coronabuzz

Tuesday CoronaBuzz, September 15, 2020: 32 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 – STATE-SPECIFIC

UpNorthLive: Michigan families can check for school COVID-19 outbreaks with state’s new site. “The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is now posting information about COVID-19 outbreaks in schools with a new website. The report includes K-12 schools, colleges and universities. On the website, you can see the school name, address, number of cases, and if the cases involved staff, students, or both.”

KUTV: Utah launches new website with coronavirus scoreboard. “The state of Utah now has a new website with a coronavirus scoreboard. It shows passing scores for the two key metrics, case fatality ratio and unemployment rate. Other metrics being tracked include 7-day rolling average of cases per day, ICU utilization and outbreak containment.”

University of Texas at Austin: New Dashboards Launched to Track COVID-19 Across Texas Communities. “The University of Texas at Austin’s COVID-19 Modeling Consortium has launched a new online dashboard to track the spread and impact of the virus, including in hospitals across Texas, with detailed information for 22 areas.”

UPDATES

Politico: Democrats launch probe into Trump officials’ Covid-report tampering. “House Democrats are launching an investigation into how Trump appointees have pressured officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to change or delay scientific reports on coronavirus, citing POLITICO reporting that found political interference in the publishing process.”

SOCIETAL IMPACT

AP: A family struggle as pandemic worsens food insecurity. “At the peak of the coronavirus pandemic this spring, Sharawn Vinson often woke up crying. A recurring thought was making the unemployed single mother desperate: That her kids could go hungry. There was also fear of contracting the virus, which has disproportionately hit low-income Black families like hers. Meanwhile some of the largest protests against racial injustice in decades were transpiring right outside their window, after the family had experienced its own terrifying encounter with police earlier in the year. There were unpaid bills, and feelings of shame from having to go to a soup kitchen in search of a meal.”

Financial Advisor: Eviction Filings By Big Landlords Surged After Trump Issued Ban. “Big landlords increased the number of eviction cases they filed after President Donald Trump announced his recent moratorium, signaling the struggle tenants face getting protection from the federal order. Institutional landlords filed more than 900 eviction cases across eight metropolitan areas from Sept. 2 to Sept. 8, according to data compiled by Private Equity Stakeholder Project, an activist group partly funded by organized labor. Landlords filed 165 cases in the same markets during the week of Aug. 3.”

ACTIVISM / PROTESTS

Washington Post: U.S. Open champion Naomi Osaka let her masks do the talking. In the end, she wanted to know what we heard. “The newly minted 2020 U.S. Open champion Naomi Osaka wore seven different masks for her seven matches this year in New York, each sporting the name of a victim of violence. Osaka, who was born to a Japanese mother and Haitian father, has fielded questions for two weeks about what she hopes to achieve by wearing names including Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and Tamir Rice in her televised on-court interviews. Almost every time, she answers that she simply wants to bring awareness about racial and social injustice in the United States and overseas.”

BUSINESS / CORPORATIONS

Washington Post: More than 200 meat plant workers in the U.S. have died of covid-19. Federal regulators just issued two modest fines.. “Federal regulators knew about serious safety problems in dozens of the nation’s meat plants that became deadly coronavirus hot spots this spring but took six months to take action, recently citing two plants and finally requiring changes to protect workers. The financial penalties for a Smithfield Foods plant in South Dakota and a JBS plant in Colorado issued last week total about $29,000 — an amount critics said was so small that it would fail to serve as an incentive for the nation’s meatpackers to take social distancing and other measures to protect their employees.”

San Francisco Chronicle: ‘Extinction event for restaurants’ anticipated as federal loan money runs out. “Pim Techamuanvivit is trying to make the math work when it comes to using her PPP loan to keep her San Francisco restaurant Nari open, but it’s a struggle, and she feels time is running out. Techamuanvivit spent roughly 70% of her PPP fundingwithin a few weeks of receiving it this summer. It helped her make ends meet for a brief time, and ensured that dozens of her employees retained health insurance. But now more bills are on the horizon, no new revenue is coming in, and there is no clear timeline for when operations at Nari can return to normal.”

