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Friday CoronaBuzz, June 12, 2020: 36 pointers to new resources, useful stuff, research news, and more.

Wash your hands and stay at home as much as you can. Please be careful. I love you.


BusinessWire: Milken Institute Teams with First Person to Explain the Race to a COVID-19 Vaccine (PRESS RELEASE). “The Milken Institute, the nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank, and First Person, a San Francisco design and storytelling company, together tell the urgent story of the global race for a COVID-19 vaccine in a newly released interactive experience at:”

University at Buffalo: UB to host virtual Bloomsday celebration with Joyce fans around world. “As the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of James Joyce materials, the UB Poetry Collection will host a distinctive Bloomsday event featuring readings from Ireland’s Ambassador to the United States Daniel Mulhall, acclaimed Irish author Colm Tóibín, New York State Senator Tim Kennedy and other notable guests. The event, scheduled on Tuesday, June 16, from 3-4:30 p.m. EDT, is free and open to the public.”

CNET: Minecraft’s Deadmau5-headlined virtual music festival looks bonkers. “Taking place June 25 to 28, Electric Blockaloo is Minecraft’s first virtual music festival, featuring a whopping 850 performers on 65 stages. Just like a real festival, you can design your own campsite — and then there are a bunch of features that are very much not like a real festival, taking advantage of the crazy virtual world of Minecraft.”

The Scotsman: Young people can apply for virtual internships with companies like Google and M&S this summer – here’s how. “Students across the UK are being invited to apply for free virtual internships this summer with some of the biggest companies in the world. The move comes following a reported fall in confidence among young people around future job prospects, as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.”


WDSU: Gov. Edwards introduces new Get Back To Work Safely tool. “Gov. John Bel Edwards introduced a new tool to help Louisiana workers return safely to work. The new tool is a quick survey to help identify personal risk in contracting COVID-19.”


The Jewish News: New Website Fills Void of In-Person Jewish Events During Quarantine. “The COVID-19 pandemic has made us feel physically distant to each other. We cannot congregate at our synagogues, community centers or summer camps. However, the Jewish community has not shifted away from community during the quarantine. Rather, we have been brought together virtually thanks to the Internet and streaming video conferencing. Three cutting-edge Jewish visionaries saw this 21st-century phenomenon as a prime opportunity to launch a website that’s a ‘one-stop shop’ for those interested in plugging in and learning or praying with a community of Jews anywhere in the country.”


New York Post: How to wash a face mask properly — and when to throw it away. “Whether it be a bandanna, scarf or gas mask, we now know that any mouth and nose covering is better than none at all when it comes to coronavirus prevention. So, keeping our health in mind, Dr. Rita Linkner, an NYC-based dermatologist, is now talking to her patients about more than how to ‘treat your skin properly underneath the mask.’”


MarketWatch: Dow plunges 7%, marks worst day since March as Fed’s grim outlook and rising cases of coronavirus unsettle bulls. “U.S. stocks on Thursday marked the worst day since the height of the coronavirus-induced rout, amid signs of a re-acceleration of cases of COVID-19, and as investors digested Wednesday’s sobering economic outlook from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. The market moves came even as the number of Americans filing for first-time jobless benefits declined again in the most recent week.”

Bloomberg: Houston on ‘Precipice of Disaster’ as Virus Cases Spread. “Houston-area officials said they are ‘getting close’ to reimposing a stay-at-home order and prepared to reopen a Covid-19 hospital established but never used at a football stadium as virus cases expand in the fourth-largest U.S. city. The announcement by Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner on Thursday came a day after the Lone Star state recorded its highest one-day tally of new cases since the pandemic emerged.”


BuzzFeed News: The Real Economic Catastrophe Hasn’t Hit Yet. Just Wait For August.. “More than 40 million people lost their jobs in the last few months, in the fastest and deepest economic slowdown ever recorded. More than half of all households with low incomes in the United States have experienced a loss of earnings, as have a quarter of all adults. The numbers are grim — but as bad as things look today, they’re on track to get much, much worse. The US economy right now is like a jumbo jet that’s in a steady glide after both its engines flamed out. In about six weeks, it will likely crash into the side of a mountain.”

