Sunday CoronaBuzz, July 5, 2020: 34 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.


Engadget: ‘Mad Men’ will stream for free on IMDb TV starting July 15th. “All 92 episodes of the show will land on IMDb TV starting July 15th, as part of a deal Amazon struck with Mad Men producer Lionsgate Television, Variety reported. It’ll join several Disney-owned shows that stream for free on IMDb TV, including Lost, Malcolm in the Middle and Desperate Housewives.”


BBC: Coronavirus: Mexico’s death toll passes 30,000. “Mexico has recorded more than 30,000 deaths from its coronavirus outbreak, as the disease continues to ravage one of Latin America’s worst-hit countries. The health ministry said deaths rose by 523 on Saturday, pushing the total to 30,366.”

Salt Lake Tribune: Utah’s coronavirus surge continues with a record-tying 676 new cases, but no new deaths reported. “Utah reported 676 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, tying with its highest reported number to date. The Utah Department of Health reports there are 88 patients in ICU beds with the coronavirus — the highest number reported during the pandemic — and 68.4% of the state’s ICU beds are occupied. Thirty-six people with the disease went to hospitals Friday, bringing current hospitalizations to 193.”

Gulf News: More than a dozen hospitals declared coronavirus-free in Dubai. “As the rate of recovery doubles and incidence of COVID-19 infections reduces, several hospitals in the UAE have been declared coronavirus-free. In Dubai, at least a dozen hospitals are now free from COVID-19. Of the 50,857 cases, 39,857 have recovered which amounts to a recovery rate of 78 per cent. The death toll has remained low at 321.”

CBS News: Houston mayor warns hospital system close to “overwhelmed” amid COVID spike . “Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner warned Sunday that his city’s hospital system is close to becoming ‘overwhelmed’ with patients amid a spike in confirmed coronavirus cases. ‘If we don’t get our hands around this virus quickly, in about two weeks our hospital system could be in serious, serious trouble,’ Turner said on ‘Face the Nation.'”


BBC: Coronavirus: Records broken at socially distanced hot dog contest. “Coney Island in the US has hosted a special socially-distanced version of an annual hot dog eating contest amid the coronavirus pandemic. New records were set in both the men’s and women’s categories at the climate-controlled indoor event in Brooklyn, New York City, on Saturday.”


Chapelboro: UNC Not Requiring COVID-19 Testing Upon Students’ Return, Citing ‘False Sense of Security’. “In the first weekly update on the implementation of the Carolina Roadmap for Fall 2020, Provost Bob Blouin shared details on how the campus community can be tested for the coronavirus, as well as new required public health guidelines. In Thursday’s update and a message to students and faculty the previous week, university leadership said it will not be testing every member of the community upon their return to campus. Citing advice from health experts and the Centers for Disease Control, the update said widespread, asymptomatic testing for COVID-19 may lead to ‘a false sense of security’ at the university.”

CNN: 2 more death row inmates at San Quentin die from coronavirus complications. “At least three death row inmates at California’s San Quentin State Prison had coronavirus and died, corrections officials says. Scott Thomas Erskine, 57, and Manuel Machado Alvarez, 59, died Friday from ‘what appear to be complications related to Covid-19,’ the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said in a statement.”


BBC: Coronavirus funerals: Sri Lanka’s Muslims decry forced cremation. “Sri Lankan authorities are insisting on cremation for coronavirus victims – a practice forbidden by Islam. The nation’s minority Muslim community says they are using the pandemic to discriminate, writes BBC Sinhala’s Saroj Pathirana.”

AP: Trump’s `strong wall’ to block COVID-19 from China had holes. “President Donald Trump has repeatedly credited his February ban on travelers from mainland China as his signature move against the advance of the coronavirus pandemic — a “strong wall” that allowed only U.S. citizens inside, he boasted in May. But Trump’s wall was more like a sieve. Exempted were thousands of residents of the Chinese territories of Hong Kong and Macau. Efforts to track U.S. residents returning from mainland China were riddled with errors and broken communications.”


NPR: Need A Polling Place With Social Distancing? 3 NBA Teams Offer Venues. “Teams in the National Basketball Association, the American pro sports league long most vocal on social justice issues, are stepping up their civic participation, as three have now volunteered their facilities to serve as voting sites amid the pandemic. The development comes as local election officials, especially those in major metropolitan areas, frantically search for places that are centrally located and big enough to allow voters to social distance while waiting in line and casting their ballots.”


