Wednesday, September 01, 2021
The Mu Variant
WHO says it is monitoring a new Covid variant called ‘mu’ The World Health Organization is monitoring a new coronavirus variant called “mu,” which the agency says has mutations that have the potential to evade immunity provided by a previous Covid-19 infection or vaccination. ......... Mu — also known by scientists as B.1.621 — was added to the WHO’s list of variants “of interest” on Aug. 30, the international health organization said in its weekly Covid epidemiological report published late Tuesday. .......... The variant contains genetic mutations that indicate natural immunity, current vaccines or monoclonal antibody treatments may not work as well against it as they do against the original ancestral virus, the WHO said. The mu strain needs further study to confirm whether it will prove to be more contagious, more deadly or more resistant to current vaccines and treatments. ........... Mu “has a constellation of mutations that indicate potential properties of immune escape,” the WHO wrote in its report Tuesday........ The agency is monitoring four variants “of concern,” including delta, which was first detected in India and is the most prevalent variant currently circulating in the U.S.; alpha, first detected in the U.K.; beta, first detected in South Africa, and gamma, first detected in Brazil. A variant of concern is generally defined as a mutated strain that’s either more contagious, more deadly or more resistant to current vaccines and treatments. ............. It’s also keeping a close watch on four other variants of interest — including lambda, first identified in Peru — that have caused outbreaks in multiple countries and have genetic changes that could make them more dangerous than other strains. ............ The new variant, mu, was first identified in Colombia but has since been confirmed in at least 39 countries, according to the WHO. Although the global prevalence of the variant among sequenced cases has declined and is currently below 0.1%, its prevalence in Colombia and Ecuador has consistently increased
Is the mu variant in California? What to know about the new WHO 'variant of interest'
WHO monitoring new coronavirus variant named Mu Health body says Mu, or B.1.621, first identified in Colombia, has been designated as a variant of interest ........ The Mu variant, also known as B.1.621, was added to the WHO’s watchlist on 30 August after it was detected in 39 countries and found to possess a cluster of mutations that may make it less susceptible to the immune protection many have acquired. ........ the Mu variant “has a constellation of mutations that indicate potential properties of immune escape”. Preliminary data suggests it may evade immune defences in a similar way to the Beta variant first discovered in South Africa ......... While the variant makes up less than 0.1% of Covid infections globally, it may be gaining ground in Colombia and Ecuador where it accounts for 39% and 13% of Covid cases respectively. ........... At least 32 cases of the Mu variant have been detected in the UK ....... most were found in London and in people in their 20s. Some of those testing positive for Mu had received one or two doses of Covid vaccine. ........ Part of the concern about Mu comes from the particular mutations it carries. One genetic change, the P681H mutation, is found in the Alpha variant first detected in Kent and has been linked to faster transmission. Other mutations, including E484K and K417N, may help the virus evade immunity defences, which could give the variant an advantage over Delta as immunity rises into the autumn.
Saturday, May 01, 2021
Biden Should Buy Vaccines For India
The rich countries are being unjust, selfish, and myopic. The variants now mutating in India will circle back to the US and Europe.
Biden just launched a $4 trillion plan on top of his earlier $2 trillion plan. The only reason the US is able to "borrow" all that money is because the world accepts the dollar as the de facto global currency.
The US could spend $6 billion from that pot and buy vaccines for everybody on the planet. Or it could spend $12 billion to do research to fight the triple mutant variants next year.
लास्सामा सुन छ, कान मेरा बुच्चै। For Nepal relying on vaccines to save the population from COVID-19 in short-term,...Posted by Madhav Bhatta on Saturday, May 1, 2021
Monday, February 08, 2021
In The News (19)
In The News (18)
Through Genetics, Luck or ‘Prehab,’ Tom Brady Endures at 43 The mother of the opposing Super Bowl quarterback was a year old when Brady was born. What’s he still doing here? ........... Old quarterbacks hobble around the field, propped on stiff hips and achy knees, their arms ragged and their faces craggy. They look like survivors, elevated in myth but diminished in stature. ............ Rigid and worn, older quarterbacks usually move as if they might be unable to tie the laces on their cleats. ........... Then there is Brady, a cyborg. He is 43. Does he have a wrinkle on his face? Is his arm bionic? Are his joints made of rubber? He probably can tie his own laces while doing downward dog. ........... will be the oldest player to participate in a Super Bowl, at any position. He is the only quarterback to start a Super Bowl after age 40, and he is about to do it for the third time. ........... This will be his 10th Super Bowl. He has won six of them and earned the game’s Most Valuable Player Award four times. .......... this season Brady threw 40 touchdowns, the second-highest total of his career. Still mobile in the pocket, he was sacked at a lower rate than his career average .......... Brady talks of playing to 45, maybe beyond. .......... and explained it in a 2017 book espousing muscle “pliability.” The goal is a spongy elasticity that can absorb all that life throws at a body .......... Brady’s diet is mostly plant-based ........... He fills his body with protein shakes, TB12-branded electrolytes and lots of water — “Drink at least one-half of your body weight in ounces of water daily” ................. “Replacing injury and rehab with pliability and prehab” is a catchphrase. Sleep and mindfulness are also promoted ............ he has found the optimal blend of diet, exercise and sleep.
