Monday CoronaBuzz, March 1, 2021: 45 pointers to updates, useful stuff, research news, and more.

Please wear a mask (or even two). Wash your hands. Stay at home if you can. Please be careful. I love you.


St. Thomas Source: V.I. Curator and Arts Advocate Launches Online Archive. “Virgin Islands curator and arts advocate Priscilla Hintz Rivera Knight has launched the USVICOVID19ARTS online archive portal. This online archive seeks to support artists in archiving, preserving and making accessible – virtually and to the public – U.S. Virgin Islands visual and literary artistic responses to the COVID-19 global pandemic.”

The Art Newspaper: Mapping the pandemic’s digital deluge: one academic is trying to collate the online projects of every single museum. “Forget the Year of the Rat, 2020 should go down in history as the Year of the Digital. As lockdowns spread across the world, online events began stacking up….A few websites popped up in an attempt to gather these events into one place, including the English sites Culture Fix, from the digital agency Substrakt, and Cultural Digital: Streams, by Chris Unitt, the founder of the digital agency One Further, with several more in other languages. One of the most comprehensive and international of these aggregation sites is a map of museums’ digital initiatives during the pandemic.”


Fox Reno: State health department launches new vaccine tool to support statewide response. “The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services announced the MTX/Salesforce Vaccine Management tool using a Salesforce platform is now live and being used to support vaccination efforts.”

WSAW: DHS launches COVID-19 vaccine provider map. “The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has launched a new tool to help people connect with COVID-19 vaccine providers. DHS explains the new vaccine provider map is designed to improve transparency in the vaccine distribution process, by identifying where vaccine is being sent across the state. It is also intended to help people easily find and connect with vaccine providers in their area.”


BBC: Covid-19: India in a ‘delicate phase’ of its coronavirus battle as cases surge. “In early February, physicians in Amravati district, some 700km (435 miles) from India’s commercial capital, Mumbai, noticed a sudden surge in the number of people suffering from Covid-19. Life in this cotton-growing district in the western state of Maharashtra had almost returned to normal after the first wave of infections last summer. The ICUs of the 1,600-bed state-run hospital and half-a-dozen private hospitals were nearly empty.”


Washington Post: Among Latino immigrants, false vaccine claims are spreading as fast as the virus. “Latinos face higher chances of being infected by the coronavirus, getting hospitalized and dying of ­covid-19 but are twice as likely to lack the health insurance to afford treatment. They have suffered the sharpest drop in employment since March, and many who have held onto jobs are essential workers who risk exposure every day. Yet they also appear to be getting vaccinated at very low rates.”


New York University: Pandemic Era Sparks Both Anxiety and Activism for Asian Americans. “According to the researchers, this latest bout of xenophobia and hate crimes has crystallized a long-enduring reality—the prevalence of racism in the US and its impact on this minority group. The survey data suggest that pandemic-related incidents have unsettled the sense of belonging that people of Asian descent had felt was secure. It shows, too, how anti-Asian physical assaults, such as the shoving of a 91-year-old man in Oakland’s Chinatown, as well as a surge in anti-Asian sentiments online, have stirred anxieties as well as activism.”

New York Times: The Boredom Economy. “By limiting social engagements, leisure activities and travel, the pandemic has forced many people to live a more muted life, without the normal deviations from daily monotony. The result is a collective sense of ennui — one that is shaping what we do and what we buy, and even how productive we are.”

Climate Home News: Hit by hurricanes and Covid, more Central Americans go hungry and plan to migrate. “Hurricanes and the coronavirus pandemic have contributed to a huge rise in the number of people going hungry in four Central American nations, leading many to make plans to migrate. A UN World Food Programme study (WFP) found that nearly eight million people are hungry in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.”

Seattle Times: A pandemic-era rise in clamming and an effective new harvesting tool have hammered California shellfish stocks. “A pandemic-era crush of new interest in clamming on the California coast and widespread adoption of simple hydraulic pumps that allow people to harvest the shellfish faster and in greater numbers has put abundant clam stocks in newfound jeopardy, prompting state regulators to step in with emergency prohibitions.”

