Wednesday CoronaBuzz, October 14, 2020 45 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.


Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Wisconsin surpasses 1,500 coronavirus deaths, reports more than 3,200 new cases in worst day of pandemic yet. “The state Department of Health Services reported 3,279 new cases and 34 deaths due to the coronavirus — both measures the highest of the pandemic. The state crossed the grim threshold of 1,500 total deaths and reported its highest-ever average of new cases — 2,727 a day over the last seven days.”

Washington Post: Coronavirus cases are rising in U.S., sparking worries the next big wave has begun. “For almost a month, new U.S. cases have been trending upward. Since Saturday, more than 20 states have hit a new high in their seven-day average of case counts, and more than half of those states set records again on Tuesday, according to data tracked by The Washington Post.”

Detroit Free Press: As COVID-19 hospitalizations jump 80% in Michigan, health officials warn of possible surge. “Coronavirus cases are rising in Michigan and COVID-19 hospitalizations have spiked 80% in recent weeks, climbing in all regions of the state, health officials warned Tuesday. ‘It is very possible that this is the beginning of a second wave,’ said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the chief medical executive and chief deputy director for health for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.”


GovTech: New Tool Aims to Help Government Fight COVID Misinformation. “When the data analytics and messaging company AlphaVu launched in 2009, it filled, as founder and CEO Scott Wilkinson recalls, a ‘sleepy niche’ for technology that helps government agencies assess public opinion and craft messaging. Over half of the Washington, D.C.-based company’s business since then has been in the transportation sector, helping public transit or tolling agencies with outreach regarding road construction and multibillion-dollar toll projects. But in the midst of a global pandemic exacerbated by relentless misinformation on social media, the company believes its software could have a role to play in public health.”


The Conversation: Five COVID customs which emerged during lockdown. “I have been tracking how people are expressing beliefs and values using folkloric practices today. It seems that during these dark times they are being used to visibly brighten our communities. Many of us will have perpetuated these customs simply for something to do – particularly families desperate for ideas to occupy children. So here are five folkloric customs that could come to define this age in the future.”

Washington Post: We have too much beer (and soda, and seltzer), and not enough cans. “A nationwide shortage of cans is the latest threat to craft beer. Ball Corp., the world’s largest manufacturer of cans, told investors this week that the U.S. market alone is short 10 billion cans in 2020, according to Beer Business Daily, a trade publication.”

PR Newswire: American Foundation for the Blind Announces Flatten Inaccessibility Report, Illustrating Impact of COVID-19 on Blind or Visually Impaired Adults (PRESS RELEASE). “The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) today announced the release of the Flatten Inaccessibility research report, the culmination of survey findings from 1,921 U.S. participants who are blind (65%) or have low vision (35%). The survey investigated the experiences of these participants during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to determine how they were affected in areas including access to transportation, healthcare, access to food and supplies, employment, education, and voting.”

New York Times: H.B.C.U. Homecomings Are Canceled, but Students and Alumni Will Feast Anyway. “This year, many homecoming festivities have been canceled because of the Covid-19 pandemic. But the energy of game day never dissipates. Memories of tailgating sustain many graduates of H.B.C.U.s, and brunch, which has become the new cornerstone of homecoming celebrations, will be a virtual affair for 2020.”


BBC: Covid-19: Protests as Argentina’s cases pass 900,000. “Thousands have joined anti-government protests in Argentina as confirmed coronavirus infections continue to rise, passing 900,000 on Monday. Many Argentines are angry at the government’s handling of the crisis and the economic effect of lockdowns, as well as issues such as corruption.”


CNN: NY Philharmonic cancels entire concert season for the first time in its 178-year history. “The symphony orchestra announced Tuesday that it is canceling the rest of its 2020-21 season through June 13, 2021, citing mandatory state and city government health regulations during the pandemic. The symphony closed its doors in March when the pandemic began to surge in New York City.”

