Friday CoronaBuzz, September 19, 2020: 27 pointers to new resources, useful stuff, research news, and more.

Tweaked a couple of categories. Please wear a mask. Wash your hands. Stay at home if you can. Please be careful. I love you.


KAGS: TEA offers free beginning-of-year assessments. “The Texas Education Agency is offering a new tool for parents and districts concerned about how much their kids retained last school year. With COVID-19 interrupting the 2019-2020 school year, They are offering beginning of year assessments for districts and parents. Kids can be registered for a free, optional online test to measure their knowledge and skills from last school year.”


Detroit Free Press: Michigan baby whose death was tied to COVID-19 had other serious health troubles. “A 2-month-old boy — who Michigan’s top health official announced had died this week from COVID-19 — had serious health conditions beyond the virus. The child, Hudson Cowboy King, was born in July with gastroschisis, a birth defect in which a baby’s intestines develop outside the body. That condition was listed as the cause of his death Sunday, according to the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office.”

Los Angeles Times: Californians are testing positive for COVID-19 at the lowest rate on record. “Over the last seven days, just 3.5% of COVID-19 tests in California came back positive, the lowest rate since the state began reporting the data in late March. A month ago, the positive test rate was nearly twice as high. The number of new confirmed cases has fallen to the lowest level since mid-June, according to a Times analysis of state data. Hospitalizations for COVID-19 have fallen to the lowest levels since the start of April, with 2,869 patients in hospital beds Saturday.”

BBC: Coronavirus in South Africa: Relief, pride and the ‘new normal’. “South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa looked appropriately dour, and sounded appropriately cautious, as he appeared on national television this week to warn of the dangers of a second wave of infections and to urge the public against relaxing their guard against the virus. And yet the president’s key message was a simple, optimistic and impressive truth.”


NBC News: Letter targets minorities on Long Island with coronavirus vaccine misinformation, state senator says. “A New York state senator issued a warning to residents of suburban Nassau County about a letter that falsely claims the government is looking for ‘minorities to experiment on’ with the coronavirus vaccines. The letter was taped to the doors of dozens of homes on the North Shore of Long Island on Saturday, state Sen. Anna Kaplan said in a press release that included a redacted copy of the full letter.”


BuzzFeed News: Parents Who Double As Essential Workers Are Struggling More Than Ever. Here Are Their Stories.. “Essential workers have found it hard to collect unemployment benefits if they stop working to care for their families. Those who can afford professional childcare, and are willing to deal with the risks, have found it difficult to find open spots. Around the country, thousands of childcare centers have closed as work-from-home parents withdrew their children, unintentionally impacting parents unable to keep their children home. Enrollment at childcare programs is down by an average of 67% nationwide and only 18% of programs expect that they will survive longer than a year, according to a June survey by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.”

BBC: Global perception of US falls to two-decade low . “America’s reputation among some allies has fallen to its lowest point in nearly two decades, according to a global survey. The findings of the Pew Research Center poll reflect public perceptions of the US in 13 countries. Positive views of the US has fallen to a median of 34% across the countries surveyed, and only 16% confidence in President Trump.”

Horizon: Post-coronavirus, how can we achieve food justice?. “The coronavirus pandemic disrupted the global food system and emphasised its structural inequity – from unequal food distribution to workers in the system going hungry. Experts are calling for a reimagining of the way we produce and distribute food so that everyone can access quality food. Despite producing more food by volume than humanity has to date, millions of people remain food insecure. Agriculture is also a major contributor to environmental degradation and climate change.”

New York Times: Stop Expecting Life to Go Back to Normal Next Year. “Many Americans are resistant to this possibility. They’re hoping to restart postponed sports seasons, attend schools more easily, enjoy rescheduled vacations and participate in delayed parties and gatherings. It is completely understandable that many are tiring of restrictions due to Covid-19. Unfortunately, their resolve is weakening right when we need it to harden. This could cost us dearly.”


New York Times: Struggling Hotel Owners, Some With Trump Ties, Seek Federal Bailout. “The precarious financial position that some friends of Mr. Trump and other hotel executives are now in has fueled an intense lobbying campaign aimed at persuading the Trump administration, the Federal Reserve and Congress to rescue hundreds of hotel industry players that relied on riskier Wall Street debt to finance their lodging empires before the virus hit.”

CBS News: JPMorgan Chase workers sent home after employees test positive for coronavirus. “JPMorgan Chase has sent a number of securities traders in New York City back home after some employees tested positive for the coronavirus, a setback for the banking giant as it moves to start bringing workers back to physical offices.”

Bloomberg Law: Bankrupt Chuck E. Cheese Parent Wants to Shred 7 Billion Tickets. “Chuck E. Cheese’s parent company asked a bankruptcy court to approve settlements to destroy 7 billion paper Prize Tickets that have built up in the company’s supply chain as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. CEC Entertainment Inc.’s vendors now hold ‘enough tickets to fill approximately 65 forty-foot cargo shipping containers,’ according to CEC’s emergency motion filed Monday with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas.”

Slate: Hot Spots. “Outdoor drinking and dining is currently the safest way for establishments to host guests during the pandemic. Accordingly, demand for heat lamps has risen sharply, even in the warm summer months. While July is typically the slowest month for the heat-lamp industry—yes, there’s an industry—this year it rivaled even the traditionally busiest months of the year, according to Alfresco Heating owner Eric Kahn, whose company is based in Novato, California. Some restaurants are purchasing heaters for the first time, suggesting that the new landscape of dining on sidewalks, streets, parking lots, and wherever else you can fit a table and a few feet of distance will be with us for a good while.”


