Covid 19 Vaccines.

A Year of Pandemic

Today marks one year since the World Health Organization formally declared the global COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic, an official designation acknowledging the coronavirus had achieved worldwide spread. While a number of countries had grappled with the virus for months by that point, the milestone is recognized by many as the start of the COVID era.

At the time, the US had reported 647 cases (127,000 globally) and 33 known deaths (4,600 globally). Since then, the global death toll has grown to more than 2.6 million out of more than 117 million known cases, with 20% of those deaths — 529,203 as of this morning — coming from the US. See data for all countries here.

One year later, 12 vaccines are in full or limited use (see tracker), with three authorized for use in the US — including two ground-breaking drugs based on mRNA technology (how it works). While decades of research underpin the science, mRNA vaccines had never been authorized for any disease until the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna shots.

About 320 million vaccination doses have been administered globally. Israel leads in percentage of population vaccinated, at more than 50%. And despite struggling to contain the virus, the US leads the world in terms of absolute doses administered at almost 94 million, or about 30% of the global total. Roughly 33 million people in the US are fully vaccinated, while US COVID-19 hospitalizations are down almost 70% from a January peak.

The Biden administration said yesterday it would purchase an additional 100 million single-shot vaccine doses from Johnson & Johnson. The move gives the US enough vaccines to inoculate 500 million people.

Earlier this week, Alaska became the first state to open vaccine eligibility to all residents over 16 years of age, while Texas fully reopened yesterday, dropping all COVID-19 restrictions.

See photos from this week one year ago here.

Stimulus Passes

The House gave final approval to a $1.9T economic aid package yesterday, passing the sweeping bill by a near party-line 220–211 vote. It marks the second-largest stimulus in US history behind last March’s $2.2T CARES Act, and brings the total aid passed to counter the pandemic above $5T.

The proposal includes $1,400 direct payments to individuals making up to $75K, a sum dropping to zero at $80K ($150K to $160K for those filing jointly). The threshold for single parents is raised to $112.5K and drops to zero at $120K. Eligible households will also receive $1,400 per dependent. The cost of direct payments is near $400B.

The bill also significantly expands the child tax credit, provides $86B in pension support, $30B to support cash-strapped public transportation systems, and $28B in funding for the restaurant industry. A provision for $350B in state and local aid, criticized by Republicans, is included. Roughly $123B, or 7% of the bill, is marked for direct COVID-19 response, including testing and vaccine distribution. See a more detailed breakdown of the package here ($$, WashPo).

President Joe Biden is expected to sign the bill into law Friday.

A Tragic Anniversary

Ten years ago today, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck off the northeastern coast of Japan, triggering a series of tsunamis that killed nearly 20,000 people and destroyed hundreds of thousands of homes. The initial quake was the most powerful ever recorded in Japan, while more than 340,000 people were displaced from the resulting tsunami.

The wall of water also caused catastrophic damage to the Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima, triggering explosions that sprinkled radioactive dust across the region and led to the release of radioactive water into the Eastern Pacific Ocean. The worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, more than 150,000 people were forced into long-term evacuation.

While tsunami damage has largely been repaired (see photos), officials say it may take up to 40 years to reclaim the exclusion zone around the nuclear plant (more photos).

See footage of the tsunami here (warning: sensitive content).

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LIKE BUYING NETFLIX IN 2007?

What do Netflix and an internet company 1/50th the size of Google have in common? Well, for starters, they’re both smaller than Google (ha!). But they also both have a special connection with our pals, Tom and David Gardner.

The Gardner brothers founded The Motley Fool back in 1993, and every month since then, Tom and David have searched far and wide with their independent teams to release their most promising stock picks. Because these teams work independently of each other, their picks are — more often than not — very different. But every once in a while, they’ll arrive at the same recommendation. Which brings us back to Netflix. Back in 2007, both Tom and David recommended the little-known DVD-subscription site, and returns have been a whopping 18,393%. In fact, their teams have only arrived at the same pick 27 times in the entire history of The Motley Fool, with average returns of 1,698%.

And recently, Tom and David arrived at another pick independently. Like we hinted at, it’s a small internet company roughly 1/50th the size of Google, with massive potential to grow within the entertainment advertising space. Motley Fool Stock Advisor members can check out the report for free — sign up now.

