News roundup for Tue, Mar 30, 2021

We knew global shipping was backlogged even before the container ship got stuck in the Suez. It’s been freed now, but many months of shipping and logistics chaos are left in its literal wake. Costco, for example, is having trouble stocking cheese now. Expect shortages of odd and sundry items and general price increases.

Baltimore says it’s no longer going to prosecute various low-level crimes. Decompressing jails and prisons from petty-drug-possession-related overcrowding is probably a good idea, but leaving robbery and assault unaddressed is concerning. Although crime has dropped since Baltimore has implemented this policy, Chicago has seen an increase in crime despite similar policies.

China made a concerning aerial show of force in Taiwan’s air space last week during a routine military exercise. China also got aggressive near the Philippines with 220 “fishing vessels,” and the Philippines responded by deploying its Air Force.

There’s been major flooding in Nashville, TN:

There’s a growing consensus among economists that climate change is a very real threat to the world and that immediate action is needed to prevent trillions of dollars of economic damage PER YEAR.

Getting advanced payments of the newly expanded Child Tax Credit is complicated. Here’s a breakdown of helpful info.

The world has over 128.7 million COVID cases.  The world has gained over 4.4 million cases in a week. There have been over 2.8 million deaths in total. The US has had over 31 million cases. Over 564,000 Americans have died. The US gained 58,000 cases since yesterday. There have been 815 deaths in the US since yesterday. New cases and deaths are still exploding in Brazil. The 7-day moving average of new cases is starting to rise again in the US. We’re going to have to take steps to prevent another wave:

People are relaxing just before we’ve hit the finish line, and it could cause a 4th wave. Case numbers are rising again, particularly in the Northeast.  We’re vaccinating apace, but we still have fewer than 2/10 Americans fully vaccinated.

Vaccine passports are probably coming. I have mixed feelings about flashing around my personal health information to obtain the goods and services that make my life comfortable. Ultimately, though, it’s a matter of supporting public health. It’s not that much a stretch to me, a nurse, when I had to provide pages and pages of my health data just to be in the profession I’m in. Many have to do this to travel to other countries. My biggest concern is my health data getting used and abused by callous and exploitative tech companies:

It looks like the mRNA vaccines are doing a spectacular job of preventing infection and transmission:

The CDC director has made an almost baffling statement about her feelings of impending doom related to current COVID case rise and a potential 4th wave. What I find infuriating about this statement is that the CDC recently recommending reduced social distancing space in schools (from 6 feet to 3 feet between students). If we’re facing impending doom from case rise, perhaps crowding kids together in schools is a seriously questionable recommendation:

The lab leak theory of COVID origin is still a big topic of discussion. The WHO says that it’s unlikely, but still a possibility. The WHO recommends more missions, research, and investigations. The WHO also released a large report on its most recent origin findings.

The concerns about the AstraZeneca vaccine aren’t simply about clots. The coagulopathies showing up post-vaccination in a handful of cases around the world are more complex than simple thromboses. But they’re still very rare–certainly rarer than the number and type of coagulopathies caused by the pandemic virus itself.

What would a Pandemic Treaty look like, and how would it help the world do a better job in the future? Countering isolationism, nationalism, and vaccine hoarding would probably need to be addressed:

Families with children make up nearly 1/3 of the global travel population. So how are folks going to travel with kids if there’s no vaccine for kids yet? What happens if folks travel abroad, their child gets sick with COVID abroad, and they can’t return until they can produce a negative test? My personal recommendation is not to travel abroad until all members of your travel party can get vaccinated, but I don’t make the rules.

I still weep for Brazil:

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