Saturday CoronaBuzz, January 23, 2021: 21 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: See How the Vaccine Rollout Is Going in Your State. “The New York Times surveyed all 50 states and found that 43 states and Washington, D.C., have begun giving shots to older people. Many of those states initially offered vaccines only to medical workers and nursing home residents. And 39 states and Washington, D.C., have expanded their occupation-based vaccination programs to include some non-medical workers, such as police officers, teachers, grocery store employees or others at risk of being exposed to the virus on the job. The sudden expansion of vaccine eligibility has caused problems as states sought to increase capacity and people tried to figure out how to sign up for appointments. The table below, which will be updated regularly but may lag slightly, shows who is eligible for vaccination in each state.”


WFTV: State launches vaccine locator website but omits some counties, locations. “A new tool is showing Florida residents where to get the COVID-19 vaccine But like the rest of the rollout, the new locator is not perfect, because some counties are missing from the tool.”


BBC: Coronavirus vaccine delays halt Pfizer jabs in parts of Europe. “Vaccinations in parts of Europe are being held up and in some cases halted because of a cut in deliveries of the Pfizer-Biontech vaccine. Germany’s most populous state and several regions in Italy have suspended first jabs, while vaccinations for medics in Madrid have been stopped too. The US pharmaceutical firm has had to cut deliveries temporarily while cases in many European countries surge.”


BuzzFeed News: Six Trans People Talk About Their Pandemic Bodies. “That said, not everyone is experiencing positive or affirming changes to their gender because of the conditions created by the pandemic, especially those who feel most affirmed within their communities. Still, many people are taking time to think more deeply about their gender and how it plays out in the world at large, whether that means not shaving for a prolonged period of time, choosing different clothing, or adjusting their pronouns in their Zoom window. I opened my inbox to people who are experiencing changes in their gender during the pandemic. Here are a few of their stories.”


BBC: Serum Institute: Fire at world’s largest vaccine producer kills five. “Five people have been killed in a fire at the site of the world’s largest vaccine producer in western India. The blaze started at a building which was still under construction at the Serum Institute of India’s facilities in Pune on Thursday afternoon.”

Texas Tribune: Facing a crush of COVID-19 patients, ICUs are completely full in at least 50 Texas hospitals. “More than 50 Texas hospitals are currently reporting that their ICUs are 100% full or higher, and a dozen of them have been full for more than half of the 24 weeks since hospitals began reporting that information in July, according to a Texas Tribune analysis of data released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.”


BBC: Shoppers stuck at home shun new clothes in 2020. “Shoppers bought far fewer clothes last year as lockdowns meant people had less opportunity to socialise and go out. Clothes sales slumped 25%, the biggest drop in 23 years when records began, official figures suggest. While shops have reported demand for certain clothing such as pyjamas and loungewear has risen, demand for going-out items has fallen sharply.”


SF Gate: Did shutting down outdoor dining contribute to California’s COVID-19 surge?. “There has been no such linkage between outdoor dining and COVID-19 transmission, but California banned the activity in most of the state in early December, despite being one of the few states with a winter climate that would support it. Despite the ban, California has had one of the worst winter COVID-19 surges in the country, which begs the following question: Is it possible that shutting down outdoor dining made the state’s surge even worse? Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease expert at UCSF, believes it’s highly likely.”


BBC: Biden to sign 10 executive orders to tackle Covid. “President Joe Biden is set to sign 10 executive orders to boost the fight against Covid which has ravaged the US. Vaccination will be accelerated and testing increased. Emergency legislation will be used to increase production of essentials like masks.”

Politico: ‘Packed us together like sardines’: Guard deployed to Capitol struggles to contain Covid. “The National Guard has struggled to implement a plan to test troops flowing into and out of Washington, D.C., for Covid-19, with some Guard members being forced to find their own tests and others pressured to leave their quarantine early to report to duty.”

NPR: At First Wary Of Vaccine, Cherokee Speaker Says It Safeguards Language, Culture . “The Cherokee Nation is using its first doses of coronavirus vaccine to preserve culture in addition to saving lives. Cherokees, based in eastern Oklahoma, have directed some of their early doses of vaccine to frontline medical workers and the elderly — and have reserved some doses for Cherokee language speakers. The Cherokee Nation has had more than 11,000 positive cases of COVID-19 and 63 deaths, including at least 20 Cherokee speakers.”

