Monday CoronaBuzz, March 8, 2021: 33 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.


Cambridge Independent: Back to school: University of Cambridge online tool shows how ventilation reduces risk of Covid-19 transmission in classrooms. “With pupils heading back in classrooms from March 8, a new tool created by Cambridge University researchers could help show schools how to reduce the risk of infections in classrooms. The scientists have built the tool to show the impact of wearing masks, opening windows and taking more break times on reducing the amount of Covid-19 virus in the air.”


KHQA: Memorial website launches to recognize Iowans lost to COVID-19. “Anyone who has lost a family member, friend, or loved one due to COVID-19 can submit their name to be listed on an online virtual wall. Along with a growing list of partner organizations, Progress Iowa published the website to recognize this tragic milestone by listing the names of individuals that have passed away and will share memorial events in the coming weeks.”

WKYC: Ohio opens COVID-19 vaccination registration site: How to make an appointment near you. “Looking for a COVID-19 vaccine near you? The state of Ohio launched its new COVID-19 vaccination appointment registration database Monday. Here’s how it works.”

WTOP: DC to launch COVID-19 vaccine preregistration website Wednesday. “D.C. plans to launch its new coronavirus vaccine preregistration website Wednesday, but Mayor Muriel Bowser can’t promise residents there won’t be more frustrations.”


BBC: Covid child brides: ‘My family told me to marry at 14’. “A new Unicef report released on Monday suggests millions more underage girls are at risk of being forced into marriage around the world due to the coronavirus pandemic.”

The Atlantic: Late-Stage Pandemic Is Messing With Your Brain. “This is the fog of late pandemic, and it is brutal. In the spring, we joked about the Before Times, but they were still within reach, easily accessible in our shorter-term memories. In the summer and fall, with restrictions loosening and temperatures rising, we were able to replicate some of what life used to be like, at least in an adulterated form: outdoor drinks, a day at the beach. But now, in the cold, dark, featureless middle of our pandemic winter, we can neither remember what life was like before nor imagine what it’ll be like after.”

ProPublica: The Lost Year: What the Pandemic Cost Teenagers. “In Hobbs, New Mexico, the high school closed and football was cancelled, while just across the state line in Texas, students seemed to be living nearly normal lives. Here’s how pandemic school closures exact their emotional toll on young people.”


Wall Street Journal: Russian Disinformation Campaign Aims to Undermine Confidence in Pfizer, Other Covid-19 Vaccines, U.S. Officials Say. “Russian intelligence agencies have mounted a campaign to undermine confidence in Pfizer Inc.’s and other Western vaccines, using online publications that in recent months have questioned the vaccines’ development and safety, U.S. officials said. An official with the State Department’s Global Engagement Center, which monitors foreign disinformation efforts, identified four publications that he said have served as fronts for Russian intelligence.”


TMZ: IDAHO’S #BURNTHEMASK RALLY SEES KIDS TOSSING ‘EM INTO FLAMES … As State Moves Toward Banning Mask Mandates. “Idaho is attempting to pass legislation that would make it illegal for government entities to enforce mask mandates — something folks there are celebrating by rolling out burn barrels and having their children fan the flames with actual face coverings. The supposed state-wide protest happening Saturday is being dubbed #FreeIdaho or #BurnTheMask — and it was organized, in part, by Idaho State Representatives Dorothy Moon and Heather Scott … who plugged the event earlier this week in a joint video they filmed.”


Route Fifty: Covid-19 Revealed How Sick the U.S. Health Care Delivery System Really is. “If you got the COVID-19 shot, you likely received a little paper card that shows you’ve been vaccinated. Make sure you keep that card in a safe place. There is no coordinated way to share information about who has been vaccinated and who has not. That is just one of the glaring flaws that COVID-19 has revealed about the U.S. health care system: It does not share health information well.”

ABC7: Ohio man, 91, recovering after accidentally being vaccinated twice in one day. “Receiving two doses of the COVID-19 vaccines is not unheard of, but doctors say you should wait weeks between each shot. That didn’t happen with an Ohio man who is now recovering after he received back-to-back vaccine doses.”


