Tuesday CoronaBuzz, July 14, 2020: 51 pointers to new resources, useful stuff, research news, and more.

Can you believe I’ve been doing this newsletter for four months? Time just smears nowadays, doesn’t it. According to WordPress I’ve posted 3,861 stories in the Covid-19 category. I’m holding on to the idea that one day this newsletter won’t be possible because there won’t be enough news. That will be a good day! 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.


Georgia Tech: Georgia Tech Researchers Release County-Level Calculator to Estimate Risk of Covid-19 Exposure at U.S. Events. “An interactive dashboard that estimates Covid-19 incidence at gatherings in the U.S. has added a new feature: the ability to calculate county-level risk of attending an event with someone actively infected with Coronavirus (Covid-19). Previously, the dashboard estimated exposure for different size events by state.”


Boston Business Journal: Mass. launches new online site for workplace safety complaints. “Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday unveiled a new website for residents to report businesses not complying with the state’s health and safety guidelines during the coronavirus pandemic. The website instructs anyone wishing to file a report of non-compliance to contact their local Board of Health. They can also contact the Massachusetts Department of Labor Standards with any issues.”


Useful if you wear makeup, anyway. Washington Post: Want boldly made-up eyes above your mask? Here’s how to get the look while staying safe.. “Makeup artist Vincent Oquendo has noticed the bold-eye-with-mask trend and is ‘very much here for’ playing up the eyes. ‘I feel like people are excited to express themselves any way they can, because we’ve been locked up in quarantine for so long,’ he said. ‘Not being able to wear lipstick, I think people are more adventurous with their eye makeup looks. I’ve been seeing a lot of really great colored mascaras, even some really cool glitter looks.’ But arresting eye makeup requires you to use possibly germy fingers or brushes to apply it. And flaking eye shadow or mascara could get into your eyes, prompting you to touch them. We talked to medical experts about safety strategies to observe and to a makeup artist about how to make the most of makeup, if you do use it.” If you want to go a little further than this, check out drag queen Rock M. Sakura. She did a tutorial on how to actually put makeup on the mask itself.


Cincinnati Inquirer: About one-third of COVID-19 cases in Ohio have been in past three weeks. “Ohio’s record-setting run of four-figure new daily coronavirus cases continued Monday. State health officials reported 1,261 additional confirmed and probable coronavirus cases in the eighth-highest daily total of the pandemic. The state also recorded another six deaths, while new hospitalizations remained steady at 73.”

Gizmodo: Covid-19 Test Results Frequently Taking Over a Week and Only Getting Longer. “Quest Diagnostics, the largest private medical testing company in the U.S., released a letter on Monday warning that the average wait time for non-emergency coronavirus test results is currently at least seven days. The really scary part: Quest says wait times aren’t going to get any shorter while the U.S. continues to have the worst covid-19 outbreak in the world.”

New York Times: New York Confronts Second-Wave Risk: Visitors From Florida and Texas. “New York, once the center of the coronavirus pandemic, has so successfully stemmed the outbreak that its death and hospitalization rates have plummeted and it has among the lowest infection rates in the country. But the state and its neighbors are facing a disquieting new threat: Can they keep the virus suppressed when it is raging across the South and West?”


BBC: Coronavirus: Asia’s ‘shining star’ suffers biggest ever slump. “Singapore’s economy plunged into recession in the last quarter as an extended lockdown hit businesses and retail spending. Economic growth in the city state shrank by 41.2% compared to the previous quarter, the country’s biggest contraction on record. Authorities forecast it will be Singapore’s worst recession since independence from Malaysia in 1965.”

Slate: Will COVID Push People Out of Cities for Good?. “Since the coronavirus shutdowns began in March, everyone’s been wondering the same thing: Are city residents really leaving? And if so, are they ever coming back? Eager journalists have rushed to quote suburban real estate brokers—which is like asking Oscar Mayer if people like hot dogs. Local TV is following families out to greener pastures, and Instagram shows a never-ending stream of vacations. To find out how many people have really left, I consulted some experts on cities and suburbs: Emily Badger of the New York Times, Natalie Moore of WBEZ Chicago, and Amanda Kolson Hurley of Bloomberg Businessweek.”

New York Times: How to Shoot a Sex Scene in a Pandemic: Cue the Mannequins. “Of all the weird ways that Covid-19 has affected life in this country, one of the most bizarre is taking place on a soundstage in Los Angeles. That’s where actors on the CBS soap opera ‘The Bold and the Beautiful’ have been shooting intimate scenes with mannequins.”

