Monday CoronaBuzz, November 16, 2020: 45 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.


Rappler: LIST: Virtual art museums and online exhibits you can visit during pandemic. “In the months we’ve been in lockdown due to the pandemic, a means of escape has been through art. Whether it be books, songs, films, or a newfound passion for painting, art has been our solace. To celebrate Go To An Art Museum Day on November 9, we’ve curated a list of museums you can visit in the comfort of your homes and at your own pace.”


St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Running out of room: St. Louis hospitals forced to turn away patients from rural areas as COVID cases soar. “Hospitalizations for COVID-19 are at a dizzying record-breaking climb with no downturn in sight in Missouri and across the Midwest. Emergency rooms are busy with patients waiting for hospital beds to open, hospital administrators say. Large metropolitan hospitals are having to turn away patients from small rural hospitals who depend on them for expert care. The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in Missouri topped 2,000 for the first time on Nov. 6 — a 247% increase since the state’s lowest totals during the middle of June, according to the Missouri Hospital Association.”

Yahoo: Hospital ICUs running out of space due to COVID-19 surges across the country. “Wednesday marked the eighth consecutive day with over 100,000 coronavirus cases, and in the first eleven days of November, the country has recorded a staggering 1.2 million new coronavirus cases — more than the entire month of September. In 46 states, along with Washington, D.C., and Guam, cases are high and rising. Thirty-seven states, plus Washington, D.C., have had an increased rate of positivity, and 43 states, along with Puerto Rico, have had an increase in hospitalizations.”

Chicago Sun-Times: Coronavirus ‘running rampant’ in Illinois with 15,415 new cases — most ever reported by any state in the U.S. . “Illinois reported more new coronavirus cases on Friday — 15,415 — than any other state in the nation has ever logged in a single day throughout eight months of the pandemic. The jaw-dropping count marked the fourth straight daily record-breaking rise in an exponential explosion of infections with COVID-19 ‘running rampant through our communities,’ according to Illinois Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike.”


People: Passenger Aboard First Cruise Ship to Return to Sailing in Caribbean Tests Positive for COVID-19. “The first cruise ship to set sail in the Caribbean since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic has reported that a passenger on board has tested positive for the virus, according to The Points Guy.”


NBC News: Beloved businesses are going bankrupt waiting for federal help. It will get worse. “The election may be over, but the White House and Capitol Hill are no closer to terms on a new Covid-19 relief plan. And even if a deal is reached, it’s far too late to help save as many as 100,000 small businesses that have been forced to close while waiting for more help, like The Funky Sister. Neighborhood shops around the country are in mortal danger every day Washington fails to act.”

Deadline: ‘The Kelly Clarkson Show’ Staffers Test Positive For COVID-19. “NBCUniversal’s sophomore syndicated talker The Kelly Clarkson Show is the latest TV series to see positive COVID-19 tests with the country in the grips of a third wave of infections. I hear individuals on The Kelly Clarkson Show production team received positive results when tested as part of the show’s COVID safety protocols. I hear the positives came in today and triggered guidelines set by the state/county and outlined in the NBCU Production Playbook, including retesting and contact tracing.”


Tampa Bay Times: Democrats to DeSantis: Rescind job offer to coronavirus conspiracy theorist. “Nearly all members of Florida’s Democratic congressional delegation sent a letter Thursday to Gov. Ron DeSantis demanding that he remove Kyle Lamb, an Ohio sports blogger who has spread coronavirus conspiracy theories on the Internet, from his position as a data analyst at the governor’s office.”

Washington Post: Sioux Falls mayor votes down mask mandate as South Dakota’s covid-19 numbers rise. “The mask mandate’s failure comes as the state sees a steep rise in virus-related hospitalizations, new reported cases and deaths. Last week, South Dakota’s new daily reported cases rose by roughly 9 percent; the state also saw an 18.2 percent increase in daily reported deaths and a 26.5 percent uptick in hospitalizations, according to The Washington Post’s coronavirus tracker.”

NBC News: New Jersey governor pleads with Covid-fatigued residents to choose inconvenience over death. “New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy pleaded with coronavirus-fatigued residents Thursday to keep following health guidelines, bluntly telling them the ultimate inconvenience is ‘when you die.’ Murphy rattled off a series of numbers showing how the virus is spiking in New Jersey before a reporter asked what he’d say to state residents tired of Covid-19 protocols.”

Voice of OC: State Officials Urge Two-Week Travel Quarantine as Second Coronavirus Wave Hits. “As coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continue to steadily increase in Orange County, along with California, state public health officials are urging two-week quarantine for people who travel to the state.”


