Monday CoronaBuzz, November 2, 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.


Leeds Live: Dance legend Dave Pearce backs Leeds entrepreneur’s mission to create ‘world’s biggest virtual nightclub’. “Top DJs from across the field of music have already signed up to back the trailblazing site and have started doing sets online which also allow fans to interact with them while they play their tunes. Fans pay a monthly subscription and they can then attend as many gigs as they want with DJs earning half of all profits. DJs already signed on with the site include BBC Radio One legend Dave Pearce along with stars of the Rave scene including Slipmatt, Creamfields and Ibiza regular Rob Tissera and the founder of legendary Retro club night Paul Taylor.”


BBC: Machu Picchu reopens after eight-month Covid closure. “Machu Picchu, the ancient city high in the Andes mountains, has reopened after nearly eight months of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic. Peruvian authorities organised an Incan ritual to thank the gods on Sunday as the major tourist attraction once again allowed visitors. But numbers will be restricted to just 675 tourists a day for safety reasons, around 30% of previous capacity.”


CNN: Fact check: Trump continues to falsely claim that spike in coronavirus cases is due to heightened testing. “The spike in US coronavirus cases is not being caused by an increase in testing. The number of confirmed new cases is increasing at a faster rate than the number of new tests. And the number of hospitalizations and deaths is also rising, which shows that, contrary to Trump’s repeated claims, the increase in the case numbers isn’t merely being caused by tests capturing mild cases. Taken together, the numbers tell a consistent story: the situation in the US is genuinely getting worse.”


Washington Post: As the coronavirus surges, it is reaching into the nation’s last untouched areas. “Few places would seem better able to ride out an infectious-disease pandemic than Petroleum County, Mont., whose 500 people spread over 1,656 square miles, much of it public lands and cattle ranches. For most of this year, it did just that, becoming the last county in the state and one of the final few in the nation to have logged no cases of the novel coronavirus. Then came October.”


New York Post: Astor Place Hair to close after 75 years due to COVID-19. “Astor Place Hair Stylists, the iconic salon and barbershop that has been an East Village fixture for 73 years, is the latest casualty of the coronavirus pandemic. Management at the basement barber shop, which counted everyone from actors Robert de Niro and Kevin Bacon to artist Andy Warhol, Mayor de Blasio and disgraced former state assembly speaker Sheldon Silver as loyal customers, told staffers Friday that the doors will close just before Thanksgiving.”

Washington Post: Fox News anchors are quarantining after coronavirus exposure on debate flight. “Until they test negative for the virus three times in a row, the anchors will be broadcasting their shows from home, according to two people with knowledge of the situation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private health matters.”


Atlanta Magazine: Behind Georgia’s Covid-19 dashboard disaster. “A series of open records requests Atlanta filed to the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget yielded thousands of emails concerning the state’s new Covid-19 dashboard, sent between employees of that office and those of the health department—as well as those of the third-party vendor tasked by that office with creating the dashboard. An examination of those emails revealed the health department had limited input into and no real oversight over the dashboard during its creation and in the months after its launch. Additionally, the sidelining of the health department allowed for errors in the analysis, interpretation, and visualization of the state’s Covid-19 data, while simultaneously costing the state tens of thousands of dollars—and time it did not have to spare.”

Los Angeles Times: How San Francisco became a COVID-19 success story as other cities stumbled. “After cautiously approaching the pandemic for months, with a go-slow attitude toward reopening, San Francisco has become the first urban center in California to enter the least restrictive tier for reopening. Risk of infection, according to the state’s color-coded tiers, is considered minimal, even though San Francisco is the second-densest city in the country after New York.”

Des Moines Register: State admits governor’s aide told public health spokesperson to ‘hold’ response to COVID-19 testing public records request. “State lawyers admitted in a court filing [in October] that a staffer for Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds told a health department spokesperson to withhold information about the Test Iowa program requested under the state’s open records law.”

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Missouri to use social media ‘influencers’ to promote virus safety. “Coming soon to an Instagram or Twitter feed near you: Social media influencers promoting coronavirus prevention measures on behalf of Missouri Gov. Mike Parson. As part of a new effort to spread the message about safety precautions people can take during the pandemic, the governor reviewed a list of prospective influencers last week who would be tasked with reminding people to practice social distancing measures, wash their hands and wear a mask when out in the public.”


