Tuesday CoronaBuzz, March 9, 2021: 32 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.


USA Today: Looking for a COVID-19 vaccine? This website may text you when a vaccine is about to go unused. “A new standby list for COVID-19 vaccines is rolling out across the country to connect people with doses that would otherwise go to waste. More than half a million people have already signed up on Dr. B, which texts users based on their eligibility status when there are extra doses nearby in jeopardy of going unused.”


Spotted via my Google Alerts: Collecting These Times: American Jewish Experiences of the Pandemic. From the front page: “COVID-19 has altered the way people engaged with their communities and religious practices. Collecting These Times connects American Jews to Jewish institutions and other collecting projects which can gather and preserve their experiences of the pandemic. Individuals can find relevant collecting projects through the portal and easily contribute materials such as images, videos, audio recordings, documents, and oral histories to collecting institutions in different parts of the U.S.”


BBC: Covid: How to deal with lockdown social anxiety. “Smaller gatherings will be allowed outside from 29 March in England. And while for many people it’s been a really exciting time, for those with social anxiety there’s a worry about how they’ll adapt to life after lockdown.”

The Verge: Spice Up Your Daily Pandemic Walk With These Apps. “Taking a daily or, if I’m being honest, semi-daily walk is a lockdown habit that has seen me through These Unprecedented Times. I’m not alone, either — without gyms or really anywhere else to go at all, lots of us have embraced (or at times, endured) a daily walk around the neighborhood….Here are some techniques to keep your pandemic walk routine fresh and the apps that can help you put them into practice.”

Lifehacker: How to Help Your Kids Transition Back into School. “Transitioning kids back into the classroom after a three-month summer hiatus is often a challenge. Even the transition back to school after a couple of weeks off for winter break can send some kids into a tailspin. And now, as schools across the country plan to reopen, many families are facing the Mother of All Transitions—getting kids back into the classroom after a literal year at home.”


MLive: 12 months of coronavirus in Michigan: A look back by the numbers. “There were 118,000 known cases of COVID-19 and nearly 4,300 deaths attributed to the coronavirus worldwide when the World Health Organization declared the novel virus a global pandemic March 11, 2020. Almost a full year later, the state of Michigan alone has reported more than five times as many known infections, and more than three times as many fatalities linked to the novel virus that has altered life for everyone the last 12 months.”


AP: AP-NORC poll: Many in US still face COVID-19 financial loss. “Roughly 4 in 10 Americans say they’re still feeling the financial impact of the loss of a job or income within their household as the economic recovery remains uneven one year into the coronavirus pandemic.”

Knowledge@Wharton: What’s Ahead in the Second Year of COVID-19?. “When COVID-19 began its insidious march across the globe more than a year ago, it disrupted every industry and forced fast innovation as business leaders worked to adjust to a new world order. Last year, in Wharton’s Fast Forward video series, several of the School’s faculty offered their insight into what the second half of 2020 would look like during the pandemic. That insight is needed even more this year as the ground keeps shifting, vaccines are rolled out, and new coronavirus mutations emerge.”

Brookings Institution: Digitizing civic spaces amid the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. “At the same time that physical civic space has been contracting, its virtual equivalent has been expanding in some places. The COVID-19 pandemic has witnessed a boom in online activity and the desire to participate, with the creation of hundreds of social media accounts and crowdsourced mapping projects coordinating assistance and sharing information. Civil society organizations (CSOs) and some governments have been working to remain connected during the pandemic. Governments have been relying on virtual public forums where citizens can submit claims, ideas, and opinions.”


Vox Recode: Facebook is finally cracking down hard on anti-vaccine content. It is facing an uphill battle.. “Facebook’s big push is meant to help bring an end to a pandemic that has killed more than 2.5 million people around the world. But for some of the people who have for years been sounding the alarm about the dangers of anti-vaccine groups and pages on Facebook and Instagram, the announcement — even if it’s a step forward — feels like too little, too late.”


NPR: COMIC: How One COVID-19 Nurse Navigates Anti-Mask Sentiment. “Agnes Boisvert, an ICU nurse at St. Luke’s hospital in downtown Boise, Idaho, spends every day trying to navigate between two worlds. One is a swirl of beeping monitors, masked emotion and death; the other, she says, seems oblivious to the horrors occurring every hour of every day.”