BBC: World Athletics: Anti-viral sand part of ‘new normal’. “Anti-viral sand, a ban on post-race hugs and open-air call rooms are some of the measures proposed to protect athletes and officials when international athletics resumes. World Athletics’ Health and Science department has drawn up guidelines to advise event organisers.”

Vox: Quarantine has changed us — and it’s not all bad. “Although being on lockdown has been pretty grueling on balance, the surprise is that many of us have realized there are some things about quarantine life that are worth preserving. We’re questioning the very fundamentals of the ‘normal’ we’d all come to unthinkingly accept — and realizing we don’t want to go back, not to that.”


Politico: Quarantine fatigue: Governors reject new lockdowns as virus cases spike. “The coronavirus is spiking in more than a dozen states and intensive care beds are filling again, but several governors have no plans to reimpose shutdown measures or pause reopenings, a sign that the political will to take drastic measures has dissipated even as the virus is still raging. In Texas, where total cases have shot up by one-third in the last two weeks, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott is moving ahead with plans to let virtually all businesses keep expanding capacity by the end of this week.”

Fortune: Sweden to drop daily coronavirus briefings as scandal grows over its loose handling of the pandemic. “Sweden’s top health authority will drop daily press briefings that had provided updates on the country’s Covid-19 infection rate and death toll. The decision comes amid a furore over Sweden’s strategy to fight the pandemic, after state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell admitted his approach was flawed.”

BBC: British Airways to sell art collection to raise cash. “British Airways is selling some of its multi-million-pound art collection to raise cash to help it through the coronavirus pandemic. The collection includes art by Damien Hirst, Bridget Riley and Peter Doig, with one work believed to have been valued at more than £1m.”

BuzzFeed News: New York’s Latest Coronavirus Sex Advice Basically Encourages Glory Holes And Zoom Orgies. “Remember back in mid-March, right as the coronavirus pandemic was taking off in the United States, New York City officials issued some helpful advice on sex practices during the outbreak? The guide, issued by the New York City Health Department, advised residents on ‘how to enjoy sex and avoid spreading COVID-19’ by essentially sticking to masturbation and only having sex with people in your household, meaning your partner or consenting roommate (if that’s the deal you have with them — not wise, IMHO!!!). Well, get ready, you horny quarantinos, because the good folks at the health department are back, and they are feeling KINKY.”

AL. com: Birmingham schools, housing authority cut ties with Church of the Highlands. “Hodges and Christ Health Clinic’s CEO responded today to the Birmingham Housing Authority banning the church and clinic because of a controversy over Hodges liking social media posts by the politically conservative group Turning Point USA. The services provided by Christ Health Clinic included free COVID-19 testing for residents of Birmingham public housing. The Housing Authority of Birmingham Division voted on Monday to no longer allow church volunteers and clinic workers to do work at public housing communities.”

BuzzFeed News: Peloton Warehouse Workers Begged Not To Do Home Deliveries During The Pandemic. “The early months of the coronavirus pandemic were a boon for Peloton. Nationwide shelter-in-place orders inspired a surge in purchases of its luxury stationary bikes and treadmills and created a massive new, captive audience for the $12 billion exercise technology company’s streaming video workouts. But it also caused consternation and conflict inside Peloton’s nascent logistics operation, where workers feared the company’s ‘high-touch’ in-home delivery policy put them at risk of contracting the novel coronavirus.”


Yahoo News: Coronavirus infections appear to spike in U.S. even as they decline elsewhere. “In a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention document dated June 9, the U.S. had the highest spike of percentage change in daily cases, with a 36.5 percent jump in recent days. Of the top 10 countries in total cases, that is the biggest spike by a significant margin, compared with drops in cases in Brazil, Spain, Italy, Germany and Iran and growths of under 5 percent in Russia, India and Peru.”