New York Times: Pandemic Love: Couples Who Found Romance in a Year of Tragedy. “The last time anyone celebrated Valentine’s Day, most of the world was carrying on as in any other year: Couples met at movie theaters, bars were full of dates and restaurants were brimming with lovers sharing candlelit dinners. Twelve months later, the year’s most celebrated date night looks drastically different in the shadow of a pandemic that has killed millions, battered economies and upended daily life. Theaters are closed. Most restaurants have limited capacity, if any. Many people are more reluctant to meet strangers or strike up casual conversations.”

Route Fifty: The Most Likely Timeline for Life to Return to Normal. “The end of the coronavirus pandemic is on the horizon at last, but the timeline for actually getting there feels like it shifts daily, with updates about viral variants, vaccine logistics, and other important variables seeming to push back the finish line or scoot it forward. When will we be able to finally live our lives again?”


Washington Post: Vaccine envy is real. Here’s how to tame it.. “Who gets vaccinated first varies from state to state, but in most parts of the country, health officials are still focused on vaccinating front-line essential workers, those in long-term care facilities and people ages 75 and over, as well as those with certain preexisting conditions. A potentially long wait — paired with news stories about real and perceived inequities in delivery — has spawned armies of green-eyed monsters.”

ProPublica: How Inequity Gets Built Into America’s Vaccination System. “People eligible for the coronavirus vaccine tell us they are running up against barriers that are designed into the very systems meant to serve those most at risk of dying of the disease. We plan to continue tracking these roadblocks.”


South Street Seaport Museum: South Street Seaport Museum Discusses One Year Of Isolation Type. “If you follow Bowne & Co. on social media, perhaps you’ve noticed our specimen project called #IsolationType! Suddenly finding ourselves working from home in the spring of 2020, we wanted to express our thoughts, struggles, and triumphs as the pandemic unfolded we all came to grips with a very different way of life.”


New York Times: How the Pandemic Stalled Peak TV. “Nearly a year ago, when the full force of the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States, home viewing became the main leisure activity for those who found themselves working remotely and unable to go out in their off hours….But pandemic-related production delays, which all but shut down the filming of scripted shows and films for much of 2020, have started to have an effect.”


BBC: South Korea coronavirus: PM aims for ‘herd immunity by autumn’. “South Korea will achieve herd immunity from Covid-19 by the autumn, its prime minister has told the BBC, despite a later start to its vaccination programme. The country was one of the first hit by the pandemic last year and became a role model for its mass testing and aggressive contact tracing measures.”

CNET: FDA panel gives Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot COVID-19 vaccine green light. “An advisory panel for the US Food and Drug Administration has recommended Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose COVID-19 vaccine be given the green light by the FDA. The FDA Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee unanimously voted Friday afternoon to approve the vaccine. The next step will be emergency approval from the FDA itself.” Which was given yesterday.

CNN: FCC approves $50 monthly internet subsidies for low-income households during pandemic. “The agency’s $3.2 billion Emergency Broadband Benefit Program provides eligible low-income households with up to a $50 per month credit on their internet bills through their provider until the end of the pandemic. In tribal areas, eligible households may receive up to $75 per month. The program also provides eligible households up to $100 off of one computer or tablet.”

BBC: Coronavirus: Biden’s $1.9tn Covid relief bill passes House vote. “President Joe Biden’s $1.9tn (£1.4tn) relief plan to help Americans during the Covid pandemic has been approved in the House of Representatives. The vote was along partisan lines. Two Democrats joined Republicans – who see it as too expensive – in opposing it.”

AP: Countries call on drug companies to share vaccine know-how. ” In an industrial neighborhood on the outskirts of Bangladesh’s largest city lies a factory with gleaming new equipment imported from Germany, its immaculate hallways lined with hermetically sealed rooms. It is operating at just a quarter of its capacity. It is one of three factories that The Associated Press found on three continents whose owners say they could start producing hundreds of millions of COVID-19 vaccines on short notice if only they had the blueprints and technical know-how.”


HuffPost: Nannies Are Suffering Behind Closed Doors During COVID-19. “The first thing Arianna does every day when she arrives at work is change her clothes. As a nanny in New York City, she doesn’t wear a uniform, but the mother of the twin babies she cares for has asked her to change into a clean outfit after she travels by subway to their apartment in Manhattan. The requirement, on its own, doesn’t feel unreasonable given the way COVID-19 ravaged New York City. But that isn’t the only requirement demanded of Arianna, who’s using a pseudonym for fear of retaliation from her employer.”