New York Times: As Trump Flouts Safety Protocols, News Outlets Balk at Close Coverage. “Major news organizations have become increasingly wary of sending journalists to travel with President Trump to White House events and campaign rallies, as the president and his aides continue to shun safety protocols after an outbreak of the coronavirus within their ranks.”


CNN: Facebook moderators reportedly complain about Covid risk in Dublin office. “Contractors who moderate content for Facebook in Dublin have reportedly complained about poor working conditions, which they fear could increase their chances of catching the coronavirus.”

Reuters: Cruise ship dismantling booms in Turkey after pandemic scuttles sector. “Business is booming at a sea dock in western Turkey, where five hulking cruise ships are being dismantled for scrap metal sales after the COVID-19 pandemic all but destroyed the industry, the head of a ship recyclers’ group said on [October 2]”

Freethink: Ghost Kitchens Are Saving Restaurants During the Pandemic. “Also known as ‘virtual kitchens’ or ‘cloud kitchens,’ these facilities have everything you’d find in a typical restaurant kitchen: stoves, walk-in refrigerators, skilled chefs, etc. What they don’t have, though, are waiters, tables, or even a dedicated menu — these kitchens are just for making and delivering to-go orders for outside restaurants.”

The City: Grandmas Keep Beloved Staten Island Restaurant Going, One Jar of Sauce at a Time. “When COVID-19 overtook New York City, restaurant owner Joe Scaravella didn’t think twice about closing Enoteca Maria, one of Staten Island’s most beloved eateries. He decided the chefs — a rotating posse of grandmas with roots from around the world — were too vulnerable. ‘They’re in their sixties, seventies, eighties,’ said Scaravella. ‘They can’t participate in this staying-open experiment.’ But after months of only serving meals to essential workers on weekends, some of the nonnas — Italian for ‘grandmothers’ — are finally back in the kitchen part-time.”

New York Times: Covid-19 Vaccines Are Chance at Salvation, Financial and Beyond, for Drug Makers. “For a long time, drug makers have been the most hated industry in America. Companies are blamed for gouging prices on lifesaving drugs and enriching themselves through the opioid crisis, among other sins. Now, with pharmaceutical companies racing to find vaccines to end the coronavirus pandemic, the industry is hoping to redeem itself in the public’s mind.”

Politico: Hard-hit small businesses face long winter without lifeline. “The potential failure of economic relief talks in Washington would have dire consequences for small businesses across the U.S., with the lack of new federal aid threatening to trigger mass layoffs and closures that would drag on the economy.”

CNN: Airlines ‘disheartened’ by Trump ending stimulus talks. “Major US airline stocks fell sharply when Trump tweeted that the Senate would no longer consider the $2.2 trillion stimulus bill proposed by House Democrats. The bill included $25 billion for airlines—new relief that airlines say would have allowed them to bring the roughly 50,000 workers they furloughed on October 1 back on the job.”


KOMU: State health dept says 5,000 COVID-19 case count caused by database error. “The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services posted on its Facebook page on Sunday saying a database error on Oct. 10 caused an inflation of cases to get reported on Saturday. The error suggested that 5,022 cases had been added in a single day, which would have been a new single day record in the state.”


Washington Post: Proposal to hasten herd immunity to the coronavirus grabs White House attention but appalls top scientists. “A senior administration official told reporters in a background briefing call Monday that the proposed strategy — which has been denounced by other infectious-disease experts and has been called ‘fringe’ and ‘dangerous’ by National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins — supports what has been Trump’s policy for months.”

Sky News: Coronavirus: Northern Ireland set to impose ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown for four weeks. “Northern Ireland is set to become the first part of the UK to impose a ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown. Tighter restrictions will be in place for four weeks – with schools closing for two of them, Sky News understands.”

Bloomberg: CDC Money for Covid Tracking, Tests Has Been Stalled for Months. “The bulk of a $1 billion funding package intended to help the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention fight the Covid-19 pandemic in the U.S. has remained unspent since being authorized more than five months ago, according to people familiar with the matter.”