NPR: To Limit COVID-19, Navajo Leader Says: ‘Listen To Your Public Health Professionals’. “Earlier this year, the Navajo Nation Reservation was a major hot spot for coronavirus cases. Now, it’s seen a day without a single positive case. It’s a turning point in its battle against the virus. Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez attributes that to Navajo leaders and citizens heeding the advice of public health officials.”

Associated Press: 2 dead of virus at US prison where executions are scheduled. “Two inmates have died in as many days from coronavirus at the federal prison complex where the U.S. government plans to carry out two executions next week. The virus deaths are likely to raise alarm with advocates and lawyers for the condemned men over the spread of coronavirus at the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute, Indiana. As of Tuesday, more than 40 inmates had confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to the agency’s statistics.”


CNN: At least 2 college football games scheduled for this weekend postponed because of Covid-19. “The Baylor Bears and Houston Cougars will not be playing college football on Saturday due to Covid-19 concerns on Baylor’s team. The postponement comes after Baylor was unable to meet the Big 12 conference Covid-19 game cancellation thresholds. The teams have agreed to honor their planned “home and home” games and will look for future scheduling opportunities.”

ESPN: LSU coach Ed Orgeron: ‘Most’ of team has contracted coronavirus. “LSU football coach Ed Orgeron said Tuesday that most of his team has contracted COVID-19. ‘Not all of our players, but most of our players have caught it,’ Orgeron told reporters. ‘I think that hopefully they won’t catch it again, and hopefully they’re not out for games.'”

CBS News: Grieving parents share warning as more colleges mull football season: “We took the risk”. “Two of college football’s biggest conferences, the Pac-12 and the Big 10, are now rethinking their plans to suspend the season over coronavirus concerns as more and more students return to school. However some people, like the parents of 20-year-old Jamain Stephens, are worried the schools are rushing towards potentially devastating risks.”


Reno Gazette-Journal: COVID-19 cases continue to climb at UNR with more than 100 cases since semester started. “The numbers of students and employees with COVID-19 at the University of Nevada, Reno climbed to more than 100 since the start of the fall semester on Aug. 24. In just the last five days, UNR has reported 44 new cases as of Sunday.”

Tucson .com: Pima County, UA tells students to shelter in place as campus virus outbreaks rise. “Pima County, in collaboration with the University of Arizona, will recommend a 14-day shelter in place for all students living on or near campus to help reduce community spread of coronavirus. The recommendation comes as COVID-19 cases continue to rise among UA students, who returned for the start of the semester last month. As of Friday, the university has administered nearly 25,000 tests and has recorded 1,148 positive cases among students, faculty and staff.”


NBC: Poll: Majority of adults don’t trust Trump’s comments on Covid-19 vaccine. “A majority of American adults don’t trust what President Donald Trump has said about a coronavirus vaccine, according to new data from the NBC News|SurveyMonkey Weekly Tracking poll, as the share of people who say they would get a government-approved vaccine has decreased.”

Associated Press: Experts worry as US virus restrictions are eased or violated. “State and local officials around the U.S. are rolling back social-distancing rules again after an abortive effort over the summer, allowing bars, restaurants and gyms to open. Fans are gathering mask-free at football games. President Donald Trump is holding crowded indoor rallies. While some Americans may see such things as a welcome step closer to normal, public health experts warn the U.S. is setting itself up for failure — again.”


Washington Post: Maine wedding ‘superspreader’ event is now linked to seven deaths. None of those people attended.. “Only about 65 close family members and friends were on the guest list for a bride and groom’s rustic wedding celebration in a small Maine town in early August. But the nuptials began an outbreak now traced to more than 175 reported novel coronavirus infections and also to the deaths of seven people, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday.”

BBC: Covid: PM considering new restrictions amid second coronavirus wave. “Boris Johnson is spending the weekend considering whether to tighten Covid-19 measures in England, after saying the UK was ‘now seeing a second wave’. The government is understood to be looking at a ban on households mixing, and reducing opening hours for pubs.”


Georgia Tech: Google Funds Study of How Vulnerable Populations Seek Pandemic Info. “Georgia Tech will receive $155,000 from Google’s Covid-19 AI for Social Good program to investigate patterns and impact of pandemic information-seeking amongst vulnerable populations, such as older adults, low-income households, and Black and Hispanic adults. These populations have experienced disproportionately high rates of Covid-19-related death, severe sickness, and life disruptions like job loss.”


Horizon: ‘So far, so good’: The view from inside a coronavirus vaccine trial. “Dr Lidia Oostvogels is feeling the pressure. After nearly two decades of working in vaccine development, seeing the subject of her work – coronavirus – in the news every single day is a first for her ‘It’s very exciting and very motivational, but there is a lot of pressure,’ she said. Dr Oostvogels is steering the human trials of a coronavirus vaccine for German biopharmaceutical firm CureVac, where she is head of their infectious diseases programme and leads its development of vaccines and therapies.”


Bloomberg: Biden Team Crafts Vaccine Plan With Eye on Politics of Trump Bid. “Joe Biden’s advisers are developing plans to distribute a coronavirus vaccine if he were to win the election as the Democratic nominee’s campaign monitors the Trump administration’s effort to deliver a drug for signs of political interference, according to two Biden advisers.”

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