Thursday CoronaBuzz, September 10, 2020: 46 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.


University of Arkansas: College of Education and Health Professions Site Enhances Online Teaching, Enables Collaboration. “[Derrick] Mears, who teaches educational technology to practicing teachers and prepares instructional designers in the College of Education and Health Professions, is now a pro at teaching remote classes. His expertise is in high demand now, as his peers seek to give students a great education amid the pandemic. Mears is just one of several professors in the College of Education and Health Professions sharing online teaching expertise, or hard-won wisdom from the past few months, on a new website called COEHP Together: Remote Teaching Collaborative. Mears’ Flipgrid tip is among many he’s shared on the site, which is divided into three sections: organizing, interacting and evaluating.”


News 10 ABC: NYS launching school COVID-19 online report card dashboard tomorrow. “…as a way to keep the public informed, the state is launching an online K-12 school COVID report card dashboard. Schools will need to regularly report detailed COVID information to the State Department of Health.”

Fox 26: New website aims to help both landlords and tenants struggling payments. “Governor Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday that there’s a new resource available for people worried about evictions. That includes both tenants and landlords. Monday, Governor Newsom signed a law to temporarily ban evictions for anyone who can’t pay rent because of coronavirus.”

WDRB: Indiana to launch color-coded COVID-19 map to help with guidance for counties. ” Indiana health officials are creating a new tool to help provide guidance to schools and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Indiana’s State Health Commissioner, Dr. Kristina Box, announced plans for a new color-coded map at the end of August, during Governor Eric Holcomb’s weekly COVID-19 briefing.”

KXAN: Texas teachers union launches COVID-19 website to track cases in schools. ” The Texas American Federation of Teachers is launching a new website to track COVID-19 cases, deaths and unsafe working conditions in Texas schools. The tracker, developed in a partnership between Texas AFT and national nonprofit United for Respect, will allow teachers, school employees and community members to report key COVID-19 data. Users will be able to search by district and campus and see reports on a map of Texas, according to a media advisory from Texas AFT.”


Associated Press: Russia’s virus cases exceed 1 million; 4th highest globally. “Russia’s tally of confirmed coronavirus cases surpassed 1 million on [September 1] as authorities reported 4,729 new cases. With a total of 1,000,048 reported cases, Russia has the fourth-highest caseload in the world after the U.S., Brazil and India. Authorities say 17,250 people with the virus in Russia have died, a significantly lower reported toll than in the other three countries.”

NBC News: More than half a million children in the U.S. have had COVID-19. “From Aug. 20 to Sept. 3, there were 70,630 cases reported among children — an increase of 16 percent — bringing the national total to 513,415. The largest increases were reported in six states: Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota. As many as 103 children have died, according to the report.”

Associated Press: The Summer of COVID-19 ends with health officials worried. “The U.S. had about 1.6 million confirmed COVID-19 cases around Memorial Day, before backyard parties and other gatherings contributed to a summertime surge. It now has more than 6.2 million cases, according to the count kept by Johns Hopkins University. Deaths from the virus more than doubled over the summer to nearly 190,000.”


The Scotsman: North Lanarkshire Council leader condemns councillor behind Covid-19 conspiracy movement. “A local authority leader has condemned the actions of a councillor who organised an anti-mask demonstration in protest at Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, warning that he is endangering people’s lives.”


The Atlantic: What Are Parents Supposed to Do With Their Kids? “The combination of remote schooling, reduced child-care options, and a ‘reopened’ economy leaves millions of American parents who work outside the home with an impossible choice. They can put their job at risk by staying home. (Some 74,000 Americans who had a job but were taking time off cited ‘childcare problems’ for their absence during a sample week in July—more than twice the typical average, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.) They can send their children to in-school day camps that may be unaffordable—and potentially just as virus-prone as regular schools. They can leave their kids with vulnerable relatives. Or they can leave their children home alone.”

AP: US trade deficit surges in July to highest in 12 years. “The U.S. trade deficit surged in July to $63.6 billion, the highest level in 12 years, as imports jumped by a record amount. The Commerce Department reported that the July deficit, the gap between what America buys and what it sells to foreigners, was 18.9% higher than the June deficit of $53.5 billion. It was the largest monthly deficit since July 2008 during the 2007-2009 recession.”

Washington Post: A penny pinch: How America fell into a great coin shortage. “When the nation’s coin shortage trickled down to Giant Wash Coin Laundry, chief executive Daryl Johnson plastered his stores with signs urging customers to bring in loose quarters and reprogrammed the change machines at his Minneapolis-area chain to take only smaller bills. At one point, Johnson crossed state lines to head to Omaha on a critical mission to acquire $8,000 worth of quarters from another laundromat owner who had coins to spare.”

