Monday CoronaBuzz, November 9, 2020: 43 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.


Harvard Crimson: School of Public Health Co-Creates Interactive Planning Tool To Aid COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution. “Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital developed a new vaccine allocation tool that will help local and state leaders across the nation strategize the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, according to a press release last week. The technology enables states to prioritize vulnerable populations using localized data as they plan vaccine distribution. It follows allocation guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine.”


Broadway World: Wiener Staatsoper Opens Digital Archive. “For the period of the temporary closure (3 to 30 November 2020 inclusive), the Vienna State Opera will offer video recordings from the digital archive as a stream free of charge.”


Cornell Chronicle: Tool tracks COVID cases within NY school district boundaries. “New York state officials, parents and others now have a way to check COVID-19 case numbers within the geographic boundaries of school districts and alongside other data, thanks to a new online tool. The ILR School has launched the NYS School District COVID-19 Tracker, an interactive, web-based mapping application that combines multiple sources of data on COVID-19, demographics and related topics by school district.”


Kurdistan 24: COVID-19: Erbil launches awareness campaign as 771 new cases recorded in Kurdistan. “The Kurdistan Region’s Ministry of Health on Saturday announced a new coronavirus awareness campaign as the autonomous region records nearly 800 new infections and 21 deaths over the previous 24 hours.”

ProPublica: Millions Still Haven’t Gotten Stimulus Checks, Including Many Who Need Them Most. “As many as 12 million Americans didn’t get their stimulus payment. Usually it’s because their income was too low. Here’s what they can do: Apply through the government’s glitchy platform (if they even qualify), and do so before Nov. 21.”

Stars and Stripes: More than 4,000 VA patients have died from coronavirus. “Such as with the overall population, cases among veterans are surging in the Midwest. The Minneapolis VA hospital has the most cases across the VA system, with 187 patients who are currently sick with the virus. Milwaukee, Wisc., is a close second, with 183 patients.”


My Journal Courier: Pandemic side gigs take hustle. “Side gig. Side job. Side hustle. It goes by many names and serves many purposes. For some, it’s a way to keep the lights on. For others, it’s an opportunity to save for a goal or follow a passion. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of Americans have become unemployed. Many are turning to the gig economy to make money. And it’s booming.”

Ohio Attorney General: Charities Struggling During Pandemic, Ohio State Study of Sector Finds. “Amid the persistent challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, nonprofits across Ohio are struggling from the economic fallout at a time when the public and government need them most. To better understand the situation, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office partnered with the Ohio Association of Nonprofit Organizations, Philanthropy Ohio and researchers at The Ohio State University’s John Glenn College of Public Affairs to produce the ongoing The Ohio Nonprofit COVID-19 Survey to gather information on Ohio’s nonprofit organizations and how to help them through this difficult time in history.”

Los Angeles Times: Coronavirus has claimed more than 90,000 lives in Mexico, muting the country’s iconic Day of the Dead. “The ongoing pandemic has felled more than 90,000 Mexicans, ranking the country fourth worldwide in the number of coronavirus-related deaths. It has also achieved another doleful feat: muting one of the country’s signature holidays — Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, when Mexicans honor deceased loved ones in often-boisterous fashion, converging on cemeteries with flowers, candles, food and beverages, and leaving ornate altars in memory of the departed.”


The Art Newspaper: Exclusive survey: how small US galleries are surviving the coronavirus crisis as Trump tables relief plans. “One day in March, the shoebox-sized Lower East Side gallery signs & symbols opened a new show in New York—and then promptly closed it for almost four months, thanks to Covid-19. In that lockdown lull, however, the gallery’s owner, Mitra Khorasheh, says that her workload has only grown more challenging. ‘We’re working twice as hard as we used to,’ she says.”

