News roundup for Thur, Feb 4, 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.

Will Business as Usual (BAU) cause catastrophic climate change in the short-term? It’s not just scientists and environmentalists ringing the warning bell—it’s a warning made by the Pentagon and the British military as well. Seas are rising faster than even the most pessimistic modelling predicts.

There’s been a military coup in Myanmar. The military says it will take power for one year. Controversial leader Suu Kyi has been detained.

Wildfire smoke is horrible for you for reasons you might not be aware of—fungal spores, bacteria, and their toxins are transported huge distances and sometimes into your lungs.

The world has over 104.8 million COVID cases.  The world has gained 1.3 million cases in 72 hours. There have been nearly 2.3 million deaths in total. The US has over 27.1 million cases. Over 461,000 Americans have died—about 3,000 per day. The US has gained over 105,000 new cases since yesterday—we remain on a downtrend for now. The US still leads the world in case growth and number of deaths.

Some good news—the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine appears to significantly reduce COVID transmission:

We’ve known for some time that fomite contamination is rare (although not unheard of). Airborne and droplet transmission are the biggest drivers of spread, and this has been known for some time. Agencies need to get with the program and shift their focus to airborne precautions.

The Brazilian P.1 variant is evading natural immunity and re-infecting communities that reached near-herd-immunity from an attack rate of ~76% of the wild-type variant in Manaus in April. This is really, really bad news.

Masks are now federally mandated on public transit or in transit hubs. We’re about a year too late on this mandate, but better late than never, I guess:

We’re in a downtrend now, but when the B.1.1.7 variant picks up, we could be facing a 4th surge:

The Administration has made a 230-million-dollar deal with Ellume for COVID home test kits. They won’t be produced at scale until the end of the year, though. The Administration appears to be anticipating this pandemic to burn into 2022.

Pregnant women pass COVID antibodies to their unborn babies and in larger amounts if infected earlier in the pregnancy versus later. There may be implications for vaccinating pregnant women here—vaccinating earlier in the pregnancy may be more beneficial than later.


    • MrsG

      yay!  So glad you’re back bringing the news!

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    • Mary M

      Welcome back! I didn’t realize how much I relied on your eye to catch the relevant news on the pandemic.

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    • TraceContributor

      Your Pentagon article link is to an article written in 2004. It’s not wrong, but it’s not especially timely 😀

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      • Stephanie ArnoldContributor Trace

        Check out how far back Limits to Growth goes! Still amazingly accurate.

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    • Chris Cox

      Stephanie, thanks for the extra weekly articles! From what I understand, this Brazilian strain may be more deadly, quicker to spread, and more resistant to vaccine. If that is true, *and* it spreads worldwide, could society be forced to accept that the higher death rate and lower life expectancy of past generations are here to stay? The general trajectory of these articles seem to suggest that possibility without to say it out loud.

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      • Stephanie ArnoldContributor Chris Cox

        I think it means more surges right when we thought vaccines would drop spread. We’ll have to retool the vaccines, probably. I’m hoping we’re not facing actual escape variants that we can’t get on top of. I’m not sure yet what it means for the long run. 

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      • Karl Winterling Chris Cox

        At this point, it looks like the variants are a health threat to unvaccinated populations. Hopefully, the vaccine will be effective at protecting you from severe disease or death, but you still might get mild cold symptoms and be able to infect other people.

        For now, probably you shouldn’t be afraid of dying from variants if you’re vaccinated. But, effective vaccines or not, you should keep social distancing until spread is pretty low for an extended time. I try to stay prepared while hoping that we can all collectively find some solution or adaptation to whatever happens.

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    • jav d

      Just wanted to say thanks for the blog. 

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    • Danielle Morrill

      Glad this is back! Thanks for the Wired article on wildfire smoke, one of our dogs contracted valley fever a few months back and we were a bit mystified by it but this provides a probable explanation. Anti-fungals are no joke, human and pets you do not want this.

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