coronabuzz

Tuesday CoronaBuzz, August 25, 2020: 31 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

Morgridge Institute for Research: Multi-omic data and interactive web tool made publicly available to aid COVID-19 research. “Why is it that some COVID-19 patients become extremely ill and die, while others experience only mild symptoms? The molecular underpinnings of COVID-19 are the subject of a recent collaboration between the Morgridge Institute for Research, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Albany Medical College. Their study uses mass spectrometry, RNA sequencing, and machine learning to explore the molecular traits that might influence the severity of the disease.”

NEW RESOURCES – OTHER

Qantara .de: Giving a voice to young African women during coronavirus. “This year, those marking Pan African Women’s Day on 31 July had even more reason to celebrate. Two days previously the African Union launched ‘Sauti’, meaning ‘my voice’ in Arabic and Kiswahili. A digital collection featuring award-winning stories by twenty-five young women from across the five regions of Africa and its diaspora, it is the first ever feminist blog of its kind. Young African women were invited to share their contributions in writing, visuals, audio or video, presenting their thoughts and innovations in the face of COVID-19, as well as their daily struggles amid the evolving pandemic.”

SOCIETAL IMPACT

Politico: A growing side effect of the pandemic: Permanent job loss. “Permanent losses have so far made up only a fraction of the jobs that have vanished since states began shutting down their economies in March, with the vast majority of unemployed workers classified as on temporary layoff. But those numbers are steadily increasing — reaching 2.9 million in June — as companies start to move from temporary layoffs to permanent cuts.”

The Atlantic: The Workforce Is About to Change Dramatically. “You live where you work is a truism as ancient as grain farming; which means it’s as ancient as the city itself. But the internet specializes in disentangling the bundles of previous centuries, whether it’s cable TV, the local newspaper, or the department store. Now, with the pandemic shuttering the face-to-face economy, it seems poised to weaken the spatial relationship between work and home. When the pandemic is over, one in six workers is projected to continue working from home or co-working at least two days a week, according to a recent survey by economists at Harvard Business School.”

BBC: Coronavirus restrictions ‘severely hampering’ South Asia flood relief. “Humanitarian agencies say Covid-19 restrictions have severely hampered and slowed down relief operations in many places hit by Monsoon floods and landslides across South Asia. Relief workers have been restricted in their movements by localised lockdowns, while stocks of emergency supplies have been rendered inaccessible by strict containment zones.”

Eater: Sales at New York Restaurants Continue to Plummet Without Aid, According to Survey. “In a survey of more than 625 restaurants across the state, the New York State Restaurant Association found that nearly 90 percent of restaurants say they won’t be able to make any profit in the next six months without government aid. The lack of aid will also exacerbate the number of restaurant closures in the state, according to the survey.”

Associated Press: The home front: Virus stalks nurses after they leave work. “There’s red tape running along the floor of the coronavirus unit at St. Jude’s Medical Center in Fullerton, California. It’s a clear line of demarcation. On one side, the cold zone, where only a surgical mask, scrubs and shoe coverings are necessary. On the other, the warm zone, where the gloves come on. And the N95 mask. And the gown. And the hairnet. And the face shield. Another step through glass doors and it’s into the hot zone, where coughing patients in green-patterned gowns await. It’s outside this unit, in an area not marked by red tape or glass doors, that worries the nurses of ‘4 North’ most.”

Arizona State University: Cronkite’s Howard Center launches multimedia investigative project on homeless COVID-19 victims. “The Howard Center for Investigative Journalism, a national reporting initiative at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, has released a three-month multimedia investigation that found homeless people are among the most vulnerable populations in the COVID-19 pandemic, yet they’re largely invisible victims. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which oversees homeless programs, has not required its national network of providers to gather infection or death data on homeless victims, so very little is known about how they’re faring. And cash-strapped, overworked public health departments have largely been unable to conduct such tracking.”

WYNC: The Evolution of Live Theater During the Pandemic. “This month, a new production of ‘Godspell’ is being staged outdoors by the Berkshire Theater Group in Western Massachusetts, making it one of the first union approved theatrical productions since March. And although the performance might sound normal, for audience members going to the show in-person, there are plenty of reminders that we’re still in a pandemic. Cast members wear masks when passing each other on stage and sing behind vinyl partitions. And seats for different groups of attendees are spaced out by at least six feet.”

Axios: Coronavirus forces rethinking of safety net for working women. “The coronavirus pandemic has been devastating for working women, but one prominent women’s policy expert says it could provide a new opportunity to create the kinds of social supports they should have had all along.”

