Wednesday CoronaBuzz, January 20, 2021: 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.


University of Wisconsin-Madison: UW researchers develop tool to equitably distribute limited vaccines. “The demand for COVID-19 vaccines continues to outpace supply, forcing public health officials to decide who should be first in line for a shot, even among those in the same pool of eligible vaccine recipients. To assist these efforts, researchers at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and UW Health have developed a tool that incorporates a person’s age and socioeconomic status to prioritize vaccine distribution among people who otherwise share similar risks due to their jobs. The tool helps identify those who are at greater risk of severe complications or death from COVID-19.”

News 18: Indian Covid-19 Doctors Are Turning to Music and Movement to Get Rid of Stress. “According to the report, Anainah [Patel] first thought of adjusting some ballet moves like plie and pirouette during her breaks in shifts. It wasn’t possible for her to fit the course in her life though. However, her failed attempt inspired some artistes to think of healthcare workers like her. It gave birth to Project Move- an online library consisting of music and movements to help our healthcare workers spend some minutes on their self-care.” I took a look at the site. Everything I saw was in English. I briefly looked at a couple of videos. The speaker’s English is accented but she’s easily understandable.


CSUDH: Documenting COVID-19 Digital Collection and Finding Aid Now Online. “The collection can be viewed in the Gerth Archives Digital Collections database, and a finding aid describing the physical collection can be viewed in the Online Archive of California (OAC). The collection includes 61 diaries (.pdf), 16 blog posts (.pdf), 88 photographs (.jpg), 3 videos (.mov), 1 sound recording (.mp3), 4 works of art (.pdf), 3 periodicals (.pdf), and two boxes of Daily Breeze newspaper articles as of December 2020.”


WKYC: Where can you get a COVID-19 vaccine in Ohio? State launches new zip code search tool. “Have you been searching for ways to get the COVID-19 vaccine? You’re not alone. Many Ohioans have been wondering when — and where — they will be able to get the shot once they’re eligible. Ohio health officials launched a new tool Friday morning that helps residents throughout the state locate COVID-19 vaccination options near them.”

NBC News Bay Area: New Website Lists Locations of COVID-19 Vaccination Sites, Tracks Availability of Doses. This is for California. “With more people getting frustrated by the day, a tech worker is trying to solve the problem of long waits to get COVID-19 vaccination shots and where to even find them. Patrick McKenzie and about 200 other volunteers created… a website that lets people find vaccination sites and keep track of how many doses they have.”

WGN: COVID tool tracks cases at school and campuses across Illinois. “There is a new tool to track COVID in real time for schools and campuses across the state. The Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) is behind the website. The interactive website will help track coronavirus-related health and safety concerns. The information will be utilized by unions and communities to ensure safe learning and working conditions.”


The Conversation: Five ways to manage your screen time in a lockdown, according to tech experts. “In our recent research, we explored how to empower people to have healthier and more productive relationships with digital technology. Our findings can be applied to those suffering from digital addiction as well as those who may feel their digital diet has ballooned unhealthily in the solitude and eventlessness of lockdown.”


New York Times: Overshadowed by events in Washington, the virus was deadlier than ever.. “In Arizona, which is beginning the new year with a higher rate of new cases than any other state, hospitalizations and deaths set records in the past few days. Over the past week, the state has averaged more than 8,000 cases a day, more than double the summer peak. Yet, some Arizona health care leaders lamented, they are still not seeing the kind of public vigilance that might bring the outbreak under control.”

Getty: 9 Favorites from the Getty Museum Challenge, Selected by Curators. “Back in March, Getty’s social media team invited you to bring creativity to quarantine by re-creating a favorite artwork with three objects (or people or pets) in your home. A tremendous outpouring of beauty, wit, and hilarity followed, as hundreds of thousands of you posted re-creations to the #GettyMuseumChallenge, since transformed into a book raising funds for charity. Many of you have asked about Getty curators’ favorites. In response, three members of Getty’s curatorial teams (representing antiquities, manuscripts, and paintings, respectively) have joined up to offer our perspective on several favorites. As you’ll see, we’re particularly drawn to the many brilliant images that illuminate aspects of the original art—and of the human condition in the time of COVID-19.”

BBC: Covid-19: Four million in UK get their first vaccine. “People in their 70s and the clinically extremely vulnerable in England are now among those being offered the vaccine. However, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said UK data showed more people were in hospital with Covid than ever – and urged people to follow lockdown rules.”

