Sunday CoronaBuzz, July 19, 2020: 29 pointers to new resources, useful stuff, research news, and more.

Please wear a mask. Wash your hands. Stay at home if you can. Please be careful. I love you.


Poynter: The tracking of disparity: Here are 5 places to find accurate data on COVID-19’s toll on people of color and the poor. “The most compelling stories about the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus on minorities and the poor combine local voices with hard data that confirms a broader reality. One without the other too often leaves an incomplete picture for readers and viewers who are overwhelmed by the volume of information or for some reason skeptical of the greater risks facing Black and Hispanic residents, and low-income families. But where do journalists find the numbers confirming the disparities in their states and communities, particularly if their news outlets don’t have sophisticated data operations? Here are five places to start.”

Route Fifty: Your Coping and Resilience Strategies Might Need to Shift as the Covid-19 Crisis Continues. “By looking at how people have reacted to mass traumas in the past—think the terrorist attacks of 9/11 or the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina—psychology researchers like us can learn about which coping strategies have historically been effective. For instance, people were able to boost their self-esteem and curtail negative thinking in the wake of 9/11 if they engaged in activities that fit their personal values, goals and responsibilities. They could find meaning in what they did, interpreting their actions in a positive manner. So while traumas like these kinds of events can lead to anxiety and depression, they can also pave the way for resilience and recovery. As the coronavirus pandemic situation and stresses change, so do our recommendations for what coping strategies might be most helpful.”


BBC: Coronavirus: Hong Kong reports biggest one-day rise in cases. “Hong Kong has recorded its highest one-day increase in cases since the pandemic began, the territory’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam has said. At a Sunday press conference, Ms Lam said there had been more than 100 new infections, and announced new restrictions to contain the spread.”

BBC: Coronavirus: WHO reports record single-day global increase in cases. “The number of new cases of coronavirus rose by almost 260,000 in 24 hours – the largest single-day increase since the pandemic began, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Saturday. According to the WHO, this is the first time the number of new daily infections has surpassed a quarter of a million. The biggest increases were in the US, Brazil, India and South Africa.”


Thanks to Harriet S. for emailing me and correcting my screwup. Being human, I will mess up, but I try to let you know ASAP when I do. KHOU: VERIFY: Houston newspaper did publish 43 pages of obituaries, but it was a quarterly advertising section. “Thousands of people have been sharing social media posts that say the Houston Chronicle’s obituary section was 43 pages over the weekend. Many are linking the death announcements to the rise in local coronavirus cases. The problem is that conclusion is based on bad information.”

Poynter: Fact-checkers take a look back at their work fighting COVID-19. “In Europe, fact-checking organizations, Full Fact, Pagella Politica/Facta, Correctiv, and Agence France-Presse collaborated to study the themes and spread of misinformation across the continent. The report found similar types of misinformation correlated with the virus’s progress through each European country. For example, a hoax about chemical spraying helicopters started in Italy during its initial outbreak and spread across the continent as the virus progressed. More surprising, said co-founder Clara Jimenez, were the viral hoaxes that did not spread outside each country’s borders.”


NiemanLab: These McClatchy financials are a window into how much damage Covid-19 has done to the newspaper business. “When McClatchy declared bankruptcy in February, its debts were crushing, but its operating numbers weren’t so bad. But the coronavirus ripped away more than a quarter of its revenue in just a few weeks.”

Roanoke Times: Farmers cultivate new business models as the pandemic forces them to adapt. “Agriculture is one of countless industries that has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many farmers who can sell directly to consumers are weathering the pandemic well, though it often required a significant reworking of their business model. But others, like beef cattle and dairy farmers, have struggled because of issues on the processing side.”


ChannelNewsAsia: UK orders review into potentially unreliable England COVID-19 death data. “Britain’s health minister Matt Hancock has ordered a review into how deaths from coronavirus are reported in England after academics said the daily figures may be unreliable and include people who have died of other causes, an official said. The government official, who asked not to be named, said an announcement of the review might be announced later on Friday (Jul 17).”