Phys .org: Amazon survey finds more than half of US workers say coronavirus has left them underemployed. “More than half of the U.S. workers seeking work say their job hunt is due to the coronavirus pandemic. That’s a key finding of a new survey by e-commerce giant Amazon, which found that a quarter of U.S. workers are looking for new employment, while 27% say that at least some of their skills won’t be of use in the job market in the next five years.”

The Atlantic: The Pandemic Has Created a Class of Super-Savers. “In the course of reporting this article, I spoke with people whose monthly expenses have fallen by hundreds, in some cases thousands, of dollars during the pandemic. They’re spending less on daily comforts that are now dangerous, or merely unnecessary, including eating out, entertainment, new clothes, and extracurriculars for their kids.”


Washington Post: Woodward book: Trump says he knew coronavirus was ‘deadly’ and worse than the flu while intentionally misleading Americans. “President Trump’s head popped up during his top-secret intelligence briefing in the Oval Office on Jan. 28 when the discussion turned to the coronavirus outbreak in China. ‘This will be the biggest national security threat you face in your presidency,’ national security adviser Robert C. O’Brien told Trump, according to a new book by Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward. ‘This is going to be the roughest thing you face.’… Ten days later, Trump called Woodward and revealed that he thought the situation was far more dire than what he had been saying publicly. ‘You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed,’ Trump said in a Feb. 7 call. ‘And so that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flus.'”

ProPublica: The Trump Administration Is Backing Out of a $647 Million Ventilator Deal After ProPublica Investigated the Price. “The government overpaid by hundreds of millions for Philips ventilators, says a House investigation spurred by ProPublica reporting. Now that deal is off and Congress is scrutinizing other coronavirus deals made by trade adviser Peter Navarro.”

BBC: Coronavirus: Social gatherings above six banned in England from 14 September. “Social gatherings of more than six people will be illegal in England from Monday – with some exemptions – amid a steep rise in coronavirus cases. A new legal limit will ban larger groups meeting anywhere socially indoors or outdoors, No 10 said. But it will not apply to schools, workplaces or Covid-secure weddings, funerals and organised team sports.”

Stars and Stripes: Arlington National Cemetery gravesites will reopen to the public this week. “Starting Wednesday, visitors will be allowed to enter the cemetery to visit gravesites. The cemetery closed in March in response to the coronavirus pandemic. For six months, only funeral attendees and family pass holders were allowed entry. Now, the cemetery will be open to the public every day from 8 a.m. to noon.”

Route Fifty: Senate to Vote on Slimmed-Down Coronavirus Relief Bill This Week. “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced a ‘targeted’ coronavirus relief proposal Tuesday that he will force a vote on as soon as this week, even as broader negotiations between Democrats and the Trump administration have stalled.”

Connecting Vets: VA canceled millions of appointments during pandemic, may have put veterans at risk by not following up, report says. “The Department of Veterans Affairs was forced to cancel more than 11 million appointments from March to June during the coronavirus pandemic, but didn’t follow up on more than 3 million of those, potentially putting veterans at risk, according to a recent watchdog report.”

WLNS: FEMA to stop paying for certain PPE for schools and elections agencies. “The interim policy, which goes into effect September 15, follows what local officials from around the country have said they were told in recent calls with FEMA: that many of the masks, respirators and sanitizing supplies that continue to be key for coronavirus prevention will only be covered for reimbursement when used specifically for emergency response. Instead, under most circumstances, the agency will regard these items as non-emergency supplies for schools and many other local institutions.”


Los Angeles Times: Mark Mothersbaugh nearly died from COVID-19. FaceTiming with his family kept him alive. “As Mark Mothersbaugh lay in a Cedars-Sinai hospital bed in early June after contracting the novel coronavirus, a ventilator tube snaking into his throat to help him breathe, the Devo cofounder and acclaimed film and TV composer came to believe that he was recovering from a vicious beating in downtown Los Angeles.”

Vanity Fair: Source: Robert Pattinson Has COVID-19, Halting The Batman Production. “Robert Pattinson is said to have tested positive for the coronavirus, causing filming of The Batman to be halted just days after the superhero drama resumed work at studios outside of London.”

