News roundup for Fri, Jan 7, 2022

There’s snow across the South and the East Coast with hundreds of thousands left periodically without power. This storm system is now forming into a huge bomb cyclone that could hit the British Isles and Europe. This weather wreaked havoc with ground and air transportation. Thousands of drivers got stranded overnight on the I-95 in Virginia in a snowstorm. The National Guard was NOT deployed to help these motorists:

Folks have also been similarly stranded on Amtrak trains:

Despite all the rain and snow dumped on the Western US by recent atmospheric rivers, the region is still in a drought:

Americans are broke and prices (for everything) are way too high. Half of households would struggle to purchase an average used car. Although, to put things in perspective, an average used car is now almost $30K:

Americans are still quitting their jobs in huge numbers, and much of this turnover is in the restaurant and hospitality industry:

Out of control Russian rocket debris with a dry weight of over 4.4 tons re-entered the atmosphere yesterday afternoon and burned up over the Pacific. It was an uncontrolled re-entry:

Kazakhstan wants Putin to help quash civil unrest:

The world has 300.5 million COVID cases. The world has gained a staggering 13.2 million cases in the last week. There have been nearly 5.5 million deaths in total. The US has had a cumulative 59.5 million cases—over 4.1 million cases were added in the last week. Over 855,000 Americans have died—about 11,000 in the last week. The US is still leading global daily case gain followed by India, Brazil, the UK, and France. The US added over 704,000 new cases Wednesday and about 647,000 by late afternoon Thursday. One million cases were added to the US tally on Tuesday.

In line with these huge case gains, community positivity rates are VERY high:

Germany, France, and Italy are making it very hard for folks who are unvaccinated. Fines, mandates, and restrictions on participation in community life are quite heavy. The EU as a whole is also considering the implementation of broader and more restrictive COVID mitigation measures. The Philippines is threatening the unvaccinated with jail time if they leave their homes for non-essential reasons. A political theorist notes that governments that do not respond with authoritarian actions to quell crises like the pandemic and climate change are viewed by the public as less legitimate in the near future. Noting these trends I’d say it’s a good bet that we’ll all see more authoritarian government responses to crises in the future:

Evidence is building for swabbing the throat, then the nose for detecting Omicron in a timely manner. This method has still not been endorsed by official agencies or the makers of over-the-counter COVID tests:

New York City is doing good work to help folks who are isolating at home with COVID. I wish this were more ubiquitous in this country:


    • brownfox-ffContributor

      What you can do about it:

      Stay calm. Take small, positive steps. Here’s a review blog post from June 2020 on Covid lockdown, world unrest, and mental health:

      • Have a routine
      • Be easy on yourself
      • Stop reading the news / social media
      • Learn a new skill
      • Stay connected with friends
      • Practice differentiating your needs from your wants

      You can do this.


      Now, if you want more, what else you can do about it:

      Good luck out there.

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    • Eric

      NYC contact tracers reaching out promptly, counseling people on how to isolate, and providing resources to help people in isolation… This is exactly what I was hoping to see nation-wide in 2020. Would have been nice touch later for Delta as well. Probably a futile effort with Omicron’s infectiousness, but still nice to see someone making an effort.

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    • brownfox-ffContributor

      On a personal note about conserving water: We installed some $10 low-flow (0.5 GPM) faucet aerators, and these have cut our water bill by 25%. I am quite happy with this investment.

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    • JustMe

      The new cases line on my state’s graph has gone absolutely vertical. More than 15,000 in the most recent update. I’m keeping my @ss at home for the foreseeable future. (I’m well aware that not everyone has that luxury and grateful that I do). 

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      • John Grayman JustMe

        You are spot on about the gratitude. I have been in the same position since the start, and have kept home thinking it was a “civic duty” to help those who had to go in by me not going out needlessly (alas my poor nightlife). I wish there was more sense in “civic duty” and this thing probably would have tempered down faster. 

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      • Stephanie ArnoldContributor JustMe

        Yes–I’m having to cancel planned activities again and it’s a little depressing. But I’m glad I can do my part. 

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    • Karl Winterling

      Since around 1976, there have been various “waves” of anti-government movements in the US, usually starting as a response to election results and (sometimes justified) fears that the new government would take away basic rights and freedoms. What makes them “extreme” is (1) paranoia about some type of impending martial law and (2) beliefs that unelected government officials are intentionally conspiring to take away rights and freedoms.

      What’s different now is that many peoples’ fear and paranoia have been redirected partially away from government officials and towards the political left and social anarchists, so there’s now more fear/paranoia about people because they think a certain way rather than because they have actual power. Everything might get more “interesting” if we get a situation where, say, 60% of the population wants more draconian measures (far more draconian than expecting people to get a vaccine) and politicians start pretending that they’re going to get tough to fix various crises.

      I don’t really think you can lump everyone together in a single group. But it feels really unsettling seeing previously-rational people I know personally get sucked in by disinformation and start having fear-based responses to ideas they never agreed with when previously they could have open-minded discussions about their disagreements. And it’s starting to feel less like a fear-based response to an ideology and more like a fear-based response to people who don’t live in constant denial about basic factual information.

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      • Stephanie ArnoldContributor Karl Winterling

        Yes, I’m seeing the same thing. I don’t see it easing. Something’s gotta give, as they say.

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