News roundup for Tue, Sep 28, 2021

Costco is limiting purchases again as shortages cause shelving scarcity:

Another tropical storm coalesced in the Atlantic—this one is named Sam. Sam evolved into a Cat 4 hurricane and could threaten the Caribbean.

China has banned all cryptocurrency-related transactions. China has also banned its citizens from engaging in foreign/overseas crypto transactions or exchanges.

On September 23rd a spokesman for Britain’s PM assured the public that there was no petrol shortage in the UK. Videos of runs on gas stations said otherwise. The UK has put its army on standby as the fuel crisis continues:

There are electricity shortages in China. Rising coal prices and diminished hydropower are the causes:

Big box stores are losing billions of dollars to crime sprees and organized theft rings. Operation Proof of Purchase aims to curtail these kinds of losses. A lot of the ill-gotten loot is resold on Amazon. Millions are being spent on investigations into these crimes.

Here’s an interesting time-lapse of drought conditions in the US over the last 20 or so years:

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Today’s kids will live through three times as many natural disasters as their grandparents did if the planet continues to warm as it is.

The world has over 233 million COVID cases. The world has gained 3.3 million cases in the last week. There have been nearly 4.8 million deaths in total. The US has a cumulative 43.9 million cases. The US gained over 900,000 cases in the last seven days. Over 707,000 Americans have died during the pandemic. The US gained over 55,000 new cases on Sunday, and over 48,000 by late afternoon Monday. 1,600 people are dying per day in the US based on a 7-day average. The US, India, UK, and Turkey have the largest case gains over the last week. Hospitalizations from COVID continue to decrease in the US.

The Director of the CDC heard ACIP’s recommendations but ultimately chose to go with the previous, broader recommendations of the FDA when it comes to 3rd dosing for Americans. Americans over age 65 and those with risk of occupational exposure to COVID may be eligible for a 3rd Pfizer booster if they were previously immunized with Pfizer vaccines. More work has to be done to determine 3rd dose need and schedules for those who received Moderna or J&J vaccines. Those recommendations are being prioritized along with recommendations for children under 12, and should be forthcoming.

Reduced brain volume is a notable finding in people who have had COVID, and it mimics the kind of brain atrophy so commonly seen in the aged. The article goes on to say: “it’s not that clear how long [atrophy] lasts…” I’m here to tell you that in my experience, brain atrophy is not reversible. There is some plasticity in the brain, but not enough to reverse loss of tissue serious enough to be broadly detectable by brain imaging. We can add this article to the proverbial “get your dang vaccine, people!” list.

Shelf-stable insulin would be an absolute game-changer for the preparedness community and for humanity in general. It’s been done, reportedly—but can it be done to scale?

Masks in class reduce COVID outbreaks by at least a factor of three. It’s ludicrous to pack unvaccinated or partially vaccinated kids together in a classroom setting without masks. Those counties with school mask mandates have a much lower incidence of cases.

New York is calling in the National Guard to help with its nursing shortage:


    • Bill Masen

      That shelf stable insulin is going to be a life changer for millions, providing of course big pharma does get its hands on it and charge obscene amounts for it. FYI Insulin, blood and glucose testing kits and insulin pumps are free in the UK.

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    • Captain Peanut

      Not judging, and stop me if I’m out of line, but it is surprising to me the number of nurses and healthcare workers who are choosing not to be vaccinated. To me it’s like a soldier on the front lines watching his buddies getting shot left and right and he says “I don’t need this bullet proof vest.” 

      Hopefully I didn’t offend anyone here, and I know people have their individual reasons for not getting it. 

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      • River Captain Peanut

        Nurse here, I feel the same way. 

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      • Nick Captain Peanut

        I’m an RN, and I work with a number of nurses who refuse to get vaccinated.  The rationales run the gamut of everything we hear from everyone else.  Being in healthcare doesn’t stop people from being people.  How I look at it is pretty simple.  Working in healthcare is a choice.  Nobody forces anyone to do it.  And if you choose to take on the responsibility of caring for other people’s health, then you take on the obligation to take measures that prevent you from spreading any communicable diseases to your patients.  In my state, you can’t be a nurse if you don’t receive other vaccinations, such as MMR.  This is no different.   To me, any other arguments regarding your personal rights and moral choices, your fears about the vaccine, or whatever else it may be simply take a back seat to that.   If you choose to get paid to take care of other people, get vaccinated.  

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      • Stephanie ArnoldContributor Captain Peanut

        I’m sickened by it. You are not out of line. There’s a reason those folks don’t have personal medical histories of smallpox or polio. They were fine with the other gajillion vaccines we have to provide proof of to work with patients, but not the one for the disease that’s shutting down our ICUs with dying patients? Bye, Felicia dot gif. Don’t let the Trauma Bay doors hit ya on the way out… But, uh, that’s just my personal opinion I suppose. 

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      • más picante Stephanie Arnold

        Unlike smallpox or polio, which are sterilizing vaccines, people vaccinated for Covid still get Covid.  The rate at which they do is arguable but Delta has undeniably caused a lot more breakthrough cases, and further mutations are sure to render the current vaccines useless eventually.  It seems that much of the anger from the vaccination crusaders comes from the fact that their vaccines didn’t turn out to be the panacea that they were promised.  Natural immunity is also quite common among healthcare workers, who have had to deal with the disease on the front lines since well before vaccines were available.  Lambasting them now seems short-sighted, and firing them undermines public trust in this being a “pandemic” to begin with: you don’t fire healthcare workers during a pandemic.  

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      • Greg P más picante

        I disagree, having worked in healthcare for the past 36 years.  Vaccines help to break the cycle of infection, cutting overall cases and SEVERE cases dramatically.  They can only be optimally effective if we reach herd immunity.  This is a pandemic – a PUBLIC health emergency.  At this point, you are either part of the solution or part of the problem.  I am at the point where I am close to throwing in the towel and retiring.  If you choose to not get vaccinated, then don’t show up to my hospital asking me to save what I now consider a worthless life.    As I read the preceding sentence, I become more sure that it’s time to retire.

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      • Bed más picante

        The problem is that anti-vaxxers are also anti-maskers. In my opinion, it’d be one thing if people that aren’t vaccinated still wear masks and stuff, which would mean that they aren’t anti-vax. But the fact they’re willing to quit because now they’re required to be vaccinated means they’re anti-vax.

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      • Bed Captain Peanut

        Agreed. I think (much like what Nick said) the fact that you’re a nurse and working in healthcare means you should be vaccinated for covid no matter what. You had to take other vaccines to be in that field, right? Even though the covid vaccine (I think) is different than those other ones since it requires booster shots over time, why would it be different than requiring the polio vaccine or the small pox vaccine?
        If you’re a nurse or doctor or whatever, please take your personal feelings about the vaccine and put them aside. You took that job to care for other people, to care for other humans. To me, that means you need to do whatever it takes to care for them, which’d include getting vaccinated for covid (and also the seasonal flu imo) so you don’t give it to them regardless of how mildly or severely that person may get sick. Or at the very very VERY least, mask up as safely as humanly possible (seriously, I don’t freaking understand anti-mask at all).

        If you can’t do either… why’re you working in healthcare?

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