Wednesday CoronaBuzz, July 22, 2020: 28 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.


State Library of Massachusetts: Official Massachusetts COVID-19 Publications Archived at the State Library. “Although the State Library’s physical location may be closed temporarily, we librarians have been hard at work these past few months on various projects to serve your information needs. One significant ongoing project has been to catalog and archive the Commonwealth’s official COVID-19 resources that are being published daily by state agencies.”


ProPublica: How to Understand COVID-19 Numbers . “Viewed in isolation or presented without context, coronavirus numbers don’t always give an accurate picture of how the pandemic is being handled. Here, ProPublica journalists Caroline Chen and Ash Ngu offer insight on how to navigate the figures.”

MarketWatch: Why you need a coronavirus care plan and how to make one. “At any stage of life, a medical crisis might render you unable to make health care choices. Because of visitor restrictions to health care facilities during the coronavirus pandemic, it will be harder for family or other advocates to be present. Sometimes decisions have to be made quickly. That said, doctors often don’t know a patient’s wishes. In today’s medical landscape, if you go to the hospital, your primary care doctor probably will not be the one taking care of you. Doctors can change daily, so you need to make your wishes easily accessible.”


Route Fifty: Pandemic Threatens Black Middle-Class Gains. “The Black middle class has made strides in recent years toward economic parity with whites in 34 states, a new Stateline analysis has found. But the pandemic threatens that progress, as Black professionals and businessowners lose their livelihoods at greater rates than their white counterparts.”

San Francisco Chronicle: UCSF study shows health workers grappling with pandemic anxiety: ‘It’s exhausting’. “Dr. Robert Rodriguez’s anxiety rises and falls with the number of coronavirus cases and deaths. Fear that he could get infected at his San Francisco General Hospital job, or bring the virus home, affects his sleep. He doesn’t hug his 16-year-old son as much. Other worried family members avoid interacting with him. The stress isn’t sustainable, he said.”

NPR: It ‘Looks Very Scary For Renters’ As Federal Eviction Relief Expiration Nears. “Millions of Americans are facing the threat of eviction as a federal moratorium that has protected renters during the pandemic is set to expire Friday. That eviction moratorium, coupled with unemployment assistance established in the CARES Act, has helped some renters stay in their homes. As the deadline has loomed, renters and local officials from Washington, D.C., to Houston have struggled to find a solution.”

Washington Post: ‘A very dark feeling’: Hundreds camp out in Oklahoma unemployment lines. “John Jolley never thought he’d be sleeping in his car awaiting unemployment benefits. But there he was, the owner of a once-successful advertising agency, taking a sweaty nap in a Subaru wagon in a convention center parking lot at 1:45 a.m. on a Wednesday. The pandemic sent his business into a free fall, and now Jolley wanted to be first in line for an unemployment claims event beginning in five hours. He barely dozed, afraid that if he fell into a deep sleep, he would miss the early-morning handout of tickets for appointments with state agents.”


The Conversation: Microfinance loans could spell disaster in the time of coronavirus. “Microfinance programmes – small-scale lending programmes targeted at low-income households that normally fall through the cracks of formal lending systems – were supposed to provide the poor with the capital they need to open a street stall, invest in their farmland, or buy materials to make handicrafts. Up until the late 2000s, microfinance was hailed as a financial magic bullet by many. It would lift the world’s poor out of poverty and empower women. Only, it hasn’t quite turned out that way.”

CNET: LinkedIn cuts 960 jobs as pandemic hits recruitment. “LinkedIn will cut around 960 jobs due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on recruiting and hiring. The cuts will focus on the sales and hiring divisions, hitting 6% of the professional networking site’s global workforce.”

CNET: Prime Day delayed amid coronavirus concerns, Amazon confirms. “In a typical year, the Prime Day dates would have been announced in June and the sale would have happened in mid-July, so this official statement is less a surprise than an acknowledgement of reality. The e-commerce giant said Tuesday that Prime Day in India will take place Aug. 6 and 7 but didn’t specify when the sale will happen elsewhere.”

BBC: Coronavirus: India’s biggest airline IndiGo to cut 10% of staff. “Indian airline IndiGo has become the latest carrier to reveal how hard it has been hit by the collapse in demand for flights due to Covid-19. The country’s largest airline said it will shed 10% of its staff as it grapples with a slump in revenues.”

Spectrum News New York: Business Sector Calls for Partnership in Economic Recovery, but de Blasio Focuses on Federal Bailout. “New York City is at the edge of a fiscal precipice: a multibillion-dollar budget hole thanks to the coronavirus and a still-undefined economic recovery effort from City Hall. George Arzt, who served as Mayor Ed Koch’s press secretary and is now a political consultant, recounted the early days of the Koch administration, with the crisis of the 1970s still in full swing and the city not yet recovered from near bankruptcy.”

New York Times: ‘Less Optimistic’ and ‘More Cautious’: Top C.E.O.s Fret as Virus Cases Rise. “With coronavirus cases around the country on the rise and states rolling back their reopening plans, many of the nation’s top business leaders are steeling themselves for a period of prolonged economic disruption and the prospect of a slow, halting recovery.”


ProPublica: Politicians and Business Interests Pushed Health Officials Aside to Control Reopening. Then Cases Exploded.. “Interviews and internal emails show that Utah prioritized the health of businesses over keeping coronavirus case counts down. As case counts rise, the state will now allow indoor gatherings of up to 3,000 people.”

Salon: What’s the matter with Iowa? Gov. Kim Reynolds turns Hawkeye State into Trump’s petri dish. “On the same day that Iowa marked its highest number of COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, after three weeks of rapid increase, Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds defended her refusal to pass a statewide mask requirement and issued a proclamation mandating that all public schools provide in-person classes within weeks.”


