Key developments for Friday, December 17, 2020

Global Positioning Systems (GPS) are susceptible to attack and disruption. The Department of Homeland Security sees our reliance on GPS as a vulnerability. We rely on a vastly overconnected GPS web (transportation, energy, communications, emergency services, communication, even financial systems). The right jamming signal could wreak absolute havoc. There’s no real alternative to our over-reliance on GPS. The only thing we can do is improve our ability to detect, deter, and mitigate jamming.

Plane travel could be poisoning you.

The massive cyberattack on our critical infrastructure keeps getting more alarming:

The East Coast is getting slammed by winter storms, and this could tie up some of the vaccine distribution efforts:

The world has over 75.2 million cases.  Over 4.6 million cases have been added to the tally in the last week. There have been nearly 1.7 million deaths in total. The US has almost 17.6 million cases. The US has added over 1.5 million cases since last Thursday. Over 317,000 Americans have died—over 17,000 in a week. The US has gained over 195,000 new cases since yesterday. The US still leads the world in case growth.

Southern California is out of ICU space and is now in surge-capacity mode:

South Korea is out of critical care beds, too.

Here’s an infuriating story of a COVID+ wedding party risking everyone else’s life because it’s their big day. It’s a great read, too.

Sweden admits the failures of the big burn approach:

Meanwhile, leadership in the US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) appears to have been pursuing the big burn approach all along—“We want them infected”:

The big burn plan has clearly worked:

There have been 4 or more reports of serious allergic reactions to the Pfizer vaccine. Some of these reports are happening in folks with no history of allergies. I’ll still take a ~1/10,000 risk of treatable allergic reaction to a ~1/100 risk of dying despite treatment from COVID.

5-day progression of COVID pneumonia. It’s a horrible way to die, and it’s described by survivors as a horrible thing to have to live through, too. You don’t want this.

Dippin’ Dots is here to save the day with its freezers. I’ve always like Dippin’ Dots:

The Pfizer/BioNTech multi-use vaccine vials have extra doses in them, so we’re getting more supply than we though. This is good news.

We’ve got a second at-home test for COVID that has been given Emergency Use Authorization, but just like the Ellume test we mentioned Tuesday, it’s not scaled for distribution or purchase until January. It strikes me as particularly unhelpful that these tests are only now becoming available during the vaccine roll-out. They would have been a lot more impactful had they been available a few months ago. I understand these things take time, but we did little to hasten the progress at a federal level. We needed a Space-Race-Like approach, not a Business-As-Usual approach. Too little, too late in my opinion. I’ll still be purchasing a few as soon as I can for the purposes of household reconnaissance. I should add that government could be purchasing and distributing these en masse to US households—but I get the feeling that’s not part of DHHS’ plan:

Folks from the CDC describe how messaging won over science under the previous Administration. The CDC is now tasked with rebuilding their reputation and the morale of their staff.

Hunger has come to the UK because of COVID: