Tuesday CoronaBuzz, December 8, 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.


The State: How long until you can get COVID vaccine in South Carolina? This new tool gives an idea. “How old are you? Where do you live? Do you have any underlying health risks? The answers to these questions and others may have a big impact on where you end up in the waiting line.” This tool is for all states in the US, not just South Carolina.


The Fader: Buy your Spotify playlists on Bandcamp with this simple tool. “Using Merch Table is simple: copy and paste the URL for your favorite Spotify list into the toolbar, press ‘Find Releases,’ and the program will search Bandcamp for the songs and generate links to purchase them. Once you’ve done that, you can also copy the master link collecting all the different Bandcamp pages and share it with your friends.”


Billy Penn: New map lets you track Philly restaurant closings — and hopefully reopenings, too. “ClosedinPHL is a project from Foobooz founder Art Etchells. It displays a map of recent restaurant closings, with details about each one. You can sort closings by month, click on a marker to find out if the closure is intended to be permanent or temporary, and keep tabs on a spot’s current status.”


New York Times: Geek Out Over Christmas Films. “Theaters would normally be packed this time of year with folks assembled to watch revered holiday films like ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ Frank Capra’s 1946 heart-tugger usually returns to big screens over the holidays, including an annual weeks-long run at the IFC Center in New York. But with many theaters now dark, fans in search of a more communal experience have been forced to get creative. Here are some (mostly) digital ways to expand the magic of classic Christmas cinema right.”

The Conversation: All Zoomed out? How to deal with Zoom fatigue over the holiday season. “The first few months of the pandemic was filled with Zoom fever. People were zooming work, happy hour, board game nights and other events as well. Then many people felt like they hit a wall. Zoom fatigue is real. And recent research suggests that all the efforts to connect using video chat platforms (Zoom, Skype, Teams and similar) might actually be wearing us down. So while you consider how to spread holiday cheer, you want to find ways to step away from doing everything via video chat. Instead, learn from the ways digital natives use digital communication tools, and celebrate the season using a variety of platforms, as I’ll outline below.”


AP: Turkey’s new virus figures confirm experts’ worst fears. “With the new data, the country jumped from being one of the least-affected countries in Europe to one of the worst-hit. That came as no surprise to the Turkish Medical Association, which has been warning for months that the government’s previous figures were concealing the graveness of the spread and that the lack of transparency was contributing to the surge. The group maintains, however, that the ministry’s figures are still low compared with its estimate of at least 50,000 new infections per day.”


CNN: The QAnon conspiracy is fake. The harm it’s doing to child welfare groups is real. “Child welfare organizations for months have felt the full weight of the coronavirus pandemic, navigating concerns about unreported abuse and ensuring their resources are available to at-risk children. But now, deeper into the outbreak, a new challenge is emerging that’s complicating their critical outreach efforts: the QAnon conspiracy theory.”


Yahoo News: Coronavirus: Cancelled Christmas parties ‘to save UK workers £4bn’. “UK workers may save about £4.3bn ($5.8bn) following the cancellation of Christmas festivities, according to a study. Two in five Christmas parties plan to move online his year, resulting in savings of about £139 each for those who no longer have to attend an office ‘do’, according to a survey of 1,000 by Instantprint.”

Washington Post: Japan and South Korea see surge of suicides among young women, raising new questions about pandemic stress. “Suicide rates among young women have increased notably in Japan and South Korea, raising possible links to the prolonged coronavirus pandemic as it amplifies stress levels, worsens economic woes and aggravates feelings of loneliness and isolation.”

Stars and Stripes: It’s time to start preparing Fluffy and Fido for post-pandemic life. “It might seem too soon to think about preparing pets for the time humans will return to offices and schools. After all, a coronavirus vaccine isn’t expected to be widely available until spring at the earliest, which means that most Americans who were sent home to work or study remotely will remain there for at least several more months. But according to animal expert Zazie Todd, author of ‘Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy,’ the eventual separation will be easier for pets ‘if you make changes gradually, starting potentially a long time beforehand.'”

Washington Post: No game days. No bars. The pandemic is forcing some men to realize they need deeper friendships.. “For more than a decade, psychologists have written about the ‘friendship crisis’ facing many men. One 2006 analysis published in the American Sociological Review found that while Americans in general have fewer friends outside the family than they used to, young, White, educated men have lost more friends than other groups.”


ProPublica: “We Don’t Even Know Who Is Dead or Alive”: Trapped Inside an Assisted Living Facility During the Pandemic. “In the last four decades, demand for assisted living has soared. The paradigm promises residents the freedom to live autonomously — and operators freedom from regulation. Unlike nursing homes, assisted living facilities are not subject to federal oversight. The standards for care — along with the definition of ‘assisted living’ — vary greatly from state to state (and from facility to facility). During the pandemic, these freedoms have become liabilities.”

