Sunday CoronaBuzz, October 25, 2020 34 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.


World Health Organization: The World Health Organization and Wikimedia Foundation expand access to trusted information about COVID-19 on Wikipedia. “The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit that administers Wikipedia, announced today a collaboration to expand the public’s access to the latest and most reliable information about COVID-19. The collaboration will make trusted, public health information available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license at a time when countries face continuing resurgences of COVID-19 and social stability increasingly depends on the public’s shared understanding of the facts.”


News Source 2 South Carolina: New website provides easy access for finding free and reduced-cost assistance resources in your community. “There is a new resource available to assist South Carolina families with their challenges, both big and small. A recently launched website… has a list of free and reduced-cost assistance resources in your community. Once you are on the website, enter your zip code into the search function and you’ll see options for services like medical care, food, job training, and more.”

KIDK: New Idaho website links to COVID-19 testing sites. “If you are looking for a place to find COVID-19 testing, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare has activated a helpful new website. It was developed in partnership with ‘Get Tested COVID-19’ and maintains an active, accurate database for designated testing centers in Idaho. It is as simple as going to the website and typing in your zip code.”

DCist: Virginia To Publish COVID-19 School Outbreaks As More Students Return To Classrooms. “Virginia’s health department has launched a new coronavirus dashboard that will track COVID-19 cases in educational settings. The online page will list outbreaks in kindergarten through 12th grade public and private schools across the commonwealth, including associated cases and deaths. It will be updated every Friday.”


Bloomberg CityLab: How the Pandemic Changed the Urban Soundscape. “When cities went on lockdown during the pandemic, things got quieter, but they didn’t fall totally silent. Instead, the hooting of the scops owls became more distinct in Thessaloniki, Greece, where the sound of traffic once drowned them out. Birds in San Francisco sang in softer and clearer tones absent the honking of cars and rumbling of engines. Meanwhile in New York City, the humming of air conditioners from the towering buildings replaced the bustling noise of a once-packed Times Square.”


Union of Concerned Scientists: Trusted Sources of Information about COVID-19: What We’re Watching and Following. “Are you, too, looking for reliable and trustworthy information about COVID-19 and the pandemic? Here at the Union of Concerned Scientists, we’ve assembled a team of scientists, researchers, and public health and communications experts from across the organization who have been tracking and responding to the ongoing public health crisis since February, especially when we see political interference in science-based decision making.”


Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Wisconsin just saw the five deadliest days of the coronavirus pandemic so far. “Wisconsin’s COVID-19 crisis continued to escalate Friday as the state reported 42 additional deaths due to the virus, and a state appeals court temporarily blocked Gov. Tony Evers’ limits on public gatherings and bar and restaurant capacity. The last five days have been the deadliest of the pandemic in Wisconsin, with 145 deaths from the coronavirus between Monday and Friday. The death toll now stands at 1,745. The seven-day average for daily deaths is 24; one month ago, it was four.”

New York Times: Europe, Which Thought It Had the Virus Tamed, Faces a Resurgence. “France imposed a curfew on Paris and other major cities, and other countries are taking similar steps as record caseloads fill hospitals and governments try to respond without lockdowns.”

WKRN: Tennessee reports 3,606 new COVID-19 cases, 65 deaths, both record-high single-day increases. “The Tennessee Department of Health has confirmed additional cases and deaths related to COVID-19 across the state on Friday, October 23. The health department reported 3,606 new cases, bringing the state to 241,513 total cases, a 1.5% day-to-day increase since Thursday. Of the total cases, 228,930 are confirmed and 12,583 are probable.”


Associated Press: Does the flu vaccine affect my chances of getting COVID-19?. “The flu vaccine protects you from seasonal influenza, not the coronavirus — but avoiding the flu is especially important this year. Health officials and medical groups are urging people to get either the flu shot or nasal spray, so that doctors and hospitals don’t face the extra strain of having to treat influenza in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.”


National Geographic: The pandemic pushed cars out of Edinburgh. Here’s how it’s going.. “During the pandemic, multiple urban areas have repurposed roadways for pedestrians, from the ‘streeteries’ that bring restaurant seating on to New York City boulevards to the pop-up bike lanes temporarily added to Paris’s already robust network of protected pistes cyclables. For cities holding UNESCO World Heritage Sites (like Edinburgh’s medieval Old Town and 18th-century New Town) prioritising ‘slow traffic’ is an attempt to mitigate the damage of overtourism and sustain the historic character that attracts visitors in the first place.”

WBEZ: COVID-19 Is Changing The Way Some Planners Think About How To Design And Develop Cities. “Cities around the world want to reimagine how businesses rebound amid economic devastation and find a way for society to go car-free. Urbanism in the time of coronavirus is a hot Twitter topic among urbanists. For others, the elite nature of who cities serve could change with the pandemic, opening up conversations around equity, say some experts.”