Washington Post: The coronavirus pandemic isn’t ending — it’s surging. “As restrictions are lifted around the world, the sense of urgency surrounding the novel coronavirus pandemic has weakened. Hundreds of millions of students have returned to school; restaurants, bars and other businesses are slowly reopening in many countries. In parts of Europe, vaccine researchers worry that they will not have enough sick people for testing. But this historic pandemic is not ending. It is surging. There were 136,000 new infections reported on Sunday, the highest single-day increase since the start of the pandemic. There are more than 7 million confirmed cases so far. The number of deaths is nearing half a million, with little sign of tapering off, and global health experts are continuing to sound the alarm.”

Intelligencer: An Epidemiologist’s Lessons From the ACT UP Era, for Today’s Protesters. “As demonstrations against police brutality engulfed the country, over a thousand public-health professionals came out in support of the protests in an open letter. One person who signed was Gregg Gonsalves, a professor of epidemiology at Yale and MacArthur genius who is no stranger to protest movements.”


CNN: Facebook now allows ads for some face masks. “Facebook announced Wednesday that it will lift the blanket ban on advertisements for face masks, which it introduced in the early weeks of the pandemic to help combat price gouging and medical supply shortages. Now the ban will only apply to medical-grade masks, or ads that make dubious claims about certain masks offering protection from the virus to profit from the pandemic.”


Reuters: Widespread mask-wearing could prevent COVID-19 second waves: study. “Population-wide face mask use could push COVID-19 transmission down to controllable levels for national epidemics, and could prevent further waves of the pandemic disease when combined with lockdowns, according to a British study on Wednesday.”

ScienceBlog: Study Identifies Potential Approach To Treat Severe Respiratory Distress In Patients With COVID-19. “Early data from a clinical study suggest that blocking the Bruton tyrosine kinase (BTK) protein provided clinical benefit to a small group of patients with severe COVID-19. Researchers observed that the off-label use of the cancer drug acalabrutinib, a BTK inhibitor that is approved to treat several blood cancers, was associated with reduced respiratory distress and a reduction in the overactive immune response in most of the treated patients.”

ScienceBlog: How Airborne Is The Virus?. “In March, an Italian study claiming that pollution particles could be a vector for spreading SARS-CoV-2 made the headlines. The physicist and chemist Jean-François Doussin explains why this thesis does not hold up and tells us what we know about the spread of the virus through the air.”

Phys .org: Researchers aim to help cities prioritize interventions for public transit. “The New York City Subway—which, under normal circumstances, serves 5.5 million riders daily—resumed service June 8, amid concerns from residents about exposing themselves to the closed, crowded conditions that could be ripe for coronavirus transmission. Researchers at Penn State aim to help minimize the risk of COVID-19 spread by identifying specific subway stations in which intervention resources—such as setting up testing sites, allocating additional personnel to disinfect frequently touched surfaces in subway stations, and distributing masks and hand sanitizer—could be of greatest benefit.”


ABC News: North Carolina racetrack ordered to close for defying executive order. “The racetrack has acted in ‘open defiance’ of the governor’s orders, the health department said. Its abatement order noted that on May 23, the Alamance County racetrack had ‘possibly as many as 4,000 spectators’ who came in ‘close proximity.’ Subsequent events on May 30 and June 6 also had more than 2,500 spectators and violated social distancing requirements despite notices from the state and Alamance County Sheriff’s Office to comply with the executive order, the health department said.”

Phys .org: New data capture eviction laws in 40 US cities. “New data released today on describe a patchwork landscape of laws governing eviction in 40 of the largest US cities. Nearly 1 million households are evicted from their homes each year, a number that is likely compounded by the impact of COVID-19. Twelve states will lift their moratoriums on eviction between June 15 and August 31, affecting five of the 40 cities on the new LawAtlas maps—Charlotte, NC, Jacksonville, FL, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Pittsburgh.”

