American truckers are rallying in support of the Canadian trucker protests. Alaskan truckers have formed a convoy, and there are rumors that a convoy is planning to make its way from Los Angeles (starting Super Bowl Sunday) all the way to DC. Major trade routes between the US and Canada have been blocked by numerous Canadian convoys, and both countries are mulling their options in putting these vaccine-mandate protests to rest. The protests have managed to shutter a Ford plant that can’t get the supplies it needs to keep running. General Motors and Stellantis have also been impacted and had to cut operational hours.
Anti-vaccine mandate protests spread across the country, crippling Canada-U.S. trade | CBC News https://t.co/jgS3egkM0A
— Crawford Kilian (@Crof) February 9, 2022
The Russia-Ukraine crisis is heating up, with no signs of Russian military de-escalation. Should Russia invade Ukraine, Biden threatens to help Germany derail the Nord Stream 2 pipeline deal. Americans in Ukraine have been warned to leave the country. The EU could be facing an armed conflict it doesn’t seem particularly prepared, either ideologically or practically, to fight. After all, 21 of the 27 EU members are in NATO. The US and the UK are sending in assets to multiple NATO countries. So far diplomacy has accomplished little, but diplomatic efforts are still being made all around. Of note, Ukraine is a global breadbasket, producing scores of millions of metric tons of wheat and other foodstuffs. Egypt, Turkey, and Lebanon all depend on Ukrainian wheat. If Ukraine (et al) goes to war, expect price spikes at a minimum and the potential for hunger in numerous countries.
Labor shortages in American schools are making school mealtimes challenging for staff. Biden wants school cafeteria workers to be full-time and unionized to better serve and feed American students.
Hundreds of thousands of electric vehicles (EVs) are being sold globally. The market share of EVs is growing. Biden is committing five billion dollars to EV charging infrastructure over the next five years.
We’ve got weird weather in the US. We just had a huge cold front sweep the country, and now we’ve got a massive heat wave. It was 85 and sunny for me today. There are reports of greenery flowering too early not just in the US, but in Europe as well.
— AI6YR (@ai6yrham) February 9, 2022
Gas prices are through the roof right now because the price of a barrel of oil is 50% higher than it was last summer. Oil-producing countries are working on increasing output to meet demand.
40 of the 49 satellites recently launched by SpaceX’s Starlink have fallen out of orbit after being hit by a geomagnetic storm. They are designed to burn up entirely in the atmosphere and not to cause dangerous debris on Earth.
The world has 406 million COVID cases. The world has gained 17.9 million cases in the last week. There have been over 5.8 million deaths in total. The US has had a cumulative 79 million cases—about 2 million cases were added in the last week. Nearly 939,000 Americans have died—about 20,000 in the last week. The US is still leading global daily case gain followed by India, Brazil, France, and the UK. The US added over 221,000 new cases Wednesday and over 133,000 by late afternoon Thursday. Daily case counts in the US are still on the decline. Deaths in the US are still quite high:
Today >3,400 Covid deaths reported in the United States, a 7-day average exceeding 2,600 lost lives.
This likely represents the current wave peak; 80% of the US pandemic peak when there were no vaccines. Compared to 20% in countries with high % vaccination and booster rates pic.twitter.com/n4LD1JFbdz
— Eric Topol (@EricTopol) February 9, 2022
J&J is pausing production of its COVID vaccine. It’s unclear exactly why, but consumer sentiment might be a part of it. Its side effect profile, coupled with lower COVID protection, means millions of doses of still on shelves, unused. J&J is likely to pivot to non-COVID-related vaccine production.