Daily Digest 7/26 – Public Transit Officials Fear Virus Could Send Systems Into ‘Death Spiral’, A Vaccine Reality Check



Federal agents sent to Seattle area; Mayor Durkan seeks assurances they won’t crack down on protesters (TourGuideDC)

“Federal Protective Service routinely requests mutual assistance from other law enforcement agencies when there are threats to federal properties,” the FPS spokesman said in a statement. “The CBP team will be on standby in the area, should they be required. FPS requests this kind of assistance multiple times a year at our over 9,000 facilities across the country.”

A federal government plane landed at Boeing Field on Thursday evening and “more than a dozen personnel drove off to an unknown destination,” King County Executive Dow Constantine tweeted just before 9 p.m.

Public Transit Officials Fear Virus Could Send Systems Into ‘Death Spiral’ (Roger B.)

“Unless the economy comes ripping right back, and there’s a vaccine, and social distancing is eliminated, we fall off the financial cliff in 2023,” Mr. Tumlin said. “That would result in such severe service cuts that it puts us on what is called the transit death spiral.”

As transit use plunged across the country because of the pandemic, the economy cratered into a recession, putting nearly 11 percent of Americans on the unemployment rolls and closing about 66,000 small businesses, dealing a blow to the sales and income tax revenues that many city and states use to fund transit agencies.

Car Insurance Rates to Be Studied for Racial Bias (edelinski)

“Within the NAIC, we’re seeing unprecedented discussions between our members and stakeholders on race and its role in the design and pricing of insurance products,” said Ray Farmer, NAIC president and director of the South Carolina Department of Insurance in an emailed statement. “It is the duty of the insurance sector to address racial inequality while promoting diversity.”

The Atlantic: A Vaccine Reality Check (Merle2)

The good news, because it is worth saying, is that experts think there will be a COVID-19 vaccine. The virus that causes COVID-19 does not seem to be an outlier like HIV. Scientists have gone from discovery of the virus to more than 165 candidate vaccines in record time, with 27 vaccines already in human trials. Human trials consist of at least three phases: Phase 1 for safety, Phase 2 for efficacy and dosing, and Phase 3 for efficacy in a huge group of tens of thousands of people. At least six COVID-19 vaccines are in or about to enter Phase 3 trials, which will take several more months.

Sentinel surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater anticipates the occurrence of COVID-19 cases (Cribbage)

SARS-CoV-2 was detected in Barcelona sewage long before the declaration of the first COVID-19 case, indicating that the infection was present in the population before the first imported case was reported. Sentinel surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater would enable adoption of immediate measures in the event of future COVID-19 waves.

Texas county stores bodies in trucks as state sets one-day record for COVID-19 deaths (Sparky1)

“We’ve got to lasso this virus, this stallion, bring the numbers back down and get control of this thing,” Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez said. “Because our hospitals – they’re war zones, they are really struggling right now.”

The Fat Emperor: Viral Impacts Explained – The PANDA Pandemic Data & Analytics Group (MGRS, h/t MKI)

Deep-dive on the real impacts of this viral issue across the globe, with a special focus on how the cost-benefit of suppression measures is destroying middle-income countries like Africa. Have we lost the plot in trying to stop the unstoppable? Is the cost-benefit horrifically in the wrong direction?

Will the middle-income countries suffer enormously and pointlessly, from our Western notions of holding back the tide?

A Novel Approach to Treating COVID-19 Using Nutritional and Oxidative Therapies (David A.)

In summary, we treated 107 COVID-19 patients, solely with biological therapies, who all recovered. Only three were hospitalized. Of the three hospitalizations, two were hospitalized before beginning our treatment and sought our care post hospitalization. One was hospitalized while solely taking the oral regimen of Vitamins A, C, D, and iodine, and not the oxidative therapies. All recovered uneventfully. There were no deaths.

The Beginning Of The End For Gas Flaring (thc0655)

This would be a decline following a plateau of flaring-related emissions, by the way. After last year gas flaring in the Permian hit an all-time high of 661 million cu ft of gas, it declined slightly to 500 million cu ft towards the end of the year and stayed there until the oil price crash. Now, if the Texas Railroad Commission does tighten rules for flaring, the decline would likely accelerate as E&Ps look for other ways to deal with the waste gas, which, by the way, in 2018 alone cost Texas oil and gas producers almost $750 million.

China floods and Japan downpour blamed on Indian Ocean hot spot (000)

Heavy rains in China have caused historic flooding along the Yangtze and other rivers, killing dozens and straining the Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest hydroelectric dam. At least 40 million people — roughly the populations of Brunei, Malaysia and Singapore combined — were in flood-affected areas, which include more than 400 smaller rivers and Yangtze tributaries.

Yangtze deluge tests limits of Three Gorges Dam (000)

But some experts are not convinced. Fan Xiao, chief engineer with Sichuan’s Provincial Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources who also writes a column in the Chinese National Geographic magazine, said that based on his back-of-an-envelope calculations, the dam had only held 9% of this year’s Yangtze floods.

As Summer Takes Hold, So Do the Jumping Worms (000)

These Asian earthworms in the genus Amynthas or Metaphire — referred to in attention-grabbing headlines and YouTube videos as “crazy worms” or “snake worms” — do not target a particular organism the way many pests do. Instead, they ravage the soil on which all plant life relies. They process the organic matter in the top layer, including fallen leaves in the forest and garden mulch, so fast that the soil is often reduced to mineral content, a condition hospitable to neither roots nor soil-dwelling organisms.

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