Wednesday CoronaBuzz, December 9, 2020: 34 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.


KGW 8: Here’s how to check hospital capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic. “The federal government released a nationwide database that allows anyone interested in hospital capacity to take a look. You can find the database here. Those who are comfortable working with Excel and other spreadsheet software will have no problems finding what they need. For the rest of us, the database appears a bit confusing.”


Dallas Morning News: 9.4 million passengers during Thanksgiving week set pandemic-era airport records. “Nearly 10 million people hopped on planes during the 10-day Thanksgiving period that ended [November 29], including four days with more than 1 million passengers each and some of the busiest travel days of the COVID-19 era. Numbers may have been even higher if not for a wave of warnings from federal and state officials about gathering for Thanksgiving amid a surge in COVID-19 cases nationwide.”


Viral Feedback: Call for scientists and health professionals to provide COVID analysis on breaking news. “Today, we are announcing a call for scientists, health professionals, and associated content experts to contribute to Viral Feedback, a non-profit, non-partisan platform for scientists, health professionals, and associated content experts to provide high quality and data driven analysis of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19-related news reports, government actions, breaking scientific papers, and other media. This analysis is provided by writing annotations as a layer over original articles to provide additional context, validate claims, or provide data to demonstrate that a statement is poorly supported by current scientific expertise. Through a new web standard using open source technology, these annotations are visible in context.”


Los Angeles Times: American pandemic: A preacher, a nurse and a firefighter take on the coronavirus. “It was still dark when the Rev. Albert Mann stepped outside his trailer home, looked to the sky and prayed for the dying to end. He climbed into his white pickup — refuge from the Florida mosquitos — as he prepared for his sermon. ‘Please, God,’ he said. ‘Let us get out of this pandemic.'”

UNCTAD: COVID-19 drives large international trade declines in 2020. “According to [United Nations Conference on Trade and Development]’s latest nowcasts (run on 8.12.2020), the value of global merchandise trade is predicted to fall by 5.6% in 2020 compared with last year. This would be the biggest fall in merchandise trade since 2009, when trade fell by 22%. This is a significantly more optimistic nowcast than only a few weeks ago when UNCTAD nowcasts were estimating a fall of 9%.”


San Francisco Chronicle: Pandemic patient with swastika tattoo leaves Nor Cal doctor questioning his compassion. “A Jewish doctor, a Black nurse and an Asian American respiratory therapist stood over the patient on the gurney in the emergency room. ‘Don’t let me die, doc,’ the man begged. As the man struggled to breathe, the swastika tattooed on his chest rose and fell with each gasp. Dr. Taylor Nichols promised the man he’d do his best.”

DCist: How A Network Of Homes For Adults With Disabilities Has Managed To Keep COVID At Bay. “[Hazel] Pulliam is part of L’Arche, a community of people with and without intellectual disabilities who live together in group homes within an interdenominational Christian community. L’Arche operates four of these homes, with two each in D.C. and Arlington. Each house supports two to four residents — or ‘core members,’ as the organization calls them — along with their caretakers, some of whom live in the homes as well. Since the pandemic began, L’Arche has kept all four of its homes, including its 14 residents and their assistants, COVID-19 infection-free — no small feat, considering that shared housing and congregate settings face greater challenges when preventing the spread of the virus. ”


Des Moines Register: In new allegation, lawsuit says Tyson officials lied to interpreters about COVID-19 dangers in Waterloo plant. “The amended suit, filed on behalf of the families of three Tyson workers who died from COVID-19, says plant manager Tom Hart and human resources director James Hook told interpreters during an April meeting that the building had ‘no confirmed cases’ and that Black Hawk County Health Department employees had ‘cleared’ the plant for operation. In fact, employees had tested positive for the virus, according to the amended suit, filed in U.S. District Court on Nov. 24.”


AZ Family: Arizona legislature shuts down for a week due to COVID-19 concerns. “The news of the shutdown came on the same day that President Donald Trump announced that his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, had tested positive for coronavirus. Giuliani has traveled to several battleground states in recent weeks, including Arizona.”

ProPublica: States With Few Coronavirus Restrictions Are Spreading the Virus Beyond Their Borders. “As the number of COVID-19 cases skyrockets nationwide, the extent of the public health response varies from one state — and sometimes one town — to the next. The incongruous approaches and the lack of national standards have created confusion, conflict and a muddled public health message, likely hampering efforts to stop the spread of the virus.”

Washington Post: Metro budget cuts weekend service, half of bus routes and closes 19 stations amid dire financial forecast. “Metro is proposing the elimination of weekend rail service in its budget for the first time as the transit agency’s financial struggles deepen amid the coronavirus pandemic. The drastic action is one of several deep cuts Metro officials say they will have to make to survive the next fiscal year as fare revenue forecasts appear bleak and Congress remains unable to reach an agreement on a coronavirus relief package that could include aid to transit agencies.”

