New York Times: Prosecutors Struggle to Catch Up to a Tidal Wave of Pandemic Fraud

New York Times: Prosecutors Struggle to Catch Up to a Tidal Wave of Pandemic Fraud. “As the virus shuttered businesses and forced people out of work, the federal government sent a flood of relief money into programs aimed at helping the newly unemployed and boosting the economy. That included $3.1 trillion that former President Donald J. Trump approved in 2020, followed by a $1.9 trillion package signed into law in 2021 by President Biden. But those dollars came with few strings and minimal oversight. The result: one of the largest frauds in American history, with billions of dollars stolen by thousands of people, including at least one amateur who boasted of his criminal activity on YouTube.”

PsyPost: Countries with more stringent pandemic lockdowns had less mental illness-related Google searches

PsyPost: Countries with more stringent pandemic lockdowns had less mental illness-related Google searches. “Many people feel their well-being and mental state suffered as a result of being locked inside during the early waves of the COVID-19 pandemic, but could stricter and longer lockdowns actually have positive effects on people’s mental health? A study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research suggests that countries with more stringent lockdown requirements showed less mental illness-related internet searches during the pandemic.”

Penn State: New at-home, saliva-based COVID test as effective as PCR in preliminary analysis

Penn State: New at-home, saliva-based COVID test as effective as PCR in preliminary analysis. “To bridge the gap between accuracy and convenience, Penn State researchers have developed an at-home, saliva-based testing platform that can provide results in 45 minutes. In preliminary tests, the platform detected the COVID-causing virus with the same level of sensitivity as PCR tests. Their results published this week (Aug. 3) in ACS Sensors.”

Open Medicine Foundation: Announcing Our Newest Center to Advance Medical Education

Open Medicine Foundation: Announcing Our Newest Center to Advance Medical Education. “Big news! Open Medicine Foundation (OMF) is thrilled to announce the launch of our 7th funded Center: The OMF Supported Medical Education Resource Center (MERC) at Bateman Horne Center. In partnership with Bateman Horne Center, the MERC aims to increase the number of knowledgeable healthcare providers equipped to treat ME/CFS, Long COVID, and related multi-system chronic complex diseases (msCCD).”

Newswise: UTSW researchers document “infodemic” of false information on COVID-19 in first year of pandemic

Newswise: UTSW researchers document “infodemic” of false information on COVID-19 in first year of pandemic. “The researchers used a Twitter scraping tool called Twint to collect English-language tweets including #scamdemic or #plandemic. After eliminating retweets, replies, and duplicate tweets, they found that 40,081 users tweeted 227,067 times using the selected hashtags. While Twitter suspended one-fifth of the users associated with the tweets, 80% of them were left to post and repeat misinformation (defined as false information not intended to harm) and disinformation (false information that carries an intent to harm).”

Stanford News: Stanford-based initiative WastewaterSCAN will monitor wastewater for COVID-19, monkeypox, influenza A, and RSV genetic markers to help guide public health responses

Stanford News: Stanford-based initiative WastewaterSCAN will monitor wastewater for COVID-19, monkeypox, influenza A, and RSV genetic markers to help guide public health responses. “Researchers at Stanford University and Emory University have launched a nationwide initiative to monitor monkeypox, COVID-19, and other infectious diseases in communities by measuring viral genetic material in wastewater. The effort will also provide health officials and the public with free, high-quality data, which is critical to informing public health decision making.”

Penn State University: Race matters in COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy, research finds

Penn State University: Race matters in COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy, research finds. “A new Penn State study analyzed data collected when COVID-19 vaccines first became available to determine whether these racial and ethnic disparities are related to vaccine hesitancy. Among their findings, the team discovered that disparities between Black and white adults in COVID-19 vaccine uptake may largely be due to anti-vaccine beliefs among Black adults. By contrast, the team found that U.S.-born Hispanic adults were less vaccine hesitant than U.S.-born white adults.”

Washington Post: Facebook’s workforce grew more diverse when it embraced remote work

Washington Post: Facebook’s workforce grew more diverse when it embraced remote work. “Facebook was one of an array of companies to dramatically restructure remote work during the coronavirus pandemic, allowing employees to continue working from home while they avoided the spread of covid-19. Now, Facebook Chief Diversity Officer Maxine Williams said there was an unexpected benefit to that workplace overhaul: it helped the company recruit and retain workers from underrepresented groups.”

Texas A&M Today: Study Shows Flies, Roaches Not Likely To Spread COVID-19

Texas A&M Today: Study Shows Flies, Roaches Not Likely To Spread COVID-19. “Insects like biting flies and cockroaches are not likely to spread the agent of COVID-19 to humans, according to a recently published article by Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientists. Public health experts and officials now know much more about the spread of COVID-19, but concerns remained about how the virus spreads indirectly from human to human through contaminated surfaces, animals or insects.”

CNN: Meta considers easing its Covid-19 misinformation policy

CNN: Meta considers easing its Covid-19 misinformation policy. “The social media giant on Tuesday asked its independent Oversight Board for an opinion on whether its tougher pandemic policies are still warranted, citing higher vaccination rates around the world as well as the company’s own efforts to promote authoritative information about Covid-19.”

EXCLUSIVE: Anti-vax dating site that let people advertise ‘mRNA FREE’ semen left all its user data exposed (Daily Dot)

Daily Dot: EXCLUSIVE: Anti-vax dating site that let people advertise ‘mRNA FREE’ semen left all its user data exposed. “After the Daily Dot set up a test account on the platform, GeopJr was able to change the account’s private email address, username, and profile picture. GeopJr was also able to edit a public post made by the Daily Dot and change its wording. Other data such as the site’s backups could be downloaded or deleted. GeopJr was able to give away $15 per month subscriptions to Unjected as well as reply to and delete help center tickets and reported posts.”