Monday CoronaBuzz, November 30, 2020: 27 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.


New York Times: Smithsonian Archives of American Art Gathers an Oral History of 2020. “As the pandemic set in this spring, the historians and curators at the Smithsonian Archives of American Art began doing what they do best: looking through relics of history. They found little information related to the 1918 flu pandemic in their archives, and decided to make sure that future historians would have a lot more material about this time of the coronavirus. So a team at the Archives of American Art, led by Liza Kirwin, its interim director, set out to create a thorough record for posterity.”


The Cut: Their Patients Have COVID-19 and Still Think It’s a Hoax. “On November 14, a South Dakota nurse named Jodi Doering wrote a viral Twitter thread about her experience treating COVID patients in intensive care units who called the virus a hoax (‘Their last dying words are, “This can’t be happening. It’s not real,”‘ she told CNN.) And while her story was criticized for being extreme (and possibly misrepresentative), she highlighted a real crisis in hospitals around the country, especially in red states where governors have refused mask mandates and the president’s false claims about the virus are taken as gospel. In interviews with the Cut, 12 nurses described dealing with COVID-denying patients, from ones who simply refused treatment to those who spit or coughed on them and recited conspiracy theories about the virus.”

BBC: Masked comic superheroes fight Covid disinformation. “In Priya’s Mask, due to be launched on 2 December, the comic crusader joins hands with Jiya, the ‘Burka Avenger’, a popular character from a Pakistani cartoon show, as the two go about trying to tackle the pandemic – and also the ‘infodemic’, a major proliferation in fake news surrounding the coronavirus.”

Mashable: Facebook comments on Fauci and Zuckerberg’s vaccine talk suggest we’re totally screwed. “Mark Zuckerberg and Dr. Anthony Fauci talked all things coronavirus Monday afternoon, but if you tuned in to the Facebook livestream you’d be forgiven for missing the finer points of the discussion. That’s because the often deranged user comments, running alongside the conversation and overflowing with COVID-19 misinformation, had a tendency to distract.”


Washington Post: A growing number of Americans are going hungry. “One in 8 Americans reported they sometimes or often didn’t have enough food to eat in the past week, hitting nearly 26 million American adults, an increase several times greater than the most comparable pre-pandemic figure, according to Census Bureau survey data collected in late October and early November. That number climbed to more than 1 in 6 adults in households with children.”

Gothamist: On The Plus Side, SantaCon’s Canceled?. “From the Silver Lining file, here’s something else to be thankful for today: SantaCon, the annual debauched meathead magnet bar crawl that floods certain unfortunate neighborhoods with blathering bro-chads in Santa costumes every December, has been officially canceled this year. SantaCon’s organizers said the pandemic was to blame.”

AP: Empty seats, delivered feasts as virus changes Thanksgiving. “Turkey and pies will still come out of ovens, football will still be on TV, families will still give thanks and have lively conversations about politics. But this holiday has been utterly altered after months filled with sorrows and hardships: Many feasts are weighed down by the loss of loved ones; others have been canceled or scaled back with the virus surging.”

Washington Post: A comfy chair, a locked door, an old record. Covid Thanksgiving inspires new reasons for gratitude.. “In any given year, Stephanie Coleman can recite reasons she is thankful on Thanksgiving, a list that includes her three children, her husband, friends, extended family and the six chickens in her backyard. This year? She is grateful for the lock on the door to her attic, where she flees to escape her family. She is grateful for the lock on her bathroom door, which prevents her kids from barging in at any moment to tattle on one another or whine for more screen time.”


STAT: Data show hospitalized Covid-19 patients are surviving at higher rates, but surge in cases could roll back gains. “Other factors have contributed to the improved outcomes: Steroids that help save some lives are being used more widely, and people infected after the initial surge were, as a whole, younger and arrived at the hospital earlier in the course of the disease. But clinicians warn that this progress won’t withstand what happens when crushes of patients again overwhelm hospitals, as is now occurring in dozens of U.S. states. With the country setting new records of hospitalizations daily, care is getting threatened, and death rates — not just deaths — could increase.”


WRAL: Carolina Theatre of Durham temporarily closing. “The Carolina Theatre of Durham announced on Wednesday it will be temporarily closing for six months. The performing arts center will be closed from Jan. 1 through June 30.”


Washington Post: A Trump donor’s company got a 3 percent federal pandemic loan. It sells title loans at a 350 percent annual rate.. “A company owned by a major donor to President Trump that operates auto-title loan stores with names such as LoanStar and Moneymax secured a $25 million low-interest loan from a government pandemic aid program, using what consumer advocates describe as a loophole to a rule designed to prevent most lenders from getting this federal help.”


The Atlantic: The Logic of Pandemic Restrictions Is Falling Apart. “Two weeks ago, I staged a reluctant intervention via Instagram direct message. The subject was a longtime friend, Josh, who had been sharing photos of himself and his fiancé occasionally dining indoors at restaurants since New York City, where we both live, had reopened them in late September. At first, I hadn’t said anything. Preliminary research suggests that when people congregate indoors, an infected person is almost 20 times more likely to transmit the virus than if they were outside. But restaurants are open legally in New York, and I am not the COVID police. Josh and I had chatted several times in the early months of the pandemic about safety, and I felt sure that he was making an informed decision, even if it wasn’t the one I’d make. As weeks passed, my confidence began to slip.”