The Hindu: Heritage, alone no more: India’s museums adapt to the virtual zeitgeist. “As more museums make the choice to make a living online, we take a look at how sustainable this can be Historical hubs around the country have been quiet through most of 2020. With the lockdown to combat COVID-19 on, no curious visitors or researchers ambled through hallways. Though Unlock 5 saw the opening of tourist sites, including museums, footfall numbers are controlled.”


Publishers Weekly: As Covid-19 Cases Surge, PRH Again Extends Temporary E-book, Digital Audio Terms for Libraries, Schools. “With Covid-19 cases on the rise nationwide, Penguin Random House executives this week confirmed that the publisher is extending its temporary digital license terms for e-books and digital audio in libraries and schools through March 31, 2021. All Penguin Random House and DK adult and children’s fiction and nonfiction titles are part of this extension.”

Vice: Leaked Audio: Facebook Moderators Terrified to Return to Office During COVID Outbreak. “At the beginning of August, Facebook announced that it would be allowing all its staff to remain working from home until at least the middle of summer 2021 “based on guidance from health and government experts.” But, at the same time, thousands of people who are tasked with making sure Facebook stays free of child abuse imagery, beheadings, and all the other horrors floating around the internet, were being told to return to the office.”

BNN Bloomberg: Chipotle CEO sees staffing shortages worsening as virus surges. “Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. has had to temporarily close its doors at some locations or limit store hours because so many workers are sick during the COVID-19 pandemic, a phenomenon its CEO predicts will get worse in the coming months.”

CNN: Sainsbury’s is closing its deli counters as shopping goes online and local. “One of Britain’s biggest supermarket chains is closing its meat, fish and deli counters permanently as the coronavirus pandemic accelerates changes in shopping habits.”


Aspen Times: A half-million Coloradans have already signed up for the state’s new coronavirus-tracking notification tool. “The tool, called Exposure Notifications, runs in the background on smartphones to exchange non-personally identifying information with other phones it comes near that also are running the app. If a person later tests positive for coronavirus, they will have the option of sending a notification to all the people who also use the app that the person had potentially exposed.”

Salt Lake Tribune: Utah officials and health experts disagree on COVID-19 data — and new business restrictions. “As Utah’s coronavirus case counts soar and hospitals warn that rationing care is all but inevitable, health experts say that state officials for weeks have rejected their recommendations for more severe restrictions to prevent further spread.”

KSL: ‘We must do more’: Statewide mask mandate, social gathering limit coming to Utah amid COVID-19 surge. “Utah Gov. Gary Herbert issued a statewide mask mandate Sunday night as part of emergency orders directing Utahns to limit social gatherings to their own household to combat the state’s current COVID-19 surge.”

Boston Globe: Charlie Baker orders people to wear masks in public, no matter how far they are from other people. “With coronavirus cases on a worrisome rise, Governor Charlie Baker says Massachusetts residents must now wear masks in public places, no matter what their distance is from other people. He updated his previous mask order, which only required mask-wearing in public places where social distancing of ‘approximately six feet’ wasn’t possible.”


Bloomberg Law: U.S. Buying Hospital Gowns From Untested Makers for Covid Needs. “Several U.S. companies that won almost half a billion dollars in government contracts to make hospital gowns appear to have too few workers and not enough factory space to complete the job when the awards were made, according to a Bloomberg Law analysis. Their selection calls into question how closely the Defense Department examined these untested company’s abilities to fulfill the contracts. However, the Defense Department stands by its review.”

Washington Post: White House sidestepped FDA to distribute hydroxychloroquine to pharmacies, documents show. Trump touted the pills to treat covid-19.. “Over a span of four days in early April, the White House ordered the distribution of 23 million hydroxychloroquine tablets from the stockpile to a dozen states, enough pills for 1.4 million covid-19 patients, according to public records obtained by The Post in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. The Post review found that the process was marked by haphazard planning, little or no communication to local authorities about the flow of pills into their communities, and a lack of public accounting about where they ended up.”


