Saturday CoronaBuzz, July 25, 2020: 49 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.


Dubrovnik Times: Map of Covid-19 cases across Croatia. “The Croatian Tourism Association has launched a new website… clearly showing the number of new and active cases of Covid-19. The map of Croatia is divided into four separate regions, North Coast (Istria and Kvarner), South Coast (Dalmatia), Central Croatia (Zagreb and surroundings) and Eastern Croatia.”


World Health Organization: New COVID-19 Law Lab to provide vital legal information and support for the global COVID-19 response. “Launching today, the COVID-19 Law Lab initiative gathers and shares legal documents from over 190 countries across the world to help states establish and implement strong legal frameworks to manage the pandemic. The goal is to ensure that laws protect the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities and that they adhere to international human rights standards.”


Gainesville. com: Site tracks schools’ reopening plans. “Amid confusion over how Florida students will return to school next month, university-based education experts have created a system to track how each district’s reopening plans evolve. Researchers from the University of Florida’s College of Education have compiled a policy brief and database, the first of a series, that documents each of the state’s 67 school districts’ reopening plans as they develop.”

WTHR: State releases detailed Indiana nursing home COVID-19 data for the first time. “For months, as nursing homes across Indiana struggled to control the spread of COVID-19, the real toll of the pandemic was kept secret. State leaders refused to release data showing the number of cases and deaths inside each facility. Following pressure from AARP, state lawmakers, 13News and other media outlets, the Indiana State Department of Health has now released the information.”

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences: Screening Tool Helps COVID-19 Patients Isolate. “The Office of Population Health at UAMS created a screening tool that would help identify people who may not have a safe place to isolate once testing positive for COVID-19. Kristie Hadden, Ph.D., is director of population health, an office created to address the needs of vulnerable groups. In the early days of the pandemic, one of the directors in the homeless shelter network approached Hadden’s office for assistance in identifying and helping COVID-19 positive individuals who were unable to quarantine.”


Reporter: Bible study series for COVID-19. “The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many hardships, even to those in the church: fear, guilt, financial strain, anger, exhaustion. This Bible study series addresses these various trials in light of God’s Word and promises for us. Make use of these studies with your congregation or small group, or use them for individual study.”


New York Times: Are You Eligible for Food Stamps Now? Maybe, but It’s Complex. “SNAP is overseen by the Department of Agriculture, which lays out the rules. States handle applications and administration, and they have some leeway with the federal regulations. (And with the terms: Missouri still uses the older ‘food stamp’ phrasing.) As a result, it’s possible to offer some general guidelines for understanding how the program works, but your state has the final word. The rules are numerous and complicated, but there are exceptions and waivers that might apply to you — so don’t be deterred.”


CNN: After falling for months, Covid-19 hospitalizations in the US are nearing April’s peak. “At the peak of the pandemic in April, 59,538 people were hospitalized nationwide on April 15, according to the Covid Tracking Project. That number reached its lowest level on June 15 with 27,772 people hospitalized. But as of July 20, that number has climbed back up to 58,330 — just hints beneath April’s high.”

CNN: US surpasses 4 million reported coronavirus cases as hospitalizations near record. “The US on Thursday surpassed 4 million officially recorded Covid-19 cases — and a quarter of that count came in just the last 15 days. The country’s rising daily rate of confirmed coronavirus cases, along with a near-record number of hospitalizations, signals the US is far from containing a virus that is straining hospitals and labs, health experts say.”

Yeni Safak: Israel records highest daily coronavirus count. “Israel on Thursday confirmed a record 2,032 more infections of the novel coronavirus. According to the Health Ministry, total cases in the country number at 56,748, including 433 deaths, since the virus was first detected on Feb. 21. A total of 23,560 people have so far recovered and been discharged from hospitals, while 295 remain in critical condition, the ministry said.”


