Monday CoronaBuzz, October 19, 2020 37 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.


Palo Alto University: Professor Lisa Brown Co-Authors Tool to Help Determine Risks of Social Activities During COVID-19. “This interactive tool (also available in PDF format in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Mandarin) is designed to help people determine what their risk tolerance and risk factors are. It guides users through a series of questions that are based on their interests and the activity’s level of risk. Working step-by-step through this decision aid may help individuals clarify the reasons for doing or not doing an activity where other people are present.”


BBC: China’s economy continues to bounce back from virus slump. “China’s economy continues its recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic according to its latest official figures. The world’s second-biggest economy saw growth of 4.9% between July and September, compared to the same quarter last year. However, the figure is lower than the 5.2% expected by economists.”

Wyoming Tribune Eagle: Confirmed, active COVID-19 cases continue to rise across Wyoming. “As of 9 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 18, the total number of lab-confirmed coronavirus cases in Wyoming had increased by 194, from 7,479 to 7,673 in the past 24 hours, according to the Wyoming Department of Health.”

CBS Miami: Florida Reports Highest Coronavirus Numbers In Past Two Months. “Florida reported its highest coronavirus numbers in two months with another uptick in new infections Saturday, surging to more than 4,000 cases. The state also reported nearly 90 more deaths, which pushed its official death toll to nearly 16,000 Floridians since March. Since the outbreak began, Florida has recorded more than 752,00 coronavirus cases.”


CNN: More people have died from Covid-19 than in the past 5 flu seasons combined. And coronavirus is much more contagious. “…in just eight months, Covid-19 has killed more people than the flu did during the last five flu seasons combined. As for Trump’s claim that the flu kills ‘sometimes over 100,000’ people a year, CDC data from 1976 to 2007 and from 2010 until now show that’s not even close. There are several more reasons why Covid-19 is more dangerous than the flu — and why extra precautions are needed.”

The Guardian: Herd immunity letter signed by fake experts including ‘Dr Johnny Bananas’. “The Great Barrington declaration, which was said to have been signed by more than 15,000 scientists and medical practitioners around the world, was found by Sky News to contain numerous false names, as well as those of several homeopaths. Others listed include a resident at the ‘university of your mum’ and another supposed specialist whose name was the first verse of the Macarena.”

CNN: Twitter removes tweet from Trump coronavirus adviser that undermined importance of masks. “Twitter has removed a tweet from White House coronavirus task force member Dr. Scott Atlas that sought to undermine the importance of face masks because it was in violation of the platform’s Covid-19 Misleading Information Policy, a spokesman for the company confirmed on Sunday.”


CNBC: ‘My kids are starving’: Food banks and pantries see explosive demand in North Carolina as pandemic continues. “One of the most terrifying points of 2020 for Christian Sullins was not when she was unemployed as a result of pregnancy complications following the birth of her son in January. It was not when she was working as a waitress serving customers in March as the coronavirus pandemic began to rip through the U.S. And it was not when she lost her job just two weeks after returning to work when North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper issued state-wide stay-at-home orders. No, the worst moment came when Sullins, a 32-year-old mother of two, ran out of food.”

New York Times: As the Coronavirus Surges, a New Culprit Emerges: Pandemic Fatigue. “With no end in sight, many people are flocking to bars, family parties, bowling alleys and sporting events much as they did before the virus hit, and others must return to school or work as communities seek to resuscitate economies. And in sharp contrast to the spring, the rituals of hope and unity that helped people endure the first surge of the virus have given way to exhaustion and frustration.”


New York Times: Broadway Will Remain Closed at Least Through May. “Broadway is going to remain closed at least through next May 30, which is 444 days after all 41 theaters went dark as part of New York’s effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.”


NBC News: Mayor of Tennessee city that hosts Bonnaroo dies of Covid-19 at 79. “The mayor of a small town in Tennessee that hosts the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival died Monday of Covid-19, officials said. He was 79…. Manchester Mayor Lonnie Norman was hospitalized earlier this month before dying ‘after a valiant fight against COVID-19,’ the city said in a Facebook post Monday.”

New York Times: How a Feud Between Cuomo and de Blasio Led to a Chaotic Virus Crackdown. “The governor and mayor, both Democrats, have feuded for years, and their reluctance to work together closely has become a critical issue during the pandemic. Mr. [Bill] de Blasio, who needed Mr. [Andrew] Cuomo’s approval to act, pushed out a plan without the state’s blessing, only to have the governor override that plan with one of his own — causing unnecessary confusion for thousands of business owners and school parents.”

