the pandemic has tanked economies as the world faces its worst collective downturn since the Great Depression. Russia has been particularly hard hit by the twin blows of the coronavirus and the collapse in oil prices. Russia relies on taxes from the oil and gas sector for 40 percent of its budget. Since March, Russian charities and nonprofit organizations experienced a surge in the kind of clients they have not had before: families that had never been in financial crisis, but are now desperate. Some of them were unable to buy even food. Some were left homeless.”

New York Times: Is the Five-Day Office Week Over?. “Most American office workers are in no hurry to return to the office full time, even after the coronavirus is under control. But that doesn’t mean they want to work from home forever. The future for them, a variety of new data shows, is likely to be workweeks split between office and home.”

INSTITUTIONS

CNN: USC says most undergraduate classes will be online for fall semester. “A surge in coronavirus cases in the Los Angeles region has prompted the University of Southern California to drop plans to have undergraduate students back in the classroom and instead offer most classes online.”

Route Fifty: Libraries Begin Partial Reopening as Covid-19 Cases Surge. “Some libraries, including the Wheaton Public Library outside of Chicago and eight branches in New York City, will soon begin offering ‘grab and go’ services, giving patrons access to a limited area to return or pick up materials. The Brown County Library in central Wisconsin is open for computer use by appointment only, while the Sitka Public Library in Alaska plans to welcome patrons but enforce a ‘no lingering’ rule as well as close three days per week for extended cleaning.”

BUSINESS / CORPORATIONS

Yahoo News: As coronavirus surges, Fox News shifts its message on masks. “The network’s coverage of the coronavirus had already been evolving, as the seriousness of the situation became apparent, but over the last several days something appears to have changed. The shift may have to do with the fact that the coronavirus has shown a ferocious resurgence in recent weeks, after a stretch during which it appeared to be in abeyance.”

USA Today: ‘A mask is not a symbol’: Restaurants take a stand amid coronavirus pandemic. “#NoMaskNoTaco. It’s a hashtag on social media that a Mexican restaurant in Los Angeles used to announce Sunday that it was temporarily closing its two taco stands because some customers had refused to wear face masks amid a surge in coronavirus cases in California. It’s not the only restaurant that has experienced similar incidents and decided to shut down at some capacity.”

GOVERNMENT

WCNC: CDHHS launches COVID-19 social media campaign to reach historically marginalized populations. “The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) is launching a new social media marketing campaign as part of a larger public outreach campaign designed to reach historically marginalized populations disproportionately affected by COVID-19.”

CNN: The Trump administration just lent $700 million to a trucking company sued for ripping off taxpayers. “The US Treasury is giving a $700 million loan to YRC Worldwide, a troubled trucking company that warned in May it was in danger of going out of business. That’s an enormous sum for a company whose stock had plunged 27% this year and was worth only $70 million as of Tuesday’s close. And here’s the kicker: The government sued YRC for ripping it off.”

Texas Tribune: Gov. Greg Abbott orders Texans in most counties to wear masks in public. “The order requires Texans living in counties more than 20 coronavirus cases to wear a face covering over the nose and mouth while in a business or other building open to the public, as well as outdoor public spaces, whenever social distancing is not possible. But it provides several exceptions, including for children who are younger than 10 years old, people who have a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a mask, people who are eating or drinking, and people who are exercising outdoors.”

BBC: Coronavirus in North Korea: Kim Jong-un claims ‘shining success’. “North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has hailed his country’s “shining success” in dealing with Covid-19, according to state news agency KCNA. Speaking at a politburo meeting, Mr Kim said the country had ‘prevented the inroad of the malignant virus and maintained a stable situation’.”

Route Fifty: Know a Teen who Needs a Summer Job? Covid-19 Response is Hiring.. “State and local officials are attracting new recruits in the fight against Covid-19: teenagers and young adults. A handful of counties, cities and states across the country have announced plans to expand or revamp existing youth employment programs to include opportunities to assist in government-led coronavirus response initiatives.”

EDUCATION

The Blade: Ohio schools will be required to implement mask policy for reopening. “Masks are required for all Ohio school staff and ‘strongly recommended’ for most children in third grade and up, the governor announced Thursday as coronavirus cases surge across the state.”

Politico: From anti-vax to anti-mask: School districts brace for parent resistance. “California’s anti-vaccine movement has a new target: masks. The same parents who loudly opposed school vaccine requirements in Sacramento last year are turning their attention to mask recommendations that districts are considering as they figure out how to send kids back to the classroom in the middle of a pandemic.”

