Wednesday CoronaBuzz, December 2, 2021: 34 pointers to updates, health information, research news, and more.

Please get a booster shot. Please wear a mask when you’re inside with a bunch of people. Much love.


NIST: Streamlined NIST Tool Could Help Homeowners, Renters Reduce Airborne Exposure to COVID. “Leveraging ventilation and filtration has been an underutilized strategy for many residents throughout the pandemic because of the technical know-how required to implement these strategies. To help more people use this approach effectively, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed a simple interactive webpage featuring the new Virus Particle Exposure in Residences (ViPER) tool. With ViPER — and some basic knowledge about their homes — homeowners and renters can learn how much certain actions, such as upgrading air filters or opening a window, may lower their risk of exposure to particles in the air that could potentially transmit COVID-19.”


The Manila Times: Benilde prof creates online museum for fallen pandemic heroes. “FALLEN heroes of the Covid-19 pandemic are at the center of an online animated museum that is part of the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde Center for Campus Art’s ongoing digital art exhibition. ‘Hall of Heroes’ is Benjamin Marasigan Jr.’s contribution to the online art exhibit ‘To Differ, Digitally 2: Love and Dissent in the Time of Pandemic.’ The CCA led by Architect Gerry Torres and the New Media Cluster headed by Associate Dean Maria Sharon Mapa Arriola called on faculty members for ‘works in digital media that will venture to engage with and generate new content from its audiences online.'”


CNBC: How to leverage the Great Resignation if you actually like your job and want to stay. “The job market is abuzz with record numbers of Americans quitting their jobs this year to secure higher pay and better work from employers desperate to hire. But if you actually like your job and want to stay with your company, you might feel like you’re missing out on the hot job market. That doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from the moment.”


Boston Globe: ‘Not good at all’: Spike in Massachusetts COVID-19 infections show pandemic isn’t over, experts say. “Massachusetts reported the highest number of COVID-19 infections and hospitalization rates in months on Wednesday, and specialists say it’s a grim reminder that the pandemic is far from over. ‘It’s a reminder that COVID is far from gone,’ said Dr. Paul Edward Sax, clinical director of the infectious disease clinic at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. ‘People who are unvaccinated [a significant minority] and people with underlying immune deficits remain at significant risk.'”


WBZ: ‘Busiest We Have Been In 41 Years,’ Typewriters Make Comeback During Pandemic. “The pandemic has changed the way we live. Remote learning. Work from home. Zoom calls all day long. A lot of people are yearning for life to be more simple. That has made a low tech machine wildly popular again: the typewriter.”

NPR: How unresolved grief could haunt children who lost a parent or caregiver to COVID. “The number of U.S. deaths from COVID-19 has surpassed 775,000. But left behind are tens of thousands of children — some orphaned entirely — after their parents or a grandparent who cared for them died. In this report co-produced with the NewsHour, Kaiser Health News correspondent Sarah Varney looks at the risks these grieving children face to their well-being, both in the short and long term.”

The Guardian: Covid limits migration despite more people displaced by war and disasters. “The coronavirus pandemic had a radical effect on migration, limiting movement despite increasing levels of internal displacement from conflict and climate disasters, the UN’s International Organization for Migration said in a report on Wednesday.”


KHN: Why You Can’t Find Cheap At-Home Covid Tests. “The U.S. produced covid-19 vaccines in record time, but, nearly two years into the pandemic, consumers have few options for cheap tests that quickly screen for infection, though they are widely available in Europe. Experts say the paucity of tests and their high prices undermine efforts in the U.S. to return to normal life.” Cheapest you can get around here that I know of is $24 for a pack of two.


White House: President Biden Announces New Actions to Protect Americans Against the Delta and Omicron Variants as We Battle COVID-⁠19 this Winter. “New Actions Aim to Get Americans Boosted for Even Greater Protection Against the Delta and Omicron Variants, Keep Schools and Businesses Open, and Help Quickly Respond to Surges if Needed During the Colder Months.”

Defense One: Thousands of Sailors, Marines Remain Unvaccinated After Deadline. “As of Monday, 92 percent of Marines are fully vaccinated and 95 percent have at least one shot, leaving about 9,000 people without any vaccine immunity. The numbers for the Navy are 96.3 percent fully vaxxed, 97.2 percent partially vaxxed, leaving about 9,500 sailors with no vaccine immunity. Meanwhile, the Navy has lowered its official vaccination rate after discovering errors in their data.”