New York Times: As the Pandemic Surges, C.D.C. Issues Increasingly Assertive Advice. “As the pandemic engulfs the nation, recent recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been as notable for what they do not say as for what they do. In a turnabout, the agency now is hewing more closely to scientific evidence, often contradicting the positions of the Trump administration.”

KTLA: CDC ranks Thanksgiving activities by COVID-19 risk level. “With coronavirus case numbers surging across the United States as the Thanksgiving holiday nears, health officials are urging people to avoid activities that risk spreading the virus even more. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has ranked common holiday activities by coronavirus transmission risk level, putting shopping in crowds and attending packed parades and large indoor parties in the riskiest category.”

Washington Post: The government’s coronavirus response is now officially a failure by its own measure. “By March, the gravity of the coronavirus pandemic appeared to have set in at the White House. President Trump’s regular briefings on the deadly virus had for some time been breezy, dismissive of the threat it posed. But Trump’s claims that all was well in hand were proving false.”

CNBC: Biden Covid advisor says U.S. lockdown of 4 to 6 weeks could control pandemic and revive economy. “Shutting down businesses and paying people for lost wages for four to six weeks could help keep the coronavirus pandemic in check and get the economy on track until a vaccine is approved and distributed, said Dr. Michael Osterholm, a coronavirus advisor to President-elect Joe Biden.”

Washington Post: More than 130 Secret Service officers are said to be infected with coronavirus or quarantining in wake of Trump’s campaign travel. “More than 130 Secret Service officers who help protect the White House and the president when he travels have recently been ordered to isolate or quarantine because they tested positive for the coronavirus or had close contact with infected co-workers, according to three people familiar with agency staffing.”


ABC (Australia): Dr Anthony Fauci about COVID-19 in the US. “Dr Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases sits down with Leigh Sales to discuss COVID-19 in the US.” Video with transcript.

Washington Post: She fell into QAnon and went viral for destroying a Target mask display. Now she’s rebuilding her life.. “The night before she almost ruined her life, Melissa Rein Lively couldn’t sleep. She had gotten into a fight with her husband, Jared, and though they had never spent more than a few nights apart during their nine-and-a-half-year marriage, they both needed space. It had been a difficult few months. So here she was, alone in a hotel room on the night before July 4, her favorite holiday, one she and Jared traditionally spent in Greece. She felt trapped. And she couldn’t sleep.”

Reuters: Ukrainian president addresses nation after being taken to hospital with COVID-19. “Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy addressed the nation in two videos on Thursday, his first appearance since being hospitalised after testing positive for COVID-19 this week.”

Alaska Public Media: Alaska Rep. Don Young, 87, says he’s been diagnosed with COVID-19. “U.S. Rep. Don Young, 87, has tested positive for COVID-19, he announced in a tweet Thursday….His campaign and official office spokesmen did not respond to phone calls. They also did not respond to emailed questions about when Young tested positive, whether any members of his staff had been tested for or diagnosed with COVID-19 and whether others had been exposed.”

CNN: Nurse sends loving message to his family hours before losing his life to Covid-19. “Taking breaths every few words, a nurse struggled to record a video for his family hours before he died of Covid-19. Sergio Humberto Padilla Hernandez prepared his final farewell to his family, while holding onto hope that he could still recover.”


Duke University Chronicle: Duke announces no fans at home events to begin winter sport seasons. “There will be no fans in Cameron Indoor Stadium to begin the basketball season. Per a release Tuesday morning, Duke Athletics announced that the school will be extending its current policy for fall sports and not allow any spectators at home events to begin the winter sport seasons due to COVID-19.”


New York Times: N.Y.C. Schools May Close Again, a Grim Sign of a Global Dilemma. “New York City has more students in classrooms — about 300,000 — than virtually any city in the country. Transmission of the virus in schools has been strikingly low. And one of the city’s top health officials has declared that the public schools are among the safest public places around. Yet for all those hopeful signs, Mayor Bill de Blasio is on the brink of shutting down all classrooms across the school system, by far the nation’s largest, as New York confronts a second wave of the virus after months when the city’s success at curbing the outbreak made it the envy of the country. The closure could happen by Thanksgiving, if not sooner.”

WRAL: More students, less social distance in Wake County classrooms come Monday. “Monday will be a big day for Wake County elementary schools. After weeks of limited class size and rotation between in-school and remote learning, students in kindergarten through third grade will return to class — all together, every day. Wake County will go from having 8,000 elementary students back in the classroom to roughly 24,000 special-ed regional students and PreK-3 students. They’ll also see the social distance requirement reduced — from 6 feet to 3 feet.”