Washington Post: DeVos’s claim that children are ‘stoppers’ of covid-19. “Although there have been relatively few deaths of children — fewer than 70, according to state reports — about 3.3 million adults ages 65 and older live in a household with school-age children, according to a July 16 analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation. That’s about 6 percent of all seniors in the United States, who have a greater chance of becoming severely ill from the virus if a child becomes infected.”


Route Fifty: The Pandemic Has Closed Public Restrooms, and Many Have Nowhere to Go. “The lack of restrooms has become an issue for delivery workers, taxi and ride-hailing drivers and others who make their living outside of a fixed office building. For the city’s homeless, it’s part of an ongoing problem that preceded COVID-19.”

Washington Post: Amid a pandemic and a racial reckoning, ‘D&D’ finds itself at an inflection point. “Victoria Rogers got in trouble when she started playing Dungeons and Dragons online. It was the mid-1990s, and Rogers, unable to find people to play the tabletop fantasy roleplaying game as it’s traditionally done, played over a bulletin board system (BBS) powered by her home dial-up connection. “It was all text-based,” she said. ‘It was like writing a novel and everyone would take turns posting written descriptions of what they’re doing.’ Games of Dungeons of Dragons (D&D), where people control characters on open-ended adventures based on rules, stats and dice rolls, can famously eat up entire afternoons. But Rogers’s childhood sessions were even longer than usual.”

BBC: ‘Maskne’ and bold makeup: How masks are changing how we look. “For many of us, face masks have become an essential part of everyday life thanks to the coronavirus. But regularly wearing one can have an unfortunate side-effect: mask-induced acne, aka ‘maskne’.”

ProPublica: The Eviction Ban Worked, but It’s Almost Over. Some Landlords Are Getting Ready.. “Starting July 25, a key component of the federal eviction moratorium is set to expire, allowing landlords that operate federally backed rental properties to give their tenants 30 days’ notice to vacate. After that period, landlords can file for eviction. Axiom has made it clear that it intends to take swift legal action once the protections run out.”


Cinema Blend: Movie Theaters Launch New Campaign Seeking Help From U.S. Government. “The new campaign #SaveYourCinema just launched online. It’s a form that asks users to send messages directly to their U.S. Senators and state representatives to support legislation that could provide a financial lifeline for movie theaters and theater chains.”

CNN: Ascena, owner of Ann Taylor and Lane Bryant, files for bankruptcy. “Ascena Retail Group, the owner of Ann Taylor and other clothing brands, has filed for bankruptcy. It’s the latest retailer forced to take that step during the Covid-19 pandemic. The company, which has been struggling long before coronavirus struck, said it would close all of its Catherines stores, a significant (but undisclosed) number of Justice stores and a smaller number of Ann Taylor, LOFT, Lane Bryant and Lou & Grey stores.”

Slate: Coronavirus Diaries: I’m Working Rides at the Reopened Disney World. “…I haven’t experienced any confrontations over masks or distancing yet. Most often I just see that people are wearing their masks but not wearing them correctly, with their noses out in the open, or they’ll have them completely under their chins and they’ll be carrying drinks. When I ask them to put the masks on properly, they’ll say, ‘Well, I’m drinking!’ and I’m like, ‘Yeah, well … ‘ I sometimes get a little nervous during these conversations because it could escalate very quickly and possibly become dangerous for us.”

Mashable: Yelp says more than half of restaurants temporarily closed are now permanently shuttered. “Yelp’s Economic Average report out Wednesday shows exactly how tough: 60 percent of the 26,160 temporarily closed restaurants on the business review site as of July are now permanently shut. Temporary closures are dropping, and permanent shutdowns are increasing.”

CNBC: 59% of Americans don’t plan to renew their gym memberships after Covid-19 pandemic: survey. “Along with many other businesses, gyms across America were forced to close amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Now, as some start to reopen, they may struggle with getting members to come back, according to a new survey. In a survey published Thursday, online broker TD Ameritrade found that 59% of Americans say they don’t plan on renewing their gym memberships once the pandemic is over.”