Reuters: Special Report: U.S. rushed contracts to COVID-19 suppliers with troubled plants. “In all, less than 20% of the companies awarded fast-track contracts examined by Reuters were experienced manufacturers with a clean FDA record for their U.S. plants in the two years prior. Four of every five either had no U.S. manufacturing experience, poor domestic inspection results or serious recalls before their COVID contract awards, Reuters found.”


Associated Press: Italy targets unvaccinated with restrictions as cases rise. “The Italian government on Wednesday decided to exclude unvaccinated people from certain leisure activities in a bid to contain rising coronavirus infections and stave off financially crippling lockdowns just as the economy is starting to grow again. Starting Dec. 6, only people with proof of vaccination or of having recovered from COVID-19 can eat at indoor restaurants, and go to the movies or sporting events, excluding the ability to access such venues with just a negative test.”

Antara News: Govt readies 1,200 hospitals to anticipate third COVID-19 wave. “The government has readied 1,200 referral hospitals across Indonesia as an anticipatory step against a likely third wave of COVID-19 in early 2022. ‘The preparations for providing referral hospitals is one of the government’s strategies to deal with the threat of a third wave of COVID-19,’ Health Ministry’s spokesperson, Siti Nadia Tarmizi, noted in Jakarta, Thursday.”

Khmer Times: Lifting Cambodia out of the ‘COVID-19 Rut’ with support from the Cash Transfer Program. “In July 2020, the Cambodian government introduced a COVID-19 Cash Transfer program to help the vulnerable and those living in poverty ease the economic impact of the pandemic. The program is a monthly cash allowance on top of the subsidies already being received by qualified households through existing social assistance schemes. The program was greatly facilitated by a database and community based identification system that targets beneficiaries—a first for the country.”

Associated Press: Morocco Halts All Incoming Flights Because of Virus Variant. “Morocco is suspending all incoming air travel from around the world starting Monday for two weeks because of the rapid spread of the new omicron variant, the Foreign Ministry announced Sunday.”

Variety: Germany to Ban Unvaccinated People From ‘Culture and Leisure Nationwide’ as COVID Fears Worsen. “Germany is bringing in tough new restrictions on unvaccinated people in a bid to control the rapid spread of COVID-19. Chancellor Angela Merkel said that unvaccinated people would be barred from several public places such as non-essential shops and events. The only exemption would be if they have recently recovered from COVID-19.”


StateScoop: Washington launches new vaccine verification system. “The Washington Department of Health on Tuesday launched a new digital verification tool for vaccinated residents, enabling people to use their smartphones to provide proof of their COVID-19 vaccination to businesses and employers who request it.”

The Atlantic: America’s Pandemic Star Loses Some Luster. “As the Delta variant has penetrated Vermont’s once-formidable defenses, the state’s leaders are now debating how to respond—or whether to respond much at all. Vermont’s experience, they concede, might simply be a preview of the virus’s endemic future, when states can realistically hope only to keep COVID-19 contained, not eliminate it entirely.”

State of Michigan: Unvaccinated residents filling Michigan hospitals, getting hospitalized for COVID. “As Michigan continues to record high numbers of COVID-19 cases, new data from the Michigan Health & Hospital Association (MHA) proves that the majority of Michigan residents severely sick with COVID-19 are unvaccinated. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and MHA are pleading with residents to get vaccinated for their own health, the safety of Michigan’s health care personnel, and to avoid additional strain on health care systems that are already stretched and struggling to respond.”

NJ: Republicans defy COVID vaccine policy at the N.J. Statehouse, ignoring troopers who tried to stop them. “In a surreal scene, a number of Republican state lawmakers defied a new COVID-19 vaccine policy at the New Jersey Statehouse on Thursday, walking into the state Assembly chambers after a 15-minute standoff with State Police troopers who tried to stop them when they refused to follow the protocol.”


Los Angeles Times: L.A. firefighter accused of ‘despicable act’ in protest over vaccine mandate. “The LAFD member responded to receiving the non-compliance letter by dropping his pants and wiping his buttocks with the letter, leaving fecal matter on the document, before dropping it to the ground, according to the Stentorians of Los Angeles City, a group representing African American firefighters.”

New York Times: Cities Are Not Only Tackling Covid, But Its Pollution, Too. “P.P.E. litter is fouling landscapes across the globe. Dirtied masks and gloves tumbleweed across city parks, streets and shores in Lima, Toronto, Hong Kong and beyond. Researchers in Nanjing, China, and La Jolla, Calif., recently calculated that 193 countries have generated more than 8 million tons of pandemic-related plastic waste, and the advocacy group OceansAsia estimated that as many as 1.5 billion face masks could wind up in the marine environment in a single year.”