CNN: ACLU files lawsuit against border coronavirus restrictions. “The American Civil Liberties Union, along with two other immigrant advocacy organizations, filed the first lawsuit Tuesday against stringent border restrictions related to coronavirus that largely bar migrants from entering the United States.”

BuzzFeed News: Coronavirus Contact Tracers Are Facing Death Threats And Comparisons To Nazis On Facebook And YouTube. “In reality, contact tracers carrying out the essential work of tracking the spread of the novel coronavirus are key public health responders to the pandemic. But online, they are being compared to the German secret police and facing death threats, according to a new report shared exclusively with BuzzFeed News. The Institute for Strategic Dialogue, a London-based think tank researching online disinformation, has found dozens of Facebook posts and YouTube videos spreading hoaxes and lies about contact tracers have received hundreds of thousands of views since the beginning of the pandemic.”


Dayton Daily News: Lawmaker asks if ‘colored population’ not washing their hands as well as others behind COVID rates. “During a hearing on whether to declare racism a public health crisis, state Sen. Steve Huffman, R-Tipp City, asked if ‘the colored population’ is hit harder by the coronavirus because perhaps they don’t wash their hands as well as other groups. Huffman, an emergency room physician, asked a witness before the Senate Health Committee on Tuesday why COVID-19 is hitting African Americans harder than white people.”

Politico: White House goes quiet on coronavirus as outbreak spikes again across the U.S.. “It’s been more than a month since the White House halted its daily coronavirus task force briefings. Top officials like infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci have largely disappeared from national television — with Fauci making just four cable TV appearances in May after being a near fixture on Sunday shows across March and April — and are frequently restricted from testifying before Congress. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump is preparing to resume his campaign rallies after a three-month hiatus, an attempted signal to voters that normalcy is returning ahead of November’s election, and that he’s all but put the pandemic behind him.”

MarketWatch: Trump administration has OK’d more than 100 breaks for oil, gas fees. “The Trump administration has awarded energy companies hundreds of breaks on payments for oil and gas extraction from U.S. lands and the Gulf of Mexico during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a government database and federal officials. The breaks on royalty and rental payments are intended to help companies with workforce problems or other issues after the pandemic caused fuel demand to temporarily plummet worldwide.”

Mother Jones: The Coronavirus Is Still Killing Thousands of Americans Every Week, But Trump Isn’t Very Interested. “Trump has essentially shoved the pandemic aside. Been there, done that. Time to move on. Even though the crisis continues and worsens in parts of the country. Puerto Rico and fourteen states—Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Kentucky, New Mexico, North Carolina, Mississippi, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah—just experienced their highest weekly average of coronavirus cases. And the total number of COVID-19 cases in the United States this week topped 2 million.”

NC Policy Watch: With state elections bill sleight of hand, GOP seeks to revive enjoined voter ID law. “What started as a bipartisan effort to address the challenge of administering an election during the COVID-19 pandemic has devolved into a battle over another Republican attempt to require North Carolinians to show a photo ID to cast a ballot in November.”

Florida Bulldog: No-bid Florida COVID contracts flow to DeSantis donors. “Millions of dollars in no-bid state contracts issued as part of Florida’s COVID-19 response have gone to a trio of firms tied to men who’ve contributed hefty sums to support Gov. Ron DeSantis’ political ambitions.”

CoronaBuzz is brought to you by ResearchBuzz. I love your comments, I love your site suggestions, and I love you. Feel free to comment, send resource suggestions, or tag @buzz_corona on Twitter. Thanks!

Wednesday CoronaBuzz, May 13, 2020: 35 pointers to new resources, useful stuff, research news, and more.

Apologies. Family stuff. Also I’m really tired. Wash your hands and stay at home as much as you can. Please be careful. I love you.


From HAW Hamburg and a press release translated from German to English: COVID-19: HAW Hamburg coordinates database with therapy literature. “In order to provide medical personnel with information on the latest literature on the subject of COVID-19, HAW Hamburg has launched the project “COVID-19 Scientific Research Database on Treatment Options” (COVID-TREAT). As part of the project, scientific literature on the treatment of COVID-19 is collected and made available online. Almost 30 universities and research centers have so far joined the concept.” When I went to the landing page of the database, it was in English.


