Sunday CoronaBuzz, July 12, 2020: 40 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.


Florida Today: UPDATE: Searchable Florida Medical Examiners COVID-19 database. “The Florida Medical Examiners Commission maintains a spreadsheet of COVID-19 deaths. But in the early months of the pandemic, the descriptive narratives within the database were blocked by the state Department of Health from being released publicly. But after a legal challenge by media organizations, including the USA TODAY Network, the state began in mid May releasing the information unredacted.” Please note that this is disturbing content.


Getty Iris: Zoom with Odysseus, Zeus and Other Mythological Stars. “Stay-at-home orders or not, nothing can stop the Troubies from giving us some much-needed comedy. The Getty Villa will premiere its first virtual theater presentation of The ODDyssey on Sunday, July 19, 2020 at 3:00 PM PDT on the Getty Museum YouTube channel. Co-produced by the Getty Museum and the Troubadour Theater Company (aka The Troubies), The ODDyssey recounts Homer’s 24 books in five webisodes of about 15-20 minutes each, in a whimsical retelling of Odysseus’s adventure for audiences of all ages.”

Dodger Blue: How To Watch Or Live Stream Every Dodgers Intrasquad Game At Dodger Stadium. “With the Dodgers playing an intrasquad game at Dodger Stadium seemingly on a daily basis, the team has also made those available to fans for viewing. Moving forward, every Dodgers intrasquad game leading up to Opening Day of the 2020 season will be televised by SportsNet LA and live streamed on the team’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.”

io9: Some of the Scientific Minds Behind the UK’s Coronavirus Response Have Helped Fund a New Sci-Fi Pandemic Comic. “io9 can exclusively reveal the first look at Planet DIVOC-91, a 9-part satirical sci-fi webcomic being produced by Dr Bella Starling, Director of Vocal at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust and Sara Kenney, Creative Director at Wowbagger Productions, in association with the UK Academy of Medical Sciences. Featuring a cavalcade of comics talent across each chapter, Planet DIVOC-91 wants to tell a fictional, sometimes absurd story about an intergalactic pandemic while educated readers about the threats faced closer to home with our current grasp of the novel coronavirus crisis.”


NPR: Kids Feel Pandemic Stress Too. Here’s How To Help Them Thrive. “As the pandemic continues, children are still mostly at home. Summer activities are canceled or up in the air, and many children are suffering confusion and stress. Parents may be stressed themselves, but there are ways to help kids feel better.”


The Guardian: Idlib reports first Covid-19 case and braces for fresh disaster. “Idlib’s 3-million-strong population has been dreading a seemingly inevitable outbreak of the coronavirus in a province where 1.1 million people are living in tents and makeshift accommodation. The healthcare system, decimated by years of war and bombing campaigns carried out by Bashar al-Assad and his Russian allies, is already struggling to deal with malnutrition and other diseases.”


The Drum: Has the social distancing economy created a new consumer?. “With local delis shuttered, supermarket shelves bare, and Amazon’s stock depleted, many consumers found that a search for a bag of flour in March seemed hopeless. Were it not for venturing into uncharted territory – page two of a Google search – those consumers would never have stumbled across several pure play retailers with abundant stock, willing and able to help ameliorate the sometimes surprise shortages caused by the Covid-19 crisis. From looking for gym equipment to paintbrushes and even seedling tomatoes – consumers have been pursuing wholesome pastimes they previously never had time for.”

Poynter: How the media covered two pandemics — COVID-19 and systemic racism. “Only one thing proved able to stop news coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, or at least allow outlets to focus on a different type of story — the revitalization of a movement to stop another pandemic that has long plagued this country: systemic racism.”

NBC New York: Rats Plague Outdoor Seating at NYC Restaurants. “With indoor dining put on hold indefinitely due to COVID-19, outdoor dining is the only other option, aside from takeout and delivery, restaurant owners like Giacomo Romano have to keep their business afloat. But the owner of Ciccio, an Italian restaurant in SoHo, says the sanitation of a nearby park is contributing to a recurring problem of rats. Father Fagan Park is small and inviting to skateboarders and people who want to relax outdoors, but it’s also attracting huge rats. Romano says he has appealed to city leaders for help.”