Yahoo Sports: Former UFC veteran Diego Sanchez hospitalized amid lengthy COVID-19 battle. “Longtime UFC veteran Diego Sanchez has been hospitalized after a lengthy battle with COVID-19, he announced on Twitter. Sanchez, who has been keeping fans updated with his battle with the coronavirus for more than a week on social media, posted a photo on Thursday saying he has been hospitalized and dealing with complications with pneumonia.”

SportsNet: Sharks’ Evander Kane clears waivers, return to game action still uncertain. “San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane cleared waivers on Monday, with the expectation now being that he will report to the organization’s AHL team, the San Jose Baracudas, though it is uncertain when he will be ready to play. The Sharks announced Kane had been placed on waivers Sunday, just before his 21-game suspension for submitting a fake COVID-19 vaccination card ended. He was eligible to play Tuesday against the New Jersey Devils.”


BBC: Omicron variant: 13 Belenenses players and staff test positive for new variant. “Thirteen players at Portuguese club Belenenses, whose match against Benfica was abandoned in farcical scenes on Saturday, have tested positive for the Covid variant Omicron – accounting for every case currently in the country. A Covid-19 outbreak meant only nine Belenenses players started against Benfica with the match called off in the second half when injuries reduced their team to six.”


Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Franklin Regional bans COVID-19 vaccine clinics at school buildings. “The Franklin Regional school board this week prohibited the district from using any of its buildings to host COVID-19 vaccination clinics for students or the community. The board voted 7-2 on Monday to ban the clinics, which dozens of other school districts in the area have held since vaccines first became available in the spring.”


NPR: Why some researchers think the omicron variant could be the most infectious one yet. “Last week, scientists in South Africa and Botswana detected a new strain of the coronavirus, one with about 50 mutations across its genome. By contrast, other variants, such as delta, have less than 20 mutations. Known as omicron, the new variant has put the globe on alert. Since Nov. 24, when it was first reported to the World Health Organization, health officials have now detected omicron in more than a dozen countries across at least five continents. The variant poses a ‘very high’ risk, the WHO said on Monday.”

Euronews; Hidden cost of COVID: How millions of Europeans with cancer are being impacted by the pandemic. “While our attention was focused on the unfolding global health crisis precipitated by the spread of COVID-19, Europe was sleepwalking into yet another deepening health crisis. The ‘Time to Act’ Data Navigator, a new tool created by Queen’s University Belfast in the UK and European Cancer Organisation, has uncovered the scale to which treatment for cancer has been disrupted by the pandemic.”


Ubergizmo: Researchers Discover Malware Targeting Vaccine Manufacturers. “There are a lot of diseases in the world, many of which haven’t been stamped out yet, and we imagine that in the future we’ll probably discover even more. This is why vaccines are being developed with the idea that they can either prevent people from getting certain diseases or at least reducing the symptoms considerably. However, it seems that there are some who are trying to disrupt this research process by launching malware targeted at these vaccine research centers and manufacturers.”

Phys. org: ‘Digitally literate’ Gen Z and Millennials’ pandemic experience shaped by social media. “Younger people’s experience of the COVID-19 pandemic was shaped by their savvy use of social media platforms, navigating mis- and dis-information, subjective content loops, big-tech algorithms and emerging ‘splinter platforms,’ a new University of Melbourne report has found.”


Cornell Chronicle: New tool predicts where coronavirus binds to human proteins. “A computational tool allows researchers to precisely predict locations on the surfaces of human and COVID-19 viral proteins that bind with each other, a breakthrough that will greatly benefit our understanding of the virus and the development of drugs that block binding sites.”

Medical Xpress: New imaging resource assists AI in the COVID-19 fight. “Published today in the Open-Access, Open-Data journal GigaScience is the National COVID-19 Chest Imaging Database (NCCID), a centralized database containing chest X-rays, Computed Tomography (CT) and MRI scans from patients across the UK. Utilizing the unique position as the world’s single largest integrated healthcare system, the benefits of collecting chest imaging data this large are extensive and already being used by doctors and the research community.”


BBC: Covid: Dutch police arrest quarantine hotel escapees. “Dutch police say they have detained a couple who escaped from a Covid-quarantine hotel. The arrests were made on a plane in Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport just before it departed to Spain on Sunday. The Spanish man and Portuguese woman were later handed over to the country’s health service, local media reported.”


Washington Post: Opinion: The bombshell about Trump testing positive also implicates the Trump family. “The Trump family has long treated rules and laws as nuisances that are only for the little people. And the news that Donald Trump tested positive for covid-19 before the first 2020 presidential debate shows that this tendency may be even more depraved and malevolent than you thought.”

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