Sunday CoronaBuzz, September 13, 2020: 26 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.


Politico: Harvest of shame: Farmworkers face coronavirus disaster. “Within days of the coronavirus pandemic taking hold, the Trump administration had to confront a reality it had long tried to ignore: The nation’s 2.5 million farmworkers, about half of whom the government estimates are undocumented, are absolutely critical to keeping the food system working. It was a major shift for a president who continues to reduce any debate about immigration to stoking fears about border defense and crime. But the Trump administration and Congress have done little to help keep farmworkers safe on the job.”

San Francisco Chronicle: People are fleeing the Bay Area. But they might not be gone for long. “Just like [Erica] Johnston, most other Bay Area escapees have left because the coronavirus pandemic, shelter-in-place rules and wildfires have amped up the region’s space constraints and high cost of living, while minimizing many of the cultural and career reasons that motivate people to bear with the downsides.”

New Republic: My 98 Days in Unemployment Purgatory. “My claim seemed clear-cut: I was laid off from a full-time W-2 job, with regular pay stubs, because of the Covid-19 recession. I was also coming from a union job, which meant that I had lawyers and union staff to help me with the application process. I was out of work, but I was lucky. But what followed—a summer spent plumbing the cursed depths of unemployment rules—quickly tested that premise.”

New York Times: Jazz Lives in Clubs. The Pandemic Is Threatening Its Future.. “The concert world as a whole is in crisis, but perhaps no genre is as vulnerable as jazz, which depends on a fragile ecosystem of performance venues. In pre-pandemic New York, the genre’s creative and commercial center, young players still converged to hone their craft and veterans held court in prestigious rooms like the Village Vanguard and the Blue Note. It’s an economic and creative network that has sustained the genre for decades. But after suffering nearly six months of lost business, New York jazz venues have begun sounding the alarm that without significant government relief, they might not last much longer.”

Reuters: ‘Groundbreaking’ U.S. housing data hailed as new tool to target COVID-19 aid. “About five million Americans lose their homes every year due to eviction or foreclosure, researchers said on Wednesday, urging policymakers to use their new county-specific data on housing loss to target coronavirus aid more effectively. The research by New America, a think-tank, stitches together county-level eviction and mortgage foreclosure data for the first time to create a National Housing Loss Index, comparing 2,200 U.S. counties for which data was available.”


CNN: Germany’s virus response won plaudits. But protests over vaccines and masks show it’s a victim of its own success. “Germany has been lauded for its pandemic response, thanks to widescale testing and its fast response to the outbreak which has helped keep its Covid-19 mortality rate low — despite a high number of reported cases. Yet the events at the Reichstag have worried experts that the country has become a victim of its own success, allowing for the spread of coronavirus scepticism.”


Carolina Public Press: Many NC employers, jobs not coming back when pandemic ends. “North Carolina’s unemployment rate peaked at 12.9% in April. Though it dropped to 7.5% in June, it ticked up a percentage point in July, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Many of the missing jobs are in the service industry — and those whose work requires face-to-face contact are suffering the most.”

San Francisco Chronicle: Stylists say Pelosi’s hair salon visit not a one-off — everybody’s doing it. not me. “Despite all of the shock and awe over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent trip to a San Francisco a salon to get her hair done, the truth is that such backdoor visits to salons, which are supposed to be closed to indoor service during the pandemic, are common and have been going in the city for months. Just ask the hairdressers.”

MEL Magazine: What The Bartenders Serving You Assholes Are Really Thinking. “If you’ve been on social media recently, you’ve probably seen the images: People happily posing at bars or at tables in a parking lot, always making sure to tell you in the caption that despite how it looks, they’re practicing social distancing while they enjoy cheap margaritas. But for those who are still basically quarantining — because the curve isn’t even close to flattening — such pictures are a stain on the timeline. It’s a party they’re not invited to/unable to attend. Moreover, it risks potentially spiking said curve even higher.”


Washington Post: Trump’s $300 unemployment funding is already running out, leaving millions in crisis again. “The emergency unemployment benefits approved by President Trump last month are already running out, leaving millions of Americans without extra support as prospects dim for a congressional deal to provide more relief for jobless Americans. The Trump administration has begun telling states that the federal government will stop providing them the temporary $300 weekly jobless benefit, which had been a part of a White House executive directive in the weeks after the enhanced federal unemployment benefit of $600 ran out.”

New York Times: Trump Pressed for Plasma Therapy. Officials Worry, Is an Unvetted Vaccine Next?. “It was the third week of August, the Republican National Convention was days away, and President Trump was impatient. White House officials were anxious to showcase a step forward in the battle against the coronavirus: an expansion of the use of blood plasma from recovered patients to treat new ones. For nearly two weeks, however, the National Institutes of Health had held up emergency authorization for the treatment, citing lingering concerns over its effectiveness. So on Wednesday, Aug. 19, Mr. Trump called Dr. Francis S. Collins, the director of the N.I.H., with a blunt message.”


