Monday CoronaBuzz, May 3, 2021: 26 pointers to updates, useful stuff, research news, and more.

Please wear a mask (or even two). Get vaccinated. Wash your hands. Please be careful. I love you.


San Francisco Chronicle: New website collects examples of Asian language discrimination in vaccine access. “Language barriers often hinder Asian Americans’ access to lifesaving coronavirus vaccines, says a coalition led by a Bay Area health center. To measure and highlight the problem, Asian Health Services in Oakland unveiled a new website Monday to collect and publish such stories from around the country.”


Ars Technica: FCC reveals sign-up date and website for $50-per-month broadband subsidies. “Enrollment for $50-per-month broadband subsidies for US residents with low incomes or those who lost income during the pandemic will begin on May 12, the Federal Communications Commission announced today. The FCC also set up a new website at which people can sign up for the subsidies.”


ABC News 10: New tool allows NYers to evaluate their risks associated with COVID-19. “Greg Olsen, Director of the New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA), is encouraging all New Yorkers to take the CV19 CheckUp. The new feature is a free, anonymous, personalized, online tool that evaluates a person’s risks associated with COVID-19 based on their circumstances. The CV19 CheckUp provides recommendations and resources to help reduce an individual’s pandemic risks.”


BBC: No sign of infection after test concert in Spain, researchers say. “Researchers in Spain have found ‘no sign’ of higher levels of infection among people who took part in a large test concert last month. Six people tested positive within 14 days of attending the gig in Barcelona, but the incidence was lower than that seen in the general population. Around 5,000 music fans took part in the experiment after testing negative for Covid-19.”


San Francisco Chronicle: Pandemic baby bust unprecedented in Bay Area, California history. “U.S. residents are having fewer babies this year. And California’s birth rates in January and February — around the time when early pandemic babies would be due — declined by 15% compared to the same period last year, the steepest year-over-year decline for those months since at least 1960, according to a Chronicle analysis. We used data from California’s Health and Human Services department, which collects monthly birth totals per county. We found that the state’s births declined from nearly 70,000 in the first two months of 2020 to fewer than 59,000 in the same period in 2021.”


Los Alamos National Laboratory: New AI tool tracks evolution of COVID-19 conspiracy theories on social media. “A new machine-learning program accurately identifies COVID-19-related conspiracy theories on social media and models how they evolved over time—a tool that could someday help public health officials combat misinformation online.”


Catholic News Agency: Vatican Museums to reopen with strict new measures in May. “Throughout the pandemic, the Vatican Museums have followed the Italian government’s measures. During a national lockdown in the spring of 2020, the museums were closed for a total of 12 weeks before reopening on June 1. The Vatican Museums have published a five-page document listing the new rules for visitors.”


KPEL: Shots For Shots: New Orleans Bars Offer Vaccines. “Bars in New Orleans are doing their part to battle the coronavirus pandemic. Two of the city’s bars are holding events where patrons can get the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.”

CNET: Amazon sales surge as COVID lockdown continues to provide a lift. “There was no announcement in Amazon’s earnings report Thursday that could touch the drama of the previous quarter’s news. In February, CEO Jeff Bezos announced he would step down at mid-year, Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy would take on his role. In the first quarter, Amazon got back to what has been a recurring theme: Making tons of money as more consumers embrace online shopping not as a luxury, but a way of life, in the midst of a pandemic.”


CNET: White House to restrict travel from India beginning May 4. “As the number of COVID-19 cases in India continues to skyrocket, along with anecdotal but unconfirmed evidence that a new coronavirus variant called B.1.617 could be driving them, the White House said Friday that the US will begin restricting travel from India starting Tuesday, May 4.”

BBC: Coronavirus: WHO urges African nations to keep expired vaccine. “The World Health Organization (WHO) has urged African countries not to destroy Covid-19 vaccines that may have passed their expiry date. Countries have been told to keep hold of them and wait for further guidance.”

Bloomberg: China Deletes Social Media Posts Mocking India Amid Backlash. “Photos of the Tianhe module launch and its fuel burn-off were compared with what appeared to be a mass outdoor cremation in India, and captioned ‘China lighting a fire versus India lighting a fire.’ The post on Saturday by the Communist Party’s Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission on its official Sina Weibo account was accompanied by a hashtag noting that new Covid-19 cases in India had surpassed 400,000 a day.”

BBC: Covid: Germany’s Oktoberfest cancelled for the second time. “Authorities in Germany have cancelled the Oktoberfest beer festival in Munich over coronavirus concerns. This is the second year in a row that the event has been called off due to the pandemic.”


US News & World Report: States Are Banning COVID-19 Vaccine Requirements. “As COVID-19 vaccinations continue across the country, Arkansas and Montana are the latest states to advance legislation or enact laws that ban certain requirements – such as vaccine passports or conditions of employment – based on inoculation status.”

