News roundup for Tue, May 11, 2021

There’s been a large ransomware attack on the Colonial gas pipeline that runs from Texas to New Jersey–one of the largest gas pipelines in the US. People from multiple states are reporting gas shortages at the pump. The cyber-attack is extremely serious and is preventing use of the pipeline. President Biden has declared an emergency in 17 states. These states will need gas shipments from other nearby states, and potentially from overseas as well. States that are not landlocked may be able to receive shipments by sea. Landlocked states in the region may suffer. The pipeline has been shut down since Friday. The company hopes to resolve the situation by the end of the week. Gas prices could rise from coast to coast:

Driscoll’s strawberries doesn’t know how much to produce—strawberries became a hot commodity when people were stuck at home. Will the trend continue this year? Gauging production to match demand is a tricky game, and it’s contributing to many of the strange supply chain issues we’re seeing all over the US.

Some restaurants are offering large sign-on bonuses for new workers.

The world has nearly 159.6 million COVID cases.  The world has gained 5.5 million cases in a week. There have been over 3.3 million deaths in total. The US has had over 33.5 million cases. Over 596,000 Americans have died. The US has gained over 25,000 cases since yesterday. Weekly case gain is declining. There have been 329 deaths in the US in the last day. India leads the world in deaths per day, with over 3,800 in the last day. India has also gained 300,000-400,000 new cases per day for multiple weeks in a row.

Merkel opposes releasing COVID vaccine intellectual property to other countries, saying it will do little to increase production and could even hamper vaccine production by dis-incentivizing innovation.

An IHME mathematical model of excess deaths estimates that COVID deaths are closer to 900,000 in the US v. the ~600,000 currently reported. The same model intimates that Russia has had 5x the number of deaths it has reported. Although statistical models are only as good as the assumptions underlying their data, it’s also relatively easy to compare the number of deaths to date to previous years. When there are multiple hundreds of thousands of excess deaths compared to previous years during a pandemic, it’s not too difficult to guess the cause.

Hundreds of bodies are still stuck in frozen morgue trucks in New York one year after the state was overwhelmed by COVID cases. The freezer trucks were meant to be temporary.

Cruise ship companies are holding firm on need for proof of vaccination before traveling onboard. The Florida Governor’s refusal of vaccine requirements may cause cruise ships to take their business to other states.

The Indian variant may be more transmissible than even the UK variant:

The Olympics is coming, where fewer than 1% of the country is vaccinated:

Half a million health care workers have left the workforce in the US:

Pfizer has been approved for use in those aged 12-15:

Mucormycosis infection in COVID patients notably high in India:

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