Pacific Daily News: Public Health launches Sara Alert to limit the spread of COVID-19. What we know.. “In addition to adopting the Guam COVID Alert App last month, the the Department of Public Health and Social Services will also be using Sara Alert. It’s an open-source tool that automates monitoring and reporting of individuals exposed to or infected with COVID-19, according to the Joint Information Center.”

Grampian Online: Scottish Government now publishing more detailed coronavirus data. “SINCE the start of the coronavirus pandemic, many people have been asking the same question: whereabouts in Moray are the new covid-19 cases located? This data has not previously been available – but that has now changed with the Scottish Government beginning to publish coronavirus data by neighbourhood area.”


NBC News: Wife of Trump’s labor secretary, who was at Barrett Rose Garden event, tests positive for Covid-19. “Trish Scalia, the wife of President Donald Trump’s Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia, has tested positive for Covid-19, the Labor Department said Tuesday night.”

Washington Post: Dustin Johnson tests positive for coronavirus, withdraws from PGA Tour event. “Dustin Johnson, the world’s top-ranked golfer, has withdrawn from this week’s CJ Cup tournament in Las Vegas after testing positive for the novel coronavirus.”

BBC: Covid: Sage scientists called for short lockdown weeks ago. “The government’s scientific advisers called for a short lockdown in England to halt the spread of Covid-19 last month, newly released documents show. The experts said an immediate ‘circuit breaker’ was the best way to control cases, at a meeting on 21 September.”

New York Times: Battered by Trump, the C.D.C.’s Director Faces Pressure to Speak Out. “Pressure is mounting on the leaders of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — from inside and outside the agency — to speak publicly against the White House’s manhandling of C.D.C. research and public health decisions, with career scientists so demoralized they are talking of quitting if President Trump wins re-election.”

Politico: Fauci: There could be 300,000 to 400,000 Covid deaths unless precautions taken. “More than 200,000 people have died from the disease in the United States, and over 7 million have been diagnosed with it. A University of Washington study found in August that as many as 300,000 people could die of the disease by Dec. 1. Fauci added that a vaccine likely won’t be widely available until next summer or fall.”

USA Today: ‘It is a slaughter’: Public health champion asks CDC director to expose White House, orchestrate his own firing. “William Foege, a renowned epidemiologist who served under Democratic and Republican presidents, detailed in a private letter he sent last month to CDC Director Robert Redfield his alarm over how the agency has fallen in stature while the pandemic raged across America.”


AP: Goodell: Forfeits possible for NFL virus protocol violations. “NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is warning the league’s 32 teams of penalties including potential forfeits of games for violations of COVID-19 protocols that force changes in the schedule.”

Washington Post: A farewell to the NBA bubble after three grueling and exhilarating months. “The bubble opened with an overwhelming rush of media interest that mostly consisted of morbid curiosity and rubbernecking. I did countless interviews about my seven-day quarantine inside a hotel room, and everyone asked about what would happen if someone got sick or died. Once it became clear that the NBA’s stringent health protocols were working, the ambulance chasers moved on. Now, physical and mental exhaustion reign, and it has become clear that the bubble was meant for die-hards.”

WHDH: ‘The safest possible stadium’: Carolina Panthers debut new COVID-killing robot. “The Carolina Panthers is the first organization in the league to use the Xenex Light Strike Robot, a powerful germ destroying robot that creators and team believe will reduce the risk of COVID-19 for staff, players and fans.”


MIT News: MIT begins testing wastewater to help detect Covid-19 on campus. “The project is designed to determine if wastewater testing can be an effective early warning system for Covid-19 outbreaks on campus, and is being evaluated as a complementary tool in the Institute’s response to the pandemic, along with clinical testing, contact tracing, and other measures.”


