News roundup for Fri, Apr 2, 2021

How could a boat stuck in a canal be one of the largest single-point-of-failure logistics disasters in the world? Corporations monopolizing shipping and supply lines, a dearth of anti-trust laws, globalization, and using container ships as big as the Empire State Building have a lot to do with it.

FEMA recognizes that climate change is causing an increased incidence of natural disasters, and implored Congress this month to get Americans vaccinated as fast as possible before hurricane season. Our Treasury Secretary is also concerned about near-term threats posed by climate change:

On that note, Guatemala and Honduras are still in crisis after last year’s hurricanes. This means more climate-change-related migration. It could take years for recovery, and it’s possible that more hurricane-driven devastation could happen before that recovery is even achieved.

The US military is on alert in Europe as tensions rise between Ukraine and Russia. There’s a been a large movement of military assets on both sides. It’s unclear if this is simply posturing, or if more of Ukraine is about to get annexed again.

Folks and businesses impacted by the Christmas Day bombing in Nashville may be eligible for funds from the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Nashville Electric Service.

The world has over 130.1 million COVID cases.  The world has gained over 4.1 million cases in a week. There have been over 2.8 million deaths in total. The US has over 31.2 million cases. Over 566,000 Americans have died. There have been over 914 deaths in the last 24 hours in the US. The US gained over 73,000 new cases in the last day. Cases in the US are rising again. Brazil is leading the globe in daily deaths, with nearly 3,400 in the last day. Brazil is also leading the world in daily case gain, with nearly 86,000 cases in the last day.

Preliminary data from Pfizer clinical trials shows the vaccine is protecting young people aged 12-15 from COVID infections. The children showed strong antibody responses, and no serious side effects have been noted. The data still needs to be peer reviewed.

Pfizer also says its COVID vaccine is highly effective against the South African variant.

COVID is still raging in Brazil. There is not enough oxygen to keep people on life support measures when they need it, and people are increasingly incensed with Bolsonaro and his persistent COVID denialism. What’s happening in Brazil is not going to stay in Brazil, so a coordinated response is called for.

France is shutting down its schools for three weeks because of rising case numbers and a too-slow vaccine rollout:

Hospitalizations are rising in Michigan again:

Haggling over already-reasonable vaccine prices is one of the super dumb reasons why Europe, and Eastern Europe in particular, is struggling to fight the pandemic now. It’s also unfortunate that AstraZeneca was unable to deliver on its promised number of vaccine doses:

It looks like the AstraZeneca vaccine has decent effectiveness against the UK strain:

JAMA discusses vital statistics from 2020–COVID was the 3rd leading cause of death, and suicides dropped:

15 million J&J COVID vaccine doses have been inexplicably ruined because of a production contractor’s missteps. The company had previously promised 100 million doses by the end of May, and that’s not looking very likely.

There’s going to be an enormous amount of excess mortality and morbidity in the coming years because of the long-lasting health effects of COVID infection:

For the vaccine-hesitant, here are some information-rich slides (see thread):