Smithsonian: Dr. Anthony S. Fauci Donates Pandemic-Related Object to the Smithsonian. “Physician-scientist Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health, has donated his personal 3D model of the SARS-CoV-2 virion to the national medicine and science collections at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.”


New York Times: The World Needs Syringes. He Jumped In to Make 5,900 Per Minute.. “The United States is the world’s largest syringe supplier by sales, according to Fitch Solutions, a research firm. The United States and China are neck and neck in exports, with combined annual shipments worth $1.7 billion. While India is a small player globally, with only $32 million in exports in 2019, Mr. Nath of Hindustan Syringes sees a big opportunity.”


CNN: ‘They just were not all in’: How the White House convinced two pharmaceutical giants to collaborate on a vaccine. “President Joe Biden’s coronavirus response team learned two things his first week in office: Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot coronavirus vaccine was highly effective — but the company was millions of doses behind its production schedule.”

CBS News: Kamala Harris announces $250 million in funding to help address COVID response inequities. “Vice President Kamala Harris is announcing Monday that the Biden administration will invest $250 million in federal grants to community organizations that work to address gaps in the response to COVID-19, according to an official at the Health and Human Services Department (HHS). In remarks to the National League of Cities, Harris will announce the funding, which is targeted at organizations that are encouraging underserved and minority populations to get COVID-19 vaccinations and adopt safety practices to help them avoid contracting the virus.”


Miami Herald: Hospital and county contradict DeSantis’ claim about role in Ocean Reef vaccine. “After Gov. Ron DeSantis claimed ‘the state was not involved’ in arranging for more than 1,200 Keys residents in the wealthy Ocean Reef community to get accelerated access to the COVID-19 vaccine in January, both Baptist Health South Florida — which supplied the doses — and Monroe County have contradicted his claims, saying the distribution was authorized by the state.”

UPI: Arkansas aims to be the next to lift mask order. “Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Sunday that Arkansas plans to be the next state to lift its mask mandate at the end of the month as states witness declining rates in cases and deaths, despite warnings from the White House and health experts.”

Associated Press: Tennessee panel deemed vaccinating inmates a ‘PR nightmare’. “The Tennessee debate reflects an issue facing states nationwide as they roll out life-saving vaccines: whether to prioritize a population seen by many at best as an afterthought, separate from the public, and at worst as non-deserving. The resistance comes even though medical experts have argued since the beginning of the pandemic that prisoners were at extremely high risk for infection given that they live in extremely close contact with each other and have little ability to social distance.”


NPR: The Dalai Lama Gets A COVID-19 Shot And Urges Others To Get Vaccinated. “The Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, left his home on Saturday to receive his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and promote vaccination against the coronavirus, in what was his first public appearance in over a year. The 85-year-old scrapped plans to receive the injection at home, opting instead to travel to a clinic in Dharamsala, India, where he’s lived since fleeing China after a failed uprising in 1959.”

Associated Press: Pandemic puts 1 in 3 nonprofits in financial jeopardy. ” More than one-third of U.S. nonprofits are in jeopardy of closing within two years because of the financial harm inflicted by the viral pandemic, according to a study being released Wednesday by the philanthropy research group Candid and the Center for Disaster Philanthropy.”


Stuff NZ: Boston Marathon’s plan to hand out 70,000 medals roils runners. “Rival camps in the running world began snapping at each other’s heels this week. It began after the Boston Athletic Association, which still hopes to hold a truncated in-person edition of the planet’s most prestigious footrace in October, said it will award medals to up to 70,000 athletes if they go the distance wherever they are. Practically within minutes of the BAA’s announcement greatly expanding its virtual version of the race, a boisterous social media maelstrom ensued.”

Chicago Sun-Times: White Sox, Cubs can have fans attend games, mayor says. “Mayor Lori Lightfoot gave both teams the go-ahead to sell 20% of the seats at Wrigley Field and Guaranteed Rate Field citing the ‘remarkable’ progress Chicago has made toward containing the coronavirus and vaccinating its residents.”


