Thursday CoronaBuzz, November 12, 2020: 36 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.


Local DVM: Maryland Department of Health reports school COVID-19 outbreaks via online database. “The Maryland Department of Health is now reporting coronavirus outbreaks at schools across the state through an online database. As of Wednesday, the data shows COVID-19 cases at 26 different public and private schools. In total, about 87 confirmed cases of the virus are present within schools in 11 counties and the City of Baltimore.”

Yale: Website Provides Crucial Early Information on COVID Outbreaks . “The Yale COVID-19 Wastewater Tracker, which went online this week, features the results of research that measures and reports daily concentrations of coronavirus RNA at Connecticut wastewater treatment facilities. It covers nearly one million residents in the Stamford, Bridgeport, New Haven, Hartford, New London, and Norwich regions.”

The Ithaca Voice: Cornell launches new COVID-19 school district tracking tool. “Cornell University’s International Labor Relations School has launched a new tool to track the coronavirus pandemic’s presence across New York State by school district, charting how districts have chosen to carry out their learning programs during the pandemic and how infection rates are trending in those places.”

ABC 12 News: Michigan takes COVID-19 contract tracing app statewide. “Michigan has a new tool being used in the fight against COVID-19 — and it’s only a tap away. The state launched a mobile device app that tracks potential exposure to the illness and alerts those who may have had contact with someone diagnosed with coronavirus.”


BBC: Covid: UK first country in Europe to pass 50,000 deaths. “A total of 50,365 people have died within 28 days of a positive Covid test, up 595 in the past 24 hours. The UK is the fifth country to pass 50,000 deaths, coming after the US, Brazil, India and Mexico.”

Grand Forks Herald: With North Dakota hospitals at 100% capacity, Burgum announces COVID-positive nurses can stay at work. “North Dakota’s hospitals have reached their limit, and the coming weeks could push them past their capabilities, Gov. Doug Burgum said at a news conference on Monday, Nov. 9. Due to a major shortage of health care staffing, the state’s hospitals have a severe lack of available beds. Rising COVID-19 hospitalizations and high noncoronavirus admissions, some resulting from residents who deferred health care earlier in the pandemic, have caused the crunch on medical centers.”

The Register-Herald: State’s virus numbers quickly adding up. “These numbers are not good for West Virginia: 511 new confirmed cases of Covid-19, a record 7,271 active cases, a daily positive test rate of 4.96 percent and, worst of all, 16 more deaths. That is the quick review of the daily report issued by the state’s Department of Health and Human Resources as the pandemic is raging throughout the country and picking up steam in the Mountain State.”

Reuters: COVID infections in England doubled during October – Imperial College study. ” COVID-19 infections rose sharply in October with double the number of cases reported by the end of the month compared to the beginning, a large prevalence study led by Imperial College London said on Thursday.”

Associated Press: US hits record COVID-19 hospitalizations amid virus surge. “The U.S. hit a record number of coronavirus hospitalizations Tuesday and surpassed 1 million new confirmed cases in just the first 10 days of November amid a nationwide surge of infections that shows no signs of slowing. The new wave appears bigger and more widespread than the surges that happened in the spring and summer — and threatens to be worse. But experts say there are also reasons to think the nation is better able to deal with the virus this time around.”

Argus Leader: South Dakota COVID-19 hospitalizations up for fifth day. “Hospitalized patients increased by 41 patients over the previous 24 hours, with 607 people in the state’s staffed hospital beds. The number of active cases rose by 353 to 16,595 after the state reported that an additional 691 people recovered from the disease. The state has averaged 1,211 new positive infections over the past seven days.” For comparison: North Carolina currently has an average of 2,492 cases a day over the last seven days. North Carolina has a population of 10.49 million. South Dakota’s population is 884,659.

Dallas Morning News: Dallas County, Texas set single-day records for new coronavirus cases. “Dallas County on Tuesday reported 1,401 more coronavirus cases — all of them considered new and the county’s highest single-day total of the pandemic. Two new COVID-19 deaths were also reported. The county reported more cases twice in August, but on both occasions the total included significant numbers of older, previously unreported cases from the Texas Department of State Health Services backlog.”


City A.M.: Google searches for ‘takeaway pints’ rise 3,000% in a week. “Brits are missing the pub during the latest coronavirus lockdown, new research showed, as searches for reopening dates and takeaway pints rocketed during the first week of new restrictions. According to analysis of Google data, last week searches for ‘when can pubs reopen in England’ soared 2,501 per cent.”

