Daily Digest 5/22 – Good News Friday: Lockdown Reduces Ocean Noise, How Smart City Planning Could Slow Future Pandemics

This is Good News Friday, where we find some good economic, energy, and environmental news and share it with PP readers. Please send any positive news to dd@peakprosperity.com with subject header “Good News Friday.” We will save and post weekly. Enjoy!

Economy

How Smart City Planning Could Slow Future Pandemics (tmn)

The Covid-19 pandemic is a chance to focus that attention on what can—and should—be changed, to reevaluate the way cities are built, maintained, and lived in. In the midst of this crisis, some cities have already begun doing so by closing roads to cars to create room for bicyclists and socially distanced pedestrians, or by building additional hospitals and homeless shelters. These stopgap, reactive steps are important and needed, but they will do little to slow or stave off this pandemic or help prevent the next one. To ward off the outbreaks of the future, it’s time to start thinking proactively, and long-term.

T cells found in COVID-19 patients ‘bode well’ for long-term immunity (Roger B.)

The more than 100 COVID-19 vaccines in development mainly focus on another immune response: antibodies. These proteins are made by B cells and ideally latch onto SARS-CoV-2 and prevent it from entering cells. T cells, in contrast, thwart infections in two different ways. Helper T cells spur B cells and other immune defenders into action, whereas killer T cells target and destroy infected cells. The severity of disease can depend on the strength of these T cell responses.

Coronavirus News: Northeast states join in PPE purchasing partnership (Jen H.)

“We’re going to form a consortium with our seven northeast partner states, which buy about $5 billion worth of equipment and supplies,” Cuomo said. “Which will make us more competitive in the international marketplace.”

“Our states should never be in a position where we are actively competing against each other for life-saving resources,” New Jersey Governor Murphy said.

IU Researchers Identify Fabric That Kills Coronaviruses (thc0655)

Then, in a study published May 15 in ChemRxiv, a site that houses chemistry research prior to publication, Sen and his team told the world: They’d done it. They’d discovered that an electroceutical fabric made of polyester fabric printed with alternating circular metal dots of elemental silver and zinc metals sent the virus’s electrokinetic properties into a tizzy, stripping it of its ability to infect within one minute.

Utah businesses seek to boost consumer confidence by making COVID-19 safety pledges (Elliot W.)

“People have been happy that we’re taking the precautions. They tell us that they like the new procedures, they feel safer here than going to the grocery store and other places around. They’re happy to get a massage even if that means they have to come wearing a mask,” he told FOX 13.

U.S. secures 300 million doses of potential AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine (Sparky1)

“This contract with AstraZeneca is a major milestone in Operation Warp Speed’s work toward a safe, effective, widely available vaccine by 2021,” U.S. Health Secretary Alex Azar said. The first doses could be available in the United States as early as October, according to a statement from HHS.

The vaccine, previously known as ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 and now as AZD1222, was developed by the University of Oxford and licensed to AstraZeneca. Immunity to the new coronavirus is uncertain and so the use of vaccines is unclear.

Europe Set To Unveil Its $500 Billion ‘Green Deal’ (Michael S.)

Meanwhile, at the national level, Denmark just announced a plan to build two giant “energy islands,” dubbed the world’s “most ambitious” offshore wind project, according to the FT. The 37-billion-euro project is a cornerstone of Denmark’s plans to cut emissions by 70 percent within the next decade. “Even though we are in the middle of an unprecedented health crisis, that doesn’t mean that the climate change problem is smaller. We are also in a climate crisis,” Denmark’s climate minister Dan Jorgensen told the FT.

America’s Renewable Energy Sources Have Produced More Electricity Than Coal Every Day for 40 Days Straight (Jen H.)

Preliminary data from the EIA’s Hourly Electric Grid Monitor found that utility-scale solar, wind and hydro had collectively produced more electricity than coal-based plants for roughly 40 days straight, based on statistics between March 25 and May 3.

As reported by Reuters, it shows how the ongoing novel coronavirus outbreak could speed up a shift from coal power despite attempts by the Trump administration and the U.S. energy department to boost the fossil fuel industry in recent years.

Carbon emissions dropped 17 percent globally amid coronavirus (tmn)

Drastic changes in transportation, industrial activities and air travel in nations under lockdowns could also fuel a decrease in this year’s annual carbon emissions of up to 7 percent, the study found. Though significant, scientists say these declines are unlikely to have a long-term impact once countries return to normal unless governments prioritize investments and infrastructure to reduce harmful emissions.

USDA to purchase $470M in surplus meat, dairy and produce (Jen H.)

Different sectors across the industry have urged the department to purchase more food for weeks. Last month, the National Pork Producers Council asked for more than $1 billion in pork purchases to clear out a backed-up meat supply and in March, U.S. seafood companies wrote a letter to the Trump administration asking the government to buy at least $500 million in surplus commercial seafood.

Although this additional surplus purchase could help some farmers and producers stay afloat and stop dumping food, industries will likely continue to advocate for more support as the pandemic drags on.

Silence is golden for whales as lockdown reduces ocean noise (Jen H.)

“Generally, we know underwater noise at this frequency has effects on marine mammals,” Barclay said. The findings of Barclay and his researchers were first published in The Narwhal.

“There has been a consistent drop in noise since 1 January, which has amounted to a change of four or five decibels in the period up to 1 April,” he said. Economic data from the port showed a drop of around 20% in exports and imports over the same period, he said.

Gold & Silver

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Article suggestions for the Daily Digest can be sent to dd@peakprosperity.com. All suggestions are filtered by the Daily Digest team and preference is given to those that are in alignment with the message of the Crash Course and the “3 Es.”

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