New York Times: Inside Trump’s Failure: The Rush to Abandon Leadership Role on the Virus. “Each morning at 8 as the coronavirus crisis was raging in April, Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, convened a small group of aides to steer the administration through what had become a public health, economic and political disaster. Seated around Mr. Meadows’s conference table and on a couch in his office down the hall from the Oval Office, they saw their immediate role as practical problem solvers. Produce more ventilators. Find more personal protective equipment. Provide more testing. But their ultimate goal was to shift responsibility for leading the fight against the pandemic from the White House to the states.”

Washington Post: Trump administration pushing to block new money for testing, tracing, and CDC in upcoming coronavirus relief bill. “The Trump administration is trying to block billions of dollars for states to conduct testing and contact tracing in the upcoming coronavirus relief bill, people involved in the talks said Saturday. The administration is also trying to block billions of dollars that GOP senators want to allocate for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and billions more for the Pentagon and State Department to address the pandemic at home and abroad, the people said.”

Bloomberg: Georgia Massaged Virus Data to Reopen, Then Voided Mask Orders. “For six weeks, Georgia had been a model, especially for those eager to end shutdowns. Among the last U.S. states to lock down, Georgia in April was first to widely reopen, after just three weeks. Critics said the state misrepresented its data to justify the move, and they predicted disaster. It didn’t happen: Covid-19 case numbers bumped along, neither rising nor falling significantly. Pandemic skeptics crowed. That ended last month.”


Politico: Kamala Harris unveils housing plan as rent deadline looms. “Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) unveiled a sweeping housing plan Thursday to give struggling renters and homeowners relief as the coronavirus pandemic continues to pound the economy. The legislation, which Harris plans to introduce next week, would ban evictions and foreclosures for a year while giving tenants up to 18 months to pay back missed payments. The current federal ban on evictions — which only covers the roughly 1 in 4 rental units in the country with a federally backed mortgage — expires July 24.”


AP: No Canada: Blue Jays barred from playing games in Toronto. “The Blue Jays won’t play their home games in Toronto this year because Canada’s government doesn’t think it’s safe for players to travel back and forth from the United States, one of the countries hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic.”


AP: Doctor who survived COVID-19 bewildered by public disregard. “Dr. Michael Saag spends much of his time treating patients fighting for their lives and working with colleagues who are overwhelmed and exhausted by the relentless battle against the COVID-19 pandemic. But he enters a different world when he walks out the door of his Alabama clinic: one where many don’t wear masks, keep their distance from others or even seem aware of the intense struggle being waged against a virus that has cost about 140,000 lives nationwide and made so many — including the doctor — seriously ill. The disconnect is devastating.”

AP: As virus surges in some US states, emergency rooms swamped. “A fast-rising tide of new coronavirus cases is flooding emergency rooms in parts of the United States, with some patients moved into hallways and nurses working extra shifts to keep up with the surge. Patients struggling to breathe are being placed on ventilators in emergency wards since intensive care units are full, officials say, and the near-constant care they require is overtaxing workers who also are treating more typical ER cases like chest pains, infections, and fractures.”

CNN: I can’t shake Covid-19: Warnings from young survivors still suffering. “Daniel Green is still hobbled by the severe viral infection that struck him in March and left him coughing up blood. Three months ago, the 28-year-old postdoctoral research associate from Newcastle, United Kingdom, was on the road with friends in a band as they toured venues in the French Alps. He came down with Covid-19 symptoms, and like many coronavirus patients, spent weeks in bed. Unlike other people, however, Green’s life hasn’t returned to normal.”

The Guardian: ‘The virus doesn’t care about excuses’: US faces terrifying autumn as Covid-19 surges. “….four months into the pandemic, with test results delayed, contact tracing scarce, protective equipment dwindling and emergency rooms once again filling, the United States finds itself in a fight for its life: swamped by partisanship, mistrustful of science, engulfed in mask wars and led by a president whose incompetence is rivaled only by his indifference to Americans’ suffering. With flu season on the horizon and Donald Trump demanding that millions of students return to school in the fall – not to mention a presidential election quickly approaching – the country appears at risk of being torn apart.”


India Today: Exclusive: Over 15,000 frontline workers tested positive for coronavirus in India. “The total number of frontline workers and health care staff who got affected by coronavirus stands at 15,200 in India, reveals unreleased government data accessed by India Today through sources. Sources said that of the total, more than 5000 are health care workers who have tested positive for Covid-19 while on duty.”