GlobeNewswire: JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles Launches Virtual Programming Featuring Their Most Popular Series on Manga Art, Food, Film & Flower Arranging (PRESS RELEASE). “JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles, the premier Japanese cultural destination in the heart of Hollywood, is launching a virtual program featuring their most popular education and entertainment workshops, including expanded content, to enjoy at home during its temporary closure.” Cooking, Manga, flower arranging…

Wanted in Rome: Rome: Keats-Shelley House launches digital archive. “The Keats-Shelley House Museum and Library in Rome has launched its new digital collections of manuscripts and art celebrating the lives and works of the Romantic poets John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley. The launch of the museum’s new website and online collection coincides with the start of Keats-Shelley 200, a three-year programme of events, exhibitions and activities in the UK and Italy in celebration of the poets’ extraordinary works.”

New Jersey Family: We’re Giving You Exclusive Access to A New COVID-19 Book for Kids. “Stories have always been an important teaching tool for our kids. When it comes to explaining COVID-19 to children, we could use more resources. Thanks to a grant from Northwestern University, teachers can download a free copy of The Class That Can: Coronavirus by Riya Jain and JJ Vulopas. The book features the ‘Class That Can,’ a group of third graders who are remotely learning during the novel coronavirus. The class is excited to learn from their teacher, Mrs. Can, and her friends Kenneth Fox, MD and Ruchi Gupta, MD, both of whom are real-life pediatricians.” It looks like all you need to do is submit your name and email address BUT I cannot find any privacy policy beyond the statement, “We respect your privacy,” which, um, yeah.

Texas Education Agency: TEA Offers Free Tool to Parents and Schools to Diagnose How Much Their Students Learned This Year and To Help Educators Plan for the “COVID Slide”. ” To further support student learning and an understanding of student progress even as students are educated from home for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year, TEA has launched free, optional end-of-year (EOY) assessments that school systems and parents can choose to administer. This optional test does not take the place of the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR), which Governor Greg Abbott cancelled this year due to COVID-19. The optional EOY assessment gives parents and educators access to a powerful tool that shows what their students have learned and where they can improve their knowledge and understanding of key subject matter heading into the 2020-21 academic year.”


USPTO: USPTO launches platform to facilitate connections between patent holders and potential licensees in key technologies. “The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today unveiled a new web-based intellectual property (IP) marketplace platform, Patents 4 Partnerships, to provide the public with a user-friendly, searchable repository of patents and published patent applications related to the COVID-19 pandemic that are indicated as available for licensing.”


Hong Kong Tatler: Maskne Is Real: Face Mask Breakouts And How To Prevent Them. “Tatler reached out to top dermatologists to get their professional tips on how to prevent and treat ‘maskne’—redness, irritation and acne caused by face masks. Turns out, derms knew exactly what we were talking about, first hand—because most of them wear face masks all day long. Here’s what we learned.”

Refinery29: All The Virtual Graduations Happening This Month — & How To Watch. “The Class of 2020 is going to be honored with some seriously star-studded ceremonies this graduation season. While in-person events have been cancelled due to the pandemic, there won’t be a shortage of fanfare to celebrate this year’s seniors. Among the headliners: Lady Gaga, Oprah, and even the Obamas. Ahead, here are all the virtual graduation ceremonies — including events hosted by YouTube, Natty Light, Facebook, and more — happening this season so you can plan and bookmark accordingly.”


Bloomberg: Trump’s Virus Drug Whim Costs Millions, Even as the Mania Wanes. “President Donald Trump has stopped talking about the decades-old antimalarial drug he once touted as a ‘game changer’ for Covid-19, but it won’t be as simple for the rest of the health system to just move on. When Trump first began touting the drug in mid-March, a frenzy ensued as hospitals, patients and doctors raced to secure supplies. Many believed even if the drug didn’t turn out to be an effective coronavirus treatment, it might be able to ward off infection. But as quickly as pharmacies were drained of the pills, the tide has now turned against hydroxychloroquine and its chemical cousin, chloroquine.”

