coronabuzz

Thursday CoronaBuzz, July 23, 2020: 42 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.

UPDATES

ProPublica: Judge Won’t Free Michigan Teenager Sent to Juvenile Detention After Not Doing Online Schoolwork. “At a hearing Monday, Judge Mary Ellen Brennan denied a motion to release a 15-year-old from a juvenile facility. ‘I think you are exactly where you are supposed to be,’ Brennan said. ‘You are blooming there, but there is more work to be done.'”

SOCIETAL IMPACT

ABC News Australia: ‘I am alone with this unfathomable grief’: Victorian woman stuck in coronavirus quarantine in Perth after father’s death. “The daughter of a Perth man who died in hospital overnight has been told she must remain in mandatory isolation in a hotel after flying in from Melbourne to be with her family. After an initial request for an exemption to enter WA was rejected on Monday, Natalia Southern was allowed to fly to Perth on Tuesday under strict new border rules that require her to spend two weeks in hotel quarantine at her own expense.”

BBC: Unilever: Ice cream in, personal hygiene out in lockdown. “People working from home have been eating more ice cream but neglecting their grooming habits, consumer goods giant Unilever has suggested. The firm said ice cream sales leapt 26% in the three months to June, but demand for shampoo and deodorant fell.”

Phys .org: Study: Gender inequality increases in media during pandemic. “According to the survey of 558 journalists in 52 countries, the COVID-19 crisis had a negative impact on women’s salaries as well as on their work responsibilities, career advancement and private life. As a result, three quarters of the respondents saw their stress level increase while half of the women quizzed acknowledged that their health has been affected, mainly by sleeping problems.”

NBC Miami: Lauderhill Family Loses Two Children to COVID-19 Days Apart. “A Lauderhill family is in mourning after losing two children to the novel coronavirus just days apart. Over the span of 11 days, both Byron and Mychaela Francis battled with the virus before tragically passing away.”

Washington Post: ‘No mask, no entry. Is that clear enough? That seems pretty clear, right?’. “I’ll never understand what’s so hard about putting on a mask for a few minutes. It’s common sense. It’s a requirement now in North Carolina. But this is a conservative place, and there are only 900 people in this town. We try hard to get along. We’re a small general store, and we didn’t want to end up in one of those viral videos with people spitting or screaming about their civil rights. We put a sign outside — an appeal to kindness. ‘If you wear a mask, it shows how much you care about us.’ We found out how much they cared. It became clear real quick.”

BBC: Coronavirus in India: ‘PM Modi, please make men share housework!’. “Housework in India usually involves a lot of heavy lifting. Unlike in the West, few Indian homes are equipped with dishwashers, vacuum cleaners or washing machines. So, dishes have to be individually cleaned, clothes have to be washed in buckets and hung out to dry, and homes have to be swept with brooms and mopped with rags. Then there are children to be looked after and the elderly and infirm to be cared for. In millions of middle class homes, the housework is delegated to the hired domestic help – part-time cooks, cleaners and nannies. But what happens when the help can’t come to work because there is a nationwide lockdown?”

New York Times: Coronavirus Threatens the Luster of Superstar Cities. “The pandemic threatens the assets that make America’s most successful cities so dynamic — not only their bars, museums and theaters, but also their dense networks of innovative businesses and highly skilled workers, jumping among employers, bumping into one another, sharing ideas, powering innovation and lifting productivity.”

INSTITUTIONS

NDTV: Nobel Banquet Cancelled For First Time Since 1956 Over Coronavirus: Report. “Fears over the coronavirus will see the Nobel prize banquet cancelled for the first time in over half a century, Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter reported on Tuesday. Nobel Prize winners for 2020 will be announced but the banquet, which is always held on December 10 and normally draws around 1,300 guests, will not go ahead.”

UC Berkeley: UC Berkeley to begin fall semester with remote instruction. “As you are all aware, the trend lines regarding COVID-19 positive cases in Alameda county, the region, and the state, show that infections continue to increase. The increase in cases in the local community is of particular concern. Given this development, as well as it being unlikely that there will be a dramatic reversal in the public health situation before the fall semester instruction begins on Aug. 26, we have made the difficult decision to begin the fall semester with fully remote instruction. However, we continue our preparations to implement hybrid and/or flexible modes of instruction as soon as public health conditions allow.”

