Wednesday CoronaBuzz, September 30, 2020: 33 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.


Michigan Health: Feeling Stressed or Down in a World with COVID? Try This Writing Tool. “The University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center created a new expressive writing tool called Making Meaning that allows people to put their thoughts and feelings into words to help relieve stress and anxiety.”


University of Utah: Marriott Library digital exhibit finds echoes of today’s pandemic news in century-old headlines. “Cancelled events. Shuttered businesses. Debates about face coverings. Although the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in spring 2020 seems like a century ago, it was an actual century ago, in fall 1918, when the Spanish Flu pandemic rolled through most parts of the globe—including Utah. The newspaper headlines of the time show not only the concern and caution in the early stages of the pandemic but also the eventual drop in cases and easing of restrictions—the endgame that, for us, remains in the foggy future. The J. Willard Marriott Library is launching a new digital exhibit to explore the 1918 flu pandemic in Utah through contemporary newspaper articles. The articles show how the issues and divisions that have appeared in the COVID-19 pandemic are, unfortunately, nothing new. ”


Fox 25: Oklahoma launching new app to alert people of recent COVID-19 exposure. “A new exposure notification app being launched by the Oklahoma State Health Department will soon be able to alert users if they’ve come in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, helping slow the spread of the virus.”

Wave3 News: Kentucky launches K-12 COVID-19 dashboard. “Kentucky has launched a new tool that will allow the public to see how many coronavirus cases are in schools. The K-12 COVID-19 dashboard visualizes self-reported data to give decision-makers and parents critical information that could impact their families. It provides case information from the state level down to individual buildings.”


Yahoo News: Trump promised 300 million N95 masks by September. He isn’t even close.. “The Trump administration is falling far short of its goal of having 300 million N95 respirators available in time for the flu season, according to internal documents reviewed by Yahoo News. Though the supply of N95 respirators has greatly increased in the last several months, it is at a little less than one-third of promised levels.”

Illinois Newsroom: The University Of Illinois Dials Back Statements About FDA Authorization For Its COVID-19 Test. “On Aug. 19, campus officials announced in a press release that the U of I had begun performing its saliva-based test under the umbrella of an approved FDA emergency use authorization. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker held a press conference that same day to share the news. But in response to questions from Illinois Newsroom about the EUA status of U of I’s saliva test, an FDA spokesperson said in an email: ‘The University of Illinois is not authorized under an umbrella EUA, and they have not had an EUA.'”


DCist: D.C. Gave Cash Assistance To Undocumented Workers. It Barely Covered Essentials. “In June, Silvia Cordon heard about a new city program from her youngest son’s teacher. The program, called DC Cares, would provide undocumented workers left unemployed by the pandemic $1,000 in direct cash assistance. Cordon, a 42-year-old single mother who emigrated from Guatemala in 2017, was intrigued: She’d been laid off as a hotel housekeeper after COVID-19 hit and was struggling to pay her bills, including her $600 monthly rent for a room she shares with her 14-year-old son. So, with the teacher’s help, she applied for the program online.”

9News (Australia): Coronavirus: The major events that could be cancelled due to COVID-19. “As Australia continues to enforce tough restrictions to contain the spread of COVID-19, key events normally enjoyed by thousands could be canned. With festival season usually in full swing, sports finals on the way and Christmas only three months away, you may be wondering whether your favourite end-of-year events will be possible.” If I did every “so-and-so event is cancelled” story I find, I would do nothing else. This is a substantial roundup of big Australian events.

The Atlantic: The Pandemic Has Remade Friendship. “Four months ago, I went on a socially distanced, fully masked outdoor park date with my boyfriend (whom I have seen nearly every day since). I miss the ease of just seeing whomever I want, whenever I want—though I’ve also realized how infrequently I used to see my closest friends. The joy of a restaurant dinner has been overwhelmed by the logistics of safety, the concern of exposure. My friendships still form the center of my emotions, but not my physical life. Now they occupy the spatial margins.”

BBC: Coronavirus: The disabled Indians fighting for their livelihoods. “As India approaches its ninth month of the coronavirus pandemic, many disabled people continue to struggle to buy food and obtain basic medical care and many are losing their livelihoods, as Arundhati Nath reports.”


Vulture: SNL Live Studio Audiences Will Get COVID Tests and Temperature Checks. “As first revealed to Vulture by Lorne Michaels on September 16, season 46 of Saturday Night Live will, in fact, have a live, in-studio audience when it returns on October 3, pandemic be damned.”

