11 Nov Five important questions about the Pfizer vaccine
31 July A continuously-updated NIH document provides the latest news and recommendations about the various treatments for COVID-19 being used.
5 Oct A shortened form of the standard assay for Covid-19 has 92% sensitivity and 100% specificity. By bypassing one step, the test avoids the use of chemicals that are in short supply, offers a faster response time, and detects the most infectious cases while missing only those with a low viral load. News release Research article
27 July Masks are not a silver bullet, but they really help slow the spread of the virus
2 Sept Face mask vs face shield? If the mask has a valve, it still spreads aerosols, though not as much as a shield. YouTube demonstration News summary Research article
How the virus affects the body
6 Oct A small study suggests that prior exposure to the common cold virus may provide some immune protection to SARS-CoV-2, and that immunity following Covid-19 may last for years. Research article
13 Oct Post-Covid symptoms can last for months - what causes them? Discussion
- Known cases: 187,759 diagnosed in Harris County (includes cases detected by testing). Dashboard and map are here.
- Map of coronavirus in the US, by county and severity. Select a state, then hover over the county.
- Information sheets: Available in Spanish Vietnamese Chinese Korean Farsi Arabic
- The Texas Department of State Health Services has an information hotline: 1-877-570-9779, Mon-Fri 7am - 6pm.
- The Houston Health Department has a call center: 832-393-4220, Mon-Fri 9am - 7pm, Sat 9am - 3pm.
- Information about pre-testing screening and Covid-19 testing in Harris county
Covid-19 numbers in context:
28 July "Waco, Texas, is gone" - understanding the number of COVID-19 deaths
12 Aug Texas exceeds half a million confirmed cases of Covid-19
31 Aug Increasing number of cases statewide
13 Sept Nearly 3000 people died on 9/11/2001. More than 200,000 people in the US have died of coronavirus. That's about 65 9/11s.
4 Nov The WHO declared a pandemic after 118,000 cases had been diagnosed worldwide. As of today, nearly 164,000 cases have been diagnosed in Harris County alone.
11 Nov Texas became the first state in which more than 1 million cases of Covid-19 were diagnosed. It took exactly 3 months to go from half a million to one million.
It can be hard to study when you have a significant other or child(ren) at home too. Here are some things the adults around you can do while you are studying.
- Join you as a student: 450 courses you can take online for free
- Get a temporary job: Local chain stores are hiring lots of warehouse workers, shelf stockers, and pharmacy workers. Links to applications for Randall's, Kroger, Walmart, and Fiesta, as well as some other businesses, are here. Update: HEB is no longer taking applications.
- Exercise: You do not need to be inside 24/7 while staying at home. Go for a run or walk the dog; just keep your distance from others. 14-day exercise plan. Home body-weight exercise tips. No-equipment stretch workout. Golds Gym offers free on-demand workouts. More at-home routines and apps The Body Coach home workouts
- Reach out to others: Four ways to help prevent loneliness while you’re physical distancing.
- Trim the cost of your internet access: Internet for low-income customers at reduced price 1. Comcast 2. AT&T And don't worry about data limits: Internet providers remove data caps, some late fees, for 60 days.
- Catch up on sports - a lot of games can now be watched for free. Stream the documentary Baseball for free.
- Donate blood. The Red Cross canceled blood drives, but still needs donations for people already in the hospital.
- Dance with DJ DNice at Club Quarantine
- Suggestions for parents who are becoming home-school teachers
- How to protect your mental health
- LeVar Burton reads stories for adults on his podcast
- Are you missing baseball? Tune in daily at 2 pm for the Seventh Inning Stretch live.
- Check to see whether you can get a payback on your car insurance. List of participating companies.
- Things to do with the whole family (mostly screen-related)
- Watch the Coronavirus Olympics, and other things families are doing to relieve boredom
- Watch a Broadway musical
- Advice for parents with kids at home
- Read how a happiness expert connected with her teen daughter about staying home because of the virus
- Read about how to help your kids cope with virus-related anxiety
- Having friction with your significant other if you're not used to being together this much? Listen to the Couples Under Lockdown podcasts from a therapist who posts some of her sessions online. Here's an interview with the therapist.
- Call 303-502-5189 on Thursdays at 10 am and listen to a 30-minute guided meditation session (or listen to previously recorded sessions any time)
- Feeling quarantine fatigue? Here are some coping suggestions.
- Sing with people from all over, live: The Sofa Singers (requires free registration to join a Zoom session)
- The Houston area YMCAs are reopening. Check their website to see which locations are open now.
