Sunday CoronaBuzz, August 23, 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.


Cavalier Daily: U.Va. scientists create biomedical database analyzing the structure of COVID-19 proteins. “University scientists at the Minor Lab have created a database to provide the most accurate and up-to-date information about the COVID-19 virus in hopes of giving the biomedical community trusted structural information about the virus’s components. The team hopes this website will help scientists, as well as the broader research community, find and use accurate information about the virus and is actively looking for collaborators.”

Google Blog: Portraits of healthcare heroes on Google Arts & Culture. “In March, the UK locked down the country to contain the spread of COVID-19. For many this led to a heightened period of dread and anxiety, but also creativity and heroism. During lockdown artist Tom Croft created #portraitsforNHSheroes to galvanize artists across the country to celebrate workers on the frontline. Tom collaborated with the charity Paintings in Hospitals to give the collection a more permanent home, as it closely aligns with the values and ethos of their mission to improve health through art. As a result of the collaboration, Google Arts & Culture created an online exhibition of over 700 contemporary portraits that were submitted as part of Tom’s #portraitsforNHSheroes initiative.”


AZ Central: Need a laugh? Phoenix improv comedy groups are streaming free shows. Here’s how to watch. “Comedians thrive off a crowd’s reactions, and improvisational comedy is nearly impossible without live audience feedback. With COVID-19 closures and safety considerations in recent months, improv groups in metro Phoenix have largely stopped hosting in-person shows. Instead, several have brought their cast members’ talents online so fans can watch from the comfort and safety of their homes.”

Plant Based News: Major Vegan Film Festival Goes Online Amid Coronavirus Crisis. “The International Vegan Film Festival has announced its third annual event will be held online due to the coronavirus pandemic…. A full list of films playing in the festival will be available in late September, but PBN can reveal three films that will be included: Regan Russell – A Short Documentary, Butenland, and INVISIBLE.”


NBC DFW: UTSA Offering 200-Year-Old Mexican Recipes in Free-to-Download Digitized Cookbooks. “Archivists at the UTSA Libraries Special Collections are compiling recipes from a digitized collection of 2,000 Mexican cookbooks into a series of three cookbooks called ‘Recetas: Cooking in the Time of Coronavirus.’ As individuals find themselves in the kitchen during the COVID-19 pandemic under stay-at-home orders, the university said it hopes to share the cookbook collection and make it accessible to those looking to explore Mexican cuisine.”


UNIAN: Daily COVID-19 spike reaches new high in Ukraine with over 2,300 cases on Aug 22. “Ukraine said 2,328 new active COVID-19 cases had been confirmed across the country in the past 24 hours as of August 22, 2020, marking yet another highest daily rise. The total number of confirmed cases grew to 102,971, as seen on the interactive map compiled by the National Security and Defense Council.”


New York Times: Why Influencers Won’t Stop Partying Anytime Soon. “California, where coronavirus cases remained low in the first few months of the pandemic, has experienced a summer outbreak. Last week it became the first state to report half a million cases, according to a database maintained by The New York Times, and the infection rate has been especially high in Los Angeles County. Still, many of its young residents keep partying.”


Washington Post: People want to support their local bookstores. They might be hurting them instead.. “As the novel coronavirus takes its toll on businesses all over the world, many well-meaning consumers have flocked to local community bookstores. However, increased demand on these small shops have put a strain on business owners. Even worse, some have received backlash from impatient and disgruntled customers for slow shipping or sold out inventories. According to seven independent bookstore employees who spoke to The Washington Post, customers complain about orders taking too long, asking when they will get their books, and even cancel orders because they don’t want to deal with the slow process.”

IndieWire: New Industrywide Theater-Safety Plan Launches with Acknowledgment: ‘Going to the Movies Is Not Risk-Free’. “Leaders from the three largest cinema circuits came together Friday to launch a new set of industry-wide health and safety protocols. With sign-on from AMC, Regal, and Cinemark — and over 300 other theater companies — the National Association of Theatre Owners’ CinemaSafe plan seeks to present a united front to make audiences feel secure about heading back to the movies. But the fact remains: Even with the plan — which includes mask requirements, social distancing rules, reduced auditorium capacity, and other measures — movie-going during the pandemic still comes with risk.”