NBC News: Jared Kushner’s highly scrutinized ‘Project Airbridge’ to begin winding down. “‘Project Airbridge,’ the medical-supply delivery program championed by White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, is being essentially grounded, according to coronavirus task force documents obtained by NBC News. The program, created to speed the overseas air shipment of medical supplies that would take longer to ship by boat, became a lightning rod for criticism because of its unorthodox use of federal funds to underwrite shipping costs for private companies, the massive no-bid contracts it delivered to those companies and its failure to deliver all of the goods the White House credited it with.”

AP: As Trump urges reopening, thousands getting sick on the job. “Even as President Donald Trump urges getting people back to work and reopening the economy, an Associated Press analysis shows thousands of people are getting sick from COVID-19 on the job. Recent figures show a surge of infections in meatpacking and poultry-processing plants. There’s been a spike of new cases among construction workers in Austin, Texas, where that sector recently returned to work. Even the White House has proven vulnerable, with positive coronavirus tests for one of Trump’s valets and for Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary.”

Reuters: Exclusive: UK coronavirus outbreak kills at least 20,000 in care homes – Reuters calculation. “In the eight weeks to May 1, there were 37,627 people who died in care homes of all causes in England and Wales, according to data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS). Based on a comparison of the average of weekly deaths in care homes in the same period over five years, Reuters calculated that excess deaths have totalled over 19,900 in England and Wales. These figures update a Reuters calculation one week ago, published in a Special Report, that estimated the excess deaths to be at least 12,700.”


Vox: The economy is in free fall. So why isn’t the stock market?. “Earlier in the coronavirus crisis, Wall Street had a meltdown. Stocks plunged amid fears of the disease’s spread and its potential impact on the global economy, sometimes to the point that trading was halted altogether to rein in the chaos. But in recent weeks, the market has been doing okay. It’s not at the record highs it was in mid-February, but it’s not bad — the S&P 500 is hovering around where it was last fall. And given the state of the world — a deadly global pandemic with no end in sight, 30 million Americans recently out of jobs, an economy that’s fallen off of a cliff — a relatively rosy stock market is particularly perplexing.”

TechRepublic: As COVID-19 quarantines continue, US residential power consumption changes. “As millions of US residents work from home and stay at home under COVID-19 pandemic quarantines, electrical power generation companies are responding by adjusting power schedules to meet a different set of power needs. Part of what’s helping to make those changes are the latest automated digital smart meters used in homes and small businesses, which are allowing power companies to respond to changing power usage patterns in real time.”

The Atlantic: It’s Cool to Look Terrifying on Pandemic Instagram. “I am alone in my apartment, as always, and I’ve just replaced my left eyeball with an orange springing out of its peel. A mile away, a friend, also home alone, is taking her seat—every seat, actually—at the table in The Last Supper, yelling as the camera pans down the row of disciples and her face replaces that of one man after another. Another friend is watching a mouse dressed as the Pope dance across her kitchen floor. A third is smiling while a strange man wraps his arms around his throat.”

Inside Higher Ed: Protecting Art in College Collections. “University-owned museums are feeling the effects of the coronavirus pandemic in different ways. Like most other units of their universities, they’re closed to the public, having moved their programming online. And like most everyone else in academe, museum staff are planning for lots of different reopening scenarios and waiting to see what comes next.”

The Conversation: Coronavirus closures could lead to a radical revolution in conservation. “In the early days of the COVID-19 lockdowns, social media was flooded with reports of animals reclaiming abandoned environments. According to one widely shared post, dolphins had returned to the canals of Venice. While many of those stories have since been debunked, conservationists are providing legitimate reports of cleaner air and water, and wildlife reclaiming contested habitats. With widespread closures of parks and conservation areas around the world, could this be an opportunity to transform the way we manage and use these protected environments?”