NEW: Here is a free book about Covid-19 for parents to download and read with their kids, written by a medical professional.
You don't need to home-school your school-age kids if their schools have made a plan for distance learning. Your main challenge will be to help them make a schedule and keep to it. Here are some other ideas to keep them interested between lessons.
- Zoo-cam: The Houston zoo takes the cheetah for a walk and gives the elephant a bath - all on camera! (Note: The Houston Zoo reopened on 3 June.) Other animal-cams: Africa cam Backyard cam Sheep farm cam Aquarium cam Home Safari at the Cincinnati Zoo: daily webcast with "quiz" afterward (live on zoo FB page) Zookeeper "cam" Tropical forest cam Kitten cam (periodically offline) Second kitten cam Osprey cam Puppy cam Prairie dog cam Elephant naps in pool Baby panda on cam 2 New baby antelopes at Houston Zoo Alaskan bears cam NEW: Koala cam (offline during koalas' nighttime)
- Use imagination: Color outside the lines! Sample pages here. (Find similar books by searching for Uncoloring or Anti-coloring.) Free dragon coloring book
- Combine exercise with stories: Cosmic Kids Yoga Also try laughter yoga (many more versions available)
- Burn off energy: Get Movin' Ridiculously Fun Dance!
- Talk online with friends about homework: BrainFuse via Houston Public Library (use Meet under Collaborate column)
- Education assistance: At-Home Learning Ties in to public TV science, nature, and history shows Scholastic's Learn At Home website for grades preK - 9
- Repeat a great science experiment: How Germs Spread
- Draw a chalk maze on your driveway.
- Cook an easy meal together. Bake easy banana bread. No-bake cream cheese Cool Whip pie.
- Go on a scavenger hunt - find something in your home that begins with each letter of the alphabet. Then compare with what your friends found.
- Practice your musical instruments outside, as the Parker Elementary Quarantunes flash mob did
- Listen to stories - stream for free (includes stories in Spanish, German, French, Italian, and Japanese!)
- If your middle schooler has read any of these books, here are downloadable activity kits and discussion guides for further engagement
- Dolly Parton livestreams a bedtime story for younger children every Thurs at 6pm.
- Story Time From Space - videos of astronauts reading books for kids; science lessons also available. (Thanks to Joanna C for the tip!)
- TED at home - interesting, educational talks on many subjects at many grade levels. Each lesson also has a quick quiz for recall, discussion questions, and prompts for further learning.
- Here are kids' activities and resources for parents/teachers about nutrition and the environment. Urban Harvests, a local group, hosts kids' gardening classes and online demonstrations.
- Digital Hogwarts Escape Room
- Make a sun print
- Build your own lava lamp (and many other science experiments)
- Cook your own clay, then make sculptures you can paint
- Learn to write a story (online course for kids 6-10y), currently free
- Drawing activities for kids to download
- Watch Troop Zero free (on Amazon Prime) (no endorsement implied or intended)
- Creative Ideas for Curious Kids (a daily activity)
- Read about a dog that had 21 puppies
- Review self-gratification with Cookie Monster; then bake cookies
- Listen to story time with the San Diego Public Library (many ages, English and Spanish)
- Make puppets. Paper bag puppets. Two-finger puppets. Sock puppets.
- Create your own newspaper, so you'll remember how you made it through the stay-home order. Examples of kids' newspapers.
- For little kids whose older siblings or parents may need the computer, call Washington Library's Dial-a-Story at 276-676-6234 to hear a new story every day. Previous stories are archived online. - Another story-by-phone option - one story in English, one in Spanish, every week from San Antonio Public Library. Call 210-207-4466 to listen. Find more video stories from them online.
- Do all sorts of art projects (organized by grade level)
- Watch a video of The Mixed-Up Chameleon
- Watch a video of How do Dinosaurs go to School (in Spanish)
- Start working on your Halloween costumes now! Instructions for no-sew Frozen character costumes
- Watch author Thyra Heder read her book How Do You Dance? Then (after you finish dancing), make a flip book with images similar to some of the double-page pictures in Ms. Heder's book.
- Count your blessings: Start a blessing jar. Or a blessing board. Or keep a gratitude journal.
- Visit with picture book illustrators - hosted by Mo Willems (author of Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!); keep clicking the right arrow
- Are your kids hearing about racism and protests on the news? Teach them about equality with books from this reading list (see the Houston Public Library website for locations where you can put books on hold and then pick them up at the curb)
- Download free coloring books with images from historical museum collections
- Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson is sponsoring a reading program for children, in partnership with Ashley HomeStores. Read 4 books and be entered in a drawing for a chance to meet him and get a room makeover. Get the books free at participating Ashley stores.
