coronabuzz

Tuesday CoronaBuzz, July 28, 2020: 41 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.

NEW RESOURCES – MEDICAL/HEALTH

Arizona State University: COVID-19 Diagnostics Commons: A data-driven collaboration. “To help companies safely move their employees back to the workplace, Arizona State University’s College of Health Solutions and the World Economic Forum, with support from the Rockefeller Foundation, announced on July 27 the COVID-19 Diagnostics Commons — an interactive hub for the global community to access the very latest information about testing options and to share knowledge and practices for safely bringing back and keeping employees in the workplace during the COVID-19 era.

Business Wire: Esri and United Nations Create COVID-19 Population Vulnerability Dashboard (PRESS RELEASE). “The dashboard highlights population vulnerabilities at the national and subnational levels, using data from the latest Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS) census samples for 94 countries. It identifies populations at older ages, including those living alone, and includes risk factors for COVID-19 transmission such as residential density (household size and persons per room) and access to piped water and other amenities.”

NEW RESOURCES – LEGAL / SECURITY / PRIVACY / FINANCIAL

Fast Company: 11 million households could be evicted over the next four months. “Global advisory firm Stout, with input from the National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel (NCCRC), used census survey results and income data to develop a new eviction estimation tool that estimates how many households could be at risk of eviction as moratoriums end, courts reopen, and rent relief efforts fall short. More than 16 million renter households are at risk of eviction, according to the tool, and more than 11 million households could be served with eviction papers over the next four months.”

NEW RESOURCES – STATE-SPECIFIC

Oregon Health Authority: OHA Announces New Online Testing Locator. “…the Oregon Health Authority announced it has published a COVID-19 test site locator to help Oregonians across the state find testing sites in their community. The interactive map is available on pages in both English and Spanish and can be toggled into multiple other languages.”

KUTV: How are you feeling? Utah releases pandemic mental health assessment. “Utah’s Coronavirus Community Task Force says taking care of your mental health right now is just as important as looking after your physical health. The state’s Department of Human Services launched a new tool to help you do just that.”

SOCIETAL IMPACT

NJ .com: ‘We drained all our savings.’ Unemployed N.J. workers still waiting for benefits after 4 months. “Dan Seaman left his last job as a chef in an assisted living facility because he lives with his parents, who are in their 70s and high-risk groups for coronavirus. He feared bringing the infection home. He spent the last four months calling unemployment offices — more than 9,000 times, by his count — to resolve the unknown issue holding up his March 15 claim. He’s still trying.”

Politico: How the Child Care Crisis Will Distort the Economy for a Generation. “Schools across the U.S. are closed because of the coronavirus, and unlikely to reopen safely anytime soon. Parents are exhausted from constant, round-the-clock care while trying to work from home; some have chosen to leave their jobs, or switch to part-time work, just to take care of their kids. And kids themselves are slipping behind academically. Now comes the bad news: We haven’t seen the worst of it yet.”

INSTITUTIONS

Cornell Sun: Cornell Cancels Swim Test for Fall 2020. “Cornell will not conduct any swim tests during the upcoming semester, and it will waive the requirement for students graduating either in fall 2020 or spring 2021, according to the University’s physical education requirements webpage. First-year students unable to take the swim test this fall will also have the $100 late fee waived when they take it during their subsequent years at Cornell.”

BUSINESS / CORPORATIONS

Mother Jones: Stephen Miller’s Grandmother Died of COVID-19. Her Son Blames the Trump Administration.. “This month, Stephen Miller, the extremist anti-immigrant Trump adviser who has promoted white nationalist ideas, lost a relative to the coronavirus pandemic, and his uncle tells Mother Jones that the Trump administration is partly to blame for this death.”

CNET: AMC moves back reopening as movies delay release dates. “AMC has again delayed the reopening of its nationwide movie theaters amid the coronavirus pandemic. Theaters in the US will ‘reopen in waves,’ with the first now planned to open in mid- to late August, AMC said Thursday, citing delays in movie release dates.”

Vox: Corporate America was here for you on coronavirus until about June. “When the Covid-19 pandemic took hold in the United States this spring, companies jumped on the opportunity to advertise the ways they were supporting their customers and workers. The commercials became repetitive and indiscernible from one another, but corporate America’s message was clear: We’re all in this together. Now companies have begun quietly rolling back many of the benefits, perks, and allowances they so loudly announced earlier this year. The state of the Covid-19 pandemic isn’t materially different than it was a few months ago — arguably, it’s now more widespread and worse. But corporations seem ready to move on.”

