SO FAR SO GOOD.
There’s some guarded optimism coming from public health officials regarding the Omnicron variant. Early evidence seems to indicate that it is not worse than the Delta variant, in terms of virulence. Per the Associated Press, “U.S. health officials said Sunday that while the omicron variant of the coronavirus is rapidly spreading throughout the country, early indications suggest it may be less dangerous than delta, which continues to drive a surge of hospitalizations. President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told CNN’s ‘State of the Union’ that scientists need more information before drawing conclusions about omicron’s severity. Reports from South Africa, where it emerged and is becoming the dominant strain, suggest that hospitalization rates have not increased alarmingly.” Fingers crossed but it’s still early days. We’ll know soon enough where we stand in terms of the new variant. https://bit.ly/31xlNIP
WAIT AND SEE.
Just in case you need another voice about not getting in front of the Omnicron good news, an article in Science takes the other side of the coin, warning that the dynamics of the new variant in South Africa is ominous. Per Science, “How the emergence of the Omicron variant will shape the COVID-19 pandemic is still unclear, but new data from South Africa are worrisome. A study published yesterday as a preprint suggests Omicron is causing more infections in people who have recovered from an earlier bout with the virus, one sign that the new variant is able to escape at least some of the immune system’s defenses. ‘This does not bode well for vaccine-induced immunity,’ says virologist Florian Krammer at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.” https://bit.ly/3lGryLE
FASHION TAKES CLIMATE CHANGE HIT.
The fashion industry is facing a climate change reckoning, particularly when it comes to fabrics like cotton and silk. Per Vogue Business, “For cotton, the top six production countries — India, Pakistan, Brazil, China, the US and Turkey — are significantly exposed to climate instability, with north western Africa and western and southern Asia at highest risk, according to a report by Cotton 2040. Some 40 per cent of cotton-producing regions will experience shorter growing seasons by 2040. It’s not just cotton at risk. Silk production is also threatened in tropical regions, where elevated temperatures will make caterpillars struggle to build their cocoons. The impact on the silk industry could threaten the livelihoods of more than 2 million people. The quality and quantity of cashmere are also diminishing, affected by unstable temperatures and diminishing water supplies as well as overgrazing that has an impact on the growth of goats’ winter coats in Mongolia.” There’s no espacing climate change. The sooner people realize that and work to slow its destructive potential, the better. https://bit.ly/3IoEoI3
Over the weekend, a massive volcano eruption took place in Southeast Asia. Heavy rain followed on its heels, making rescue efforts difficult, if not perilous. Per Reuters, “Indonesia’s Mt. Semeru volcano continued to spew hot clouds of ash on Monday, days after a powerful eruption killed 15 people and left dozens more missing. The tallest mountain on the island of Java erupted dramatically on Saturday, shooting a towering column of ash into the sky that blanketed surrounding villages. Aerial footage of the affected areas showed roofs jutting out of an ashen landscape, while on the ground, military officers, police and residents dug through mud with their hands to extricate victims. The death toll rose to 15 by Monday, while 27 people remain missing, Indonesia’s disaster mitigation agency said in a statement.” https://reut.rs/3pve06P
With tensions growing between nations here on Earth, it is really concerning that the militarization of the moon has leapfrogged the commercialization of the satellite. Per space.com, “There is growing interest in protecting strategic assets in cislunar space, the realm between Earth and the moon. The U.S. Space Force is not the only entity engaged in reflecting on the topic of how best to extend military presence far from Earth. Other nations such as China are doing so as well. Parallel to air, land and sea skirmishes between nations here on Earth, is cislunar space, and perhaps the moon itself, an emerging military “high ground” and new territory for conflict? There’s a variance of views, according to experts Space.com talked to.” Super. As if humanity needs another frontier to wage war…” As far back as 1959, when NASA was still picking its first astronauts, the U.S. Army was concocting plans for a moon base, under the title of Project Horizon. https://bit.ly/3rDpibA
Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there.