Friday CoronaBuzz, November 13, 2020: 22 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.


The Atlantic: The Worst Day of the Pandemic Since May. “The United States is experiencing an unprecedented surge of hospitalizations across the country. Today, states reported that 61,964 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, more than at any other time in the pandemic. For context, there are now 40 percent more people hospitalized with COVID-19 than there were two weeks ago.”

MarketWatch: The U.S. has already had more than 1 million new coronavirus cases in November. “The U.S. has surpassed 1 million new confirmed coronavirus cases in just the first 10 days of November, with more than 100,000 infections each day becoming the norm in a surge that shows no signs of slowing. The 1 million milestone came as governors across the nation are making increasingly desperate pleas with the public to take the fight against the virus more seriously.”

Casper Star-Tribune: Wyoming sets new record with more than 1,100 cases confirmed in single day. “The total number of coronavirus cases in Wyoming grew by a record 1,232 on Tuesday, with the number of confirmed cases rising by 1,131 and the number of probable cases rising by 101, according to the Wyoming Department of Health’s daily update. Tuesday’s single-day total surpasses the previous record of 996 total cases, set Friday, by more than 230.”

Washington Post: Coronavirus spread hits record levels in Maryland, Virginia amid national spike. “The rolling seven-day average of new coronavirus infections on Monday in D.C., Virginia and Maryland stood at 2,727 — the sixth straight daily high, and up from an average of 1,313 daily cases at the start of October.”

Gothamist: Coronavirus Updates: NYC Positive Testing Rate Rises To 2.31% As Daily Cases Continue To Climb. “For weeks, the city’s positivity rate has been on a steady upward march, with new daily cases now averaging at around 800. And in a sign that the virus is spreading more broadly across the city, a total of 86 ZIP codes out of 177 have positivities above 2%, while 25 ZIP codes are above 3%. The data reflects a seven-day average between October 31st to November 6th.”

WRAL: NC’s COVID hospitalizations hits yet another all-time high. Here’s who is the sickest. “On Thursday, the state had 1,279 people being treated in hospitals for the virus, topping the record of 1,246 set a day earlier. New infections declined slightly on Thursday, to 2,893, from Wednesday’s record of 3,119, but the rolling, seven-day average of new cases rose to a record of 2,542 per day over the last week – numbers that could point to a continued increase in the need for COVID-related hospital care.”


University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign: Some U.S. states hit harder by COVID-19 food insecurity. “The report finds the hardest hit states are the same as before the pandemic – Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana, and New Mexico ­– but with higher rates. Jefferson County, Mississippi, has the highest food insecurity rate, 30.4%, in the country. However, the pandemic disproportionately affected other states. For example, Nevada jumped from 20th to eighth highest food insecurity rate by state.”

New York Times: Go Ahead, Binge Old Movies and Jam Out to ’90s Hits. “Some people swear by silent breakfasts. Others recommend breathing exercises. For another group of people, the ultimate coping mechanism for political angst and the pandemic is escaping into a world of yesteryear — listening to 1990s hits, watching old films and playing 16-bit video games. When everything has turned upside down, why not go back to a time when the world seemed simpler?”


ABC News: Restaurants unsure if they’ll last the winter with COVID-19 relief talks stalled. “One in six restaurant and foodservice outlets in the United States has closed since the pandemic began, according to a survey by the National Restaurant Association. With the winter approaching, COVID-19 cases reaching all-time highs and relief talks stalled in Congress, Weinzweig is among the nearly 16 million people who work in the restaurant industry and the food supply chain. Eight months since the country started shutting down, they’ve grown desperate for aid.”

Washington City Paper: Will D.C. Dial Back Indoor Dining as COVID-19 Cases Climb?. “Despite the fact that coronavirus cases in this region are hitting new highs this month and new scientific research about the risks of indoor dining is emerging, the mayor’s office continues to allow restaurants and bars to operate. D.C. is in Phase 2 of reopening, which allows for indoor dining at 50 percent capacity with service hours limited to between 6 a.m. through midnight. Today alone, the District reported 206 new COVID-19 cases.”


