Friday CoronaBuzz, October 30, 2020 30 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.


Durham Herald-Sun: COVID-19 vaccine to be limited at first. How many may be available in each NC county?. “Estimates vary for when the coronavirus vaccine will be ready, and each state’s plans for widespread distribution are even less certain. But a new tool by a team of data scientists and epidemiologists at one of America’s top hospitals and Harvard University is helping to shed light on that. It’s called the Vaccine Allocation Planner for COVID-19.”

BGR: Which states are the best and worst at wearing masks?. “In the United States, the debate over whether or not wearing a mask protects you from the coronavirus isn’t really a debate at all. All the scientists are on the same page, and it’s mostly just whiney, ignorant people who think that masks are somehow and afront to their rights. It’s pretty silly, especially when masks can literally save lives, but there sure are plenty of folks who don’t seem to care all that much about that particular wrinkle. Anyway, if you want to see where your state (and others) stand on the whole mask thing, there’s a new tool that can help you do just that.”


British Theatre: Blackeyed Theatre’s Jane Eyre returns to the stage and streams online. “Blackeyed Theatre is now building up a digital library available on-demand, with a film of a 2011 production of British musical Oh! What a Lovely War added alongside the films of Jekyll and Hyde and Teechers.”


Time Out New York: This Google doc shows all NYC restaurants and bars with heaters. “For you dear reader, we’ve started a Google doc with more than 100 restaurants and bars with outdoor dining setups that will keep you warm. Click here to find the running list, which we’ll be updating regularly. It’s like the chain letter we all need this year (email us at for all the spots we’ve still yet to add because we know Staten Island has more than one spot).”

WFSB Connecticut: State releases new database for COVID-19 in schools. “State officials have released a new website to update COVID-19 numbers within schools across the state. On Thursday, Governor Ned Lamont announced the state will be updating this website weekly with new positive COVID-19 cases within schools.”


CNN: Task force warns of ‘unrelenting, broad community spread’ in the Midwest and West. “The White House coronavirus task force’s weekly state reports released to states on Tuesday and obtained by CNN show maps of critically, startlingly high numbers of new cases in the center of the United States, with some relief on the East and West Coasts.”


Yahoo Sports: Tom Brady claims on COVID-19 death toll, suicide deemed ‘false’ by PolitiFact. “On Tuesday, Tom Brady made a claim on Instagram that death by suicide has outpaced COVID-19 deaths in the last two months. PolitiFact, a website dedicated to combating misinformation and run by the Poynter Institute, looked into Brady’s claim and concluded that the statement by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback was false.”

CNN: Fact check: Trump falsely claims California requires people to wear ‘special’ and ‘complex’ mask at all times. “President Donald Trump has repeatedly mocked former Vice President Joe Biden and others for wearing masks. At a campaign rally in Arizona on Wednesday — at which there was no social distancing and most attendees did not wear masks — Trump started mocking what he claimed are the mask requirements in California.”


Reuters: Analysis: As COVID persists and U.S. election nears, China growth lifts Asia. “Asia is starting to see signs of economic recovery as it rides on the back of an upturn in China, which is entering a new expansion phase less than a year after it recorded the world’s first cases of COVID-19.”

Washington Post: A Maryland family battled covid-19 at the same time as Trump. It devastated them.. “Carol Coates had battled covid-19 at the same time as the president. But instead of a suite at Walter Reed, the 46-year-old Black teacher self-isolated in the basement of her family’s home. And instead of the experimental cocktail of antibodies that Trump was given, she received get-well cards from her fifth-grade students. Carol had taught nine miles from the White House. But her illness unfolded in what seemed like a different universe than the one the president described.”


ProPublica: The Questionable Line Items of Illinois’ COVID-19 Spending. “Last week, we published Grenades, Bread and Body Bags: How Illinois Has Spent $1.6 Billion in Response to COVID-19 So Far, a story and look-up tool that examines Illinois’ COVID-19 related spending. Given that we are in the midst of an unprecedented pandemic and billions of dollars in federal aid are being thrown at response and recovery efforts in Illinois, we thought you should know more about how your taxpayer dollars are being spent. Plus, we figured there’d probably be a few interesting needles in the haystack.”