- For young children who don't really understand what the coronavirus is, here's a read-aloud of Why We Stay Home, a children's book by two medical students of color
- 100 things to do with or without kids during the summer
- Kids' summer writing workshops
- Virtual summer camp for kids from UNICEF - free!
- PBS summer camp, for kids 2yo - 8yo (select age and activity)
- For middle schoolers. Turn your neighborhood into a choose-your-own activity using Story Scavenger Signs
- Listen to well-know celebrities read James and the Giant Peach (10 episodes)
- Listen to the Nashville Public Library's puppets rap about how to do curbside pickup. Note: the Houston Public Libraries are using this same curbside pickup system!
- Houston's Museum of Health and Medical Science has reopened. Check opening hours, programs, and visit rules on their website.
- Is your child sitting at a screen most of the day? Here are some fun, easy stretches to avoid stiff necks and bodies.
- Wonderopolis was created by the National Center for Families Learning to support curiosity in school children. Sign up for the Wonder of the Day!
- Free bookmarks for kids to print and cut out (some can be printed in black/white and then colored)
- Here are some upcoming books about explaining the virus to younger children
NEW: The Houston Zoo will open a new South American exhibit on Saturday, 10 Oct. Come see the giant river otters!
NEW: If your middle-schooler is a fan of Lois Lowry's books, then attend a free livestream presentation about her new book, The Willoughbys Return, on Sunday, 11 Oct. Find out about getting a free advance ticket here.
- Keep a diary or journal about staying at home. Don't know what to write? Get a journal with prompts (example).
- The public libraries are closed, but the internet libraries are open. Download a classic. Or science fiction. Or a young adult novel (see caveat above list). Or listen to an audiobook. More audiobooks in English and other languages, available to stream for free. More open access books, mostly classics. Listen to Harry Potter and other audiobooks.
- Go for a bike ride in your neighborhood and count how many different kinds of birds you see. Use the downloadable Audubon Bird Guide app to identify them.
- Help a neighbor with chores or shopping (just stay 6' away).
- Listen to Carlos Correa's public service announcements.
- Finished with online school? Stream movies with friends using Netflix Party.
- Bake a cake (EASY recipe - use what you have if you don't have the fancy stuff) Cook a pot of beans to last a week
- Take a virtual tour of Houston's Museum of Fine Arts. Pick a work of art and explain how it relates to something you studied in a History class. Many other museums to explore virtually.
- Attend an opera performance by livestream. Discussion guide, graphic synopsis, even a coloring page, are all available to round out the experience. Try something new!
- TED at home - interesting, educational talks on many subject at many grade levels. Each lesson also has a quick quiz for recall, discussion questions, and prompts for further learning.
- Build a domino maze!
- Catch up on your favorite comic strips, or find new ones.
- Free adult (= complicated) coloring pages to download.
- LeVar Burton reads books for young adults every Weds at 5 pm on his Twitter feed. He also has a podcast.
- Watch the trapeze clowns.
- Digital Hogwarts Escape Room In late 2017, the British Library in London hosted a huge Harry Potter exhibit. Now it's online and open 24/7.
- Free e-book for teens
- Watch free streamed versions of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musicals on You Tube Friday at 1 pm and for 48 hours after. One new show per week.
- Video tour of 2 recently excavated houses at Pompeii that were buried when Mount Vesuvius erupted.
- Have you ever seen a siphonophore? If not, that's not surprising. Here's a giant one recently discovered at 631m deep in the ocean.
- Learn the lyrics to Hip Hop Hooray if you don't already know them (Rita Wilson did).
- A message to Pearland's graduating seniors from JJ Watt
- A message for everybody from Matthew McConaughey
- Another message for everybody from Matthew McConaughey
- Listen to masters of science fiction read science fiction poetry
- Feeling cooped up? Read a book about a cooped-up character
- Recreate a famous work of art
- Learn to create your own animations (free software download)
- Build a Rube Goldberg machine (and possibly win a prize!)
- Listen to your favorite author speak at a book con panel - many are going virtual
- Learn how to plan a 3-week project to reduce the world's plastic problem by using engineering principles. For middle schoolers and older students.