Washington Post: Inside a hospital as the coronavirus surges: Where will all the patients go?. “As the coronavirus pandemic swelled around the 160-bed Mayo Clinic hospital, the day was dawning auspiciously. Two precious beds for new patients had opened overnight. At the morning ‘bed meeting,’ prospects for a third looked promising. Better yet, by midmorning, there were no patients in the Emergency Department. None. Even in normal times, a medium-size hospital like this can go many months without ever reaching zero. Everyone knew better than to trust this good fortune. They were right.”

BBC: Pakistan: Covid patients die due to oxygen shortage in Peshawar. “Six coronavirus patients have died in a hospital in Pakistan after oxygen supplies ran too low. Patients’ relatives have described how they begged for help as panic engulfed the government-run hospital in the northern city of Peshawar. A delay in deliveries meant more than 200 patients were left for hours on reduced oxygen.”


Business Insider: Holograms, hashtags and hand sanitizer: here’s how fine art museums are dealing with the pandemic – aided by stimulus efforts and wealthy backers. “As California shifted back into a pandemic lockdown, San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art was forced last weekend to close its doors yet again. But the shutdown hadn’t stopped it from promoting its art, even if its galleries were empty. Behind the scenes, a team of SFMoMA curators have been publishing a wide-ranging catalog, including everything from artist interviews to quizzes on the museum’s history. It included a social media push on all channels with the hashtag #MuseumFromHome, which is its premier offering for the foreseeable future.”

Chicago Tribune: From food pantries to parking lot Wi-Fi, public libraries evolve during COVID-19 pandemic. “When Illinois’ latest COVID-19 mitigation rules went into effect recently, public venues from casinos to museums were ordered to shut down as the virus continues its ruthless spread. One notable exception, though, was public libraries. The decision on whether to stay open remained with them, and while many have concluded that the risk is too high, others say they’re going to stick it out, and not just for the book lending.”

Gambit: House floats, digital parades and lessons from history, New Orleans reimagines Mardi Gras. “New Orleanians are a resourceful bunch, and have a knack for finding a reason, and a way, to party even in the darkest of times. We’re already beginning to see the signs of ingenuity and innovation, and from virtual parades to ‘house floats,’ krewes and creatives are responding to the challenge of how to safely celebrate Carnival in a pandemic. In this issue of Gambit, we’ve taken a look at where we’re at, so to speak, and also where we’ve been. ‘Cause this won’t be the first time New Orleans has had to party in a pandemic, and we might could just learn a lesson or two from how the ancestors did it 100 years ago.”


Nottingham Post: Tequila bar owner registers it as a religion in bid to legally open during Tier 3 lockdown. “The owner of a city tequila bar has applied for his business to become a religion. 400 Rabbits Tequila and Mezcal Cocktail Bar, in Hurts Yard, has registered to become ‘The Church of The Four Hundred Rabbits’.”

CNET: Defying the odds: These companies actually thrived during the pandemic. “It’s doubtful 2020 will be remembered by any of us as a vintage year for living our best lives. As the coronavirus pandemic has raged around the world, most of us have struggled and just-about-coped rather than thrived. But there are exceptions to that rule. As we’ve come to rely more heavily than ever on online products and platforms, many of the tech companies behind those offerings have actively thrived over the past 12 months and had their best year yet.”

CNN: The pandemic boosted food delivery companies. Soon they may face a reality check. “At the start of 2020, it looked like the food delivery sector was about to face a reckoning after years of raising and losing billions of dollars. One of the original food delivery businesses, Grubhub, was considering putting itself up for sale after losing its foothold on the market. Its competitors, DoorDash, Postmates, and Uber Eats, had also reportedly been in talks about mergers. Meanwhile, Uber’s CEO signaled a fundamental shift for its meal delivery service: focusing on profitable growth. Then the pandemic changed everything.”


Arizona Capital Times: Giuliani COVID-19 diagnosis closes Arizona Legislature. “The Arizona Legislature will be closed all next week after at least 15 current or future Republican legislators may have been directly exposed to COVID-19 by meeting with Rudy Giuliani. President Donald Trump announced on Twitter Sunday that Giuliani, his personal attorney, tested positive for the virus less than a week after holding an unofficial hearing at the Hyatt Regency Phoenix on Monday Nov. 30.”


BBC: Covid: Argentina passes tax on wealthy to pay for virus measures. “Argentina has passed a new tax on its wealthiest people to pay for medical supplies and relief measures amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Senators passed the one-off levy – dubbed the ‘millionaire’s tax’ – by 42 votes to 26 on Friday. Those with assets worth more than 200 million pesos ($2.5m; £1.8m) – some 12,000 people – will have to pay.”