STAT News: ‘We’re being left behind’: Rural hospitals can’t afford ultra-cold freezers to store the leading Covid-19 vaccine. “The vaccine, developed by Pfizer and the German firm BioNTech, seems to provide 90% immunity according to early data released on Monday. But there’s a catch: The vaccine has to be stored at -70 degrees Celsius. Typical freezers don’t get that cold, making distribution of this vaccine a logistical nightmare.”

New York Times: Limiting Indoor Capacity Can Reduce Coronavirus Infections, Study Shows. “Restaurants, gyms, cafes and other crowded indoor venues accounted for some 8 in 10 new infections in the early months of the U.S. coronavirus epidemic, according to a new analysis that could help officials around the world now considering curfews, partial lockdowns and other measures in response to renewed outbreaks.”

Washington Post: With coronavirus cases spiking nationwide, all signs point to a harrowing autumn. “In multiple states, hospital leaders warned that the spike is straining resources and sidelining the very staffers needed to face growing numbers of sick people. From Maryland to Iowa, local officials have pleaded for tighter restrictions that might help slow the virus’s accelerating spread. As a worrisome summer gives way to a harrowing fall, the nation’s surge of coronavirus cases shows no signs of easing. With little help and scant guidance from a Washington stuck in political limbo, some states and localities rushed to put in place new restrictions aimed at slowing the virus’s spread. Still, almost every metric appeared headed in an ominous direction.”

KOAT: After parents die of COVID within days of one another, daughter has somber plea. “A woman in Doña Ana County is pleading with the community to take the coronavirus seriously after she lost both of her parents to COVID-19. Maritza Serna said she’s still in shock that her mom Maria Burciaga de Manquera, 67, and step-dad Jose Manquera, 69, both recently died of COVID-19 complications just about 10 days apart from one another.”

Washington Post: At dinner parties and game nights, casual American life is fueling the coronavirus surge as daily cases exceed 150,000. “Many earlier coronavirus clusters were linked to nursing homes and crowded nightclubs. But public health officials nationwide say case investigations are increasingly leading them to small, private social gatherings. This behind-doors transmission trend reflects pandemic fatigue and widening social bubbles, experts say — and is particularly insidious because it is so difficult to police and likely to increase as temperatures drop and holidays approach.”

The Atlantic: ‘No One Is Listening to Us’ . “In the months since March, many Americans have habituated to the horrors of the pandemic. They process the election’s ramifications. They plan for the holidays. But health-care workers do not have the luxury of looking away: They’re facing a third pandemic surge that is bigger and broader than the previous two. In the U.S., states now report more people in the hospital with COVID-19 than at any other point this year—and 40 percent more than just two weeks ago.


Los Angeles Times: Super-spreading wedding party demonstrates COVID-19 risk posed by holiday gatherings. “If you want to know why public health officials are so nervous about how much worse the COVID-19 pandemic will get as the holiday season unfolds, consider what happened after a single, smallish wedding reception that took place this summer in rural Maine. Only 55 people attended the Aug. 7 reception at the Big Moose Inn in Millinocket. But one of those guests arrived with a coronavirus infection. Over the next 38 days, the virus spread to 176 other people. Seven of them died. None of the victims who lost their lives had attended the party.”

Daily Beast: Parents Tried to Cover Up a ‘Superspreader’ Dance. Disaster Ensued.. “A massive, unmasked homecoming party at a steakhouse in Missouri included a deliberate campaign to hide from pesky health officials and contact tracers.”


Inverse: Massive dataset reveals 4 superspreader sites to avoid this winter. “To show how these mobility shifts influence disease transmission, scientists have just released a far-reaching, yet fine-grained, dynamic model. The data maps how 98 million Americans in ten of the nation’s largest metro areas moved through half a million different establishments — from bodegas to wine bars to shopping malls. The data paints a sobering picture of what might happen if people abandon social distancing and resume normal life amid fluctuating case counts. But it also illuminates a future that doesn’t require total economic shutdown — if we choose a path associated with minimizing infections.”


Vox: 80 percent of those who died of Covid-19 in Texas county jails were never convicted of a crime. “Over 230 people have died from Covid-19 in Texas’s correctional facilities — and in county jails, nearly 80 percent of them were in pretrial detention and hadn’t even been convicted of a crime, according to a new report. A team of researchers at the University of Austin at Texas reviewed data from the the Texas Justice Initiative which collects information from multiple sources including the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ). They found that at least 231 people have died of Covid-19 in the state’s correctional facilities between March and October.”