Washingtonian: This Couple Traded a House in the Suburbs for a DC Apartment *Because* of the Pandemic. “By now, you’ve read something like a zillion stories about people fleeing cities in search of more space because of Covid-19. But Gina Hardin and Chris Hartranft did the exact opposite.”

New York Times: In a Stressful Time, Knitting for Calm and Connection. “If you Google the two words ‘knitting’ and ‘pandemic’ together, you will get about 23 million hits. You’ll also do very well with ‘knitting through the pandemic,’ and ‘knitting’ with ‘Covid’ will get you 266 million options, the very first of which, at least when I tried this, was a British pattern for a Covid-19 teddy bear (he wears a mask).”

Associated Press: In Iran, a massive cemetery struggles to keep up with virus. “For over half a century, a massive graveyard on the edge of Iran’s capital has provided a final resting place for this country’s war dead, its celebrities and artists, its thinkers and leaders and all those in between. But Behesht-e-Zahra is now struggling to keep up with the coronavirus pandemic ravaging Iran, with double the usual number of bodies arriving each day and grave diggers excavating thousands of new plots.”

News Letter: Woman who lost both parents to Covid-19 launches online archive of grief. “Inspired by St Paul’s Cathedral’s Remember Me campaign, the website is collating tributes and stories of people all over Northern Ireland. Belfast Cathedral hopes that the initiative is a continuous legacy of memories retold, which people will be able to treasure for years to come.”


NOLA: From Professor Longhair to Big Freedia, ‘Save Tip’s’ benefit features a New Orleans who’s who. “To get a sense of how important Tipitina’s is to musicians from New Orleans and beyond, consider the roster for ‘Save Tip’s,’ the free, livestreamed, three-plus-hour benefit airing at 8 p.m. Saturday.”


Washington Post: Treasury emergency aid loan goes to airline backed by Amazon and Apollo, showing government’s long reach. “The Treasury Department has lent $45 million to an airline backed by both e-commerce giant Amazon and Apollo Global Management, a massive private equity firm that has benefited from at least one other government bailout earlier this year. The airline, Sun Country, had planned to go public this year as a way to raise large amounts of money, but those plans were delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.”

Bloomberg: U.S. Trucking Battles Surging Demand and a Dearth of Drivers. “The average age of a driver is 46, according to the American Trucking Association, and more than 55% are 45 or older. Many also face health challenges including hypertension and obesity, reflecting a job associated with long hours, little physical activity and limited access to healthy foods. The pandemic has constricted the number of new drivers coming to the industry through driving schools, some of which are closed, while others have curbed enrollment because of social-distancing measures.”

Axios: Pfizer’s CEO sold $5.6 million in stock on same day of vaccine news. “Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla sold $5.6 million worth of stock on Monday — the same day it said its and BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine showed 90% effectiveness in preliminary results, which saw the company’s stock soaring almost 8%.” Apparently this is legal.


Washington Post: Maryland governor adds coronavirus restrictions as cases surge across the Washington region. “Effective at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Maryland restaurants must reduce indoor dining capacity from 75 percent to 50 percent. A new health advisory urges a 25-person cap on indoor gatherings. The governor also issued a heightened travel advisory that warns against visiting states with high rates of infections, ruling out nonessential travel to 35 states.”

Fox 5 Las Vegas: ‘Stay at Home 2.0’: Sisolak warns ‘severe’ action if COVID-19 trends continue in Nevada. “Governor Steve Sisolak is warning Nevadans that COVID-19 mitigation measures will tighten if the state does not see improvements in cases, test positivity rates and hospitalizations…. Over the past two weeks, Nevada has had an average of 963 new cases per day with a 13.7% test positivity rate, and 898 COVID-19 patients hospitalized as of Tuesday.”


The Scotsman: ScotRail to cut hundreds of trains a day as passenger slump continues. “The move will achieve a ‘significant cost reduction’ at a time when many trains are running empty or with few passengers, it said.”

RNZ: From memes to tweets, NZ’s online Covid-19 response archived. “Memes of Ashley Bloomfield, cartoons about takeaway cravings, and official Covid-19 warnings – The National Library and the Alexander Turnbull Library are preserving millions of online digital communications to create a snapshot of Aotearoa’s response to Covid-19.”

Bloomberg: Push on to speed up poultry production. “Coronavirus cases are rising, but the Trump administration is making its last push to allow chicken slaughterhouses to speed up production lines, something seen as a potential threat to social distancing for production workers. Three days after the election, the U.S. Department of Agriculture submitted a proposal to raise the maximum line speed by 25% to the White House Office of Management and Budget for review. That’s typically the last step before a proposed regulation is published.”