BUSINESS / CORPORATIONS

Variety: ABC News Readies ‘American Catastrophe,’ A Look At How America Missed Chances to Fight Coronavirus. “ABC News will on Tuesday, July 28, at 9 p.m. unveil a ’20/20′ report that is three months in the making. “American Catastrophe: How Did We Get Here?” will give viewers a behind-the-scenes look at how the United States missed opportunities, warning signs and chances to prepare for the coronavirus pandemic, and interviews past and current U.S. officials in an attempt to figure out how the nation will proceed.”

GOVERNMENT

Center for Public Integrity: Exclusive: White House Privately Warns 11 Cities Must Take “Aggressive” Action Against Coronavirus. “Dr. Deborah Birx, a leader of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, warned state and local leaders in a private phone call Wednesday that 11 major cities are seeing increases in the percentage of tests coming back positive for COVID-19 and should take ‘aggressive’ steps to mitigate their outbreaks. ”

Reuters: World leaders to send videos instead of traveling to U.N. in September. “World leaders will send videos instead of physically gathering at the United Nations in September due to the coronavirus pandemic, the General Assembly decided on Wednesday, a move that paves the way for people wary of traveling to the United States – like North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un – to participate.”

CNN: Cafeteria worker on White House grounds tests positive for Covid-19 as staffers urged not to panic. “Administration officials were alerted on Wednesday that a cafeteria employee on the White House grounds has tested positive for coronavirus, according to an email viewed by CNN. Ike’s Eatery — located in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building — and the New Executive Office Building’s cafeteria have been temporarily closed, though the email advised that the risk of transmission is low due to precautions like gloves and masks.”

Politico: ‘It’s a mess’: Congress prepares to lurch over unemployment aid cliff. “A dysfunctional Congress is about to go careening off yet another fiscal cliff — but this will hurt a hell of a lot more than most. Tens of millions of unemployed Americans are about to lose their economic lifeline during the worst recession in 80 years, with eviction protections set to expire at the same time.”

New York Times: Virus Surge Brings Calls for Trump to Invoke Defense Production Act. “Experts, medical workers and elected officials are reviving their call for the Trump administration to ramp up its use of the Defense Production Act to secure critical medical supplies. In March, as the coronavirus pandemic took hold in the United States and pressure from cities and states grew, President Trump used the act to press General Motors to begin production of ventilators. But four months later, frustrated by what they describe as a lack of federal leadership in the face of continued shortages, critics say the Trump administration is not wielding the act to the extent that it can and should.”

INDIVIDUALS / BANDS / GROUPS

AZ Central: With colorful wigs, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema turns age-old tradition on its head. “U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema is reminding people to social distance while bringing back an age-old congressional tradition. The Democratic senator from Arizona, a platinum blonde with the help of hair dye, has sported bob-length wigs in mint green and lavender in the course of her public duties during the pandemic. The hairpieces help cover her own hair’s natural darker hues while reminding her constituents that it is impossible to safely dye hair at a salon under the CDC’s recommendations of remaining six feet away from others.”

Yahoo News: A public health employee predicted Florida’s coronavirus catastrophe — then she was fired: ‘This is everything I was trying to warn people about’. “‘More people are gonna die,’ Rebekah Jones wrote to her mother and sisters on Facebook. It was April 26, a warm spring Sunday in Tallahassee, Fla., and she was just finishing work at the Florida Department of Health, where she was managing the state’s much-praised coronavirus dashboard, which she had also created. ‘I feel sick,’ the 30-year-old doctoral student continued. The exchange marked the beginning of an exceptionally turbulent period for Jones, who was demonized by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as a rogue employee while also being celebrated by his detractors as a brave truth teller willing to stand up to political power.”

SPORTS

AP: Opening day amid virus: Masks, empty parks, social justice. “A baseball season that was on the brink before it ever began because of the virus outbreak is set to start Thursday night when excitable Max Scherzer and the World Series champion Washington Nationals host prized ace Gerrit Cole and the New York Yankees. When it does get underway — the DC forecast calls for thunderstorms, the latest rocky inning in this what-can-go-wrong game — it’ll mark the most bizarre year in the history of Major League Baseball.”

EDUCATION

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Georgia may push statewide start date of Sept. 8 for schools. “At its meeting Thursday, the state Board of Education may consider a resolution pushing back the start of school statewide until Sept. 8. The resolution under consideration would seek to have schools delay opening until Sept. 8, according to sources. The Georgia School Boards Association was not consulted about a possible resolution, said Executive Director Valarie Wilson. ‘We started hearing rumors earlier today, and the rumors started to take more leg this afternoon. Later, we received confirmation the state board would be discussing it tomorrow.'”