AP: Catholic Church lobbied for taxpayer funds, got $1.4B. “The U.S. Roman Catholic Church used a special and unprecedented exemption from federal rules to amass at least $1.4 billion in taxpayer-backed coronavirus aid, with many millions going to dioceses that have paid huge settlements or sought bankruptcy protection because of clergy sexual abuse cover-ups. The church’s haul may have reached — or even exceeded — $3.5 billion, making a global religious institution with more than a billion followers among the biggest winners in the U.S. government’s pandemic relief efforts, an Associated Press analysis of federal data released this week found.”


ProPublica: The Airline Bailout Loophole: Companies Laid Off Workers, Then Got Money Meant to Prevent Layoffs. “Three airline industry companies slated to receive $338 million in public money designed to preserve jobs in the hard-hit industry have laid off thousands of workers anyway, according to Treasury disclosure filings and public layoff data.”

Route Fifty: One-Third of U.S. Workers Want Permanent Remote Work. “A new Morning Consult survey finds many workers would like to continue working from home after the coronavirus pandemic recedes and some would likely move to a new city or state if remote work becomes permanent.”


WSB-TV: Mayor rolls back Atlanta’s reopening plan from Phase 2 to Phase 1. “Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has rolled back the city’s reopening plans from Phase 2 back to Phase 1 effective immediately as coronavirus cases surge, she announced Friday night. In Phase 1, residents are asked to stay home except for essential trips and restaurants and business are asked to only serve to-go and curbside orders.”

Tribune-Star: Feds fail to keep track of nursing home deaths. “Federal health officials report a disproportionate number of coronavirus deaths occur in the nation’s nursing homes, but the agency tracking their morbidity rates maintains a database riddled with incomplete information and errors. Since the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services began releasing data on the pandemic in early June, skilled nursing facility representatives across the country have complained the agency’s report shows incorrect case tallies and misreported deaths.”

The Marshall Project: Freed From Prison, Dead from COVID-19, Not Even Counted. “About 7,000 prisoners in the care of the U.S. government have contracted COVID-19; 94 have died. More than 700 infected correctional officers have carried the virus back and forth between their communities and their workplaces.Nowhere in the federal system has the outbreak been as deadly as at the giant Butner complex about 15 miles northeast of Durham. Twenty-five prisoners there perished from COVID-19, the most of any federal lockup. Butner is also the only BOP prison to have a confirmed staff death.”

4WWL: Masks mandatory in Louisiana | Bars will sell to-go only under new restrictions in place Monday. “Gov. John Bel Edwards announced a statewide mask mandate and new restrictions for bars across Louisiana in a press conference Saturday, hours after the second coronavirus update in as many days showed more than 2,000 new cases.”


Hartford Courant: A Connecticut rock band named Goose may have figured out how to ‘tour’ — and make money — during the coronavirus pandemic. “Over consecutive weekends in June, Goose livestreamed eight sets of music from a borrowed barn in Fairfield County. Calling it Bingo Tour, the band assembled each set of music in real time, by pulling balls labeled with song titles or specific instructions (’20-plus-minute jam,’ ‘no drums’) out of a bingo roller.”

CNN: Bolivia’s interim president becomes third Latin American head of state to test positive for Covid-19. “Bolivia’s interim president Jeanine Añez has become the third Latin American leader to test positive for the coronavirus, as several members of her cabinet also confirmed infections. Añez announced on Twitter she had contracted the virus and that she would be quarantining for 14 days. Her announcement comes after Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro and Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández also announced they had been infected with Covid-19.”


New York Times: Sports in a Pandemic Don’t All Stink. “The Tour de France, like many major sporting events, is on hold because of the pandemic. But last weekend, I watched cartoon likenesses of professional cyclists fighting to win a virtual version. Connected to the Zwift virtual world for running and cycling were the real-life athletes riding stationary bicycles in their dining rooms, garages or backyards. When they had to ride up a steep virtual French mountain, I watched a split-screen video feed of their real-life faces straining and their heart rates soaring. It was genuine fun.”

