Thursday CoronaBuzz, October 29, 2020 25 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.


KVVU: Nevada Resilience Project launches website to provide resources for coping with COVID-19. “The Nevada Resilience Project announced the launch of a new website Wednesday to help people manage the impacts of COVID-19. NRP was created to help build coping strategies for those experiencing stress or anxiety with COVID-19, the group said in a press release. The website… will list resources and information related to job loss, housing insecurity, isolation or healthcare challenges.”


New York Times: ‘At Capacity’: Covid-19 Patients Push U.S. Hospitals to Brink. “A hospital in Idaho is 99 percent full and warning that it may have to transfer coronavirus patients to hospitals in Seattle and Portland, Ore. Medical centers in Kansas City, Mo., turned away ambulances on a recent day because they had no room for more patients. And in West Allis, just outside Milwaukee,
an emergency field hospital erected on the grounds of the Wisconsin State Fair admitted its first virus patient this week.”

Argus Leader: South Dakota reaches new highs in COVID-19 hospitalizations, daily cases. “South Dakota set new highs in the daily number of people infected with COVID-19 on Wednesday, as well as reported new infections. The South Dakota Department of Health reported 1,270 new infections, as well as 412 hospitalizations, an increase of 17 in the previous 24 hours. Nine additional people died, bringing the statewide total to 384.”


Washingtonian: Super-Concierge Doctors, High-Design Home Classrooms, and Catered Backyard Dinners: Lifestyles of the Rich and Quarantined. “Dr. Brown said he would charter the plane himself. He was nervous—the patients wanted him at their summer home in St. Michaels to screen them for Covid immediately. But it was a Thursday in summer, and driving would take forever. Forget about taking the car. Instead, Ernest Brown, owner of Doctors to You, a Washington-area concierge-medicine group whose house-yacht/private-jet calls start at $600 a pop, drove to Gaithersburg and hopped a puddle jumper to the airport in Easton. The patients, who needed to be screened in order to meet with another VIP, sent a car to meet him. All told, Brown was at their waterfront estate for ten minutes, max. Results: negative.”


Kansas Reflector: ‘Manufactured crisis’: Mask hater enlists followers to defy mandates at Topeka, Manhattan businesses. “The facemask-despising owner of a martial arts school in St. Marys is enlisting like-minded science deniers to participate in mandate-defying flash mobs at Topeka and Manhattan businesses. Jason Harpe claims COVID-19 is a ‘manufactured crisis’ and mask mandates are a plot to test the public’s willingness to comply with government demands.”


BBC: Toymakers expect strong Christmas sales despite coronavirus. “Toymakers are expecting strong global sales during the critical end-of-year festive season, after a surge of pandemic-fuelled demand for items such as Barbies and board games.”

The Guardian: Legendary Paris bookshop Shakespeare and Company begs for help in pandemic. “One of the world’s most iconic bookshops, Shakespeare and Company, has appealed to its customers for help as it is struggling, with sales that are down almost 80% since March. The celebrated Parisian bookstore told readers on Wednesday that it was facing ‘hard times’ as the Covid-19 pandemic keeps customers away.”

Seattle Times: Amazon extends working from home into summer. That could rattle downtown Seattle retailers, restaurants.. “ will let corporate employees work from home through June 2021, the latest company to push back reopening offices as COVID-19 cases surge again across the U.S.”


Bloomberg: Vaccine Makers Can Skip U.S. Inspections. “The U.S. Food and Drug Administration inspects a few thousand drug manufacturing plants every year to ensure their standards are up to par. Many of those inspections are required before a pharmaceutical company can gain approval of a new drug. They serve as a check on whether drugmakers can produce quality therapies. But that won’t be the case for Covid-19 vaccine developers that gain emergency authorization of a shot.”

Politico: ‘A mass exodus’: HHS staffers jumping ship amid pandemic, fears of Trump loss. “At least 27 political appointees have exited the embattled Health and Human Services department since the start of the Covid-19 crisis in February, according to a POLITICO review, and senior leaders are bracing for dozens more officials to depart swiftly if President Donald Trump loses re-election.”

BBC: Covid-19: How the Czech Republic’s response went wrong. “The Czech Republic was praised for its swift response to the coronavirus crisis back in spring, but seven months on it’s now recording 15,000 new cases a day and has the second highest per capita death rate over seven days in the world. So what went wrong?”

BNN Bloomberg: ‘Surge’ Virus Testing Targets Asymptomatic in Latest Push. “Missouri, Kentucky, Utah, and South Dakota will be the next states to get “surge” virus testing sites as Covid-19 cases in the U.S. rise and federal officials push for ‘smart testing’ strategies.”