CTV News: Google will let employees work from home until at least next summer. “The company had previously said most employees would be working remotely through the end of 2020, with some employees being allowed back into the office sooner. But the decision to extend the remote work policy well into next year indicates that one of the world’s largest tech companies is bracing for a long pandemic — and could prompt other businesses to follow suit.”

CNBC: Retail workforce could face permanent decline as companies take blow from pandemic, lockdowns. “More than one in four American jobs were supported by the retail industry before the Covid-19 crisis hit the U.S., according to the National Retail Federation. That made retail the largest private sector-employer in the country. (That number includes people who work directly for a retailer, like at an apparel store, warehouse or coffee shop. It also includes jobs created by the industry, such as construction workers building a mall.)”

BBC: Coronavirus: Emirates covers Covid-19 medical and funeral costs. “Emirates has become the first airline to offer free Covid-19 insurance as it tries to get people flying again. Passengers will be covered for medical treatment, hotel quarantine, and even their funeral if they catch the coronavirus while travelling.”

BuzzFeed News: Main Street Is Crumbling Before Our Eyes — And No One Seems To Be Able To Save It. “The coronavirus has been a catastrophe for companies across the country, but the government’s small business loan program was supposed to help keep them afloat. For millions of entrepreneurs — those once hopeful and inspired enough to earn their living from small storefronts, restaurants, salons — the dream was to create a business that would sustain their families and help build communities. But for many of them, the end is in sight as the pandemic continues, and relief programs have failed to come to their aid, like rescue planes too full and far up to see all the people still drowning.”

New York Times: Corporate Insiders Pocket $1 Billion in Rush for Coronavirus Vaccine. “On June 26, a small South San Francisco company called Vaxart made a surprise announcement: A coronavirus vaccine it was working on had been selected by the U.S. government to be part of Operation Warp Speed, the flagship federal initiative to quickly develop drugs to combat Covid-19. Vaxart’s shares soared. Company insiders, who weeks earlier had received stock options worth a few million dollars, saw the value of those awards increase sixfold. And a hedge fund that partly controlled the company walked away with more than $200 million in instant profits.”

Los Angeles Times: A face mask is part of the ‘scamdemic,’ they say. But they’ll be happy to sell you one. “Mask mandates are in effect in more than half of U.S. states, and facial coverings are required in many major chains such as Walmart, Target and Starbucks. So, like it or not, most Americans who want to leave their homes must possess some kind of mask — leading even the biggest cynics to try and make a buck off of them. On Etsy, online shoppers can choose from scores of homemade cloth facial coverings that say, ‘This mask is useless!’ Sellers on Amazon hawk masks reading, ‘Wake up, sheeple!’ And on Ebay, the skeptical masker can purchase one that says ‘Scamdemic.'”

GOVERNMENT

WBZ: New Travel Order Requires Quarantine Upon Entering Massachusetts, Includes $500 Fine. “Individuals who fail to comply with a new travel order in Massachusetts could be fined $500 per day, Gov. Charlie Baker announced Friday. Visitors and in-state residents returning home must fill out a ‘Massachusetts Travel Form’ and quarantine for 14 days unless they are coming from an exempt, lower-risk state or can provide a negative COVID-19 test from the last 72 hours.”

BBC: Coronavirus: Spain races to save tourism as cases surge. “Spain is fighting to save its embattled tourism industry after the UK government imposed a 14-day quarantine on all arrivals from the country. Government officials insist the virus is under control and want certain areas to be exempt from the UK self-isolation order, including the Balearic Islands.”

CBS News: Staffer for Florida congressman dies of COVID-19. “Congressman Vern Buchanan announced that longtime staffer, Gary Tibbetts, died of COVID-19 on Friday. Buchanan is a Republican congressman from Florida, which has seen a recent surge in coronavirus cases.”

ABC News: Despite Trump claim, 13 states say some orders for coronavirus supplies still unfilled. “During his first coronavirus press briefing in nearly three months, President Donald Trump said his administration had filled every single request it has received from the nation’s governors for supplies to battle the coronavirus. But contrary to Trump’s claim, officials in 13 states told ABC News they still have requests pending for critical equipment as the virus spreads through much of the country.”

