CORONAVIRUS: A new study of 70,000 covid patients in California shows that Omicron causes less severe disease than other variants - with Omicron infections half as likely to lead to hospitalization compared to Delta. Meanwhile, Dr. Anthony Fauci says that the Omicron variant will “find just about everybody” - but vaccinated and boosted people will do “reasonably well.” On the other hand, unvaccinated people are “going to get the brunt” of this outbreak. Speaking of which, the Canadian province of Quebec will impose a health tax on unvaxxed people. And on that note: tennis star Novak Djokovic just admitted that the travel doc he gave to Australian border officials last week…contained false info. He also revealed that he participated in a photo shoot and interview last month, even after testing positive for covid.
WORLD: The World Economic Forum’s new Global Risks Report is out..and it isn’t pretty. The report - which is based on a survey on 1,000 world leaders and experts - ranked climate action failure, extreme weather events, and biodiversity loss as the top three most severe risks facing the world. Cyber threats, orbital collisions, and the pandemic also made the list. Meanwhile, a car bomb just killed at least 8 people in the Somalian capital of Mogadishu. Al Shabab, an extremist group linked to Al Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the explosion. It’s one of many attacks to hit Somalia in recent months. In other news, the US is providing $308 million in humanitarian aid and covid vaccines to Afghanistan. This comes as the country is reportedly on the brink of disaster, with millions of Afghans facing starvation.
USA: The Justice Dept is creating a new unit to address domestic terrorism. Officials say there’s a growing threat from white supremacists and anti-gov activists following the January 6 Capitol attack. In other US news, consumer prices rose again in December. See: the Consumer Price Index climbed 7 percent - the fastest pace since 1982. Not exactly clear how this will affect things, or whether this kind of increase will continue. Meanwhile, a US judge just rejected a request to trash the Federal Trade Commission’s lawsuit against Facebook. The suit claims that the biz abuses a monopoly position in social media.