Returns as of 3/4/21

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IN THE KNOW

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> Los Angeles County movie theaters could reopen as early as Saturday at 25% capacity (More) | AMC Theatres reports full-year loss of $4.58B amid global pandemic (More)

> Lou Ottens, inventor of the audio cassette tape, dies at 94 (More) | Joe Tait, NBA and MLB broadcaster whose career spanned more than four decades, dies at 83 (More)

> Only five healthy players needed for teams to compete in NCAA tournament games, officials say (More) | ESPN and NHL sign seven-year broadcasting deal beginning next season; first time NHL will air on ESPN since 2004 (More)

Science & Technology

> First high-resolution study of the genetic architecture of the human placenta shows the organ is a dumping ground for genetic defects, resembling a cancer tumor; organ helps the fetus avoid the mutations (More)

> Scientists measure the gravitational pull between objects weighing near one one-thousandth of an ounce; measurement is the most sensitive of its kind and makes a step toward measuring gravitational fields at the quantum level (More)

> Russia and China partner on planned lunar orbiting station, will rival NASA’s planned Gateway station (More)

Business & Markets

> US stock markets mixed (S&P 500 +0.6%, Dow +1.5%, Nasdaq -0.04%); Dow crosses 32,000 for first time, as House passes $1.9T stimulus package (More) | Online gaming giant Roblox surges 54% in trading debut to $45B valuation (More)

> General Electric shares slide 5% as company plans to exit its jet leasing business to rival AerCap in deal valued at $30B (More)

> Business Roundtable’s CEO confidence index surges to one of the highest levels on record, signaling CEO optimism for economic growth (More)

Politics & World Affairs

Brought to you by Ground News

> Merrick Garland confirmed as attorney general in 70–30 Senate vote (More) | Rep. Marcia Fudge (D, OH-11) confirmed as housing chief, Michael Regan confirmed to lead Environmental Protection Agency; see cabinet tracker here (More)

> Mexico moves closer to recreational marijuana, as lower house of Congress approves legalization; pending passage by the country’s Senate, the move would create the world’s largest cannabis market (More)

> Des Moines Register reporter Andrea Sahouri found not guilty on all charges related to an arrest while reporting on Black Lives Matter protests last summer; case was closely watched as a referendum on press rights (More)

From our partners: Looking for a second opinion on your news? There’s an app for that. Ground News is the world’s first news source comparison platform that empowers you to compare how outlets from the left, center, and right are covering any story. Pop your filter bubble and download the Ground News App for free today.

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It couldn’t be more simple — share 1440 using the links below. Every time one of your referrals joins, you get another chance to win. The giveaway lasts until Monday, so don’t wait! Click below to share:

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IN-DEPTH

The Business Empire of the Tatmadaw

BBC | Joshua Cheetham. The Myanmar military, also known as the Tatmadaw, is funded by a large chunk of the national budget — much of which may dry up as the effects of a Feb. 1 coup paralyze the economy. But they also draw a significant shadow income from a vast and secretive military-run corporate empire, cultivated over the past six decades. (Read)

Editor’s note: We also recommend this piece on the recent brutal history ($$, NYT) of the country’s military.

‘We Sucked — ​But it Was Fun’

MLB.com | Anthony Castrovince. The Yonkers Hoot Owls only existed for a single season, but their 1995 campaign made them the stuff of legends — in the worst way possible. (Read)

A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN

In partnership with The Motley Fool

You probably don’t want to compete with David and Tom Gardner — cofounders of The Motley Fool — on stock portfolio performance. Together, they average 565% returns, beating the S&P 500 by roughly five times. But what’s better than a stock pick from David or Tom?

You got it: a stock pick from both David and Tom. When they both pick the same stock independently, average returns have been 1,698%, beating the markets over 15 times! Read their report today about a stock pick that both David and Tom recently made.

Returns as of 3/4/21

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ETCETERA

The 15 ways the pandemic changed daily life.

A captivating video of a drone inside a bowling alley.

This website texts you if there’s an unused vaccine dose nearby.

In case you missed it: Share with three friends, get entered into our Peloton giveaway three times.

Image of endangered orangutan wins World Nature Photography Awards.

… plus these stunning shots of a black panther under the stars.

Why you get chronic coughs in the winter.

Visualizing the world’s richest people in 2021.

Albatross face-plants a landing, plays it right off.

Clickbait: You survived a year amid a pandemic — here’s a puppy dreaming.

Historybook: Civil rights leader Ralph Abernathy born (1926); RIP Sir Alexander Fleming, scientist who discovered penicillin (1955); Janet Reno confirmed as first female attorney general in the US (1993); Coordinated bombings kill 191 people aboard trains in Madrid (2004).

“The unprepared mind cannot see the outstretched hand of opportunity.”

  • Sir Alexander Fleming
  • Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tik Toc, Covid 19 Vaccines, HBO, Disney, CNN, FOX News.

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