Corona Log- Wed. February 24, 2021
Corona Log- Wed. Feb. 24, 2021
It is a delightfully cool 62 degrees, here in SW Florida this morning. The heat will be returning in a few days, so we enjoy the cool temps while we can. The northern tier of states is still recovering from several major snow storms. And Texas is even warming up. The freezing temps there had disabled the State’s entire power grid for a week. Water and food became scarce, due to the driving snow. The Texas recovery will take a bit. Gasoline prices of course are spiking everywhere due to refinery closings in Houston. Texas Senator Ted Cruz got caught by newsmen, escaping to Mexico, while the rest of the state froze and lacked water and food. It was a less than desireable exhibition of how leaders should act in a crisis.
On the Corona front, there is both good and bad news. Deaths from the Covid-19 virus are still climbing. The death toll reached over 500,000 yesterday and is still climbing. Covid vaccinations were sidelined this week, due to all of the snow-storm related delivery problems. Supplies should increase markedly this week. In addition, Johnson & Johnson appears before the FDA this Friday, asking for emergency approvals of their covid-19 vaccine. It is a one- shot process and doesn’t require any special storage temperatures. That will be one more arrow in our anti-viral quiver.
There has been a marked drop across the United States in viral infections and hospitalizations from Covid-19. Some areas of the U.S report as much as a 50% drop. Officials are still wary of the possible effects of viral mutations out there, from Brazil, South Africa and the U.K. But, it is at least a ray of hope that we may be gaining control over the monster. So far, about 6% of the U.S population has been fully vaccinated.
In the rest of the world, the picture is not quite as rosy. Chad, in Africa, has become the first country there to start vaccinating its population. It will take a very long time and help from the rest of the world to complete the process of vaccinating Africa. In Brazil, they are struggling with a new and deadlier variant of the virus. Parts of Eastern Europe are also in trouble. It will take all of 2021 and into 2022 before we return to any form of normalcy.
On a brighter personal note, we received a phone call from the Walmart in Sebring, Fl. yesterday. They have scheduled us for our second Covid-19 shot on Friday, March 12th. It will mean another 100-mile drive and an over-night stay, but we are happy to make the trip. The “Vaccine Hunger Games” are still in frustrating progress locally. Seniors still struggle for hours to get a phone reservation in the Publix Grocery pharmacies. I hope they eventually iron this process out before the calls go out for vaccinating the general population. Working families don’t have time for all of the nonsense involved, in securing vaccinations. Maybe by then, vaccines will be more readily available.
In Washington D.C, Congress is still debating the particulars of the proposed $1.9 Trillion-dollar, Covid relief package. Points of contention are a provision calling for a national $15 per hour wage minimum and the dollar amount of supplements to be sent to individuals and the unemployed. Congress is still interviewing and voting on confirmations for several of President Biden’s cabinet selections. There is some typical oratorical grand standing, by a cadre of the usual blowhards, trying to get their “moment in the media sun.”
The financial markets are steady and even. The Dow Jones average hovers around the 31,000-point range. Sooner or later, a correction has to come that will make the market reflect more of the huge unemployment and failing business sectors of the American economy. Crude oil prices are nudging up retail prices at the gasoline pump again. $2.61 per gallon is the new normal locally. Perhaps it is weather related, but more likely it is supplier squeezing of the customer base. We have to break this oil dependency sooner or later. It is strangling our economy.
In a late breaking news story, Golfer Tiger Woods was injured in a serious car accident in Southern California. Though serious, his injuries are not life threatening. They may be career ending. The amount of news coverage assigned to this event was staggering. It drove every other item from the air waves. A nation of fans hopes Tiger recovers fully and quickly.
Locally, we continue on every day, carefully wearing masks and social distancing. As more people get Covid shots, they are getting braver. Inside dining is increasing markedly. Fans are beginning to trickle back into sports stadia. Hopefully, this is a beginning towards the new normal. No one knows what shape that future will take. People have changed their way of doing things, from dining in to mass congregating for sporting and social events. Time marches on.
We take things one day at a time.
(843 words- 55,000 total)
Joseph Xavier Martin