AFP: Paradise regained then lost: Med mammals mourn lockdown end. “When Europeans retreated into their homes to observe strict stay-at-home rules to contain the coronavirus, dolphins and whales on the Mediterranean coast basked and thrived in a hitherto unknown calm. But the return of tourists, noisy boats and heavy sea transport with the end of lockdowns in France and other Mediterranean littoral countries has signalled the return of danger and harm caused by human activity for underwater creatures.”

Phys .org: Kenya wildlife reserves threatened as tourists stay away. “Even before the virus arrived in Kenya mid-March, tourism revenues had plummeted, with cancellations coming in from crucial markets such as China, Europe and the United States. According to the tourism ministry, the sector has lost $750 million this year—roughly half of the total revenue in 2019.”

New Yorker: How Pandemics Wreak Havoc—and Open Minds. “Great crises tend to bring profound social change, for good or ill. The consequences of wars and economic depressions have been amply studied; the consequences of pandemics, less so. This spring, in order to understand our possible future, I decided to look at the past through the eyes of Gianna Pomata, a retired professor at the Institute of the History of Medicine, at Johns Hopkins University. When we first talked, on Skype, she immediately compared covid-19 to the bubonic plague that struck Europe in the fourteenth century—’not in the number of dead but in terms of shaking up the way people think.’ She went on, ‘The Black Death really marks the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of something else.’ That something else was the Renaissance.”

Pew (pew pew pew pew pew!): About a fifth of U.S. adults moved due to COVID-19 or know someone who did. “Millions of Americans relocated this year because of the COVID-19 outbreak, moving out of college dorms that abruptly closed, communities they perceive as unsafe or housing they can no longer afford. Overall, around one-in-five U.S. adults (22%) say they either changed their residence due to the pandemic or know someone who did, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.”


Nonprofit Quarterly: Libraries Face Reopening Dilemma as Pandemic Escalates. “Schools aren’t the only public institutions locked in debate over the need to reopen amid skyrocketing coronavirus infections nationwide. Libraries are facing the same dilemma. Library services are more critical than ever as COVID-19 continues affecting communities across the US. Yet as library systems eye reopening to the public, the surge of new coronavirus cases in most states could keep doors closed for months to come.”


Slate: Employers Are Sick of the Pandemic. Employees Are Paying the Price.. “As an unsettling number of people have started ignoring public health guidance because they’re tired of restricting their behavior, employers too are increasingly relaxing their own practices even though the coronavirus continues to surge in many parts of the country. Employers are embracing the same magical thinking so many individuals are—we’re ready for it to be over, so we’ll just act as if it is—often at great expense to their workers.”

CNET: Apple probably won’t reopen its offices until 2021, report says. “As coronavirus cases surge across the US, Apple reportedly no longer expects to have corporate employees return to offices in 2020. The tech giant is also encouraging retail employees to work remotely as more store locations shutter, according to a report from Bloomberg on Monday.”

KRON4: Hong Kong Disneyland to close again amid new COVID-19 outbreak in China. “Hong Kong Disneyland is closing after a new outbreak of COVID-19 cases in China amid the coronavirus pandemic. CNN reports the resort will close July 15 until further notice. The park had reopened less than a month ago on June 18 after closing late January during the first surge of coronavirus cases.”

New York Times: ‘I Can’t Keep Doing This:’ Small-Business Owners Are Giving Up. “It was harrowing enough for small businesses — the bars, dental care practices, small law firms, day care centers and other storefronts that dot the streets and corners of every American town and city — to have to shut down after state officials imposed lockdowns in March to contain the pandemic. But the resurgence of the virus, especially in states such as Texas, Florida and California that had begun to reopen, has introduced a far darker reality for many small businesses: Their temporary closures might become permanent.”


NBC News: U.S. units of Chinese companies got coronavirus bailout money. “The U.S. government has awarded coronavirus relief loans to several subsidiaries of Chinese companies, including one linked to the Chinese military that drew scrutiny from Congress, according to data released by the Treasury Department.”

BuzzFeed News: California Is Shutting Down All Indoor Dining And Bars Across The State Again As COVID-19 Cases Surge. “California’s governor ordered the shutdown on Monday of bars and indoor operations at restaurants, wineries, movie theaters, and some other businesses as hospitalizations spike amid a surge in coronavirus cases in the state. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the new statewide orders after about half of the state’s 58 counties were forced to shut down those activities due to local increases in COVID-19.”

