Saturday CoronaBuzz, August 29, 2020: 28 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 York Times: New York Has Tamed the Virus. Can It Hold Off a Second Wave?. “New York State has managed not only to control its outbreak since the devastation of the early spring, but also to contain it for far longer than even top officials expected. Now, as other places struggle to beat back a resurgence and cases climb in former success-story states like California and Rhode Island, New York’s leaders are consumed by the likelihood that, any day now, their numbers will begin rising.”


New York Times: Coronavirus Doctors Battle Another Scourge: Misinformation. “Before the pandemic, medical professionals had grown accustomed to dealing with patients misled by online information, a phenomenon they called Dr. Google. But in interviews, more than a dozen doctors and misinformation researchers in the United States and Europe said the volume related to the virus was like nothing they had seen before. They blamed leaders like President Trump for amplifying fringe theories, the social media platforms for not doing enough to stamp out false information and individuals for being too quick to believe what they see online.”


Washington Post: Trump says he’s ‘stopping evictions.’ Here’s why they’re still happening.. “Since signing an executive order a week ago, President Trump has repeatedly said that his administration was ‘stopping evictions’ and ‘protecting people from evictions.’ The order would ‘largely — hopefully, completely’ solve a looming crisis among renters at risk of losing their homes, Trump said. But across the country, evictions are continuing.”

New York Times: Don’t Like What You See on Zoom? Get a Face-Lift and Join the Crowd. “A growing number of people, stuck at home and tired of staring at their own haggard faces on Zoom, are finding a fix: face and eye lifts, chin and tummy tucks and more. At a time when many medical fields are reeling from lockdowns when lucrative electives work was postponed, cosmetic surgery procedures are surging, practitioners say, driven by unexpected demand from patients who have found the coronavirus pandemic a perfect moment for corporeal upgrades.”

Washington City Paper: Are Local Pizza Shops Being Burned by the National Pepperoni Shortage?. “Local pizza maker Michael Bozzelli has watched pepperoni prices creep up over the past 30 days. He used to pay his distributor $50 per case; he’s now paying $92. He’s not alone. There’s currently both a supply and and a demand issue with America’s favorite pizza topping.”

Chicago Tribune: Column: The pandemic bust: Anxiety means less sex, fewer babies. “The Brookings Institution predicts a baby bust in 2021, with 300,000 to 500,000 fewer births in the United States than in a usual year. Brookings puts this development down to economic hardship and existential insecurity. What can seem like a couple’s idiosyncratic moods and choices, then, may be a direct result of President Donald Trump’s ruinous response to the virus, and the many ways his government has refused to help the sick and suffering. From stiffing overwhelmed states to ignoring the unemployed, who can no longer afford rent or groceries, the Trump administration seems actively intent on making Americans sicker and crushing our hope for recovery. None of this cruelty is an aphrodisiac.”

New York Times: Moving to New York, Despite the Pandemic. “Cynthia Lanzino wanted to move to New York City ever since she was a child growing up in Pennsylvania. So this spring, Ms. Lanzino, 63, decided not to wait any longer. Even if there was a pandemic.”


CNN: 300 Pizza Huts are closing after a giant franchisee goes bankrupt. “Up to 300 Pizza Hut restaurants are slated to permanently close following the bankruptcy of one the chain’s largest franchisees. NPC International, which filed for Chapter 11 in July, announced an agreement [August 17] with Pizza Hut’s owner Yum! Brands (YUM)to close roughly a quarter of its restaurants and sell the remaining locations.”

Washington Post: Facing unmasked diners and sick colleagues, restaurant workers worry about safety — and their livelihoods. “Across the country, many hospitality workers are afraid to work right now in an industry that’s fighting for survival with limited resources, conflicting reopening guidance from government and a significant portion of the population that continues to think the coronavirus is no worse than the seasonal flu. The reopening of restaurants, as [Jennifer] Moreau’s example shows, has also further frayed the already-fraught relationship between worker and employer.”


Yahoo News: Ron DeSantis sidelined his health department. Florida paid the price.. “The result has been an unmitigated disaster, with Florida now home to more than half a million coronavirus cases and 10,000 COVID-19 deaths. And yet DeSantis continues to chart his own mystifying course, musing about how reopening schools is tantamount to killing Osama bin Laden. At a recent visit to a Jacksonville nursing home, DeSantis told visitors to quite literally embrace their loved ones. ‘Hell, hug ’em,’ he urged. ‘I think that you could do that,’ he said, as long as people wore face masks — and didn’t sneeze. As he spoke, a poster urging social distancing loomed over his left shoulder. Not a single health department official contradicted him, because not a single health department official was there.”


