News roundup for Tue, Apr 13, 2021

We’ve got ketchup shortages in the US, of all things. Increased demand on takeout meals has increased demand on ketchup packets. This demand couples with continued shipping and logistics problems means less ketchup on the shelves.

There have been large and repeated eruptions in St. Vincent. Many are without power now, and parts of St. Vincent are covered in many feet of ash. There have been reports of pyroclastic flow in the red zone. Thousands have been evacuated and thousands more are awaiting evacuation. Cruise lines are coming to help with the evacuation process:

Iran’s Natanz uranium enrichment facility suffered a second explosion in two years that will set enrichment back by many months. Iran asserts these are targeted attacks and not accidents:

The US Secretary of State Blinken has sent stern warnings to China and Russia as the miasma of Realpolitik spreads over Ukraine and Taiwan:

The Western US is facing another historic drought, and this might mean another historic fire season.

The extrajudicial execution of a Black man by police in Minnesota, this time by a purported accidental discharge after “mistaking” a taser for a gun, has led to a state of emergency in the Twin Cities region as protests erupt and the public takes to the streets once again:

The world has almost 137.2 COVID cases.  The world has gained 4.8 million cases in a week, which is a bump. There have been nearly 3 million deaths in total. The US has had nearly 32 million cases. Over 576,000 Americans have died. The US gained 51,000 cases since yesterday. There have been 451 deaths in the US in the last day. Brazil leads the world in deaths per day, with over 1,700. The world looks to be in a 4th crest at the moment:

Michigan is simmering in COVID cases right now, and its hospitals are feeling the impact:

The more deadly and more transmissible Brazilian variant now accounts for approximately 1% of cases in the US. This is going to rise quickly and could even be dominant in a few months. Many of the vaccines still offer good protection from this variant, but less protection than normal. The only way to beat this variant is through thorough vaccination efforts.

Here’s a useful tool for understanding and weighing relative risk with the AstraZeneca vaccine:

France is making a bold recommendation that an mRNA vaccine should be used as a second dose after the first AstraZeneca dose—the only problem is there isn’t a lot of evidence for the safety and efficacy of this combination.

China has acknowledged that its vaccines are not as effective as they had hoped they would be. China, like France, may also mix its doses of vaccines in hopes of boosting efficacy.

The pandemic is gaining a foothold in India. In the meantime, millions of Indians are gathering for festivals. The appeals by health experts to cancel certain festivals have fallen on deaf ears. Many Indian states are reporting shortages in vaccine doses—only 6% of its population has received a vaccine.

We need as many promising preventative treatments as we can find. We might be finding some:

The Supreme Court is scaling back California’s pandemic-related restrictions on religious meetings in homes.

COVID testing is on the decline in the US as vaccinations continue to ramp up, but we still need the testing—if we don’t scale our testing up, we’ll be on an uphill climb.

Loading comments...