WEAR TV: Man arrested for ripping off woman’s mask at Pensacola Trump rally. “Dan Orval Ditto Jr., 58, of Pensacola is charged with simple battery. John Roberts, Chairman of the Escambia County Republican Party confirms Ditto is vice-chairman.”

WKRN: Credit card fraud rising amid COVID-19 pandemic, how to avoid it. “As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, concerns over credit card fraud worsen. News 2 spoke with Robyn Householder, President/CEO of Better Business Bureau in Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky, about the recent increase in this type of crime.”

Washington Post: Prisons and jails have become a ‘public health threat’ during the pandemic, advocates say. “Nobody knows how the ­novel coronavirus sneaked through the barbed wire and imposing gates of Ohio’s Pickaway Correctional Institution, where visitors and volunteers were barred from entering in March. But the first case showed up April 4. Within a week, 23 inmates and 17 staff members were found to be infected. One inmate, Charles Viney Jr., a 66-year-old with a collapsed lung, died hours after testing positive. Within a month, more than three-quarters of Pickaway’s roughly 2,000 inmates were confirmed positive. By the end of May, 35 were dead.”

KSL: Utah Valley Hospital strained by conspiracy theorists trying to enter ICU. “Utah Valley Hospital says a handful of conspiracy theorists recently tried to get into their intensive care unit. Hospital administrator Kyle Hansen told the Provo City Council this week that about five people have attempted to get inside because they question whether the ICU is as full as some say. A few of them also brought video cameras.”

The Nevada Independent: More than 80 percent of inmates at Carson City prison test positive for COVID-19. “Prison officials say 81 percent of the inmates at Warm Springs Correctional Center in Carson City have tested positive for COVID-19, marking the worst outbreak to date in the state’s prison system. The Nevada Department of Corrections announced on Friday that 424 inmates have tested positive out of the 525 inmates in the facility. Twenty-five staff members have also tested positive.”


USA Today: Doctor: Settle for virtual holidays this year amid COVID-19, starting with Thanksgiving. “Excited to see her children and grandchildren, an 80-year-old grandmother traveled halfway across California to visit, eagerly planning all the meals she would cook and share. The family enjoyed elaborate curries and stews, stories and laughs; two weeks later, that woman ended up as a patient in my hospital struggling to breathe. What began as a cough among the family ended up as a life-threatening COVID-19 infection for the grandmother.”

ProPublica: The Enraging Deja Vu of a Third Coronavirus Wave. “I’m exhausted and infuriated to be doing the same interviews and hearing the same stories for a third time. Why haven’t we learned? What have we been doing between March and November? Why is Dr. Peter Wentzel, in Grafton, West Virginia, only now able to order a point-of-care test system for his community clinic, just to be told that the cartridges for it will arrive in December at the earliest? Why are clinicians at Mountain Family Health Centers in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, once again facing seven- to 10-day wait times for their patients’ test results?”


Washington Post: Democrats abandon indoor Capitol meal for new House members after photo raises eyebrows. “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday that lawmakers would continue to vote long distance, citing concerns about the coronavirus — but newly elected members were still set to eat together indoors…. By evening, the new members event was changed to grab-and-go. The House’s newest legislators were already in the capital for an orientation like no other, filled with masks and new precautions.”

KTLA: Gov. Newsom says he should not have attended dinner party that brought together 12 people in Napa County. “For months, Gov. Gavin Newsom has pleaded with Californians to resist the temptation to socialize with friends and relatives outside their household. Turns out, he’s the one who couldn’t resist. Newsom acknowledged Friday he attended a birthday party with a dozen friends on Nov. 6 at the posh French Laundry restaurant in wine country north of San Francisco.”

Associated Press: Trump, stewing over election loss, silent as virus surges. “Trump, fresh off his reelection loss to President-elect Joe Biden, remains angry that an announcement about progress in developing a vaccine for the disease came after Election Day. And aides say the president has shown little interest in the growing crisis even as new confirmed cases are skyrocketing and hospital intensive care units in parts of the country are nearing capacity.”

Washington Post: Trump rails against ‘medical deep state’ after Pfizer vaccine news comes after Election Day. “President Trump is lashing out at the Food and Drug Administration following a disclosure [November 9] that an experimental coronavirus vaccine from pharmaceutical giant Pfizer is more than 90 percent effective, convinced the timing — six days after Election Day — proves the ‘medical deep state’ deliberately tried to sabotage his electoral prospects by delaying the results.”

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