Saturday CoronaBuzz, October 17, 2020: 32 pointers to updates, 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.


ABC7 : Filipinos at risk in pandemic will get help from new website. “Filipino Americans are disproportionately exposed to the pandemic, and now a nationwide organization of Filipino professionals is providing help through a mobile website. It is called TAYO, which in the Filipino language of Tagalog means ‘us.’ It was created as a virtual help desk and designed to be language-friendly and is culturally tailored.:

Vanderbilt: Vanderbilt researchers develop publicly available COVID-19 animal susceptibility prediction tool; suggests increased risk to horses. “A Vanderbilt team of experts in virology, genetics, structural biology, chemistry, physiology, medicine, immunology and pharmacology have together developed technology to understand and predict animal susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2, the scientific name for the strain of coronavirus causing COVID-19 providing evidence that horses and camels may be at increased risk of the virus. The group has also released a publicly available tool to enable people to understand the likelihood of other animals’ susceptibility.”

Massachusetts General Hospital: New tool can detect COVID-19 outbreaks in U.S. counties that host pro football events. “Recent outbreaks of COVID-19 have been detected following football events in the United States, and games have the potential to become ‘superspreader’ events. Because the National Football League (NFL) and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) made the decision to play their games amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Harvard Medical School, Georgia Tech and Boston Medical Center have extended their artificial intelligence–based COVID-19 Outbreak Detection Tool to incorporate NFL and NCAA football games. The model can help public officials and team owners in their decision-making regarding in-person attendance.”

University of Birmingham: New online research database set to boost battle against COVID-19. “Launched today, the international open-access database for ongoing research activity COVID CORPUS aims to encourage collaboration and reduce duplication between researchers across all academic disciplines working on Covid-19 research. Through its easy-to-use interface, the database will allow researchers and funders around the globe to coordinate, collaborate and network to help shape the most effective and efficient response to COVID-19 and its many impacts.”


Cleveland 19: Coronavirus crisis: More than $6.9 billion in unemployment compensation paid out to Ohioans in last 30 weeks. “The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services reported 20,090 people filed for initial unemployment last week (Oct. 4-10) to the U.S. Department of Labor, which brings the total of unemployment claims filed in Ohio over the last 30 weeks to 1,772,416. To put that total into perspective, the total number of claims for the last 30 weeks is more than the combined total of unemployment claims filed over the last four years, according to ODJFS.”

KMBC: KDOL launches new website to track identity theft fraud during the COVID-19 outbreak. “The Kansas Department of Labor launched a new website… that helps people report identity theft fraud during the COVID-19 outbreak. The KDOL says scammers are filing fraudulent claims by using names and personal information of people who have not lost their jobs.”

Bangor Daily News: New tool allows parents to track coronavirus at Maine schools. “Designed to help parents track the coronavirus, the dashboard lists private and public schools that have less than five cases of COVID-19. For schools with more than five, it keeps count of the number of cases, also listing schools associated with outbreaks, Maine Department of Education officials said Tuesday.”


Washington Post: U.S. budget deficit breached $3.1 trillion in 2020 as pandemic slammed economy. “The U.S. budget deficit eclipsed $3.1 trillion in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, according to government data released Friday, by far the biggest one-year gap in U.S. history. The data are a stark reflection of the staggering blow that the coronavirus pandemic has dealt to the U.S. economy.”

KBIA: Missouri Database Fixed; COVID-19 Cases Jump To Nearly 149K. “New numbers posted on the Missouri coronavirus dashboard Wednesday after a four-day shutdown show that the state has averaged 1,861 cases a day over the past week.”

CNET: COVID-19 cases top 8 million in the US. “The United States surpassed 8 million cases of the novel coronavirus on Friday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The grim milestone puts the US ahead of every other country in terms of total cases. Over 218,000 coronavirus deaths have been reported in the US as well, again setting a record that represents about 20% of total deaths worldwide.”

KELOLAND News: COVID-19 case surge: How South Dakota compares to other states, countries. “To give you an idea just how quickly cases are rising this month, a Reuters analysis found that North Dakota and South Dakota have reported more new COVID-19 cases per capita than all but one country in the world. There are also three times as many new cases per capita than the United Kingdom, Spain or France, where cases are also on the rise.”


