News roundup for Mon, Feb 1, 2021

Back by popular demand! We didn’t intend on being a “news blog.” We started doing this when we were one of the first western publications to ring the alarm bells on COVID back in January 2020 when the mainstream media was seemingly dropping the ball. It seemed like the New Year was a good time to end this project, but so many of you loved it that we’ve brought it back. Expect twice-weekly roundups of news that’s relevant to preppers, sans political agenda, etc.

January was eventful. We had an insurrection on January 6th. There’s too much to cover on this, so here’s a series by investigative journalists at ProPublica. Make of it what you will. The National Guard is going to keep 7,000 troops in the Capitol through mid-March.

Redditors took down a billion-dollar hedge fund by mass-purchasing GameStop stock (GME). Hedge funds and retail stock brokerage companies like Robinhood fought back by limiting retail purchases of the rallying stock, but it appears the Redditors are still victorious. AMC, a company which was has been made all but defunct by pandemic restrictions, has been buoyed by these same irrational but generous Redditors.

An undertaught prep for all preppers: building up non-retirement savings. Having an emergency fund inures households to unanticipated financial emergencies. Sudden income reductions impact 25% of US households each year. Here’s a study on Family Financial Health that details the benefits of non-retirement savings from hundreds of dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.

The world has over 103.5 million COVID cases.  The world has added over 19.8 million cases in a month. There have been over 2.2 million deaths in total. The US has over 26.7 million cases, growing by 6.3 million in a month. Over 452,000 Americans have died—we’ve had 100,000 deaths in the month of January alone. The US has gained over 107,000 new cases since yesterday, which is an improvement from our winter peak of 250,000 cases per day. The US still leads the world in case growth and number of deaths.

The CDC predicts over 62,000 deaths in the next three weeks. Considering that we had ~100,000 deaths in the month of January, I’d say the CDC model is undershooting the mark. We are experiencing a current drawdown from the winter peak, but a 4th surge is not implausible.

Californians can sign up for vaccine eligibility notifications. That won’t help much if folks are blocked from the sites–Protesters at Dodger Stadium caused a shutdown of one of the largest mass vaccination sites in California:

Escape variants will keep vaccine-makers on their toes:

To drive home that point, the Novovax COVID vaccine is less effective against the South African COVID variant B.1.351:

Countering variants involves vaccinating as many people as possible as quickly as possible to prevent the variants from emerging in the first place. Considering that only 100 million have been vaccinated across the globe (leaving a mere 7.5 billion left to go), the next best thing is to update the vaccine. Vaccines can be updated in various ways, but it’s likely that the spike protein mutations will be targeted in the immediate future. Moderna has already begun work on updates for the B.1.351 variant.

Moderna might be providing this updated vaccine as a booster, and will be conducting safety trials on these boosters:

The South African B.1.351 variant is already in a few US states. Another concerning variant from Brazil is also in the US.

The supply chain is still experiencing pandemic shocks. Shipping container costs have nearly doubled. Unsurprisingly, prices of goods are rising. Scores of container ships are stuck in bottlenecks off the coasts waiting to unload.

Johnson & Johnson has a COVID vaccine now. The bad news is that it’s only 66% effective. The good news is that it’s a one-shot deal.

China says anal swabs are more accurate for COVID testing than oral swabs. I say no thank you.


    • Ld

      Happy to see the news roundup back! Thanks as always for the helpful rundown of relevant issues, keeping me informed and better prepared. 

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    • ALS

      So glad your news summary is back.  You do a great job — thank you!  I really appreciate your roundup and missed it over the last month.  

      As a side note, I think you’ve undersold the good news on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine — As I see it, the good news: 100% effective against severe disease and death.  

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      • Stephanie ArnoldContributor ALS

        Moderna as well, if I remember correctly!

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    • Cia

      Thank you! I’ve really missed the news roundup! I’ve been rereading all the old ones again, there’s always something interesting I missed before. I’m still going back and forth on the vaccine. I’d love updates on them, including adverse reactions. I just found out last night that the fatty nanoparticles used to put the mRNA in (a possible antigen itself, polyethylene glycol), both protects it from being immediately destroyed by the immune system and prevents it from irritating it and provoking a reaction. The dendritic cells gobble it up and it is absorbed into the cytoplasm, where the code it carries instructs the ribosomes to build the piece of spike protein, which is then carried and displayed to all kinds of cells to make antibodies to it. I am very impressed by the ingenuity of keeping foreign proteins out of the bloodstream, where they could cause vaccine reactions. The PEG wrapper still could, and may be responsible for the adverse reactions seen.

      I shall now devour this new news roundup! I’d also love reports on the very slow vaccine rollout not only in the US, but everywhere but Israel and a few more, like the UAE. They’ve had a year to prepare. Why didn’t they? Maybe an article on how to prepare for your V-day, how to recover, what symptoms of possibly dangerous reaction to look out for and what to do if they occur, who to report it to. And post-V behavior. Thanks!

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    • Cia

      I wouldn’t want the J and J vaccine because of its adjuvants. But to be fair, even though it is not that great at preventing Covid, if reports are correct, it is 100% effective in preventing severe cases and death, which is the most important thing.

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    • más picante

      Please be careful throwing around the word “insurrection” to describe a few dozen whackadoos high on their own farts breaking into the Capitol and disrupting a vote for a few hours.  Similar things have happened in the past without nearly the blow back (see, when groups stormed into and occupied a Senate office building in 2018 to oppose Justice Kavanaugh, and the Wisconsin State Capital in 2011) .  At no time was the government in danger of being overthrown.  However, the powers that be are already using it has a narrative to clamp down on our civil liberties and ramp up censorship, which will hurt us all in the long run. 

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      • Cia más picante

        I agree. And it was planned beforehand by people who had nothing to do with -, who used the word “fight” as ALL parties have used it, as in fight for justice. Actually, certain other parties have used it in a non-peaceful way. The rioters broke in while he was still speaking, peacefully and explicitly urging peace, some distance away.

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      • TraceContributor más picante

        Oxford dictionary defines insurrection as: “a violent uprising against an authority or government”, uprising is defined as: “an act of resistance”.

        I think you can totally describe what happened at the Capitol as a violent act of resistance against and authority or government. 

        I agree they were a bunch of “whackadoos” but if they had been successful in getting to the congressman before they were evacuated this could have been much worse than disrupting a vote — mob mentalities can do terrible things. I don’t think we should diminish what happened there, as many of our representatives and senators are trying to do. An incompetent “violent uprisings” can still be an insurrection. 

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      • Cia Trace

        The most terrible thing was the unarmed woman – by Capitol police. In this case, the rioters acted completely independently of -. Their actions should not be imputed to him.

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    • TraceContributor

      I’m very happy to have you back also Stephanie, I believe this is a valuable part of the blog. 

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    • Mar Tam

      Very glad this is back! Thanks for the round-up, Stephanie–they’ve been a welcome source of news for much of these last 12 months, especially as I drew down on my own obsessive news consumption over the latter half of last year.

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    • Chris Cox

      Thanks for bringing this back!

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