Monday, December 6, 2021

Wake-Up Call: Fauci Omicron May Be Less Severe

MORE INFORMATION NEEDED: Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday that early reports suggest the omicron variant of Covid-19 may be less severe than delta, but that more information is needed before making that conclusion. Appearing on CNN's State of the Union, President Biden's chief medical adviser said, "Thus far, it does not look like there’s a great degree of severity to it. But we have really got to be careful before we make any determinations that it is less severe or it really doesn’t cause any severe illness, comparable to delta." Reports from South Africa, where omicron emerged and is fast becoming the dominant strain, suggest there hasn't been a worrying spike in hospitalization rates. As of Sunday, omicron cases had been found in about one-third of U.S. states and health officials say it's spreading, but delta is still the dominant variant by far, and is causing a surge in hospitalizations in some northern states.

COVID Cases: updated: 12/6/21 at 2:22 AM SOURCE Johns Hopkins University; WHO; CDC; USA TODAY


SUPERINTENDENT: WILL BE OUTSIDE PROBE INTO EVENTS AT MICHIGAN HIGH SCHOOL BEFORE SHOOTING: Oxford Community Schools Superintendent Tim Throne said this weekend that there will be an investigation by a third party of the events at Oxford High School before the shooting at the Michigan school last week that left four students and six other students and a teacher wounded. Throne said he asked for the outside probe because parents have asked questions about, quote, "the school's version of events leading up to the shooting." Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald on Friday detailed many warning signs from the student charged as an adult in the shooting, 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley. 

His parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, were charged with involuntary manslaughter. They pled not guilty Saturday and a judge imposed a combined $1 million bond hours after they were caught hiding in a Detroit commercial building following a manhunt. But defense attorneys for the couple insisted they never intended to flee and had left town for their own safety. The attorneys said the Crumbleys had made plans to meet their lawyers and had intended to return.

➤LAST MEMBER OF 'BAND OF BROTHERS' DEAD AT 99: World War Two veteran Edward Shames, who was the last surviving officer of “Easy Company,” which inspired the 2001 HBO miniseries, Band of Brothers, and the 1992 book on which it was based, died Friday (December 3rd) at his home in Virginia. He was 99. During World War Two, he was a member of the renowned Easy Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. He fought in many of the war's major battles, and an online obituary said, "He made his first combat jump into Normandy on D-Day as part of Operation Overlord." After the war, Shames worked for the National Security Agency as an expert on Middle East affairs.

➤BIDEN, PUTIN TO HAVE VIDEO CALL AMID UKRAINE TENSIONS: President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin will speak in a video call tomorrow amid increased tensions between the two countries over Russia's troop buildup on Ukraine's border that's seen as a sign of a potential invasion. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Saturday that Biden will, quote, "reaffirm the United States’ support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine." Putin, meanwhile, will make clear Russia's opposition to any move to admit Ukraine into NATO. However, NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said last week that Russia has no say in such plans by other countries or the alliance.

🛳CRUISE SHIP WITH AT LEAST 17 ON BOARD WITH COVID-19 DOCKS IN NEW ORLEANS: A Norwegian Cruise Line ship with at least 17 people on board, both passengers and crew, who were infected with Covid-19 docked in New Orleans yesterday. The cruise line said all of the identified cases on the Norwegian Breakaway ship were asymptomatic. Local station Fox 8 reported at least one of the cases was the omicron variant. All passengers and crew, a total of more than 3,200 people, were required to be vaccinated against Covid-19 before departure. The ship left New Orleans on November 28th and made stops in Belize, Honduras, and Mexico.

🍺SURVEY..U-S IS WORLD’S 4TH-DRUNKEST COUNTRY: Americans aren’t the drunkest people in the world. The latest Global Drug Survey spoke to 32,000 people in 22 countries and found Australia to be the drunkest country, with people there saying they drink alcohol about twice a week on average, and get drunk 27 times per year, more than people in any other country surveyed. The survey defined drunk as “having drunk so much that your physical and mental faculties are impaired to the point where your balance/speech was affected.” The US is the fourth-drunkest country in the world, according to the findings, coming in behind Denmark and Finland but just ahead of the UK. Data for this report was collected between December 2020 and March 2021. A few other interesting findings: Australia was first in the number of times people reported seeking emergency medical treatment after alcohol use; people from Ireland reported getting drunk an average of 14.6 times a year and were also most likely to regret getting drunk; and those from Denmark and Finland were least likely to regret getting drunk.

➤STUDY..ALLERGY SUFFERERS HAVE NEARLY 40% LOWER RISK OF COVID-19 INFECTION: Having an allergic condition is no fun, but it could help protect you from COVID-19. Queen Mary University of London researchers found that people who suffer with conditions like eczema, hay fever, rhinitis, and asthma had a lower risk of contracting COVID-19. Those with eczema, hay fever, and rhinitis had a 23 percent lower chance of contracting the virus, while those with asthma had a 38 percent lower risk, and those taking immunosuppressants had a 53 percent lower risk of infection. Still, researchers say this study is observational and cannot prove causation.

🐶STUDY..FEED FIDO JUST ONCE A DAY TO PREVENT FUTURE HEALTH PROBLEMS: Feeding your pooch just once a day could reduce the risk of them dealing with age-related health issues. University of Washington researchers polled information from over 20,000 pet owners. About eight percent of dog owners reported only feeding their pet once each day. These dogs scored 0.63 points lower on a test for cognitive dysfunction compared to dogs who were fed more often. The dogs fed once a day also had a 59 percent lower risk of having liver issues, and 35 percent lower chance of having gastrointestinal disease, as well as lower risk for kidney/urinary issues, orthopedic problems, and dental concerns. Still, researchers acknowledge the study had limitations, but note if their findings are supported by future studies, it could be wise to revisit the currently predominant recommendation that adult dogs be fed twice daily.