BuzzFeed News: It’s A US Territory Where The Coronavirus Never Arrived — But Some Residents Can’t Get Home. “Even as more than 217,000 people have died of COVID-19 in the US, American Samoa has had zero recorded cases of the virus. The remote US territory — a small island located in the Pacific Ocean, roughly equidistant between Hawaii and New Zealand — is the sole part of the country that has managed to remain completely COVID-free, largely due to the governor’s move in late March to completely close off the island to the outside world to prevent the virus from coming in.”


BBC: Coronavirus in Australia: Victoria to ease lockdown as cases fall. “Officials are easing tight coronavirus restrictions in the state of Victoria after more than 100 days of lockdown. From Monday, people will be able to travel further and meet up with more friends without a time limit on how long they spend outside the home. But strict measures remain in place for restaurants and retailers, limiting them to takeaway and delivery options.”

Reuters: Swiss tighten measures to combat COVID-19 second wave. “Switzerland announced tighter restrictions on Sunday to tackle the second wave of the coronavirus hitting the country, including a nation-wide obligation to wear masks and a ban on large scale public gatherings.”

BBC: Covid-19: Italy tightens rules after coronavirus cases surge. “Italy has announced a new raft of measures to tighten restrictions amid a surge in coronavirus cases. A mask-wearing PM Giuseppe Conte said the measures were needed ‘to avoid a new lockdown’.”


Variety: After Coronavirus Outbreak, This CBS News White House Correspondent Works Outside the Building. “Paula Reid has, for the moment, moved from the White House to her house. The CBS News White House correspondent is still working her job full-time. But for the last few days, she hasn’t been doing it at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.”

BBC: Covid-19: Top Palestinian official Saeb Erekat taken to Israeli hospital. “Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat has been admitted to hospital in Tel Aviv, Israel with Covid-19. Mr Erekat, who tested positive earlier this month, was transferred from his home in the West Bank following a request by Palestinian officials.”

E Online: Influencer Dmitriy Stuzhuk Dead Of Coronavirus After Telling Followers It Wasn’t Real. “Fitness influencer Dmitriy Stuzhuk has passed away at the age of 33 after suffering from complications related to COVID-19. The social media star’s ex-wife, Sofia Stuzhuk, with whom he shared three kids, confirmed his death in a detailed Instagram post on Saturday, Oct. 17.”

BuzzFeed News: He Was Patient #10451 In Life — And Nothing More Than “XX” In Death. “The death of patient #10451 — the number given to him in documents from the hospital — made him just another statistic as the coronavirus started to take its toll on the Central American country of 17 million people. But it wasn’t just in death that he was little more than a number. No one had ever known his real name, his birthplace, who his parents were, or even his age. That’s because patient #10451 spent almost all of his life institutionalized, first in an orphanage known for neglecting the children in its care, and then in a mental health institution that has been described as the most dangerous hospital in the world.”


CNN: University of Florida head football coach tests positive for Covid-19. “University of Florida head football coach Dan Mullen tested positive for Covid-19, according to a statement he posted on Twitter on Saturday. ‘I’m continuing to self-isolate from my family, who all remain healthy, and am following the guidelines set forth by UF Health, the CDC and our public health officials,’ Mullen tweeted.”


ProPublica Illinois: Illinois Has Had COVID-19 Outbreaks in 44 Schools but Won’t Say Where They’ve Occurred. “More children are testing positive for COVID-19 than they were between March and mid-August, when schools shut down. As parents weigh the safety of in-person learning, Illinois has not published information about the virus’s spread in schools.”

Chalkbeat: With most U.S. students still learning online, parents say they want better virtual instruction. “The majority of America’s public school students are learning exclusively online, according to a new national poll of their parents — and most of those parents want school officials to focus on improving that experience.”


Washington Post: Why the coronavirus is killing more men than women. “One possible culprit was male behavior. Perhaps men were more likely to be exposed to the virus due to social factors; a disproportionately male workforce, for instance, could place more men in contact with infected people. Or men’s lungs might be more vulnerable because they were more likely to smoke in the earliest countries to report the differences. What has become more evident, 10 months into this outbreak, is that men show comparatively weaker immune responses to coronavirus infections, which may account for those added deaths.”

Los Angeles Times: Boiling Point: These maps show how air pollution and COVID-19 can be a deadly mix. “During a news cycle dominated by COVID-19 infections spreading through the White House as President Trump and his associates flout public health guidelines, I’ve been thinking about some of the people suffering the most from this virus: Black people and Latinos, who are more likely to get sick and more likely to die than white people. I’ve also been thinking about the links between poor air quality and risk of contracting coronavirus, and the fact that people of color are more likely to breathe polluted air due to decades of racist housing and environmental policies.”