Daily Herald: 2 Utah County businesses told staff to ignore COVID-19 guidelines, resulting in 68 positive cases. “Nearly half of the employees of a Utah County business tested positive for COVID-19 after the business instructed employees to not follow quarantine guidelines and required staff who had tested positive to report to work, according to a written statement from county executives.”

BuzzFeed News: Twitter Will Allow Employees To Work At Home Forever. “Some Twitter employees will never return to their office. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey emailed employees on Tuesday telling them that they’d be allowed to work from home permanently, even after the coronavirus pandemic lockdown passes. Some jobs that require physical presence, such as maintaining servers, will still require employees to come in.”

The Daily News: Livingston among counties sent more than 1,600 damaged COVID-19 test kits by state DoH. “Nearly 300 faulty COVID-19 testing kits were sent by the New York State Department of Health to Livingston County last week – among an estimated 1,600 sent to 12 counties, the New York Post reported Monday evening. The kits would have been used to test residents and staff of the three nursing homes in Livingston County, Public Health Director Jennifer Rodriguez told The County News Monday night.”

New York Times: A Coronavirus Mystery Explained: Moscow Has 1,700 Extra Deaths. “Ever since the coronavirus took hold globally, researchers have been puzzled by Russia’s mortality rate of only about 13 deaths per million, far below the world average of 36 in a country with an underfunded health system. With the arrival of data for April, however, the mystery appears to be clearing up.”

BloombergQuint: China’s Disinformation Campaign Targets Virus, Researcher Says. “An army of bot accounts linked to an alleged Chinese government-backed propaganda campaign is spreading disinformation on social media about coronavirus and other topics, including an exiled businessman, according to a London-based researcher. The accounts have been used to promote content attacking critics of the Chinese government and to spread conspiracy theories blaming the U.S. for the origins of virus, according to Benjamin Strick, who specializes in analyzing information operations on social media websites.”

Daily Journal: AP Exclusive: Chicago morgue coping despite surge in deaths. “The Chicago area’s chief medical examiner starts her day with a numbers problem: how to manage three times the number of deaths as before the coronavirus pandemic with the same number of pathologists. On a recent morning when The Associated Press got exclusive access to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office for the day, Dr. Ponni Arunkumar scanned a list of 62 new death cases. The average last year was 20 a day.”

The Verge: The Internet Archive is warning users about debunked ‘zombie’ coronavirus misinformation. “The Internet Archive is alerting users when they’ve clicked on some stories that were debunked or taken down on the live web, following reports that people were spreading false coronavirus information through its Wayback Machine.”


Washington Post: The last time the government sought a ‘warp speed’ vaccine, it was a fiasco. “The federal government has launched ‘Operation Warp Speed’ to deliver a covid-19 vaccine by January, months ahead of standard vaccine timelines. The last time the government tried that, it was a total fiasco.”

New York Times Magazine: He Was a Science Star. Then He Promoted a Questionable Cure for Covid-19.. “When diagnosing the ills afflicting modern science, an entertainment that, along with the disparagement of his critics and fellow researchers, he counts among his great delights, the eminent French microbiologist Didier Raoult will lightly stroke his beard, lean back in his seat and, with a thin but unmistakable smile, declare the poor patient to be stricken with pride. Raoult, who has achieved international fame since his proposed treatment for Covid-19 was touted as a miracle cure by President Trump, believes that his colleagues fail to see that their ideas are the products of mere intellectual fashions — that they are hypnotized by methodology into believing that they understand what they do not and that they lack the discipline of mind that would permit them to comprehend their error. ‘Hubris,’ Raoult told me recently, at his institute in Marseille, ‘is the most common thing in the world.’ It is a particularly dangerous malady in doctors like him, whose opinions are freighted with the responsibility of life and death. ‘Someone who doesn’t know is less stupid than someone who wrongly thinks he does,’ he said. ‘Because it is a terrible thing to be wrong.’”

