News roundup for Tue, Mar 16, 2021

Simulated war games with China that began with a biological attack did not end well for the US or for Taiwan. It is a grave matter of national security that we learn from and apply in practice the lessons this pandemic has taught us. Since China seems increasingly eager to invade Taiwan, we should probably address our shortcomings quickly. US intelligence services are also falling so behind in open-source information practices that news and private agencies are beating them at their own game. It’s clear that our military and intelligence services need to innovate with more agility than entrenched bureaucratic processes will currently allow:

North Korea could be preparing to carry out their first weapons test since President Joe Biden came into office.

China had a massive sand and dust storm on Monday that made the air dangerously unhealthy. It stretched from Mongolia to well beyond Beijing. Deaths were reported.

The current microchip shortage could make vehicles even worse polluters than they already are.

The four-day work week is an interesting experiment, and it speaks to the fact that we’re pushing technology to the point that human labor is increasingly less valuable. Human productivity is maxed, and a lot of jobs are nonsense jobs now. Concerningly, fewer people are working with their hands, and a lot of institutional knowledge related to the way we used to do things is getting forgotten.

We’re getting closer to a universal flu vaccine:

The world has nearly 121 million COVID cases.  The world has gained ~4 million cases in a week. There have been nearly 2.7 million deaths in total. The US has over 30 million cases. Over 548,000 Americans have died. The US gained 45,000 cases yesterday—the 7-day moving average of new cases is still on the decline. There were 785 deaths in the US yesterday. The number of new deaths per day is also on the decline in the US. Brazil is currently leading the world in deaths per day.

Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine use is being halted all over the world for seemingly spurious reasons. Denmark started the domino effect when it halted the use of the vaccine after 37 cases of clotting (like deep vein thromboses or pulmonary emboli) were reported in the EU and UK out of a population of 17 million who had received it. Vaccine administration was halted to see if the vaccine was the cause—no causal relationship has been found. To put things in perspective, 1/1000 people clot annually. 37 clots in 17 million people is BELOW the baseline rate of clotting. Stopping the administration of a vaccine that is 100% effective at preventing severe disease, hospitalization, and death from COVID because it has been found NOT to cause clots is a catastrophe:

If you’re looking for a leftover vaccine there is a legitimate source to help you find an appointment.

Some fear we’ll be facing inflation secondary to the COVID stimulus packages putting money into the hands of folks who keep it circulating (namely, the middle class). Others say that our market is so competitive that worries of inflation risk are unfounded. I lean towards the unfounded fear camp, seeing that people are far too broke in general to cause an inflationary spike. I don’t think paying off credit cards or making rent payments on time is terribly worrisome for our economy:

Italy is back in a significant lockdown, and Germany is headed in the wrong direction with B.1.1.7 cases:

The Novovax trial looks good:

Even though B.1.1.7 is spreading in the US (especially in Florida), cases are still falling in general. Hopefully we avoid what Germany is currently facing. If we keep vaccinating the way we’re doing it, we just might be alright:

Some of these variants might be actual escape variants. I’m hoping Moderna puts out a booster shot ASAP:

Corrections officers are refusing COVID vaccines in large numbers. This could make controlling outbreaks in communities and jails/prisons very difficult: