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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.

NEW RESOURCES – MEDICAL/HEALTH

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.

NEW RESOURCES – EDUCATION/ENTERTAINMENT

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.”

NEW RESOURCES – LEGAL / SECURITY / PRIVACY

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.”

USEFUL STUFF

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.”

UPDATES

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.”

SOCIETAL IMPACT

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?”

INSTITUTION / CORPORATE / GOVERNMENT

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.”

HEALTH

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.”

RESEARCH

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.”

CRIME

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.”

SECURITY

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.”

POLITICS

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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