Monday CoronaBuzz, September 21, 2020: 47 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.


Mayo Clinic: Mayo Clinic’s COVID-19 tracking tool provides latest local data, expert guidance. “‘U.S. Coronavirus Map: What Do the Trends Mean for You?’ is an interactive map on Mayo Clinic’s COVID-19 online resource center. This map presents key data and trends in an easy-to-use format. Data include the total number of cases by county and state, new cases per day, positive test rate and fatality rate, presented with trends over time and Mayo Clinic guidance on how to take action.”

Harvard Medical School: Outbreak Detection. “The COVID-19 Outbreak Detection Tool, updated two to three times per week, predicts how fast an outbreak is spreading within a given county by estimating the doubling time of COVID-19 cases. To make these predictions, the tool accounts for reported COVID-19 cases and deaths, face mask mandates, social distancing policies, changes in tests performed, rates of positive tests and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Social Vulnerability Index, which assesses the health-related resilience of individual communities when confronted with external stresses, such as natural or human-caused disasters or disease outbreaks.”


Montreal Gazette: Dad sets up website to track number of COVID cases in Quebec schools. “Olivier Drouin, like so many other Quebec parents, is worried about his kids going back to school in these COVID times. Unlike most, though, Drouin is doing something about it. The Nuns’ Island father of two girls, 13 and 15, has created a website… that compiles data tracking the number of COVID-19 cases in schools to help parents make informed decisions.”


PRWeb: California Public Media Education Service Integrates Educational Resources from Multiple California Public Media Stations in One Place for Teachers (PRESS RELEASE). “The California Public Media Education Service puts the educational resources from multiple California public media stations all in one place for teachers to easily browse and use, regardless of which region they might live in. The Service is hosted on the PBS LearningMedia platform and features resources for all educators serving children from 2 years old through 12th grade. Resources include professional development courses and webinars as well as classroom media and lesson plans for use with students. The Service also includes a digital collection that teachers can share with their students’ families. Additionally, stations are broadcasting educational content regionally to help create a bridge to learning for those without reliable internet access at home.”

WCPO: DeWine unveils first school-based COVID-19 database. “Gov. Mike DeWine on Thursday unveiled the Ohio Department of Health’s first round of COVID-19 data showing how many cases are tied to each of the state’s individual school districts. The new case-tracking system, which anyone can access online, relies on schools’ self-reporting. Not every school had submitted numbers by the time DeWine premiered it to the public.”

Newsradio KYW: Delaware launches app that alerts you if you were exposed to COVID-19. “So how does it work? For those who tested positive for the coronavirus, and the Delaware Division of Public Health confirmed the diagnosis, it will send you a six-digit code to enter in the app, if you chose to use it. Anybody 18 and older can download it and participate.”

KSL TV: Interactive Map Shows SARS-CoV-2 Levels In Utah Wastewater Treatment Facilities. “The Utah Department of Environmental Quality is offering a new tool to help track the coronavirus in the state. The DEQ’s interactive map shows the areas where SARS-CoV-2 has been detected in Utah’s wastewater. It allows users to see the recent trends on a scale ranging from ‘not detected’ to ‘present, no trend,’ to ‘decreasing’ to ‘increasing.'”


Ivy Plus Libraries Confederation: IPLC Launches the Collective Architecture and Design Response to Covid-19 Web Archive. “… the Archive documents how the architecture and design communities have responded to the Covid-19 pandemic. For the purposes of the Archive, the design and architecture communities are defined as practitioners and organizations who play a role in shaping public space and the built environment, including: architects, landscape architects, urban planners, and artists. Materials included come from a wide variety of sites, such as national organizations, professional and personal blogs, interviews, design firms, and cultural heritage institutions.”


ZDNet: From burnout to breakthrough: How to make working from anywhere work for you. “Working from home requires a deliberate design around your schedule — those boundaries are essential to your long-term success. Many rituals and routines change when your home becomes your workplace. When your commute changes from 60 minutes to six steps, it’s easy to fall out of a standard routine. But business is a process: Working from home is a process as well.”