The Working Mother And The Pandemic
A YouTuber Shoots to Literary Fame in France, Ruffling Feathers The social media star known as Léna Situations, 23, had a pretty eventful 2020. She racked up millions of followers, became a best-selling author — and attracted criticism from the Paris book world. .......... On her desk stood a nameplate saying “I am not bossy, I am the boss.” .......... She is quick to laugh and talks with big, enthusiastic gestures, marveling on a recent morning at the large snowflakes falling outside her window. ............ She started sharing low-price fashion advice and makeup tutorials on her YouTube channel five years ago, as she was juggling several odd jobs to pay for her studies in a fashion marketing school. ........... Her videos are often low-key and feature family and friends. In one, her father, a puppeteer who performed at schools and is currently unemployed because of the Covid-19 pandemic, makes jokes about his unfashionable clothes ............. how naturally curly hair should be acceptable even if artists like Beyoncé and Rihanna have straightened theirs. ........ “One positive aspect of social media is that it gives minorities a space,” Ms. Mahfouf said. “I hope that this dynamic will take off from social media to real life.” ........ in a country where French people of North African origin still suffer from stigmatization and discrimination. .......... With a few exceptions, like the young Moroccan-born novelist Leïla Slimani, voices like Ms. Mahfouf’s are rarely heard in the very closed French world of publishing, which is dominated by white men. ............ Unlike some YouTubers who hire camera operators and editors, Ms. Mahfouf spends days writing, filming and editing her videos herself. ............ “Social networks are my No. 1 priority, where I am the freest and the happiest,” she said. “And the internet won’t disappear anytime soon.”
QAnon Believers Are Obsessed With Hillary Clinton. She Has Thoughts. The mass execution cult has roots in three decades of demonization. .......... The lurid fantasy of Frazzledrip refers to an imaginary video said to show Hillary Clinton and her former aide, Huma Abedin, assaulting and disfiguring a young girl, and drinking her blood. It holds that several cops saw the video, and Clinton had them killed. ............ Trump himself called Clinton “the Devil.” ......... “This is a Salem Witch Trials line of argument against independent, outspoken, pushy women. And it began to metastasize around me.” .......... “I don’t have one iota of sympathy for someone like her, but the algorithms, we are now understanding more than ever we could have, truly are addictive. And whatever it is in our brains for people who go down those rabbit holes, and begin to inhabit this alternative reality, they are, in effect, made to believe.” ............ Clinton now thinks that the creation and promotion of this alternative reality, enabled and incentivized by the tech platforms, is, as she put it, “the primary event of our time.”
The First Post-Reagan Presidency So far, Joe Biden has been surprisingly progressive. .......... Franklin Delano Roosevelt was such a figure. For decades following his presidency, Republicans and Democrats alike accepted many of the basic assumptions of the New Deal. Ronald Reagan was another. After him, even Democrats like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama feared deficit spending, inflation and anything that smacked of “big government.” ............. Trump was a “late regime affiliate” — a category that includes Jimmy Carter and Herbert Hoover. ......... if Trump represented the last gasps of Reaganism instead of the birth of something new, then after him, Skowronek suggests, a fresh regime could begin. ........... a time when what was once conventional wisdom about deficits, inflation and the proper size of government has fallen apart ............. government, by getting the shots in every person’s arm of the vaccines, and building infrastructure, and helping working families, is going to be a force for good ......... His administration is working on a child tax credit that would send monthly payments to most American parents. ........ “Every major economist thinks we should be investing in deficit spending in order to generate economic growth.” ........ It’s not just that the Democratic Party has moved left — the old Reaganite consensus in the Republican Party has collapsed. ............ he has at least the potential to be the grandfather of a more socially democratic America. ........... both Abraham Lincoln and Roosevelt were “viciously” attacked from the left ........ “Moderation can stand as an asset if it’s firmly grounded in a repudiation of the manifest failure and bankruptcy of the old order. In that sense, moderation is not a compromise or a middle ground. It’s the establishment of a new common sense.”
