Monday CoronaBuzz, October 5, 2020, Part 2: Everything else. 44 pointers to new resources, useful stuff, research news, and more.

You should have gotten Part 1 already. That deals with the situation in the White House. I’ll keep splitting this newsletter as long as there’s so much news coming out of that area. Meanwhile, please wear a mask. Wash your hands. Stay at home if you can. Please be careful. I love you.


Disability Scoop: ‘Sesame Street’ Helping Kids With Autism Learn To Wear Face Masks. “The videos show Julia going on a virtual playdate with Elmo, practicing wearing a face mask during a video call with her dad and learning to deal with changes as she visits the park for the first time in a long time. In addition to the videos, Sesame Workshop is also offering articles and stories to help parents and caregivers support their kids on the spectrum as they deal with changes in routine.”


San Diego Union Tribune: State: Expect COVID-19 hospitalizations to double by late October. “Based on the trajectory of trends that the state is observing, the [health and human services] secretary added, the state now expects the number of COVID-related hospitalizations across California to double over the next month, climbing from a current total of about 2,500 statewide to about 4,800 in late October. While hospitals across the state have shown they can handle significantly larger numbers of COVID-19 patients, the executive said such a trend would be even more concerning, given that flu season is now under way, and that disease perennially causes increased hospital admissions and emergency department visits.”

USA Today: We’re paying a lot of attention to Trump’s case, but the US just recorded the most daily COVID-19 infections in nearly 2 months. “The news of President Donald Trump and members of his inner circle testing positive for COVID-19 has sent shock waves across the country, but it’s not just the White House dealing with an onslaught of cases: Friday’s nationwide case count was the highest daily total in nearly two months, while the weekly average of cases reported has seen an increase. There were more than 54,000 positive cases of the coronavirus reported on Friday, the highest single-day case count since Aug. 14, when the country recorded just over 64,000 cases, per Johns Hopkins University data.”

BuzzFeed News: Despite The White House Coronavirus Outbreak, These Trump Supporters Still Won’t Mask Up. “Even as President Donald Trump was installed at Walter Reed Medical Center and the number of positive COVID-19 cases linked to the White House continued to climb, some supporters of the president who’ve watched him criticize and mock masks in recent months say they still have no plans to wear them.”


FactCheck: Trump Misleads on Reasons for Falling COVID-19 Fatality Rate. “For nearly two months, President Donald Trump has touted an 85% decline in the nation’s COVID-19 case fatality rate since April — and has attributed the drop to improvements in treatment. But better treatment is only part of the story.”

Psychology Today: State-Sponsored Bullshit, and Why Truth Matters. “This important guest post had to be reviewed by the United States government before I could share it with you. That’s ironic, because the authors are challenging the government’s sweeping pre-publication review process in this article. That challenge is part of their broader examination of the normalization of bullshit in contemporary American politics and government, and how very dangerous that is.”

Rolling Stone: QAnon Followers Think Trump’s Covid-19 Tweet Had a Secret Message About Hillary Clinton. “The apparent cognitive dissonance we’re seeing far-right extremists display following Trump’s diagnosis actually makes a lot of sense, says Kathleen Stansberry, assistant professor of strategic communications at Elon University. ‘There’s something called the backfire effect. It essentially says that when confronted with facts that contradict someone’s worldview, instead of causing them to question it, it causes them to double down whatever belief was challenged and makes them dig in harder,’ she says. ‘And I think we’re seeing that a lot right now.'”


Futurity: Utility Shut-offs, Evictions More Likely For Households Of Color. “Researchers from the Indiana University O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs surveyed more than 1,800 Americans at or below 200% of the federal poverty line. The survey, which professors Sanya Carley and David Konisky conducted, is the second wave of the ‘Survey of Household Energy Insecurity in Time of COVID.’ In June they released the first batch of data, which both highlighted and foreshadowed significant problems with vulnerable populations’ ability to pay utility bills, put food on their tables, and remain in their homes.”

New York Times: Mother’s Little Helper Is Back, and Daddy’s Partaking Too. “I have a yearslong WhatsApp message group with a handful of fellow mothers of small children from across the United States and Canada. Since the pandemic began, what I refer to as ‘mom chats after dark’ start at around 7:30 p.m., Eastern Standard Time. That’s when the children are asleep, and a wave of inebriation begins on the shores of the Atlantic and crashes across the continent. The above message was from July, when we hit 125 days of lockdown.”

WFLA: After months unpaid, 8 On Your Side helps homeless Tampa man receive unemployment benefits. “8 On Your Side is getting results for a Tampa man who, thanks to Florida’s unemployment failures, found himself homeless. A week after we first met Julius Johnson, he sat at the same bench in the same park but his outlook on life couldn’t be more different. ‘If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t have this here,’ he said. ‘My car would be right there underneath the shade, and I’d just be sitting out here probably on the phone with unemployment.'”