Albany Times Union: Cuomo staff skirted hiring freeze, and rules for exemptions from it. ” As New York’s budget deficit ballooned this spring, state budget director Robert Mujica sought to dramatically slow spending by imposing a ‘strict’ freeze on all hiring by state agencies…. Yet by August, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s office had hired four veterans of Democratic presidential campaigns at a combined taxpayer cost of $567,000 in annual salaries.”


Click on Detroit: Michigan husband, wife die from COVID on the same day, 1 minute apart. “Leslie and Patricia McWaters spent nearly 50 years together before dying on the same day, one minute apart. ‘It’s beautiful, but it’s so tragic. Kind of like Romeo and Juliet,’ said Joanna Sisk. ‘One wouldn’t have wanted to be without the other.’ The couple was married for more than 47 years. Inseparable since the day they met.”

NiemanLab: “Whoa!” “I’m crying!” “Worrisome!” “Buckle up!” The swift, complicated rise of Eric Feigl-Ding and his Covid tweet threads. “At the beginning of the pandemic, before he began sounding the alarm on Covid-19’s seriousness, Feigl-Ding had around 2,000 followers. That number has since swelled to over a quarter million, as Twitter users and the mainstream media turn to Feigl-Ding as an expert source, often pointing to his pedigree as a Harvard-trained epidemiologist. And he has earned the attention of some influential people….But as Feigl-Ding’s influence has grown, so have the voices of his critics, many of them fellow scientists who have expressed ongoing concern over his tweets, which they say are often unnecessarily alarmist, misleading, or sometimes just plain wrong.”

CNN: Lewis Hamilton to miss Sakhir Grand Prix after testing positive for coronavirus. “His Mercedes team said that the seven-time Formula One world champion was self-isolating and had only mild symptoms. ‘He is otherwise fit and well, and the entire team sends him its very best wishes for a swift recovery,’ said Mercedes in a statement.”

BBC: Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani receiving same Covid drugs as president. “President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, has revealed in a call to his own radio show that he is being treated for coronavirus with the same drug cocktail his boss received when he was ill with Covid-19. He was admitted to hospital on Sunday after becoming the latest official close to Mr Trump to test positive.”

WTVD: Nurse who bragged about breaking COVID-19 rules on TikTok has lost her job. “An oncology nurse in Oregon who bragged about flouting COVID-19 restrictions in a TikTok video ‘is no longer employed with Salem Health,’ the hospital system confirmed to CNN. In the video, Ashley Grames can be seen wearing scrubs and a stethoscope around her neck, pretending to scream with a caption that reads, ‘When my coworkers find out I still travel, don’t wear a mask when I am out, and let my kids have playdates.'”

WWSB: Texas boy who lost parents to COVID-19 turns 5 with massive parade. “A Texas community showed up in full force for a nearly hour-long parade to support a 5-year-old boy who lost both his parents to COVID-19. Raiden Gonzalez turned 5 on [November 28], just months after his parents, Adan and Mariah Gonzalez, died from COVID-19. The massive car parade, which included appearances by Santa Claus, superheroes and dinosaurs, lasted nearly an hour.”

San Francisco Chronicle: S.F. Mayor London Breed had her own French Laundry party — the night after Gavin Newsom’s. “Gov. Gavin Newsom is in good company when it comes to politicians attending fancy birthday parties while encouraging others to avoid gathering. It turns out San Francisco Mayor London Breed dined at the French Laundry the night after Newsom’s infamous, ill-advised, mid-pandemic soiree at the three-star Michelin restaurant in Yountville.”


Politico: California families sue state over distance learning inequities. “Seven families took California to court [December 1], accusing the state of failing to ensure “basic educational equality” during a prolonged period of remote learning brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Chalkbeat: DeVos says schools are sitting on billions in COVID relief. Here’s why that’s misleading.. “Last month Education Secretary Betsy DeVos claimed that schools have left billions unspent while many school buildings remained closed. Schools, ‘while complaining about a lack of resources, have left significant sums of money sitting in the bank,’ she said in a statement sent to reporters across the country. But the data DeVos is relying on is incomplete and misleading, according to state and local leaders. Her comments, though, are the latest articulation of a belief that has animated her tenure: school districts are wasteful and ineffective, so spending more money to help them improve is unlikely to work.”


Greensboro News & Record: In rural North Carolina, COVID-19 skepticism meets surging case counts and deaths. “Before Ms. Pearl Wiggins tested positive for the virus, two of the most important numbers that defined her were 47, the number of years she’d been married, and three, the number of children she’d had. In late October she’d become a number herself, a data point in the grim, never-ending count of COVID-19 victims. In Nash County, 68 people have died of the virus since Oct. 1. Among North Carolina’s 100 counties, only Gaston County (103 deaths), Mecklenburg (99) and Guilford (71) have had more virus deaths since the start of October. Mecklenburg and Guilford are the second- and third-most populated counties in the state. Gaston is 10th. Nash, with a population of about 94,000, is 30th.”

