News roundup for Fri, Feb 4, 2022

Hundreds of thousands of people are without power in the US in the wake of a broad winter storm. Thousands of flights are grounded, and roads are a mess.

100,000 people are dying of diabetes every year in the US. It’s going to take broad policy changes to address this crisis, and medicating it away is not the answer—preventing it is, where possible. The food pyramid is not based on solid science. Big Ag, particularly Big Grain, far too heavily influences it. Getting Americans off sugar and processed, simple carbohydrates would be a severe undertaking and getting corporations to stop relying on over-processed junk to make a buck would be, too. This problem is important to the preparedness community in a few ways: for one, having a ready and usable stock of insulin on hand during a SHTF scenario is a feat; two, making health and fitness a preparedness priority; and three, over-reliance on simple carbs in pantry prepping.

Ukraine is getting a lot of support from the UK. Biden is also mobilizing some forces to NATO countries:

In some good news, South Africa is starting to make mRNA vaccines with Moderna’s data. It’s past time to address vaccine equity:

The world has 388.1 million COVID cases. The world has gained 21.7 million cases in the last week. There have been over 5.7 million deaths in total. The US has had a cumulative 77 million cases—about 2.4 million cases were added in the last week. Over 919,000 Americans have died—about 18,000 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 302,000 new cases Wednesday and over 164,000 by late afternoon Thursday. Daily case counts in the US are still on the decline. Rates of death in the US are still relatively high.

10 billion COVID vaccine doses have been meted out across the globe. It’s a huge milestone. 4.8 billion people have received at least one dose. There is still some staggering inequity, though. Fewer than 6% of people in lower-income countries have received more than one dose.

Pfizer is seeking Emergency Use Authorization for a two-dose COVID vaccine regimen in children under 5. It’s likely that kids from ages 2-5 will not be very well protected by this regimen and will eventually require a third dose. Children aged 6 months to 2 years old seem to be well protected by the regimen. Authorization for a third dose would have to be forthcoming.

Numerous countries are dropping COVID containment measures now (Denmark, Canada, Sweden, France, Italy, etc.). I understand that the world cannot live in lockdown forever. But I don’t think people, the unvaccinated especially, understand the magnitude of the fallout to come:

The US Army is starting to discharge the unvaccinated.

Medicare will cover COVID tests, too:

Omicron is probably not “milder.” In many cases, we see some protection from previous infection. Omicron is still quite dangerous to unvaccinated and those naïve to the virus.


    • brownfox-ffContributor

      What you can do about it:

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      • brekke brownfox-ff

        When the news feels overwhelming, I always take comfort in your lists in the comments. They help me take a deep breath and realize my family has come so far with our preparedness and that there are still many ways we can continue to work on it even without money to spend. Thank you so much!!

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      • brownfox-ffContributor brekke

        Hello, thank you so much for the heartfelt message! I very much appreciate it. I am very glad if these posts are helping to bring clarity and calm.

        Great work on making progress. I also find that looking back on how far I have improved is motivating to keep improving.
        Best of luck with your projects.

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      • brownfox-ffContributor brekke

        As for free activities – you raise an excellent point that becoming more prepared should very much include things like learning skills, building a healthy mindset, and practicing or rehearsing with what we already have. It’s not just about buying a bunch of stuff!

        I have worked to try and include activities you can do that don’t cost money. Suggestions are always welcome.

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    • EzlyAmuzzed

      “Alzheimer’s-like neuropathy” Yikes! Another reason to cringe when I hear “we will all get it like the common cold”

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    • SumDiscipulus

      The USDA replaced the food pyramid with MyPlate in 2011. For instance, myplate is used in the cooking and nutrition instruction of the Boy Scouts of America.

      The cognitive simplicity of the pyramid has proved hard for people to shake, though. Google food pyramid and there is still tons of stuff, including nutrition bloggers with their own “improved” versions.

      I think it endures because it’s easy to understand and remember.  I recall a wag (maybe Twain or H.L. Menken) who said,  “for every problem there is a solution that is easy, simple, and wrong.”

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      • Stephanie ArnoldContributor SumDiscipulus

        It’s interesting! MyPlate is substantively much the same as the pyramid, but better in its visual representation of portions. On the face of it it doesn’t look bad, but the reality is that people don’t eat like that. People do double or triple portions of carbs, and half those carbs are not (generally) whole grain. I would love it if we taught people with metabolic risk to limit carbs to 30 grams per meal. If those folks had 1/4 plate fruit, 1/4 plate pasta, and a cup of milk with their MyPlate meal, they’d quadruple that carb limit at minimum. Considering that one third (or more) of our population IS at metabolic risk, I don’t think MyPlate is the answer. It’s a decent template for growing kids, though. 

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      • The theory behind the Food Pyramid and MyPlate is sound: people in wealthy East Asian countries like Japan and South Korea have low rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes. You could technically replicate those diets in a more culturally palatable way with whole grain pasta, vegetables, lean meat, seasoning, and fruit for dessert.

        The main problem is that people don’t learn that you need quality over quantity. Rather than meeting a “serving quota,” good advice is more like: use vegetables as a base for every meal, eat a large variety of different vegetables, eat whole grains and lean protein like tofu or chicken, drink water or tea rather than heavier drinks, adjust based on individual needs (like limit carbs if you have metabolic risk).

        The main issue with both the Food Pyramid and MyPlate is teaching quality over quantity. Following the advice on would probably be better for lots of people than continuing their current eating habits.

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    • Karl Winterling

      I was able to talk extremely hesitant people into getting the J&J. So I think there’s more hope if we see stuff like:

      1. FDA approves Novavax.
      2. Government agencies or nonprofits can make their own mRNA vaccines based on Pfizer’s or Moderna’s data without running into patent restrictions.
      3. Local public health officials and your church’s priest or minister should be telling you to get a booster, not political pundits and the CEO of Pfizer.
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      • Carlotta SusannaStaff Karl Winterling

        Well done on convincing people in getting the vaccine! I’d be curious to know what was your argument that managed to turn the tide?

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      • I talked about how Pfizer appears to have made statements at various points that may or may not have more to do with its stock price than clear science communication, but that has nothing to do with whether vaccines actually work. I talked about everything people do on a regular basis that’s more dangerous than the risk of blood clots from the J&J vaccine.

        I was honest about supporting vaccine mandates and my political views without watering them down to do “don’t think of an elephant” reframing to try to make them more palatable to someone who strongly disagrees. I kept saying stuff like “Maybe I’m wrong and we could speculate about how I could be wrong, but this is my understanding I have based on available information. If something else turns out to be right, I’ll change my thinking.”

        I also talked about what we know is factually true about MKULTRA, the theories about Lee Harvey Oswald and Ted Kaczynski, and government suppression of research into drugs like LSD.

        A “breakthrough” argument is that unethical actors often prefer if people and the media focus on more ridiculous theories so they’ll look like a Chaotic Evil “final boss” in a roleplaying game. In reality, this distracts people from the actual ethically questionable behavior and more “systemic” mundane evil that’s going on (like, I dunno, worrying about your patents when a horrific disease is killing people).

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    • M. E.Contributor

      Very interesting information and always appreciate your updates; one quick comment is that the link to the power outage article is a piece from early January (referencing holidays and Christmas etc.) – might want to check that.

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