Pandemic state

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Last week’s attack on the Capitol naturally dominated the news. But this morning I’ll spend a few minutes focusing on another important story, the pandemic.

Below is a summary of the three points where we are now, with the help of colleagues covering the story and some charts. Warn in advance: The situation is not good.

1. The new variant is scary. Scientists are still learning about new versions of the coronavirus, including variants that have emerged in the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Brazil. Evidence to date shows that it is “much more infectious than the Italian strains that have been prevalent here since February.” My colleague Donald G. McNeil Jr. told me. “It’s a game changer.”

Behaviors that used to have only moderate risk, such as traveling by plane, may now be at higher risk. Subspecies seems to be one of the reasons for the surge in cases around the world.

2. The mass vaccination campaign in the United States is off to a terrible start. The Trump administration has promised that 20 million Americans will be vaccinated by January 1. Instead, less than 3 million people were vaccinated.

Deep South has the lowest immunization rate in the country. But this is not just the Republican failure. California, Virginia, and other Democratic states are also slow. (Data for all states can be found here.)

Vaccination will probably accelerate in the coming weeks, especially as presidential election Joe Biden and his team appear to be more focused on the issue than President Trump. Goldman Sachs predicts that about a quarter of Americans will receive their first shot by April 1, half by June 1, and three-quarters by Mid-Autumn. Speeding up vaccinations in the future is one of the good news so far.

3. The situation can get worse before it gets better. Hospitals are having a hard time catching up because the virus is spreading so rapidly. About 130,000 Americans are hospitalized with Covid symptoms, more than double what they were two months ago. The burden on the hospital increases the likelihood that many patients will not receive the best available treatment.

Los Angeles recently had to distribute oxygen. Esteban Trejo, an executive at a company that supplies oxygen to a temporary hospital in El Paso, Texas, told Kaiser Health News:

Recent data on cases and deaths are noisy due to artificially delayed diagnoses during the holidays, said Times reporter Mitch Smith, who is tracking the numbers. Still, this week’s deaths have already reached record (on average over 3,000 per day), suggesting that the recent surge in cases could reach over 3,500, and perhaps 4,000. I will.

Conclusion: Biden will be at the bottom of the coronavirus crisis next week. His administration needs to accelerate the distribution of vaccines and persuade more people to change their behavior — and the second goal is even more urgent than the first.

Unless Americans wear masks more often and spend less time together in tight spaces, more people will die.

Morning reading: Stefan Thomas has two guesses to remember the old password. If he can’t, he’s losing $ 220 million.

From opinion: Unless Congress acts, the pandemic puts many Americans at risk of eviction, the video explains.

Live live: Barry Goldsmith was a Holocaust survivor and had an essential American urge to self-invent and reinvent. “He went from the Ivy League to a hippie, an Orthodox Jew,” his wife said. Goldsmith died of Covid-19 complications at the age of 82.

Colleague Julia Jacobs points out the longevity of “Jeopardy!” It’s “amazing”. Its first iteration aired in 1964, after which color television, cable, the Internet, smartphones, or streaming became widespread.

Of course, the popularity of the last 36 years is partly due to the death of host Alex Trebek in November and the last episode airing last week. If the show’s producers can’t find a suitable alternative, they will endanger the franchise, Julia says. So who are the potential candidates?

Katie Couric. She will soon work as a temporary host, the Los Angeles Times reported. Kulik conveys some of the same warmth and intelligence that Trebek did, but she also represents a change. Most of the top game show hosts are not women.

Other TV presenters. Variety suggested that Anderson Cooper and George Stephanopoulos could be.LeVar Burton, an actor and host of children’s shows, is also mentioned — and Express enthusiasm..

Ken Jennings. He set a record as “Jeopardy!” Became a champion and then his most famous graduate, narrating an audio version of Trebek’s memoirs and serving as the first temporary host of the month. But he still doesn’t have the simple on-air appeal that many hosts have.

Someone who is not very famous. Trebek “did not adopt a well-known brand” in 1984, Claire McNear, who wrote a book about “Jeopardy!”, Tells Ringer. When Trebek was recently asked about the exchange, he mentioned radio host Laura Coates and hockey announcer Alex Faust.

comedian. This mimics “The Price Is Right,” which flourished with Drew Carey as the host. Among the possibilities: Dane Cook; actor Jane Lynch, who already hosts “The Weekest Link,” said, “I’ll do it in New York’s minutes.” Or maybe Betty White, who wanted Trebek to replace him, and next week, 99.

Pandemic state

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