Washington Post: State, local governments wrestle over quickly dwindling coronavirus aid, complicating talks on next federal bill. “A $150 billion federal program designed to help states, cities and counties respond to the coronavirus pandemic has pitted some governments against one another, forcing them to scrap over the fast-dwindling, limited aid. The fight has intensified as Congress and the White House near deadlines to decide the scope of the next round of coronavirus relief. State and local leaders have demanded between $500 billion and $1 trillion in new assistance, but the vast uncertainty surrounding the initial tranche of funding has fueled accusations that money is being misspent or hoarded.”

BloombergQuint: Top Defense Firms Get Biggest Share of Accelerated Virus Funds. “The largest share of the Pentagon’s billions of dollars in accelerated payments to contractors — intended to help mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic — is going to four of the country’s five biggest defense companies. Lockheed Martin Corp., Boeing Co., Raytheon Technologies Corp., Northrop Grumman Corp. and the United Launch Alliance LLC joint venture are the top beneficiaries of the Pentagon effort, according to a previously undisclosed May 15 letter to Senator Elizabeth Warren from Ellen Lord, the Defense Department’s undersecretary for acquisition and sustainment.”

Vox: Trump reduced fines for nursing homes that put residents at risk. Then Covid-19 happened.. “Estimates vary, but analysts Gregg Girvan and Avik Roy found that as of June 29, 50,779 of the 113,135 US deaths from Covid-19 (or 45 percent) were deaths of residents of nursing or long-term care facilities. Their numbers suggest that about 2.5 percent of all nursing home residents have been killed by the disease; in New Jersey, which is particularly hard hit, the share is over 11 percent.”

NBC News: ‘Find something new’: White House-backed ad campaign’s advice to jobless. “A new White House-backed ad campaign aims to encourage people who are unemployed or unhappy in their jobs or careers to go out and ‘find something new.'” Because this is a good time to abandon your employer-provided health insurance if you’re still employed and hey, bonus, if you voluntarily leave your job you don’t qualify for unemployment and government stats look better!


New York Times: Fauci Back at the White House, a Day After Trump Aides Tried to Undermine Him. ” A day after President Trump’s press office tried to undermine the reputation of the nation’s top infectious disease expert with an anonymously attributed list of what it said were his misjudgments in the early days of the coronavirus, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci returned to the White House on Monday. The visit underscored a reality for both men: They are stuck with each other.”

Washington Post: A month later, Pence’s wildly optimistic view of the pandemic has proved almost entirely wrong. “Even at the time it was written, the fundamental proposition offered by Vice President Pence in his Wall Street Journal piece on June 16 was dubious. No second wave of the coronavirus pandemic was emerging, he wrote — an obviously true claim only because the first wave had not ended…. Nearly a month later, Pence has been proved wrong in nearly every way on every bit of data he offered. The vice president, as the head of the government’s response to the pandemic, presented a case for his own success that was shown to be inaccurate often only days after his article was published.”

The Advocate: Louisiana AG Jeff Landry tests positive for coronavirus, won’t meet with Mike Pence. “Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry wasn’t on the tarmac to greet Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday morning because he has tested positive for coronavirus, according to an email blast to employees of the state Department of Justice.”


BBC: PGA Tour: Remaining tournaments to take place behind closed doors. “The remainder of the 2019-20 PGA Tour will take place behind closed doors as cases of coronavirus continue to soar in the United States. Releasing coordinated statements, the remaining nine tournaments said spectators would not be allowed.”


NBC News: Coronavirus spread threatens to overrun school reopening plans. “As the calls from the White House to fully reopen schools grow louder, evidence continues to pile up to show that scenario is unlikely to happen, at least not on the national scale President Donald Trump desires. That’s not because state and local officials aren’t trying, but because the spread of the virus is beginning to overwhelm even the best-laid plans.”

Binghamton University: Covid-19 Pandemic Could Be Learning Opportunity For Middle-grade Students. “In the field of middle-grades education (grade 4-9), the COVID-19 pandemic may offer educators a perfect real-world scenario that invites students to critically examine how our global community’s actions impact one another, according to Bogum Yoon, associate professor of literacy education at Binghamton University.”