AZ Central: Navajo Nation’s Jill Jim named to President-elect Joe Biden’s COVID-19 Advisory Board. “Dr. Jill Jim, executive director of the Navajo Department of Health, has been selected as a member of President-elect Joe Biden’s COVID-19 Advisory Board, according to the Biden transition team. For the past 18 years, Jim has served in nonprofit, state and federal agencies, the Biden team said in a news release. Jim became a Cabinet member in the Navajo Nation in 2019.”

Politico: Millions of workers poised to lose access to paid leave as virus spikes. “Tens of millions of workers stand to lose access to federally mandated paid sick and family leave at the end of December, compounding the hardship over the surging pandemic for American families.”

CNN: The Wuhan files. “The Chinese government has steadfastly rejected accusations made by the United States and other Western governments that it deliberately concealed information relating to the virus, maintaining that it has been upfront since the beginning of the outbreak. However, though the documents provide no evidence of a deliberate attempt to obfuscate findings, they do reveal numerous inconsistencies in what authorities believed to be happening and what was revealed to the public.”

BBC: Covid: South Korea raises alert level amid spike in cases. “South Korea is raising its Covid-19 alert levels, as it battles a rise in infections. Gatherings of more than 50 will be banned in the capital Seoul and surrounding areas from Tuesday, while gyms and karaoke bars be closed. On Sunday 631 new infections were reported in one day, the highest number in nine months.”

CTV News: Military sent to help Manitoba First Nation battling COVID-19. “The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) is heading to a Manitoba First Nation to help with surging COVID-19 case numbers. In an email to CTV News on Saturday, the CAF said it is sending approximately six Canadian Rangers to Shamattawa First Nation, located in Northern Manitoba. The rangers will help distribute resources, assist with giving residents information, provide logistical support and integrate into the local Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) command post in the community.”

Science: Federal system for tracking hospital beds and COVID-19 patients provides questionable data. “In mid-November, as the United States set records for newly diagnosed COVID-19 cases day after day, the hospital situation in one hard-hit state, Wisconsin, looked concerning but not yet urgent by one crucial measure. The main pandemic data tracking system run by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), dubbed HHS Protect, reported that on 16 November, 71% of the state’s hospital beds were filled. Wisconsin officials who rely on the data to support and advise their increasingly strained hospitals might have concluded they had some margin left. Yet a different federal COVID-19 data system painted a much more dire picture for the same day, reporting 91% of Wisconsin’s hospital beds were filled.”


Daily Beast: Jake Paul Believes COVID Is ‘a Hoax’ and ‘98% of News Is Fake’. “A native of Westlake, Ohio, Paul is the younger brother (by two years) of Logan Paul, who is perhaps best known for a grotesque stunt wherein he filmed a corpse at Aokigahara, known as Japan’s ‘suicide forest,’ and posted it to YouTube. Like big bro, Paul amassed millions of followers on Vine via viral stunts, before bringing his talents to YouTube, where over 20 million people tune in to his antics (an additional 11.8 million tag along on TikTok). He’s the ringleader of Team 10, an influencer collaborative, and that aforementioned ‘rap’ video has attracted more than 275 million views. But in the last few years, Paul’s name has been synonymous with controversy.”

CNET: Man dies from COVID-19, and his obituary calls out anti-maskers. “Every so often, an obituary gains viral attention, sometimes for being humorous, sometimes for being touching. The obituary for Dr. Marvin J. Farr of Scott City, Kansas, is one of the touching ones. Its writer, Farr’s son Courtney Farr, directly calls out those who refuse to wear face masks to protect others from COVID-19, which killed his father.”

The Hill: New Jersey celebrities urge the state to wear a mask. “New Jersey natives Bruce Springsteen, Jon Stewart and Jon Bon Jovi came together to call on the state to wear a mask as part of the state’s recent ‘Mask Up!’ campaign. The singers graced the front of a billboard that displayed the words ‘Wear a friggin’ mask!’ along with a photo of the three of them social distancing and wearing black face masks.”

Associated Press: Source: Pa. lawmaker gets a positive test at Trump meeting. “Republican state Sen. Doug Mastriano had gone to the White House…with like-minded Republican state lawmakers shortly after a four-hour-plus public meeting that Mastriano helped host in Gettysburg — maskless — to discuss efforts to overturn president-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the state.”

CNET: On TikTok, Bill Nye explains why wearing a mask is crucial. “Bill Nye is back on social media telling people to wear masks to protect themselves during the coronavirus pandemic. In a video posted to TikTok Friday, Nye shows a map of the US, with highlighted areas where people wore masks the least yet had the highest incidence of the disease.”

