What's Happening Now


What's Happening Now
Photo by CDC on Unsplash

It's a special weekend edition of OK Doomer.

Let's see what we have:

Nothing is shocking anymore

A man in Texas was hospitalized with Anthrax after eating a lamb on his ranch that died suddenly. (By the way, don't do that). The Daily Mail has decided to go with "shocked doctors" in their headline.

But you know what?

Nothing is shocking anymore. We live in 2024. As I wrote recently about fear, I think we're past the point of shock. We can attribute this to a number of things, like our weakened immune systems or climate collapse facilitating the spread of disease. It could be a little bit of everything.

It was unexpected, but not shocking.

We've been shocked out.

Moving on...

Missing the plot on bird flu

We're getting barraged with stories about bird flu now, and most of them are missing the point. Most recently, a CDC report confirmed that one strain of H5N1 bird flu caused 100 percent mortality in ferrets. It's a big deal because researchers use ferrets to predict how a disease will behave in human populations. Most of the stories we're seeing focus on the need for surveillance and testing of dairy cattle. Sure, it's important. What's more important?


It's even more important to respark conversations about clean air and N95 masks while getting air purifiers into schools and offices pronto. It's also important to stop raw milk consumption so it doesn't accelerate this inevitable spillover into humans. And yet, the FDA isn't doing that. They're trying to play nice with raw milk farms and distributors, asking them to "curb" sales.

Even if we somehow magically contain bird flu among cattle, that's a stop gap. The virus is spilling over into dozens of species of mammals. It will start causing outbreaks in humans eventually. When it does, we need to be prepared for it. So far, we're still in the reaction phase. Our leaders are using obsolete tools to fight a virus in the age of climate chaos.

It's not gonna work.

Censoring Long Covid Information

As we slide headfirst into another pandemic, it's worth looking at how social media platforms have spent more time policing accurate information about Covid's long-term harm than they have almost anything else. Laura Miers has put together an excellent thread covering what often happens when we try to share posts based on accurate, peer-reviewed studies. Taylor Lorenz has also reported on this a few times, since it happened on Twitter in 2022. The NIH even admitted they "inappropriately" censored Long Covid patients on their own posts about Long Covid. The censorship is happening on Facebook, Threads, and other platforms. It's still happening now.

More politicians bought off

There's a good story in The Lever about New York Governor Kathy Hochul's about-face on congestion pricing after receiving $36,000 from lobbyists for the state's car dealerships. (Really, that's all she got?)

She conveniently killed the initiative saying it "was not in the best interest of New Yorkers." We're seeing this level of corruption up and down both political parties now, as our politicians rather openly accept bribes and favors from CEOs and lobbyists. And of course, we also know that our Supreme Court is compromised. According to a story in Propublica, Clarence Thomas has finally admitted he "accidentally" omitted gifts and favors from billionaires. And yet, he still did it, and he's not going to step down. He's not even going to have to stand in the corner and think about what he did. In fact, it appears that accepting bribes and gifts from CEOs and celebrities has become the norm for those charged with protecting our interests. It's pretty clear, we're expendable. We can only imagine what bribes, gifts, and payoffs are happening between the dairy industry, the USDA, the FDA, and the CDC right now.

Heat waves strangle the world

Devastating heat is descending on the west as temperatures from California to Nevada top out at 110-120F degrees (45-50C). We've spent the last year 1.5C degrees above preindustrial averages. Meanwhile, countries like Pakistan are facing temperatures 120F degrees or above, shutting down public life. Before anyone minimizes these heatwaves or suggests that it's theoretically possible to survive in those temperatures, they should ask themselves what they would do if it were 115F degrees and they didn't have reliable electricity.

It would be a big deal then.

Wouldn't it?

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