Reuters: Vietnam bans wildlife trade to curb risk of pandemics. “Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has issued a directive to ban the Southeast Asian country’s wildlife trade with immediate effect in order to reduce the risk of new pandemics, a government statement said. The directive bans imports of live wild animals and wildlife products, eliminates wildlife markets, and enforce prohibitions on illegal hunting and trading of wild animals, including online sales, according to the statement issued late on Thursday.”

AP: Nevada scraps phased reopening plan, unveils new approach. “Gov. Steve Sisolak announced plans to implement a long-term reopening strategy that allows for more granular decision-making as the coronavirus continues to spread and leaves Nevada unable to follow its original reopening plan.”

South Florida Sun-Sentinel: Mistake by Florida on child COVID-19 rate raises question: Can Florida’s numbers be trusted?. “An error by the Florida Department of Health produced a COVID-19 positivity rate for children of nearly one-third, a stunning figure that played into the debate over whether schools should reopen. A week after issuing that statistic, the department took it back without explanation. The next weekly report on children and COVID-19 showed the rate had plunged to 13.4%.”

INDIVIDUALS / BANDS / GROUPS

BBC: Andrea Bocelli ‘humiliated’ by Italy’s Covid rules. “Italian opera singer Andrea Bocelli has said he felt “humiliated and offended” by lockdown measures imposed in the country due to coronavirus. ‘I could not leave the house even though I had committed no crime,’ Bocelli said. He also admitted to disobeying lockdown rules and believing the severity of the pandemic had been overblown. His comments will surprise many as he had become a symbol of national unity at the height of the lockdown.”

SPORTS

BBC: Zoom walls, fake crowd noise, water breaks: Did you enjoy lockdown football?. “coronavirus, English professional football has had to adapt in unprecedented and occasionally unusual ways. We’ve had games behind closed doors, fake crowd noise and Zoom walls, water breaks, five substitutions and, after the Championship play-off final on 4 August, 217 domestic matches in the space of just 49 days.”

New York Times: Take Coronavirus More Seriously, Say Olympic Rowers Who Got It. “Emily Regan, an Olympic gold medalist from Williamsville, N.Y., who was among those infected, wrote a post on Facebook this month highlighting how debilitating the disease could be, even for some of the world’s best athletes who have incredibly powerful and efficient lungs…. ‘The narrative that has been going around in some places is that you won’t get the virus if you’re young and strong, or if you get it, it won’t be bad, but we’re perfect examples of how that is totally not true,’ Regan said. She added: ‘Look what the virus still did to us. It knocked us down pretty hard.'”

BBC: Tokyo Olympics: Coronavirus risk raises questions over 2021 Games. “For some athletes, today was the last chance to take part in the Tokyo Olympics. They are too old, too exhausted or too financially stretched to wait for another year, after the pandemic forced its postponement. One of them is 35-year-old Tetsuya Sotomura. When I met him on a sweltering afternoon earlier this week he was still hard at it in a converted factory building in a north Tokyo suburb, flying high into the air, spinning and tumbling on a massive trampoline.”

EDUCATION

San Francisco Chronicle: Bay Area parents rush to form ‘pandemic pods’ for the school year. The backlash is fierce. “In the past week alone, tens of thousands of families in the Bay Area and across the country have found each other on Facebook, created contact lists organized by city or school, and formed ‘pandemic pods’ — in some cases offering educators $100 an hour or more to tutor or teach small groups in the homes of the children or the teachers. Then came the backlash.”

NBC News: Florida lawyers offering free living wills to teachers returning to school during the pandemic. “Since advertising the free living wills, a document that provides legal instructions for a person’s choice of medical care should they be unable to communicate them directly to a doctor themselves, [Charles Gallagher] has received inquiries from some 600 teachers and others school employees.”

HEALTH

San Antonio Express-News: Invisible enemies. “Ambulance crews respond an average of once an hour to transport COVID-19 patients to hospitals, long-term care facilities or to their homes. For paramedics, it’s a daily battle against two invisible enemies — the virus and burnout.”

CNN: US gets reality checks on Covid-19 vaccine, duration of symptoms. “The United States on Friday got two reality checks on the coronavirus pandemic as the number of cases around the world set another high. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, reminded Americans that even if a vaccine candidate gets through the testing process and is successful by the end of the year, it will be several months before vaccination is widespread across the US.”