GOVERNMENT

ProPublica: Emails Show the Meatpacking Industry Drafted an Executive Order to Keep Plants Open. “Hundreds of emails offer a rare look at the meat industry’s influence and access to the highest levels of government. The draft was submitted a week before Trump’s executive order, which bore striking similarities.”

NBC News: About 8,800 unaccompanied children expelled at U.S. border under coronavirus-related measure. “About 8,800 unaccompanied children have been quickly expelled from the United States along the Mexico border under a pandemic-related measure that effectively ended asylum, authorities said Friday.”

Los Angeles Times: Food box deliveries to needy California seniors cut off because of USDA cheese rule. “Tens of thousands of low-income California seniors stopped receiving home deliveries of free food just as COVID-19 cases and deaths in the state were peaking, thanks to a century-old federal policy to include surplus cheese in government aid packages.”

EDUCATION

CNN: Multiple Michigan State University sororities and fraternities ordered to quarantine for 2 weeks after coronavirus spike is tied to students. “Local health officials have ordered a number of Michigan State University fraternities and sororities to quarantine for two weeks following hundreds of reported cases in the area. In an emergency order issued on Monday, Ingham County Health Department listed 30 addresses in East Lansing, Michigan, that will be required to quarantine from Monday until September 28.”

WGBH: ‘We Were Lied To’: Students Criticize Boston College Over Lack Of Transparency Around COVID-19. “Amid an outbreak of COVID-19 cases on the Boston College campus, students, teachers and local elected officials are calling for more transparency from the university. Boston College is reporting that 67 undergraduates tested positive for COVID-19 last week, bringing the total number of positive cases to 104 since students returned to campus in August. According to school data, 82 undergraduates are currently in isolation housing, and 22 students have recovered from the virus.”

WRAL: Fraternity parties concern members of UNC, Chapel Hill communities. “Photographs surfaced on Saturday night of a party outside three fraternity houses on Cameron Avenue in Chapel Hill. According to witnesses, the party was in violation of Orange County’s maximum gathering size of 25 people in outdoor settings. Some members of the community are concerned about the potential consequences for activities like these.”

HEALTH

CNN: Even children with no symptoms can spread Covid-19, CDC report shows. “Even children with mild or no symptoms can spread Covid-19, according to contact tracing data from three Utah child care facilities released Friday. Twelve children, including one eight-month-old, got Covid-19 in a child care facility and spread it to at least 12 people outside the facilities. The data shows children can carry the virus from child care settings to their homes, the researchers wrote in a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

Washington Post: Medicaid rolls swell amid the pandemic’s historic job losses, straining state budgets. “The unlikely portrait of Medicaid in the time of coronavirus looks like Jonathan Chapin, living with his wife and 11-year-old daughter in a gated community in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Chapin had a thriving Reno, Nev., production company, We Ain’t Saints, booking bands, managing weddings, hosting 600-strong karaoke nights at the Tahoe Biltmore Lodge & Casino. When the novel coronavirus came, forcing northern Nevada’s entertainment industry to go dark, he said, ‘everything I knew all disappeared’.”

AJC: The dos and don’ts of wearing a mask while dining out. “Restaurants in metro Atlanta and throughout Georgia are reopening their dining rooms, and many people are venturing back in. Even with tables spaced 6 feet apart, you need to take precautions to limit your exposure to the coronavirus. One of those is wearing your face mask. But how do you do that and still eat?”

UChicago Medicine: Vitamin D deficiency may raise risk of getting COVID-19. “The research team looked at 489 UChicago Medicine patients whose vitamin D level was measured within a year before being tested for COVID-19. Patients who had vitamin D deficiency (< 20ng/ml) that was not treated were almost twice as likely to test positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus compared to patients who had sufficient levels of the vitamin."

ProPublica: New Research Shows Disproportionate Rate of Coronavirus Deaths in Polluted Areas. “The industrial plants in the riverside Louisiana city of Port Allen have worried Diana LeBlanc since her children were young. In 1978, an explosion at the nearby Placid oil refinery forced her family to evacuate. ‘We had to leave in the middle of the night with two babies,’ said LeBlanc, now 70. ‘I always had to be on the alert.’ LeBlanc worried an industrial accident would endanger her family. But she now thinks the threat was more insidious. LeBlanc, who has asthma, believes the symptoms she experienced while sick with the coronavirus were made worse by decades of breathing in toxic air pollution.”