BBC: Coronavirus: Ventilator fire blamed for Russia Covid-19 deaths. “A fire at a St Petersburg hospital has killed five coronavirus patients in an intensive care unit. The blaze was apparently started by a short-circuit in a ventilator, Russian news agencies reported. The fire was quickly put out and 150 people were evacuated from the hospital, the country’s emergency ministry said. It is not clear how many people have been injured.”


Washington Post: This veterinary lab is the linchpin in one state’s covid-19 testing approach. “Akhilesh Ramachandran emailed Oklahoma’s public health laboratory just days after the novel coronavirus hit the state in March. As a manager of a veterinary school diagnostic lab, he knew lots about rapid, high-volume testing for viruses — in animals. He offered his facility as a ‘backup’ for human testing, he said, figuring officials ‘might say, “You guys do 100 samples, and we’ll do the rest.” ‘ But within weeks, the Oklahoma State University lab — which typically tests for diseases such as rabies in dogs and respiratory ailments in Oklahoma’s large cattle industry — was running more human covid-19 tests than any other lab in the state.”

Politico: Hydroxychloroquine shows no benefit against coronavirus in N.Y. study. “A decades-old malaria medicine touted by the president as a coronavirus treatment showed no benefit for patients hospitalized in New York. There was also no noticeable advantage for patients that took the drug paired with the antibiotic azithromycin, according to hotly anticipated research published Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.”

Carnegie Mellon University: U.S. Schools’ Online Learning Directives May Exacerbate Existing Educational Inequalities. “In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, social distancing directives across the United States have led to school closures. Many K-12 school districts have moved toward online instruction, but not every student has access to the Internet. A new study examined the factors that determine whether children and youth can participate in distance learning. The study found that low-income and non-White children and youth have less access to the Internet than their peers, as do children and youth who live in areas where low-income and non-White children score lower on math tests. The study’s findings can inform policy.”


Deccan Herald: In a first, murder suspects produced before judge via Google Duo. “In a first, Bengaluru police used Google Duo, a video-calling app, to produce two murder suspects before the court. The suspects had escaped from Karnataka in a goods auto and were caught in Telangana, police said.”


The Verge: Hackers are impersonating Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet for phishing scams. “Hackers have registered domains posing as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet-related URLs, according to a new report from Check Point Research. As significantly more people are using these videoconferencing services during the COVID-19 pandemic, the domains could be used to pose as official links, potentially tricking people into downloading malware or accidentally giving a bad actor access to personal information.”


Politico: Trump touted reopening. Privately, his team sounded alarms. “President Donald Trump boasted on May 1 that his success in responding to the coronavirus pandemic has made ventilator, test kit and mask shortages a thing of the past, and that much of the country is ready to quickly send people back to work…. But that same day, his own health and emergency management officials were privately warning that states were still experiencing shortages of masks, gowns and other medical gear, according to a recording of an interagency meeting between FEMA and HHS officials across the country, conducted by conference call, which was obtained by POLITICO.”

Washington Post: A whistleblower paints a shocking picture of the White House bungling the covid-19 response. “THE UNITED STATES pumped some $50 billion into the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, or BARDA, founded in the aftermath of 9/11 and the anthrax attacks, to prepare for and stockpile medical countermeasures to a biological emergency, natural or man-made. When the emergency came, however, the Trump administration foundered. The former director of BARDA, Rick Bright, has made public a whistleblower complaint that depicts confusion and ineptitude at the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees BARDA.”

ProPublica: What Happened When Health Officials Wanted to Close a Meatpacking Plant, but the Governor Said No. “The dismissed warnings in Grand Island, documented in emails that ProPublica obtained under the state’s public records law, show how quickly the virus can spread when politicians overrule local health officials. But on a broader scale, the events unfolding in Nebraska provide an alarming case study of what may come now that President Donald Trump has used the Defense Production Act to try to ensure meat processing plants remain open, severely weakening public health officials’ leverage to stop the spread of the virus in their communities.”

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