SportTechie: 8 Ways MLB Is Leaning on Technology to Keep Fans Engaged This Summer. “Major League Baseball’s delayed and truncated season will be largely contested without fans, making the execution of its technology roadmap especially crucial for fan engagement following its acrimonious labor negotiations with the players. In a Monday afternoon Zoom call, leaders of the league’s tech operations walked the media through a briefing of its 2020 updates, including the long-standing plans (enhanced replay and Statcast) and what’s being created on the fly (artificial crowd noise and increased digital signage). Here’s a rundown of what to expect when MLB holds Opening Day for all its clubs on Thursday and Friday.”


Washington Post: Even where Trump is popular, some school leaders reject his push to reopen schools. “The school year for Greenville County Schools in South Carolina starts a little more than a month from now, and officials are still scrambling to figure out what school will look like for the district’s nearly 77,000 students. Will students return to school full time? Or part time? Or will they even open school buildings? Whatever the plan is, Superintendent W. Burke Royster said, it will be driven by the pandemic — not politics. Royster helped craft a matrix that will guide the school’s reopening plan based on the spread of the novel coronavirus, and so far, things are not looking good: Greenville County now has more than 1,600 cases per 100,000 people.”


WJLA: Nurses call on Senate to protect frontline healthcare workers: 164 have died from COVID-19. “The National Nurses United (NNU) is holding a memorial Tuesday at 9:15 a.m. to honor the more than 160 nurses who have lost their lives from COVID-19 in the United States. NNU said they will place shoes outside of the United States Capitol to represent every nurse who has died. They will also be reading each of their names.”

NBC DFW: North Texas Counties Report at Least 433 Babies Test Positive for COVID-19 Since March. “NBC 5 found more than 430 babies have tested positive for the virus in the four largest counties in North Texas even though the Texas Department of State Health Services is currently only reporting 125 cases in children ages 1 and younger.”


Phys .org: Women, college graduates, Democrats more likely to self-isolate to reduce coronavirus risks. “Women, older Americans, Democrats and people with more education are more likely to try to isolate themselves from contact with other people to reduce COVID-19 transmission risks, according to a new Tufts University national survey.”

CNET: The coronavirus is mutating, but you shouldn’t freak out about it. “Viruses mutate. That’s a thing they do, and it happens all the time. In some cases, viral mutations can be bad: They can cause an already-malignant virus to become worse, more contagious or more deadly. In many cases, however, viral mutations are rather benign. They don’t change much about the virus or the way it spreads. The novel coronavirus — aka SARS-CoV-2 (the actual name of the virus) and COVID-19 (the name of the disease) — has started to mutate, and people everywhere (OK, on Twitter) are freaking out.”

Medical Xpress: Using lung X-rays to diagnose COVID-19. “Researchers from the Department of Computer Architecture and Technology at the University of Seville’s School of Computer Engineering (ETSII) are working on a system that uses X-ray images of patients’ lungs to help diagnose COVID-19. This system uses deep learning to train a neural network model that can distinguish between healthy patients, pneumonia patients and COVID-19 patients. This has been achieved using a freely accessible online database that medical professionals from around the world have been feeding with lung X-rays since the onset of the pandemic.”

GlobeNewswire: New investments in major science initiatives to keep Canada at the forefront (PRESS RELEASE). “As the Government of Canada responds to the challenges of COVID-19, it is clear why investments in research are important. Canadian researchers from all disciplines play a key role in finding solutions to the challenges we face now and in the future. Today, the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, announced close to $230 million in funding through the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI) Major Science Initiatives (MSI) Fund to continue to support the operating costs of 14 national research facilities at 10 universities.”


New York Times: Major Security Flaws Found in South Korea Quarantine App. “South Korea has been praised for making effective use of digital tools to contain the coronavirus, from emergency phone alerts to aggressive contact tracing based on a variety of data. But one pillar of that strategy, a mobile app that helps enforce quarantines, had serious security flaws that made private information vulnerable to hackers, a software engineer has found.”

The Guardian: ‘It’s just too long’: children in detention may face Covid-19 restrictions until 2022. “The Ministry of Justice has said that new rules that allow youth detention facilities to hold children in solitary confinement for up to 22 hours a day to prevent the spread of Covid-19 could remain in place for two years despite lockdown measures being relaxed for the rest of the UK.”

Omaha World-Herald: First Douglas County murder trial in months ends abruptly over apparent coronavirus case. “The search for justice in an Omaha double-homicide case continues to be plagued by the novel coronavirus. Douglas County District Judge Marlon Polk declared a mistrial Monday in the case of Nyir Kuek after Kuek’s sister informed attorneys that she had tested positive for COVID-19.”

CNN: Bipartisan duo tries to create opening for broader small business coronavirus-relief program. “As US lawmakers prepare this week to launch negotiations over the next round of stimulus funding, a bipartisan duo is pushing a proposal to aid small businesses that eschews the more targeted approach under consideration. It’s a push that isn’t guaranteed to succeed, particularly amid public outrage at the ability of larger public companies to tap into the emergency forgivable loan program, known as the Paycheck Protection Program.”


Daily Kos: Angry, broke constituents have vulnerable Senate GOP at odds with McConnell on COVID-19 relief. “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has his priorities for the next coronavirus relief bill: forcing kids back to school and protecting businesses—and schools—from liability if they end up killing people by reopening prematurely. Those are his priorities. His cadre of vulnerable Republicans seeking reelection this year have more pressing worries, like the tens if not hundreds of thousands of their constituents who are still unemployed and are about to lose the lifeline of expanded unemployment insurance (UI) benefits.”

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