Friday CoronaBuzz, July 17, 2020: 57 pointers to new resources, useful stuff, research news, and more.


ProPublica: Out of View: After Public Outcry, CDC Adds Hospital Data Back to Its Website — for Now. “Hospitalization data is important to understanding the coronavirus’s spread and impact. But after the Trump administration changed its reporting rules, the CDC removed the data from its site, and only added it back after a public outcry.”

New York Times: India Coronavirus Cases Surge Past One Million. “The virus has been gnawing its way across this country of 1.3 billion people and gaining speed, fueled by high population density, an already beleaguered health care system and a calculation by the central government to lift a nationwide lockdown in hopes of getting the economy up and running, come what may.”


BBC: Coronavirus: How Covid-19 hit the comedy industry. “Some half (49.2%) of comedy clubs in the UK say they will definitely face permanent closure without further funding or support, according to a Live Comedy Association (LCA) survey. The UK government is providing £1.5bn emergency arts funding, but comedy was not mentioned in the announcement. British comedian Mark Watson says this follows a long history of comedy being overlooked, despite playing a big part in UK culture.”

Honolulu Civil Beat: The Pandemic Is Changing How Hawaii Gets Its Food. “As Hawaii residents scramble to ride out the financial storm of COVID-19, a staggering number of people now find themselves facing food insecurity. As a result, many residents are acquiring food differently — trading and bartering for groceries, fishing or hunting more, planting gardens, scoring food giveaways from farms and buying produce from roadside tents or on Instagram and Facebook Marketplace.”

National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism: COVID-19 means long stretch of stormy weather for people with alcohol and substance use disorders. “The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has created an environment that is particularly problematic for individuals with alcohol and substance use disorders (ASUD), according to physician scientists at the National Institutes of Health. In a commentary now online in the American Journal of Psychiatry, the researchers liken the global coronavirus emergency to a ‘perfect storm,’ with dire consequences for ASUD prevention and treatment that may endure after the pandemic.”

CNET Roadshow: Coronavirus lockdown can make return to driving overwhelming, study says. “It’s like riding a bicycle. You never forget how to drive a car once you put in the practice and gain experience. But, like anything in life, removing something from a daily routine can cause skills or familiarity to rust. Driving, according to a new study, isn’t immune.”

Phys .org: COVID-19 lockdown reduced dangerous air pollutants in five Indian cities by up to 54 percent. “The COVID-19 crisis and subsequent lockdown measures have led to a dramatic reduction of harmful air pollutants across major cities in India, finds a new study from the University of Surrey.”


Michigan Daily: ‘U‘ requires face coverings on all campus grounds. “Effective immediately, the University of Michigan will require all students, staff, faculty and visitors to wear a face covering while anywhere on campus grounds, University President Mark Schlissel wrote in an email to the campus community Wednesday afternoon.”


Yahoo Finance: How office leasing fared during the coronavirus pandemic: exclusive data. “Almost 15% of U.S. office space is now tenantless. There was 14.2 million more square feet of unleased office space than there was in the first quarter — the biggest stall since the Great Recession in 2009, according to a new report released Thursday morning by Jones Lang LaSalle, a Chicago-based commercial real estate services company.”

Sky News: British Airways scrapping entire 747 fleet amid coronavirus downturn. “British Airways’ iconic 747 jumbo jet will no longer be operated by the airline after it decided to retire its entire fleet with immediate effect.”

CNBC: Tech companies are ending leases and consolidating offices as remote work is here to stay. “On a Saturday in April, several executives from SoundCommerce rented a U-Haul, drove it to their office in Seattle and loaded up the truck with stand-up desks, 48-inch monitors and various other gadgets and personal belongings. For two days, they traversed town, dropping the items off at employees’ houses and apartments. With the coronavirus forcing non-essential employees to shelter in place, it had been weeks since any the start-up’s 20 or so staffers had worked at the office. It was clear they wouldn’t be going back.”