CBS News: New Jersey “Shot and a Beer” program gives the vaccinated free beer. “New Jersey is launching a program it’s calling a ‘Shot and a Beer’ to encourage those 21 and older to get vaccinated, Governor Phil Murphy announced Monday. Any New Jersey resident who gets their first COVID-19 vaccine dose in the month of May can take their vaccination card to one of more than a dozen participating breweries for a free beer.”


BBC: Podcast host Joe Rogan clarifies vaccination comments: ‘I’m not anti-vax’. “Hugely popular US podcast host Joe Rogan has backpedalled on his comments that young, healthy people could forgo the coronavirus vaccine.”

Ultimate Classic Rock: Ted Nugent Says He ‘Officially Tested Positive for COVID-19’. “Ted Nugent announced that he tested positive for COVID-19. The rocker took to Facebook to share the news. ‘I got an announcement to make,’ Nugent explained in a video message, noting that ‘everybody told me that I shouldn’t announce this.'”

Washington Post: How two young math geeks solved the mystery of Mexico City’s covid-19 dead. “The mystery surfaced early in the pandemic. Hospitals were jammed with coronavirus victims, but the official death count in Mexico City appeared suspiciously low. Sitting at her dining-room table one afternoon, Laurianne Despeghel, a 31-year-old economic consultant, clicked from chart to chart on her laptop, puzzling over how to uncover the real toll. ‘I think the data exist,’ she typed to Mario Romero Zavala, a fellow math geek. She’d heard that death certificates were stored in a database at the city’s civil registry. But it would be tough to crack.”


ABC News: Can the COVID-19 vaccine affect women’s menstrual cycles? Here’s what we know. “With nearly 30% of U.S. adults fully vaccinated, scientists and doctors still don’t know why — or even if — vaccines might impact menstruation. However, they’re listening to women’s experiences, and calling for more studies to unpack any potential link. And, experts agree these changes are likely to be temporary, and there is no reason for women to worry about fertility.”

New York Times: There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling: It’s Called Languishing. “Colleagues reported that even with vaccines on the horizon, they weren’t excited about 2021. A family member was staying up late to watch ‘National Treasure’ again even though she knows the movie by heart. And instead of bouncing out of bed at 6 a.m., I was lying there until 7, playing Words with Friends. It wasn’t burnout — we still had energy. It wasn’t depression — we didn’t feel hopeless. We just felt somewhat joyless and aimless. It turns out there’s a name for that: languishing.”

CNET: MIT COVID study: Masks may be more important indoors than social distancing. “Wash your hands. Wear a mask. Stand at least six feet away from others. These are the guidelines many of us have lived by for the past year, all of them suggested in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, MIT researchers are taking a closer look at the six-foot recommendation to see how effective social distancing really is.”


ScienceDaily: Impacts of coronavirus lockdowns: New study collects data on pollutants in the atmosphere. “One consequence of the coronavirus pandemic has been global restrictions on mobility. This, in turn, has had an effect on pollution levels in the atmosphere. Researchers from across the world are using this unique opportunity to take measurements, collect data, and publish studies. An international team has now published a comprehensive review providing an overview of results up to September 2020.”

Arizona State University: New data shows impact of COVID-19 on transportation. “Just over a year ago, governments around the world issued stay-at-home orders, significantly changing day-to-day lives in an instant. Working from home, postponing travel, having groceries delivered to front doors and ordering ‘to go’ at restaurants are just a few ways many habits have changed. But which of these changes are likely to be maintained in a post-COVID-19 world?”


New York Times: Surprise Family Reunion Videos Are Giving Us All the Feels. “Videos of fully vaccinated people surprising their loved ones are making the rounds on social media. The clips fall somewhere between ‘Candid Camera’ and military homecomings, and show family members spontaneously laughing, crying, hugging and wrapping their heads around the fact that someone they haven’t seen in over a year is there in the flesh.”


The Atlantic: Zoom Court Is Changing How Justice Is Served. “Last spring, as COVID‑19 infections surged for the first time, many American courts curtailed their operations. As case backlogs swelled, courts moved online, at a speed that has amazed—and sometimes alarmed—judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys. In the past year, U.S. courts have conducted millions of hearings, depositions, arraignments, settlement conferences, and even trials—nearly entirely in civil cases or for minor criminal offenses—over Zoom and other meeting platforms. As of late February, Texas, the state that’s moved online most aggressively, had held 1.1 million remote proceedings.”

BBC: Covid: Man arrested after infecting 22 people in Majorca. “A man has been arrested in Spain on suspicion of assault after allegedly infecting 22 people with Covid. The 40-year-old is alleged to have continued to go to work and the gym despite having a cough and a temperature of more than 40C (104F). He is said to have walked around his place of work in Majorca, pulling his mask down, coughing and telling colleagues he was going to infect them.”

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