It’s Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Party Now She embarrasses some Republicans, but she’s no outlier. ........ By now, you’ve surely heard her theory that California wildfires might have been caused by a space laser controlled by Jewish bankers. That wasn’t Greene’s first foray into anti-Semitism; in 2018 she shared a notorious white nationalist video in which a Holocaust denier claimed that “Zionist supremacists have schemed to promote immigration and miscegenation.” ........... She described the results of the 2018 midterms as “an Islamic invasion of our government.” ......... and several agreed that Democrats are controlled by Satan ............ The Texas Republican Party has adopted the QAnon slogan “We are the storm” as its motto, though it insists there’s no connection. The chairman of Wyoming’s Republican Party, who attended Trump’s rally on Jan. 6, said he might be open to secession. .............. Senator Mitch McConnell floated openness to convicting Trump in a Senate trial, but ended up voting that such a trial was unconstitutional. Fox News, finger to the wind, purged many of its real journalists and gave the conspiracy theorist Maria Bartiromo a prime-time tryout.
GOP's Future a majority of House Republicans voted to reject the results of the 2020 presidential election ............ Histories of the modern Republican Party often place Ronald Reagan at their center. That is, in Levin’s view, a mistake, and one that obscures the true nature of the coalition’s tensions. “I think Reagan is better understood as a detour from a history that is otherwise a story of a constant struggle between populism and conservatism,” he said. Donald Trump was an inheritor of a tradition that stretches long before him — Pat Buchanan’s tradition, and Strom Thurmond’s tradition. He didn’t form a new Republican Party; he allowed a long-existing part to express itself. ................. The core institutions of American media, the academy, culture are abjectly left-leaning institutions. ............. I think that when conservatives think about universities now, they’re more inclined to think that there is no saving these institutions — we have to attack these institutions. ............. the culture of the right has become much more hostile to the establishment. .............. I don’t think conservatism can do its job in a free society in opposition to the institutions of that society. I think it can only function in defense of them. And a conservatism that becomes anti-institutional looks like a mob attacking the Capitol — which I don’t think is where anybody wants to end up. ................. conservatives need their own New York Times — a place that goes out and does reporting and is not completely bought into the movement’s incentives. ............ whether we can move a little more in the direction of a politics of ‘What does government do?’ and less of a politics of ‘Who rules?’ ............. I’d like to see a more democratized, majoritarian system. Levin would, among other things, add a filibuster to the House. .............. the filibuster plus the weird structural imbalances in our electoral system plus the system’s other veto points have created such a slow-moving form of government that symbolic politics can take over. .............. a functional republic, to be stable, has to not only enable enduring majorities to have their way but also protect durable minorities — large ones. .......... there are all kinds of structures in the system that compel accommodation, that require differing factions to work together if they’re going to achieve anything. ........... Congress was not intended to be like a European Parliament, where the majority rules for as long as the public will let it. .............. I would create a filibuster in the House before I would get rid of the one in the Senate. ................ the filibuster was not an idea of the founding fathers. They did not want a supermajority requirement in Congress. They thought about that and rejected it. ............. We have more filibusters than ever and more polarized politics than ever. More party line votes than ever. Less cooperation than ever. ............... how to fix American politics — how to recenter it on policy that changes people’s lives, rather than symbolic clashes that harden our hearts.
Liz Cheney’s Courage A reader praises her vote to impeach Donald Trump. Also: Renaming San Francisco schools; discrimination against Black girls; food pop-ups and safety. ........ her statement preceding her vote was one of the most powerful any politician has ever delivered, paving the way for the most bipartisan vote to impeach a president in our nation’s history.
Fighting Covid Is Like Fighting a War Why Biden needs to go big and ignore the worries. ......... What we’re dealing with is more like a natural disaster than a normal recession, and the appropriate policy response is mainly a kind of disaster relief. ........... You spend what you need to spend to win the war. ............. Winning, in this case, means providing the resources for a huge vaccination program and for reopening schools safely, while limiting the economic misery of families whose breadwinners can’t work and avoiding gratuitous cuts in public services provided by fiscally constrained state and local governments. .............. Emergency spending may not be intended as stimulus, but it nonetheless has a stimulative effect. And wartime surges in spending have often been accompanied by bursts of inflation, because they can lead to an overheated economy. ................ the only way to find out what we’re capable of is to test our limits .............. every major element in the Biden plan has strong public approval. But support for stimulus checks is through the roof. ......... If you want effective policy on infrastructure, on the environment, on children and more, Biden has to deliver big, tangible benefits with his rescue plan. Otherwise he’ll squander political capital, and probably lose any chance to do significantly more.
In The News (17)
Workers in L.A.’s courts are dying of COVID-19 as in-person hearings, trials continue “Judges are very strict with people not chewing gum, looking at cellphones, not wearing a hat,” De Salvo said. “But wearing a mask? That’s another story.”