CNN: White House chief of staff tests positive for coronavirus. “White House chief of staff Mark Meadows has tested positive for coronavirus, according to two officials familiar with the matter, becoming the latest official in President Donald Trump’s administration to become infected with the virus after a string of outbreaks in the West Wing. Two other Trump staffers have also tested positive, officials said, lending further disquiet to an already-tense post-election White House.”

CBC: Ottawa grandma finds her happy hour on Instagram. “An Ottawa grandmother has found a way to chase away her pandemic blues, one sip at a time. At 82, Donna Calcutt-Andrew is the star of her new Instagram page Cocktails with Grandma, which highlights her locally sourced cocktail hour drinks.”

USA Today: MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow in quarantine after ‘close contact’ tests positive for COVID-19. “Rachel Maddow has announced that she will not appear on MSNBC Friday night after a close contact tested positive for COVID-19. The liberal pundit announced on Twitter Friday that, though she has tested negative for the disease, she will still be quarantining at home to make sure she does not put anyone else at risk.”

People: Herman Cain’s Daughter Opens Up About His COVID Death and the Public Reaction: ‘It Was One of the Worst Times’. “Grief, confusion, loss: These are some of the emotions Herman Cain’s daughter described in a recent interview about her father’s July death from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).”

BBC: Covid-19: Prince William ‘tested positive in April’. “The Duke of Cambridge contracted Covid-19 earlier this year, palace sources have told the BBC. It is believed he tested positive in April at a similar time to his father, the Prince of Wales. According to the Sun newspaper, which first reported the story, Prince William, 38, kept his diagnosis private to avoid alarming the nation.”


PR Newswire: American Foundation for the Blind Announces Access and Engagement Report, Illustrating Impact of COVID-19 on Students with Visual Impairments and Their Educators (PRESS RELEASE). “The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) today announced the release of the Access and Engagement research report, based on the Spring 2020 survey that investigated the early impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the education of 455 students with visual impairments, including those with additional disabilities and deafblindness, and their families. The study also examined the experiences of 1,028 teachers of students with visual impairments (TVIs), orientation and mobility (O&M) specialists, and dually certified professionals.”


CNN: What we can learn from 1918’s deadly second wave. “The 1918 pandemic transpired in three waves, from the spring of 1918 to the winter of 1919 — ultimately killing 50 million to 100 million people globally. The first wave in the spring of 1918 was relatively mild. A majority of 1918 flu deaths occurred in the fall of 1918 — the second, and worst, wave of the 1918 flu.”

WOWT: Rural EMS teams face dwindling donations as COVID-19 cases rise. “Rural EMS departments are having a tough time keeping up amid the pandemic; donations are down and expenses are up, forcing them to make some difficult decisions.”

New York Times: How Are Americans Catching the Virus? Increasingly, ‘They Have No Idea’. “When the coronavirus first erupted in Sioux Falls, S.D., in the spring, Mayor Paul TenHaken arrived at work each morning with a clear mission: Stop the outbreak at the pork plant. Hundreds of employees, chopping meat shoulder to shoulder, had gotten sick in what was then the largest virus cluster in the United States. That outbreak was extinguished months ago, and these days, when he heads into City Hall, the situation is far more nebulous. The virus has spread all over town.”

ProPublica: How Your Brain Tricks You Into Taking Risks During the Pandemic. “Many months into the pandemic, even as the nation faces its highest average daily case counts to date, people still don’t agree on how to live in the era of COVID-19. We know how to protect ourselves — washing our hands, wearing masks and staying socially distant — but many people still take unnecessary risks, even at the highest levels of government.”

EurekAlert: New analysis reveals ‘long-hauler’ COVID-19 patients with prolonged skin symptoms. “Patients presented with a broad spectrum of dermatologic manifestations lasting for different lengths of time, including hives (urticaria), lasting for median 5 days, and pernio/chilblains (”COVID toes”), lasting 15 days but sometimes as long as 130-150 days, and papulosquamous eruptions, which are scaly papules and plaques, persisting for 20 days (1).”


