Friday, December 31, 2021

Covid: Record 1.7 million people in UK infected last week

Security agencies stop reporting security breaches amid spike in leaks

21 Masks That Capture the Politics of 2021Politico

Britney, Bennifer, Beatles and Broadway: Pop culture in 2021 AP

Canada’s public health agency admits it tracked 33 million mobile devices during lockdownNational Post

Covid: Record 1.7 million people in UK infected last week Independent 

Our Relationship With COVID Vaccines Is Just Getting Started

The Atlantic: “We probably will need additional shots. But just how many depends on our immune systems, the virus, and how often they collide…A future of annual vaccinations would almost be a relief. In the past year, the U.S. government has recommended that almost everyone eligible be COVID-vaccinated three times over, and the possibility of an Omicron-focused shot now looms. But the sweet spot for boosting frequency isn’t all that easy to find—both undervaccinating and overvaccinating have downsides—and the narrative is definitely not as simple as more is more. Maybe we’ll luck out, and finagle some truly durable protection out of our current shots. Or perhaps we’re just at the start of what could be the world’s most intense and widespread repeat-vaccination campaign to date…

There are two main reasons to vaccinate the already vaccinated: a substantial drop in our body’s defenses or a huge hike in the virus’s offenses…”

Omicron surge could be the worst public health challenge of our lifetimes

Washington Post Opinion: “The current omicron surge represents one of the greatest public health challenges not only of the pandemic but also of our lifetime. To deal with the surge over the next six to eight weeks, policymakers need to plan for the impact of what could be 1 million cases a day of new infections in the United States. Such planning involves being realistic about the effectiveness of vaccination at this point; taking immediate steps to improve public health messaging, data collection and the availability of drug therapies; and doing whatever is possible to ameliorate the potentially devastating consequences for our health-care system…”

CNN: “Yes. In fact, the first confirmed Omicron-related death in the US was a man who previously had Covid-19. The Texas man, in his 50s, had not been vaccinated, Harris County health officials said. For months, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said vaccines give stronger protection against Covid-19 than previous infection does.

 “If you have had Covid-19 before, please still get vaccinated,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in August, citing research published during a Delta variant surge. “This study shows you are twice as likely to get infected again if you are unvaccinated.” With the new Omicron variant, the risk of getting reinfected is 5.4 times higher with Omicron than it was with Delta, according to a team of disease modelers at Imperial College London. 

“This suggests relatively low remaining levels of immunity from prior infection,” the team wrote in a December report. Health experts say the best way to help protect against the Omicron variant is to get vaccinated and boosted…”


30 Years Ago, the Soviet Union Collapsed, But Socialism Was Worth Saving Counterpunch

Gorbachev’s resignation 30 years ago marked the end of USSR Politico

Escaping the Trap of Efficiency: The Counterintuitive Antidote to the Time-Anxiety That Haunts and Hampers Our Search for Meaning

The Counterintuitive Antidote to the Time-Anxiety That Haunts and Hampers Our Search for Meaning

“Productivity is a trap. Becoming more efficient just makes you more rushed, and trying to clear the decks simply makes them fill up again faster… Since finitude defines our lives… living a truly authentic life — becoming fully human — means facing up to that fact.”