New York Times: These Towns Trusted a Doctor to Set Up Covid Testing. Sample Patient Fee: $1,944.. “Rebecca Sussman got a coronavirus test because town officials in Bedford, N.Y., encouraged her to…. Ms. Sussman, 51, took her whole family to get tested, and the results came back negative. Then the paperwork came: $6,816 had been charged to insurance for four coronavirus tests. Ms. Sussman’s fees alone were $1,944.

Motley Fool: Exclusive: Editor-in-Chief Of The Lancet On Coronavirus Vaccines And The Pandemic. “’s Healthcare and Cannabis Bureau Chief Corinne Cardina interviewed Richard Horton on Motley Fool Live on Oct. 9. Horton runs the British medical journal The Lancet and has been at the forefront of publishing data about the coronavirus pandemic. He also recently published a book called The COVID-19 Catastrophe. Here, he shares what we know, and have yet to learn, about COVID-19, his thoughts on the different vaccine candidates in development, and what the future of global health looks like.”

Dallas Morning News: Plano televangelist who linked pandemic to premarital sex dies of COVID-19. “The Rev. Irvin Baxter Jr., who suggested the coronavirus pandemic was a warning from God about the ‘sin of fornication,’ died Nov. 3 of complications from COVID-19, his Plano-based ministry announced. He was 75. Baxter, a televangelist and founder of Endtime Ministries, was hospitalized two weeks ago after testing positive for the virus, according to a statement from the ministry.”

BNN Bloomberg: Billionaire Trump Donors Uihlein Test Positive For Coronavirus. “Elizabeth and Richard Uihlein, the billionaire shipping magnates who are among President Donald Trump’s biggest donors, have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to an email seen by Bloomberg News. Elizabeth Uihlein, the chief executive officer of shipping-supply company Uline Inc., announced her illness in a memo sent to her more than 6,000 employees on Wednesday afternoon.”


KMTV: Severe nursing shortage in Nebraska. “Experts say if current COVID-19 trends continue, hospitals will be full in about three weeks. Hospital staff, especially nurses, are struggling to keep up with the influx of patients as demand grows.”

7 News Miami: Could some body bags burned during COVID pandemic pose a health risk? State set to notify human crematories of the problem. “In August, 7 Investigates documented thick black smoke billowing out of the crematory at Maspons Funeral Home in Little Havana. Since then, more black smoke rising into the air from two other South Florida crematories. An expert on air quality told us it can be a health risk.”


Tulsa World: No ICU beds available in Tulsa amid COVID-19 case spike. “No intensive care unit beds were available in Tulsa hospitals Monday night amid record-breaking numbers of COVID-19 cases, a spokesman for the Oklahoma Regional Medical Response System confirmed. Adam Paluka, a spokesman for the system’s District 7 in Tulsa, told the Tulsa World on Monday night that the capacity limit applies to hospitals in the city but not the entirety of Tulsa County.”


BBC: Covid: Brazil allows resumption of Chinese vaccine trial. “Brazil’s health regulator has announced that the trial of a Chinese coronavirus vaccine can resume. Anvisa suspended Brazil’s trial of the vaccine two days ago, citing a ‘severe adverse incident’ – reported to be the death of a volunteer. The head of the institute conducting the trial said the death had no connection to the vaccine.”

STAT News: The story of mRNA: How a once-dismissed idea became a leading technology in the Covid vaccine race. “The liquid that many hope could help end the Covid-19 pandemic is stored in a nondescript metal tank in a manufacturing complex owned by Pfizer, one of the world’s biggest drug companies. There is nothing remarkable about the container, which could fit in a walk-in closet, except that its contents could end up in the world’s first authorized Covid-19 vaccine.”


CNN: Modi declares victory in India’s first coronavirus election as cases soar in country’s capital. “Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has claimed victory in the country’s first major state election held during the pandemic. Results from the Election Commission of India show that Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its coalition partners have returned to power after a tight race for control of the legislative assembly in Bihar, the country’s third most populous state with more than 100 million people.”

Politico: The hangover awaiting Biden: Deep wounds from Covid-19. “Positive vaccine news presents real hope for healing sectors battered by the coronavirus pandemic. But the nation still faces a dark winter of uncontrolled virus outbreaks that could spur a downward lurch in the economy, compounding the earlier damage. And the prospect of a divided Congress means the new administration may not be able to unleash the kind of sweeping, multitrillion-dollar fiscal stimulus it wants to triage the economy until Covid-19 is either vanquished or brought under control.”

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