CNN: Fox News parts ways with a morning host who caused a Covid-19 scare. “Fox News has parted ways with a host who dismayed fellow staffers when she came to work while visibly sick in the early days of the coronavirus crisis. Heather Childers, who had been an early morning host on Fox since 2012, was benched after the incident in late March. She was not put back on the air again — despite her public campaign on Twitter and her messages to President Trump.”


Los Angeles Times: After Times investigation, Newsom says nursing home inspectors will be tested for coronavirus. “California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Friday that the state will start an aggressive COVID-19 testing regime for its health employees who inspect nursing homes. The announcement came hours after publication of an L.A. Times investigation that found since the beginning of the pandemic, the state health department had been sending inspectors from nursing home to nursing home without testing them for the deadly virus, which means they could be spreading it.”

New York Times: FEMA Sends Faulty Protective Gear to Nursing Homes Battling Virus. “Nursing home employees across the country have been dismayed by what they’ve found when they’ve opened boxes of protective medical gear sent by the federal government, part of a $134 million effort to provide facilities a 14-day supply of equipment considered critical for shielding their vulnerable residents from the coronavirus. The shipments have included loose gloves of unknown provenance stuffed into unmarked Ziploc bags, surgical masks crafted from underwear fabric and plastic isolation gowns without openings for hands that require users to punch their fists through the closed sleeves. Adhesive tape must be used to secure them.”

Reuters: D.C. mayor says visitors coming from coronavirus hot spots must quarantine for 14 days. “Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser on Friday said anyone coming into the District of Columbia from a coronavirus hot spot who was not traveling for essential activities will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days. The order, which goes into effect on Monday, excludes neighboring Maryland and Virginia, Bowser said on Twitter.”


Mother Jones: Andy Slavitt on the 3 Things He’d Do to Prepare for the Next Pandemic. “Andy Slavitt knows the ins and outs of public health in America. After decades of leadership in health care companies, he served under President Obama as the acting administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, where he was instrumental in implementing the Affordable Care Act. United States of Care, the nonprofit he helped build in the years since, aims to improve access to health care for all Americans. Slavitt grasped the seriousness of the coronavirus back in February, when he urged the White House to ramp up preparations—and he wasn’t shy about criticizing what he saw as a woefully inadequate response.”

Washington Post: Israel’s Netanyahu was a pandemic hero — until a second wave plunged him into crisis. “In May, Benjamin Netanyahu was riding high. He had just started his fifth term as Israel’s prime minister after surviving a string of near-death elections, had co-opted his main rival into a unity government and was enjoying a surge in popularity after successfully leading the country through the initial onslaught of the coronavirus. Just two months later, with Israel suffering a second wave of infections, the prime minister finds himself enduring a hot summer of collapsing poll numbers, swelling protests and dissenting lawmakers. Even some of Netanyahu’s fellow Likud party members have challenged his handling of the resurgence, a break in the ranks rare for Israel’s longest-serving leader.”

Washington Post: Pennsylvania governor blasts ‘vile acts’ against transgender official leading pandemic response. “The man sitting in a Pennsylvania carnival’s dunk tank at a fundraiser last weekend was going for a Marilyn Monroe look, he said, styling himself in a floral print dress and a long blond wig. But on social media, the organizers of the Bloomsburg, Pa., event said he resembled a more local public figure: Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine, an openly transgender woman who has risen to prominence in recent months leading the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.”


Sports Illustrated: 59 Players Have Tested Positive for COVID-19, NFLPA Says. “Initially the NFLPA shared that 95 players had tested positive, but the players union amended the number on their website Tuesday evening and said on Twitter the previous number included all known positives across the league, including staff.”

Los Angeles Times: Shotgunning and social justice: Twitter account highlights life in NBA bubble. “The basketball world was treated to a video of New Orleans Pelicans guard JJ Redick shotgunning a beer while inside the NBA bubble because of a dare on a tweet. Drew Ruiz, 29, was the man behind the tweet on the account @NBABubbleLife. He is one-fourth of a ‘Wealth’ group chat, the name serving as an inside joke between friends.” There’s one for the WNBA too.


