Saturday CoronaBuzz, November 14, 2020: 23 pointers to updates, useful stuff, research news, and more.

Today I’ve been doing this newsletter for eight months! Indexed 6,668 articles so far. I look forward to the day that I can’t find anything to include. Please wear a mask. Wash your hands. Stay at home if you can. Please be careful. I love you.


Medical Xpress: Tea for ten? New online tool lets you calculate COVID-19 risk. “If you were to find yourself in a group of ten people in the US capital Washington today, the risk that one person has COVID-19 would be 18 percent. The equivalent figure in Paris is 32 percent. That’s according to a dashboard developed by a team of US scientists that allows people to assess the risk of attending gatherings where they live using real-time infection data.”


WKYC: Ohio Department of Health now offering zip code dashboard to track COVID-19 cases. “During his COVID-19 briefing on Thursday, Governor Mike DeWine announced the creation of a new zip code dashboard. Ohioans can now view data from their local communities and filter data by probable or confirmed case status, county, a specific zip code, or a specific time period.”

WETM: Online tool from NYS lets people check if address is in a Cluster Hot Spot Zone. “The State of New York has introduced a new tool that allows people to check if an address is in a state-designated Cluster Hot Spot Zone. The tool is simple to use and will give you results in seconds.”


World Economic Forum: Are you an infodemiologist? Here are 7 tips on how to spot false information about the pandemic. “‘Infodemiology’ – studying the flood of information about the pandemic and how to manage it – is something the World Health Organization wants us all to become well-versed in. And it has devised some simple tips to help us decide what we can and can’t trust. Whether it’s misinformation (false information that wasn’t created with the intention of hurting others) or disinformation (false information created with the intention of profiting from it or causing harm), the WHO says it spreads just like a virus, passing from person to person.”

People lick their fingers to open produce bags at the grocery store? Ick. I do a variant of this trick in Dished: Grocery worker shows how to open a produce bag when wearing a mask (VIDEO). “The easiest way to open the pesky bags is to lick your fingers so the two sides don’t stick together. With mandatory mask orders in effect across the country, the task has become impossible. It’s also not the best course of action when a virus that spreads through respiratory droplets is circulating.”


BuzzFeed News: Her Disability Check Wasn’t Enough To Live On. The Pandemic Took Away Her Other Options To Get By.. “The country’s disability safety net was never adequate to support many of the people who rely on it, and throughout the pandemic, it has failed those like Chelsy who are now unable to find ways to make up the shortfall. She still has medical expenses to pay. Chelsy said while the government’s Social Security Disability Insurance provides necessary aid, it was never possible to survive on it alone, making it hard for recipients like her to get by if they lose their supplementary earnings.”


New Zealand Herald: Airbnb removes 300 New Zealand listings in party house purge. “Airbnb has scrubbed 300 New Zealand properties from its lettings platform this weekend, as its global crackdown on problem houses continues. The website says the decision was made after an update to its policies which included a ban on parties and events in Airbnb listings which came into effect in August. So far, changes have affected bookings for large groups or guests under the age of 25.”


Houston Chronicle: Texas getting shipments of COVID-19 treatment drugs Regeneron and bamlanivimab. “Gov. Greg Abbott said Friday that Texas will be distributing a federally approved COVID-19 treatment that helps protect people with mild illness from developing severe symptoms. But the supplies are likely to be limited.”

Spectrum News NY: Cuomo Orders 10 P.M. Curfew on Bars, Restaurants and Gyms, Indoor Family Gatherings Limited to 10 People. “As coronavirus cases continue to rise around the state amid fears of a second wave, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Wednesday that all bars and restaurants with a liquor license will need to be closed between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. each night.”


BBC: Coronavirus: Italy extends ‘red zones’ as infections soar. “Italy has added more regions to its coronavirus high-risk ‘red zones’ as cases across the country hit a new daily record. Campania and Tuscany will join other regions placed under the strictest lockdown measures from Sunday. Authorities in Campania, which includes Naples, have warned that the health system there is close to collapse.”

New York Times: The Surging Coronavirus Finds a Federal Leadership Vacuum. “When senior Food and Drug Administration officials held their morning call one day this week, they received a sobering warning from the agency’s chief, Dr. Stephen M. Hahn, who had just gotten off the phone with the White House: Block out ‘all the craziness’ afoot and stay focused on fighting the pandemic, he said. There are plenty of distractions.”

NPR: Novavax Posts Coronavirus Vaccine Contract That Government Didn’t Disclose. “A day after Pfizer’s announcement that its COVID-19 vaccine is more than 90% effective, rival Novavax shared its $1.6 billion Operation Warp Speed contract on Tuesday…. Notably, the Department of Health and Human Services told NPR in late August that it had ‘no records’ of the Novavax contract in response to a public records request for it over the summer. The agency announced the deal July 7 to support development, manufacturing and the purchase of 100 million doses.”