HEALTH

Washington Post: Heart conditions drove spike in deaths beyond those attributed to covid-19, analysis shows. “The coronavirus killed tens of thousands in the United States during the pandemic’s first months, but it also left a lesser-known toll: thousands more deaths than would have been expected from heart disease and a handful of other medical conditions, according to an analysis of federal data by The Washington Post.”

BBC: Coronavirus in South Africa: Deciding who lives and dies in a Cape Town township. “While the surfers are back out in large numbers on the waves in False Bay, taking advantage of an easing of some lockdown rules in South Africa, just inland on the sandy, windswept plains of Khayelitsha, coronavirus is spreading fast through the impoverished, crime-ridden township and, in the process, highlighting some of the challenges this whole country is likely to face in the coming weeks.”

Washington Post: ‘Cries for help’: Drug overdoses are soaring during the coronavirus pandemic. “Nationwide, federal and local officials are reporting alarming spikes in drug overdoses — a hidden epidemic within the coronavirus pandemic. Emerging evidence suggests that the continued isolation, economic devastation and disruptions to the drug trade in recent months are fueling the surge.”

NPR: As Coronavirus Surges, How Much Testing Does Your State Need To Subdue The Virus?. “The coronavirus keeps spreading around the United States. New hot spots are emerging and heating up by the day. The death toll keeps mounting. So how can the U.S. beat back the relentless onslaught of this deadly virus? Public health experts agree on one powerful weapon that’s gotten a lot of attention but apparently still needs a lot more: testing.”

Good Morning America: Gay men speak out after being turned away from donating blood during coronavirus pandemic: ‘We are turning away perfectly healthy donors’. “According to the Food and Drug Administration, not all blood is equal. Even in a time of crisis, amid a global pandemic, gay and bisexual men in America cannot immediately donate blood in the same way their heterosexual counterparts can.”

OUTBREAKS

CNN: Hundreds of teens at ‘pong fest’ party exposed to coronavirus, officials say. I read this and was like, “The hell is a Pong Fest?” After poking around it appears that this party is a regular affair and it specifically is called Pong Fest.. “At the time of the party, several teens were waiting for their Covid-19 test results, and have since tested positive, according to Shelly Parks, a spokesperson with Austin Homeland Security & Emergency Management.
City and health officials are now urging all attendees to get tested and self-isolate.”

Outlook India: Wedding Causes Biggest COVID-19 Infection Chain In Bihar; Groom Dies, Over 100 Test Positive. “A wedding ceremony in rural Patna a fortnight ago where the groom was running high fever, two days before he died and his body cremated without being tested for COVID-19, appears to have set off the biggest infection chain in Bihar so far, health department officials said on Tuesday. More than 100 people have tested positive in Paliganj sub-division of Patna district, about 55 km from the state capital, in the last few days, out of over 350 who have been tested upon contact tracing, they said.”

BBC: Coronavirus: Why has Melbourne’s outbreak worsened?. “For months Australia has felt optimistic about containing Covid-19, but a resurgence of the virus in Melbourne has put those efforts at a critical stage. About 300,000 people were ordered back into lockdown this week amid a military-assisted operation to ‘ring fence’ 10 postcodes at the centre of the outbreak.”

TECHNOLOGY

CNET: Facebook, Instagram push masks for COVID-19. “Facebook on Thursday said it’ll start pushing information on face coverings and other preventive measures for COVID-19 on its platform, as well as on Instagram, which it owns. This comes as the US sees an increase in cases across the country.”

RESEARCH

CNBC: Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech shows positive results. “An experimental Covid-19 vaccine being developed by the drug giant Pfizer and the biotech firm BioNTech spurred immune responses in healthy patients, but also caused fever and other side effects, especially at higher doses. The first clinical data on the vaccine were disclosed Wednesday in a paper released on MedRXiv, a preprint server, meaning it has not yet been peer-reviewed or published in a journal.”

POLITICS

Yahoo News: After months of being silenced, CDC is easing back into public view. “On June 12, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did something it had not done for months: It held a press briefing. Widely touted as the finest public health agency in the world, the CDC had been dormant since March 9, when one of its top officials held a teleconference with journalists.”

Washington Post: Secret Service agents preparing for Pence Arizona trip contracted coronavirus. “Vice President Pence’s trip to Arizona this week had to be postponed by a day after several Secret Service agents who helped organize the visit either tested positive for the coronavirus or were showing symptoms of being infected. Pence was scheduled to go to Phoenix on Tuesday but went on Wednesday instead so that healthy agents could be deployed for his visit, according to two senior administration officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private details of the trip.”

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