New York Times: Antoine Hodge, Opera Singer With a Powerful Work Ethic, Dies at 38. “Over the past two decades, Mr. Hodge appeared with more than 15 professional companies, singing mostly small or featured roles with troupes like Charlottesville Opera in Virginia and Opéra Louisiane in Baton Rouge and performing in the chorus at the Met, Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Atlanta Opera and Opera Colorado.”


Newsweek: California Professor Put on Leave After Confronting Hard-of-Hearing Student in Zoom Call. “A California college professor has been placed on paid administrative leave after a TikTok video went viral on Friday in which he berated a student who is hard of hearing during a virtual class on Zoom.”

WUSF: Survey: Textbook Costs Having Greater Impact On Students During Pandemic. “An affordable textbook campaign surveyed more than 5,000 students and showed the cost of textbooks is skyrocketing due to the coronavirus pandemic.”


New York Times: ‘What’s the Point?’ Young People’s Despair Deepens as Covid-19 Crisis Drags On. “With curfews, closures and lockdowns in European countries set to drag into the spring or even the summer, mental health professionals are growing increasingly alarmed about the deteriorating mental state of young people, who they say have been among the most badly affected by a world with a foreshortened sense of the future.”

EurekAlert: Why some coronavirus strains are more infectious than others. “The coronaviruses that cause SARS and COVID-19 have spike proteins that move into ‘active’ and ‘inactive’ positions, and new research indicates how those molecular movements may make the COVID-19 virus more infectious compared to the SARS virus.”

New York Times: As Pandemic Took Hold, Suicide Rose Among Japanese Women. “The rising psychological and physical toll of the pandemic has been accompanied by a worrisome spike in suicide among women. In Japan, 6,976 women took their lives last year, nearly 15 percent more than in 2019. It was the first year-over-year increase in more than a decade.”

EurekAlert: Researchers reveal genetic predisposition to severe COVID-19. “HSE University researchers have become the first in the world to discover genetic predisposition to severe COVID-19. The results of the study were published in the journal Frontiers in Immunology.”


CNET: As COVID-19 ravages the world, closing the digital divide is more critical than ever. “If there’s one thing the coronavirus has shown, it’s that we all need high-speed internet access to survive in an age when everyone’s stuck at home. Unfortunately, at least 14.5 million Americans don’t have that access (a number that may be artificially low). It’s a staggering number, especially when you consider how essential online access is for work, school and just about every facet of our lives. Broadband access is as critical as running water or electricity, even if it isn’t anywhere near as available.”

New York Times: Seniors Seeking Vaccines Have a Problem: They Can’t Use the Internet. “Annette Carlin feels trapped. Before the pandemic, Ms. Carlin, who is 84, loved to go on walks in Novato, Calif., with her grandchildren and dance at the senior center. Since March, though, she has been stuck indoors. She has been eager to sign up for a vaccine and begin returning to normal life. But booking an appointment has been a technological nightmare. Ms. Carlin cannot afford to buy a computer, and would not know how to navigate the internet in search of a shot even if she could. While members of her family might be able to help her there, she avoids seeing them as a safety precaution.”


PsyPost: Countries led by women have not fared better during the COVID-19 pandemic, study finds. “While some women-led countries are faring better than men-led countries amid the COVID-19 pandemic, new research published in the scientific journal PLOS One indicates that this trend is not universally true. The findings suggest that the perception of women leaders excelling over their male counterparts in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak is the result of Western media bias.”

PR Newswire: FIU study finds women who just gave birth, menopausal women among those at higher risk of death from COVID-19. “More men than women are dying from COVID-19. Many studies suggest that hormones may give women the upper hand. But not all women seem equally protected – those who have just given birth or are menopausal are at a higher risk of dying, according to FIU medical researchers.”