Politico: Emails show HHS official trying to muzzle Fauci. “Emails obtained by POLITICO show Paul Alexander — a senior adviser to Michael Caputo, HHS’s assistant secretary for public affairs — instructing press officers and others at the National Institutes of Health about what Fauci should say during media interviews. The Trump adviser weighed in on Fauci’s planned responses to outlets including Bloomberg News, BuzzFeed, Huffington Post and the science journal Cell. Alexander’s lengthy messages, some sent as recently as this week, are couched as scientific arguments. But they often contradict mainstream science while promoting political positions taken by the Trump administration on hot-button issues ranging from the use of convalescent plasma to school reopening.”


Yahoo Sports: Iowa State, in the worst city for COVID-19 in the country, will let 25,000 fans attend season opener. “Ames, Iowa, is the hottest city in the country for the COVID-19 pandemic. The Cyclones, however, are still planning to let fans attend football games this fall. Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard announced on Monday that they will allow about 25,000 fans to attend their season opener against Louisiana-Lafayette at Jack Trice Stadium on Sept. 12.”


NBC New York: More Suspensions Possible as NYU Investigates Massive Party in Washington Square Park. “New York University is threatening disciplinary action to any students involved in a massive gathering Saturday night that amassed hundreds of young people in Washington Square Park. Already, NYU says more than 20 students have been suspended for failing to comply with coronavirus safety protocols.”

AP: South Carolina 3rd grade teacher, 28, dies from COVID-19. “A South Carolina third grade teacher who was last in her classroom less than two weeks ago has died from COVID-19, officials at the Richland 2 School District said Wednesday. Demetria ‘Demi’ Bannister, 28, was diagnosed with the virus on Friday and died Monday, school district spokeswoman Libby Roof said in a news release.”


BBC: She got ill when the pandemic hit – and still is, six months later. “Monique Jackson believes she caught Covid-19 early in the pandemic and nearly six months later she’s still unwell. One of thousands in this position, she has been keeping an illustrated diary about her symptoms and her vain attempts to get treatment.”

The Atlantic: Mask Up and Shut Up. “OVID-19 researchers have rightly extolled the virtues of masks, hailed the necessity of ventilation, and praised the salutary nature of outdoor activities. But another behavioral tactic hasn’t received enough attention, in part because it makes itself known by its absence. That tactic is silence. Yes, it is finally time to talk, in this pandemic, about the importance of not talking in this pandemic.”

Talking Points Memo: NIH Honcho: ‘Impossible’ To Predict COVID Vaccine By November. “It’s impossible to know if there will be a safe and effective vaccine by November, National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins told the Senate on Wednesday morning. ‘Will it be done by a certain date? I could not possibly tell you right now,’ Dr. Collins told Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) during a hearing of the Senate health committee. ‘Certainly, to try to predict whether it happens on a particular week before or after a particular date in early November is well beyond anything that any scientist right now could tell you and know what they’re saying.'”

BBC: Covid vaccine: 8,000 jumbo jets needed to deliver doses globally, says IATA. “Shipping a coronavirus vaccine around the world will be the ‘largest transport challenge ever’ according to the airline industry. The equivalent of 8,000 Boeing 747s will be needed, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has said.”

New York Times: For Long-Haulers, Covid-19 Takes a Toll on Mind as Well as Body. “Forty hours after treating her first coronavirus patient, on March 30, Angela Aston came home to her family with a cough. ‘Gosh, your throat is scratchy,’ her husband told her. Right away she knew she had likely been infected with Covid-19. As a nurse practitioner, Ms. Aston, 50, was confident she knew how to handle her symptoms, and disappeared to her bedroom to quarantine and rest. By day 50 of her illness, that confidence had disappeared.”


BBC: Coronavirus: Israel considers nationwide lockdown as cases spike. “Israel’s cabinet is to consider whether to impose a nationwide lockdown, as the country struggles to halt a steep rise in coronavirus infections. The health ministry reported 3,904 new cases on Wednesday, a new daily record that brought the total to 142,582. The death toll also rose by 11 to 1,054.”


Neowin: Google’s Waze lays off five percent of its staff. “Waze said the layoffs were partly due to COVID-19, which has emptied roadways globally after many cities were placed into lockdown. Due to the restrictions, many began working from home, and thus, fewer people used the navigation service for declining needs. Waze measures its usage by monthly active users or the number of customers using the app monthly and driven kilometers. Both metrics have seen a dip in recent months.’


