The Digital Conversationalist

Andrea T Edwards

#85 Weekend reads – and Omicron is a tidal wave, but what is the threat?

Last week, the media frenzy around Omicron was subdued, which was exactly the right approach, because it was still too early to know what we were dealing with. This week, as you may have noticed, all bets are off as a wave crashed around the globe at intense speed. It’s really been quite mind boggling watching what’s happened and how quickly.

Even now, we’re still not sure what we’re dealing with and based on UK numbers, it will be after Christmas before we know the real impact, measured in hospitalisation and deaths.

The news coming out of South Africa is not providing conclusive data we can reference either, because it’s not an equal comparison. The average age in South Africa is low 20s, in the UK it’s 40s. Malnutrition is a reality for many being impacted in South Africa, whereas in Western nations it’s underlying health conditions.

One headline below is: Omicron variant multiplies 70 times faster in airways than Delta. The essence of the report is, compared to Delta, Omicron multiplies itself 70 times more quickly in tissues that line airway passages, which may facilitate person-to-person spread. However, in lung tissues, Omicron replicates 10 times more slowly than the original version of the coronavirus, which might contribute to less-severe illness.

Is this right? We still don’t know, because it’s under peer review.

We’ve seen the UK report record cases this week. On Wednesday, it recorded the highest number of daily Covid19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, with 78,610 reported. In the last 24 hours, it’s gone up to 93,045 cases.

To give you comparison, the previous record was 68,053 on 8th January – when the UK was in lockdown, and before widespread vaccine access was available.

The US is starting to take off too. Not to forget, it hit 800,000 deaths this last week, and this means one of every 100 older American has died since the pandemic began.

My recommendation, keep an eye on Portugal. With almost 88% of Portugal’s population fully vaccinated, and booster shots well underway, what happens there is a story the world is watching.

The key messages coming through

  1. We’ve underestimated this virus before, let’s not make the same mistake again
  2. The message of caution is very strong, with some saying this is the most serious stage of the pandemic to date
  3. And be patient, we still won’t know how serious this is for a few weeks!

With that, for the first time since publishing my Weekend Reads, I’m going to take two weeks off. Like many, I feel exhausted from this year and these last few months have been intense. So it’s time to take a break and give myself space to think, reflect, and hopefully have a few epiphanies about the future.

If we don’t speak, have a happy and safe festive season, and here’s to a better year in 2022.

Friend’s content and mine

The Courage to Apply Wisdom, Logic, and Grace Within the Law I loved this article by Avi Liran. So much wisdom and insight in here. Have a read.

Donation time

If everyone gave #just10percent of their time, talent, money or voice, we’ll change the world. Can you donate? Make it a regular donation to the World Food Programme. Help us feed people in Phuket or donate to the UN Refugee Program, PowerOf , , Soi Dog Foundation.  It’s a time for giving and taking care of each other.

Content to read

And here’s the content I’ve been reading this last week. Scan the headlines, read the ones that jump out at you, read or watch them all. Knowledge is power, and global knowledge is even more powerful.

Climate crisis

Super typhoon causes devastation as it rips through Philippines

Arctic heat record is like Mediterranean, says UN

The Great Opportunity: Redesigning Cities for a Sustainable Future

The woman building a retail community around sustainable fashion and beauty brands tks Susannah Jaffner

How we get tree planting wrong – video

Super typhoon Rai: Philippine tourist island Siargao among areas hit

Singapore assesses financial sector climate risk

‘$22-Trillion Time Bomb’ Ahead Unless Banks Drop High-Carbon Investments, Moody’s Warns

Why the next big entrepreneur must come from climate tech tks Samantha Gayfer

‘Trying to tell us something’: Climatologist says 2021 a weather year like no other

The climate crisis is killing migrants trying to cross the US border, study finds

Sailing away: superyacht industry booms during Covid pandemic tks Kevin Cottam

The jet stream took a sharp turn, and the US got unprecedented tornado weather in December

Above average temperatures to end the week

Human Rights at the Center of the Energy Transition

Tornado, storm death toll at 90 after Ky teen’s body found

Kentucky tornadoes: Race to find missing in flattened US towns

California Beekeepers Triumph Against Deadly Pesticide

Biden Promised to Stop Oil Drilling on Public Lands. Is His Failure to Do So a Betrayal or a Smart Political Move?

Hydrogen Is Not A Fuel, It’s A Cult

Aerials show aftermath of deadly Kentucky tornadoes

Watch humanity ruin the oceans: Shocking NASA animation shows how plastic moves around the Earth’s seas before forming giant ‘garbage patches’

More than 70 killed in Kentucky’s worst ever tornadoes

Why climate lawsuits are surging


Omicron may be less severe in South Africa. That may not be the case for the U.S.

Omicron variant multiplies 70 times faster in airways than Delta: study

South Africa sees fewer hospitalisations as Omicron cases surge

Covid-19: Omicron spreading at lightning speed – French PM

Airline CEOs Tell Congress We Don’t Need Masks On Planes, Get Factchecked By Flight Attendant Union President

Major changes to NSW contact tracing, as COVID cases spiral

Portugal has one of the top vaccination rates but isn’t taking chances with omicron : NPR

We calculated the impact of ‘long COVID’ as Australia opens up. Even without Omicron, we’re worried

Omicron: What can we learn from South Africa’s experience so far?