Washington Post: The pandemic is amplifying the U.S. anti-vaccine movement — and globalizing it. “A nephew of President John F. Kennedy rallied a German crowd against big pharma and Bill Gates. American conspiracy theories have spurred anti-vaccine protests in Canada and Britain. A California-made video seeded ‘plandemic’ panic around the world. The coronavirus crisis is energizing America’s anti-vaccine movement and expanding its reach.”

New York Times: Former Fox News Host Spreads Virus Misinformation on His Sinclair Show. “In the latest episode of Eric Bolling’s show from the Sinclair Broadcast Group, ‘America This Week,’ the conservative broadcaster perpetuated misinformation about the origin of the coronavirus pandemic and measures that help slow its spread.”


Washington Post: When Trump gets coronavirus, Chinese Americans pay a price. “In an analysis of 2.7 million tweets in the three days after Trump announced his and first lady Melania Trump’s diagnosis on Twitter, the ADL found elevated language associated with hostility against Asians, compared with the previous day. In the 12 hours after Trump’s announcement, ADL saw an 85 percent spike in such language. The announcement sparked thousands of online conversations blaming China for trying to purposefully infect the president, the researchers found.”


BBC: India Covid-19: Bollywood faces biggest box office test as cinemas open. “Cinemas have reopened in India after a seven month-long break forced by Covid-19. But with barely any new films being made and the pandemic still raging, lockdown losses will haunt its comeback, reports the BBC’s Krutika Pathi.”

Hyperallergic: Art in General, Beloved Brooklyn Arts Nonprofit, Announces Closure. “Art in General, the Brooklyn nonprofit dedicated to presenting new work by emerging and mid-career artists, has announced its closure after nearly four decades of operation. In a statement, Board President Leslie Ruff and Executive Director Irene Mei Zhi Shum cited the economic pressures of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.”


The Verge: Microsoft is letting more employees work from home permanently. “Microsoft will now allow employees to work from home freely for less than 50 percent of their working week, or for managers to approve permanent remote work. Employees who opt for the permanent remote work option will give up their assigned office space, but still have options to use touchdown space available at Microsoft’s offices.”


The Guardian: Liverpool mayor urges people to follow Covid-19 rules as brother in ICU. “The mayor of Liverpool has revealed his brother is in intensive care with Covid-19 and urged people to follow the rules to prevent the spread of the virus. Joe Anderson said on Twitter that his eldest brother was in a ‘very serious condition’ in hospital. He tweeted on Friday: ’10 mins ago my sister-in-law a Nursing Sister has told me my eldest brother her husband has got Covid-19.'”


BBC: Covid: Tighter rules kick in for millions in England. “Millions of people have seen Covid-19 rules tighten as areas have moved up England’s new three-tier alert system. London and York are among those moving up to tier two, meaning people cannot mix with other households indoors. A stalemate continues between Greater Manchester’s local leaders and central government over stricter new measures.”


AJC: Top White House aide hosted lavish Atlanta wedding in May despite virus restrictions. “White House chief of staff Mark Meadows hosted a lavish wedding for his daughter in Atlanta this May, despite a statewide order and city of Atlanta guidelines that banned gatherings of more than 10 people to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus. The wedding took place May 31 at the Biltmore Ballrooms in Midtown Atlanta. The 70 or so guests, including U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, donned tuxedos and ball gowns for the indoor affair, but no masks, as Meadows walked his daughter, Haley, down the aisle through a path of soft white flower petals.”

Washington Post: Hope Hicks returned to the White House to pull Trump across the finish line. Then coronavirus hit.. “The Russia investigation that she had been caught up in was over, the impeachment had just ended and the headlines about her personal life were largely forgotten. With a new title and a bigger office, she was set to be the main liaison between the White House and the Trump reelection campaign, charged with interpreting a volatile boss and keeping him focused on a message about the thriving economy. Two days later, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a pandemic.”