Phys .org: New paper reveals how lessons learned during COVID-19 could prepare us for nuclear attack. “Experts from the Universities of Birmingham and Leicester argue that the aftermath of a nuclear incident or attack would far outweigh the impact on health-services, disruption to normal life and the suspension of civil-liberties that we have experienced during COVID-19, severely impacting the basic infrastructure of government, finance, communications and food supply. However, prevention cannot be left to governments alone and by learning lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic and applying them to the nuclear realm, engaged citizens can help to reduce the risks.”

CNN: People who consume conservative media are less likely to wear masks, poll of New Hampshire residents finds. “Researchers found that overall, about three in four residents polled said they always wore a face mask in public, or did so except when they were outside and socially distanced. But when it came to residents who reported frequently watching Fox News or listening to conservative talk radio, those numbers were much lower. Just half of New Hampshire residents who frequently watch Fox News said they wore a mask in public, unless they were outside or socially distanced. A third of residents who frequently listen to conservative talk radio said the same.”

Associated Press: Bold hopes for virus antibody tests still unfulfilled. “For now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Medical Association explicitly warn that antibody tests should not be used to make decisions about returning workers to the office or students to school, though some labs still promote them for those uses. The CDC recommends everyone — even those who were sick and recovered — take precautions to prevent getting and spreading the virus.”


ABC News: JPMorgan Chase investigating misuse of pandemic aid funds. “JPMorgan Chase said on Tuesday that it’s identified the misuse of COVID-19 relief funds by customers, and is investigating whether some of the bank’s employees also may be have been involved. In a memo to staff signed by a dozen senior leaders, including CEO Jamie Dimon, the investment bank said such conduct ‘does not live up to our business and ethical principles — and may even be illegal.'” Ya think?

Courthouse News Service: Judge Orders White House to Include Sign Language in Covid Briefings. “The Trump administration may have violated federal law by not including American Sign Language interpretation in televised briefings on the coronavirus pandemic, a federal judge in Washington ruled Wednesday. U.S. District Judge James Boasberg granted temporary relief that will require the White House to include in-frame ASL interpretation, already adopted by the governors of all 50 states in their Covid-19 video broadcasts, pending final judgment in the case.”

BBC: WestJet cancels flight because of mask dispute with child. “A Canadian flight was cancelled and police were called because a child was not wearing a mask. Safwan Choudhry says WestJet wanted his 19-month-old to wear a mask, but the baby girl would not stop crying. The airline says the issue was not with the infant, who is below the age required to wear a mask, but with Mr Choudhry’s three-year-old.”

Local12: Police: Several Miami U students cited for throwing party after testing positive for COVID. “At Miami University, more than 1,000 students have the coronavirus. Despite the surge in cases, the Oxford Police Department had a busy weekend busting house parties. Several students who knew they were positive for the virus decided to throw one anyway.”


Slate: The DOJ’s COVID-19 Nursing Home Inquiry Is Nakedly Corrupt. “Last week, the Department of Justice sent widely publicized letters to the governors of four states—Michigan, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania—seeking information about nursing homes and coronavirus infections. The DOJ justified the request as part of an evaluation of whether to open a formal investigation under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act. This does not appear to be an ordinary independent investigation, though. In fact, there’s every reason to believe the DOJ letters are partisan attacks on opponents of the president.”


The Hill: Herman Cain account tweets coronavirus ‘not as deadly’ as claimed after his death from COVID-19. “The tweet was later deleted, but the account tweeted other messages questioning the risk of the coronavirus which has infected more than 6 million people in the U.S. and killed more than 182,000, including Cain, a former Republican presidential candidate.”

Washington Post: Seven in 10 new coronavirus cases are emerging in red states. “When the pandemic was at its high, about three-quarters of new cases were in red states. Now, about 7 in 10 new cases are in red states. It’s still the case, though, that many of those new cases are in blue counties. While more new cases are emerging in states that voted for Trump, those outbreaks were often in places that voted for Clinton.”

CNN: Task force reports show dire reality despite Trump’s positive messaging. “As President Donald Trump was painting a positive picture of the coronavirus pandemic and urging states to reopen the nation’s businesses and schools, data from the White House coronavirus task force released Monday shows he was getting increasingly dire reports about the spread of the pandemic in July and August.”

Politico: Trump pivots to narrow coronavirus testing strategy as election looms. “Just eight weeks from election day, the White House has stopped trying to contain the coronavirus — shifting instead to shielding the nation’s most vulnerable groups and restoring a sense of normalcy. The change is part of a concerted effort by the White House to increase public approval of President Donald Trump’s pandemic response — and bolster his reelection chances — by sharply reducing Covid-19 case counts and the number of deaths and hospitalizations attributed to virus, according to five people familiar with the strategy.”

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