Metro: Religious leader who blamed gay marriage for coronavirus now has coronavirus. “A church leader who blamed the emergence of coronavirus on same-sex marriage has now contracted the disease. Patriarch Filaret, 91, is in hospital in a stable condition after he was diagnosed with Covid 19 during routine testing.”


CNN: Parents’ biggest frustration with distance learning. “Helping your child navigate Zoom tech support can be daunting. So can balancing work and household duties with making sure your children are engaged and learning. But the single biggest challenge, many parents say, are the math topics taught through Common Core — a standardized teaching method rolled out in 2010.”

WRAL: ECU hits 1,000 COVID cases among students. “At least 1,000 East Carolina University students have tested positive for the coronavirus since fall classes began on Aug. 10, according to the college’s COVID-19 case count. ECU’s COVID-19 dashboard updated Tuesday afternoon shows 1,084 students tested positive for the virus between Aug. 9 and Sept. 5, thus making ECU the first college in the state to eclipse 1,000 cases since classes started again.”


New York Times: It’s Not Easy to Get a Coronavirus Test for a Child. “When Audrey Blute’s almost 2-year-old son, George, had a runny nose in July, she wanted to do what she felt was responsible: get him tested for coronavirus. It wasn’t easy.”

NPR: Eating Disorders Thrive In Anxious Times, And Pose A Lethal Threat. “Eating disorders are thriving during the pandemic. Hotline calls to the National Eating Disorders Association are up 70-80% in recent months. For many, eating is a form of control — a coping mechanism tied to stress. Food scarcity and stockpiling behavior can trigger anxieties about eating, or overeating among some.”

WSFA: New COVID-19 cases reduced by half following Ala. mask mandate. “oaring COVID-19 numbers are no longer a daily reality for Alabama. There were 633 new cases reported Monday, which is less than half the daily total one month ago. The current seven-day average is half that of the week of July 15 when Gov. Kay Ivey and Alabama public health officer Dr. Scott Harris announced the state’s mask mandate. They credit the public health order for the downward trend in new cases over the last eight weeks.”


Big thanks to John S. for tipping me this one. National Geographic: Face-mask recognition has arrived—for better or worse. “So far, masks have been confounding traditional facial recognition software—but these new machine learning tools could conceivably be used in private or public spaces to measure compliance and ostensibly take that out of the hands of individuals.”

New York Times: Social Media Shaming Your College. “College students are using TikTok, Twitter and other apps to embarrass their universities when they fail to care for people who have been isolated in special Covid-19 dorms or are in quarantine units because of a possible exposure.”


STAT News: AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine study put on hold due to suspected adverse reaction in participant in the U.K.. “A large, Phase 3 study testing a Covid-19 vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford at dozens of sites across the U.S. has been put on hold due to a suspected serious adverse reaction in a participant in the United Kingdom.” Apparently the issue has been addressed and the trial will resume shortly.

Arab News: Database gathers 2,000 items of virus-related info for Saudi researchers. “The library of data includes study documents, print and online news articles, videos, and other relevant content from sources around the world. The comprehensive COVID-19 database has been compiled by the Center for Research and Knowledge Networking in Riyadh and covers a range of medical, economic, and social fields linked to the global virus outbreak.”


Vice: Queen’s Guards Jailed After Partying and Testing Positive for Cocaine. “Thirteen of the Queen’s Royal Guards have been jailed after attending a party near Windsor Castle, in breach of coronavirus rules. The soldiers were sentenced to between 14 and 28 days following a Military Summary hearing at their barracks near Windsor at the end of last week, reports the Mirror. Sources say the men are being jailed for drinking with civilians while not socially distancing, potentially putting the rest of their battalion at risk of infection.”

Department of Justice: Local man charged with making threat during university Zoom lecture. “Federal authorities took him into custody late Friday, Sept. 4, upon the filing of a criminal complaint. According to those charges, Al Bayati identified himself as Abu Qital al Jihadi al Mansur and joined a UH student lecture via Zoom on Sept. 2. Shortly thereafter, he allegedly interrupted and said ‘what does any of this have to do with the fact that UH is about to get bombed in a few days?'”

Washington Post: A Black seventh-grader played with a toy gun during a virtual class. His school called the police.. “Dani Elliott was at work last month in Colorado Springs when her 12-year-old son’s vice principal called with alarming news: A police officer was on the way to her house — all because her son had played with a toy gun during his virtual art class. Elliott says she was terrified, especially considering her son is Black.”


The Daily Beast: The Young Should Get COVID-19 Vaccine Before the Old & Sick. “We are faculty at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Southern California who have spent decades studying health economics and epidemiology. One of us is a member of the National Academy of Medicine. Having seen firsthand the real risks of rapid, asymptomatic spread of COVID-19 among younger adults, we disagree with some of the recommendations. Asymptomatic spread is shutting down schools and universities nationwide and threatening surrounding communities. We argue that this pandemic requires a different model for making vaccination choices.”


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.”

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