KTLA: O.C. Board of Education tells schools social distancing isn’t necessary for students and masks could be ‘harmful’. “The Orange County Board of Education voted Monday to push for the reopening of campuses without many of the widely recommended coronavirus safety protocols. At a 6 p.m. meeting, the board voted 4-1 to approve recommendations for reopening schools, saying that social distancing among students is ‘not necessary’ and wearing masks is difficult to implement and ‘may even be harmful.'”

I didn’t intentionally put these two stories one after the other, they just ended up that way. Daily Beast: Israeli Data Show School Openings Were a Disaster That Wiped Out Lockdown Gains . “Israel’s unchecked resurgence of COVID-19 was propelled by the abrupt May 17 decision to reopen all schools, medical and public health officials have told The Daily Beast.”

Newsweek: Texas Teachers Writing Their Wills as State Promises to Open Schools in Fall. “After Texas Governor Greg Abbott unveiled a plan in June to reopen his state’s schools, some teachers have said holding in-person classes while the coronavirus still poses a threat could place them in danger. Under Abbott’s plan, schools in Texas will be required to provide in-person instruction five days a week starting in August. Although parents and guardians may opt to have their children engage in long-distance learning, teachers must report to work in person.”


NPR: Coronavirus Sparks New Interest In Using Ultraviolet Light To Disinfect Indoor Air. “Research already shows that germicidal UV can effectively inactivate airborne microbes that transmit measles, tuberculosis and SARS-CoV-1, a close relative of the novel coronavirus. Now, with concern mounting that the coronavirus may be easily transmitted through microscopic floating particles known as aerosols, some researchers and physicians hope the technology can be recruited yet again to help disinfect high-risk indoor settings.”

Phys .org: About nine family members to suffer grief from every COVID-19 fatality. “In a study of kinship networks in the United States, the researchers said that approximately nine surviving close family members will be affected by each death from the virus in the country. For example, if the virus kills 190,000 people, 1.7 million will experience the loss of a close relative, said Ashton Verdery, associate professor of sociology, demography and social data analytics, and an affiliate of the Population Research Institute and Institute for Computational and Data Sciences, Penn State.”

MIT Technology Review: Prepare for a winter covid-19 spike now, say medical experts. “We should prepare now for a potential new wave of coronavirus cases this winter, according to the UK’s Academy of Medical Sciences. Health-care systems tend to struggle in winter anyway because infectious diseases spread faster as we spend more time in poorly ventilated indoor spaces, and because conditions like asthma, heart attacks, and stroke tend to be exacerbated in colder temperatures. But if you factor a potential winter rise in covid-19 infections that could be worse than the initial outbreak, a backlog of patients with other conditions, and exhausted frontline workers, health-care systems could be pushed beyond their limit, the academy has warned in a new report.”


CNN: Hundreds of people celebrated the July 4 weekend at a Michigan lake. Now some have Covid-19. “After revelers celebrated the Fourth of July at a Michigan lake, some started testing positive for Covid-19 — prompting health officials to warn other party-goers that they might have been infected, too.”

Click2Houston: ‘We opened too quickly, too soon’: Mayor Turner proposes a shutdown as city’s COVID-19 case count rises. “Texas set a record on Saturday, reporting 10,351 new cases, the Associated Press reported. A record 10,083 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized, while 99 new fatalities were also reported Saturday. The total is second only to the record 105 reported Thursday and brought the state’s overall death toll to 3,112. On Saturday, the City of Houston reported 1,524 new cases and nine deaths. It is the second time in less than a week that the city has reported over 1,000 new cases in a single day.”

Daily Beast: ‘They Put Us in Here to Let Us Die’: ICE Prison Sees Outbreak of Coronavirus—and Guard Violence. “A dire situation is unfolding at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) prison in Virginia, where the vast majority of people detained have now tested positive for the coronavirus, and where guards have responded violently to protests at least three times in two weeks. The director of Farmville, a privately run immigration detention center in central Virginia, recently stated in court papers that at least 267 people currently detained there have tested positive for the coronavirus—and the numbers may spike further, with 80 people still awaiting test results.”

Tampa Bay Times: Florida reports record-high 133 coronavirus deaths in one day. “Another coronavirus measure jumped up Tuesday as the state recorded 133 new deaths from the disease over 24 hours, the most for one day since the start of the pandemic in the state. The numbers bring deaths from coronavirus statewide to 4,514. The weekly average increased to about 82 deaths per day from the virus, up from about 72 people a day.”