Virus Variant First Found in Britain Now Spreading Rapidly in U.S. A new study bolsters the prediction by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that the so-called B.1.1.7 variant will dominate Covid-19 cases by March. .......... A more contagious variant of the coronavirus first found in Britain is spreading rapidly in the United States, doubling roughly every 10 days ........ “We should probably prepare for this being the predominant lineage in most places in the United States by March.” ............. The first case turned up on Dec. 29 in Colorado ........ B.1.1.7 contains a distinctive set of 23 mutations scattered in a genome that is 30,000 genetic letters long. ........ The variant was separately introduced into the country at least eight times, most likely as a result of people traveling to the United States from Britain between Thanksgiving and Christmas. ........... The contagiousness of B.1.1.7 makes it a threat to take seriously. Public health measures that work on other variants may not be enough to stop B.1.1.7. More cases in the United States would mean more hospitalizations ........... the risk of dying of B.1.1.7 is 35 percent higher than it is for other variants. .......... wearing effective masks, avoiding large gatherings and making sure indoor spaces are well ventilated. ......... Driving down B.1.1.7 will also reduce the risk that the variant will evolve into something even worse. Already in Britain, researchers have found samples of B.1.1.7 that have gained a new mutation with the potential to make vaccines less effective.
A Parallel Pandemic Hits Health Care Workers: Trauma and Exhaustion Vaccines may be on the way, but many on the front-lines are burned out. Has the government done enough to help alleviate their stress? ............ and the exasperating public disregard for mask-wearing and social distancing ............. and the realization that she needed to spend more time at home after her children, 10 and 11, switched to remote learning. ......... Now, a year into the pandemic, with emergency rooms packed again, vaccines in short supply and more contagious variants of the virus threatening to unleash a fresh wave of infections, the nation’s medical workers are feeling burned out and unappreciated. ............. the crushing sense of guilt for nurses who unknowingly infected patients or family members, and the struggles of medical personnel who survived Covid-19 but are still hobbled by the fatigue and brain fog that hamper their ability to work. .............. many Americans had scant appreciation for the tribulations that she and her colleagues face day after day. ........ “It feels like we’re failing, when in actuality we’re working with what we’ve got and we don’t have enough,” she said. “We feel quite helpless, and it’s a real injury to our psyches.” ................. the pandemic’s effect on clinicians who serve in poor communities. Many of the 2,000 medical, dental and mental health professionals who have participated in the survey so far say they are disillusioned. ........... two-thirds of American doctors said they had grappled with intense burnout during the pandemic, with a similar percentage reporting a drop in income. A quarter of respondents said their experiences with Covid had led them to exit the medical field. ............ 8 percent of doctors in the United States had closed their offices during the pandemic ....... As more and more medical staff members fall ill or quit, those who remain on the job have to work harder, and the quality of care invariably suffers .......... a “parallel pandemic” of psychological trauma among health workers. ............. “The day before I got sick, I could comfortably run eight to 10 miles,” said Dr. Bial, 45, who started a Facebook group memorializing doctors lost to Covid. “Now I go out for a brisk walk and my heart is pounding. I’m starting to wonder whether these effects could be permanent.”
We Know Very Little About America’s Vaccine Debacle It’s hard to solve a problem when you barely know what’s going on. ....... owing to failures of planning and monitoring, the federal government has essentially lost track of some 20 million vaccine doses that were delivered to the states during the previous administration. ......... We know that the 32 million or so shots that have been administered so far have gone disproportionately to wealthier, whiter Americans. ...... a comprehensive overhaul of the nation’s disease surveillance system, a massive upgrade of its data infrastructure and a reimagining of public health authority during a global crisis are all in order. ...... There’s a good chance that children will return to school come fall and that people across the country will be able to celebrate holidays in normal fashion by next winter. But the nation remains locked in a desperate contest, between its own ability to vaccinate people as quickly as possible and the virus’s ability to mutate and spread ever faster. Right now, the virus still has the lead.
What It Means to Be Black in America Six short films for Black History Month. ......... Ed Dwight Jr. was invited by his country to train to be the first African-American astronaut. But the United States never sent him to space. ........... Founded in 1966 in Oakland, Calif., to combat police violence, the Black Panther Party and its story are a key part of our nation’s still-complicated racial narrative.
In The News (16)
In The News (15)
Tuesday, February 02, 2021
In The News (14)
Monday, February 01, 2021
In The News (13)
The Standing 7-Minute Workout A gentler version of a popular workout keeps you moving while keeping your body off the floor.
The Forgotten People Fighting the Forever War A devastating incident in Afghanistan shows the perils of relying on Special Operations alone to fight the nation’s battles. ........... The Afghan army and police, plagued by corruption and poor leadership, had abandoned their posts and left the city to the Taliban with barely a fight.