News·3 min read

Daily Skimm: COVID-19, Germany, and Fruit Roll-Ups

A sign for a Covid-19 testing tent sits along a Manhattan street
March 10, 2023

Three Years In

The Story

It’s been three years of COVID.

That long?

Yes. Tomorrow will be three years since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. Since then, the global death toll has surpassed 6.8 million people — more than 1.1 million of those deaths were recorded in the US. Here’s where we stand with…

The virus and vaccines…COVID has been mutating. Earlier this year, XBB.1.5 accounted for about half of infections in the US. When the US first rolled out vaccines, the hope was that they could limit transmission altogether. That’s no longer the case. But updated Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been shown to cut symptomatic infection from XBB.1.5 by about half. Rapid tests also remain largely effective at detecting the virus. And of course, there are masks.

Long COVID…could affect one in five people who get the virus, as many as 20 million Americans. It can impact a range of organs, including the heart, lungs, and kidneys. Long COVID can also cause digestive problems, neurological issues, and hormonal changes. Good news: one large study found that for those with mild cases, most long COVID symptoms go away within a year. Age and vaccination status may play a role. But three years out, some are still struggling.

Global impact…COVID hasn’t just endangered people’s health — it’s also reshaped the global economy and impacted…everything. Supply chains have been disruptedInflation is still high. And the word ‘recession’ is on everyone’s lips. Remote work is up over 300% from pre-pandemic levels…for those who haven’t been laid off. Meanwhile, students’ education levels and mental health have taken a hit. And the virus has had a lasting impact on social norms.


COVID has changed us all. Gone are the days of ​​hunting for toilet paper at our worst and nightly applause for medical workers at our best. Now, three years in, many are still mourning, adjusting, and finding our footing.

And Also...This

What people are watching...

Germany. Yesterday, a deadly shooting at a Jehovah’s Witness hall in Hamburg killed eight people dead, including the alleged gunman. Local media reported that at least 25 others were injured and that the attacker is believed to be a former member of the religious community. Police told residents near the scene to stay in their homes, as they closed streets off. Officials are investigating and said “there is no reliable information on the motive.” Hamburg's mayor called the shooting “shocking.”

What’s for the girls…

The FDA. Yesterday, the agency announced new mammogram standards in hopes of helping more women detect breast cancer earlier. Under the new guidelines, mammogram providers must notify women if they have dense breast tissue and recommend additional screenings as needed. The density of breast tissue can make it difficult to detect cancer. Women with dense breasts — which affects nearly half of women over 40 — are four times more likely to develop breast cancer. Now, the new rules could encourage women to seek help earlier with additional screenings. Doctors say the new guidelines will support “innovation to prevent, detect, and treat cancer.” The American Cancer Society estimates nearly 300,000 women will have invasive breast cancer in 2023. Providers have 18 months to adopt the changes.

Who's crunching the numbers…

President Biden. Yesterday, Biden unveiled his more than $6 trillion budget plan for 2024. TLDR: it raises taxes on the country's wealthiest people by imposing a 25% minimum tax. $835 billion will go to the military with the goal of countering China and helping Ukraine. Those making over $400,000 will have their Medicare tax go up from 3.8% to 5%. And he hopes to restore the pandemic-era child tax credit. One of the biggest goals? Cut the federal deficit by nearly $3 trillion over the next decade — the big elephant in the room after the US hit its debt ceiling earlier this year. However, Biden’s proposal isn’t expected to hold up in the GOP-led House. Republicans believe the budget should include spending cuts instead of increases. In a tweet, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) called the budget “completely unserious.”

Who people are wishing a speedy recovery to…

Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Yesterday, his office said the Senate minority leader is being treated for a concussion at a hospital. McConnell fell while at a fundraising dinner. He will remain under observation for the next few days.

What's not feeling so hot...


What TikTok is making us rush to buy this time...

Fruit Roll-Ups and ice cream.

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