BuzzFeed News: What’s The Point Of A Coronavirus Test That Takes 19 Days For Results?. “President Donald Trump has held up the US as world leaders in testing, telling reporters at the White House on Thursday the country had now performed more than 51 million coronavirus tests. But with millions more Americans seeking tests — whether because they have fallen ill, have been exposed to an infected person, are trying to return to work, or are even looking for peace of mind before they take a vacation — private laboratories and health agencies are swamped, leading to communication and technical breakdowns, as well as extensive delays.”

OUTBREAKS

Lexington Herald-Leader: 38 people test positive for COVID-19 following Ky. high school football team outbreak. “A COVID-19 outbreak among Hazard Independent High School football players had spread by Monday to 38 people, including 18 football players, three coaches and 17 of their family members and close contacts who have tested positive.”

Washington Post: Restrictions return in Spain as coronavirus infections spike again. “One month after Spain lifted Europe’s strictest pandemic lockdown, the country is wrestling with a new surge in coronavirus infections, tallying thousands of additional cases and reinstating both voluntary guidelines and mandatory restrictions. Health Minister Salvador Illa on Wednesday confirmed 224 active outbreaks and 2,622 confirmed cases, which he attributed primarily to seasonal farmworkers, people attending family get-togethers and nightclub partyers. On Thursday, the health ministry reported an additional 971 cases.”

RESEARCH

Pew (PEW PEW PEW PEW PEW!): A look at the Americans who believe there is some truth to the conspiracy theory that COVID-19 was planned. “Most Americans (71%) have heard of a conspiracy theory circulating widely online that alleges that powerful people intentionally planned the coronavirus outbreak. And a quarter of U.S. adults see at least some truth in it – including 5% who say it is definitely true and 20% who say it is probably true, according to a June Pew Research Center survey. The share of Americans who see at least some truth to the theory differs by demographics and partisanship.”

Phys .org: A ‘corny’ solution to help fight the spread of the novel coronavirus. “Inside the Mizzou Asphalt Pavement and Innovation Lab at the University of Missouri College of Engineering, Bill Buttlar normally leads a research team developing innovative ways to build better roads and stronger bridges. However, he’s recently converted his lab to also produce an ethanol-based hand sanitizer for use during the COVID-19 pandemic to help with the increase in demand for the product.”

CRIME / SECURITY / LEGAL

Talking Points Memo: Fauci Says He And His Family Have Been Assigned Security Detail Due To ‘Serious Threats’. “Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the White House’s most prominent health responders to COVID-19 and a target in President Donald Trump’s attempts to downplay the pandemic, said on Thursday that he and his family have been receiving threats.”

Los Angeles Times: Feds begin prosecuting fraudulent PPP coronavirus loans. Some cases will be hard to win. “Ever since the public backlash last April against some large, well-off or nationwide companies that helped themselves to emergency government funds intended to rescue small businesses during the pandemic, federal officials have vowed to crack down on any abuses of the popular program, also known as PPP. That effort is now underway with more than a dozen criminal cases filed in 11 states in recent weeks. All involve allegations of blatant fraud, such as lying on applications, falsifying tax or business records and misappropriating money. And most involve relatively small businesses or individual owners.”

Seattle Times: Federal judge rejects legal challenges to Inslee’s emergency orders to curb spread of COVID-19. “A federal judge Friday denied a request for a preliminary injunction against Gov. Jay Inslee’s emergency coronavirus orders that had been brought by some Republican state lawmakers.”

POLITICS

Daily Beast: Trump’s New Favorite COVID Doctor Believes in Alien DNA, Demon Sperm, and Hydroxychloroquine. “A Houston doctor who praises hydroxychloroquine and says that face masks aren’t necessary to stop transmission of the highly contagious coronavirus has become a star on the right-wing internet, garnering tens of millions of views on Facebook on Monday alone. Donald Trump Jr. declared the video of Stella Immanuel a ‘must watch,’ while Donald Trump himself retweeted the video. Before Trump and his supporters embrace Immanuel’s medical expertise, though, they should consider other medical claims Immanuel has made—including those about alien DNA and the physical effects of having sex with witches and demons in your dreams.”

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