- Learn basic African dance steps
- Watch free documentaries (with discussion questions) on Netflix's You Tube channel
- Assist librarians, historians, and public servants: transcribe and proofread historical and recent text documents (teens)
- Decorate your face mask!
- Learn origami
- Do all sorts of art projects (organized by grade level)
- Assemble a digital jigsaw puzzle
- Create an obstacle course in your driveway and/or sidewalk (with permission first) - here's an example
- Find a podcast to follow - here are 140 to choose from
- Start a local chapter of Teens Helping Seniors
- For those thinking about applying to college, take a virtual tour of >600 US colleges and universities
- For teens 13-18y who love music, check out virtual summer camp with the Houston Grand Opera
- Watch how high school seniors in New Hampshire ran their graduation
- Do what 2 teens in Cincinnati did, and start an online summer tutoring service for middle school kids
- Tired of reading stories? Enjoy some sophisticated non-fiction. The public library is open for curbside pickup.
- Have you tried rollerskating yet?
- YouTube educational channels for middle and high school students
- Great non-fiction books for teen readers
NEW: Huge domino field competition - for kids who like to see things fall down! (Note: may be interrupted by ads - click Skip ads)
- Discuss together that young adults can and do get sick. The rate of recovery is extremely high. But it's no fun, so avoid it if possible.
- For young adults and their parents: Mindfulness activities and FAQ about anxiety and general mental health issues
Really bad (or maybe really awesome) viral pick-up lines: Love In The Time Of Covid-19
A PSA from Max Brooks and Mel Brooks
How to be sure you maintain the correct distance from others
The toilet paper song (parents: contains two of the milder 4-letter words)
The Louvre Museum in Paris is closed, of course. Here's how the Mona Lisa feels about that.
Of course there's an Internet cat meme about the coronavirus
A PSA from Larry David
Here's something from Ms. Penney's inexhaustible supply: People are going crazy from being in lock down! Actually I've just been talking about this with my microwave and my toaster while I was drinking my coffee. And all of us agreed that things are really getting bad. I didn't mention anything to the washing machine because she always puts a different spin on everything. Definitely not to the fridge as he is acting cold and distant. In the end the iron told me to calm down as she said, "Everything will be fine, no situation is too pressing." My Hoover was very unsympathetic he told me to “Just suck it up," but the fan was very optimistic and hoped it would all blow over soon! The toilet looked a bit flushed when I asked its opinion and didn’t say anything. But the door knob told me to “get a grip." The front door said I was unhinged. The curtains said - you guessed it - "pull yourself together!"
Several PSAs from Mayor Lori Lightfoot of Chicago
A PSA from Danny DeVito
A PSA from the Jessamine KY Fire Department
Pass the salt, in the time of physical distancing
For parents who are still adjusting to home-schooling or online schooling (warning: don't let your kids see this!)
What day is it anyway?
Too long since the last haircut
Lockdown living lament
For the day when there just isn't enough coffee in the world
Remember when there were shortages of toilet paper? And you thought things weren't getting better...
And a bit of library humor, because this is coming to you from the TCC Library
You can choose not to wear a mask...
And because cats are the best..
The real source of the coronavirus
August 2020 episode: causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, pathology
May 2020 episode: epidemiology, how countries are coping, considerations for pregnant or pediatric patients
April 2020 episode : epidemiology, transmission details, flattening the curve
March 2020 episode: basic coronavirus biology
NEW: Does your depression tend to get worse during the winter? Here are some things you can do now to prepare.
- Rainn Wilson (of The Office) talks about breathing through the coronavirus stress
- If you are a POC and are feeling anxious, or have a daughter who is, you may be interested in listening to Therapy for Black Girls podcasts
- Anxious? Stop doomscrolling.
- The Happiness Podcast: scroll down to Coronavirus Bonus
- We can't see the virus, and we don't know much about it. Why does that make us afraid?
- Coronavirus - How to protect your mental health
- NAMI informational helpline: 1-800-950-6264
- If you feel like you are at the end of your rope, the Disaster Distress Helpline has several contact options
- Is social isolation getting to you? Here’s how to know — and what experts say to do.
- Tips for dealing with sleeplessness, difficulty focusing, forgetfulness, and irritability or anger.
- How to get therapy when you can't leave the house.
- Guided meditations (English & Spanish)
- How to get your thinking brain back online
- Daily live guided mindfulness exercises plus resources
- Call 303-502-5189 on Thursdays at 10 am to hear a 30-minute guided meditation session (or use the archived sessions any time)
- Download a mindfulness app for 10-minute-a-day meditations and mindfulness exercises