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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
 
 
Thursday 21st of January 2021
 
Afternoon
Africa




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“My take on Trump is that he is an inevitable creation of this unreal normal world,”
Law & Politics



“My take on Trump is that he is an inevitable creation of this unreal normal world,” Adam Curtis says. 

“Politics has become a pantomime or vaudeville in that it creates waves of anger rather than argument. Maybe people like Trump are successful simply because they fuel that anger, in the echo chambers of the internet.”

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In a public debate, it is the one whose intelligence is closest to that of the audience who wins*. @nntaleb
Law & Politics


*In other words: usually (in politics or academic psychology), the most stupid; in rare cases (say, in mathematics, physics, cooking/bartending schools), the most intelligent.

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Globally, 4.7 million new cases were reported in the past week, a decline of 6% from last week, and the number of new deaths has climbed to a record high at 93 000, a 9% increase from last week @WHO
Africa



In the past week, the five countries reporting the highest number of cases were 

the United States of America (1 583 237 cases, an 11% decrease)

Brazil (379 784 cases, a 21% increase)

the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (339 952 cases, a 19% decrease) 

the Russian Federation (166 255 cases, 1% increase) 

France (125 279 cases, a 2% increase).

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The U.K. suffered its worst day in the pandemic on Wednesday, with more than 1,800 deaths recorded in 24 hours, as Boris Johnson’s chief scientific adviser warned some hospitals now look “like a war zone.”
Misc.



The record daily toll takes the total number of people who have died within 28 days of a positive test in the U.K. to 93,290. Almost 40,000 patients are now receiving treatment in U.K. hospitals.

Latest data from one of the country’s largest virus studies showed a worsening picture, particularly in London. 

One in 36 people in the capital were infected with Covid-19 between Jan. 6 and Jan 15., more than double compared to results from early December, according to the study by Imperial College London and Ipsos MORI.

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21 January - REACT-1 round 8 interim report: SARS-CoV-2 prevalence during the initial stages of the third national lockdown in England @imperialcollege
Misc.



Methods


The REal-time Assessment of Community Transmission study-1 (REACT-1) obtains throat and nose swabs from between 120,000 and 180,000 people in the community in England at approximately monthly intervals. Round 8a of REACT-1 mainly covers a period from 6th January 2021 to 15th January 2021. Swabs are tested for SARS-CoV-2 virus and patterns of swab-positivity are described over time, space and with respect to individual characteristics. We compare swab-positivity prevalence from REACT-1 with mobility data based on the GPS locations of individuals using the Facebook mobile phone app. We also compare results from round 8a with those from round 7 in which swabs were collected from 13th November to 24th November (round 7a) and 25th November to 3rd December 2020 (round 7b).

Results

In round 8a, we found 1,962 positives from 142,909 swabs giving a weighted prevalence of 1.58% (95% CI, 1.49%, 1.68%). Using a constant growth model, we found no strong evidence for either growth or decay averaged across the period; rather, based on data from a limited number of days, prevalence may have started to rise at the end of round 8a. Facebook mobility data showed a marked decrease in activity at the end of December 2020, followed by a rise at the start of the working year in January 2021. Between round 7b and round 8a, prevalence increased in all adult age groups, more than doubling to 0.94% (0.83%, 1.07%) in those aged 65 and over. Large household size, living in a deprived neighbourhood, and Black and Asian ethnicity were all associated with increased prevalence. Both healthcare and care home workers, and other key workers, had increased odds of swab-positivity compared to other workers.

Conclusion

During the initial 10 days of the third COVID-19 lockdown in England in January 2021, prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 was very high with no evidence of decline. Until prevalence in the community is reduced substantially, health services will remain under extreme pressure and the cumulative number of lives lost during this pandemic will continue to increase rapidly.


In round 8a, we found 1,962 positives from 142,909 swabs giving a weighted prevalence of 1.58% (95% confidence interval, 1.49%, 1.68%) (Table 1). This is the highest prevalence recorded by REACT-1 since it started in May 2020 and represents a greater than 50% increase from 0.91% (0.81%, 1.03%) observed during round 7b (when prevalence was increasing). Since there was a gap of over one month from the end of round 7b on 3rd December 2020 to beginning of round 8a on 6th January 2021 we may have missed a peak in prevalence during the intervening period.