NBC News: Trump blasted for ‘fighting science, not the virus’ as U.S. nears melancholic milestone: 200,000 Covid deaths. “How many lives have been lost to the coronavirus in the United States? Roughly the same as the number of people who live in Akron, Ohio, or Tempe, Arizona, or Tallahassee, Florida. The total number of Covid-19 fatalities in the U.S. was a world-leading 198,886 as of Friday, according to the latest NBC News figures. The country also leads the world with 6.7 million confirmed coronavirus cases.”


New York Times: The Flight Goes Nowhere. And It’s Sold Out.. “At a time when most people are stuck at home and unable to travel, and the global airline industry has been decimated by the pandemic, flights that take off and return to the airport a few hours later allow airlines to keep staff working. The practice also satisfies that itch to travel — even if it’s just being on a plane again. Although most people may think of flying as a means to an end, existing solely to get them from one place to the next, some say that it is an exciting part of the travel experience. For those people, flights to nowhere are the salve for a year in which just about all travel has been canceled and people have been fearful of airlines not enforcing social distancing and mask-wearing rules.”

CNN: People are ditching in-person financial services for apps. “As with so many areas of life, the pandemic has changed how people are managing their money — they’re using technology more than ever. It’s not just online banking applications. These days, people are relying on tech for everything from investing to financial planning.”

Talking Points Memo: NYC: COVID-19 Caused ‘Largest Mass Fatality Incident In Modern NYC History’. “The spread of COVID-19 in New York City caused the ‘largest mass fatality incident’ in the city’s modern history, according to the city’s medical examiner. In a report released by the city, the Office of New York City’s Chief Medical Examiner released statistics showing that deaths in the five boroughs more than doubled in 2020 compared to the amount that occurred in 2019.”

TIME: ‘Cancel Rent’ Has Become a Rallying Cry for Cash-Strapped Americans. Here’s Why It Hasn’t Yet Worked in The U.S. City That Championed It. ” Though throngs of renters from Philadelphia to the Bay Area have abstained from paying rent on an individual basis, culminating in what is probably the largest rent strike in U.S. history, cities and states have so far refused to make the practice legal. Ithaca’s attempt to do so—and its failure to actually implement it so far—illustrates the limited capability municipalities have in responding to economic crises: While the federal government can take on substantial debts to facilitate significant emergency relief efforts, cities and most states are required to maintain balanced budgets.”

Gothamist: New Yorkers Desperate To See Loved Ones In Nursing Homes Say Visitation Rules Do More Harm Than Good. “Sandra Monahan has not seen her 93-year-old mother in person since the beginning of March. While other New Yorkers have been reuniting with family in the months after the end of the statewide COVID-19 lockdown, Monahan has not been so lucky. Her mother, who she visited every day before the pandemic, is isolated in a nursing home in a Rochester suburb. Once upbeat and highly alert, she is now losing weight and experiencing depression.”

Boston Globe: Will we ever wear real clothes again?. “Obsessing over pandemic fashion is a luxury some don’t have. Many workers have been forced to show up at their jobs since COVID-19 hit even when it didn’t feel safe. Others have lost their jobs. But with major Boston-area employers extending work-from-home policies until 2021 or beyond, and events and concerts and eating inside at restaurants and other fun activities either canceled, postponed, or greatly scaled back, the question has to be asked: Will we ever wear real clothes again?”

New York Times: Housekeepers Face a Disaster Generations in the Making. “The pandemic has had devastating consequences for a wide variety of occupations, but housekeepers have been among the hardest hit. Seventy-two percent of them reported that they had lost all of their clients by the first week of April, according to a survey by the National Domestic Workers Alliance. The fortunate had employers who continued to pay them. The unlucky called or texted their employers and heard nothing back. They weren’t laid off so much as ghosted, en masse.”


BBC: Covid-19: Hundreds protest against localised Madrid lockdowns. “Hundreds of residents in some poorer areas of the Spanish capital Madrid have protested against what they call discrimination ahead of new lockdown measures to stem a rise in Covid-19. The curbs on movement and gatherings start on Monday and affect 850,000 people, many in areas of lower income and with higher immigrant populations.”