Washington Post: The NHL moves north for its restart, shifting to Canada as U.S. struggles with pandemic. “As the NHL tries to resume play and crown a Stanley Cup champion by early October, it is also shifting its operations to Canada. According to health experts, that might give the NHL the best shot among the North American professional sports leagues to complete the season.”


CNN: New York Times: Internal CDC documents warn full reopening of schools is ‘highest risk’ for coronavirus spread. “Internal documents from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that fully reopening K-12 schools and universities would be the ‘highest risk’ for the spread of coronavirus, according to a New York Times report, as President Donald Trump and his administration push for students and teachers to return in-person to classrooms.”

New York Times: ‘Big Mess’ Looms if Schools Don’t Get Billions to Reopen Safely. “Bus monitors to screen students for symptoms in Marietta, Ga.: $640,000. Protective gear and classroom cleaning equipment for a small district in rural Michigan: $100,000. Disinfecting school buildings and hiring extra nurses and educators in San Diego: $90 million. As the White House, the nation’s pediatricians and many worn-down, economically strapped parents push for school doors to swing open this fall, local education officials say they are being crushed by the costs of getting students and teachers back in classrooms safely.”


Toronto Star: Nine in 10 riders wearing masks despite lack of enforcement, says TTC. “The TTC says nine in 10 of its passengers are complying with the bylaw requiring them to wear face masks while on the transit system, despite the agency’s decision not to enforce the new rule.”

New York Times: The Coronavirus Can Be Airborne Indoors, W.H.O. Says. “The coronavirus may linger in the air in crowded indoor spaces, spreading from one person to the next, the World Health Organization acknowledged on Thursday. The W.H.O. had described this form of transmission as doubtful and a problem mostly in medical procedures. But growing scientific and anecdotal evidence suggest this route may be important in spreading the virus, and this week more than 200 scientists urged the agency to revisit the research and revise its position.”

ABC 3340: Tuscaloosa man dies of COVID-19, family says he refused to wear mask. “A Tuscaloosa family is encouraging people to wear masks after their father died of COVID-19. Amy and Tyler Hinton say their father, Joe Hinton, thought COVID-19 was a hoax and didn’t believe in wearing masks.”

First Coast News: Second 11-year-old dies of COVID-19 in Florida. “The Florida Department of Health says two 11-year-old children have died from COVID-19 complications in Florida. An 11-year-old boy died on July 1 in Miami-Dade County. An 11-year-old girl died on July 2 in Broward County.”

Vox: Covid-19 testing in the US is abysmal. Again.. “Covid-19 testing in the US improved dramatically over the first half of 2020, but things now appear to be breaking down once more as coronavirus cases rise and outstrip capacity — to the point that the mayor of a major American city can’t get testing quickly enough to potentially avoid spreading the virus.”

CNN: How coronavirus affects the entire body. “Coronavirus damages not only the lungs, but the kidneys, liver, heart, brain and nervous system, skin and gastrointestinal tract, doctors said Friday in a review of reports about Covid-19 patients. The team at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York City — one of the hospitals flooded with patients in the spring — went through their own experiences and collected reports from other medical teams around the world.”


Tucson .com: Tucson’s funeral homes ‘close to running out of room’ because of coronavirus deaths. “The situation has gotten scary at Carillo’s Tucson Mortuary, says April Seybert. For the last few weeks, the family-owned funeral home that’s been serving Tucsonans for over a century has been doing two funerals and two cremations a day. It has handled 50 more funerals this year than it did at the same point last year.”

Kurdistan24: Rights commission warns COVID-19 spreading in Iraqi prisons. “The Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights on Friday afternoon warned of increasing numbers of coronavirus cases inside the country’s prisons and called for immediate measures to curb the spread of the highly-contagious disease in such facilities.”