INSTITUTIONS

Boston Globe: In calm before the storm, hospitals prepare for second wave of COVID-19. “In the spring, hospitals cobbled together the space and staff to care for hundreds of severely ill patients — in many cases more than ever before seen — and the lessons on how to do that will guide the response to whatever the fall brings. Advances in understanding how to treat the illness might lead to shorter lengths of stay or fewer admissions. And improved testing capacity means hospitals are no longer in the dark about how many patients might show up at their doorstep. But hospital officials also foresee new challenges that weren’t encountered in the spring.”

ProPublica: Local Officials Say a Nursing Home Dumped Residents to Die at Hospitals. “The nurse with the Columbia County Health Department recorded the COVID-19 deaths at nearby hospitals — two at Albany Medical Center on May 4, another at the same hospital two days later; one at Columbia Memorial Hospital on May 17, and another there two days later — and, along with her boss, concluded there was a pattern. The people dying at the hospitals had been residents of a local nursing home, the Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing at Barnwell in the tiny town of Valatie, New York.”

BUSINESS / CORPORATIONS

STAT News: This tiny Texas company is running most of the drive-thru Covid-19 testing in the U.S.. “That company, eTrueNorth, doesn’t run Covid-19 tests, ship them to and from labs, or employ the staff at testing sites. Instead, the company is acting as a kind of conductor, helping to oversee a patchwork of clinical laboratories, pharmacy staff, and technical infrastructure. The company has brought in more than $90 million in federal contracts to help oversee more than 350 sites and pay for the tests, according to a federal contracts database.”

GOVERNMENT

BBC: Coronavirus in South Africa: Whistleblower questions winter tent deaths. “Suspected Covid-19 patients were routinely left for hours in an open tent, in sub-zero temperatures, outside a South African hospital during the mid-winter peak of the pandemic, leading to ‘many’ people dying of suspected hypothermia, according to an exclusive investigation by BBC News. The revelations have emerged as South Africa’s government has acknowledged and condemned widespread corruption and mismanagement during its response to the pandemic.”

INDIVIDUALS / BANDS / GROUPS

CNN: Birx says she wishes US lockdown had resembled the one in Italy. “In Italy as the virus spread, residents were told to stay home and only leave for essential activities. Authorities would stop people and check to make sure they had documents that said where and why they were traveling. In a roundtable discussion hosted by Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Birx said she has learned what Americans are willing to do to combat the virus, and that officials must meet people where they are.”

EDUCATION

Washington Post: ‘A national crisis’: As coronavirus forces many schools online this fall, millions of disconnected students are being left behind. “For all the talk of Generation Z’s Internet savvy, a stunning number of young people are locked out of virtual classes because they lack high-speed Internet service at home. In 2018, nearly 17 million children lived in homes without high-speed Internet, and more than 7 million did not have computers at home, according to a report prepared by a coalition of civil rights and education groups that analyzed census data for that year.”

Michigan State University: Michigan State University suspends in-person classes amid outbreak. “At least a dozen athletes have tested positive at the University of Mississippi, with classes set to resume there next week. It comes as COVID-19 concerns spread across college campuses nationwide. Michigan State is the latest university to scrap in-person classes.”

BBC: Covid-19: South Korea closes Seoul schools amid rise in cases. “South Korea has ordered the closure of all schools and kindergartens in the greater Seoul area following a rise in coronavirus cases there. Nearly 200 staff and students have been infected in the greater Seoul area over the past two weeks. Remote learning will continue until 11 September, the Ministry of Education said.”

Salon: University of Texas anticipates testing “several hundred” symptomatic people every day. “The president of the University of Texas at Austin (UT) sent an email Wednesday announcing that the school anticipates that it may need to provide “several hundred tests” each day for community members who show signs of COVID-19. The university, one of the largest and highest-ranked research institutions in the country, has studied coronavirus in a joint research program with the Wuhan Institute of Virology and publishes one of the premier epidemiological models in the United States.”

Washington Post: UNC-Chapel Hill pivots to remote teaching after coronavirus spreads among students during first week of class. “The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, one of the largest schools in the country to bring students to campus for in-person teaching, said [August 17] that it will pivot to all-remote instruction for undergraduates after testing showed a pattern of rapid spread of the novel coronavirus. The shift signaled enormous challenges ahead for those in higher education who are pushing for professors and students to be able to meet on campus. Officials announced the abrupt change just a week after classes began at the 30,000-student state flagship university.”

