News roundup for Fri, Feb 26, 2021

When John Kerry starts waxing catastrophic about climate change, maybe some folks should listen… according to him global carbon emissions need to be cut 45% by 2030. We’d need a global space race of sorts to get there. I’m not terribly confident we can achieve this goal–some green-energy-minded countries are dumping nuclear and using coal as a crutch this very moment.

A global Food Price Index is reaching levels that have caused serious social unrest in the past (think Arab Spring). It’s wise to have a hedge against food price instability in the form of a well-stocked pantry:

Crumbling US infrastructure is a national security nightmare. It’s not just the climate crisis causing these problems (though it contributes greatly)—it’s also a culture of perpetually building new things (like dams) and then turning around and denying funds for needed maintenance as soon as they’re built. This has been the modus operandi for generations.

Texans get an extended IRS deadline after the deep freeze.

Pharmaceutical supply chains are still impacted by the pandemic, trade restrictions, and climate instability, and these destabilizing factors will continue. There is a strong argument here for bolstering domestic supply chains in the face of current and future supply chain uncertainties. Pharmacy forecasts predict disruptions to normal drug procurement through the next five years.

The push for a China-free technology supply chain is equally pressing.

Student loans are crippling Americans financially, and many millions aren’t eligible for the pandemic-related loan pause.

The world has over 113.5 million COVID cases.  The world has gained 2.9 million cases in a week. There have been over 2.5 million deaths in total. The US has over 29 million cases. Over 520,000 Americans have died. There have been 2,300 deaths in the last 24 hours in the US. The US gained 75,000 new cases yesterday—case growth is down from its most recent peak. The US, Brazil, and Mexico lead the world in daily deaths from COVID.

California’s got its own nCoV strain, and some are worried that if it’s more transmissible, we’ll see another surge. California hospitals were hit quite hard in January, and California has surpassed the death toll New York experienced during its COVID “big burn.”—50,000 and counting. It’s impossible to know how much of the last surge was caused by the CA strain, because we’re not doing mass gene sequencing. But new cases, hospital admissions, and deaths are currently diving. Perhaps with enough vaccinations (and the impacts of a little seasonality and social distancing) we’ll stem the tide and prevent another surge.

A meta-analysis of dozens of studies involving hundreds of thousands of participants shows that folks with asthma are not at greater risk of bad outcomes with COVID. This is good news.

Fauci says relaxed recommendations for fully-vaccinated people and their households are in the works.

Dogs are sniffing out COVID in airports. Although cool (or dystopian, depending on how you look at it), I also worry—because dogs are susceptible to COVID

It’s interesting to see how dramatically vaccination helps:

The FDA is reviewing the data on the J&J COVID vaccine. Emergency Use Authorization is likely to come soon.

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