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:


    • Rubber Duckie

      Hi Stephanie, thank you for another relevant preparedness update. I too understand the necessity for a vaccine passport, though I hope they don’t plan on including too much PHI since that maybe perceived as a HIPPA violation, and may make people hesitant to get one. The vaccine passport should just include name, DOB (for identification purposes) and dates the doses were administered. All additional information like antibody titers, or underlying health conditions, should remain protected. I also agree with you that the CDC statement only spread fear and panic instead of motivating the public to remain vigilant and prepared. The recent spike in cases probably rattled them too. Stay safe 😷

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    • Mack Morrison

      Why do “we” keep referencing the number of vaccinations to the total population instead of the eligible population (those greater than 18)? It makes a big difference in how close we are getting to herd immunity, especially if you consider the number of individuals who contracted Covid-19, whether they got tested or not. For example, in my county, ~47,000 are fully vaccinated. This equates to ~17% of the total population, but ~26% of the population over 18. When you add in those who are waiting for their second dose, we have almost 46% of the over 18 population at least partially vaccinated. If some of the individuals who had Covid-19 aren’t vaccinated, maybe another 10-15% can be added to the 46%, and we are at approximately 60% of the population over 18, who either had Covid or has had the vaccine. Why shouldn’t we expect herd immunity in the near future? 

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      • shtfhappens Mack Morrison

        With the recent positive news about trial results in children + most states opening up vaccines to people over 16-18 yrs old in the coming days, it seems like we’re on track for herd immunity! 

        Not sure why officials present the numbers they way they do, though. But hopefully it’s moot in a few weeks.

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      • Stephanie ArnoldContributor Mack Morrison

        I imagine we’ll be vaccinating children en masse by fall, and I fully expect infants as young as six months to be included, provided that the vaccines are found to be safe in those groups. It won’t be long before the entire population (more or less) is eligible for vaccination, though I take your point that we’re currently only vaccinating folks 16 and up. 

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