The Ledger: Publix to require masks in all of its stores starting July 21. “No shoes, no shirt, no mask, no service? Publix will require customers to wear masks in all of its stores effective July 21.”

The Guardian: Guardian announces plans to cut 180 jobs. “The Guardian has announced plans to make job cuts in both editorial and commercial roles, as the economic shock caused by the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact the media industry. The proposals could affect up to 180 jobs – 110 in departments such as advertising, Guardian Jobs, marketing roles, and the Guardian Live events business, with 70 coming from editorial.”

New York Times: Black Business Owners Had a Harder Time Getting Federal Aid, a Study Finds. “A nonprofit sent Black and white ‘mystery shoppers’ to branches of 17 banks, where they asked for loans under the Paycheck Protection Program. White customers got better treatment.”


CNBC: Coronavirus data has already disappeared after Trump administration shifted control from CDC. “Previously public data has already disappeared from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website after the Trump administration quietly shifted control of the information to the Department of Health and Human Services.” Regular readers of ResearchBuzz know that the Trump administration has a long history of disappearing data from government Web sites, but apparently they didn’t this time as you’ll see below…

BBC: EU leaders meet in push for Covid recovery deal. “EU leaders meet on Friday for the first face-to-face summit since the coronavirus crisis, with low expectations of a deal on a €750bn (£670bn) post-Covid stimulus package.”

New York Times: How a Struggling Company Won $1.6 Billion to Make a Coronavirus Vaccine. “Novavax just received the Trump administration’s largest vaccine contract. In the Maryland company’s 33-year history, it has never brought a vaccine to market.”

Phys .org: Scientists see COVID-19 as historic moment for UK’s environmental future. “A leading group of University of Manchester academics are imploring policy makers to use the UK’s post-pandemic recovery as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to lead a positive green revolution.”

Politico: Who took down the CDC’s coronavirus data? The agency itself.. “After the Trump administration ordered hospitals to change how they report coronavirus data to the government, effectively bypassing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, officials at the CDC made a decision of their own: Take our data and go home.”

Des Moines Register: Iowa Public Health Department ousts spokesperson, who says she was seen as too open with reporters. “A longtime spokesperson for the Iowa Department of Public Health said she was ousted Wednesday, and she believes it was partly because she was seen as too aggressive in sharing information with the media. Polly Carver-Kimm said that also may be why she was removed in March from the department’s team that is responding to the coronavirus pandemic.”

WVTM: Alabama governor announces statewide mask mandate as coronavirus cases continue to climb. “Alabama Governor Kay Ivey on Wednesday announced a statewide mask mandate through the end of July as coronavirus cases continue to climb. The current ‘Safer At Home’ order remains in effect and unchanged.”

ProPublica: Trump Is Donating Ventilators to Countries That Don’t Need or Can’t Use Them. “Nearly 8,000 ventilators are destined for foreign countries as part of Trump’s plan to make the U.S. ‘king of ventilators.’ But public health experts worry the machines are crowding out more urgently needed aid.”


Salon: Citing anecdotal evidence, Tillis links ‘the Hispanic population’ to North Carolina’s COVID-19 surge. “It is accurate that a disproportionate amount of North Carolina’s COVID-19 cases have been reported in its community. But this is also true of many areas across the country with pockets of high Latinx populations, who are often employed as ‘essential workers’ in jobs which demand sharing tight quarters with other employees, such as construction sites or factories. A number of economic and sociological conditions contribute to this imbalance, which appears in communities of color across the country. However, Tillis’ anecdotal evidence of a racial divide in proper preventive steps would appear to be off-base, if not backwards.”

Mother Jones: He Was Praised on the Senate Floor as a Model DACA Recipient. Now He’s in Detention—With COVID-19.. “Carlos Martinez was one of the first people in Arizona to get DACA back in 2012. He was literally a poster child for the program: In 2012 and again in 2015, Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) brought a large poster board portrait of Martinez to the Senate floor to help illustrate the need to protect Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals from Republican efforts to kill it….But for the last 11 months, Martinez has been locked up in a for-profit immigration detention center in Arizona.”