OUTBREAKS

BBC: Coronavirus: Marseille’s Covid-19 hospital beds ‘close to saturation’. “The use of hospital beds by Covid-19 patients in the French city of Marseille is ‘close to saturation’ amid a sharp spike in infections. Surgeries are being reduced to cope with an incidence rate that has risen to 312 per 100,000 since September. New limits on gatherings are being introduced around Marseille and in the south-western city of Bordeaux.”

RESEARCH

STAT News: AstraZeneca resumes Covid-19 vaccine trials in the U.K.. “A large, United Kingdom-based Phase 2/3 study testing a Covid-19 vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca has been restarted, according to a statement from the company. News that the trial is resuming comes four days after the disclosure that it had been paused because of a suspected serious adverse reaction in a participant.”

CRIME / SECURITY / LEGAL

Jakarta Post: Gresik residents made to dig graves as punishment for not wearing face masks. “Eight people in Gresik regency, East Java, were ordered by local authorities to dig graves for those who have died of COVID-19 as punishment for not wearing face masks in public. Cerme district head, Suyono, said that he punished residents who did not wear face masks by making them dig graves at a public cemetery in Ngabetan village.”

CNN: Trump indoor rally site fined $3,000 for violating state coronavirus guidelines. “The Nevada company that hosted an indoor campaign rally for President Donald Trump attended by thousands of people will face a fine of $3,000 for violating state coronavirus guidelines banning large gatherings.”

Reuters: Judge rules Pennsylvania governor’s COVID-19 restrictions unconstitutional. “A U.S. federal judge on Monday ruled as unconstitutional some of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s orders to control the coronavirus outbreak, including limits on crowd sizes, requirements that people stay home, and the closing of non-essential businesses.”

The Guardian: Oregon fires: evacuated prisoners sleep on floor in packed Covid-19 hotspot. “Unprecedented wildfires and rushed evacuations in Oregon have wreaked havoc on the state’s incarcerated population, with thousands now packed into a single overcrowded prison that was already a major Covid-19 hotspot.”

US Department of Justice: NFL Player Charged for Role in $24 Million COVID-Relief Fraud Scheme. “A National Football League (NFL) player has been charged for his 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.”

OPINION

Washington Post: It’s time to focus on potential long-term organ damage from covid-19. “New cases of covid-19 are declining across the country, so it’s tempting to wonder whether the worst of the pandemic is behind us. Not by a long shot. Even as cases decline, it is possible we could soon be grappling with the burden of prolonged or permanent organ damage among the millions of people who have survived covid-19. There’s still a lot we don’t know about the long-term effects of this disease, but they could cripple not just these ‘survivors’ but also our health-care system and our economy, too.”

POLITICS

Politico: ‘Keep back!’: How the Biden campaign obsesses over Covid. “With more than 6 million people infected and nearly 200,000 dead from the coronavirus, the former vice president is taking no chances with his safety. He operates in a sanitizer-saturated bubble within the traditional presidential campaign bubble, an environment designed and obsessively cultivated by staff in an attempt to protect him from a possible encounter with the virus.”

CBS: Trump held six indoor rallies after acknowledging the coronavirus was airborne. “Even after privately acknowledging that COVID-19 was a virus transmitted through the air in early February, President Trump participated in several campaign rallies in indoor venues before states began to shut down in early March to mitigate the spread of the virus, according to revelations from journalist Bob Woodward’s upcoming book.”

AP: In defiance of Nevada governor, Trump holds indoor rally. “Eager to project a sense of normalcy in imagery, Trump soaked up the raucous cheers inside a warehouse. Relatively few in the crowd wore masks, with one clear exception: Those in the stands directly behind Trump, whose images would end up on TV, were mandated to wear face coverings.”

New York Times: Trump Defends Indoor Rally, but Aides Express Concern. “President Trump and his campaign are defending his right to rally indoors, despite the private unease of aides who called it a game of political Russian roulette and growing concern that such gatherings could prolong the coronavirus pandemic.”

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