Saturday CoronaBuzz, September 26, 2020: 25 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.


AP: Indiana to track COVID-19 in schools with new data dashboard. “The data dashboard will reflect the new and cumulative numbers of positive COVID-19 cases among students, teachers, and in a given school. It will be updated on a weekly basis, said Dr. Kristina Box, commissioner of the Indiana State Department of Health.”


Route Fifty: Young People Fueling a Pandemic Rise in Freelancing, Report Says. “Coronavirus has undoubtedly shifted the job landscape in America since it became widespread in March. Amid the layoffs, furloughs, and remote work forced by the pandemic, millions more people are now freelancing, according to a new report from Edelman Intelligence, a market research firm.”

BBC: Barga: How Italy’s most Scottish town coped without its annual ‘invasion’. “Thousands of Scottish Italians can trace their roots back to Barga and the surrounding area. The connection is said to go back to the turn of the 19th Century, when large numbers of people struggling to find work in Tuscany decided to emigrate. Many Scots return to the area every summer with their friends and family, swelling the size of the Tuscan town. But this year the coronavirus pandemic has forced many to put their annual pilgrimage on hold. So how has ‘the most Scottish town in Italy’ coped without them?”

Washington Post: ‘It’s just too much to handle’. “The novel coronavirus is devastating Latino communities across the country, from California’s Imperial Valley to suburban Boston and Puerto Rico. Workers at Midwestern meatpacking plants and on construction sites in Florida are getting sick and dying of a virus that is exacerbating historic inequalities in communities where residents, many of whom are ‘essential’ workers, struggle to access health care. The undocumented are largely invisible.”

Route Fifty: Momentum for Basic Income Builds as Pandemic Drags On. “‘Basic-income’ programs — designed to dole out direct cash payments to large swaths of people, no strings attached — were, until earlier this year, largely the realm of Washington, D.C., policy wonks and West Coast futurists. But amid the pandemic and a global recession, both basic income and a basket of related policies have gained unprecedented momentum, surfacing everywhere from Capitol Hill to community Zoom meetings in cities like Hudson [New York].”


Phys .org: Stockholm Nobel ceremony replaced with televised event: Foundation. “The traditional Nobel Prize ceremony in Stockholm has been cancelled for the first time since 1944 in favour of a televised event due to the coronavirus pandemic, organisers announced Tuesday. Under normal circumstances laureates are invited to Stockholm to receive their medals and diplomas from the king of Sweden in person, at a formal ceremony in December.”


New York Times: 9 of Every 10 Restaurants and Bars in N.Y.C. Can’t Pay Full Rent. “Nomad, a North African and Mediterranean restaurant in the East Village, shut down in March after the pandemic engulfed New York City, leaving its owner unable to pay the full $11,500 rent for months. After opening for outdoor dining in June, the owner, Mehenni Zebentout, has struggled to pay 70 to 80 percent of the rent. But he had to cut his staff from nine full-time employees to four part-time workers. And his landlord still wants Mr. Zebentout to pay what he owes from the spring.”

Forbes: Otis Works To Make Elevators Safe For Covid-19. “You know that elevators are problematic if only because you’re shut into a tiny room with lots of other people. Getting six feet apart is not always possible. And you have no idea who those other people are. And unfortunately, it’s impossible to make an elevator any larger than it already is. But that doesn’t mean you can’t update technology that’s over 150 years old. To do that, Otis, the largest maker of passenger elevators in the world, decided to take a look at other aspects of elevator usage to find ways to make them safer.”


Politico: ‘It’s like every red flag’: Trump-ordered HHS ad blitz raises alarms . “The health department is moving quickly on a highly unusual advertising campaign to ‘defeat despair’ about the coronavirus, a $300 million-plus effort that was shaped by a political appointee close to President Donald Trump and executed in part by close allies of the official, using taxpayer funds.”


CNN: Tommy DeVito, a founding member of The Four Seasons, dies from Covid-19 complications. “Tommy DeVito, a founding member of The Four Seasons, the band portrayed in the hit musical ‘Jersey Boys,’ has died of Covid-19 complications at 92. DeVito died in Las Vegas on Monday, according to his friend Alfredo Nittoli, who first posted the news on Facebook.”


San Francisco Chronicle: Coronavirus has minor-leaguers struggling to adapt to a summer without baseball. “Two years ago, Chris Shaw arrived in San Francisco as a broad-shouldered beacon of hope for the Giants — big and strong, with a powerful left-handed bat and a future bursting with tantalizing possibilities. Most of this virus-ravaged season, Shaw lived with his parents at their home in Lexington, Mass., a once prized prospect suddenly without organized baseball for the first time since age 10. Shaw, like other young players chasing their dreams in the Giants and A’s systems, scrambled to adapt to life as a minor-leaguer adrift in the Year of Covid.”

BBC Sport: Coronavirus: Fans may not be able to return to sporting events until at least end of March. “Fans may not to be able to return to watch live sporting events in England until the end of March at the earliest. At a meeting on Tuesday, sports governing bodies – including those from football, rugby, cricket, Formula 1 and horse racing – were told to prepare for no spectators throughout the winter. Officials from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) told the meeting, which was attended by Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, that the ban on fans will be kept under review.”