CNN: Biden inheriting nonexistent coronavirus vaccine distribution plan and must start ‘from scratch,’ sources say. “The Biden administration has promised to try to turn the Covid-19 pandemic around and drastically speed up the pace of vaccinating Americans against the virus. But in the immediate hours following Biden being sworn into office on Wednesday, sources with direct knowledge of the new administration’s Covid-related work told CNN one of the biggest shocks that the Biden team had to digest during the transition period was what they saw as a complete lack of a vaccine distribution strategy under former President Donald Trump, even weeks after multiple vaccines were approved for use in the United States.”

Brussels Times: Covid-19: Once vaccinated, details go on a Belgian online database. “The storage of data of anyone who has been vaccinated is being described as a service for the public, to allow them to present a certificate of vaccination to anyone who may demand it. Examples include the authorities of other countries who require visitors to show a certificate to enter the territory and escape quarantine.”

BBC: Coronavirus: Hungary first in EU to approve Russian vaccine. “Hungary has become the first country in the European Union to give preliminary approval to the Russian coronavirus vaccine, Sputnik V. On Thursday, Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s chief of staff confirmed both the Russian jab and the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine had been given the green light by the health authorities.”

MIT Technology Review: This is Biden’s seven-point plan for tackling the pandemic. “The plan is a distillation of a 200-page strategy document which sets out his intentions, some of which have already started to be put into action through executive orders. Thousands of Americans are currently dying of covid-19 every day, and the US death toll is just weeks away from reaching half a million, so the task could not be more urgent.”


CBC: This N.S. historian spent years researching the Spanish flu. Now she’s living in a pandemic. “When historian Ruth Holmes Whitehead started research in 2017 for a book looking at the Spanish flu outbreak in Nova Scotia a century prior, she had no idea she’d end up living in a pandemic. ‘It’s awful because you sort of automatically have this [bad] feeling … how this is going to turn out,’ said the author of Nova Scotia and the Great Influenza Pandemic, 1918-1920, which was published last November.”

Pitchfork: Dave Chappelle Tests Positive for COVID-19, Cancels Texas Shows. “Dave Chappelle has canceled performances scheduled at Stubbs in Austin, Texas after testing positive for COVID-19, TMZ reports and Chappelle’s representative confirmed to Pitchfork. The canceled dates were among a handful the comedian had booked through this weekend. He had already performed the first of the Austin gigs on Wednesday. Tickets are being refunded.”

New York Times: Prompted by the Pandemic, Opera Philadelphia Innovates Online. “What can an opera company actually do in a pandemic? Yes, some previously planned performances can be turned into livestreams, and broadcasts of past stagings can be made freely available — if only to remind the public what it’s missing. But where some companies might be resigned to only that, Opera Philadelphia pluckily spent 2020 commissioning new work and launching its own streaming service.”


Coconuts KL: Police investigating COVID-19 patients who turned MAEPS quarantine center into mini casino (Video). “The police are looking into a series of videos circulating online that showed COVID-19 patients purportedly gambling while isolating at the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang, or MAEPS. At least four videos had shown men gathering at a bunk bed and playing what appears to be the Chinese game Big Two, or Dai Di with money.”

BBC: Tunisia youths warned over riots amid Covid curfew. “Protesters who broke a coronavirus curfew to continue riots for a fifth night have been warned by Tunisia’s prime minister to stop their violence. More than 600 people, mainly between the ages of 14 and 15, have already been arrested after police clashes. Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi acknowledged their anger about a range of economic and social hardships.”

CNET: COVID-19 vaccines offered by email or text? How to identify a phishing scam. “Online scammers have used crises and major events to con people for years. The pandemic has created an appealing situation because the entire world is aware of the disease and the hardship it’s caused in everyone’s lives. On top of that, the virus has pushed many work from from home offices, where they still have access to sensitive workplace information. From a criminal’s perspective, it’s a great opportunity to get lots of people to act against their better judgment.”

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