Bay News 9: Cleveland Company Develops New LED UVC Disinfection Device That Targets COVID-19. “GE Current, a Daintree company, rolled out a new device that targets airborne viruses like COVID-19 and local businesses are already installing it.”

Michigan State University: Machine learning helps hunt for COVID-19 therapies. “Michigan State University Foundation Professor Guowei Wei wasn’t preparing machine learning techniques for a global health crisis. Still, when one broke out, he and his team were ready to help.”


STAT News: Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech is strongly effective, early data from large trial indicate. “The vaccine is the first to be tested in the United States to generate late-stage data. The companies said an early analysis of the results showed that individuals who received two injections of the vaccine three weeks apart experienced more than 90% fewer cases of symptomatic Covid-19 than those who received a placebo. For months, researchers have cautioned that a vaccine that might only be 60% or 70% effective.”

HuffPost: Paid Sick Leave Significantly Reduces COVID-19 Cases, Study Finds. “The emergency paid sick leave benefit passed by Congress in March to deal with the coronavirus pandemic kept a significant number of Americans from getting COVID-19, according to a peer-reviewed study published Thursday in the journal Health Affairs. Yet the benefit is set to expire at the end of the year, well before the pandemic is expected to let up.”

CBC: Ottawa’s wastewater suggests COVID-19 levels are plateauing. “Scientists measuring the levels of COVID-19 in Ottawa’s wastewater say data suggests the recent surge of new infections in the city may be slowing, even plateauing. Tyson Graber, associate research scientist at CHEO Research Institute and co-lead investigator on the wastewater monitoring project, says the level of SARS-CoV-2 genetic material is levelling off in local samples.”

Daily Bruin: CDC partners with UCLA program that collects data on COVID-19 in prisons, jails. “The UCLA Law COVID-19 Behind Bars Data Project, led by law professor Sharon Dolovich, signed a contract with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in October to serve as the primary data source for tracking COVID-19 in correctional and detention facilities. The project organizes data collected by volunteers in jails, prisons and detention centers as part of an effort to become a national resource for advocates for people incarcerated during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

New York Times: Tests Show Genetic Signature of Virus That May Have Infected President Trump. “The White House did not take basic steps to investigate its outbreak. We worked with geneticists to sequence the virus that infected two journalists exposed during the outbreak, providing clues to how it may have spread.”

Nature Human Behaviour: Partisan differences in physical distancing are linked to health outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Numerous polls suggest that COVID-19 is a profoundly partisan issue in the United States. Using the geotracking data of 15 million smartphones per day, we found that US counties that voted for Donald Trump (Republican) over Hillary Clinton (Democrat) in the 2016 presidential election exhibited 14% less physical distancing between March and May 2020.”


MarketWatch: Consumers ordering Clorox and Lysol products are being sent socks instead, FTC says. “The site, along with 24 others, received notices from the Federal Trade Commission on Thursday alleging that they were ‘playing on consumers’ COVID-19 pandemic fears to trick them into paying for Clorox and Lysol products that the defendants never deliver.’ In some cases, the sites are charging more than $1,000 for their products, the FTC alleged.”


13 News Now: Norfolk nonprofit mails thousands of free books to kids during coronavirus pandemic. “It’s a nonprofit aimed at promoting literacy and was recently selected by Coastal Virginia magazine as one of the top nonprofits in the area. It’s called REACH, or Reading Enriches All Children. The group’s executive director Dr. Jennifer Goff said it’s a milestone that wasn’t easy, because of the coronavirus pandemic.”


Global News: Joe Biden to announce coronavirus task force as U.S. cases soar. “Making the resurgent coronavirus his immediate priority, U.S. President-elect Joe Biden on Monday will announce a 12-member task force to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.”

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