➤ZOOM’S NEW ATTENDANCE TOOL WILL SNITCH ON ATTENDEES WHO ARE LATE TO A MEETING:  Zoom is adding a new tool that will make it harder to sneak into a work meeting late. It’s called “Attendance Status” and allows Zoom hosts and co-hosts to use calendar integration from Google and Microsoft to easily see whether or not invited participants joined the meeting on time. According to Zoom’s support page, those who have been invited but have not joined will be listed on a “Not Joined” list that’s visible to all. Hosts and co-hosts can also see if the no-shows clicked the “Accepted,” “Declined,” “Maybe,” or “No” selections on their calendar response. If a user mistakenly logs into a Zoom meeting with an account other than the one they originally used to accept the invitation, Zoom says they will appear as both “Not Joined” and “Joined.” The tool could be useful for bosses or professors tracking who showed up to a meeting or class.

➤STUDY..TOYS PROVE TO BE BETTER INVESTMENT THAN GOLD, ART, AND FINANCIAL SECURITIES: It seems people who collected Beanie Babies in the ‘90s weren’t so crazy after all. A study finds that unusual ways of investment, such as collecting toys, can generate high returns. For example, secondary market prices of retired LEGO sets grow by 11 percent annually, which is faster than gold, stocks, and bonds. Higher School of Economics researcher and study co-author Victoria Dobrynskaya explains, “We are used to thinking that people buy such items as jewelry, antiques, or artworks as an investment. However, there are other options, such as collectible toys. Tens of thousands of deals are made on the secondary LEGO market. Even taking into account the small prices of most sets, this is a huge market that is not well-known by traditional investors.” In addition, researchers found that LEGO prices are weakly dependent on the stock market, and they were even growing during the financial crisis of 2008. Still, study authors say that investment in LEGO is worthwhile only in the long term, and incurs higher transaction costs (like delivery and storage) than investment in financial securities.

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers 30, Atlanta Falcons 17
  • Arizona Cardinals 33, Chicago Bears 22
  • Los Angeles Chargers 41, Cincinnati Bengals 22
  • Detroit Lions 29, Minnesota Vikings 27
  • Miami Dolphins 20, New York Giants 9
  • Philadelphia Eagles 33, New York Jets 18
  • Indianapolis Colts 31, Houston Texans 0
  • Washington Football Team 17, Las Vegas Raiders 15
  • Los Angeles Rams 37, Jacksonville Jaguars 7
  • Pittsburgh Steelers 20, Baltimore Ravens 19
  • Seattle Seahawks 30, San Francisco 49ers 23
  • Kansas City Chiefs 22, Denver Broncos 9
Monday Night Football on ESPN: New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills (8:15 p.m. ET)

🏈LIONS FINALLY GET A WIN IN 29-27 VIKINGS DEFEAT: It took until Week 13 of the NFL season, but the Detroit Lions finally got a win yesterday, defeating the Minnesota Vikings 29-27. They did it at home in Detroit in a dramatic way, with quarterback Jared Goff throwing an 11-yard touchdown pass to Amon-Ra St. Brown as time expired. The Lions managed to get down the field for the TD without a timeout, after the Vikings went ahead on their own touchdown pass with 1:50 left, but missed a two-point conversion. Detroit has now put to rest a 15-game winless streak that dated back to last season.

 🏈ALABAMA, MICHIGAN, GEORGIA, CINCINNATI TOP FOUR FOR COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF: The College Football Playoff selection committee revealed its top four teams on Selection Day yesterday (December 5th) who will play for the national title: No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Michigan, No. 3 Georgia and No. 4 Cincinnati, which is the first Group of 5 team in the history of the CFP. Alabama will play Cincinnati in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic, and Michigan will face Georgia in the Capital One Orange Bowl, both on December 31st. The winners will play in the national championship game on January 10th.

🏒CANUCKS NAME BOUDREAU NEW HEAD COACH, FIRE GREEN: The Vancouver Canucks named Bruce Boudreau as their new head coach last night (December 5th), firing Travis Green, as well as general manager Jim Benning, the assistant manager and assistant coach Nolan Baumgartner. Green was in his fifth season with Vancouver, which has a 8-15-2 record so far this season. Boudreau is a veteran head coach who's led the Washington Capitals, Anaheim Ducks and Minnesota Wild.

🏈OKLAHOMA NAMES VENABLES FOOTBALL HEAD COACH, REPLACING RILEY: Oklahoma named Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables its new head coach last night (December 5th), replacing Lincoln Riley, who left for USC last week in a surprise departure. This will be the first head coach position for Venables, who was previously with Oklahoma as co-defensive coordinator from 1999 to 2003 and defensive coordinator from 2004 to 2011.

⚾BUCK O'NEILL, HODGES, MINOSO AMONG SIX VOTED IN BASEBALL HALL OF FAME BY VETERANS COMMITTEES: Buck O'Neill, Gil Hodges and Minnie Minoso were among six inductees voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame Sunday by two veterans committees. The others were Jim Kaat, Tony Oliva and Bud Fowler. Oliva and Kaat, both age 83, are the only two who are still alive. This is the first year that O'Neil, Minoso and Fowler were able to make the Hall under new rules honoring contributions by Negro League players. After playing in the Negro Leagues, O'Neill was the first Black coach in MLB, and Minoso played in the Negro Leagues and then in MLB with the Chicago White Sox.

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