NBC News: The Invisible Crowd: Inside the NFL’s Fake Crowd Noise System. “Wendel Stevens has spent decades mixing sound for live football broadcasts. During a game, he’s thinking about the sound of the announcers’ voices, when to play the iconic theme music, what players are doing on the field and what coaches are yelling from the sidelines. But there’s one thing he’s never had to give much thought: the crowd.”


Gainesville Sun: UF reveals new dashboard that tracks daily COVID-19 cases. “The redesigned University of Florida’s COVID-19 dashboard now tracks the daily number of cases on campus and specifies who’s quarantined or isolated through contact tracing. The dashboard, which reports case numbers from UF Health’s Screen, Test & Protect program, now has a bar graph atop the page that shows the day-by-day positive and negative tests among all testing sites.” I am not going to note every university’s dashboard, but Florida’s transparency is not all it should be so I think it warrants inclusion.

CTV News: UBC students criticized on social media for partying amid pandemic. “Fraternities at the University of British Columbia are being called out for allegedly partying and breaking COVID-19 rules limiting the size of gatherings. The complaints online are anonymously posted on a Facebook group called ‘UBC Confessions’ and directed at students at the university.”


NBC News: FDA warns of methanol-tainted hand sanitizer — but can’t force companies to recall it. “A 44-year-old man in the Southwest, seeking medical treatment after his vision suddenly deteriorated in late spring, admitted that he had been drinking hand sanitizer for a few days. Blood tests revealed he had been poisoned by methanol, an extremely toxic form of alcohol that is never supposed to be used in consumer products like hand sanitizer. Despite treatment, he was left permanently blind. The case was part of a disturbing trend that toxicologists in New Mexico and Arizona caught wind of beginning in May.”


Phys .org: Scientists identify common vulnerabilities in COVID-19 and other lethal coronaviruses. “Scientists from the University of Sheffield are working with almost 200 researchers from around the globe to identify vulnerabilities in three lethal coronaviruses—including SARS-CoV-2 responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Reuters: Exclusive: Moderna vaccine trial contractors fail to enroll enough minorities, prompting slowdown. “Private contractors hired by Moderna Inc to recruit volunteers for its coronavirus vaccine trial failed to enroll enough Black, Latino and Native American participants to determine how well the vaccine works in these populations, company executives and vaccine researchers told Reuters.”

CGTN: China develops AI model that can tell COVID-19 from other respiratory diseases in 3 seconds. “Chinese researchers have developed an artificial intelligence (AI) system that can help doctors discriminate COVID-19 from flu and other respiratory diseases in less than three seconds, according to a paper published in the journal Nature Communications earlier this month.”


Derbyshire Times: Instagram star Oakley gains international attention as Derbyshire springer spaniel puppy shows correct way to wear a face mask. “Like many of us during the pandemic, twenty-seven-year-old beauty therapist Shannah Nightingale was becoming increasingly frustrated at people wearing their masks incorrectly in shops. So Shannah and her mum decided to get one-year-old pet puppy Oakley to try a mask on for some ‘cute pictures’ and to illustrate the right and many wrong ways to wear a face covering.”


CBS News: Utah toddler befriends Halloween skeleton amid COVID-19 pandemic. “It’s hard being an only child – especially during a pandemic – which may explain why 2-year-old Theo Brady of Salt Lake City, Utah, recently felt a strange attraction to a Halloween decoration. ‘I think he got kind of lonely, and he found this skeleton and was like, “Oh, this can be my friend,”‘ said Theo’s mother, Abigail Brady.”


Los Angeles Times: Even some supporters are disappointed that COVID-19 bout didn’t humble Trump. “The COVID-19 outbreak at the White House has refocused attention on how Trump has dealt with the pandemic — his biggest political liability. A Washington Post/ABC poll released last weekend found 58% of voters disapprove of how Trump has handled the pandemic. Many of those are Democrats, but in interviews even supporters of the president said he seemed to lack empathy for those who have suffered.”

STAT News: For many of Washington’s most powerful, Covid-19 public health guidance does not apply. “Public health experts are aghast at the way the administration is approaching the spread of Covid-19 within the highest echelons of the government and the Republican Party.”

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