New York Times: Coronavirus Safety Runs Into a Stubborn Barrier: Masculinity. “The theme has been there since the beginning of the pandemic. Some experts who study masculinity and public health say the perception that wearing masks and following social distancing guidelines are unmanly has carried a destructive cost. The virus has infected more men than women and killed far more of them.”

Arizona Republic: COVID-19 cases in Arizona dropped 75% after mask mandates began, report says. “COVID-19 cases in Arizona spiked 151% after a statewide stay-at-home order expired and dropped 75% following local mask mandates, a new report says.”


EurekAlert: Plastic film protects surfaces against novel coronavirus on contact. “An adhesive plastic film designed to protect surfaces such as doorknobs, handrails, elevator buttons, and touch screens inactivates the novel coronavirus on contact.”

KOAT: COVID-19 vaccine trials at Navajo Nation ‘overwhelmingly positive’. “As COVID-19 vaccine trials around the world are put on hold because of safety concerns, the trials happening at the Navajo Nation are seeing great success. The nation became one of the first groups in the country to begin vaccine trials. Currently the medical team at the John Hopkins Center for American Indian Health, said that since the trials began in September at least 40 people have signed up to participate in the trials.”

Willamette Week: Most Oregonians Are Willing to Wear Masks During the Pandemic, but Just Can’t Stop Attending Parties. “Two statewide surveys of Oregonians show that the majority of state residents take mask-wearing precautions seriously amid the COVID-19 pandemic but are still congregating in groups of more than 10.”

Fierce Pharma: No need to panic about COVID-19 trial halts, FDA chief says. They show the system is working. “Headlines about COVID-19 vaccine and drug trial pauses may ring alarm bells for millions of people watching their progress, but FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, M.D., has another point of view. The breaks in the action actually show the development process is working as intended, Hahn told Bloomberg.”

New York Times: First, a Vaccine Approval. Then ‘Chaos and Confusion.’. “The first vaccines may provide only moderate protection, low enough to make it prudent to keep wearing a mask. By next spring or summer, there may be several of these so-so vaccines, without a clear sense of how to choose from among them. Because of this array of options, makers of a superior vaccine in early stages of development may struggle to finish clinical testing. And some vaccines may be abruptly withdrawn from the market because they turn out not to be safe.”


Washington Post: Crime rose unevenly when stay-at-home orders lifted. The racial disparity is the widest in years.. “A Washington Post analysis of 27 cities showed the rolling rate of violent crime in majority-White neighborhoods fell by 30 percent while stay-at-home orders were in effect, dipping to its lowest point in two years. Once the orders were lifted, violent crime in those neighborhoods returned to pre-pandemic levels, but stayed below average when compared with 2018 and 2019. In majority-Black neighborhoods, the rate of violence remained relatively steady while stay-at-home orders were in effect, but rose dramatically after orders were lifted, peaking at 133 crimes per 100,000 residents in July, the highest level in the past three years.”


Daily Beast: 9 (Kinda) Hilarious Lessons From My 99 Days on a COVID Ventilator. “Let’s rewind the tape to when this grease fire of a year kicked off. It was late February, and I was a 31-year-old comedian struggling to pay rent on my shoebox Manhattan apartment. While visiting my parents in Massachusetts, I developed flu-like symptoms and ended up testing positive for COVID-19. Despite having no pre-existing conditions, I landed in the ICU on a ventilator before being airlifted to a second hospital for a 99-day catnap powered by modern medicine. As it turns out, a person like me can learn a lot from almost dying.”


MPR News: COVID-19 cases tied to MN campaign events — but full impact is unclear. “Public health officials worried these events might cause a delayed spike in COVID-19 cases. Typically, they start to see positive cases 5 to 7 days after the date of infection. And it can take weeks to understand the full impact of an event that sparks a COVID-19 outbreak. Now it has been weeks — and some infections have been traced back to the rallies and a smaller campaign visit by Trump’s presidential rival, Joe Biden — but the numbers for each of the events fall far short of what health officials initially feared.”

New York Times: Under Pence, Politics Regularly Seeped Into the Coronavirus Task Force. “At the task force, grim science-based projections were sometimes de-emphasized for rosier predictions, and guidance from public health agencies — about schools and summer camps, for example — was sometimes massaged by the vice president’s staff.”

Associated Press: Black churches mobilizing voters despite virus challenges. “In recent election cycles, Black church congregations across the country have launched get-out-the-vote campaigns commonly referred to as ‘souls to the polls.’ To counteract racist voter suppression tactics that date back to the Jim Crow era, early voting in the Black community is stressed from pulpits nearly as much as it is by the candidates seeking their support. But voter mobilization in Black church communities will look much different in 2020, due in large part to the coronavirus pandemic that has infected millions across the U.S. and has taken a disproportionate toll on Black America.”

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