NBC News: Chuck Woolery says ‘everyone is lying’ about coronavirus, then reveals son’s COVID-19 diagnosis. “Former game show host Chuck Woolery, who tweeted Sunday that ‘Everyone is lying’ about COVID-19, including the media, Democrats and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said a day later that his son was diagnosed with the disease. His Twitter account no longer existed on Wednesday.”

CNN: Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt announces he has tested positive for coronavirus. “Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, who has aggressively pushed to reopen his state and flouted experts’ health recommendations, announced Wednesday that he is the first governor to test positive for coronavirus.”


BBC: Del Mar: Racing suspended as 15 jockeys at US track test positive for coronavirus. “Racing has been suspended at a track in the United States after 15 jockeys tested positive for coronavirus. Meetings scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Del Mar will not be held. All jockeys set to ride at the track in California were checked after leading riders Flavien Prat and Victor Espinoza tested positive.”

Houston Chronicle: How to get cardboard cutout of yourself in stands at Astros games. “When baseball season resumes next week, you won’t be in the stands at Minute Maid Park, but the Astros are willing to substitute your body with a cardboard cutout. For $100, you can send the Astros a photo of yourself and it will be turned into a cutout and placed in an outfield seat during home games. Proceeds will go to the Astros Foundation, the team’s official charity.”

NBC News: How to watch Phillies intrasquad games live starting tonight. “Beginning tonight at 6 p.m. through Friday, the Phillies will be streaming each of their intrasquad games. Fans can watch on or on the Phillies’ accounts on YouTube, Twitter or Facebook.”

Detroit Free Press: Michigan rival college coaches join Gov. Whitmer with common message: ‘Mask up’. “Three of Michigan’s top college basketball coaches joined Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in Lansing Wednesday to urge Michiganders to wear face coverings as the state recorded nearly 900 new cases of coronavirus — the largest daily count since mid-May.”


Washington Post: After last-minute change, D.C. says it wants students back but will wait and watch virus. “All week, parents and teachers in the nation’s capital expected the city to make its big announcement, revealing what school could look like for many of the 100,000 public school children in the fall. Younger students would return to in-person learning twice a week, the mayor would announce, and older students could go back once a week. That was the plan as late as Wednesday evening, city officials confirmed. But in the hour before the scheduled news conference, officials switched the location from an elementary school to a different government building and said plans had changed.”

ValleyCentral: Reports show more than half a million Texas students stopped logging into virtual classes. “Thousands of Texas students stopped completing assignments during virtual learning. It raises concerns as schools will continue virtual learning at least for the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year.”

Salt Lake Tribune: In separate rallies, Utahns protest mask mandate and demand in-person classes. “Parent after parent followed at the Utah County commission meeting Wednesday afternoon, objecting for more than two hours to having their kids in masks even as counts of the virus continue to climb across the state, where there are more than 30,000 confirmed cases.”

BuzzFeed News: Back To School: Teachers Are Ready To Quit Rather Than Put Their Lives At Risk. “This spring, a teacher in Dallas was invited to the high school graduation of the first class of students she had taught when she became a teacher a little over a decade ago — but the ceremony was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. Now, just a couple months later, facing an uncertain plan for reopening schools, she’s applying for jobs in the private sector and considering quitting teaching altogether.”

Washington Post: Trump administration, congressional Republicans eye tying school aid to reopening in next funding bill. “The White House and Senate Republicans are developing plans to prod schools to reopen by attaching incentives or conditions to tens of billions of dollars of new aid as part of the next coronavirus relief bill, people involved in the talks said Wednesday. The deliberations come as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) prepares to unveil legislation next week that would serve as the GOP’s opening offer for negotiations on what could be Congress’s last major coronavirus spending bill before the November elections.”

HuffPost: Schools Should Prioritize Reopening, But They Need A Lot More Money: New Report. “Schools should try to reopen if they think they can do so safely, prioritizing students with disabilities and children in kindergarten through fifth grade, according to a report released Wednesday. However, schools likely won’t be able to take all the necessary precautions without an injection of resources from states and the federal government.”