Rolling Stone: Trump Official Planned to Give Santa Claus Performers Early Access to Covid-19 Vaccine. “You better watch out. You better not cry. You better not pout. I’m telling you why. Santa Claus has early access to the Covid-19 vaccine. At least, that’s how it would be if Michael Caputo, one of Trump’s HHS assistant secretaries, had his way. In perhaps one of the strangest plans to come out of this White House, Caputo proposed a $250 million campaign that would give Santa Claus performers access to the coronavirus vaccine before the general public. In exchange, the performers would agree to promote the vaccine to all the boys and girls who came to sit on their lap at Christmastime. And don’t fret about Mrs. Claus and the elves, because this hair-brained plan included giving them the vaccine, too.”

Washington Post: Amid covid-19 surge in Belgium, doctors and nurses asked to keep working after testing positive. “Well into Europe’s second wave of the coronavirus, so many Belgians are sick or quarantining that there aren’t enough police on the streets, teachers in classrooms or medical staff in hospitals. In some hospitals, doctors and nurses who have tested positive but don’t have symptoms are being asked to keep working, because so many others are out sick with covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. School principals are marshaling secretaries and parent volunteers to replace falling ranks of teachers.”

New York Times: Why Can’t We See All of the Government’s Virus Data?. “Federal agencies have told us that since March they have been compiling basic data for each county and city on Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths, the timing of social distancing mandates, testing, and other factors. This information can provide insights into how combinations of public health mandates — masks, social distancing and school closures, for instance — can keep the virus spread in check. But the government, inexplicably, is not sharing all of its data. Researchers have asked federal officials many times for the missing information, but have been told it won’t be shared outside the government.”

BBC: Coronavirus: Germany restricts social life in ‘lockdown light’. “Germany has entered the first day of a month-long ‘lockdown light’, shutting restaurants, bars, gyms and entertainment venues, but keeping schools, shops and workplaces open. The lockdown is not as restrictive as the March-April one, and food outlets can still provide takeaways.”


Courier Journal: Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie: No COVID-19 vaccine for me. “‘I do hope a vaccine is developed soon, but I won’t be taking it,’ said U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, a Republican representing Kentucky’s Fourth Congressional District. When asked by The Courier Journal why he would not take the COVID-19 vaccine, Massie said in a written statement that ‘I’m not in a high/risk category and I trust my natural immune system response over a pharmaceutically stimulated response.'”

Reuters: Brazil’s Bolsonaro says cure, not vaccine, way out of coronavirus crisis. “‘I’ll give my personal opinion: Isn’t it cheaper and easier to invest in a cure rather than a vaccine?’ Bolsonaro told supporters outside the presidential palace in Brasilia. Bolsonaro, who caught and recovered from, Covid-19 in July, has repeatedly downplayed the gravity of the virus and continues to promote the anti-malarial chloroquine as a cure despite mounting evidence it doesn’t work.”


BBC: Lockdown: ‘More sports face collapse without guidance’ says shadow sports minister. “The government has been urged to issue guidance on how new lockdown rules for England will affect sport, ‘unless they want more sports to face collapse’. Shadow sports minister Alison McGovern made the comments following the announcement of a new four-week lockdown from Thursday until 2 December to combat rising Covid-19 numbers.”


Texas Tribune: Alarming failure rates among Texas students fuel calls to get them back into classrooms. “Most schools hoped this fall would see students make up academic ground lost last spring when the pandemic hit. Instead, districts are looking for ways to reverse plummeting grades and attendance among students learning at home.”


New York Times: At 12, She’s a Covid ‘Long Hauler’. “More than seven months into the coronavirus pandemic, it has become increasingly apparent that many patients with both severe and mild illness do not fully recover. Weeks and months after exposure, these Covid ‘long-haulers,’ as they have been called, continue experiencing a range of symptoms, including exhaustion, dizziness, shortness of breath and cognitive impairments. Children are generally at significantly less risk than older people for serious complications and death from Covid-19, but the long-term impacts of infection on them, if any, have been especially unclear.”


The Register: Just cough into your phone, please… MIT lab thinks it can diagnose COVID-19 from the way you expectorate. “Academics claim their AI software can detect, with 98.5 per cent accuracy, whether or not someone has caught the COVID-19 coronavirus, just from the sound of their coughing. To build this software, the MIT team used three ResNet50 models, a popular convolutional neural network designed by Microsoft. They’re normally used to process images for computer vision, though in this case they’re analyzing audio.”