Gothamist: Maskless Indoor Religious Gathering With Hundreds Of Attendees Not Illegal, De Blasio Says. “Hundreds of maskless men gathered inside a Bed-Stuy synagogue on Tuesday night for yet another celebration honoring the marriage of two prominent ultra-Orthodox families. But according to NYC sheriffs at the scene, the indoor festivities violated neither city nor state COVID restrictions.”

Orlando Weekly: Florida Gov. DeSantis extends order banning local COVID-related shutdowns, restrictions and mask mandates. “The two-page extension, issued before the Thanksgiving holiday, said the state ‘continues to suffer economic harm as a result of COVID-19 related closures, exacerbating the impacts of the State of Emergency, and Floridians should not be prohibited by local governments from working or operating a business.’ The extension is slated to last as long as Florida remains under a state of emergency during the pandemic.”

Daily Herald: Algonquin’s virtual inspection program catching on. “Brian Martin spent his week inspecting house wrapping, windows and solar panels for the Village of Algonquin, all while sitting comfortably in his chair watching a computer monitor at the municipal center. In the new world created by the COVID-19 pandemic, Algonquin officials have taken the opportunity to start a program that not only keeps residents and staff members safe from contracting the virus but also serves the community more efficiently.”


BBC: Canada unveils largest economic relief package since WW2. “Canada’s federal government will spend C$100bn ($77bn, £58bn) to kick start the country’s post-pandemic economy. It is ‘the largest economic relief package for our country since the Second World War’, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said on Monday.”

AP: Germany extends partial shutdown to curb virus spread. “German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the country’s 16 state governors on Wednesday agreed to extend a partial shutdown well into December in an effort to further reduce the rate of COVID-19 infections ahead of the Christmas period.”


Washington Post: Driven by the coronavirus, Gov. Hogan succeeds in an old fight: Losing weight. “Hogan said his decision to lose weight was prompted in part by the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than a quarter of a million people in the United States and poses a greater risk to those who are obese or have other preexisting conditions. He had gone to the doctor for his routine physical this summer. After his bloodwork and other tests, he decided it was time for a change.”

CNN: Alabama’s Nick Saban tests positive for Covid-19 and is displaying symptoms. “For the second time, Alabama Crimson Tide head football coach Nick Saban, 68, has tested positive for Covid-19, the University of Alabama said in a statement on Wednesday.” The earlier test was a false positive.

BBC: Rita Ora ‘sorry’ for breaking lockdown rules to attend birthday party. “Rita Ora says she’s ‘deeply sorry’ for breaking English lockdown rules to celebrate her 30th birthday. The singer says she attended a party at a restaurant in west London on Saturday.”

Backstage: How Sarah Cooper Took Over TikTok (+ Took Down Trump Along the Way). “If you’ve spent any time online during these difficult eight months, you’re likely familiar with the writer-performer’s lip-syncs of President Donald Trump. They’re impressions with just a touch of pantomime, though she does not put on a wig or costume. Instead, she matches his intonation and pronunciation from real interviews and speeches, and lets his words, at last, speak for themselves.”

Route Fifty: Firefighters Push for Inclusion in First Phase of Covid-19 Vaccines. “The majority of calls that firefighters and EMTs respond to are medical in nature, and many have been exposed to Covid while on duty, according to the International Association of Fire Fighters. The potential for firefighters’ exposure, coupled with the role that fire departments could play in the administration of a vaccine, the IAFF is asking state governors to include firefighters in the same vaccine distribution tier as high-risk health care workers.”


CNET: COVID-19 creates new barriers to getting girls into tech. “As students continue remote learning, a lack of resources at home can make it nearly impossible to study properly and connect with teachers. And when women do enter the workforce, it will be harder to find female mentors as we emerge from the COVID-19 era. Multiple family demands in the pandemic are causing women to abandon the workforce four times the rate of men.”


Wired: The AstraZeneca Covid Vaccine Data Isn’t Up to Snuff. “The problems start with the fact that Monday’s announcement did not present results from a single, large-scale, Phase 3 clinical trial, as was the case for earlier bulletins about the BNT-Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Instead, Oxford-AstraZeneca’s data came out of two separate studies: one in the UK that began in May, and another in Brazil, which got started at the end of June.”

Mother Jones: These Researchers Have Developed an Inexpensive, Low-Tech COVID Vaccine. “In reality, a large combination of effective, inexpensive vaccines will be necessary to cover the nearly eight billion people on the planet. This is where the Baylor College vaccine is different from the others. It utilizes recombinant protein technology, which is typical in vaccine development but uncommon among the leading COVID-19 candidates.”


New York Times: Pope Francis: A Crisis Reveals What Is in Our Hearts. “Sometimes, when you think globally, you can be paralyzed: There are so many places of apparently ceaseless conflict; there’s so much suffering and need. I find it helps to focus on concrete situations: You see faces looking for life and love in the reality of each person, of each people. You see hope written in the story of every nation, glorious because it’s a story of daily struggle, of lives broken in self-sacrifice. So rather than overwhelm you, it invites you to ponder and to respond with hope.”


Politico: Trump officials hold first ‘Operation Warp Speed’ briefing for Biden. “Trump administration health officials on Wednesday kicked off a series of planned meetings with the Biden transition team on ‘Operation Warp Speed,’ the administration’s effort to rush Covid-19 vaccines and treatments, according to two people familiar with the hastily scheduled session.”

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