News roundup for Tue, Dec 14, 2021

I’m saddened to report that there were multiple mass casualty events from dozens of tornadoes that hit the US Friday and over the weekend. An Amazon warehouse took a direct hit from an EF1 in Edwardsville, IL. Monette Manor Nursing Home in Arkansas was leveled. The National Guard has been sent in to help with the aftermath of these storms in KY, where Bowling Green and Mayfield took serious damage. A supercell that was part of this mess travelled for 250 miles. Upwards of 70 people are known to have died, but the final tally will be in the hundreds.

FEMA says December tornadoes are “a new normal” because of climate change.

I question the legality, morality, and the spirit of any law that encourages citizens to run around and sue each other when the parties involved in the suit have no cause for an accusation of tort. If you’re going to sue someone, it’s because you, personally, have been wronged by another party. This is dangerous and Texas, California (it’s always Texas and California, isn’t it…) and any other state that thinks this is cute needs to reverse course:

There are big storms and a lot of snow in the Sierras. It could cause travel delays. Southern California can expect rain which will make wildfire burn scar areas potentially dangerous. Some Santa Barbara residents have been ordered to evacuate ahead of the rain for just this reason.

A military base near Pearl Harbor has significant levels of petroleum in its drinking water. Over 90,000 people have been told to avoid drinking it. The water was contaminated after a jet fuel spill. The Navy says it’s working to ameliorate the problem.

Meat packing companies are using inflation as a shield for ripping off Americans and making record profits from it, too.

In good news, there are FDA approved eye drops that can help with presbyopia now (presbyopia is fuzzy near-vison that occurs more often with advancing age).

The world has over 270.9 million COVID cases. The world has gained 4.3 million cases in the last week—just as it did the week before. There have been over 5.3 million deaths in total. The US has had a cumulative 50.9 million cases. The US gained about 800,000 cases in the last seven days. Over 818,000 Americans have died during the pandemic—about 9,000 in the last week. The US gained over 74,000 new cases on Sunday, and over 68,000 by late afternoon Monday. The US, India, Brazil and the UK, have had the largest case gains today.

Lab accidents can happen, are probably not as rare as frequently espoused, and these accidents can unleash infectious diseases on a population:

There are a bunch of novel mechanisms for both vaccines and therapeutics for COVID, and they’re pretty exciting. Doctors at Vanderbilt are working on a new antibody treatment, and an inhaled COVID vaccine is now being tested.

Omicron is growing fast in Denmark and the UK and will be dominant in those places by Christmas. Omicron could grow to be dominant in the US around or early in the New Year if we’re not careful:


    • Bed

      “Instead of a jab in the arm, both vaccines are designed to be inhaled as a fine mist that is deposited into subjects’ lungs. Researchers behind the effort say the goal is to provide protection via the same route that the disease itself uses to enter the body.”

      Okay, now that is something I’m interested in seeing come to life and not be a fruitless endeavor. I’m really looking forward to either seeing this be deemed safe and effective and come to market or Novavax being available sometime in the new year.
      Has there been any news on the Novavax front, by the way?

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      • Stephanie ArnoldContributor Bed
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      • Eric Stephanie Arnold

        Novavax’s phase 3 trial estimated 90% efficacy vs infection by Delta (confidence 83-95). I think that puts it a bit ahead of Moderna and Pfizer. It’s also protein rather than mRNA, so maybe some people who were scared off by new tech will consider this as an option.

        I’m more interested in seeing a vaccine that specifically targets Omicron. While I still strongly recommend getting whatever vaccine is available right now, the cross-immunity of vaccines based on the original strain is wearing a bit thin. We need an update ASAP.

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      • Bed Stephanie Arnold

        Nice to see! I’m definitely looking forward to taking that when it’s available. Like Eric said, it’s good for people that’re scared off by new tech.

        It’s obvious that, while the mRNA vaccines work well, there’s a lot of people iffy about it because of it being novel (at least if looking at the past decades of vaccines). I’m not opposed to taking mRNA if it’s the only option, but I’m definitely more inclined to go with more traditional methods. I know that negative side effects from them are rare, but I have a “What if?” mentality with a lot of things; reducing that as much as possible is what I wanna aim for, which I think Novavax will do pretty well.

        Also doesn’t help that I’m scared of driving too. 🙁

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    • brownfox-ffContributor

      What you can do about it:

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      • Sbesch brownfox-ff

        Great thoughts, as usual, Brown Fox.  Some additional suggestions for those living in tornado-prone areas (or earthquake zones, or near airports, etc.):

        Get some advanced medical training (beyond the Red Cross “apply pressure and call 911” version).  Wilderness Medical Associates is one educational resource that comes to mind – they teach how to treat common traumatic injuries and health crises when professional medical services are more than 2 hours away.  In the wake of a large-scale incident, emergency responders are going to be delayed in their response or unable to respond altogether (due to sheer number of casualties, debris blocking roadways, etc.).  You may be the only person in your family (and one of few on your block) with the skills to help injured people and significantly extend the length of time they can safely wait for professional medical attention.

        Stock a special “mass casualty kit” in a secure location (somewhere it won’t get blown away if your house is hit by the tornado) with lots of trauma gear:  gauze, tape, sam splints, ace wraps, tourniquets, NPAs, wound wash/bottled water, and mylar blankets, so you can carry it when checking on neighbors after a large scale event.  But it’s not enough to have it on hand – you need to know how to use it effectively.

        See if your local government offers CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) training (  I’d been prepping for years and considered myself pretty knowledgeable, but I still learned a lot in my local CERT class a couple of years ago.  A lot of the class focuses on bridges the gap between your personal preparedness and how you can help others in your immediate area after an event (including interfacing with and assisting professional first responders).  Definitely worthwhile, even if you already know a lot about self-reliance.

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