World Economic Forum: Digital diagnosis: Why teaching computers to read medical records could help against COVID-19. “Every day, healthcare staff in a typical NHS hospital generate so much text it would take a human an age just to scroll through it, let alone read it. Using computers to analyse all this data is an obvious solution, but far from simple. What makes perfect sense to a human can be highly difficult for a computer to understand. Our team is using a form artificial intelligence to bridge this gap. By teaching computers how to comprehend human doctors’ notes, we’re hoping they’ll uncover insights on how to fight COVID-19 by finding patterns across many thousands of patients’ records.”


Politico: Game-changing coronavirus medicine gears up for production. “Amid alarming spikes in infections and a wave of new restrictions announced across Europe, some good news is emerging: Monoclonal antibodies are likely to be the first game-changing therapy against COVID-19. Big drugmakers have ample experience in manufacturing these kinds of medicines, and their existing facilities can readily be converted to produce doses of a future COVID-19 treatment, experts say.”

Nature: Neanderthal DNA highlights complexity of COVID risk factors. “A genetic analysis reveals that some people who have severe reactions to the SARS-CoV-2 virus inherited certain sections of their DNA from Neanderthals. However, our ancestors can’t take all the blame for how someone responds to the virus.”


BBC: Charlie Hebdo trial suspended as suspect catches Covid-19. “The main suspect in the 2015 Charlie Hebdo attack in France has tested positive for Covid-19 and his trial has been suspended, lawyers say. Ali Reza Polat is accused of helping the militant Islamist attackers who killed 12 people at the satirical magazine four years ago. The presiding judge says 10 accused accomplices must be tested for the virus before the trial can resume.”

Cleveland .com: Ohio man tells police of scheme to place Gov. Mike DeWine under ‘house arrest’. “A Miami County resident has told police that he was approached about helping to arrest Gov. Mike DeWine at his Greene County home and try him for ‘tyranny.’ The case has been referred to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, though a spokesman declined to discuss further details, citing security reasons.”

NBC News: Illegal Halloween party with nearly 400 people shut down by deputies in NYC. “The sheriff’s office in New York City said Saturday its deputies shut down an illegal Halloween party of more than 387 people that violated emergency orders prohibiting large gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic. The police bust occurred at around 1 a.m. on Saturday in a Brooklyn warehouse.”

KTVB: Idaho attorney general warns of fake coronavirus cures. “Lawrence Wasden says they’ve received a lot of complaints recently about online sellers making unproven claims about things like colloidal silver, essential oils, supplements or immunity-boosting therapies.”


The Conversation: Nigeria needs innovation and science investment to help control COVID-19. “To control this pandemic and prevent a future one, Nigeria needs to start investing heavily in science research. Nigeria was one of the 10 African heads of state and government that endorsed a target to allocate 1% of gross domestic product to research and development in 2002. But progress towards this target has been slow.”

The BMJ: The concept of “fatigue” in tackling covid-19. “Instead of using the concept of ‘fatigue’ to understand a lack of adherence to covid-19 rules, we should focus on—and tackle—people’s capability, opportunity, and motivation, say Susan Michie, Robert West, and Nigel Harvey”


Inside Edition: How Musicians Are Doing Things Differently to Encourage People to Vote Amid COVID-19. “As the clock ticks down closer to Election Day, more and more musicians are encouraging their fans to get out and vote. While musicians encouraging fans to vote is nothing new, this year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, things will have to be done differently. Artists have always influenced and commented on the culture around them. Yet, moreso in America since the Vietnam War, musicians have encouraged their fans to vote and push for change. ”

ABC News: ‘He shot himself in the foot’: Seniors repelled by Trump’s pandemic response. “Marcelo Montesinos voted for President Donald Trump in 2016 because he said he saw ‘a man who would bring a lot of change.’ Four years later, after losing a family member to the coronavirus, Montesinos, 72, is one of many seniors who now say they can no longer support the president because of his handling of the pandemic.”

BuzzFeed News: The Coronavirus Is Pushing Women Out Of Work And Away From Trump. “Across the country, the coronavirus pandemic has disproportionately driven women out of the workforce — hitting female-dominated industries like Higgins’s or forcing couples to choose between higher and lower wage earners in order to provide childcare.”

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