AJC: Austin Scott becomes third Georgia congressman to test positive for COVID-19. “Three Georgia congressmen, all Republicans, have tested positive for the coronavirus since October. The latest is U.S. Rep. Austin Scott of Tifton, who announced his diagnosis Monday. A statement from Scott’s chief of staff, Jason Lawrence, indicated the congressman’s wife, Vivien, also has the coronavirus.”

BBC: Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani admitted to hospital with Covid-19. “President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, has tested positive for Covid-19 and is being treated in hospital. The president wrote in a tweet: ‘Get better soon Rudy, we will carry on!’ Mr Giuliani, who has led the Trump campaign’s legal challenges to the election results, is the latest person close to the president to be infected.”

NBC News: Cardi B apologizes after hosting nearly 40 people for Thanksgiving. “There’s some guests in this house. Cardi B apologized to her fans on Sunday after she revealed she hosted nearly 40 people for the Thanksgiving holiday. ‘Sorry my bad wasn’t trying to make nobody feel bad,’ she said on Twitter on Sunday. ‘I just had my family in my home for the first time and it felt so good & uplifted me.'”

New York Daily News: Jailed mobster Anthony ‘Gaspipe’ Casso has COVID-19, judge rejects motion for release. “Anthony ‘Gaspipe’ Casso — whom the feds say took part in dozens of rubouts, including the brutal murders of numerous mob turncoats — caught the virus earlier this month inside FSP Tucson, a maximum-security Arizona prison, and was sent to a local hospital.”


Texas Tribune: A North Texas superintendent is openly defying the state mask mandate in schools. No one is stopping him.. “At Peaster Independent School District, 40 miles northwest of Fort Worth, Superintendent Lance Johnson has said masks are optional in his school district buildings and classrooms. They’re not.”


The Guardian: Long Covid: ‘Is this now me forever?’. “Long Covid is not medically definitive, but a term that describes a portion of the population struggling with symptoms for weeks or months after being infected with Covid-19, and not just those who were seriously ill. In fact, there is no evidence that links severity of infection and ongoing symptoms like fatigue. Data from the app-based Covid-19 symptom study, being conducted in real time by the genetic epidemiology team at King’s College London (KCL), showed that up to 60,000 people had reported having symptoms for more than three months.”

USA Today: My brother has daily seizures. COVID-19 restrictions are making him sicker.. “My brother has seizures every day. Sometimes focal ones, where his eyes dart back and forth like he’s rapidly scanning a novel. But lately, they’ve become more violent as my brother’s routine, so tethered to his mental and physical health, has been suspended by the COVID-19 pandemic. The novel coronavirus has seen hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of Americans with intellectual and developmental disabilities removed from their routines and become more isolated. In some cases, the disruption has contributed to them becoming sicker.”


The College of New Jersey: TCNJ Team Works to Understand the Twitter Stigma of COVID-19. “The widespread impact of the coronavirus pandemic can be seen virtually everywhere, including social media. Assistant Professor of Communication Studies and Public Health Yachao Li and a team of four TCNJ students analyzed how COVID-19 stigma was created and communicated on Twitter. The team recently collected their findings in an article that was published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. The article explores the content and dissemination of COVID-19 stigma on Twitter, such as people referring to SARS-COV2 as the Chinese or Wuhan virus, or using the ChineseVirus hashtag, explains Li.”


CBS News: Hunted to near extinction, pangolins may hold key to COVID-19. “The pangolin is millions of years old, solitary, usually nocturnal and completely harmless. But in Africa, hundreds of thousands are poached every year, almost to extinction.”


BBC: Jamaica flight: Prisoner tests positive for Covid-19. “One of the 13 prisoners deported from the UK to Jamaica on Wednesday has tested positive for Covid-19, the Jamaican government has told the BBC. The man is being held in isolation at a hospital in the capital, Kingston. The Home Office said he was on the flight, but has not made a statement in relation to the test.”

New York Times: Party With Nearly 400 People Is Shut Down in Manhattan. “Sheriff’s deputies arrived at a building in Midtown Manhattan just before 3 a.m. on [November 28] and found almost 400 people drinking and partying inside. Few were wearing face masks. Deputies shut the party down and arrested four people. The episode reflected the way that, despite the onset of a second wave of the coronavirus, people are continuing to gather at large events in New York City in violation of public health safeguards.”


CNN: Supreme Court’s scientifically illiterate decision will cost lives. “Last month, I wrote that Amy Coney Barrett would help to usher in a new post-truth jurisprudence on the Supreme Court. While I had cited her anti-science statements on climate change, her arrival on the court has created a new 5-4 majority against public-health science at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

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