Australasia Leisure Management: Australia’s National Cultural Institutions Receive Funding Boost . “The Federal Government has announced that Australia’s national cultural institutions will be receiving an additional $22.9 million in the Federal Budget to assist in their recovery from the impact of COVID-19 shutdowns. Like many others in the cultural and creative sector, these major institutions have lost revenue from visitors, exhibitions and donations during the pandemic.”

Museums + Heritage Advisor: Does culture matter? New research offers lockdown lessons for museums and cultural attractions. “The study, conducted by marketing firm Crystallised, involved weekly surveys between 23rd March and 20th July, with one third of respondents having traditionally been classified as ‘not culturally engaged’ – not that this designation uniformly aligned to the research results. Perhaps unsurprisingly, people were found to have been far more open to trying new cultural experiences during lockdown. 61% of those surveyed tried a new culture sector offer in the four months of research and 16% participated in multiple online museum tours.”


Reuters: Exclusive: Deutsche Bank to close 20% of German branches in coronavirus shift. “Deutsche Bank plans to shutter one in five branches in Germany as it seeks to save costs and capitalise on the changing habits of customers during the coronavirus pandemic, an executive said.”

BBC: Extra facility opened for planes grounded by Covid-19. “An aircraft storage facility in Central Australia is now so full that its owners have had to seek out more space. Many carriers haven’t had enough passengers to justify flying during the pandemic, and have opted to store their planes. Asia Pacific Airline Storage is storing 94 planes at Alice Springs, and will store more in Southeast Queensland.”


CBS Philly: ‘This Could Be A Game Changer’: New Jersey Secures More Than 2 Million Rapid COVID-19 Tests. “New Jersey is about to get a new tool to track down COVID-19 cases quickly. Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday the state has secured more than 2 million rapid tests. These rapid tests can provide results in 15 minutes.”

Route Fifty: Pandemic Drives Delaware to Pinpoint Internet Connectivity Speeds. “The coronavirus pandemic has shown a spotlight on the digital divide and Delaware is hoping to gather more precise data on broadband deserts and connection speeds to help guide its broadband expansion plan.”


The Washington Post: Trump administration’s new rapid coronavirus tests plagued by confusion and a lack of planning. “President Trump heralded new rapid coronavirus tests on Monday as game changers — fast, cheap and easy to use. But his administration’s deployment of the new tests to nursing homes has been plagued by poor communication, false results and a frustrating lack of planning, state leaders say. Health officials in several states say they have been allowed no say in where the new tests are being sent and sometimes don’t know which nursing homes will receive them until the night before a shipment arrives. That has left some facilities ill-trained in how to use the tests and what to do with results. And it may be contributing to false-positive test results — when people are identified as being infected but aren’t.”

Politico: HHS ad blitz sputters as celebrities back away. “The health department’s $300 million-plus, taxpayer-funded vehicle to boost confidence in President Donald Trump’s response to the pandemic is sputtering. Celebrities are refusing to participate, and staff are arraying against it. Some complain of the unstated aim of helping Trump’s re-election. Others point to an ill-prepared video team and a 22-year-old political appointee who has repeatedly asserted control despite having no public health expertise, according to six people with close knowledge of the campaign and documents related to its operations.”


Bloomberg BusinessWeek: Germany Has Its Own Dr. Fauci—and Actually Follows His Advice. “Ten months into the pandemic, some countries have practically eradicated the virus while others haven’t come close. Comparisons are tricky, because luck has played a role, and some places enjoyed advantages such as geographical isolation; plentiful hospital beds, respirators, and protective gear; and trust among people, policymakers, and scientists. Germany had most of these going for it, except for the geography part. Even so, it seems fair to say the country has done well with [Christian] Drosten at the forefront of the fight, advocating a robust but clear-headed approach.”

Reuters: Exclusive: World Bank seeks board approval for $12 billion coronavirus vaccine financing plan. “World Bank President David Malpass said on Tuesday he is seeking board approval for a $12 billion coronavirus vaccine financing plan to help poor and developing countries secure a sufficient share of vaccine doses when they become available in the coming months.”


WRAL: UNC Charlotte to require flu shots for students, staff. “The University of North Carolina at Charlotte is requiring that every student, staff and faculty member get a flu shot before Nov. 16. Students return to face-to-face instruction at Charlotte on Oct. 1.”