BBC: Covid-19 vaccine: Allergy warning over new jab. “People with a history of significant allergic reactions should not have the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid jab, regulators say. It came after two NHS workers had allergic reactions on Tuesday. The advice applies to those who have had reactions to medicines, food or vaccines, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency said.”

The Atlantic: Sorry to Burst Your Quarantine Bubble. “In theory, a bubble is meant to limit the spread of the coronavirus by trapping it in small groups of people and preventing it from jumping out. ‘The goal here with an infectious agent like SARS-CoV-2 is that you want to try and not give it hosts,’ Keri Althoff, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins University, told me. ‘That’s the name of the game.’ Earlier this year, researchers modeled the best ways to flatten the curve by limiting social interactions and found that having people interact with only the same few contacts over and over again was the most effective approach. But the details of how exactly to go about podding can be hard to pin down.”

Deutsche Welle: COVID-19’s link to erectile dysfunction. “As the world awaits a coronavirus vaccine, experts in Italy and the US are warning of another potential long-term consequence of COVID-19: erectile dysfunction. During a recent interview with the US broadcaster NBC, infectious diseases specialist Dr. Dena Grayson said there was growing concern that COVID-19 could cause long-term difficulty getting an erection.”


Washington Post: New smartphone tool to track side effects of the coronavirus vaccine may be vulnerable to manipulation. “A new smartphone technology designed to provide real-time warnings of side effects in the first Americans vaccinated against the coronavirus may be vulnerable to manipulation, raising concerns malicious actors could gain access to the system to undermine confidence in the shots, federal and state health officials say.”

BetaNews: 92 percent of SMBs turn to new technology during the pandemic. “The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked a dramatic evolution in the ways that smaller businesses interact with their customers. In fact, 92 percent of all small business personnel surveyed in a new study from Moxtra say their organizations have adopted new technologies during the pandemic.”


BBC: Coronavirus vaccine: China jab 86% effective, UAE says. “A Chinese coronavirus vaccine is 86% effective, the United Arab Emirates says, after it conducted a phase-three trial involving thousands of people. The vaccine, produced by China National Pharmaceutical Group, or Sinopharm, has been ‘officially registered’, the UAE state news agency reports.”


New York Times: Prisons Are Covid-19 Hotbeds. When Should Inmates Get the Vaccine?. “They live in crowded conditions, sharing bathrooms and eating facilities where social distancing is impossible. They have high rates of asthma, diabetes and heart disease. Many struggle with mental illness. A disproportionate number are Black and Hispanic, members of minority communities that have been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic. So should prisoners and other detainees be given priority access to one of the new Covid-19 vaccines?”

BetaNews: ID fraud surges during pandemic as more people turn to crime. “Over the past year the average identity document (ID) fraud rate has increased by 41 percent over the previous year and first-time fraudsters appear to be more prevalent. A new report from identity verification and authentication provider Onfido shows activity peaked in July and August. But with large parts of Europe encountering a ‘second wave’ and re-entering lockdown, coupled with the spike in online activity for the holiday shopping season, Onfido predicts fraud rates will start to climb again as the year closes.”

ComputerWorld: Windows hackers target COVID-19 vaccine efforts. “I’ve written before about how during the coronavirus pandemic, hackers have increasingly exploited Windows vulnerabilities to trick people into downloading malware and ransomware to get fast, easy money. With a recent upsurge of attacks, things are getting worse. And this time around it’s different — people may die from COVID-19 because of the attacks.”

Metro: Dad ordered to turn off Christmas lights or face £10,000 fine. “Trevor Payne, 46, has been displaying festive lights outside his house for several years to raise money for mental health charities. But police were called to his property in Cheslyn Hay, Staffordshire, on Saturday evening after reports of a ‘large gathering’ in the street. The dad was ordered to turn off his seasonal display or face a huge fine for breaking coronavirus rules – leaving families and children in the area heartbroken.”


NBC News: A trip to the hospital reminded me why I want to avoid getting Covid-19. “This is a rough time to be in a hospital, medically or emotionally. The day I went to the ER, I put off calling my mother until I knew that I was being admitted to a regular hospital room. I was afraid of making her panic with the thought that I was just in limbo. The idea of forcing my mom to put the need to keep herself safe from Covid-19 over her need to see me through an emergency in person — I could not bear that.” I waited with my Granny in the hospital for ten hours to get a room. There were people in the waiting room who wouldn’t keep their masks on. In a hospital. It’s enough to drive you wild.

New York Times: The Long Darkness Before Dawn. “Our failure to protect ourselves has caught up to us. The nation now must endure a critical period of transition, one that threatens to last far too long, as we set aside justifiable optimism about next spring and confront the dark winter ahead.”

CoronaBuzz is brought to you by ResearchBuzz. I love your comments, I love your site suggestions, and I love you. Feel free to comment, send resource suggestions, or tag @buzz_corona on Twitter. Thanks!

Categories: coronabuzz

Tagged as: ,

Leave a Reply