The typhoon that hit the Philippines on the 16th and 17th of this month, dubbed Rai, has killed 375 people. Scores of others are missing. Folks are short of food and fresh drinking water in the aftermath. Nearly 400,000 people fled coastal areas as the typhoon approached.
The US government is placing trade restrictions on dozens of Chinese research institutes and entities citing human rights violations and, get this, brain-control weaponry. The notice in the Federal Register does not clarify or define what brain-control weaponry is, but states that China is using (or plans on using) whatever this technology is against its own people and also against ethnic minorities in the region like the Uighurs.
The US government says now is not the time to travel to Ukraine:
— Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) December 20, 2021
Meanwhile, Russia has cut gas supplies to a very cold Europe. Why? Probably in an attempt to strong-arm the EU into accepting the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
The world has over 275.7 million COVID cases. The world has gained 4.8 million cases in the last week—global case growth is increasing. There have been nearly 5.4 million deaths in total. The US has had nearly 52 million cases. The US gained over 922,000 cases in the last seven days. Over 828,000 Americans have died during the pandemic—about 10,000 in the last week. The US gained over 107,000 new cases on Sunday, and over 114,000 by late afternoon Monday. The US, India, Brazil, the UK, and Russia have had the largest case gains today.
Take a look at how quickly a person can convert from negative on a COVID test to positive. This tells you everything you need to know about travel regulations that stipulate that a test within 48 hours is kosher (hint: it’s really not):
A demo of how fast you can turn positive:
Yesterday morning, yesterday lunchtime, yesterday evening, this morning.
Do LFTs *just* before meeting up. pic.twitter.com/3zM2rDkoa7
— Billy Quilty (@BQuilty) December 16, 2021
Omicron is showing up in wastewater all over the place, and the results show that the variant will be dominant in this country very soon. In Orange County, FL it’s already out-competing Delta.
Another anti-malarial, atovaquone, might help fight COVID. Other good news from the extant study shows that it helped against multiple variants. In vitro lab results are hopeful but we’ll have to see similar results in vivo before we get too excited.
Pfizer plans on studying more than two doses of its COVID vaccine on babies and preschoolers in the event young children will need boosters, too:
Pfizer said Friday it was changing plans and testing three doses of its Covid-19 vaccine in babies and preschoolers instead of the usual two. https://t.co/piM3L4kri4
— STAT (@statnews) December 17, 2021
There are sporadic reports of shortages of over-the-counter COVID tests. I’ve had problems getting an adequate supply of these kinds of tests from the very start:
Should trying to find an antigen test for sale at a series of CVSes make me feel like I'm reenacting part of a Soviet consumer's existence?
— Rob Pegoraro (@robpegoraro) December 17, 2021
The court battles over Biden’s vaccine mandate continue:
A federal appeals panel on Friday reinstated a Biden administration rule requiring that many companies mandate their workers be vaccinated against the coronavirus or face weekly testing.https://t.co/SYPzPNOl2c pic.twitter.com/lgswOoXYIs
— COVID19 (@V2019N) December 18, 2021
The best way to be protected from Omicron is to get a booster dose of an mRNA vaccine. The US is not well protected at this point as too few people have gotten their booster:
As Covid surges, U.S. booster effort is far behind. Of fully vaccinated adults eligible for a booster shot, only about 30% have received one. Among all Americans, only about 1 in 6. Only 1.5 million New Yorkers out of 8 million have received booster shots https://t.co/uNRQvIRpXN
— Alfons López Tena (@alfonslopeztena) December 18, 2021
Loss of smell/taste is not a big hallmark of Omicron:
Loss of smell and taste symptoms were hallmark of Covid and still prominent for breakthrough Delta infections. What about Omicron? It seems particularly unusual in confirmed cases and may be a telling indicator of this variant's pathogencity
— Eric Topol (@EricTopol) December 20, 2021
Cruise ships are still petri dishes for COVID. If there’s anything I’ve learned in the last two years, it’s “don’t get on a cruise ship while COVID is circulating”:
Royal Caribbean says 48 passengers test positive for Omicron variant on ship https://t.co/b37cxGrOgO
— Crawford Kilian (@Crof) December 20, 2021