100 million Americans have been under significant, record-setting storms and weather warnings this week, including another round of tornado warnings and strikes. Tornadoes in December are typically rare, but they haven’t been this December. More than 423,000 people are without power across the US. Expect serious travel delays throughout the central US this week.
An intensifying storm will bring hazardous weather to a broad swath of states today:
• 84 million people are under high wind warnings
• Record warmth will surge north ahead of the storm
• Parts of Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin face tornado threats https://t.co/WKsLwsx5OE
— Axios (@axios) December 15, 2021
The windstorms in Colorado are serious, with winds topping 80 miles per hour. Huge dust storms have been stirred up as well, making visibility poor in affected areas. Over 60,000 people are without power in that state alone:
— Kevin Velazquez (@kvcreativetv) December 15, 2021
We’ve got a shortage of airline pilots, and the problem is going to persist because it takes a while to train a proficient pilot. Companies are hiring aggressively, but still falling short. Boeing says the industry will need more than half a million pilots in the next 20 years.
In good news, the White House has developed a plan to remove all lead pipes in the US. Although the plan is much needed, there’s still a funding gap. It will cost at least 60 billion dollars to implement. The current infrastructure bill allocated only 15 billion towards lead pipe mitigation. Given the incredible costs to society of lead toxicity, it seems only prudent to allocate whatever is needed to address this problem.
The world has 273.2 million COVID cases. The world has gained 4.5 million cases in the last week. There have been nearly 5.4 million deaths in total. The US has had a cumulative 51.4 million cases—over 900,000 cases were added in the last week. Over 824,000 Americans have died—over 9,000 in the last week. The US added 137,000 new cases Wednesday, and over 124,000 by late afternoon Thursday. Tallies for the US may not be totally accurate as Maryland has not updated its reporting in 11 days. The US is still leading global daily case gain followed by India, Brazil, the UK, and Russia.
Kroger plans to deny paid leave to unvaccinated employees who contract the pandemic virus. I think this will backfire dangerously as folks will simply go to work sick:
NEW: Kroger says COVID-19 paid leave will no longer be available to unvaccinated employees who contract the virus, according to a company spokesperson.
— Ana Cabrera (@AnaCabrera) December 14, 2021
Professional sports is getting slammed by COVID in the US once again. It’s probably due, in part, to lax safety protocols:
The top headlines on ESPN are once again all COVID related. It feels like 2020 all over again. pic.twitter.com/xvWwGOd6DG
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) December 14, 2021
More scary COVID news from the neuropsychiatric trenches–this virus might be contributing to amyloid formation in the brains of young people:
A SARSCoV2 protein can combine w/ a Parkinson’s protein causing amyloid formation, a Parkinson’s hallmark. Reports suggest young people w/Covid have developed Parkinson’s. Now test-tube results show SARS2’s N-protein combines w/ α-synuclein to form amyloid https://t.co/Bmz6ilW94r
— delthia ricks 🔬 (@DelthiaRicks) December 14, 2021
Sinovac is not looking particularly protective against Omicron:
Sinovac’s vaccine, one of the most widely used in the world, does not provide sufficient antibodies to neutralize the omicron variant, Hong Kong researchers say https://t.co/fJFei2YYhH
— Bloomberg Next China (@next_china) December 15, 2021
Omicron is going to start gaining ground in the US soon, and may already be if lines for testing are any indication. Expect breakthrough infections even if vaccinated (and maybe even if boosted). It’s important to continue masking this winter even if you’ve grown quite tired of it. The holiday party super-spreader events have also begun in earnest:
BuzzFeed holiday party in Manhattan becomes a Covid “superspreader event,” several employees infected.https://t.co/0dUQLJU2e1
— Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) December 16, 2021
The CDC is preferentially recommending mRNA vaccines over J&J because of clotting risks:
JUST IN: CDC vaccine advisers have voted 15-0 to change recommendations for Covid-19 vaccines to make clear that shots made by Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech are preferred over Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine. https://t.co/rJb0JTTGA2
— CNN (@CNN) December 16, 2021