Canada .com: Anxiety high as Canadian schools prepare for students from COVID-ravaged U.S.. “Post-secondary students from the pandemic-riven United States are getting ready to go back to school in Canada — a rite of passage that’s causing more anxiety than usual for parents and front-line university workers alike in the age of COVID-19.”

Christian Science Monitor: In African nations, it’s doubly hard for kids to distance-learn. “Remote learning is especially difficult for young students in many African nations, where access to internet or electricity can be spotty. On top of missed education, closed schools means the loss of shelter, meals, and safety for many students.”

HEALTH

BuzzFeed News: We Asked Coronavirus Experts About Whether They’re Taking A Vacation This Summer. “As Americans swelter through a sticky summer wearing masks, many are also feeling in desperate need of a change of scenery after months of mostly confining themselves to their homes. But with large swaths of the country now seeing dramatic and deadly surges in the virus — including in popular vacation destination states such as Florida, California, and Texas — how safe is it to take a trip? And what summer activities are less risky than others? To try to get a better picture, BuzzFeed News asked [Maia] Majumder and half a dozen other scientists and doctors across North America about their summer plans and what things they would feel comfortable doing amid the pandemic.”

Yahoo News: As post-COVID heart and brain problems linger, some coronavirus survivors find it’s a long haul to recovery. “Jennica Harris, 33, is starting to believe she will never fully recover from the coronavirus. A fit and healthy Southern California mother of two, Harris fell ill in April after her husband, a commercial airline pilot, was infected. Her husband has recovered, and her children, who showed symptoms of the disease but were never tested, are now healthy — but Harris is still suffering flare-ups, when her heart rate jumps and she has to lie completely still.”

New York Times: Can You Get Covid-19 Again? It’s Very Unlikely, Experts Say. “It may be possible for the coronavirus to strike the same person twice, but it’s highly unlikely that it would do so in such a short window or to make people sicker the second time, they said. What’s more likely is that some people have a drawn-out course of infection, with the virus taking a slow toll weeks to months after their initial exposure.”

Washington Post: Former CDC chief: Most states fail to report data key to controlling the coronavirus pandemic. “Six months after the first coronavirus case appeared in the United States, most states are failing to report critical information needed to track and control the resurgence of covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, according to an analysis released Tuesday by a former top Obama administration health official.”

AP: Virus hits frontline workers in taxed public health system. “As a veteran public health worker, Chantee Mack knew the coronavirus could kill. She already faced health challenges and didn’t want to take any chances during the pandemic. So she asked — twice — for permission to work from home. She was deemed essential and told no. Eight weeks later, she was dead.”

OUTBREAKS

TIME: 13 Religious Sisters Have Died From COVID-19 at a Single Convent in Michigan. “On Good Friday, the virus took the life of Sister Mary Luiza Wawrzyniak, 99. By the end of the month, eleven other sisters had passed; seventeen more were infected but recovered, according to Sr. Noel Marie Gabriel, the director of clinical health services for Our Lady of Hope Province. A thirteenth sister, despite an initial recovery, passed away in June.”

Texas Tribune: These “last responders” deal with the bodies as coronavirus deaths surge in the Rio Grande Valley. “Funeral homes have set up temporary morgues. Crematoriums are running overtime. Families must wait more than a week to bury their loved ones. For body couriers and funeral workers, there’s no letup in sight.”

TECHNOLOGY

NiemanLab: With masks and sanitized mics, podcast pros tiptoe back into in-person interviews. “Welcome to Hot Pod, a newsletter about podcasts. This is issue 267, dated July 21, 2020. Hey everybody, Caroline here — Nick’s taking a break this week, so this edition is largely coming to you from me and some excellent contributors. Let’s get into this one.”

The Register: Linux Foundation starts new group to build pandemic-popping software. “The Linux Foundation has announced a new Public Health initiative (LFPH) that ‘builds, secures, and sustains open source software to help public health authorities (PHAs) combat COVID-19 and future epidemics.'”