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“What We’re Dealing with Now Is a New Pandemic” Can We Stop a Super Coronavirus? @derspiegel
Misc.



Three different new mutants of the novel coronavirus have begun spreading at break-neck speed around the world. 

They have two things in common: a very specific mutation – and they are far more effective at infecting people than previous versions, with the new variants likely up to 56 percent more infectious. 

There are also worries that they could prove less susceptible to some vaccines and that people who have already had COVID-19 could get infected again.


There’s nothing particularly special about mutations, mutating is what viruses do. 

Mutations are often just copying errors in the genome. If they prove harmful to the virus, it perishes. If they help the virus, then it continues to multiply, further establishing itself in a population. 

And if they help the virus to very easily infect vast numbers of people, then they can quickly lead to exponential growth.

That’s exactly what is happening right now. The virus from Wuhan ravaged the world like a smoldering fire, but the pandemic now more closely resembles a sea of flames raging across the globe.


But the B.1.351 variant discovered in South Africa and the B.1.1.248 mutant found in Brazil and Japan are no less harmful than their British cousin. 
On the contrary. They contain another mutation in their genetic material – E484K – which could prove to be very dangerous. 

It’s likely that it weakens the human immune response – and could even render some of the newly developed vaccines less effective. 

Pharmaceutical companies are currently testing the efficacy of their vaccines against the new mutants.


The mutation N501Y that is common to the new variants is located at a central position of the pathogen: on the spikes that are the source of the coronavirus’ name. 

SARS-CoV-2 uses the spike protein’s receptor binding domain to latch on to the host cell and invade it. 

Scientists believe the mutation makes it easier for the virus to latch on to host cells.

Once the new variants have infected the host, the disease proceeds just as it has in previous variants: 

They aren’t more lethal than the original coronaviruses. That, though, is hardly reassuring: Because the mutants are able to infect so many more people, they are capable of causing more fatalities than would a mutant that made people sicker but which was less contagious.

Adam Kucharski, a mathematician at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has calculated the cruel logic of exponential growth: "An increase in something that grows exponentially," Kucharski explains, talking about the transmisson of the virus, "can have far more effect than the same proportional increase in something that just scales an outcome," like the severity of the illness the virus causes.


In places where the mutants begin spreading rapidly, they quickly displace their less contagious relatives, and right now the new variants are raging across Britain, South Africa and Brazil. 

In Ireland, the infection curve was pointing almost straight up. 

"Last year, there were dozens of different SARS-CoV-2 variants circulating here at the same time," reports bioinformatician and geneticist Tulio de Oliveira, who heads one of South Africa's largest sequencing labs at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban. 

"Now, we're seeing that up to 90 percent of infections are with the new variant,” he says.

The crucial question is this: Can the mutants still be stopped – and if so, how? "There is a real risk that the more transmissible B.1.1.7 will overtake the existing variants and cause another wave before widespread vaccination," says Kevin Esvelt, director of the Sculpting Evolution group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.



Evidence is also mounting that the Brazilian and South African mutants can infect people who have already had COVID-19.

That would mean that there is either no immunity to the new variants, or that such immunity is weak.

"I think that the virus is just finding its optimal configuration”, says Cillian De Gascun, director of the National Virus Reference Laboratory at University College Dublin. 

That the same mutation occurred in all the variants independently of each other suggests "that this is a configuration that the virus likes,” says De Gascun. "And there's no reason to believe that it won't become more efficient over time.” 

"It is likely," the British-American scientist explains, "that it is a combination of different mutations plus N501Y that really changes the virus and makes it more transmissible."

The first known time the variant was detected was in a sample dating back to Sept. 20. Around mid-November, its share of COVID-19 infections increased significantly. 

Just before Christmas, around 60 percent of all new coronavirus cases in London were attributable to B.1.1.7, thus ending the holidays for Barrett.



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“If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers.” ― Origin of the #CoronaVirus #COVID19
Misc.



“There's always more to it. This is what history consists of. It is the sum total of the things they aren't telling us.”