GPB Radio News: Georgia Tech Professors Revolt Over Reopening, Say Current Plan Threatens Lives Of Students, Staff. “The majority of Georgia Tech professors, including some the university’s most acclaimed faculty members, have launched a revolt over reopening this fall amid the coronavirus pandemic, saying the current plan ‘threatens the health, well-being and education of students, staff, and faculty.’ More than 700 of Tech’s 1,100 faculty members outlined their concerns to the Georgia Board of Regents in a letter titled ‘Statement of Academic Faculty of Georgia Tech on the COVID-19 Crisis and Fall 2020 Semester.'”


New York Times: All Eyes on Bars as Virus Surges and Americans Go Drinking. “Public health experts say that the long nights, lack of inhibitions and shoulder-to-shoulder confines inside so many bars — a source of community and relaxation in normal times — now make them ideal breeding grounds for the coronavirus. Now it is closing time — again.”

AL .com: Maskless patrons pack Birmingham bars as COVID-19 cases rise in Jefferson County. “By day, Bianca Ambrosia works on the COVID-19 floor at a Birmingham-area hospital, where she wears a mask for protection from the virus. But by night, she says she frequents packed bars and typically goes without a mask unless she’s asked to wear one while ordering or visiting a restroom. Late Friday night, Ambrosia sat nursing a drink on a stool outside Mojo Pub in Birmingham’s Lakeview neighborhood.”

CNN: Americans on private jet denied entry to Sardinia. “Five Americans who flew by private jet to the Mediterranean island of Sardinia were refused entry to Italy on Wednesday due to new EU travel restrictions on countries with high coronavirus infection rates, police told CNN.”

CNN: More than 1,400 Georgia healthcare workers sign letter asking governor for more coronavirus restrictions. “More than 1,400 Georgia healthcare workers have petitioned the state’s governor asking that he impose further restrictions to slow the spread of Covid-19. Georgia has seen the virus surge in the past week, with the number of new cases increasing by over 50%.”

BBC: Coronavirus: ‘Crystal clear’ drunk people will not socially distance. “It is ‘crystal clear’ that drunk people are unable to socially distance, the chair of the Police Federation said as pubs reopened on Saturday. Ministers had urged caution ahead of hospitality venues reopening in England after three months of lockdown.”

MIT Technology Review: If you’re over 75, catching covid-19 can be like playing Russian roulette. “I was reminded of the risk last week by this report from the New York City health department and Columbia University which estimated that on average, between March and May, the chance of dying if you get infected by SARS-CoV-2 was 1.45%. That’s higher than your lifetime chance of getting killed in a car wreck. That’s every driver cutting you off, every corner taken too fast, every time you nearly dozed off on the highway, all crammed into one. That’s not a disease I want to get. For someone my mother’s age, the chance of death came to 13.83% but ranged as high as 17%. That’s roughly 1 in 6, or the chance you’ll lose at Russian roulette. That’s not a game I want my mother to play.”


Washington Post: As coronavirus cases skyrocket across Texas, hospitals grapple with patient influxes. “When Clay Johnston, dean of the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin, saw a model of how the coronavirus might ravage the state after stay-at-home orders were lifted, he was incredulous. ‘I didn’t believe it,’ Johnston said. Now health-care workers across Texas are seeing those alarming predictions come true, with overwhelmed testing centers, lines at emergency rooms and crowded intensive care units, where it is difficult to maintain adequate numbers of specialized staff.”


BBC: Coronavirus: Why Singapore turned to wearable contact-tracing tech. “Singapore’s TraceTogether Tokens are the latest effort to tackle Covid-19 with tech. But they have also reignited a privacy debate. The wearable devices complement the island’s existing contact-tracing app, to identify people who might have been infected by those who have tested positive for the virus.”

World Economic Forum: Estonia built one of the world’s most advanced digital societies. During COVID-19, that became a lifeline.. “In early March, Estonia declared a state of emergency, closed its borders and entered a full lockdown to stop the spread of COVID-19. But while other countries scrambled to deal with school closures and the disruption to vital services, Estonia simply continued to use the thriving, resilient digital infrastructure it had spent decades developing. Digital classrooms, online teaching materials and a huge range of online public services were already in place. Even more crucially, Estonians knew how to access and use them.”


New York Times: DNA Linked to Covid-19 Was Inherited From Neanderthals, Study Finds. “A stretch of DNA linked to Covid-19 was passed down from Neanderthals 60,000 years ago, according to a new study. Scientists don’t yet know why this particular segment increases the risk of severe illness from the coronavirus. But the new findings, which were posted online on Friday and have not yet been published in a scientific journal, show how some clues to modern health stem from ancient history.”

Washington Post: Coronavirus autopsies: A story of 38 brains, 87 lungs and 42 hearts. “When pathologist Amy Rapkiewicz began the grim process of opening up the coronavirus dead to learn how their bodies went awry, she found damage to the lungs, kidneys and liver consistent with what doctors had reported for months. But something was off.”


