Monday CoronaBuzz, August 17, 2020: 27 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.


Philadelphia Tribune: Over 900 health care workers have died from coronavirus. A new database tells their stories. “Of the nearly 165,000 Americans who’ve died from the coronavirus, at least 900 reportedly were health care workers. Now, the life stories of frontline physicians, nurses, clinical support staff and cleaners are being compiled in a new interactive database from Kaiser Health News and the Guardian US.”

Duke Global Health Institute: New Tool Can Help Gauge COVID-19 Transmission Risk in Classrooms. “If you’re heading back to work in a lab, classroom or office, or to live in a dorm room this semester, you’re probably feeling some level of concern about virus transmission. A new tool developed by Duke researchers may help faculty, students and staff who plan to return to campus to assess COVID-19 transmission risk if they’re sharing space with others. Created by Prasad Kasibhatla, John Fay, Elizabeth Albright and DGHI’s William Pan, with help from Jose Jimenez, a professor of chemistry at the University of Colorado, the tool predicts airborne concentrations of the virus and the odds of transmission from microscopic infectious airborne particles (referred to as aerosols), the developers said.”

Phys .org: Reopen Mapping Project shows health and job tradeoffs for policies in US cities. “The Reopen Mapping Project illustrates that the same limits on social interactions can have very different consequences in different locations, underscoring that the most effective policies must be tailored to local characteristics such as population density, age, and employment and movement patterns, Nagaraj says. It also illuminates a phenomenon that’s playing out in real time: Denser cities and places that were relatively less affected early in the pandemic are likely to see faster growth in cases as they loosen restrictions.”


My Central New Jersey: Teacher creates national database of COVID-19-related school closings, cases and deaths. “A dedicated educator’s local project, initiated out of anticipation of the upcoming academic year, has grown into a national database that tracks coronavirus-related school closings, cases and deaths. Alisha Morris, who teaches theater in Kansas’ Olathe School District, was scouring the internet for news reports about COVID-19 issues surrounding K-12 school re-openings across the country when she became overwhelmed with information.”


Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal: New website offers free legal advice to do with COVID-19 matters. “A new legal aid website has been launched to provide British Columbians with answers to legal questions surrounding COVID-19. The website … is from the Justice Education Society (JES), and will help people who have legal questions about the changes to individual rights and responsibilities regarding everyday life and work that have resulted from new policies from the provincial and federal government about the COVID-19 pandemic.”

WJIM: New Web Page Helps You Understand Covid Restrictions By Region In Michigan. “The Coronavirus pandemic has hit Michigan differently depending on which part of the state you are looking at. The pandemic has hit the lower part of Michigan much harder than Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. This lead to Governor Whitmer breaking the state into regions, and implementing different strategies based on how bad the virus has spread in each region. It can get confusing at times, but the state just released a new website to help us keep up with the changes.”

WSAW: Gov. Evers launches COVID-19 Response and Recovery website. “The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) launched a new website on Thursday, Aug. 13 to help people understand where federal COVID-19 funds are going. The announcement was made by Governor Tony Evers during a virtual meeting with DHS. The Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act will show a better picture of just how much money has been spent in Marathon County. The website is called the Wisconsin COVID-19 Response and Recovery Investment Dashboard.”


Columbia Journalism Review: How to cover COVID-19 patients sensitively. “ON MARCH 3, I watched developing coverage of the first confirmed case of community-spread covid-19 in New York City. Ten days later I began to show symptoms of covid-19. I was hospitalized. In the past five months I’ve gone from journalist to patient to interview subject and back again. Along the way, I gained important insights about the ways journalists cover and interact with covid-19 patients.”


SBS News: Coronavirus conspiracy theories and social media rumours linked to 800 deaths worldwide. “Coronavirus conspiracy theories spread on social media in dozens of different languages have been linked to hundreds of deaths across the globe, a new study has found. The study, published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, found approximately 800 people had died and 5,800 had been hospitalised due to COVID-19 misinformation spread online.”


Slate: The Dark, Forgotten History of Coloring Books. “What if the recent popularity of coloring books comes not from the creativity they purportedly inspire, but from the submission they induce? This, after all, has been their mission from the start. It may be lost to the fans of coloring books that their success peaked in the 19th century, when such publications taught children how to behave. And obedience seems to be what many of us crave in these pandemic days.”

The National: New tool predicts coronavirus will displace millions of Africans. “A new tool has predicted the displacement of over a million people in the Sahel, as Covid-19 creates havoc across the brittle region. In some countries, such as Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Nigeria, the pandemic is expected to increase forced displacement by more than 14 percentage points. This is the equivalent of a minimum of an additional one million people being displaced across the four countries if no action is taken.”


Phys .org: Library pandemic restrictions showcase the importance of digital collections and the advantages of open access. “While registering more than 4.6 million downloads of its Open Access publications in 2019, the Australian National University (ANU) Press has experienced an average 44% increase in its monthly download numbers from March 2020, as COVID-19 lockdowns have become enforced around the world. Similarly, in May 2020, the Natural History Museum (NHM) in the United Kingdom (UK) has registered a staggering increase in individual record and dataset downloads of 52% and 38% respectively, which amounted, in absolute terms, to 379.69 millions records and 7,328 datasets in this period alone.”


BBC: MSC Grandiosa: First Mediterranean cruise launches after five-month pause. “The first major cruise ship to set sail in the Mediterranean in almost five months has disembarked from the Italian city of Genoa. The MSC Grandiosa will stop at three Italian ports and the Maltese capital Valletta in a seven-day voyage. Operator MSC Cruises, say all passengers and crew have been tested for coronavirus before boarding.”