“A paranoid is someone who knows a little of what's going on. ”

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04-JAN-2021 :: Today only the Paid for Propagandists and Virologists and WHO will argue that there is a ''zoonotic'' origin for COVID19. There is no natural Pathway for the Evolution of COVID19.
Misc.



It is remarkable that the Propaganda is still being propagated more than a year later. There is no natural Pathway for the Evolution of COVID19.

Those who have chosen to propagate this narrative are above the radar and in plain sight and need to be called to account. The Utter Failure to call these 5th columnists to Account is the clearest Signal that there is no external threat because it is already on the inside.

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies



Euro 1.2122

Dollar Index 90.323

Japan Yen 103.543

Swiss Franc 0.88869

Pound 1.3699

Aussie 0.7757

India Rupee 72.96

South Korea Won 1100.27

Brazil Real 5.2922

Egypt Pound 15.7499

South Africa Rand 14.86755

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Bitcoin Falters for a Second Day, Slides Below Technical Level
World Currencies



Bitcoin’s torrid rally lost more steam this week, with the cryptocurrency lying below its 10-day moving average and falling for a second straight day Thursday.

The largest digital asset is down as much as 8.4% over a two-day slide and was trading at $34,670 as of 6:38 a.m. in London, according to price data consolidated by Bloomberg. 

The wider Bloomberg Galaxy Crypto Index dropped about 1%.

Bitcoin’s latest gyrations have seen it touch a record of almost $42,000 earlier this month before quickly dropping about 17%. 

Debate continues to rage over Bitcoin’s perceived value, with believers pointing to factors such as institutional interest in the cryptocurrency as an inflation hedge. 

Others see the return of another speculative bubble echoing its 2017 collapse.

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04-JAN-2021 :: $BTC's recent surge puts it now in ''nose-bleed'' territory. I believe its a Trading Sell with a very wide Stop. It is currently at its maximum ''Safe Haven'' / Fiat debasement premia.
World Currencies


As I write this on the 3rd of January 2021 $BTC has touched 35,000.00 in a parabolic shift higher. I believe $BTC's recent surge puts it now in ''nose-bleed'' territory. I believe its a Trading Sell with a very wide Stop. It is currently at its maximum ''Safe Haven'' / Fiat debasement premia.

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Netflix the streaming giant had almost 204m subscribers at the end of 2020, it said, having added 37m paying customers last year. @FT
World Of Finance



Some 8.5m of those were added in the quarter to the end of December, eclipsing analysts’ forecasts of 6m.

“We believe we no longer have a need to raise external financing for our day-to-day operations,” Netflix said in a letter to investors, adding that it would explore stock buybacks.

But Netflix’s thesis has largely played out, helped by a global pandemic that lured people stuck at home under lockdowns to its streaming platform and kept it comfortably ahead in the race for subscribers. Its fiercest rival, Disney Plus, has 87m subscribers.



The majority of sign-ups in the fourth quarter came from outside the US. 

Rapid subscriber growth means cash flow is on the up, and external finance is apparently no longer needed to plug what was a cash sinkhole,” said Sophie Lund-Yates, adding that the company’s ability to raise prices feeds a “virtuous loop”.

“The [price] hikes allow it to create better content, boost engagement and then shake more pennies from customer pockets, so the cycle goes on,” she said.



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Reed Hastings: ‘ @netflix is still in challenger status’ @FT
World Of Finance



Reed Hastings is the billionaire founder of Netflix, the crusher of Blockbuster, and the one who turned Hollywood upside down with streaming tech 

Netflix launched 1997 a service offering DVD hire by post, aiming to bring internet savvy to the ever-frustrating, damn-the-late-fees world of video rental. 

“Covid could have been an internet virus taking down all the routers of the world and our business would be out and restaurants would be in,” 

“And instead tragically it is a biological one, so everybody is locked up and we had the greatest growth in the first half of this year that we ever had.” 

“If you just say no rules, then it is kind of anarchy,” he replies. “The question is, can you manage through values and context, so everyone is doing the right thing without central co-ordination? It’s the jazz metaphor versus the orchestra.”

