News roundup for Fri, Sep 24, 2021

Soft drink producers have only a few days of carbon dioxide left. The UK is helping to bail out a US fertilizer manufacturer to help restart CO2 production—a shortage of which is hammering the UK and badly impacting the UK food supply. It’s a tangled and interesting web, and apparently most companies (and countries) were broadsided by the gas shortage and left without enough time to react to ease the problem.

Elevated gas prices are contributing to the CO2 production shortage. Heating costs in the UK could rise precipitously this winter.

Lunchables, Gatorade, and juice boxes are in short supply—you never know which shelves will be scant in the grocery stores now (although, given what we know about the CO2 supply, we can anticipate sodas to be scant soon):

There are sporadic liquor shortages in the US, too. Some manufacturers can’t source enough glass for their bottles. Some producers are having trouble getting their products distributed because of trucking shortages.

The Biden Administration plans to address heat-related risks to workers. The CDC urged previous administrations to address heat risks to workers, but the task was never delegated. The current Administration is asking OSHA to begin work on addressing these dangers.

We’ve mentioned this before but it’s worth mentioning again: do your holiday shopping early this year.

Hundreds of community solar projects in Minnesota are stalled as company Xcel says it could take as much as 15 years to get its act together. A third-party investigation into the lack of progress is probably warranted.

Reflective streets help cool hot neighborhoods in Los Angeles. The Cool Streets LA initiative is working well and could be adopted elsewhere.

Here’s to hoping we avoid a government shutdown. In the meantime:

There was a major mass shooting at a grocery store in Memphis. 12 were injured, one is dead.

The world has 231.3 million COVID cases. The world has gained 3.6 million cases in the last seven days. There have been over 4.7 million deaths in total. The US has had a cumulative 43.5 million cases—about 900,000 cases were added in the last seven days. Over 700,000 Americans have died—over 12,000 in the last week. The US added over 133,000 new cases on Wednesday and over 2,200 deaths that day as well. The US is still leading global daily case gain.

This is an unpleasant (and non-sensical) development:

Johnson and Johnson may move to seek 3rd doses for their COVID vaccine as well:

Africa is still in desperate need of COVID vaccine distribution:

The FDA is giving the green light on 3rd doses for some folks, but the CDC is not voting in alignment with all of these recommendations. I’m furious, because at the moment it looks like the CDC is putting the brakes on 3rd doses for teachers and healthcare workers:

The national nursing shortage is putting patients at risk. Many large hospitals are struggling to maintain safe staffing ratios. Non-retirement turnover of burned-out nurses is a large contributor to the problem. Sadly, nurse opposition to vaccine mandates is also a factor.

The Biden Administration is purchasing and donating 500 million COVID vaccine doses to countries in need.

The Mormon Church is going to require masks in temples as a COVID mitigation measure.


    • Stephanie ArnoldContributor

      The CDC Director considered ACIP’s recommendation on third doses, but has decided to go with the FDA’s broader initial recommendations! This is a win for healthcare workers, teachers, and essential workers. I am no longer furious. 

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    • Karl Winterling

      Well, I got my flu shot on Wednesday after reading up on upcoming systemic economic risks. I’m glad the side effects are over with.

      My thinking was that all of the FDA/CDC/ACIP will eventually recommend a third dose for everyone. Refusing to give approval is a way to protest what federal workers perceive as political pressure. Many federal workers are furious that they’re perceived as not independent of politics.

      There was at least a perception that the White House pressured the FDA to approve boosters on a “politically convenient” timeline, like how in 2020 there was perceived pressure to approve a vaccine quickly. Perceived political pressure on the FDA is bad for vaccine hesitancy because the FDA’s job is to ensure vaccines and boosters are safe and effective independently of any political pressure or ideology.

      The FDA probably will eventually approve boosters. The “no” feels like a protest against what workers saw as political pressure.

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    • Bill Masen

      Global shortage of truck drivers, plus out of place container ships, plus shortage of Iso shipping containers. Plus huge hikes in the price of natural gas, create a shortage of fertiliser and C02 which in turn  affects the slaughter of cows, sheep, pigs and chickens plus the c02 packaging of processed meats.   Now panic buying of petrol, diesel and bottled propane is causing a perfect storm.

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    • Jamie

      Shouldn’t it be the 2nd dose of J&J not the third, since it was one dose to begin with?  

      Love these summaries, one of my favorite news sources.  Keep up the good work.

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      • Stephanie ArnoldContributor Jamie

        It would be second dose for J&J, not third, yes. Brain stuck on typing “3rd dose.”

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    • M. E.

      The two words MOST guaranteed to strike terror into my prepper soul are “coffee shortage.”

      Placed a bulk order this morning. Thank you Stephanie for the heads up!

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      • Bill Masen M. E.

        Me too, its why I keep twelve 1Kg jars of Douwe Egberts pure gold in my cache.

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      • Stephanie ArnoldContributor M. E.

        Yes, coffee is critical in my household, too. I keep a backup stash of teas, but it’s not the same. 

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      • Karl Winterling M. E.

        I’ll definitely need my coffee when the shit hits the fan.

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