AP: Courts straining to balance public health with public access. “After her son was arrested for allegedly throwing rocks at police during a protest over racial injustice, Tanisha Brown headed to the courthouse in her California hometown to watch her son’s arraignment. She was turned away, told the courthouse was closed to the public because of coronavirus precautions. A day later, the Kern County Superior Court in Bakersfield posted a notice on its website explaining how the public could request special permission from judicial officers to attend court proceedings. But problems with public access have persisted, according to a federal lawsuit filed Friday on behalf of Brown and several others who have been unable to watch court sessions.”

Ars Technica: NY partygoers get subpoenas after stonewalling COVID-19 contact tracers. “In New York, public health officials are struggling to convince some residents to work with contact tracers as a new cluster threatens to turn into a flare-up. The Empire State was once the epicenter of the country’s still-roaring pandemic but has since seen its outbreak subside. New York is now at a point where vigilant testing, isolating, tracing, and quarantining contact can extinguish lingering embers—but only if people comply.”

New York Post: Michael Cohen caught at NYC restaurant — and it could land him back in prison. “Michael Cohen could soon be back to chowing down in a prison cafeteria. The recently sprung jailbird was caught by The Post dining out on Manhattan’s Upper East Side — and the meal may cost him his freedom, legal experts said Friday.”


Vogue: New York Is Ending Its Lockdown. I’m Not Sure I’m Ready to End Mine.. “A lot of us are scared. We’ve been through a lot. Where I live, there are a lot of masks on the streets, a lot of people walking nervously past each other on the sidewalk. We know what the stakes are. In New York City, we’ve lost 17,665 human souls. We’ve swam in a sea of death. We’ve lived through the overflowing-morgues stage, the refrigerated-trucks stage. I have four friends who’ve lost their dads—but now my fatherless friends are basically being told by Governor Cuomo that it’s time to go out for brunch. TV advertisements implore us to ‘go to your doctors,’ that we need to resume our regular checkups and nonessential surgeries. My kids’ orthodontist keeps calling me. ‘Everything is safe now.’ But how do we really know?”

Vogue: In Quarantine, Where Does Control End and Bliss Begin?. “I can’t place it; life keeps slipping in and out of focus. One minute it seems perfectly clear how and even why we fell off a ledge—the country got a dangerous president, impeachment didn’t stop him; then this devastating contagion, the murder of George Floyd, the uprising of the protesters, the brutality of the police, and always the sadism from the White House. The next minute I’m sitting on the porch, watching a ragged squirrel, and I just can’t fathom it.”


CNN: White House hasn’t approved requests for TV interviews with Fauci, official says. “CNN and other TV networks routinely ask for interviews with Fauci and other task force experts, but some of the requests have been blocked by the Trump White House. An administration official familiar with the situation said high-profile figures from the task force, including Fauci, have been unable to secure White House permission to appear on American TV networks.”

NBC News: Senate Republicans cool to 2nd round of stimulus checks, direct deposits. “Democrats want another round of direct stimulus payments to Americans up to $1,200 as coronavirus cases rise in dozens of states. President Donald Trump isn’t ruling it out. But Senate Republicans are on the fence or opposed, complicating its prospects.”

NBC News: ‘We need to live with it’: White House readies new message for the nation on coronavirus. “After several months of mixed messages on the coronavirus pandemic, the White House is settling on a new one: Learn to live with it. Administration officials are planning to intensify what they hope is a sharper, and less conflicting, message of the pandemic next week, according to senior administration officials, after struggling to offer clear directives amid a crippling surge in cases across the country.”

AP: ‘People aren’t stupid’: Pence’s virus spin tests credibility. “Vice President Mike Pence has long played the straight man to Donald Trump, translating the president’s bombast into more measured, calming language. His job has become even more difficult. As coronavirus cases spike across large parts of the country despite months of lockdown, Pence has spent the past week trying to convince the American public that things are going very well, even though they’re not.”

Raw Story: CBS host reveals Trump has blocked Dr. Fauci interviews for ‘last three months’. “CBS host Margaret Brennan revealed on Sunday that President Donald Trump’s administration has refused to allow Dr. Anthony Fauci, the federal government’s top infectious disease expert, to appear on the network for three months. Brennan made the remarks during Sunday’s Face the Nation program.”

CNN: FDA commissioner refuses to defend Trump claim that 99% of Covid-19 cases are ‘harmless’. “The commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration on Sunday declined to defend President Donald Trump’s unfounded claim that 99% of coronavirus cases are ‘totally harmless’ and repeatedly refused to say whether Trump’s remark is true or false.”

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