New York Times: What We Know About Coronavirus Cases in K-12 Schools So Far. “In an effort to better account for virus cases in kindergarten through 12th grade, The New York Times set out to collect data from state and local health and education agencies and through directly surveying school districts in eight states. Our goal was to understand, as well as possible, how prevalent the virus was in America’s schools over the first weeks of classes.”

Phys .org: Teaching kids to read during the coronavirus pandemic: 5 questions answered. “Keisha Allen and Kindel Nash research how kids learn to read and prepare future teachers at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. They are also raising children of their own. Here, they answer five questions many families and teachers may have about what they are seeing with virtual learning for early childhood education.”


Route Fifty: Students’ Mass Migration Back to College Gets a Failing Grade. “…the great student migration has resulted in Covid outbreaks on college campuses nationwide. The University of Central Florida: 378 cases since the week ending Aug. 8. Texas Christian University: 600 cases in August and 220 in September so far. The University of Iowa: 1,804 cases from Aug. 18 to Sept. 11. The University of South Carolina: 2,185 cases since Aug. 1.”

Student Life (Washington University in St. Louis): Social media account exposes students breaking COVID-19 guidelines. “WashU Covidiots, an anonymous student-run Instagram account, emerged Sept. 5 in response to undergraduate students breaking Washington University COVID-19 guidelines. Gaining more than 2,500 followers in less than three weeks, the account features images of students on or near campus in tightly-packed groups, sometimes not wearing masks. With coronavirus cases continuing to increase nationwide, the purpose of the Instagram account is to expose student gatherings that fail to comply with safety guidelines both on and off campus.”

The Scottish Sun: Coronavirus Scotland: Glasgow University to give students in halls month’s free rent and vouchers after outbreak. “GLASGOW University will give students in halls a month’s free rent and shopping vouchers to help them out after a campus Covid outbreak. University chiefs confirmed they would offer financial support to those impacted by the virus clusters – with free accommodation for the next month and £50 for shopping.”


BBC: Coronavirus: Two million deaths ‘very likely’ even with vaccine, WHO warns. “The global coronavirus death toll could hit two million before an effective vaccine is widely used, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned. Dr Mike Ryan, the WHO’s emergencies head, said the figure could be higher without concerted international action. Almost one million people have died with Covid-19 worldwide since the disease first emerged in China late last year.”

Jewish Telegraphic Agency: NYC health department warns of ‘significant concern’ about COVID-19 rise in largely Orthodox neighborhoods. “Six heavily Orthodox neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens are currently contributing 20% of all new COVID-19 cases in New York City, and rising cases there are cause for ‘significant concern,’ city health officials announced Tuesday. The new data comes amid signs of growing alarm in New York City’s Orthodox communities about the possible beginning of a second wave of cases, after a brutal spring and relatively quiet summer.”


CNET: Wearable shipments spike by 60 million for 2020 despite COVID-19 lockdowns, IDC says. “Wearables are primed to hit almost 400 million shipments in 2020, IDC said Friday. According to the analyst firm, the top-selling wearable category globally is now hearables like wireless headphones and earphones. The rise in wearables shipments comes despite most of the world stuck at home amid the spread of COVID-19 — around 60 million more wearables are forecast to be shipped in 2020 than were shipped in 2019.”


Duke University Press: Pandemic Politics: Timing State-Level Social Distancing Responses to COVID-19 . “The most important predictor of when states adopted social distancing policies is political: All else equal, states led by Republican governors were slower to implement such policies during a critical window of early COVID-19 response.”

Phys .org: Diagnostic tool for coronavirus makes significant step forward. “Scientists at the University of Warwick have demonstrated that a potential diagnostic tool for detecting COVID-19 using sugars will work with a virus rather than just its proteins, a significant step in making it a viable test in future.”

The Conversation: Coronavirus mutations: what we’ve learned so far. “In early January, the first genome sequence of Sars-CoV-2 – the virus that causes COVID-19 – was released under the moniker ‘Wuhan-1’. This string of 30,000 letters (the A, T, C and Gs of the genetic code) marked day one in the race to understand the genetics of this newly discovered coronavirus. Now, a further 100,000 coronavirus genomes sampled from COVID-19 patients in over 100 countries have joined Wuhan-1. Geneticists around the world are mining the data for answers. Where did Sars-CoV-2 come from? When did it start infecting humans? How is the virus mutating – and does it matter?”


USA Today: 200,000 dead: COVID-19 is creating ruinous economic damage that will take years to repair. “We’ve reached 200,000 Americans dead of COVID-19 in eight months — nearly half the U.S. death toll in World War II, which lasted over 45 months for America. As if that isn’t awful enough, damage from the pandemic keeps piling up in other ruinous ways. It’s all connected, meaning that one bad thing can make something else worse.”


Town & Country: Robert F. Kennedy’s Grandson Was the Whistleblower for Jared Kushner’s COVID-19 Taskforce. “[Max] Kennedy says was shocked that he and a dozen other twenty-somethings with no experience in the medical sector were tasked with procuring much-needed PPE for the country, using their personal laptops and email addresses. ‘We were the team. We were the entire frontline team for the federal government.’ Kennedy added, ‘It was the number of people who show up to an after-school event, not to run the greatest crisis in a hundred years. It was such a mismatch of personnel. It was one of the largest mobilization problems ever. It was so unbelievably colossal and gargantuan. The fact that they didn’t want to get any more people was so upsetting.'”

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