Hindustan Times: Online classes leading to stress, eye problems in children, say parents. “The long hours children spend on computers and smart phones for online classes as schools remain shut due to the Covid-19 pandemic is beginning to bother parents as complaints of headaches, eye problems and stress surface, it has been learnt.”

Slate: They’ll Never “Get Over It”. “Last week, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said on a talk radio show that schoolchildren needed to go back to school and that parental fears about the idea were overblown. “They’re at the lowest risk possible,” Parson told the radio host. “If they do get COVID-19, which they will … they’re not going to the hospitals. They’re not going to have to sit in doctors’ offices. They’re going to go home and they’re going to get over it.” Rational people everywhere opened up their windows and screamed, ‘It’s a contagious disease!’ into the street, and once again, William Maxwell’s 1937 influenza novella They Came Like Swallows flew, unwelcome, into my mind.”

Los Angeles Times: Trump’s push to reopen schools gets low grades from parents. “As the school year approaches, the country’s jumbled response to K-12 education in the coronavirus era has yielded pervasive dissatisfaction with the options — or lack thereof — for families with school-aged children. The frustrations reverberate all the way to the White House, as polling and interviews with parents across the country show widespread disapproval with President Trump’s gung-ho approach to reopening classrooms.”


AP: AP-NORC poll: 3 in 4 Americans back requiring wearing masks. “More than four months after government stay-at-home orders first swept across the U.S., the poll spotlights an America increasingly on edge about the virus. The federal government’s response is seen as falling short, and most Americans favor continued restrictions to stop the virus from spreading even if they might hamstring the economy.”

CNN: Even once a vaccine gets approved, big hurdles remain for distribution. “After months of missteps and criticism across the political spectrum on everything from testing to personal protective equipment, the Trump administration is aiming to prove it can roll out a coronavirus vaccine quickly and fairly to millions of Americans as soon as one is ready. That means tackling thorny challenges like deciding who is first in line for vaccination, securing millions of glass vials and syringes and convincing Americans to get inoculated.”

Houston Chronicle: As COVID cases exploded, workers on Texas’ $295 million contact tracing deal did little to no work. “Just as coronavirus infections began rising a few weeks ago in Texas, contract workers hired by the state to track down exposed Texans were spending hours doing little or no work, received confusing or erroneous instructions and often could not give people the advice they expected, interviews and records indicate. Health authorities around Texas also say they are running into technical snags with new contact tracing software the state has deployed, known as Texas Health Trace, saying it isn’t ready for widespread use in their counties.”


Orlando Sentinel: Florida’s coronavirus deaths up by a record 173 in one day; 10,249 cases added. “Florida added 10,249 new coronavirus cases Thursday and 173 new deaths, the most fatalities reported in one day. Statewide, 389,868 have now been infected and 5,518 Florida residents are dead.”

Alabama Political Reporter: Alabama reports record COVID hospitalizations for five straight days. “For the fifth straight day, Alabama on Monday saw a record-high number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19, and in Birmingham, UAB Hospital administrators are having to add bed space to the hospital’s COVID-19 area by taking beds normally used by patients with non-COVID-related health problems.”

CNN: At least 19 people got Covid-19 after attending a county fair in Ohio, health officials say. “The health department in Pickaway County, Ohio, has reported at least 19 cases of Covid-19 among people who attended the county fair last month. Additionally, there are three cases among family members of those who attended the fair in Circleville, Pickaway County Public Health said in a report. A death that may be linked to the fair is under investigation.”

Fort Worth Star-Telegram: COVID-19 patients will be ‘sent home to die’ if deemed too sick, Texas county says. “Starr County once went about three weeks without a COVID-19 case at the beginning of the pandemic. It banned large gatherings, tested hundreds of residents a day, issued stay-at-home orders and required face masks — many of the same mandates now commonplace across the U.S. The poor and mostly Latino county on the Mexico border was containing COVID-19…. But after Gov. Greg Abbott issued orders for the reopening of the state, overriding local control and decision-making, COVID-19 cases surged.”

