coronabuzz

Monday CoronaBuzz, August 3, 2020: 25 pointers to new resources, useful stuff, research news, and more.

Hurricane’s coming, was distracted today getting everything battened down. Headed to the basement shortly. Please wear a mask. Wash your hands. Stay at home if you can. Please be careful. I love you.

SOCIETAL IMPACT

NPR: ‘Tidal Wave’ Of Power Shut-Offs Looms As Nation Grapples With Heat. “Wykeisha Howe is trying to be thrifty. When her kids are uncomfortable in the sweltering Atlanta heat, she gives them freeze pops. Instead of cranking up the air conditioner, she uses a fan. Lunch and dinner are cooked at the same time, so the electric stove doesn’t have to be turned on twice. ‘I try my best to manage and ration out things as best as possible,’ she says. Still, Howe, who has five kids living at home, is about a month and a half behind on her electric bill. ”

New York Times: Will the Penny Survive Coronavirus? Some Hope Not. “A nationwide coin shortage caused by the coronavirus pandemic has revived a debate: Is now the time to eliminate the penny? During lockdowns, consumers have stayed home and avoided emptying their piggy banks of coins in exchange for paper money. Shoppers have also opted to rely on credit and debit cards instead of touching cash.”

BUSINESS / CORPORATIONS

BBC: Eat out to help out: Coronavirus scheme offering UK diners 50% off begins. “Diners across the UK will be able to enjoy half-price meals throughout August from Monday, as part of a government scheme aimed at boosting restaurants and pubs post-lockdown. ‘Eat out to help out’ applies to eat-in food and drink on Monday to Wednesdays at more than 72,000 venues.”

The Guardian: ‘You can’t switch off’: the Covid marshals policing Sydney’s pubs. “Armed with hand sanitiser, disinfectant, fluoro vests and a stern ‘mum’ voice, NSW hospitality workers have been enlisted into the battle for public health, ensuring patrons have fun while abiding by social distancing rules.”

ProPublica: They Sued Thousands of Borrowers During the Pandemic — Until We Started Asking Questions. “A Silicon Valley-based installment lender that caters to Latino immigrants announced on Tuesday that it would drop all the lawsuits it has filed against borrowers who fell behind on payments, including during the coronavirus pandemic. Oportun Inc. also said it would cap interest rates on new loans at 36% — a percentage that consumer advocates consider the gold standard for smaller personal loans.”

Denver Post: Castle Rock restaurant that defied public health order in May closes permanently two months later. “A Castle Rock restaurant that became a lightning rod in the debate over personal freedom during the coronavirus shutdown has closed permanently. C&C Breakfast and Korean Kitchen lasted just two months — though it remained closed for one of those — after its owners defied public health orders and re-opened their business during the shutdown in an effort to save it.”

GOVERNMENT

Daily Beast: Trump COVID Task Force to Guvs: Make Masks Mandatory Before You Fall Into Red Zone. “As states in the South and Southwest grapple with how to control the spread of the coronavirus, officials on President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force cautioned the nation’s governors Tuesday that a new set of states is beginning to experience an uptick in positive cases and recommended that local leaders implement mask mandates and close bars to contain the outbreaks.”

Washington Post: Scathing SBA watchdog report details ‘pervasive’ fraud in coronavirus disaster-loan program. “A federal watchdog reported Tuesday that it has identified $250 million in taxpayer-subsidized coronavirus loan funds given to ‘potentially ineligible recipients,’ pointing to a strong likelihood of widespread fraud in an important but troubled economic assistance program. The Small Business Administration’s office of inspector general launched numerous investigations after receiving more than 1,000 hotline complaints about potentially fraudulent transactions, according to a report released Tuesday. It also criticized the agency for allegedly failing to put in place internal controls to prevent abuse.”

WAVY: North Carolina Gov. Cooper announces statewide curfew on alcohol sales at restaurants. “Restraurants will be unable to sell alcohol after 11 p.m. The governor said the curfew is an effort to keep restaurants from becoming bars after hours. ‘We’re hoping this new rule can drive down cases – particularly in young people,’ Cooper said.”

WUSF: State Prisons Chief, Top Aide Test Positive For Coronavirus. “As COVID-19 spreads throughout the state’s prison system, Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Mark Inch and one of his top lieutenants have tested positive for the virus, the state agency announced late Friday night.”

Montgomery Advertiser: Gov. Kay Ivey extends Alabama mask order through August as coronavirus pandemic continues. “Gov. Kay Ivey on Wednesday extended a statewide mask order for four weeks on Wednesday as COVID-19 continued to batter Alabama. The state’s safer-at-home order, which includes the mask mandate, will now expire Aug. 31 at 5 p.m. The amended order also includes an order mandating masks in schools and colleges for employees and students in second grade and above.”

ZDNet: Contact tracing: Scotland will launch its own app this autumn. “Scotland is working on its own contact-tracing app, which is expected to be available to download in the Apple and Google app stores in the autumn. The announcement follows the release of the StopCOVID NI app last week in Northern Ireland.”