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SEP-2019 a ‘’conviction’’ Buy at Friday’s closing price of $270.75. $NFLX
World Of Finance



My Mind kept to an Article I read in 2012 ‘’Annals of Technology Streaming Dreams’’ by John Seabrook January 16, 2012. 

“People went from broad to narrow,” he said, “and we think they will continue to go that way—spend more and more time in the niches— because now the distribution landscape allows for more narrowness’’


Netflix is not a US business, it is a global business. The Majority of Analysts are in the US and in my opinion, these same Analysts have an international ‘’blind spot’’ 

Once Investors appreciate that the Story is an international one and not a US one anymore, we will see the price ramp to fresh all-time highs. 

I, therefore, am putting out a ‘’conviction’’ Buy on Netflix at Friday’s closing price of $270.75.


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.@pfizer @BioNTech_Group and @moderna_tx to rake in $15bn from COVID-19 vaccines sales by 2023 @YahooFinance
World Of Finance



Pfizer (PFE), BioNTech (BNTX) and Moderna (MRNA) are set to make the lion's share of 2021 COVID-19 vaccine sales, and will together rake in $14.7bn (£10.8bn) in revenue over the next three years.

New data has shown that 2021 in particular “is set to become quite a year for the pharma companies leading the COVID-19 vaccine race, with significant revenues on the line,” said research company Finaria.

The vaccine developed by Massachusetts-based biotech company Moderna is expected to generate over $3.5bn in revenue this year, $400m more than the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine.

This jab has been approved in the US, the UK, EU, Canada and Israel. Data shows its annual sales revenue is expected to remain around $2.9bn in the next two years.

Last month, the UK became the first western country to approve any COVID-19 vaccine when it authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech candidate. 

The US followed and the vaccine has also been granted emergency approval in Canada and conditional approval in the European Union.

The vaccine is set to generate over $3.1bn in sales during 2021. 

However, this figure is expected to drop to under $1.4bn in 2022 and continue falling in the next few years. 

In 2023, BionTech-Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine sales are forecast to generate $914m, almost 3.5 times less than in 2021.

downside of the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine is its need for ultra-cold storage. Many countries don't have the required logistics.


Meanwhile, the highest number of ordered doses is of the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca (AZN.L) and Oxford University.

At the beginning of 2021, there were pre-purchase agreements for almost three billion doses for AstraZeneca/Oxford's vaccine.

One of its biggest advantages is the ability to be stored at average refrigerator temperatures.

Although still in phase 3 of clinical trials and without approval, Novavax's vaccine is the second-highest by the number of orders worldwide or almost 1.3 billion.

Finaria said the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine hit 816 million ordered doses as of last week. Gamaleya, Sanofi/GSK and Moderna followed, with 727 million, 712 million, and 441 million orders, respectively.

As of 10 January, a total of 25.8 million COVID-19 vaccine doses had been administered worldwide, Finaria said.

Statistics show China accounted for almost one-third of that number, with 9 million vaccine doses. 

The US ranked second with more than 8 million dosed administrated as of the last week.

The UK, Israel, and the United Arab Emirates follow with 2 million, 1.8 million, and 1 million doses, respectively.

Earlier on Tuesday, economists at Goldman Sachs (GS) said the successful rollout of COVID-19 vaccines could drive a strong bounce back in UK and US GDP from the second quarter onwards.

The UK is vaccinating 140 people per minute against the coronavirus on average, vaccine deployment minister Nadhim Zahawi said on Monday.

Britain is currently leading Europe’s vaccination race, after becoming the first country to approve the Pfizer jab.

Around 2.2 million people received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine between 8 December 2020 to 10 January 2021 in the UK, with mass vaccinations sites also opening on Monday.


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SARS-CoV-2 501Y.V2 escapes neutralization by South African COVID-19 donor plasma
Misc.



SARS-CoV-2 501Y.V2, a novel lineage of the coronavirus causing COVID-19, contains multiple mutations within two immunodominant domains of the spike protein. 

Here we show that this lineage exhibits complete escape from three classes of therapeutically relevant monoclonal antibodies. 

Furthermore 501Y.V2 shows substantial or complete escape from neutralizing antibodies in COVID-19 convalescent plasma. 