CNN: Federal government says it will pay for any future coronavirus vaccine for all Americans. “The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said it will pay for any Covid-19 vaccine that is authorized or approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to allow for ‘broad vaccine access and coverage for all Americans.’ The agency also announced it will help cover a larger portion of the cost of new Covid-19 treatments that may be coming down the pipeline for Medicare recipients.”

Stars and Stripes: Report: Veterans Crisis Line ‘remarkably successful’ at handling increase in calls at start of pandemic. “Calls to the Veterans Crisis Line hit a high point in March as the coronavirus pandemic altered everyday life in the U.S. Despite the increase in calls and a shift to teleworking, responders met all their performance standards, including the answering of all calls within three rings, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General.”

Washington Post: Germany and France announce new national lockdowns, saying they have lost control of the coronavirus. ” German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron each announced month-long national lockdowns Wednesday, saying health authorities have lost control of skyrocketing new infections while hospitals fill rapidly. The announcements came as governments across Europe struggle to contain a second wave of the virus in colder weather, even after the relative success of strict lockdown restrictions in the spring.”

Daily Beast: Trump’s COVID Advisers: He’s Now Pushing Herd Immunity. “Despite publicly downplaying it, President Donald Trump and his team of White House advisers have embraced the controversial belief that herd immunity will help control the COVID-19 outbreak, according to three senior health officials working with the White House coronavirus task force. More worrisome for those officials: they have begun taking steps to turn the concept into policy.”


CNN: Jared Kushner bragged in April that Trump was taking the country ‘back from the doctors’. “President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, boasted in mid-April about how the President had cut out the doctors and scientists advising him on the unfolding coronavirus pandemic, comments that came as more than 40,000 Americans already had died from the virus, which was ravaging New York City.”

CNBC: Dr. Anthony Fauci says U.S. is in a ‘bad position’ as daily coronavirus cases hit record highs. “Fauci said the U.S. never got its Covid-19 cases down to low enough levels after the initial surge in New York and other states earlier in the year. New cases had hit a peak in April of about 31,000 a day before steadily falling to about 20,000 cases a day by the end of May. After Memorial Day, new cases began to climb again, surging to about 70,000 cases a day in July before plateauing at around about 40,000 in September. They surged again and are now reaching record levels, Fauci said.”

CNN: Second highest ranking officer in US Space Force tests positive for Covid-19. “The second highest ranking officer in the US Space Force has tested positive for coronavirus, the US Air Force said in a statement Wednesday. ‘General David D. Thompson, Vice Chief of Space Operations, tested positive today for COVID-19. He took the test today after learning that a close family member, with whom he had contact, tested positive for the virus,’ the statement read. ‘In accordance with established COVID policies, General Thompson is self-quarantining and working remotely from home.'”


EL PAÍS: A room, a bar and a classroom: how the coronavirus is spread through the air. “The risk of contagion is highest in indoor spaces but can be reduced by applying all available measures to combat infection via aerosols. Here is an overview of the likelihood of infection in three everyday scenarios, based on the safety measures used and the length of exposure.”

Washington Post: Some Americans refuse to wear masks even as their hometowns become covid-19 hot spots. “Resistance to mask-wearing and other efforts to control the spread of the coronavirus has hardened in the final days before the presidential election, demonstrating how the pandemic has been politicized and posing a daunting challenge to the nation’s medical experts.”

New York Times: People Are Still Having Sex. So Why Are S.T.D. Rates Dropping?. “For the first time in years, rates of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis, which had been on track in 2020 to hit record highs in the United States, have taken an abrupt downturn. This should be good news. The coronavirus pandemic has certainly kept more people away from bars, night clubs and large parties, reducing opportunities for unsafe sex, studies show. But the drop is more likely a harbinger of bad news, experts in reproductive and sexual health believe.”