NBC News: Texans recovering from Covid-19 needed oxygen. Then the power went out.. “Mauricio Marin felt his heart tighten when the power flicked off at his Richmond, Texas, home on the evening of Feb. 14, shutting down his plug-in breathing machine. Gasping, he rushed to connect himself to one of the portable oxygen tanks his doctors had sent home with him weeks earlier to help his lungs recover after his three-week stay in a Covid-19 intensive care unit. Between the two portable tanks, he calculated, he had six hours of air.”

University of Alabama at Birmingham: Study shows high risk of anxiety, burnout in emergency department health care workers from COVID-19. “Front line health care workers in hospital emergency departments are at increased risk for anxiety, burnout, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder while coping with the COVID-19 pandemic, according to research published in Annals of Emergency Medicine in February. The study, done in 20 emergency departments at hospitals in the United States, found that symptoms of anxiety and burnout were prevalent across the full spectrum of emergency department staff during the pandemic, and as many as one-fifth of health care employees were at risk for PTSD.”


Washington Post: He put it all on the line opening his butcher shop a year ago. Then the pandemic hit.. “He remembers the moment it came to him, about 10 years ago — his dream. It was when he really understood the marketplace and what people were willing to spend on something he always considered ordinary. ‘Growing up, my moms would spend $150 to fill the refrigerator and we would eat for weeks,’ Wendell Allsbrook said. And his big hands held an imaginary plate to illustrate his next point. ‘I just sold a family $150 of meat for one night. That was my wake-up call.'”

Poynter: Can a business make you wear a mask if the state doesn’t require it?. “Imagine you are a Texas and Mississippi business that wants employees and customers to wear masks this week, even though the state is no longer requiring them. It will be on you to enforce the restrictions … and good luck with that. Big retailers like Macy’s and Kroger say with or without state mandates if you want to shop in their stores, wear a mask. The Texas-based H-E-B stores require their workers to wear masks and ask customers to do the same, but do not make it a requirement.”

Harvard Business Review: COVID Killed the Traditional Workplace. What Should Companies Do Now?. “A year ago, COVID-19 forced many companies to send employees home—often with a laptop and a prayer. Now, with COVID cases subsiding and vaccinations rising, the prospect of returning to old office routines appears more possible. But will employees want to flock back to buildings even when it’s safe again? Should companies do away with Zoom and return the workplace to its pre-COVID ways? The answer, in a word: No.”


Reuters: Yellen says COVID-19 having ‘extremely unfair’ impact on women’s income, jobs. “The COVID-19 pandemic has had an ‘extremely unfair’ impact on the income and economic opportunities of women, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Monday, calling for long-term steps to improve labor market conditions for women.”


Chalkbeat: A year into the COVID-19 pandemic, school as we know it has been transformed. “School during the pandemic looks different for every district, every school, every family. For some there are plexiglass dividers and face shields; for others, Zoom and Google Classroom. Where one teacher eagerly attends class in person, another is filled with fear. The random testing, the grading systems, the hybrid schedules vary wildly. But one thing unites them all — school as we know it has been completely transformed.”


10 News San Diego: In-Depth: New UCSD research aims to help COVID-19 ‘long haulers’. “New research is helping doctors and patients understand why some symptoms of COVID-19 linger in patients for weeks or months after their infection ends.”

Mayo Clinic: Expert Alert: Risk for chronic kidney disease even more critical due to COVID-19 pandemic. “An estimated 1 in 10 people worldwide have chronic kidney disease, but most of them don’t know it. That lack of awareness is especially concerning because people with chronic kidney disease who are infected with COVID-19 are at higher risk for serious illness.”

WRAL: Why you should wear a face mask even if your state doesn’t require it. “At least fifteen states — representing 30% of the country — don’t require face masks. With more than 500,000 Americans dead and new emerging variants of the virus, health experts warn that such policies could prolong the pandemic and result in more lives lost.”