Los Angeles Times: Another new coronavirus variant found across California, including L.A. County. “So many people have died in Los Angeles County that officials have temporarily suspended air-quality regulations that limit the number of cremations. Health officials and the L.A. County coroner requested the change because the current death rate is ‘more than double that of pre-pandemic years, leading to hospitals, funeral homes and crematoriums exceeding capacity, without the ability to process the backlog,’ the South Coast Air Quality Management District said Sunday.”


Washington Post: The Trump administration bailed out prominent anti-vaccine groups during a pandemic. “Five prominent anti-vaccine organizations that have been known to spread misleading information about the coronavirus received more than $850,000 in loans from the federal Paycheck Protection Program, raising questions about why the government is giving money to groups actively opposing its agenda and seeking to undermine public health during a critical period.”


Phys .org: COVID-19 increased energy insecurity among low-income Americans. “Nearly 4.8 million low-income American households were unable to pay an energy bill last year, a problem that intensified during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Low-income Black and Hispanic households were especially vulnerable to energy insecurity, as were households with small children or members who relied on electronic medical devices, and those with inefficient housing conditions.”


Reuters: ICUs clogged on the way in, morgues on the way out in California’s COVID crisis. “Southern California is so overwhelmed with coronavirus cases that patients are backed up trying to get into hospitals, and corpses get stuck in another logjam once they leave. At one hospital in Orange County, ambulances loaded with patients are lining up outside waiting for space in the intensive care unit, and COVID-19 patients fill the emergency room hallway.”

BBC: Yemen: This doctor saw Covid hospital empty after fake death text. “As war-torn Yemen braces itself for a second wave of Covid-19, one doctor recalls how she battled the pandemic alone after her colleagues fled the hospital, and the dramatic fake news that plagued the assistance when it eventually arrived.”

EurekAlert: 45% of adults over 65 lack online medical accounts, which could affect COVID vaccination. “The poll finds that 45% of adults aged 65 to 80, and 42% of all adults aged 50 to 80, said they had not set up an account with their health provider’s portal system. That’s according to the newly analyzed data from the National Poll on Healthy Aging, based at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation.”


New York Times: Bollywood, Reeling From the Pandemic, Shifts to Streaming. “‘Coolie No. 1’ is just one of the movies from Bollywood — the shorthand for India’s nearly $2.5 billion Hindi-language film industry — that has shifted toward streaming in a year upended by the pandemic. In all, 28 big-star-led Bollywood features that were headed to theaters went straight to streaming instead, compared with none last year, according to the research firm Forrester.”

The Guardian: Calling all billionaires: here’s how to keep your superyacht Covid-free. “It is a problem not many us have to consider: how to ensure your multimillion dollar superyacht remains a coronavirus-free zone despite taking on board crew from around the world. But for the billionaire owners of floating luxury homes there is now a solution – a very expensive one, naturally. An Australian naval architecture firm is launching a new double-hulled support vessel, in which new crew and guests can isolate while they await coronavirus test results from onboard medical staff.”


New York Times: In Minnesota, a G.O.P. Lawmaker’s Death Brings Home the Reality of Covid. “More than 100 senators, their spouses and their staff members gathered for a celebratory dinner at a catering hall outside the Twin Cities on Nov. 5, two days after Election Day. Masks were offered to guests on arrival, but there was little mask wearing over hours of dining and drinking, at a moment when a long-predicted surge in coronavirus infections was gripping the state. At least four senators in attendance tested positive for Covid-19 in the days that followed.”


The Peninsula: Qatar launches online registration for Covid-19 vaccination. “The Ministry of Public Health announced that it is launching a new website registration process that will allow citizens and residents to register their desire to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The new on-line registration form will be available from Sunday, January 17, 2021, and will allow people who meet the requirements for priority groups will be able to request an appointment to receive the vaccine.”

New York Times: Some people are already experiencing delays getting their second stimulus payments.. “Many payments have been sent to inactive or temporary accounts that taxpayers don’t have access to. It’s not clear how many people are affected, but the tax preparation company Jackson Hewitt said the Internal Revenue Service had sent payments to more than 13 million bank accounts that were no longer open or valid.”

Politico: The crash landing of ‘Operation Warp Speed’. “Now, in the final days of the Trump administration, their ‘MP2’ — later redubbed ‘Operation Warp Speed’ — occupies a peculiar place in the annals of the administration’s ill-fated response to Covid-19: In many ways, it was successful, living up to the highest expectations of its architects. The Trump administration did help deliver a pair of working vaccines in 2020, with more shots on the way. But the officials who expected to be taking a victory lap on distributing tens of millions of vaccine doses are instead being pressed to explain why the initiative appears to be limping to the finish.”