EurekAlert: KIMM develops all-round grippers for contact-free society. “The Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials (KIMM) successfully developed all-round gripper* technology, enabling robots to hold objects of various shapes and stiffnesses. With the new technology, a single gripper can be used to handle different objects such as screwdrivers, bulbs, and coffee pots, and even food with delicate surfaces such as tofu, strawberries, and raw chicken. It is expected to expand applications in contact-free services such as household chores, cooking, serving, packaging, and manufacturing.”

Brief13: Major NIH-Funded Trial of Convalescent Plasma in Covid-19 Outpatients Stopped Early Due to Futility. “In another blow to convalescent plasma, the much-hyped proposed treatment for covid-19, the “Convalescent Plasma in Outpatient with COVID-19,” or ‘C3PO’ trial has stopped recruiting new patients and has been halted early, Brief19 has learned.”

PsyPost: Dark personality traits predict cognitive and emotional responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, study finds. “New research sheds light on how those with high levels of narcissism, Machiavellianism, psychopathy, and sadism have reacted cognitively and emotionally to the COVID-19 pandemic. The study, published in Personality and Individual Differences, indicates that narcissists and Machiavellians appear to have experienced greater distress from the coronavirus outbreak. Sadists, however, have found enjoyment in it.”

EurekAlert: COVID-19 infection in pregnancy not linked with still birth or baby death. “COVID-19 infection in pregnancy is not associated with stillbirth or early neonatal death, according to a new study. However the research, from over 4000 pregnant women with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, also found women who had a positive test were more likely to have a premature birth.”

Carnegie Mellon University: COVID-related Depression Linked to Reduced Physical Activity. “New research from Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh and the University of California San Diego found that 61% of surveyed university students were at risk of clinical depression, twice the rate prior to the pandemic. This rise in depression came alongside dramatic shifts in lifestyle habits. The study documents dramatic changes in physical activity, sleep and time use at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Disruptions to physical activity emerged as a leading risk factor for depression. Importantly, those who maintained their exercise habits were at significantly lower risk than those who experienced the large declines in physical activity.”

PsyPost: New “COVIDiot” study explores the impact of using an aggressive style to convey public health messages. “New research indicates that aggressive messages from science communicators can amplify the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic and increase compliance with measures intended to prevent the spread of the deadly virus. But the study, which appears in Public Understanding of Science, also suggests that such messages can backfire among those who feel psychologically distant from the communicator.”


BBC: Covid-19: Belgium prisoners quarantined after virus outbreak. “Inmates are to be restricted to their cells in a Belgian prison after more than half of a facility’s population tested positive for Covid-19. Quarantine measures have been introduced at Namur prison following the rapid spread of coronavirus among its 132 prisoners.”


New York Times: Supreme Court Partly Backs Religious Challenge to California Virus Restrictions. “The court ruled in cases brought by South Bay United Pentecostal Church in Chula Vista and Harvest Rock Church in Pasadena. The churches said restrictions imposed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, violated the Constitution’s protection of the free exercise of religion.”

AP: Government investigating massive counterfeit N95 mask scam. “Federal authorities are investigating a massive counterfeit N95 mask operation in which fake 3M masks were sold in at least five states to hospitals, medical facilities and government agencies. The foreign-made knockoffs are becoming increasingly difficult to spot and could put health care workers at grave risk for the coronavirus.”

BBC: Doctor joins Zoom court hearing while operating on patient. “A doctor in Sacramento, California joined a traffic court hearing on Zoom while performing surgery on a patient. Scott Green was dressed in surgical scrubs in an operating theatre when he appeared at his virtual trial on Thursday, the Sacramento Bee reported.”


USA Today: GoFundMe CEO: Hello Congress, Americans need help and we can’t do your job for you. “We know their needs are both large and urgent because they tell us about them. Since March, an American has started a COVID-related fundraiser on GoFundMe every two minutes. It’s not something they do lightly. Asking for help is difficult. People do it when their needs are dire and they have nowhere else to turn. In fact, when the pandemic began, 1 in 3 fundraisers on GoFundMe were related to COVID-19, and the activity has persisted at an alarmingly high rate.”


PsyPost: Coronavirus shelter-in-place orders were less effective in states with a greater share of Trump voters. “A new study that examined anonymous cell phone tracking data shows that shelter-in-place orders worked better in some regions of the United States than others. The findings, which appear in PLOS One, suggest that political partisanship and other factors played an important role.”

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