Futurity: How will COVID-19 change holiday shopping?. “The upcoming holiday season could really be another make or break point for a lot of retailers. As the pandemic has evolved, we’ve seen retailers that already had invested in omni-channel capabilities were better equipped to adopt their operations to the change in customer shopping habits from in-store to online shopping to serve their customers. We have also seen that the retailers that lacked such capabilities were—and are still—struggling.”

The City: Closed Private Subway Entrances Give Shuttered Feel to Manhattan Office Buildings and Former Hotspots. “Even as more New Yorkers return to their offices and the subway system, nine privately maintained station entrances in Midtown and Lower Manhattan remain off-limits to riders more than six months into the pandemic. The gateways — which include multiple entrances to the sprawling Fulton Street complex, along with 42nd Street-Bryant Park and 42nd Street/Port Authority — were closed by the MTA early in the coronavirus crisis at the request of building owners, an agency spokesperson said.”

BuzzFeed News: Trump And The Coronavirus Are Dividing Black And White Churches In Georgia. “In Georgia, where [Trump spiritual advisor Paula] White recently rallied Trump supporters ahead of the presidential election, the divide between the white and Black church is increasingly bitter and transparent. Part of it is just Trump, who has polarized religious communities along racial lines, and who faces a real risk of losing Georgia in November. But the divide has become even more explicit in the day-to-day during the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 200,000 Americans, and resulted in the hospitalization of the president himself.”


Washington Post: Three White House journalists test positive for coronavirus after closely covering Trump. “Journalists who work at the White House have been on high alert about the coronavirus since March, but the issue took on even greater urgency Friday with a mini-outbreak in the press room following President Trump’s crowded events and his own positive test for the virus. Three journalists, including New York Times correspondent Michael D. Shear, tested positive for the coronavirus on Friday, as did a White House staffer who works with the press. The new infections prompted another round of anxiety and cautionary notes among those who cover the president.”


CNN: These retailers announced hundreds of store closures in September. “Some retailers are now closing more stores than originally planned, underscoring how badly businesses have have struggled during the pandemic. Here are some of the highest-profile retailers that announced store closures in September.”

WBTV: Belmont Holy Angels close businesses day after surprise visit from Ivanka Trump. “Holy Angels businesses in Belmont are closed on Friday, one day after receiving a surprise visit by Ivanka Trump. Ivanka Trump and husband Jared Kushner both tested negative for COVID-19 Friday after her father, President Donald Trump, and First Lady Melania Trump tested positive for the virus.” The closings were temporary and precautionary.

Hollywood Reporter: Regal Owner Cineworld Confirms Temporary Suspension of U.S., U.K. Operations. “Cinema giant Cineworld — the second largest global exhibitor behind AMC — early Monday morning London time confirmed that it is temporarily suspending its operation in the U.S. and U.K. The move — which sparked shockwaves across the industry when it first came to light over the weekend — impacts 536 Regal cinemas in the U.S. and 127 Cineworld and Picturehouse in the U.K., and comes into force from Oct. 8.”


Washington Post: Contact tracing for a coronavirus-positive governor previews task ahead for Trump tracers. “Just days before Gov. Ralph Northam tested positive for the novel coronavirus, he traveled to the Blue Ridge Mountains to christen a new highway tunnel, the Hampton Roads region to break ground on an economic development project, and Northern Virginia to lay out a refinancing plan for public universities. First lady Pam Northam, who also tested positive, made stops at a community garden and two Fredericksburg child-care centers, a preschool in Dumfries and a Manassas Park elementary school. The Northams wore masks at all their appearances and tried — but sometimes failed — to keep their distance from others. So far, health officials say, there’s no indication that the Democratic governor and first lady spread the virus.”

CNN: New Orleans restaurants can now serve alcoholic beverages as to-go drinks. “New Orleans restaurants are already allowed to serve alcohol to people dining at the restaurants. The move follows previous loosened restrictions by the mayor, including the reopening of playgrounds and the resumption of high school athletics in October.”

NY1: Mayor Proposes Shutting Schools and Non-Essential Businesses in 9 NYC Zip Codes Battling COVID-19 Uptick. “Mayor Bill de Blaiso Sunday proposed shutting down schools and non-essential businesses in nine zip codes in Brooklyn and Queens starting Wednesday due to an uptick in coronavirus cases in those areas. The move requires state approval.”