BBC: Aditya Singh: Man found ‘living in airport for three months’ over Covid fears. “A man too afraid to fly due to the pandemic lived undetected in a secure area of Chicago’s international airport for three months, US prosecutors say. Aditya Singh, 36, was arrested on Saturday after airline staff asked him to produce his identification. He pointed to a badge, but it allegedly belonged to an operations manager who reported it missing in October.”

CNN: Fired Florida data scientist Rebekah Jones turns herself in to jail and tests positive for Covid-19. “The former Florida data analyst who has accused state officials of covering up the extent of the pandemic has turned herself in, days after a warrant was issued for her arrest, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) said. Rebekah Jones has been charged with one count of offenses against users of computers, computer systems, computer networks and electronic devices, the FDLE said. She surrendered Sunday to the Leon County Detention Facility.”

Miami New Times: Having Survived a Brutal Year, Miami’s Cultural Institutions Still Face Uncertainty. “Cultural institutions are also taking a hard look back and trying to learn from the challenges they endured in 2020 that saw museums, performing art centers, and galleries closed until late fall. And even after they reopened, they’re still faced with the reality of the pandemic that has severely limited crowd sizes, forcing them to think of new ways to reach out to the community.”

BBC: Sibusiso Moyo: Zimbabwe foreign minister dies from Covid-19. “Zimbabwe’s Foreign Minister Sibusiso Moyo has died after succumbing to Covid-19, the government says. Born in 1960, the former army general gained international prominence in 2017, when he announced the military takeover that ousted long-serving President Robert Mugabe from power.”


BBC: Covid: Australian Open players frustrated by hotel isolation. “Several Australian Open tennis players have expressed frustration at being confined to their hotel rooms for two weeks after people on their flights tested positive for coronavirus. At least three players said they might not have gone to the tournament if the rules had been made clear to them. Organisers said the rules were clear, and the event would proceed as planned.”


BuzzFeed News: Meet The Guys Exposing Other Gay Men Partying During The Pandemic. “For four days, he eschewed sleep to obsessively scroll through social media and sort through hundreds of tips he’s received as part of his secret mission: use Instagram to name and shame other gay men who are partying during the pandemic.”


ProPublica: Leaked Documents Show How China’s Army of Paid Internet Trolls Helped Censor the Coronavirus. “As the coronavirus spread in China, the government stage-managed what appeared on the domestic internet to make the virus look less severe and the authorities more capable, according to thousands of leaked directives and other files.”


Rutgers: Researcher Developing a Tool to Gauge How Mobility Spreads a Pandemic. “Rutgers University–Camden mathematics professor Benedetto Piccoli is among a team of multidisciplinary researchers from three universities working to create a tool to help mayors and governors assess the impacts of different social distancing levels and travel restrictions. By showing how people move around locally, the tool could help to contain COVID-19 and aid economic recovery efforts.”

EurekAlert: Students returning home may have caused 9,400 secondary COVID-19 infections across UK. “As the study does not consider transmission to the students’ wider home communities or include the journey home – which may give rise to a larger number of cases, particularly if public transport is taken – the numbers are a lower bound on the likely impact of transmissions and new cases. However, although the indicative levels of secondary infections are potentially very large, multiple strategies can be adopted to help reduce the number of students taking Covid-19 home, the authors say.”

New York Times: Could a Smell Test Screen People for Covid?. “In a perfect world, the entrance to every office, restaurant and school would offer a coronavirus test — one with absolute accuracy, and able to instantly determine who was virus-free and safe to admit and who, positively infected, should be turned away. That reality does not exist. But as the nation struggles to regain a semblance of normal life amid the uncontrolled spread of the virus, some scientists think that a quick test consisting of little more than a stinky strip of paper might at least get us close.”


News 4 San Antonio: New bank scams are using information from your social media to hook you. “Local experts say scammers are using information from your social media to hook you and make you think an email is really from your bank. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, scammers know you’re plugged into your bank account like never before. You might be waiting for a stimulus check, unemployment or a PPP loan – making you primed and ready for any emails that look like they’re from your bank.”


CNN: Biden transition finds culture of coronavirus denial throughout Trump’s federal government. “Joe Biden’s transition team found a culture of coronavirus skepticism within Donald Trump’s federal government as they prepared to take office, sources close to the Biden transition told CNN, with political appointees loyal to the President reflecting his dismissiveness of public health guidelines and sometimes mocking career employees for wearing masks.”

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