New York Times: ‘Little Shop,’ Big Relief: How One Theater Safely Put on an Indoor Show. “The first fall season here at the Weathervane Theater, which Paulini also runs as its producing artistic director, had come to an end. Five weeks. Three shows. Twenty-six performances. Zero known Covid-19 cases. At a time when professional theater in America is paralyzed by the coronavirus pandemic, a reopening milestone was achieved here in the northernmost reaches of New Hampshire, where the nation’s first indoor production of a show with multiple Equity actors since theaters shuttered in March just concluded its run.”


Barron’s: Members-Only Clubs Navigate Covid-19’s Unprecedented Challenges. “Like other segments of the hospitality industry, private membership clubs have been rocked by Covid-19, as city lockdown ordinances have forced many to temporarily close, and those that were able to stay open faced a landscape in which travel and meetings—whether social or for business—slowed to a halt.”


Science: The inside story of how Trump’s COVID-19 coordinator undermined the world’s top health agency. “When [Deborah] Birx, a physician with a background in HIV/AIDS research, was named coordinator of the task force in February, she was widely praised as a tough, indefatigable manager and a voice of data-driven reason. But some of her actions have undermined the effectiveness of the world’s preeminent public health agency, according to a Science investigation. Interviews with nine current CDC employees, several of them senior agency leaders, and 20 former agency leaders and public health experts—as well as a review of more than 100 official emails, memos, and other documents—suggest Birx’s hospital data takeover fits a pattern in which she opposed CDC guidance, sometimes promoting President Donald Trump’s policies or views against scientific consensus.”

Arizona State University: Mexico COVID-19 model points to complexities of response. “When Mexico detected its first case of COVID-19 in late February, few could have predicted a rise in cases to 850,000 with 86,000 deaths to date. Like other countries, Mexico reacted slowly until the growing number of infections in April forced the government to mandate a lockdown strategy in May. Now, a model built by an Arizona State University academic, who served as a federal cabinet member under Mexican President Vicente Fox, points out what could have been a different outcome if Mexico had acted sooner.”


AP: Poland’s President Duda tests positive for coronavirus. “Poland’s President Andrzej Duda has tested positive for the coronavirus, but is feeling well, his spokesman said Saturday. The spokesman, Blazej Spychalski, said on Twitter that the 48-year-old conservative leader was tested the day before and his result was positive. He said the president is in isolation.”

CNN: US tennis player Sam Querrey accused of fleeing Russia after testing positive for coronavirus. “American tennis player Sam Querrey is under scrutiny for leaving Russia on a private jet after testing positive for Covid-19. The 33-year-old and his wife had tested positive for the virus ahead of the St. Petersburg Open… and were placed in quarantine at a five-star hotel, according to the tournament organizers.”

Connecting Vets: About 17 VA patients have died of COVID-19 daily since the first veteran death 7 months ago. “On March 14, the Department of Veterans Affairs recorded its first veteran lost to the coronavirus. Now, seven months later, 3,667 VA patients have died because of the fast-spreading virus, an average of about 17 each day. That is roughly the same number of veterans who die by suicide each day on average, according to VA data, something the president and his administration, lawmakers and advocates have repeatedly referred to as a ‘crisis’ and a ‘top priority.'”

ESPN: Sources: Jacksonville Jaguars RB Ryquell Armstead still battling COVID-19, expected to miss rest of season. “Armstead has been hospitalized twice and has suffered from a variety of complications connected to the virus, including significant respiratory issues, and has been hit harder than some expected.”


Daily Advertiser: Louisiana college campuses are tracking COVID-19 cases. Here’s how many have been reported.. “There have been about 4,300 positive cases of COVID-19 reported at college campuses across the state, according to a running dashboard from the Louisiana Department of Health. The department worked closely with the Louisiana Board of Regents and institutions of higher education to develop the reporting process that began in October, according to the online database.”

The 74: D.C.’s Howard University, Other Historically Black Colleges Receive $15M From Gates Foundation to Expand Rapid Testing as U.S. Sees Surge in COVID Cases. “Historically Black colleges and universities, including Howard University in Washington, D.C., are receiving millions in funding to expand rapid testing on campus as coronavirus cases surge nationwide, falling heaviest on Black and brown communities.”


New York Times: Don’t Grieve Alone. Reach Out.. “One of the cruelest realities of this pandemic is that it has deprived so many of us the opportunity to grieve in the most familiar, instinctive ways. We can share stories, cry and laugh together over Zoom, but we can’t simply sit in quiet companionship or hold each other when words fail us. After my loss, I ran out of words to share; I couldn’t imagine calling anyone. How was I going to feel connected to others, find comfort and strength in my friends?” Easier said.