News 4 San Antonio: 10 percent of hospital beds remain as case count reaches 18,600 in San Antonio. “Area hospitals continue to remain under pressure, where there are 1,240 residents. Of those, 416 are in the ICU and 248 are using ventilators. Mayor Ron Nirenberg said there are 10 percent of hospital beds available. He also said the city will start counting antigen tests with its case total next week. These tests give patients a rapid response, compared to the PCR tests.”


New York Times: Virus-Tracing Apps Are Rife With Problems. Governments Are Rushing to Fix Them.. “As countries race to deploy coronavirus-tracking software, researchers are reporting privacy and security risks that could affect millions of people and undermine trust in public health efforts.”

Route Fifty: Local Rollout of Contact Tracing Apps Can Help Combat Skepticism, Experts Say. “Because it may prove difficult to convince large segments of the general population to use the apps, technology and public health experts said it may be more effective for local governments or universities to target the apps specifically to their communities to achieve a higher density of app usage.”


EurekAlert: Building surge ICU capacity during COVID-19. “To prepare for current and future waves of COVID-19, the U.S. Army’s Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center asked teams from across the country to compete to build a telehealth prototype that would provide adequate ICU capacity when cases surge. Of the 78 teams that competed, only nine were invited to complete a series of tasks designed to establish the feasibility of their prototypes. A Medical University of South Carolina team of bioinformatics, telehealth and critical care experts was one of those nine.”

Pharmaceutical Technology: Altimmune partners with DynPort on intranasal Covid-19 vaccine. “Biopharmaceutical firm Altimmune has signed a teaming agreement with DynPort Vaccine to support US Government funding efforts for the development of its intranasal Covid-19 vaccine candidate, AdCOVID. If successful, the partnership will be extended to programme management, drug development and regulatory support for the vaccine product.”


Today: Wife takes job as dishwasher to see husband in nursing home during COVID-19 pandemic. “[Mary] Daniel explained that she tried visiting her husband through a window, but said he just cried and could not understand what was going on. Later on, she came up with a creative idea and reached out to Rosecastle staff and asked if she could volunteer or get a job at the care center just for the opportunity to see her husband of 24 years in person again. ‘They said, “Let’s wait to see what happens,”‘ Daniel recalled. ‘Then, out of the blue two weeks ago, they called and said, “Do you want a job?” When I found out it was as a dishwasher, I thought, “Well, okay! I guess I’m a dishwasher now.”‘”


BBC: France: Bus driver dies after ‘attack over face masks’ in Bayonne. “A bus driver has died in France, five days after he was attacked by passengers who reportedly refused to wear face masks, his family says. Philippe Monguillot, aged 59, had been left brain dead after the assault in the south-western city of Bayonne.”

Washington Post: Covid-19 pandemic is stoking extremist flames worldwide, analysts warn. “Across the globe, violence has emerged a major and persistent side effect of the pandemic that has stricken 12 million people and killed more than 550,000. Even as it overwhelms hospitals, covid-19 is also straining security forces in scores of countries, exacerbating long-standing conflicts while fueling grievances and spurring the growth of extremist groups, security officials and analysts say in a series of new studies and interviews.”


New York Times: Reopening Schools Will Be a Huge Undertaking. It Must Be Done.. “Here is what it’s going to take: more money and more space. The return to school, as with other aspects of pre-pandemic normalcy, rests on the nation’s ability to control the spread of the coronavirus. In communities where the virus is spreading rapidly, school is likely to remain virtual. The rise in case counts across much of the country is jeopardizing even the best-laid plans for classroom education.” Please note that I don’t necessarily agree with the editorials I post here.


Politico: ‘You get made fun of’: Trump campaign office shuns masks, social distancing. “The campaign’s headquarters — located on the 14th floor of an Arlington, Va., office building that shares space with multiple businesses — is normally packed with dozens of staffers, often sitting in close proximity to conduct phone calls and other urgent campaign business, said three people with knowledge of its operations. But the office was shut down for its first deep cleaning in weeks after a senior campaign official tested positive for the virus. The decision to conduct the cleaning came after two months of flouting the Trump administration’s own public health guidance: There are no face coverings or temporary barriers between desks at headquarters, and leaders have limited efforts to implement social distancing.”

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