USA Today: ‘There’s no way to sugarcoat it’: COVID-19 cases are surging; one American dies every 107 seconds. “The U.S. set a record this week for new coronavirus cases over a seven-day period with more than 500,000 infections. An American is testing positive every 1.2 seconds. Daily deaths are also climbing – one of us is dying every 107 seconds, according to Johns Hopkins data. And daily hospitalizations have been rising steadily for more than a month, from 28,608 on Sept. 20 to more than 44,000 on Tuesday.”


Washington Post: Can Google searches predict where coronavirus cases will soon emerge?. “Google has explored the idea that its search data could be used to trace illness before. At one point, the company explored using searches for influenza-related terms as a way to track the spread of the illness. It abandoned the experiment after finding that its predicted number of cases were substantially higher than reality. [Dan] Sinker’s tweet nonetheless made me curious about whether there was a consistent relationship between searches for those terms and case totals nationally or in states. Using Google’s online Trends tool and The Washington Post’s coronavirus data set, I compared the two. Sometimes data analysis yields a truly stunning result. This was such a time.”


The Narwhal: Narwhals could be at high risk of catching COVID-19: researcher. “Frozen tissue samples from a narwhal harvested by Inuit subsistence hunters will soon arrive at a laboratory in Boston, where researchers will work to determine whether the species could be susceptible to COVID-19. At the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, scientists will expose live narwhal cells to SARS-CoV-2 to determine if the virus that causes COVID-19 can latch onto the cells and cause a potentially lethal infection.”

ABC7: UC Berkeley launches new lab dedicated to test, detect Bay Area wastewater for COVID-19. “In a BioSafety Level 2 lab at U.C. Berkeley, scientists spend all day looking at wastewater. At first read, it may sound gross but it is the work of a lifetime for scientists like Rose Kantor, a postdoctoral scholar at the Nelson lab. The lab was funded and staffed in a matter of months in response to the pandemic.”

Science: The ‘very, very bad look’ of remdesivir, the first FDA-approved COVID-19 drug. “On 8 October, the company inked an agreement to supply the European Union with its drug remdesivir as a treatment for COVID-19—a deal potentially worth more than $1 billion. Two weeks later, on 22 October, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved remdesivir for use against the pandemic coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 in the United States—the first drug to receive that status. The EU and U.S. decisions pave the way for Gilead’s drug into two major markets, both with soaring COVID-19 cases. But both decisions baffled scientists who have closely watched the clinical trials of remdesivir unfold over the past 6 months—and who have many questions about remdesivir’s worth.”


The City: Lawmakers Bid to Halt Auctions of Self-Storage Customers’ Possessions During Pandemic. “Hundreds of New Yorkers on the brink of losing belongings kept in self-storage could find relief under a new state bill to stop auctions during the COVID-19-spurred economic crisis. The Pandemic Self-Storage Act, proposed by two lawmakers after THE CITY’s report on looming auctions, would prohibit owners of the facilities from enforcing a lien held upon customers’ property for the duration of the state of emergency in New York, plus a year.”


The Atlantic: America Is About to Choose How Bad the Pandemic Will Get. “As November nears, the coronavirus is surging again, with cases rising to record-breaking heights for the third time. To control the pandemic, changes are necessary, but Trump has proved that he does not learn from his mistakes—perhaps the most costly of his failings. If he is reelected, he will continue on the same path, and so will the coronavirus. More Americans will be sickened, disabled, and killed. Donald Trump is unchanging; the election offers an opportunity for the country to change instead.”


New York Times: Trump’s Closing Argument on Virus Clashes With Science, and Voters’ Lives. “The president has continued to downplay the severity of the coronavirus and declare before largely maskless crowds that it is vanishing. The surge in new cases across the country says: Not so.”

WRAL: Coronavirus case linked to GOP rally in western NC. “State health officials said Wednesday that at least one coronavirus case has been linked to a political rally Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest held in western North Carolina two weeks ago.”

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