WLNY: NYPD Threatens Disciplinary Action For Officers Who Don’t Wear Face Masks. “The NYPD is ordering all its officers to mask up or face disciplinary action. The move comes after criticism from the public and Gov. Andrew Cuomo that many officers were enforcing the rule but not following it themselves.”


CNN: Trump told Woodward in March he didn’t have ‘a lot of time’ to meet with Fauci in newly released audio. “President Donald Trump in March said he didn’t have ‘a lot of time’ to meet with Dr. Anthony Fauci as the coronavirus pandemic surged across the US, according to newly released audio from an interview with journalist Bob Woodward.”

AP: Pence ordered borders closed after CDC experts refused. “Vice President Mike Pence in March directed the nation’s top disease control agency to use its emergency powers to effectively seal the U.S. borders, overruling the agency’s scientists who said there was no evidence the action would slow the coronavirus, according to two former health officials. The action has so far caused nearly 150,000 children and adults to be expelled from the country.”

Nextgov: COVID-19 Exposes Need to Modernize U.S. Public Health Data System, Experts Say . “At a Tuesday webinar, legislators, public health officials and data experts gathered to discuss the need for new policies around public health data. Charles Rothwell, former head of the Health and Human Services Department’s National Center for Health Statistics, said he wished he had anything positive to say about the federal government’s health data standards.”

Washington Post: CDC’s credibility is eroded by internal blunders and external attacks as coronavirus vaccine campaigns loom. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was created to stop deadly pathogens. It battled malaria and polio. It helped eradicate smallpox. It sent intrepid disease doctors to Africa to fight Ebola. Over the course of seven decades, it became the world’s most admired public health agency. The CDC had been preparing for decades for this moment — the arrival of a virus rampaging across the planet, inflicting widespread death and suffering. But 2020 has been a disaster for the CDC.”


AP: Pope: Market capitalism has failed in pandemic, needs reform. “Pope Francis says the coronavirus pandemic has proven that the ‘magic theories’ of market capitalism have failed and that the world needs a new type of politics that promotes dialogue and solidarity and rejects war at all costs.”

Salon: Exclusive: GOP Sen. Thom Tillis embraced QAnon conspiracy about COVID-19 death count in town hall. “Tillis also embraced an extreme anti-vaccine position and appeared to welcome herd immunity as part of a strategy to get 60% of the country immune. (Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said last month that a herd immunity strategy would lead to an ‘enormous’ death rate that would be ‘totally unacceptable.’)”


New York Times: How to Maintain Peace in Your School Pod. “Managing your child’s remote learning in conjunction with other parents can produce tensions over issues like splitting payments for a private teacher, unexpected expenses, health risks outside the pod, kids’ differing behavior or even the logistics of snacks and drop-off times. ‘These pods will not be perfect,’ said L’Heureux Lewis-McCoy, a sociologist who studies educational equity at New York University. ‘This has been something that emerged in response to crisis, and so it is absolutely complicated.’ But you can address sources of conflict at their roots. Here’s how.”


Washington Post: College students upended by the pandemic wrestle with yet another challenge: How to vote this fall?. “When students at the University of Texas at Austin were sent home this spring as the coronavirus pandemic shut down college campuses, Janae Steggall and other campus organizers scrambled to help students make sure they could still vote in the primaries. But despite blasting out social media graphics, hotline numbers and digital care packages to help students figure out where they were eligible to vote, some students never got their ballots after they returned home — including Steggall, who leads a civic engagement group on campus.”


Wired: Metaphors Matter in a Time of Pandemic. “The image of maces or robots bearing spikes and cracking open our cells does at first conjure a military attack. Indeed Bill Gates has said we ought to have prepared for a pandemic as if for armed conflict. In March, Donald Trump dubbed himself a ‘wartime president.’ More recently, military veterans have urged people enduring the Covid-19 contagion to think like prisoners of war. But Scott Knowles, a disaster expert who runs the history department at Drexel, is wary of martial language.”

Irish Times: How to fight the psychological fatigue of Covid-19’s second wave. “We are facing into a challenging winter with no end in sight. It is easier to experience a sense of camaraderie queuing outside the supermarket in the summer than during a cold, dark wet winter’s evening. In addition, the normal social events that sustain us through winter feel under threat. These include sport, music and theatre, family rituals over Halloween and our collective celebrations of Christmas. It can feel like we have nothing to look forward to and there is widespread gloom and psychological fatigue. As we move forward, learning to manage our individual and collective mood will be crucial to determining how well we manage the ongoing coronavirus crisis.”

AP: Trump’s diagnosis shows US vulnerability to the coronavirus. “President Donald Trump’s startling COVID-19 diagnosis serves as a cruel reminder of the pervasive spread of the coronavirus and shows how tenuous of a grip the nation has on the crisis, health experts said.”