American Alliance of Museums: Children’s Museology and the COVID-19 Crisis. “This forced quantum leap into virtual visitorship intersects powerfully with young people’s preferred technologies, enabling them to participate more prolifically and publicly in museum programming than ever before. As a result, I argue, a new critical children’s museology is emerging at the forefront of virtual museological practice. As I define it, children’s museology refers to the production of museum content and programming not just for or about children, but also by and with children in ways that engage them as valued social actors and knowledge-bearers.”

The Ithacan: Ithaca museums curate reopening plans during pandemic. “Across the country, museums have lost at least $33 million a day because of COVID-19–related closures, according to the American Alliance of Museums. One study conducted by the Network of European Museum Organisations showed data that 30% of the European museums in the study lost up to 1,000 euros per week while 25% of the museums lost up to 5,000 euros a week. In June, New York state released guidelines allowing museums in Phase Four regions to reopen with a limited maximum capacity and enhanced sanitation measures. Now, with adjusted weekly hours and different exhibition schedules, museums have begun opening to the public again.”

Bloomberg: India’s Hindu Temples Use ‘God’s Gold’ to Pay Pandemic Bills. “Hindu temples hold as much as 4,000 tons of the precious metal, according to the World Gold Council, a stockpile as big as Fort Knox’s and administered by trusts empowered by Indian law to act on behalf of the deity. The Travancore Devaswom Board, a prominent temple association in the southern state of Kerala, has for the first time decided to deposit some of its treasures with banks—which pay interest on gold deposits of varying terms—to raise funds and pay salaries, according to the board’s president, N. Vasu.”


Washington Post: Trump’s businesses charged Secret Service more than $1.1 million, including for rooms in club shuttered for pandemic. “President Trump’s luxury properties have charged the U.S. government more than $1.1 million in private transactions since Trump took office — including for room rentals at his Bedminster, N.J., club this spring while it was closed for the coronavirus pandemic, new documents show. The documents, including receipts and invoices from Trump’s businesses, were released by the Secret Service after The Washington Post filed a public-records lawsuit. They added $188,000 in previously unknown charges to The Post’s running total of payments to Trump’s properties related to the presence of Secret Service agents.”

News & Observer: With few visitors and some windows still boarded up, downtown Raleigh businesses struggle. “According to a survey of over 200 small business owners conducted by Shop Local Raleigh, a nonprofit that promotes local independent businesses, less than a third of small business owners believe their business will survive the pandemic. More than half replied that they’re not sure, while over 10% responded that their business won’t make it.”

ABC News: 11 state treasurers call on Gilead to reduce remdesivir pricing. “As the U.S. approaches 200,000 coronavirus deaths, a coalition of 11 state treasurers is calling on drugmaker Gilead Sciences to reduce the price of remdesivir, its promising treatment for some patients of COVID-19.”


Colorado Hometown Weekly: Questions arise about Boulder coronavirus data. “New cases among county residents are reported by Boulder County Public Health about 4 p.m. every day. University of Colorado Boulder tracks the number of people who test positive at the campus Medical Services, county and non-county residents alike. New cases are posted in the morning, Tuesday through Saturday. But how the public health data from these two institutions line up — or don’t line up — is where things get murky, exposing inconsistencies and hiccups with how public agencies are reporting data during the pandemic.”

Baltimore Sun: Maryland lab stops use of much-touted coronavirus tests from South Korea after spate of false positive results. “Hundreds of thousands of coronavirus tests that Gov. Larry Hogan bought from South Korea in April to much fanfare appear to be showing reliability problems, returning a spate of false positive results to nursing homes around the state.”

Washington Post: Marylanders are still calling about stalled unemployment benefits. And no one is answering the phone.. “More than six months after the coronavirus pandemic triggered a deluge of unemployment claims in the Washington region, some jobless Marylanders are still experiencing major problems getting benefits and have endured weeks — or months — without the payments they are supposed to receive. The main frustration, they say, is they cannot get anyone to answer their calls.”


