CORONAVIRUS: There’s good news and bad news. We’ll start with the bad news. Early data appears to show that the Omicron variant is fast moving, with covid spreading faster than ever in South Africa right now. But there are also signs that Omicron may cause less serious illness than other forms of the virus. All of this comes as Omicron continues to get confirmed in new areas. See: Texas just became the 19th state to detect the variant, and Omicron has now been reported in nine African countries. Cue more restrictions, with the CDC adding 7 countries - including France and Portugal - to its list of destinations with “very high” risk. And in other news, the US is investing $400 million to help speed up global vaccinations.
DISASTERS: Earlier this year, Sri Lanka banned chemical fertilizers, citing health risks. But the ban had a sudden and unintended effect: three-quarters of Sri Lankan farmers rely heavily on chemical fertilizers, and with little time to react, an overwhelming majority of farmers expected a reduction in their harvest. Whiiiich soon drove up prices, causing the gov to declare a state of emergency. Now, it looks like Sri Lanka is partially walking back the ban. Meanwhile, Hawaii is currently experiencing a major storm. Hundreds of people are without power, and authorities are warning of “catastrophic flooding.” The governor has declared a state of emergency so the state can use funds to provide relief. Stay tuned.
POLITICS: A lot is going on in Georgia. Reminder: for the past half a century or so, Georgia has pretty much always voted Republican. Back in 2018, Democrat Stacey Abrams faced off against Republican Brian Kemp for the job of governor…and lost by just 1.4 percentage points. Then, in 2020, Georgia swung to vote for Joe Biden for prez. And in 2021, the state elected Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock (both Dems) to the Senate. So basically…all eyes are on Georgia for the 2022 governor’s race. This time, Stacey Abrams is once again throwing her hat in the ring. Governor Kemp will also face another Republican challenger: ex-Senator David Perdue, who’s supported by Donald Trump. Tension, high. Oh, and speaking of which, Rep Devin Nunes (R-CA) is quitting Congress to work for Trump’s new social media platform.