The Guardian: Immunity to Covid-19 could be lost in months, UK study suggests. “People who have recovered from Covid-19 may lose their immunity to the disease within months, according to research suggesting the virus could reinfect people year after year, like common colds. In the first longitudinal study of its kind, scientists analysed the immune response of more than 90 patients and healthcare workers at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS foundation trust and found levels of antibodies that can destroy the virus peaked about three weeks after the onset of symptoms then swiftly declined.”

Sky News: Coronavirus warning from Italy: Effects of COVID-19 could be worse than first thought. “The long-term effects of COVID-19, even on people who suffered a mild infection, could be far worse than was originally anticipated, according to researchers and doctors in northern Italy. Psychosis, insomnia, kidney disease, spinal infections, strokes, chronic tiredness and mobility issues are being identified in former coronavirus patients in Lombardy, the worst-affected region in the country.”

Gulf Business: UAE to begin Covid-19 vaccine trials with 15,000 volunteers. “The UAE government has confirmed that it is set to begin Covid-19 vaccine trials in 15,000 volunteers imminently. The trials have been approved by the Ethics Committee Scientific research in Abu Dhabi, Dr. Abdul Rahman bin Mohammad bin Nasser Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) said on Monday. Al Owais said that this Phase III stage includes testing two possible vaccines and added that the best scientific standards will be adopted when conducting the trials.”

EurekAlert: Altimmune COVID-19 vaccine candidate tested at UAB shows positive preclinical results. “Altimmune, Inc., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, has announced positive results from the preclinical studies conducted in mice at the University of Alabama at Birmingham of its intranasal COVID-19 vaccine candidate, AdCOVID.”


Law360: DOJ Shuts Down Websites Shilling ‘False’ COVID-19 Vaccines. “A Kentucky federal judge on Monday ordered the shutdown of a series of related websites and a Facebook page offering preregistration for a nonexistent COVID-19 vaccine in exchange for $100 worth of bitcoin after the Louisville man prosecutors claim is behind the scam agreed to a preliminary injunction.”

AP: Texas GOP votes to move convention online after court losses. “The Republican Party of Texas changed course Monday night and accepted a virtual convention after courts refused to force Houston, hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic, to let the party stick to its original plans of a massive indoor gathering.”

BBC: Coronavirus: Blogger Emna Charqui given jail term over Koran-style post. “A blogger in Tunisia has been sentenced to six months in prison after sharing a satirical post about Covid-19 written in the form of a verse from the Koran. Emna Charqui, 28, was arrested in May for sharing a message on Facebook urging people to follow hygiene rules in the style of Islam’s holy book.”


Houston Chronicle: Editorial: Gov. Abbott must act on shutdown requests as coronavirus surges in Texas. “The delays and denials must end. It is time for Gov. Greg Abbott to give elected officials in the Houston region and other parts of Texas being overwhelmed by the coronavirus pandemic the power to issue stay-at-home orders. COVID-19 deaths in the state are rising, hospitals are running out of ICU beds, respirators and other crucial supplies are running low again and the U.S. military announced last week that it is deploying medical and support personnel to the state to try to deal with a growing health-care crisis.”


New York Times: Headed to the Convention? Not I, More Republicans Are Saying. “As new cases surge in Florida, including 15,300 reported on Sunday, more Republicans are taking a wait-and-see approach to the event, or deciding to skip it all together. The G.O.P., which moved the convention to Jacksonville from Charlotte, N.C., after balking at health precautions there, now finds itself locked into a state with a far bigger virus problem, and planning an event whose attendance is waning as the pandemic escalates.”

Washington Post: White House effort to undermine Fauci is criticized by public health experts, scientists and Democrats. “A White House effort to undermine Anthony S. Fauci has drawn rebukes from public health experts, scientists and mostly Democratic politicians, who argue it is dangerous for the Trump administration to disparage a highly respected government infectious-disease expert as the novel coronavirus continues to exact a heavy toll on the nation.”

The Daily Beast: Top Trump Ally Preps a New Assault on Fauci. “Stephen Moore, a conservative economist who informally advises Trump on economic matters, said on Monday evening that he is working on a new policy memo that would ‘go after Fauci,’ not just for the doctor’s proclamations on the still-raging coronavirus pandemic, but for his decades of work for the U.S. government prior to the current crisis.”

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