AP: 26 deaths in 3 US convents, as nuns confront the pandemic. “At a convent near Detroit, 13 nuns have died of COVID-19. The toll is seven at a center for Maryknoll sisters in New York, and six at a Wisconsin convent that serves nuns with fading memories. Each community perseveres, though strict social-distancing rules have made communal solidarity a challenge as the losses are mourned.”


EurekAlert: Can wearables like Fitbit devices be used to help detect COVID-19?. “The COVID-collab research team at King’s College London have launched a free mobile app which will allow scientists to investigate the use of wearable devices and smartphones for digital detection of COVID-19.”


EurekAlert: Citizen science at heart of new study showing COVID-19 seismic noise reduction. “Research published in the journal Science, using a mix of professional and Raspberry Shake citizen seismic data, finds that lockdown measures to slow the spread of the virus COVID-19 reduced seismic noise by 50% worldwide.” Not sure what seismic noise is? Get a backgrounder here..

Bloomberg: Dogs Can Sniff Out Coronavirus Infections, German Study Shows. “Dogs with a few days of training are capable of identifying people infected with the coronavirus, according to a study by a German veterinary university. Eight dogs from Germany’s armed forces were trained for only a week and were able to accurately identify the virus with a 94% success rate, according to a pilot project led by the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover. Researchers challenged the dogs to sniff out Covid-19 in the saliva of more than 1,000 healthy and infected people.”


San Francisco Chronicle: SF Muni driver beaten with bat after telling passengers to wear masks. “A San Francisco Muni bus driver was beaten with a bat Wednesday by passengers who refused to wear face masks at the driver’s instruction, officials said. Three men with no face coverings boarded the bus around 3:30 p.m. at 11th and Division Streets in the SoMa district, according to San Francisco police.”


CNN: One of the original ‘Rosie the Riveters’ is now making masks to help defeat coronavirus. “Mae Krier, 94, worked in a Boeing factory during World War II, where she helped make warplanes. Now, she’s helping fight a different battle — coronavirus.”


Sacramento Bee: California’s coronavirus strategy failed. Should Gov. Newsom impose another shutdown?. “Another day, another opportunity for Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration to demonstrate stunning incompetence in its handling of California’s coronavirus crisis. On Tuesday, the Newsom administration announced that the state’s coronavirus emergency is so out of control that the ‘contact tracing’ considered essential to halting the virus’ spread won’t be possible.”


BuzzFeed News: The $600 Unemployment Benefits Are Expiring This Weekend Because Senate Republicans Didn’t Do Anything. “After this weekend, the unemployment subsidy expires. Congress plans to pass another coronavirus aid bill but is moving at a snail’s pace. Republicans spent the entire week debating among themselves on a proposal. Bipartisan talks have not yet even begun. The Senate left Washington on Thursday and won’t return until Monday, after the benefits expire. At the least, a temporary lapse in unemployment aid is all but certain. This is happening right as millions of people are being exposed to the threat of eviction.”

CNN: Trump undermines new virus strategy by hiding experts and facts. “President Donald Trump’s new political self-preservation effort to show he has a grip on a pandemic that is killing hundreds of Americans every day is being exposed by his refusal to share the stage with scientific experts — or the facts. On a day that laid bare his refashioned campaign strategy, Trump hammered out a tough law-and-order push, escalated a Cold War with China and tried to show he is managing the fight against Covid-19 after weeks of neglect.”

The Hill: GOP governors in Texas, Arizona, Georgia, Florida see approval sink. “Republican governors four states with surging coronavirus case numbers have seen their approval ratings sink in recent weeks, according to survey data obtained by Axios. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp all had disapproval ratings of 55 percent or higher in the survey taken between July 13 and July 19.”

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