WRAL: Federal inmate in Butner dies after testing positive for COVID-19. “According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Ricky Lynn Miller, a 62-year-old inmate sentenced in the Northern District of Texas to a 210-month sentence for receipt of a visual depiction of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct, had been in custody at the federal prison in Butner since July 11, 2018.”

New York Times: Emails Detail Effort to Silence C.D.C. and Question Its Science. “On June 30, as the coronavirus was cresting toward its summer peak, Dr. Paul Alexander, a new science adviser at the Department of Health and Human Services, composed a scathing two-page critique of an interview given by an experienced scientist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Anne Schuchat, a 32-year veteran of the C.D.C. and its principal deputy director, had appealed to Americans to wear masks and warned, ‘We have way too much virus across the country.’ But Dr. Alexander, a part-time assistant professor of health research methods, appeared sure he understood the coronavirus better.”

Politico: Pentagon rewriting pandemic playbook after study faults Covid-19 response. “The Pentagon is in the early stages of rewriting its pandemic playbook after an internal review found failings in the department’s initial response to Covid-19, according to defense officials and documents viewed by POLITICO.”

NBC News: Federal firefighter units juggle COVID-19 infection on fire lines. “Wildland firefighters are sometimes considered the last defense, called in after local resources are stretched thin. Federal crews spend the fire season crisscrossing state borders as they are sent to fight the latest burning blaze. And that constant traveling, as well as the close working proximity, have offered a challenge to COVID-19 mitigation, especially as firefighting methods like holding the line can require elbow-to-elbow teamwork.”


Thousand Oaks Acorn: Volunteers break down barriers to learning from home. “Making it clear she was asking as a private individual and not as an employee of the school district, Conejo Valley Unified Assistant Superintendent Lisa Miller took to social media seeking volunteers to build frames to drape a sheet over as a way to provide families with privacy during online instruction. The recruitment effort started after Miller, who oversees programs to help marginalized and high-need students, learned from the Latino advocacy organization Adelante Conejo Communidad that some students would not join their required Zoom classes because of what the computer cameras revealed of their home environments.”

Tampa Bay Times: Crossing guards get new tool to guide kids during coronavirus: Handheld sirens. “This school year, though, [school crossing guard Ellen] Cipriani can’t identify students’ faces when they’re hidden behind the masks that Cipriani and the students are required to wear to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Nor can she blow the silver whistle she has used since she first trained as a crossing guard with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office in September 2011. So the Sheriff’s Office has handed Cipriani and the county’s 369 crossing guards a new tool to help keep kids safe heading to and from school — electronic, handheld sirens.”


Bloomberg: Starbucks Cafe’s Covid Outbreak Spared Employees Who Wore Masks. “After a woman with the coronavirus visited a Starbucks cafe north of Seoul [in August], more than two dozen patrons tested positive days later. But the four face mask-wearing employees escaped infection. The Aug. 8 outbreak in the South Korean city of Paju is another example of how rapidly the SARS-CoV-2 virus can spread in confined, indoor spaces — as well as ways to minimize transmission. With health authorities around the world still debating the evidence around face masks, the 27-person cluster linked to the air-conditioned coffee outlet adds more support for their mandatory use to help limit the spread of the Covid-19-causing virus.”

Salt Lake Tribune: Utah reports 911 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday, a new daily record. “Thursday’s tally continued an ongoing spike from this week, raising Utah’s rolling seven-day average for new cases — the metric public health officials use to gauge trends — to 661 cases per day, the highest since July 22. The average for the seven days before that was 381 per day.”

Channel 4: Care home provider under ‘pressure’ to accept hospital patients with Covid. “When the full extent of deaths from coronavirus in care homes was revealed at the height of the pandemic, the Health Secretary Matt Hancock claimed there had been a ‘protective ring’ placed around them. Tonight, amid worrying signs that coronavirus cases are spreading to care homes, this programme can reveal that hospitals are again getting ready to rapidly discharge people with the virus into them.”