New York Times: Studies Begin to Untangle Obesity’s Role in Covid-19. “As rates of obesity continue to climb in the United States, its role in Covid-19 is a thorny scientific question. A flurry of recent studies has shown that people with extra weight are more susceptible than others to severe bouts of disease. And experiments in animals and human cells have demonstrated how excess fat can disrupt the immune system.”

STAT News: The lesson from Trump catching Covid-19: With this virus, there are no magic bullets. “No single strategy or technology is going to rescue society from the pandemic: not masks, not better testing, not a drug, not vaccines. For any of these, it’s easy to get caught up in optimism and hope. But the reality is that fighting the coronavirus requires doing many things correctly.”


Daily Beast: Israel’s Hospitals Are at Brink of Collapse in Devastating Second COVID Wave. “Israel’s hospital system is overwhelmed and on a fast track to collapse, according to the nation’s top experts responsible for COVID-19 patients. At an extraordinary press conference, Dr. Avishai Elis, the secretary of the Israel’s Internal Medicine Association, warned the public of an imminent disaster and the ‘tragic implications’ of the paralysis which has taken hold of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government regarding the nation’s hospitals.”


Washington Post: Fewer than 1 in 10 Americans show signs of past coronavirus infection, large national study finds. “Fewer than 1 in 10 Americans showed signs of past infection with the novel coronavirus as of late July, suggesting that most of the country may still be vulnerable to infection, according to one of the largest studies of its kind published [last month] in the journal the Lancet.”


Fox 2 Detroit: Michigan Supreme Court strikes down Whitmer’s virus orders; Gov. fires back. “The Michigan Supreme Court on Friday struck down months of orders by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer that were aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus, saying she illegally drew authority from a 1945 law that doesn’t apply.”


The Guardian: America has a super-spreader president. He put us all – and himself – at risk. “The administration’s handling of the president’s illness has had the shambolic quality of Wile E Coyote attempting to catch Road Runner. They are caught in such absurdly transparent lies that one almost expects their noses to grow long as they speak, or a cartoon anvil to drop on their heads in divine retribution. It would be funny, if only these people did not also possess such terrifying power along with their ostentatious incompetence.”


Politico: Debate commission accedes to Biden campaign’s ‘health and safety’ objections for VP debate. “The Commission on Presidential Debates has agreed to seat Kamala Harris and Mike Pence 12 feet apart at the vice presidential debate next week, after the Biden campaign raised health and safety objections to the original spacing between the two candidates because of Covid concerns. As of Friday evening, however, the commission would not accede to the Biden campaign‘s request that Harris and Pence stand during the debate. Instead, the two will be seated, which was the preference of the Trump campaign, a source familiar with the discussions told POLITICO.”

WKYC: City of Cleveland announces 11 positive cases of COVID-19 stemming from preparations for presidential debate. “With the news that President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have both tested positive for COVID-19, the city of Cleveland has issued a statement after the pair were among those in town for Tuesday’s presidential debate. According to the city, 11 positive cases of COVID-19 have stemmed from ‘pre-debate planning and set-up.’ The city adds that the majority of those 11 cases have occurred among out of state residents. No city residents appear to have contracted coronavirus as a result of the debate, but that could still change. ”

Reuters: Biden leads by 10 points as majority of Americans say Trump could have avoided coronavirus: Reuters/Ipsos poll. “Democrat Joe Biden opened his widest lead in a month in the U.S. presidential race after President Donald Trump tested positive for the coronavirus, and a majority of Americans think Trump could have avoided infection if he had taken the virus more seriously, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Sunday.”

AP: Analysis: Trump faces credibility crisis over health scare. “The president’s coronavirus infection, as well as the illnesses of several aides and alies, has imperiled the highest levels of the U.S. government. The White House’s efforts Saturday to project calm backfired in stunning fashion, resulting in a blizzard of confusing and contradictory information about the health and well-being of the commander in chief.”

ABC News: Trump family, aides flouted Cleveland hotel mask mandate ahead of debate. “Hours before they were seen watching Tuesday’s presidential debate without masks in violation of safety protocols, members of President Donald Trump’s family, campaign staff and White House team also flouted a mask mandate at a hotel frequented by visitors to Cleveland Clinic.”

Washington Post: As virus spreads across GOP ranks, some Republicans say party will pay price for ‘stupid’ approach. “The drip-drip-drip of positive tests, coupled with the specter of a president who as of Saturday was ‘not on a clear path to a full recovery,’ as White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows put it, has prompted some Republicans to question whether the party is responsible for its own potential undoing. And it has left them wondering how to wage a strong closing campaign when the judgment, actions and competence of its leaders were so squarely at issue just as voting is getting underway across the country.”

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