BBC: Coronavirus: Public Health England ‘to be replaced’. “Public Health England is to be replaced by a new agency that will specifically deal with protecting the country from pandemics, according to a report. The Sunday Telegraph claims Health Secretary Matt Hancock will this week announce a new body modelled on Germany’s Robert Koch Institute.”

New York Times: Firm Collecting Virus Data Refuses to Answer Senators’ Questions. “The health care technology firm that is helping to manage the Trump administration’s new coronavirus database has refused to answer questions from Senate Democrats about its $10.2 million contract, citing a nondisclosure agreement it signed with the Department of Health and Human Services.”

AP: ‘Horrifying’ data glitch skews key Iowa coronavirus metrics. “The glitch means the Iowa Department of Public Health has inadvertently been reporting fewer new infections and a smaller percentage of daily positive tests than is truly the case, according to Dana Jones, an Iowa City nurse practitioner who uncovered the problem. It’s particularly significant because school districts are relying on state data to determine whether they will offer in-person instruction when school resumes in the coming days and weeks.”


Variety: Art Directors Guild Releases Best Practice Protocols for Film and TV Sets. “The Art Directors Guild has released an 11-page document outlining their set of best practice protocols for film and TV productions operating during the COVID-19 pandemic. The recommendations are intended to address the day to day experience of ADG members and designed to supplement the industry-wide white paper testing and department-specific protocols.”


Phys .org: Three ways to get kids to tune in and pay attention when schools go virtual. “When nearly all U.S. brick-and-mortar schools suddenly closed in March 2020 and went online, large numbers of students simply didn’t log into class. Even if they did show up, many more weren’t paying much attention or doing their schoolwork. As a new school year gets underway, is there anything that teachers and families can do to curb these problems with remote learning due to COVID-19? Having spent our careers doing research on student motivation and learning with technology, we recommend these three strategies.”


New York Times: Is the Subway Risky? It May Be Safer Than You Think. “Five months after the coronavirus outbreak engulfed New York City, riders are still staying away from public transportation in enormous numbers, often because they are concerned that sharing enclosed places with strangers is simply too dangerous. But the picture emerging in major cities across the world suggests that public transportation may not be as risky as nervous New Yorkers believe.”


BBC: South Korea church coronavirus cluster causes alarm. “South Korea is dealing with its biggest daily jump in coronavirus cases in five months – with 279 cases reported on Sunday alone. Many have been linked to the Sarang Jeil Church, whose pastor has been a vocal critic of President Moon Jae-in. Another church, the Shincheonji Church of Jesus was identified earlier this year as South Korea’s biggest virus cluster.”

New York Times: The Coronavirus Infected Hundreds at a Georgia Summer Camp. “As schools and universities plan for the new academic year, and administrators grapple with complex questions about how to keep young people safe, a new report about a coronavirus outbreak at a sleepaway camp in Georgia provides fresh reasons for concern. The camp implemented several precautionary measures against the virus, but stopped short of requiring campers to wear masks. The virus blazed through the community of about 600 campers and counselors, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.”

BBC: Victoria Covid-19: Almost all cases linked to quarantine hotels. “Almost all current cases of Covid-19 in Victoria, Australia, can be linked to returned travellers quarantined in the state, an inquiry has heard. The inquiry also heard guards at quarantine hotels were given ‘inappropriate’ training advice. Australian media report that guards were told masks and other protection would not be necessary, as long as they adhered to 1.5m social distancing.”


NBC New York: JetBlue Deploys Ultraviolet Cleaning Robot at JFK Airport in Fight Against Coronavirus. “Honeywell’s new UV Cabin System is being used as part of a pilot by JetBlue Airways marking the first time a U.S. airline has implemented the technology. The robotic system can traverse an aircraft cabin in less than 10 minutes. The Honeywell UV Cabin System is roughly the size of an aircraft beverage cart and has UV-C light arms that extend over the top of seats and sweep the cabin to treat aircraft surfaces.”


ScienceBlog: Yale’s Rapid COVID-19 Saliva Test Receives FDA Emergency Use Authorization. “The method, called SalivaDirect, is being further validated as a test for asymptomatic individuals through a program that tests players and staff from the National Basketball Association (NBA). SalivaDirect is simpler, less expensive, and less invasive than the traditional method for such testing, known as nasopharyngeal (NP) swabbing. Results so far have found that SalivaDirect is highly sensitive and yields similar outcomes as NP swabbing.”


Slate: Justice, Livestreamed. “The defense lawyer sits in his office—with the defendant, wearing a mask, at a desk behind him—as he takes turns with the prosecutors in questioning the witness, screen-sharing documents at various intervals. This is what court looks like in many parts of the country these days, and in some states, it’s available on YouTube. If you tire of Alcalá’s virtual courtroom, you can jump over to elsewhere in Texas, where child welfare cases are being streamed. Or you could click to Wisconsin or Michigan, where defendants join Zoom via video from the county jails and judges breeze through preliminary hearings and dole out sentences for parole violations.”

Stephenville Empire-Tribune: Coronavirus-inspired racism sows fear, anger among local Asian community. “Hurt. Angry. Unsafe. That’s how Jasmine Yuan says she felt in March when a stranger in a car yelled ‘corona!’ at her while driving by in a grocery store parking lot in North Austin. Yuan, 39, said she loves Austin and considers it a diverse, multicultural city, but lamented that she now fears portions of town that used to be part of her everyday life. After the incident, Yuan said she has avoided public places that she feels might put her at risk of being targeted again.”


ABC 7: Coronavirus Kindness: East Bay youth organization creates free storefront to provide food to local community. “The Homies Empowerment Program is a grassroots, youth and community organization located in East Oakland and they are giving away essential goods to make food accessible to their community. ‘We are just doing what the community should do when times are tough,’ said Rogelio X., inventory coordinator of Homies Empowerment Program.”

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