ABC News (Australia): No fever? You could still have COVID-19, with most new coronavirus cases not showing this symptom. “Only about 20 per cent of new Australian coronavirus cases are presenting with signs of fever. That’s according to the latest epidemiological data from the COVID-19 National Incident Room Surveillance Team, looking at cases up until August 30.”

MedicalXpress: Study links rising stress, depression in US to pandemic-related losses, media consumption. “Experiencing multiple stressors triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic—such as unemployment—and COVID-19-related media consumption are directly linked to rising acute stress and depressive symptoms across the U.S., according to a groundbreaking University of California, Irvine study. The report appears in Science Advances.”


Associated Press: COVID-19 outbreak reported at South Dakota women’s prison. “More than 100 inmates have tested positive at a minimum-security women’s prison in Pierre, according to the Department of Corrections. Mass testing of inmates resulted in the Department of Corrections found 102 active cases at a women’s prison called the Pierre Community Work Center, according to an update released late Wednesday. There were 140 women held at the prison, according to an Aug. 31 count. Four staff members have also tested positive, with one fully recovered.”

CBS News: WHO warns of “alarming” virus spread in Europe after 54,000 cases recorded in 24 hours. “The World Health Organization on Thursday warned of ‘alarming rates of transmission’ of COVID-19 across Europe and cautioned against shortening quarantine periods as countries in the region scrambled to find ways to reduce infections without resorting to new lockdowns. The WHO’s regional director for Europe Hans Kluge said a September surge — Europe set a new record last week, with some 54,000 cases recorded in 24 hours — ‘should serve as a wake-up call for all of us.'”


Axios: Exclusive: Coronavirus lockdowns giving smart speakers a workout. “More Americans own a smart speaker than ever before and the devices are also seeing an increase in usage, according to a survey from Adobe, results of which were shared first with Axios.”


University of Utah: Analyzing COVID-19 Through Google Street View. “It sounds like a monumental task. Take the 164 million photos taken of America’s roads and neighborhoods for Google’s Street View and identify in each picture the environmental characteristics like the type of buildings, roads, and sidewalks. It is certainly impossible to do by hand, but not for a computer.”

BBC: Coronavirus: WHO sets rules for testing African herbal remedies. “The World Health Organization (WHO) has agreed rules for the testing of African herbal remedies to fight Covid-19. Sound science would be the sole basis for safe and effective traditional therapies to be adopted, it said. Any traditional remedies that are judged effective could be fast-tracked for large-scale manufacturing.”

Washington Post: China and Russia are ahead in the global coronavirus vaccine race, bending long-standing rules as they go. “China’s Sinopharm announced this week that it would provide emergency doses of one of its two trial vaccines to the United Arab Emirates, prioritizing the U.S. ally over the vast majority of Chinese. China is now the sole supplier of coronavirus vaccine to the Middle East. Meanwhile, Russia’s sovereign wealth fund signed a deal this week to supply India with 100 million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine.”


Empire Center: Empire Center Sues Cuomo Administration for Withholding Nursing Home COVID Data. “The Empire Center today filed a lawsuit against the state Department of Health (DOH) after DOH refused to release records showing the full count of coronavirus deaths among nursing home residents, including those that occurred after patients were transferred to hospitals.”


CNN: Trump won’t attend United Nations General Assembly in person. “The decision, which White House chief of staff Mark Meadows revealed to reporters Thursday evening, will keep the President at least physically distant from the annual forum in New York City where even world leaders who don’t believe in global relationships make a pilgrimage to see and be seen.
It’s unclear in what capacity the President will participate in the event virtually.”

Reno Gazette Journal: When COVID testing was scarce, CDC director pulled strings to get Adam Laxalt tested. “Dr. Robert Redfield called Nevada’s chief medical officer on a Saturday night in early March with an extraordinary request. Adam Laxalt, the former attorney general of Nevada until 2019 and booster for President Donald Trump, believed he was exposed to the coronavirus while attending the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland. But Laxalt was not showing symptoms and could not get approved for a test through a local hospital back home. On the phone call, Redfield asked the medical officer, Dr. Ihsan Azzam, to get it done, according to interviews and internal communications USA TODAY received through records requests. ”

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