CNN: Students call for colleges to cut tuition costs as school year begins online. “When Rutgers University announced most of its fall classes would be online amid the coronavirus pandemic, rising junior Shreya Patel checked for details on the school’s website. “Will we get a refund?” she looked up in the Frequently Asked Questions section. ‘They said no. That obviously made me mad,’ Patel told CNN.”

BBC: Coronavirus: Schools criticise ‘reprehensible’ last-minute advice on reopening. “Head teachers and teachers have criticised the government for ‘last-minute’ guidance on what to do during virus outbreaks and local lockdowns. The guidance for England was published on Friday evening, just days before many schools begin term.”

Business Insider: An emergency medicine physician projects that if schools open in the fall, they’ll close by the end of October with COVID-19 outbreaks. “Citing the ‘confluence’ of the flu season and the increased exposure that in-person classes would introduce, one doctor with experience advising city officials on public health said schools could pursue reopening with strict safety precautions but might still need to shut down again as soon as the end of October.”

AL .com: New restrictions coming to Alabama campus, Greek houses amid ‘significant’ COVID increase. “Changes are coming to the University of Alabama COVID-19 plan three days into the new semester. The school on [August 21] announced a moratorium on in-person student events along with restrictions on Greek houses just before 5 p.m. All events will be paused for 14 days, according to a document obtained by”

Washington Post: ‘We’ve got to do better than this’: College students raise alarm by packing bars, avoiding masks. “Music blared outside a row of off-campus houses on [August 15] near the University of North Georgia as hundreds of students packed the streets and front yards. Virtually no one wore a mask. The huge party in Dahlonega, Ga., captured in a viral Twitter video, was one of a number of mass gatherings around the country this weekend as tens of thousands of students returned to college towns already on edge amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.”


NY1: What Happens When Homeless New Yorkers Need a Restroom in the Pandemic?. “Finding a public restroom during the coronavirus pandemic has become a challenge, especially among homeless New Yorkers. With some businesses shuttered and others no longer letting customers inside, this is a new reality.”

Boston Globe: ‘Why should we trust you?’ Black Americans, hardest hit by COVID-19, are the most skeptical of potential vaccines. “Black Americans are dying from COVID-19 at nearly 2 ½ times the rate of white people nationwide, according to the COVID Tracking Project, and despite representing roughly 13 percent of the population, they have accounted for 22 percent of coronavirus deaths in cases in which race and ethnicity are known. And yet, in a sign of deep-seated and well-earned distrust in the US medical establishment, surveys have shown consistently that Black Americans are less willing than other racial and ethnic groups to accept a coronavirus vaccine.”

New York Times: Rapid Testing Is the New Velvet Rope. “Determined to proceed with parties and events this summer, hosts are adding screenings at the door. But such measures are hardly a guarantee of safety, medical experts warn.”

Mother Jones: Donald Warne: We Need More Indigenous Doctors, Stat. Here’s How to Do It.. “A member of the Oglala Lakota tribe from the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, Dr. Donald Warne had an early interest in medical work—he comes from a long line of traditional healers. Today, Warne oversees the Master of Public Health degree program and a specialized PhD in Indigenous Health at the University of North Dakota. He’s also the director of Indians into Medicine, a program that creates much-needed pathways for Indigenous students to enter careers in health. Like other communities of color, Native Americans have been hit hard by COVID-19, with seven different tribes currently seeing case rates between 2,200 and 12,850 per 100,000—higher than the rates of any US state.”

Washington Post: Don’t just look at covid-19 fatality rates. Look at people who survive — but don’t entirely recover.. “At least seven elite college athletes have developed myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle that can have severe consequences, including sudden death. An Austrian doctor who treats scuba divers reported that six patients, who had only mild covid-19 infections, seem to have significant and permanent lung damage. Social media communities sprang up of people who are still suffering, months after they were infected, with everything from chronic fatigue and ‘brain fog’ to chest pain and recurrent fevers. Now, data is coming in behind the anecdotes, and while it’s preliminary, it’s also ‘concerning,’ says Clyde Yancy, chief of cardiology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.”