Route Fifty: ‘It’s Patchwork’: Rural Teachers Struggle to Connect in Pandemic. “Nearly a year after COVID-19 upended schools, many rural educators still struggle to reach and engage with students. Teachers say they worry about the mental health and well-being of the students they can’t see. And students miss deadlines and the chance to forge relationships with their peers, threatening both their academic achievement and social development.”

Washington Post: As schools reopen, Asian American students are missing from classrooms. “As school buildings start to reopen, Asian and Asian American families are choosing to keep their children learning from home at disproportionately high rates. They say they are worried about elderly parents in cramped, multigenerational households, distrustful of promised safety measures and afraid their children will face racist harassment at school. On the flip side, some are pleased with online learning and see no reason to risk the health of their family.”

Core77: COVID Reality: Entire High School Band Rehearsing Together in Individual Tents. “Between the earlier threat of school shootings and now COVID, the current generation of students have really caught some lousy breaks. The images in this Tweet below are probably a good solution–having a roomful of students blowing their hearts out amidst an infection that’s spread via airborne transmission isn’t viable without protection–but it’s kind of heartbreaking to see.” The poor tuba player is getting squished.


CBS News: “In many ways it’s been disastrous”: COVID pandemic provides perfect storm for Americans with eating disorders. “Like many essential employees, Jessica, a grocery worker and graduate student in Atlanta, has been “extremely overworked” during the coronavirus pandemic. Overwhelmed by stress, she’s fallen back into bad habits to cope. Jessica, who is being identified by her first name only to preserve her anonymity, has struggled with bulimia for over a decade.”

CNN: CDC releases highly anticipated guidance for people fully vaccinated against Covid-19. “New guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say people fully vaccinated against Covid-19 can safely visit with other vaccinated people and small groups of unvaccinated people in some circumstances, but there are still important safety precautions needed.”


New York Times: How Do Silicon Valley Techies Celebrate Getting Rich in a Pandemic?. “Silicon Valley’s cash-gushing, millionaire-minting initial public offerings have been bigger and buzzier than ever. But in the pandemic, the newly rich aren’t celebrating with the usual blowout parties and early retirement into round-the-world travel. They’ve adapted.”

New York Times: When You’re a Small Business, E-Commerce Is Tougher Than It Looks. “On a ledger of pandemic winners and losers, Holiday Market is in the positive column thanks to online shopping, which helped push the store’s overall revenue up 20 percent in 2020 compared with 2019. In fact, e-commerce is what prevented a catastrophic year for U.S. retailing. Instead of ending in a deep trough of red, online shopping pushed overall retail sales up nearly 3.5 percent, to $5.6 trillion, compared with the previous year, according to the research firm eMarketer. E-commerce alone grew by 33.6 percent in 2020. But Holiday Market’s success is an outlier for small merchants — the boom mostly helped big business.”


Bloomberg: Double-masking benefits are limited, Japan supercomputer finds. “Wearing two masks offers limited benefits in preventing the spread of droplets that could carry the coronavirus compared to one well-fitted disposable mask, according to a Japanese study that modelled the dispersal of droplets on a supercomputer. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended double masking in February, saying Americans should wear a cloth mask over a disposable mask, the latest change to its recommendations on face coverings.”

Washington Post: Scientists underestimated the coronavirus — and are racing to keep up with evolution. “Evolutionary biologist Jesse Bloom knew it was only a matter of time: The coronavirus would turn into an even more formidable foe, able to dodge the disease-fighting antibodies that protect people after being infected or vaccinated. He even knew which mutation was likely to give it that superpower. He just didn’t know it would happen quite this fast.”


Daily Beast: Out-of-Control College Party in Colorado Met by SWAT Team, Tear Gas. “On Saturday, students at the University of Colorado, Boulder, fought for their right to party. Literally. The university and the city’s police department are investigating after hundreds of maskless students showed up to a mid-pandemic rager-turned-riot in the city’s University Hill neighborhood on Saturday night, injuring three SWAT responders and damaging city and private property, authorities said Sunday.”


Route Fifty: These Steps Can Help Build Trust in Vaccination Programs. “States and localities should prioritize using clear, science-based communication, restoring trust and providing better data to address the hesitancy some people have about getting the Covid-19 vaccine.”

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