News roundup for Fri, Oct 22, 2021

Benton Harbor is now completely without water. A water main burst. Michigan is hoping to replace the failing lead water pipes in the next 18 months.

Zillow has decided to stop gobbling up so many residential properties in the US because logistics and labor problems are making it too difficult to flip the properties quickly. I’m not sure if this will spell some relief for first-time buyers—that might only come if BlackRock stops eating up the properties, too.

The Washington Post says it’s this generation’s turn to tighten the belt and make do with what we’ve got. Although self-sufficiency and attenuated materialism are excellent values, the fragility of a supply chain pulled taught by globalization is a scary prospect. The value that needs to be promoted along with the others is hand-crafting—we’ve got to start making, crafting, and manufacturing our way out of this mess. Americans are getting the message, though, and some are starting to eschew holiday shopping.

Strides are being made in the use and sustainability of recycled lithium batteries:

Blue paints and pigments join the shortage list.

I wondered how the Administration thought it was going to get ports and various private companies to shift to a 24/7 operations model… Well, the White House just might call on the National Guard. This still does not solve the problem of the lack of properly trained port workers. You can’t just tell someone to start schlepping shipping containers. That’s not how it works:

Domino’s Pizza is suffering because there aren’t enough drivers to deliver the pizzas.

Hoarding on the part of everyday people and on the part of businesses is exacerbating shortages. The only tip I can give here is to buy a little extra for the pantry with every purchase. That way you continually build up your pantry without causing a run on stores.

A significant Salmonella outbreak has been linked to onions sourced from Mexico. Reports have come in from at least 37 states. This includes red, yellow, and white onions.

In good news, a little one tumbled off a cliff while hiking in Kentucky and was able to walk away from the 70-foot fall with only scrapes and bruises.

The world has 243.2 million COVID cases. The world has gained 3 million cases in the last seven days. There have been over 4.9 million deaths in total. The US has had a cumulative 45.2 million cases—nearly 600,000 cases were added in the last seven days. Over 753,000 Americans have died—over 13,000 in the last week. The US added 80,000 new cases on Wednesday and over 2,000 deaths that day as well. The US is still leading global daily case gain.

There’s a Delta subvariant (Delta AY.42) that’s growing in the UK and perhaps Russia, and we don’t know much about it besides the fact that it’s growing as a proportion of cases. A few cases have been sequenced in the US as well. It may be more transmissible than Delta. It’s something to keep an eye on.

Only 57% of Americans are fully vaccinated. Even if we added all 28 million children aged 5-11, we’d only hit 65% fully vaccinated. Vaccine uptake is simply too low:

I’m really hoping we don’t see a repeat of this pattern all over the place with the new Delta subvariant:

Russia is asking older adults in Moscow to lockdown for four months as cases rise. Russia’s populace is weary of the vaccines and its health care system is collapsing because of COVID.

We know the boosters help, but now we “know-know.” We’ve got high quality data from a randomized, controlled trial with a placebo control group. Gold-standard research takes time:



    • Bed

      Kudos to using for that Washington Post article, especially since the website asks you to pay for news that’s probably available else.

      “Singapore is 83% vaccinated, & they recently surpassed the UK in per-capita cases. Unlike here in the US, “The rules here are strict and strictly enforced.” Delta sub-lineages (DeltaPlus) are beasts.
      Are we sure that’s not at least in-part due to immunity waning over the course of >5-6mo? I feel like that’s gotta be a huge factor as to why cases are going up in such highly vax places like Singapore, Israel, etc., and it’s probably something that a lotta people (especially on Twitter or any social media site) flat-out ignore. I feel like it’s disingenuous to immediately assume it’s all because of a new variant when there’re so, so many factors and variables at play.
      And in terms of boosters, who knows how many already vaccinated people will take them? IMO, it feels like the % of people w/boosters will always be lower than % that got vaccinated, and the % might decline with each administered booster.

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      • Stephanie ArnoldContributor Bed

        It can be due to that, yes. It is a big factor. Delta is still nasty in that is has slight immune evasion. Boosters will help fight Delta. The subvariant? Don’t know yet.

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      • Bill Masen Stephanie Arnold

        Over here in the UK the government is trying to bring forward the 6 month boosters of the Covid vaccine to 5 months.

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    • Pops

      My thought on Zillow is the AI realized that the top is in and it should unload all the houses it bought at outrageous price before the humans catch on.

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    • CR

       Interesting about Zillow & the huge firms buying up houses, thanks for sharing that so readers are aware of what’s happening. It’s a real concern and problem in our area (and my job as a Realtor!), squeezing out especially 1st time buyers. Many young adults are stuck renting or even staying home due to unaffordable housing. 

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      • Stephanie ArnoldContributor CR

        It’s dire. Young people saving for a house are constantly chasing the prices and many are never able to cross the line. Folks continue this dance into middle age and still struggle to cross the line. 

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      • Bill Masen Stephanie Arnold

        Over here in the UK many areas like London are now completely unaffordable for first time buyers and essential workers like cops, nurses, train drivers, street cleaners .   For example where I live you can still buy a 3 bed family home with garage and garden from around £120,000. But in London and the south east the same home will cost you £850,000,   Average pay is only £27 to £34 thousand pounds a year.

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