BBC: Coronavirus spike continues amid new Catalonia restrictions. “Spain’s north-eastern Catalonia region has again recorded a daily Covid-19 infection figure of more than 1,000, as residents endure new restrictions. Health authorities are trying to halt this week’s surge, which has led to four million people around Barcelona being asked to stay home for 15 days.”

ABC 7: 3 members of SoCal family die from COVID-19 as matriarch remains in ICU battling the virus. “A Southern California family is mourning three of its members who died due to COVID-19 as the matriarch of the family remains in the ICU fighting the virus. Close family friend Joe Perez says COVID-19 hit 17 members of the family about a month ago. That’s when Perez says the family started visiting each other, as stay-at-home orders loosened and businesses started to reopen.”

Texas Tribune: With 4 in 5 Texans living in a “red zone,” coronavirus hot spots are moving targets. “Over the four months of Texas’ course of the coronavirus, early hot spots — Amarillo among them — have been eclipsed by new regions in crisis — now, South Texas. But now that so much of Texas is battling major coronavirus outbreaks, some severely ill patients have to travel long distances to receive the care they need. And perhaps most alarmingly, even some relatively better-off areas are inching further toward crisis.”


Mashable: Brilliant paramedic uses voice-to-text app to talk with patients who lipread. “In case you needed one more reason to be in complete awe of first responders handling the COVID-19 pandemic, paramedic Danny Hughes is here to help. On Friday, the UK-based medical professional, who currently works for South East Coast Ambulance Services per his Twitter bio, shared his inventive solution for speaking to patients who lipread while wearing a mask.”


University of Minnesota: Three studies detail risk factors for COVID-19 death. “JAMA Internal Medicine published two studies yesterday on factors tied to death in COVID-19 patients, one involving US patients and one highlighting Italian data, and a Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness study described the clinical features of 100 coronavirus patients who died in China.”

New York Times: Older Children Spread the Coronavirus Just as Much as Adults, Large Study Finds. “In the heated debate over reopening schools, one burning question has been whether and how efficiently children can spread the virus to others. A large new study from South Korea offers an answer: Children younger than 10 transmit to others much less often than adults do, but the risk is not zero. And those between the ages of 10 and 19 can spread the virus at least as well as adults do.”



BBC: Russia’s UK ambassador rejects coronavirus vaccine hacking allegations. “Russia’s ambassador to the UK has rejected allegations that his country’s intelligence services tried to steal coronavirus vaccine research. ‘I don’t believe in this story at all, there is no sense in it,’ Andrei Kelin told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.”

KIRO: Prosecutors: Man told to ‘put on a mask like the rest of us’ pulled gun on Fred Meyer shopper. “Prosecutors in Thurston County say a man who was told to put on a mask inside of a Fred Meyer in Tumwater pulled a gun on a shopper Thursday. According to prosecutors, the victim told police he was shopping in the produce section when he saw a man not wearing a mask. The victim told police he approached the man and told him to “put a mask on like the rest of us,” prosecutors said.”


Mercury News: Editorial: Make COVID-19 patient data fully transparent. “For decades, under Democratic and Republican administrations, the CDC was one of the most trusted federal government agencies. A 2019 Pew Research Center survey revealed that it had an 80% favorability rating, ranking only behind the U.S. Postal Service (90%), the National Park Service (86%) and NASA (81%). The CDC’s reputation has fallen considerably this year, beginning with its failure to mass produce successful test kits in February. But the nation needs a strong, independent federal agency that protects Americans from health threats. The Trump administration must stop undermining the CDC and make all COVID-19 data available to the public.”

Vogue: Mask Wars? New Yorkers Will Sit This One Out. We’ve Already Seen Enough Death.. “Historically, New Yorkers are not known for their patience or their politeness. But that was before the tent hospitals in Central Park and the refrigerated trucks parked outside of hospitals throughout Manhattan, or the commandeering of the Javits Center and the U.S. Open for overflow COVID-19 patients. March was a demarcation line for many of us New Yorkers. The weeks of silent streets regularly punctuated by the sound of ambulance sirens changed all of us who stayed in the city. We saw early on the frightening implications of this coronavirus pandemic and when the government told us to put on our face masks, we obeyed.”

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