INDIVIDUALS / BANDS / GROUPS

Rolling Stone: Instagram Flags Madonna Post for Spreading False Information on COVID-19. “Madonna has deleted a video from her Instagram that the photo-sharing app had previously flagged for spreading false information about COVID-19. The video featured Dr. Stella Immanuel, a Houston-based doctor who spoke at a rally in Washington, D.C., organized by a group called America’s Frontline Doctors, which has ties to the far-right group, Tea Party Patriots.”

CNN: Belarus President dismissed Covid-19 as ‘psychosis.’ Now he says he caught it. “The President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, has said he contracted coronavirus but recovered without suffering any symptoms, state-run news agency Belta reported Tuesday. Lukashenko has repeatedly dismissed the threat posed by Covid-19, touted home remedies and refused to shut down his country, making Belarus an outlier in Europe.”

SPORTS

Washington Post: Nats learning that the coronavirus sets the terms, and the terms are constantly shifting. “The Marlins were temporarily shut down because up to 15 players and two coaches have tested positive for the virus. The Nationals were scheduled to play in Miami this weekend, took a stand and never had to go any further. In one news release Tuesday, MLB shelved the Marlins and the Philadelphia Phillies and set up a matchup between the New York Yankees and Orioles in Baltimore. The Nationals keep finding themselves at the center of this rocky restart.”

The Big Lead: Bob Nightengale: Marlins Players Went Out on the Town in Atlanta. “Bob Nightengale blew up the Miami Marlins coronavirus outbreak story on Tuesday. The veteran USA Today baseball writer claimed a few members of the team went out in Atlanta while they were there for a two-game exhibition slate with the Braves last week. If that’s true it adds an even deeper layer to the mess the Marlins are in.”

EDUCATION

Willamette Week: Portland Public Schools Will Hold Online Only Classes Through at Least Nov. 5. “Portland Public Schools will hold online classes through at least Nov. 5, the district announced July 28 after it became clear that Portland schools—public and private—are unlikely to open anytime soon. ‘It is possible that, unless COVID-19 conditions improve significantly, online learning will extend into the second quarter,’ wrote Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero in an email to parents. ‘It will be some time before students can return to their schools, but the health and wellness of our children, youth and employees have to come first.'”

New York Times: More Than 6,600 Coronavirus Cases Have Been Linked to U.S. Colleges. “A New York Times survey of every public four-year college in the country, as well as every private institution that competes in Division I sports or is a member of an elite group of research universities, revealed at least 6,600 cases tied to about 270 colleges over the course of the pandemic. And the new academic year has not even begun at most schools.”

Seven Days Vermont: Revamped Vermont Guidance for Schools Could Allow Three Feet of Distancing Instead of Six. “At a press conference on Tuesday, Gov. Phil Scott told Vermonters that he’d sign an executive order declaring September 8 the first day of class for schools around the state. ”

HEALTH

Washington Post: Young people are infecting older family members in shared homes. “As the death toll escalates in coronavirus hot spots, evidence is growing that young people who work outside the home, or who surged into bars and restaurants when states relaxed shutdowns, are infecting their more vulnerable elders, especially family members. Front-line caregivers, elected officials and experts in Houston, South Florida and elsewhere say they are seeing patterns of hospitalization and death that confirm fears this would happen, which were first raised in May and June. That was when Florida, Texas, Arizona, California and other states reopened in efforts to revive their flagging economies.”

TECHNOLOGY

CNET: Tablets spike in popularity during pandemic lockdown, report finds. “Tablet shipments for the top five brands rose notably in the second quarter of this year, according to analysts at Canalys, a market research firm. The upswing came just when people around the world were asked to work remotely and keep their kids home from school to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.”

RESEARCH

BBC: Coronavirus: New 90-minute tests for Covid-19 and flu ‘hugely beneficial’. “New 90-minute tests that can detect coronavirus and flu will be rolled out in care homes and laboratories from next week. The ‘on-the-spot’ swab and DNA tests will help distinguish between Covid-19 and other seasonal illnesses, the government said. The health secretary said this would be ‘hugely beneficial’ over the winter.”

Bloomberg: Masks made from Banana-tree species could be the answer to cutting Covid plastic waste. “Fiber from a relative of the banana tree could replace plastic in millions of face masks and hospital gowns the world is making to fight the coronavirus. Abaca — a fiber from the Philippines used in teabags and banknotes — is as durable as polyester but will decompose within two months, said Philippine fiber agency head Kennedy Costales.”

University of Arkansas: Pandemic Leads to Higher Depression, Anxiety and Fear, Studies Show. “The COVID-19 pandemic led to higher levels of depression, anxiety, suicidal tendencies and psychological trauma among American adults during the early months of its spread, according to three new studies published by University of Arkansas sociologists.”

POLITICS

Politico: U.S. suffered worst quarterly contraction on record as virus ravages economy. “The U.S. economy crashed in historic fashion this year — shrinking at a nearly 33 percent annualized pace in the second quarter — as the coronavirus pandemic ravaged businesses and sent joblessness soaring. The question now for President Donald Trump, trailing in the polls and facing a daunting reelection effort, is just how much conditions can snap back in the months leading up to Election Day.”

CoronaBuzz is brought to you by ResearchBuzz. I love your comments, I love your site suggestions, and I love you. Feel free to comment, send resource suggestions, or tag @buzz_corona on Twitter. Thanks!

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