COVID-19 in the UK: We’re so fucked tks Phillipa Edwards

CDC Recommends Pfizer, Moderna Covid-19 Vaccines Over J&J’s

Huntsman spider interrupts Australian Covid press briefing

Covid: New UK cases record as Whitty warns worse to come

OMICRON: Fully vaccinated couple who dined at 4 restaurants among 3 new cases preliminarily positive for the variant

Portugal has one of the top vaccination rates but isn’t taking chances with omicron tks Lisa Larson Lee

Well, Guess It’s About Time to Get COVID

Does catching Covid give you more immunity than being vaccinated?

We’re Living Through the ‘Boring Apocalypse’ tks Wendy Tan

Scientists Are Racing to Gauge the Threat of Omicron

COVID-19 cases rise as Omicron hits Hunter pubs, hotels and venues after Argyle House cluster grows tks Leah Hannan

Across the World, Covid Anxiety and Depression Take Hold

As U.S. Nears 800,000 Virus Deaths, 1 of Every 100 Older Americans Has Perished

Cyril Ramaphosa: South Africa president being treated for Covid

Covid: Boris Johnson sets new booster target over ‘Omicron tidal wave’

Covid Booster Shot Increases Vaccine Effectiveness To 71%-75% Against Omicron, U.K. Scientists Say

Covid: First people in UK hospitals with Omicron variant

Global politics

It is crunch time for humanity. We need everyone to start leading like a woman tks Phillipa Edwards

Who Just Gave Trump $1 Billion? Let’s Find Out.

Boris Johnson urged to make changes after North Shropshire by-election defeat

Russia Ukraine: Moscow lists demands for defusing Ukraine tensions

Will the Mark Meadows Revelations Change the January 6th Investigation? – Podcast

Merkel leaves work to do with mixed climate legacy

China’s Big New Idea

In Bid for Control of Elections, Trump Loyalists Face Few Obstacles

Business and technology

29 Big Ideas that will change our world in 2022  

Meta (Facebook) bans seven surveillance-for-hire firms for malicious activity

What Elon Musk as ‘Person of the Year’ says about us

Racists and Taliban supporters have flocked to Twitter’s new audio service after executives ignored warnings

Elon Musk has been named Time’s 2021 Person of the Year

3 Practical Ways to Be More Productive tks Samantha Gayfer

Exclusive: Facebook owner is behind $60 mln deal for Meta name rights

Former McDonald’s C.E.O. Repays Company $105 Million

We minted and sold an NFT for $1,100. Here’s what we learned

And Just Like That Peloton resurrects show character

Shareholders Press Facebook for Governance Changes

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, is Time’s Person of the Year

Apple Is About to Make Stock Market History With a Record-Breaking Market Cap

Exploring the world of NFTs – speaking with Charu Sethi

Female founders are crashing the billionaire club

Rideshares in the sky by 2024: Joby Aviation bets big on air taxis tks Graham Harvey

Social issues and humanity

Bouncy castle fall: Australia mourns ‘terrible tragedy’ after children killed

5 children die in bouncy castle accident in Australia

Unwinding Anxiety – Jud Brewer – Podcast

Holiday Magic Is Made By Women. And It’s Killing Us. Tks Lisa Larson Lee

Conversations and Conversions at the Portable Planetarium

On the front line as Afghan children battle malnutrition and measles

Michael J. Fox reflects 30 years after Parkinson’s diagnosis: “I still am Mr. Optimist”

After an Afghan girl convinced the Taliban to reopen schools, she was pulled out of school over safety concerns

Muted. Argue with yourself tks Phillipa Edwards

Elon Musk Says That Politically, He’s a “Utopian Anarchist”

The price of ‘freedom’: How anti-lockdown protest leaders make money from the movement tks Phillipa Edwards

Passion, humour, history

Maria Ressa at the Nobel Peace Prize awarding ceremony – must watch

Solar Probe made history by becoming the first spacecraft to have “touched the Sun”

Betty White turns 100 next month, and you’re invited to her birthday party, sort of

22 Gorgeous New Hotels For Travel In 2022 And Beyond Tks Scot Toon

You can now travel from Lagos in Portugal all the way to Singapore, say rail 

After a terrible crash, UQ student Anjali’s graduation hopes seemed shattered. But a vision kept her going tks Muriel Muriel

The Graham Norton Show 2021 – I found this guy amazing

Let me know what jumped out at you? Or share with me what you’re reading? I love that!



Uncommon Courage – my new book – is available

You can buy it on AmazonApple BooksBarnes & Noble, Book DepositoryBooktopia, SmashwordsKobo, Gardners, Odilo and Scribd.

You can read the reviews, including a five-star review on ReaderViews, an excellent one on Booklife, and I’m collating reviews on my Website too. Have a look and grateful to everyone who has written or recorded one.

Come and join the conversation in my new Facebook Group Uncommon Courage.

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