Washington Post: He fled Congo to work in a U.S. meat plant. Then he — and hundreds of his co-workers — got the coronavirus. . “When local health officials moved to close one of the country’s biggest meatpacking plants amid a major coronavirus outbreak in April, Vice President Pence and one of the nation’s leading health officials pushed to keep the plant operating, against the advice of top local and state health officials, according to records and interviews. The JBS Greeley plant, which employs more than 3,000 people, closed and reopened eight days later. Since then, three plant workers have died of covid-19, bringing the total number of employee deaths from the virus to six, according to state health officials. All told, about 300 employees have tested positive, making the plant the site of Colorado’s third-largest outbreak.”


New York Times: The Unique U.S. Failure to Control the Virus. “China committed the first major failure, silencing doctors who tried to raise alarms about the virus and allowing it to escape from Wuhan. Much of Europe went next, failing to avoid enormous outbreaks. Today, many countries — Japan, Canada, France, Australia and more — are coping with new increases in cases after reopening parts of society. Yet even with all of these problems, one country stands alone, as the only affluent nation to have suffered a severe, sustained outbreak for more than four months: the United States.”

BBC: Coronavirus: New £10,000 fines for organisers of illegal raves from Friday. “Police in England will be able to fine organisers of illegal gatherings of more than 30 people such as raves up to £10,000 from Friday, ministers say. Those who attend gatherings and those who do not wear face coverings where it is mandatory can be given a £100 fine, doubling on each offence up to £3,200.”


New York Times: With Old Allies Turning Against Her, Birx Presses On Against the Coronavirus. “Old allies and public health experts have expressed disgust at her accommodations to Mr. Trump and, more so, at the performance of the federal response she is supposed to be leading against the most devastating public health crisis in a century. Ms. Pelosi said she had lost confidence in Dr. Birx, while Mr. Trump called her ‘pathetic’ after she suggested the obvious: The coronavirus is in a ‘new phase’ and is spreading rampantly.”

BBC: ‘It’s a scary time for stand-up comedians’. “The last real comedy show that stand-up Rob Broderick played to a room full of real people was in mid-March, at Adelaide’s Corona Theatre. ‘Literally the last words I said on a stage were, “Goodnight Corona!”‘ he tells the BBC. ‘Then it was 24 hours in the air, and when I landed most of my work was gone.'”


ESPN: Inside the NBA bubble’s unofficial wine club. “IN THE DAYS leading up to the NBA’s Florida reboot, New Orleans Pelicans guard JJ Redick contemplated what provisions to bring for a stay in the Orlando bubble that would last at least five weeks. He initially focused only on the necessities and packed light. Then on July 8, once he arrived with the Pelicans at their appointed hotel, the Yacht Club, Redick gauged his room and hotel amenities. One of his first efforts was to examine the wine list.”


Keystone: No One Knows How to Best Protect the 26 Million Kids Who Take the Bus to School. “School districts nationwide puzzling over how to safely educate children during a pandemic have a more immediate challenge — getting 26 million bus-riding students there in the first place. Few challenges are proving to be more daunting than figuring out how to maintain social distance on school buses. A wide array of strategies have emerged to reduce the health risks but nobody has found a silver bullet.”

St. Olaf College: Adventures in the New Humanities: We’re in the Zone, but it’s The Twilight Zone. “Everyone I’ve talked to is nervous/worried/scared. The very thought of teaching seems considerably more daunting than it did last spring. Last spring was an improvised endeavor; this fall we had ample time to plan. Expectations are high. One need only communicate with a first-year student to read, or hear, or virtually see that they are exclamation-point and squeaky-voiced excited. Returning students are looking forward to returning and hoping for a version of what Warren G. Harding might have called ‘normalcy,’ even though they too might be hearing eerie music in their heads. And we, despite all our fears, concerns, worries, and insecurities, have high expectations for ourselves. As an institution, we have always taken teaching seriously, but in the Twilight Zone of what The New York Times calls the ‘strangest year,’ there is no normalcy, only shifting sands.”