New York Times: ‘I Feel Like I Have Dementia’: Brain Fog Plagues Covid Survivors. “It’s becoming known as Covid brain fog: troubling cognitive symptoms that can include memory loss, confusion, difficulty focusing, dizziness and grasping for everyday words. Increasingly, Covid survivors say brain fog is impairing their ability to work and function normally.”

Los Angeles Times: Coronavirus is forcing breast cancer patients to make tough decisions. “The coronavirus that emerged only months ago has forced sudden and dramatic changes throughout the medical world. Annual checkups, routine surgeries and other procedures have been cut back or canceled to minimize exposure to the virus that has infected more than 1.7 million people and caused more than 100,000 deaths globally. The challenges are even greater for people who are already grappling with a serious illness.”

BNO News: Dutch researchers report first death from COVID-19 reinfection. “An elderly woman in the Netherlands has died after getting COVID-19 a second time, researchers reported on Monday. It’s the first time a death has been reported from reinfection with coronavirus.”

USA Today: About 75,000 more Americans died from COVID-19 pandemic than reported in spring and summer, study finds. “The coronavirus pandemic may have caused tens of thousands of more deaths in the spring and summer than previously thought, a new study says. Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond found nearly 75,000 more people may have died from the pandemic than what was recorded in March to July, according to the report published Monday in the peer-reviewed journal JAMA.”

STAT News: 7 looming questions about the rollout of a Covid-19 vaccine. “The design, testing, and mass production of multiple vaccines has never been attempted on this type of timeline, making this moment a turning point in the development of vaccines to respond to new disease threats. But the complexity of that work may pale in comparison to what comes next — the rollout of hundreds of millions of doses of never-before-used vaccines across the United States and, eventually, around the world.”

New York Times: A Dose of Optimism, as the Pandemic Rages On. “Today, and despite the president’s own resistance, masks are widely accepted. Various polls show that the number of Americans who wear them, at least when entering stores, went from near zero in March to about 65 percent in early summer to 85 percent or even 90 percent in October. Seeing the president and many White House staffers stricken by the virus may convince yet more Americans to wear masks. The slow but relentless acceptance of what epidemiologists call ‘non-pharmaceutical interventions’ has made a huge difference in lives saved. The next step is pharmaceutical interventions.”


France24: France places Paris on top Covid-19 alert level as virus resurges. “Figures from the regional health agency ARS show new coronavirus cases remaining above 250 per 100,000 people in Paris, a threshold triggering the maximum alert protocol which has already hit the southern cities Aix-en-Provence and Marseille and their surroundings, as well as the French overseas territory of Guadeloupe.”


BBC: US pauses Covid vaccine trial due to ill volunteer. “Johnson & Johnson has paused its Covid vaccine trial to investigate why one participant in the study fell ill. The company said an independent review would check if the person’s unexplained symptoms were related to the jab.”


CNN: Nashville officials investigating a religious concert that lacked a permit and drew thousands without masks. “Health officials in Nashville, Tennessee, are investigating an outdoor religious concert that they say took place downtown without a permit on Sunday and drew large crowds of people who weren’t wearing masks.”


New York Times: I Hallucinated When I Had Covid-19. Here’s What I Saw.. “One silver lining of Covid-19 is this: We may build small communities again. It isn’t easy — gossip, competition for scarce resources, political differences — but it is good for our physical and mental health, and good for the nation. We know our neighbors. There is no sense that the egg lady or the appliance repairman is a less important being than the company treasurer or the documentary filmmaker, or for that matter than the governor of the state. When someone is suffering, neighbors effectively rally to help the person, and they don’t ask for anything in return. Political choices involve people that we have met, and their work is visible.”


Boston Herald: Trump support craters after contracting coronavirus, new FPU/Herald poll reveals. “Catching coronavirus has been disastrous for President Trump’s re-election hopes, with support for the president plummeting since news of the infection broke, allowing Democratic nominee Joe Biden to open a commanding double-digit lead, a new Franklin Pierce University-Boston Herald poll shows.”

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