New York Times: Amtrak Warns of Layoffs and Project Delays Without Billions in Assistance. “In a hearing before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, William J. Flynn said his agency might have to cut an additional 2,400 jobs and divert funding from critical capital projects, such as the multibillion-dollar tunnel between New York and New Jersey — called the Gateway program — and improvements to New York Penn Station. His total budget request to Congress is $4.9 billion. That includes the rail agency’s $2 billion standard appropriation.”

Politico: White House looks at cutting Covid funds, newborn screenings in ‘anarchist’ cities. “New York, Portland, Ore., Washington, D.C., and Seattle could lose funding for a wide swath of programs that serve their poorest, sickest residents after the president moved last month to restrict funding, escalating his political battle against liberal cities he’s sought to use as a campaign foil.”


Argus Leader: S.D. House Speaker battles COVID-19: ‘It’s been the most devastating stuff I’ve ever had’. “A high-ranking lawmaker in South Dakota had a case of COVID-19 that sent him to the emergency room twice this month. Speaker of the House Steve Haugaard, R-Sioux Falls, told the Argus Leader Monday that he spent the last two weeks dealing with a severe case of the coronavirus that’s infected thousands of South Dakotans in recent months.”


Sports Illustrated: ‘I Think There’s a Better Way’: Can—and Should—College Football Change Its Approach to Contact Tracing?. “In college football, a player who is exposed to COVID-19 can’t ‘test out’ of quarantine, regardless of whether he ever tested positive himself. Some believe that will change soon. But should it?”

BBC: England v Barbarians: Thirteen Barbarians players charged by RFU after coronavirus protocol breached. “Thirteen unnamed Barbarians players have been charged by the Rugby Football Union after Sunday’s game against England was cancelled because of coronavirus protocol breaches. Players face a range of charges including ‘individual breaches of the protocols’ and ‘providing false statements during an investigation’, the RFU said.


CNN: A fourth-grader walked to school to use its WiFi because he didn’t have internet at home. “A fourth-grader in Roswell, New Mexico, has been walking to his shuttered elementary school to do his classwork over the building’s WiFi because he didn’t have internet access at home. Schools in the Roswell Independent School District have been conducting classes online because of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

San Francisco Chronicle: Marin high school suspends in-person learning following ‘large’ student party. “A Catholic high school in Marin County suspended in-person instruction for two weeks after administrators learned of a large party hosted by students. The principal of Marin Catholic High School in Kentfield announced the suspension of in-person classes in a letter to parents posted on the school’s website, in an attempt to curb the potential spread of the coronavirus.”


NBC Connecticut: UConn Pauses Free Tuition Program Due to Financial Struggles Amid Coronavirus Pandemic. “Announced by [UConn President Thomas] Katsouleas last fall, the program allows any in state student with a family income of less than $50,000 to attend UConn without tuition being charged. The intention was for the program to solely be funded by donors, but with the coronavirus comes concerns that the program may not be sustainable.”


STAT News: CDC expands definition of ‘close contacts,’ after study suggests Covid-19 can be passed in brief interactions. “Previously, the CDC described a close contact as someone who spent 15 minutes or more within six feet of someone who was infectious. Now, the agency says it’s someone who spent a cumulative 15 minutes or more within six feet of someone who was infectious over 24 hours, even if the time isn’t consecutive, according to an agency spokesperson.”


Washington Post: The pandemic is rewriting the rules of science. But at what cost?. “The pandemic has upended norms of the scientific process, from the way studies are funded through the publication of findings. Researchers have been presenting their results online or sending them directly to media outlets rather than awaiting publication in prestigious academic journals. And the stodgy process of peer review has evolved into forthright — and sometimes acrimonious — assessments in the unbridled atmosphere of the Internet.”

EurekAlert: Relieving the cost of COVID-19 by Parrondo’s paradox. “The health and well-being of the population will be affected if the community is kept open, but the lockdown strategy also incurs economic and financial impacts. Each strategy on its own will increase the total ‘cost’ to society. Can both losing strategies be combined in a manner that leads to a winning outcome? That is the question that researchers from the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) set out to answer in a recent paper published in Advanced Science.”

BBC: Cheaper to prevent pandemics than ‘cure’ them. “The world needs a new approach to prevent future pandemics killing millions more victims, a report says. It says contact between people, wildlife and livestock must be curbed to cut the risk of bacteria and viruses crossing from animals to humans. Health care should be provided for people living close to animals in high-risk areas. This would help stop outbreaks of disease before they have a chance to spread more widely.”


Des Moines Register: Auditor: Iowa misallocated at least $21 million in COVID-19 funds. “Iowa’s government misallocated at least $21 million of federal assistance intended for COVID-19 relief and must correct the error by the end of the year or face having to repay the money, State Auditor Rob Sand says. Iowa used the money from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or CARES, Act to help pay for a new accounting system.”

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