RESEARCH

Columbia University: Neutralizing Antibodies Isolated from COVID-19 Patients May Suppress Virus. “Researchers at Columbia University Irving Medical Center have isolated antibodies from several COVID-19 patients that, to date, are among the most potent in neutralizing the SARS-CoV-2 virus. These antibodies could be produced in large quantities by pharmaceutical companies to treat patients, especially early in the course of infection, and to prevent infection, particularly in the elderly.”

Bloomberg: Covid Antibodies Fade Rapidly, Raising Risk of Lost Immunity. “Recovering from Covid-19 may not offer much lasting protection from future infections for those with only mild cases, according to a report that suggests caution regarding so-called herd immunity as well as the durability of vaccines. The correspondence in the New England Journal of Medicine outlined research on antibodies taken from the blood of 34 patients who had recovered after suffering mainly mild symptoms that didn’t require intensive care. Just two needed supplemental oxygen and received an HIV medication, and none were on a ventilator or getting Gilead Sciences Inc.’s remdesivir.”

FUNNY

Mike Shouts: Magician Shows You How To Made A Face Shield Out Of A 12 Box Of Krispy Kreme Donuts. That’s gonna be one sticky mask. “Andy Clockwise is a magician, but he turning a 12 box of Krispy Kreme donuts into a functional face shield is no magic. The man has posted a short video on his YouTube channel, demonstrating how to turn a 12-donut box from Krispy Kreme into a functional face shield.”

CRIME / SECURITY / LEGAL

BBC: Uganda – where security forces may be more deadly than coronavirus. “In Uganda, at least 12 people have allegedly been killed by security officers enforcing measures to restrict the spread of coronavirus, while no-one has been confirmed as dying from the virus itself. Patience Atuhaire has been meeting some of those affected by the violence.”

Politico: Blocked gun sales skyrocket amid coronavirus pandemic. “In March 2019, the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) ran background checks on 823,273 attempted gun buys (the system immediately greenlights the vast majority of transactions). This past March, however, NICS processed more than 1.4 million background checks––a massive spike. The most dramatic shift, though, might be in how many people the system blocked from buying guns. In March 2019 and February 2020, the NICS system blocked about 9,500 and 9,700, respectively. But in March 2020, it blocked more than double that amount: a whopping 23,692 gun sales.”

CNET: Going to court online is supposed to be safer. For many, it’s actually much worse. “For many immigration cases, testimony from a witness — a co-worker, a friend or relative — able to come to court and vouch for you is critical for the defense of why you should be allowed to stay in the country. But with courts going online because of the coronavirus pandemic, defendants aren’t afforded that help in some cases. Virtual courtrooms have taken away many of the resources that lawyers and defendants rely on, attorneys say, including basic necessities like being able to talk with each other in private and having an interpreter present for non-English speakers.”

AP: US accuses Chinese hackers in targeting of COVID-19 research. “Hackers working with the Chinese government targeted firms developing vaccines for the coronavirus and stole hundreds of millions of dollars worth of intellectual property and trade secrets from companies across the world, the Justice Department said Tuesday as it announced criminal charges.”

OH THAT’S SO NICE

Jewish Telegraphic Agency: Abe Foxman’s next act: Raising $28 million to feed thousands of struggling Holocaust survivors. “Since retiring from his post as national director of the Anti-Defamation League in 2015, Abraham Foxman has had plenty of opportunities to take on other projects in the Jewish world. Until now, he’s almost always said no. But now the 80-year-old is coming out of retirement with an ambitious goal: to raise $28 million to feed Holocaust survivors during the pandemic.”

OPINION

New York Times: Elizabeth Warren: To Fight the Pandemic, Here’s My Must-Do List. “Americans stayed at home and sacrificed for months to flatten the curve and prevent the spread of the coronavirus. That gave us time to take the steps needed to address the pandemic — but President Trump squandered it, refusing to issue national stay-at-home guidelines, failing to set up a national testing operation and fumbling production of personal protective equipment. Now, Congress must again act as this continues to spiral out of control.”

POLITICS

CNN: Trump tweets image of himself wearing a mask and calls it ‘patriotic’. “President Donald Trump tweeted an image of himself wearing a face mask and indirectly called the act ‘patriotic’ on Monday — a clear pivot away from his earlier reluctance to wear a facial covering in public.”

Reuters: Tension, infighting roil Trump White House as coronavirus strategy sputters. “Differences over how to fight the coronavirus pandemic have sparked infighting and tension within the White House, hampering its response as the death toll mounts and President Donald Trump’s approval ratings fall.”

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