Monday, February 15, 2021

Encouraging signs on covid-19 and vaccinations

The Washington Post reports:

In recent weeks, U.S. coronavirus case data — long a closely-watched barometer of the pandemic’s severity — has sent some encouraging signals: The rate of newly recorded infections is plummeting from coast to coast and the worst surge yet is finally relenting.

But scientists are split on why, exactly, it is happening. Some point to the quickening pace of coronavirus vaccine administration, some say it’s because of the natural seasonal ebb of respiratory viruses and others chalk it up to social distancing measures.

And every explanation is appended with two significant caveats: The country is still in a bad place … and recent progress could still be imperiled, either by new fast-spreading virus variants or by relaxed social distancing measures.

The rolling daily average of new infections in the United States hit its all-time high of 248,200 on Jan. 12…. Since then, the number has dropped every day, hitting 91,000 on Sunday, its lowest level since November.…

“Two [factors] are driving down transmission,” [a February 12 briefing by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation] says. “1) the continued scale-up of vaccination helped by the fraction of adults willing to accept the vaccine reaching 71 percent, and 2) declining seasonality, which will contribute to declining transmission potential from now until August.”

The model predicts 152,000 more covid-19 deaths by June 1, but projects that the vaccine rollout will save 114,000 lives.

In the past week, the country collectively administered 1.62 million vaccine doses per day…. It was the best week yet for the shots, topping even President Biden’s lofty goal of 1.5 million vaccinations per day.

Nearly 40 million people have received at least their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine
, about 12 percent of the U.S. population. Experts have said that 70 percent to 90 percent of people need to have immunity, either through vaccination or prior infection, to quash the pandemic.


Get vaccinated as soon as possible!

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Mary Wilson of the Supremes has died at 76

The New York Times reports:

Mary Wilson, a founding member of the Supremes, the trailblazing group from the 1960s that spun up a dozen No. 1 singles on the musical charts and was key to Motown’s legendary sound, died on Monday…. She was 76.… No cause of death was given.…

Although the Supremes faced difficulties in reaching success early stages in their careers, [sic] their song “When the Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes” peaked at No. 23 on the Billboard pop chart in 1963. Then came five consecutive No. 1 singles: “Where Did Our Love Go,” “Baby Love,” “Come See About Me,” “Stop! In the Name of Love” and “Back in My Arms Again.” …

The Supremes “transcend adolescence without repudiating it,” an article in The New York Times read in 1967, adding, “Their audience spans ages and taste barriers.”

By that year, the group had undergone another change. Ms. Ballard was replaced by Cindy Birdsong and the group was renamed “Diana Ross and the Supremes.” Ms. Ross left the group in 1970, and was replaced by Jean Terrell, leaving Ms. Wilson as the last remaining original member.

"Baby Love":

"My World Is Empty Without You":

"You Can't Hurry Love":

More from the obit:

The influence the Supremes had on Black girls and women across America in the 1960s was undeniable. “You never saw anything like it in the 1960s — three women of color who were totally empowered, creative, imaginative,” Oprah Winfrey was quoted as saying in “Diana Ross: A Biography,” by J. Randy Taraborrelli. As a 10-year-old Black girl, she said, “to see the Supremes and know that it was possible to be like them, that Black people could do THAT … ”

And the Supremes have influenced countless musical acts and girl groups like Destiny’s Child, En Vogue and SWV, many of them borrowing from their playbook and producing pop stars in their own right.

“We, the Supremes, can’t take all the credit,” Ms. Wilson told The Guardian in 2019. “The writers and producers at Motown gave us the music and sound that people loved. And then there was the glamour. My whole life is like a dream. I tell you — if I were not a Supreme, I would want to be a Supreme.”


Goodbye to Mary Wilson of the Supremes — one of the most important pop groups of all time.

(Left to right: Mary Wilson, Diana Ross, and Cindy Birdsong. Photo from Wikimedia Commons, credited to GAC-General Artists Corporation-IMTI-International Talent Management Inc.)