Daily Tar Heel: Records from before reopening show experts warned UNC of COVID-19 outbreaks. “Students, faculty and staff are saying they expected UNC to close due to COVID-19 spikes before the announcement Monday that undergraduate courses would shift to remote learning — and documents obtained by The Daily Tar Heel show that the administration received warning months ago from top medical professionals at the University. Experts sent messages about the likelihood of a COVID-19 outbreak in the event that the University reopened dorms and on-campus experiences.”

WNCT: ECU students make #ShutDownECU Twitter account, #KeepECUOpen forms in response. “A Twitter account continues gaining popularity, urging [East Carolina University] to switch to remote learning. #ShutDownECU is made up of about 10 students, with a list of demands for the university. They all want to remain anonymous.”


Washington Post: How our brains numb us to covid-19’s risks — and what we can do about it. “Social scientists have long known that we perceive risks that are acute, such as an impending tsunami, differently than chronic, ever-present threats like car accidents. Part of what’s happening is that covid-19 — which we initially saw as a terrifying acute threat — is morphing into more of a chronic one in our minds. That shift likely dulls our perception of the danger, risk perception expert Dale Griffin said.” While those of us who remain vigilant because we have people to protect get mocked and derided.

KSHB: Data shows Kansas mask mandates have reduced COVID-19 cases. “Kansas counties with mask mandates in place have seen a decrease in COVID-19 cases, according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. KDHE Secretary Dr. Lee Norman discussed the state-wide mask guidance issued by Governor Laura Kelly in late June during a Wednesday briefing. Enforcement was left up to individual counties after the Kansas legislature moved to limit the governor’s emergency powers in June.”

New York Times: Even Asymptomatic People Carry the Coronavirus in High Amounts. “Most of the evidence for asymptomatic spread has been based on observation (a person without symptoms nevertheless sickened others) or elimination (people became ill but could not be connected to anyone with symptoms). A new study in South Korea, published…in JAMA Internal Medicine, offers more definitive proof that people without symptoms carry just as much virus in their nose, throat and lungs as those with symptoms, and for almost as long.”


NBC News: One man with coronavirus attending Ohio church service led to infection of 91 others. “A 56-year-old man with the coronavirus attending a single church service in Ohio led to the infection’s spread to at least 91 other people across five counties. Gov. Mike DeWine posted a graphic to his Facebook page Wednesday detailing how the virus spread over a three-week period from the date of the church service on June 14 to July 4.”


BuzzFeed News: “I Had Hit The Lottery”: Inmates Desperate To Get Out Of Prisons Hit Hard By The Coronavirus Are Racing To Court. “Judges are making medical assessments about how much of a threat COVID-19 poses to an individual inmate and then deciding how to balance that against the public safety risk of sending that person back into the community; inmates are usually released to home confinement or under the supervision of a probation officer. And judges are reaching different conclusions about how to measure an inmate’s risk of exposure in state and federal prisons, which have seen some of the worst clusters of COVID-19 cases nationwide.”

Department of Justice: Nine Charged with $24 Million COVID-Relief Fraud Scheme. “The owner of a Florida talent management company and four others were charged in complaints unsealed yesterday for their alleged participation in a scheme to file fraudulent loan applications seeking more than $24 million in forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.”


New York Times: Real Life Horror Stories From the World of Pandemic Motherhood. “The Families First Coronavirus Response Act was enacted this spring for the express purpose of providing workers with expanded family and sick leaves for reasons related to Covid-19 and its accompanying school and child care closings. But between April and June, caregiver-related calls to our hotline at the Center for WorkLife Law, which provides legal resources to help workers claim workplace accommodations and family leaves, increased 250 percent compared to the same time last year. We’ve heard from lots and lots of workers, many of them mothers. And the stories they’re sharing make it clear that Families First is falling short.”


San Francisco Chronicle: A mask in every mailbox? California Democrats up pressure campaign in Congress. “California Democrats in Congress are increasing pressure on their leaders to get all Americans to wear masks to fight the coronavirus pandemic — including by mailing them to every household.”

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