WKAR: Michigan State Senior Finds Serenity During COVID-19 Uncertainty. “In the era of COVID-19 while the world was shutting down, others were rising up. Cierra Chapman, a Michigan State University senior, created a new opportunity to transform herself physically and mentally during the pandemic. It all began for Chapman, 21, in the first few weeks of the lockdown. Having no connection with the exterior world, classes being forced to a virtual setting and losing her job — she took the time alone as an opportunity to self-reflect about what was going on in the world and, more importantly, the turmoil within herself.”

Tampa Bay Times: Meet the Uber-driving, conspiracy theorist blogger who DeSantis just hired. “When Gov. Ron DeSantis needed to hire a data analyst, his staff picked a little-known Ohio sports blogger and Uber driver whose only relevant experience is spreading harmful conspiracy theories about COVID-19 on the Internet. In his own words, Kyle Lamb has few qualifications for the job at the state’s Office of Policy and Budget, which pays $40,000 per year.”

CNN: White House political director tests positive for coronavirus, official says. “White House political affairs director Brian Jack has tested positive for coronavirus, an official confirmed to CNN on Wednesday. The White House declined to comment on Jack specifically, but said in a statement that positive cases are ‘taken seriously.'”

Vice: Brazil’s President Says His Country is Being a Bunch of ‘Sissies’ About COVID. “Brazil’s right-wing president merged homophobia and COVID denial into a single sentence when he urged the country ‘to stop being a country of sissies [maricas].'”


The Next Web: How is COVID transforming the business of sports?. “Today is day three of The Global Boardroom, a global digital conference to gather the most senior global decision-makers and leading minds in policy, business , and finance, initiated by the Financial Times and TNW. Although you need to be registered for The Global Boardroom, we’re also airing some of the sessions live on the as well as here on TNW.”


Ohio State News: Ohio State experts create COVID-19 surveillance tool for schools. “A kindergartner develops a sore throat, so he visits the school nurse. A teacher and two students at the middle school next door call in sick with fevers. Across town, a second-grader at another elementary school in the district goes home after a bad cough sets in. All this information is entered into a system developed at Ohio State called the COVID-19 Analytics and Targeted Surveillance System (CATS). School district staff and the local public health department monitor the system, watching for signs of coronavirus outbreaks.”


New York Times: How to Deal With Quarantine-Induced Social Anxiety. “Whether you’ve long struggled with social worries or find yourself feeling unusually awkward around people during the pandemic, worrying excessively about potentially embarrassing yourself won’t help you save face; at its worst, it can shrink your life. And when social worries morph into social anxiety disorder, defined as persistent and intense social fears that lead to avoiding situations that spark those fears, it can reduce positive emotions, hinder achievements, fuel loneliness and lead to additional problems like substance abuse and depression.”


Global News: Coronavirus: London, Ont., team creates tool to measure effectiveness, privacy of COVID-19 apps. “A duo out of Western University in London, Ont., has created a new tool that they say will help provincial and national policymakers make decisions on which of the ‘near-endless stream’ of contact-tracing apps to utilize.”

Wired: The iOS Covid App Ecosystem Has Become a Privacy Minefield. “Late last month Jonathan Albright, director of the Digital Forensics Initiative at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism, released the results of his analysis of 493 Covid-related iOS apps across dozens of countries. His study of those apps, which tackle everything from symptom-tracking to telehealth consultations to contact tracing, catalogs the data permissions each one requests. At WIRED’s request, Albright then broke down the data set further to focus specifically on the 359 apps that handle contact tracing, exposure notification, screening, reporting, workplace monitoring, and Covid information from public health authorities around the globe.”


BBC: Coronavirus: North Korea and Russia hackers ‘targeting vaccine’. “State-backed hackers from North Korea and Russia have been targeting organisations working on a coronavirus vaccine, Microsoft has said. It said a Russian group nicknamed ‘Fancy Bear’ and North Korean groups dubbed ‘Zinc’ and ‘Cerium’ were implicated in recent cyber-attacks.”


Wired: More Safety Data Would Be Nice, But We Need a Vaccine Now. “The right length of time to wait for more safety data should be a function of how well a vaccine works, and how badly we need it—and we need this one badly. More than 1,000 Americans are dying every day; the rates of hospitalizations are skyrocketing, putting health systems in Utah, Ohio, Texas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and other states under serious pressure; there is no coherent national strategy for masking or social distancing; and Thanksgiving is around the corner, with travelers set to spread the seeds of Covid across the country.”

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