Seattle Times: How a small birthday lunch in Tacoma became a coronavirus cluster. “From the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Bill and Serona Schey played it safe. By virtue of their ages, the Tacoma couple are both high-risk. Serona also has health complications, including diabetes and asthma…. The small birthday luncheon they hosted on June 23 was the first time anyone but immediate family had set foot in their house for nearly four months. But it seemed innocuous enough, since Pierce County had graduated to Phase 2 in the state’s recovery plan at the beginning of the month.”

MLive: 5 reasons why summer parties are spiking coronavirus numbers when protests didn’t. “Alarms being raised by public-health officials have raised questions among some in the public: Why are July 4 celebrations and other parties being cast as super-spreader events, when six weeks ago thousands were participating in demonstrations for the Black Lives Matter movement?”

Untapped New York: The Anti-Mask League of 1919: The Cultural Battle of an Enduring Pandemic. “Before discussing the actions of the anti-mask league, it is critical to remember just how widespread and deadly the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 was. The flu infected 500 million people around the world, 27% of the world’s population, and killed anywhere from 17 million to 50 million people. In New York City, 33,000 residents died — with 65% of the deaths occurring in the second wave. In the first year of the pandemic, the average life expectancy in the United States dropped by a staggering 12 years.”

CNN: Journalists are demystifying Covid-19 by sharing first-hand accounts on what it’s like to be sick. “When New York was the epicenter of the Covid-19 outbreak in the United States, CNN anchors Chris Cuomo, Brooke Baldwin and Richard Quest shared their experiences with the virus on television and social media. Now the American epicenter has moved south, to states like Florida, and that’s where journalists are sharing candid accounts about getting sick.”


Bloomberg: Texas Readies Morgue Trucks in Preparation for Virus Surge. “Along the Texas coast outside Corpus Christi, Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales surveyed the sandy Gulf of Mexico beaches packed with swimmers and sunbathers, just the way they are every summer. Then she went back to her office to order another morgue truck.”

Washington Post: Coronavirus cases shut down Florida’s emergency operations center. “A new set of cases caused the center, located in Tallahassee, to shut down Thursday as staff shifted to remote work. One official with knowledge of the events, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the evolving situation, said 13 people working at the center had tested positive for the novel coronavirus and that the office would be closed at least until Monday. Staff were in the process of clearing out essential equipment.”

NPR: Georgia Hospital Worker Sounds Alarm: ‘I Have Never Ever Seen Anything Like This’. “Georgia has seen coronavirus cases skyrocket as residents have gone about business as usual in recent weeks. Cases have topped 127,000, and more than 3,000 lives have been taken. Just three weeks ago, the overall cases stood at 69,000.”

AP: Florida hits new coronavirus death mark with 156 in one day. “Florida reached another ominous mark Thursday with a record 156 deaths from the coronavirus reported in a single day as the state continues to experience a swift rise in cases. Officials in the hard-hit Miami area, meanwhile, were weighing another blanket lockdown.”

Vox: Hospitals are running out of staff, supplies, and beds for Covid-19 patients — and this time could be worse. “Hospitals in hot spots across the country are expanding and even maxing out their staff, equipment, and beds, with doctors warning that the worst-case scenario of hospital resources being overwhelmed is on the horizon if their states don’t get better control of the coronavirus.”


CNET: Dr. Fauci speaks with Facebook’s Zuckerberg about rising COVID-19 cases, wearing a mask. “As the US sees a surge in COVID-19 cases across the country, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, reiterated the importance of wearing a mask, avoiding crowds and practicing social distancing to help curb the spread of the virus. Fauci spoke with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a Thursday livestream about the importance of health and safety measures during the coronavirus pandemic. ”


CNBC: Johnson & Johnson hopes to begin late-stage coronavirus vaccine trial ahead of schedule in September. “The company is in talks with the National Institutes of Health to move up the timeline for the trial, J&J’s Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Paul Stoffels said during an earnings call with investors Thursday. The company announced earlier in the day that it plans to enter a phase one human trial next week, which will include more than 1,000 participants.”