WRAL: NCSU, ECU using furloughs, pay cuts to offset lost revenue during pandemic. “North Carolina State University has started furloughing some employees and reducing the pay and hours of others to cut costs during the continuing coronavirus pandemic, Chancellor Randy Woodson said Thursday.”


CNBC: CDC study finds coronavirus rates among teens nearly ‘double’ compared with children. “The coronavirus infection rate among adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 is ‘approximately double’ that of younger children, according to a new study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study, published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on Monday, analyzed 277,285 confirmed Covid-19 cases in school-aged children in the U.S. between March and mid-September.”

CBS News: Three scientists give their best advice on how to protect yourself from COVID-19. “Some pieces of advice are intuitively obvious: wear a mask, wash your hands, avoid crowds, keep your distance from others, outdoors is safer than indoors. But what about that ‘6 foot’ rule for maintaining social distance? If the virus can travel indoors for distances greater than 6 feet, isn’t it logical to wear a mask indoors whenever you are with people who are not part of your ‘pod’ or ‘bubble?'”

BBC: ‘Maskne’: How to fight face mask breakouts. “Face masks and face coverings are compulsory in shops, on public transport and in many people’s jobs but for some, they’re taking a lot of getting used to. One of the problems they’re causing is ‘maskne’ or mask-related acne. Consultant dermatologist Dr Sivanie Sewell has some tips on what you can do to prevent spots when wearing a mask but also how to deal with breakouts should you get one.”


Tulane University: Google search data reveals major panic attack issue, Tulane study shows. “The team used Google Trends to analyze an extensive list of mental health-related terms that people searched for before and after the World Health Organization issued a pandemic declaration on March 11, 2020. They found a major jump in searches related to anxiety, panic attacks and treatments for panic attacks, especially remote and self-care techniques, in the weeks following the pandemic declaration.”

Mississippi State University: What Can Google Searches Tell Us About Changes in Consumer Behavior Toward Food and Plants Beyond COVID-19?. “If pre-pandemic trends are any indication, it is possible that search interest in Local Food, Cottage Food, and Food Waste will continue to rise after the pandemic, maybe fueled by the recent interest in short local supply channels, the expansions to some states’ cottage food laws, and the growth in the upcycled food products industry. While search interest in Online Groceries has seen an upward trend since 2004, interest after COVID-19 might not grow as fast and dramatic as 2020 levels might suggest.”

MLive: University of Michigan develops web app to screen people for COVID-19 symptoms. “MI Symptoms is allowing more than 2,500 employers across Michigan meet state guidelines to screen employees before entering the workplace, according to a news release. The application was built by students, staff and alumni from the College of Engineering and the Public Health school to also help provide data for the state, industry decision-makers and the public during the pandemic.”

South Florida Sun-Sentinel: Amid ‘caution fatigue,’ a new social media-inspired mask campaign is heading to South Florida. “Across the Miami area, some of the most original tweets are popping up on billboards, sidewalks and other high-profile spots as part of the social media giant’s campaign to encourage mask wearing in a time when ‘caution fatigue’ around coronavirus is starting to set in.”

7 San Diego: COVID-19 Survivors Find Emotional, Therapeutic Outlet Through Social Media. “COVID-19 survivors are finding newfound comfort by sharing their personal stories on social media platforms and are hopeful their experiences can educate and comfort others. ‘I want my story to be able to help people know they’re not alone — and what they’re going through, they can make it through,’ said Taylor Brune of Carlsbad.”


The Harvard Crimson: HMS Researchers Develop New Tool for Early Detection of Local-Level COVID-19 Outbreaks. “The COVID-19 Outbreak Detection Tool — which was developed in partnership with researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital, Georgia Tech, and Boston Medical Center — includes an interactive map dashboard that color codes counties by predicted COVID-19 case count doubling time. The tool also includes a ‘data explorer’ table which can sort counties by a variety of relevant parameters, such as 14-day new case trends or average daily cases in the past week.”

Gustavus Adolphus College: SSRC Grant Explores COVID-19’s Impact on Marginalized Communities. “A Minnesota-based research team led by Gustavus Adolphus College history professor Maddalena Marinari has been awarded a Rapid-Response Grant on COVID-19 and the Social Sciences by The Social Science Research Council (SSRC) to explore the impact of COVID-19 on African, Asian, and Latinx immigrant and refugee communities.”

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