Associated Press: Mounting US deaths reveal an outsize toll on people of color. “As many as 215,000 more people than usual died in the U.S. during the first seven months of 2020, suggesting that the number of lives lost to the coronavirus is significantly higher than the official toll. And half the dead were people of color — Blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans and, to a marked degree unrecognized until now, Asian Americans. The new figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highlight a stark disparity: Deaths among minorities during the crisis have risen far more than they have among whites.”


BBC: Coronavirus: France sees ‘exponential rise’ in cases. “France has recorded its biggest daily rise in coronavirus infections since March, as President Emmanuel Macron raised the possibility of another nationwide lockdown. A further 7,379 cases were confirmed on Friday, bringing the country’s total to 267,077.”


Washington Post: I downloaded America’s first coronavirus exposure app. You should too.. “For the past week and a half, 35 Washington Post staff members have been helping me test America’s first exposure-notification app using technology from Apple and Google. It’s called Covidwise, and works in the state of Virginia. Made by state health departments, similar apps are also now available in North Dakota (Care19 Alert), Wyoming (also called Care19 Alert), and Alabama (Guidesafe). A Pennsylvania app is due to arrive in September and will be compatible with one from Delaware. In total, 20 states and territories are developing apps that will cover nearly half the U.S. population. (We’ll continue to update as more arrive.)”


CNBC: Russia’s vaccine chief claims the West is trying to ‘lure’ away its scientists. “Alexander Gintsburg alleged that attempts to poach scientists from Russia to work in Europe and the U.S. had not worked. Gintsburg is the head of the Gamaleya National Research Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology which developed Russia’s coronavirus vaccine that was given regulatory approval last week. Gintsburg offered no evidence for his claim, nor did he mention any specific institutions.”

Washington Post: Can dogs detect the novel coronavirus? The nose knows.. “Blaze is one of nine dogs enrolled in a University of Pennsylvania study into whether dogs can detect a distinct smell in people infected with the novel coronavirus. His triumph on that early July day — selecting a can containing urine from a hospitalized coronavirus-positive patient over an array of potentially confusing alternatives — is a key step in a training process that may one day allow dogs to pick out infected individuals, including those who are asymptomatic, in nursing homes, businesses and airports, potentially screening as many as 250 people an hour.”


Slate: Which Republicans Were Wearing Masks During Trump’s Speech at the White House?. “The scene at the final night of the Republican National Convention was concerning to virologists, to political analysts, and apparently to at least one person at Fox News, which reported that ‘few attendees at the White House event appeared to be wearing masks, and most of the spectators sat closer to one another than the recommended social distancing length of six feet.’ But among the 1,000 or so gathered on the White House lawn, there were some people wearing masks. Which might lead one to wonder: huh! Exactly how many people were wearing masks?”

Daily Beast: White House Staffers Pissed at a Top National Security Aide—for Wearing a Mask in Front of Trump. “In May, all West Wing staff were briefly ordered to wear masks at work. To this day, many continue to do so by choice, for their safety and health, with one senior Trump official telling The Daily Beast that they wear one because ‘I’m not a moron.’ So you’d think the first high-ranking official to put one on might get some credit from his colleagues. But this is the Trump White House, where logic isn’t always king and petty personal beefs can easily turn national policy on its head. A select group of officials have grown increasingly frustrated with Deputy National Security Adviser Matt Pottinger—for putting on a mask shortly after the coronavirus outbreak was declared a pandemic.”

CNN: Trump ‘enthusiastic’ over unproven coronavirus therapeutic, MyPillow creator says. “President Donald Trump and Mike Lindell, the creator of MyPillow and an avowed supporter, participated in a July meeting at the White House regarding the use of oleandrin as a potential therapeutic for coronavirus, Lindell confirmed to CNN. Oleandrin is an extract from the plant Nerium oleander. The raw oleander plant is highly toxic, and consumption of it can be fatal.”

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1 reply »

  1. Dear Tara,

    Thank you for your continuing work digging out the scraps from the news table.

    Your Washington Post discovery on canine Covid19 detection (at up to 250 cases per hour!) was a joy. Both my wife and I subscribe to WaPo online, but we both missed that one.

    Best, and stay healthy, oh, your probably heard this one:

    A man walks into a bar in New Orleans and orders a corona and two hurricanes.
    The bartender replies “That will be 2020”

    Carl Friedberg
    President, Comet &Company
    165 William St New York NY
    Office (212) 233-5470
    Cell (917) 861-7819

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