BuzzFeed News: Trump Said Don’t Let COVID Dominate Your Life. These Millennials Don’t Know If They Will Ever Get Better.. “As the United States closes in on nearly 8 million coronavirus cases, thousands of people are still suffering from debilitating symptoms months after they contracted the virus. COVID-19 has upended their lives, changed their bodies, and made it difficult to complete everyday tasks or, in some cases, hold down jobs. A CDC study from this summer found that 1 in 5 people aged 18 to 34 who tested positive for COVID-19 had not recovered their health after a few weeks. Some may be chronically ill and need long-term care. Months into the pandemic, there’s still no real treatment plan for these patients and many say their own doctors, friends, family members — and now their president — continue to downplay what they are going through.”


Salt Lake Tribune: Family members protest after 278 prisoners test positive for coronavirus at Utah prison. “Keenan Thompson has earned an associate degree in theology and become an ordained minister, while an inmate at the Utah State Prison. ‘He’s done what he needed to do to be rehabilitated,’ his wife, Beth Thompson, said. But Keenan also has an autoimmune disease and contracting the coronavirus — which has spread to hundreds of inmates at the Draper facility in recent weeks — could be a death sentence.”

New York Times: ‘Diamond Sweet 16’ Party Leaves 37 Infected and 270 in Quarantine. “The ‘Diamond Sweet 16 Package’ at the Miller Place Inn, an opulent Long Island catering hall, includes options like virgin frozen daiquiris and a make-your-own-s’mores bar. But those treats are unavailable for now. The inn has closed temporarily and its owners have been fined after one such party there last month left 37 people infected with the coronavirus and forced over 270 into quarantine, officials said.”

Slate: Three of the Most Prestigious Scientific Journals Have Condemned Trump’s Handling of COVID-19. “Many saw these clear condemnations of the U.S. government’s COVID-19 response as a stark departure from the science journals’ normal purview. The editorials come on the heels of Scientific American’s endorsement of Joe Biden—a first in its 175-year-history—so the idea of scientists taking a stand on politics is currently fresh in the public’s mind. But unlike the popular science magazine, Nature, Science, and NEJM are all known for publishing impactful original academic research, making it seem all the more surprising that they’d wade into political commentary.”


Daily Beast: The Horrific WhatsApp Rumor Mill Fueling Brooklyn’s COVID Backlash. “In a community where the most devout may spurn television and avoid the internet, WhatsApp has long supplanted some local politicians and newspapers as the chief source of information. But experts and insiders say the platform is especially popular among the younger Hasidic men who have erupted in angry and even violent protests in recent days against new restrictions geared at spiking infection rates in their New York neighborhoods.”


Johns Hopkins: Americans’ responses to stay-at-home orders differed according to population density. “Americans strongly reduced their visits to grocery stores, pharmacies, and transit stations following stay-at-home orders from mayors and governors earlier this year, but did not reduce their visits to parks and beaches, according to a study co-authored by a researcher at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.”

Arizona State University: Using evolution to think about the pandemic suggests SARS-CoV-2 can affect social behaviors. “An ensemble of scientists, with expertise in psychology, biology, neuroscience and medicine, has authored a paper that uses an evolutionary perspective to interpret and assess the COVID-19 pandemic. The novel SARS-CoV-2 virus has infected more than 40 million people and killed more than 1 million worldwide. It has also severely impacted the global economy.”

New York Times: Did Lockdowns Lower Premature Births? A New Study Adds Evidence. “Studies in Ireland and Denmark this summer showed that preterm births decreased in the spring during lockdowns to stop the spread of the virus in those countries. Anecdotally, doctors around the world reported similar drops. They speculated that reduced stress on mothers, cleaner air or better hygiene might have contributed. A large study from the Netherlands, published on Tuesday in The Lancet Public Health, has yielded even stronger evidence of an association between the lockdowns and a smaller number of early births.”


Kansas City Star: Kansas City actor finds national spotlight with Disney musical parody promoting masks. “There is one line in Noah Lindquist’s viral Disney parody that made him pause before he recorded the video. Should he include it? People will figure out the word behind that bleep. But some things must be said, especially during a pandemic that has killed more than 220,000 Americans, especially when some people continue to turn up their noses at science and refuse to wear a mask.”


CNN: Wells Fargo fires 100 employees for misrepresenting themselves to access Covid-19 relief funds. “Wells Fargo has fired more than 100 employees for misrepresenting themselves to obtain money from a relief fund for small businesses, and whose actions may have amounted to defrauding the US Small Business Administration.”


Harvard Political Review: Science, Society, and Security: Politicization in the Age of COVID-19. “Over six months have passed since the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus disease a pandemic, and COVID-19 is still wreaking havoc. In the United States, communities of color face higher disease incidence and mortality, social distancing and mask wearing have become a flashpoint, and national leadership receives top-tier medical care while frontline essential workers are inadequately supplied with personal protective equipment.”

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