Russia has deployed additional missile defense systems in the Kuril Islands chain—a territory still partially claimed by Japan. The Kuril Islands were annexed by the Soviets during WWII.
Nobody really knows if Russia is going to push farther into Ukraine. The military assets that they have assembled at the border are greater in size and number than they were when they annexed Crimea, though, and it takes a lot of resources to move those assets around. Meanwhile, General Mark Milley set up a meeting with all of the chiefs of defense in NATO today:
Topic was "significant security developments across Europe"
— Jeff Seldin (@jseldin) December 6, 2021
Biden also spoke with European allies about Russia today:
NEW: White House Readout of Biden’s Call with European Allies
"The leaders discussed their shared concern about the Russian military build-up on Ukraine’s borders and Russia’s increasingly harsh rhetoric…" pic.twitter.com/2TDyUJqZGh
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) December 7, 2021
There was a huge volcanic eruption in Indonesia this week. 22 were killed. The ash cloud reached 50,000 feet into the stratosphere. That’s high enough and big enough to provoke some transient cooling this winter, though it’s not as significant an eruption as Mount Pinatubo was in 1991. The ash on the ground is said to reach rooftops:
BREAKING 🚨 Massive Mount Semeru eruption in Indonesia makes terrified locals flee pic.twitter.com/YgN6j6tkrg
— Insider Paper (@TheInsiderPaper) December 4, 2021
The algae blooms that cause red tides are now occurring in Arctic waters, and this spells trouble for marine life in the area and for all animals up the food chain (including us) that eat organisms which could be contaminated. Red tide blooms result in the propagation of a neurotoxin that makes its way up the food chain, potentially endangering human (and other) lives. If these blooms persist, the regional seafood supply could be badly impacted.
Companies are having trouble sourcing the materials to make gravestones. This is a peak 2021 headline for you. Oh, and bagel shops in NY are having trouble sourcing cream cheese.
Water woes in the Mountain West region could worsen because of climate change—snowpack is forecasted to decline so seriously over time that the mountains in the regions are to be bare of snow for years at a time. Less snow means less snowmelt filling aquifers.
The Evergrande saga continues—the company could still default on its debts. Government meetings have been prompted in China, and investors worry that they could lose their shirts. The People’s Bank of China has stated that should a default occur, they will act to contain the damage. A default could trigger global economic impact.
In good news, Wales is offering a tree for planting for each household. Folks may also opt to have a tree planted on behalf of their household. The aim of the program is to combat climate change, improve biodiversity, and improve health.
The world has over 266.6 million COVID cases. The world has gained 4.3 million cases in the last week. There have been nearly 5.3 million deaths in total. The US has had a cumulative 50.1 million cases. The US gained about 568,000 cases in the last seven days. Over 809,000 Americans have died during the pandemic—about 9,000 in the last week. The US gained over 59,000 new cases on Sunday, and over 70,000 by late afternoon Monday. The US, India, Brazil and the UK, have had the largest case gains today.
Cases in Gauteng province in South Africa have gone absolutely vertical in the wake of the Omicron variant emergence. It’s important to note here that data are NOT indicative of milder variant, contrary to what is being oft repeated in mass media. Also please remember that deaths are a lagging indicator:
This will bend Prof Van Ranst's curve from yesterday a bit. Data are not indicative that Omicron is more mild. Until we see it in people > age 60, large N, no prior Covid or vaccination (or > 6 months, waned), we won't knowhttps://t.co/hxnugpWweD
— Eric Topol (@EricTopol) December 5, 2021
Omicron Rt is almost 4. That is very high—higher than Delta. This variant is probably going to hit hard and fast:
Just doing a simple ratio of Omicron Rt in Gauteng / Delta Rt in Gauteng gives a ratio of ~4.0. This fits decently with the latest results from logistic growth analysis. 13/19 pic.twitter.com/xCfMneVvJ1
— Trevor Bedford (@trvrb) December 4, 2021
NYC enacts a sweeping vaccine mandate:
New York City sets a sweeping vaccine mandate for all private employers. Mayor Bill de Blasio describes the measure as a "pre-emptive strike" designed to stall another wave of coronavirus cases https://t.co/OXW8i3EFhL
— delthia ricks 🔬 (@DelthiaRicks) December 6, 2021
As of today, if you’re traveling internationally you need a very recent COVID test (less than 1 day old) regardless of your vaccination status:
— CDC (@CDCgov) December 4, 2021