NBC New York: NYC Debuts At-Home COVID Test Kits as Part of Care Packages — Here’s How They Work. “New Yorkers who have been notified by contact tracers that they may have been exposed to COVID-19, have started receiving free at-home coronavirus test kits, a new tool particularly important ahead of the upcoming holidays.”

SF Gate: San Francisco rolls back reopenings as COVID cases surge. “As coronavirus cases in San Francisco surge, Mayor London Breed announced Tuesday the elimination of indoor dining, a limit on capacity at gyms and movie theaters and a pause on the reopening of additional high schools until further notice.”

Palmetto Politics: Some SC cities cut police funding amid coronavirus budget crunch, lack of federal aid. “Rather than in response to instances of police brutality, the budget cuts for police departments in several cities across South Carolina have come because of the revenue shortfalls they are experiencing during the coronavirus pandemic and the lack of assistance they are getting from the federal government. The issue has even become part of South Carolina’s hotly contested Senate campaign.”


ABC News: CDC issues robust new Thanksgiving guidance as cases surge in US. “The CDC’s guidance, which was first updated on Monday, emphasizes that the safest option for the holiday is celebrating only with people in your household. However, if you do celebrate with others, the agency advises you to take extra precautions, like wearing masks and keeping your distance.”

CNN: White House coronavirus task force warns of ‘accelerating community spread’. “The White House coronavirus task force is again alerting states of ‘accelerating’ coronavirus spread as cases and hospitalizations rapidly rise across the country with few signs of stabilizing. It strongly recommends increased testing in its weekly reports to states.”


Lincoln Journal-Star: ‘I finally got my wish’: State senator contracts COVID-19. “State Sen. Mike Groene of North Platte says he will not be attending the Legislature’s gathering in Mullen this week. He has COVID-19, he told Executive Board Chairman Mike Hilgers and other senators in a Monday afternoon email.”


Baltimore Sun: Maryland cancels football game against Ohio State due to high number coronavirus cases. “A surge in players testing positive for the coronavirus forced the Maryland football program on Wednesday to suspend all activities. The university also said that Saturday’s game against No. 3 Ohio State would be canceled and not rescheduled.”


EurekAlert: The COVID-19 pandemic: How US universities responded. “As the COVID-19 pandemic began in the United States, universities were forced to make difficult operational decisions to help slow the spread of the disease and protect their students, faculty, staff, and community members. Guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention, the World Health Organization (WHO), and other agencies informed these decisions about non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPI)–the only interventions available at the early stages of the pandemic.”


University of Bristol: Interactive virtual reality emerges as a new tool for drug design against COVID-19. “Bristol scientists have demonstrated a new virtual reality [VR] technique which should help in developing drugs against the SARS-CoV-2 virus – and enable researchers to share models and collaborate in new ways. The innovative tool, created by University of Bristol researchers, and published in the Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling, will help scientists around the world identify anti-viral drug leads more rapidly.”


Arizona State University: ASU student creates machine-learning model to identify neighborhoods most at risk for COVID-19. “In her paper titled ‘Characterizing the Spread of COVID-19 from Human Mobility Patterns and SocioDemographic Indicators,’ co-authored by Bandana Kar from Oak Ridge National Laboratory, [Avipsa] Roy leveraged anonymized human movement data from mobile phones and combined it with social distancing data and social vulnerability indicators to examine the overall spread of COVID-19 at local spatial scales.”


NOLA: Walter Isaacson: I participated in the Pfizer COVID trial at Ochsner. Here’s how it went.. “One of the mixed blessings of living in New Orleans, in addition to being able to dance in the eye of a hurricane, is that our frequent health challenges make it easy to enroll in clinical trials In my case, it’s the trial of the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer, which just made big news with its good results.”


Politico: Biden forms special Covid transition team. “President-elect Joe Biden has formed a special transition team dedicated to coordinating the coronavirus response across the government, according to documents obtained by POLITICO and people familiar with the decision.”

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