These data highlight the prospect of reinfection with antigenically distinct variants and may foreshadow reduced efficacy of current spike-based vaccines.

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Each line is sera from one individual tested against wildtype virus on the left and 501Y.V2 variant virus on the right. @trvrb
Misc.



Here, I've replotted data from the preprint to make effect size a bit more clear. Each line is sera from one individual tested against wildtype virus on the left and 501Y.V2 variant virus on the right. Note the log y axis (as is common with this type of data)

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In the past week, the African Region reported over 177 000 cases and 5000 deaths, a 1% increase in cases and 16% increase in deaths compared to the previous week. @WHO
Africa



Cases in the Region continue to increase since mid-September 2020; however, the increase this week has been slight when compared to steeper increases in recent months. 

The highest numbers of new cases were reported in 

South Africa (111 483 new cases; 188 new cases per 100 000 population; a 11% decrease), 

Nigeria (11 465 new cases; 5.6 new cases per 100 000; a 38% increase) 

Zambia (9507 new cases; 51.7 new cases per 100 000; a 78% increase).

The countries reporting the highest number of new deaths in the past week were South Africa (4027 new deaths; 6.8 new deaths per 100 000; a 10% increase) Zimbabwe (200 new deaths; 1.3 new deaths per 100 000; an 89% increase) and Malawi (80 new deaths; 0.4 new deaths per 100 000; a 186% increase).

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Update: #COVID19 in #SouthAfrica 20 January 2021 • New cases = 12,710 • Test positivity = 20.5% • Active cases = 170,160 @rid1tweets
Africa



• New cases = 12,710

• New tests = 62,054

• Test positivity = 20.5% 

• New deaths = 566

• Active cases = 170,160

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China Delays $245 Million of Kenyan Government Debt Payments @bpolitics @herbling
Africa



China postponed Kenyan debt repayments due over the next six months, a week after the Paris Club of creditors offered the East African nation similar relief.

Kenya had been scheduled to pay 27 billion shillings ($245 million) to China from January through June, Treasury Secretary Ukur Yatani said Wednesday on Spice FM radio in the capital, Nairobi. 

The delayed payments were agreed after talks with the Chinese government, he said.

The debt relief from Kenya’s second-biggest external creditor after the World Bank “will give us an opportunity and break on the kind of liquidity that we desire,” Yatani said in the interview.

Kenya joined several other African governments seeking debt-repayment pauses as it struggles to deal with the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. 

In October, the Kenyan government revised its 2020-21 budget-deficit forecast to 8.9% of gross domestic product, from an earlier estimate of 7.5%.

Earlier this month, the Paris Club agreed to delay $300 million in payments by the government of East Africa’s biggest economy. 

Kenya has also applied for waivers under the Group of 20’s Debt Service Suspension Initiative for about 40.6 billion shillings due in the first half of this year.

Kenya had been due to start repayments Thursday on one of the loans from the Export–Import Bank of China used to fund the building of a standard gauge railway, according to a Treasury report. 

The facility was to be repaid in 30 installments from Jan. 21 to July 21, 2035, at a price of Libor plus 3%, the Treasury said.

“We were making every arrangement to pay by today, but two days ago after our engagement, we are happy to get feedback that we don’t need to pay now,” Yatani said.

Chinese loans comprised 21% of Kenya’s external debt at the end of June 2020, compared with the World Bank’s 25%, according to the Treasury. 

Sovereign bondholders held another 19%, commercial banks 11% and the African Development Bank 7.5%.

Kenya won’t seek debt suspension from multilateral and commercial creditors “to safeguard its sovereign rating and its future access to international financial markets,” Yatani said earlier this month.

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The Spinning Top The real challenge is the Economic Emergency.
Africa



The real challenge is the Economic Emergency.

The latest Regional Economic Outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa projects economic activity in the region to decline by 3.0% in 2020 and recover by 3.1% in 2021. @IMFNews

The IMF is so bright eyed and bushy tailed and I want some of whatever Pills they are popping.

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by Aly Khan Satchu (www.rich.co.ke)
 
 
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January 2021
 
 
 
 
 
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