HEALTH

Yahoo News: ‘Am I having a panic attack?’ Google anxiety searches break records amid coronavirus pandemic. “Scientists from the University of California, San Diego, have since found Google searches for ‘panic attacks’ and ‘anxiety attacks’ in the US were the highest they have been since the data started being collected 16 years ago. More than 3 million anxiety-related searches were carried out in the US alone during the first 58 days of its outbreak.”

Arizona State University: Research shows water quality could diminish in closed buildings during COVID-19 pandemic. “While bars, gyms, dine-in restaurants and other buildings have been closed to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, water left sitting in pipes could change in quality. It’s possible that water left sitting for long periods of time could contain excessive amounts of heavy metals and pathogens concentrated in pipes nationwide, say researchers who have begun a field study on the impact of a pandemic shutdown on buildings.”

Washington Post: The number of pregnant Latinas with covid-19 is staggering. And a warning sign, doctors say.. “More than two months have passed since Ana returned from the D.C. hospital to meet her new daughters for the first time, since she woke up from a deep sedation to learn that she had been intubated for the first three weeks of the infants’ lives, battling complications from covid-19. Her head still aches. She lost 50 pounds. She can’t breastfeed. The fatigue and dizziness and shortness of breath make it difficult to get out of bed in the morning. Doctors say it could take months for her to fully recover from the weeks she spent connected to a ventilator and to an aggressive life support machine that pumped blood into her lungs and heart.”

California Healthline: Isolation, Disruption and Confusion: Coping With Dementia During a Pandemic. “One of her favorites is reading the newspaper with her morning coffee. But, lately, the news surrounding the coronavirus pandemic has been more agitating than pleasurable. ‘We’re dropping like flies,’ she said one recent morning, throwing her hands up.”

OUTBREAKS

BBC: South Korea on brink of nationwide virus outbreak, officials warn. “South Korea, a country held up as a model for its response to Covid-19, is on the brink of a new nationwide outbreak, according to officials. The latest outbreak of coronavirus cases centred around a right-wing Presbyterian church has spread to all 17 provinces throughout the country for the first time. Each day brings a new three digit virus total.”

RESEARCH

PsyPost: Sociopathic traits linked to non-compliance with mask guidelines and other COVID-19 containment measures. “New research from Brazil has found that people who are unconcerned with adhering to measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 tend to display higher levels of traits associated with antisocial personality disorder, also known as sociopathy. The findings have been published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences.”

NBC News: COVID-19 and children: Doctors see link between virus and neurological side effects. “Nia Haughton, 15, occasionally struggles to find the right words, and her memory can be patchy, but as she describes her lengthy treatment in a London hospital as she sits on a low wall beside her home, her account still has the power to shock.”

ProPublica: Near Misses at UNC Chapel Hill’s High-Security Lab Illustrate Risk of Accidents With Coronaviruses. “Reports indicate UNC researchers were potentially exposed to lab-created coronaviruses in several incidents since 2015. These incidents highlight the risks even in the most secure and respected research facilities.”

CRIME / SECURITY / LEGAL

Washington Post: Police struggle to enforce social distancing, mask orders as mass gatherings flout rules. “When a crowd assembled in Oxon Run Park in Southeast Washington for a concert last month, residents accused authorities of ignoring violations of the mayor’s orders restricting mass gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic. A week ago, another gathering in the District brought attention locally and beyond after gunfire erupted and 22 people were shot, one fatally. People again demanded to know why a crowd was allowed to grow into the hundreds, and even the police chief questioned whether his officers should have broken it up.”

BBC: Covid: Woman in Australia jailed for six months over quarantine breach. “Asher Faye Vander Sanden, 28, had spent a month in the state of Victoria, which has been hit heavily by Covid-19. She was permitted to fly home to Perth, Western Australia, and quarantine in a hotel for 14 days at her own expense. But she instead arrived secretly in the state in a truck and stayed at her partner’s home, where she was later arrested.”

POLITICS

Politico: Trump elevates Scott Atlas, a doctor with a rosier coronavirus outlook. “With the virus showing no sign of letting up — the U.S. has recorded roughly 5.4 million Covid-19 cases and 170,000 deaths — and with less than three months to go in an uphill reelection battle, the president is betting that a telegenic physician with a positive outlook, but no expertise in infectious diseases or epidemiology, can change his fortunes.”

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