Horizon Magazine: Six innovations to tackle coronavirus. “From bioluminescent testing kits to disinfecting robots, Horizon examines six innovations and technologies currently being developed to tackle the coronavirus.”


BuzzFeed News: A Viral Twitter Account About Jurassic Park Is The Perfect Satire For Companies Amid The Coronavirus Pandemic. “As theme parks and other attractions reopen in parts of the US despite surges in coronavirus infections and deaths, and while corporations and brands struggle to finesse their public voice during the pandemic and racial justice protests, a satirical account making fun of a movie series that began in 1993 is suddenly shockingly relevant. Created earlier this month, Jurassic Park Updates’ absurdist humor and skewering of capitalism is some of the most relevant and biting satire currently being made.”


Ohio State University: Why governments have the right to require masks in public. “Requirements for consumers to wear masks at public places like retail stores and restaurants are very similar to smoking bans, according to three university experts. Writing in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the professors say mask requirements to stop the spread of COVID-19 should be considered ‘fundamental occupational health protections’ for workers at stores, restaurants and other public places.”

BetaNews: 80 percent of companies see more cyberattacks during the pandemic. “Since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis earlier this year 80 percent of companies have seen ‘slightly to considerably more’ cyberattack attempts, breaking down to 88 percent in the US and 74 percent in the UK. SIEM specialist Exabeam surveyed more that 1,000 IT security professionals at small- to medium-sized enterprises and finds that a third of respondents experienced a successful cyberattack during COVID-19, leading to network downtime for 40 percent of UK companies and 38 percent of US companies.”

AP: Georgia gov sues to end cities’ defiance on mask rules. “Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is suing Atlanta’s mayor and city council to block the city from enforcing its mandate to wear a mask in public and other rules related to the COVID-19 pandemic.”


The World: ‘Love is essential’: Some EU countries relax rules for separated cross-border couples. “Closed borders during the coronavirus pandemic have taken long-distance relationships to a whole new level. Now, some countries are providing sweet relief for cross-border couples.”


Washington Post: I’m a GOP governor. Why didn’t Trump help my state with coronavirus testing?. “I’d watched as the president downplayed the outbreak’s severity and as the White House failed to issue public warnings, draw up a 50-state strategy, or dispatch medical gear or lifesaving ventilators from the national stockpile to American hospitals. Eventually, it was clear that waiting around for the president to run the nation’s response was hopeless; if we delayed any longer, we’d be condemning more of our citizens to suffering and death. So every governor went their own way, which is how the United States ended up with such a patchwork response. I did the best I could for Maryland. Here’s what we saw and heard from Washington along the way.”

The Atlantic: A Second Coronavirus Death Surge Is Coming. “Many people who don’t want COVID-19 to be the terrible crisis that it is have clung to the idea that more cases won’t mean more deaths. Some Americans have been perplexed by a downward trend of national deaths, even as cases exploded in the Sun Belt region. But given the policy choices that state and federal officials have made, the virus has done exactly what public-health experts expected. When states reopened in late April and May with plenty of infected people within their borders, cases began to grow. COVID-19 is highly transmissible, makes a large subset of people who catch it seriously ill, and kills many more people than the flu or any other infectious disease circulating in the country.”


Politico: RNC restricts convention attendance as Florida coronavirus cases climb. “The Republican National Committee is planning to sharply limit attendance for its convention in Jacksonville, Fla. next month, shrinking the event celebrating President Donald Trump’s renomination amid concerns about coronavirus.”

AP: USA Today: Navarro’s anti-Fauci column didn’t meet standards. “USA Today says that a column that the newspaper solicited and published from presidential trade adviser Peter Navarro criticizing Dr. Anthony Fauci was misleading and did not meet fact-checking standards.”

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