Techdirt: Crappy US Broadband Is Also Hampering Equitable Vaccine Deployment. “s our recent Greenhouse policy forum on broadband made abundantly clear, COVID is shining a very bright light on US broadband dysfunction. The high cost of service, spotty coverage, slow speeds, and high prices are all being felt acutely in an era where having a decent broadband connection is the pathway to education, employment, healthcare, and opportunity.”


University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: Single vaccine dose may offer protection to those who have had COVID-19. “New research from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill suggests that people who have had COVID-19 may need only one shot of vaccine. The study led by the UNC School of Medicine and Gillings School of Global Public Health showed one dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine – known as mRNA vaccines – boosted antibodies among those who previously had COVID-19.”

Penn State News: Deaths in the family can shape kids’ educational attainment in unexpected ways. “In a study, the researchers found that deaths in the family can affect the educational attainment of children. That impact most often is negative, but, in certain cases, a family death can improve the chances that children will further their education, said Ashton Verdery, associate professor of sociology, demography and social data analytics, Penn State.”

PsyPost: Study suggests that the modern anti-vaccine movement is shaped by Christian nationalist ideology. “New findings suggest that the contemporary anti-vaccine movement — also known as the anti-vaxx movement — is characterized by religious exclusivism. The study found that Christian nationalism was the second best predictor of anti-vaccine attitudes among Americans. The findings were published in Socius: Sociological Research for a Dynamic World.”

Boing Boing: Scientists open arena for dance party to study COVID-19 exposure risk. “Pent-up clubgoers descended on Amsterdam’s Ziggo Dome on Sturday for a dance party enabling scientists to study how large events could be held as COVID-19 begins to subside. Around 1,300 people—all who tested negative for COVID-19—hit the dancefloor wearing electronic tags to track their interactions.”

Newswise: Rutgers Develops Rapid Test to Detect New Emerging Coronavirus Variants. “Rutgers researchers have designed a new rapid test that can detect all three of the rapidly spreading variants of the coronavirus in a little over one hour – much shorter than the three to five days required by current tests, which can also be more technically difficult and expensive to perform.”

EurekAlert: Study suggests wearing a face mask during intense exercise is safe for healthy people. “Researchers carried out detailed testing on breathing, heart activity and exercise performance in a group of 12 people while they were using an exercise bike with and without a mask. Although they found differences in some measurements between wearing a mask and not wearing a mask, they say that none of their results indicate any risk to health. This suggests that masks could be worn safely during intense exercise, for example to reduce COVID-19 transmission between people visiting an indoor gym.”


ProPublica: Feds Investigating Lender That Sued Thousands of Lower-Income Latinos During Pandemic. “A federal consumer watchdog agency has launched an investigation into a company that aggressively sued thousands of Latino borrowers in Texas during the coronavirus pandemic while depicting itself as a financial ally of the community.”

San Francisco Chronicle: ‘You’re not Chinese, are you?’ Bay Area health workers describe racism during pandemic. “In California, 25% of active registered nurses are either Asian-born or Asian American, according to research from the Healthforce Center at UCSF. As workers on the front lines, they’re more likely to be exposed to COVID-19. They’re also more likely to die. The changing health care workforce is a result of 60 years of the United States recruiting Asia-trained nurses — especially from the Philippines — to fill shortages in American public hospitals. Now, these nurses are experiencing anti-Asian bigotry while they work to save American lives, said Catherine Ceniza Choy, professor of ethnic studies at UC Berkeley.”

Politico: The Pentagon had an email security problem. The pandemic fixed it.. “In December, the Pentagon quietly adopted a security measure for ensuring that its email conversations with outsiders would be encrypted — more than a decade after many private companies and other institutions had done the same. Attempts to permanently fix the flaw didn’t gain momentum until last year, when DoD officials realized that the weakness was exposing electronic conversations with a host of civilian agencies and companies developing Covid-19 vaccines.”


Route Fifty: Economists: Biden’s $1,400 Covid-19 Checks May be Great Politics, but it’s Questionable Economics. “The coronavirus package contains a lot of provisions that will help struggling Americans, and we understand why the checks are so popular – with 78% support among adults in a recent survey. No one turns down extra money, after all. But as economists, we also believe that these direct payments make little economic sense – even with the lower income threshold. And this is true whether you think the purpose of the checks is relief or stimulus.”

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