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Robin + Yellowhammer + Bluebird + Quail + Pelican + Mockingbird = New US Covid Variants could be more infectious

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#USA, February 17, 2021 – Not to be outdone, American Covid-19 has since August 2020 been morphing in order to survive and spread and now seven new variants of itself are created; appearing in at least 30 States and taking on the names of birds for easier distinction.

The Q677P mutation impacts a crucial spike protein of the virus, informed a Forbes.com report by Dr. Robert Glatter. The news article published on Monday February 15 also said due to a lack of peer review, the analysis of the variants is conservative though the suspicion is these new variations will be found to be more contagious.

The advent of another crop of more contagious COVID could spell disaster for our friends and family in the US just as the country is experiencing a downward trend in new cases.  It also has the potential to threaten travel once again; the last string of variants elicited border closures and tougher measures for returning air passengers.

In a string of media reports, the world is learning of the mutations and how broadening genomic surveillance will be the truest gauge of the effect of Robin 1, Robin 2, Yellowhammer, Pelican, Bluebird, Quail and Mockingbird.

From the article: “Robin 1 has now been seen in more than 30 states in the U.S., mostly in the Midwest. Robin 2 appeared in early October from a sample in Alabama, confined mainly to the southeastern U.S. Another lineage, named Pelican, was initially identified in a sample from Oregon, but has later been found in 12 additional U.S states as well as in Europe (Denmark and Switzerland), Australia, as well as in India.

Pelican was the first sub-lineage or variant of particular interest to the researchers because it was found in close to 28% of viral samples from Louisiana, and 11% from New Mexico. The remainder of the Q677P sub-lineages each have less than 100 genetic sequences including Yellowhammer, predominately in the southeastern U.S, Bluebird, in the northeast U.S., Quail found in the southwest and northeast, and Mockingbird, located predominately in southcentral and east coast states.”

Almost five percent of the samples collected at GISAID between August 2020 and February 2021 have been the new variants; a total of 2,327.

One expert, Vaugh Cooper, has offered to CNN that the mutation is particularly worrisome because it is  in the region of the novel coronavirus spike protein which is key for how contagious the virus actually becomes.

Some 27.8 million Americans have been diagnosed with Covid19 and as vaccination roll out lags behind spread of the virus, it becomes a concern with the United States as the leading and in many respects the only source market for the Caribbean region including the Turks and Caicos Islands.

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Missing in House Meetings, BVI law requires By-Election soon

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#BVI, August 4, 2022 – The British Virgin Islands will soon have a by-election to contest embattled former premier Andrew Fahie seat in the House of Assembly(HOA). Fahie will likely lose his seat in the coming weeks as the speaker of the house confirmed she will not be granting the ex-premier anymore leave to miss sittings of the House according to local media. 

Fahie is forbidden from leaving Miami while he awaits his court appearance on drug charges after being arrested along with fellow countrywoman, Olenvine Maynard in a DEA operation.

No member of the HOA is allowed to miss three consecutive meetings without leave from the speaker of the house in the BVI.  Once the time expires a by election will be triggered

Fahie has plead “not guilty” to the drug charges against him and remains in Miami at the home of his two daughters who along with his wife have had to surrender their passports.

The BVI narrowly avoided a partial constitutional suspension earlier this year after a UK led Commission of Inquiry found widespread instances of corruption in the government.

Dr Natalio D. Wheatley continues as Acting Premier of the British Virgin Islands.

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A pristine bay in Exuma contaminated in Diesel Spill, Bahamas Gov’t opens investigation

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TheBahamas, July 25, 2022 – Bahamian companies are making significant progress in their effort to clean up a 35,000 gallon fuel spill in some of the most pristine waters in the world: Exuma.

By Thursday afternoon 11,000 gallons had already been removed and the rest is expected to be siphoned out by Friday. The spill was noticed about 4am Wednesday morning during a fuel transfer which was on its way to Bahamas Power and Light (BPL).

Chester Cooper, in acting Prime Minister capacity at the time of the messy spill in his constituency.  Cooper flew into Exuma with a team of ministers and media to assess the damage.  Bahamian-owned, Sun Oil was the source of the diesel leak.

“It was on its way to BPL but ended up here in the cove. We are happy that it appears to be contained,” said Cooper, obviously concerned but expressing relief for the manageable scope of the spill.

In a statement shared with Bahamian media houses Sun Oil said ‘at 4am Wednesday morning crew members onboard the MT Arabian, a vessel contracted on behalf of Sun Oil Limited to deliver diesel fuel, discovered a leak during the discharging process. The crew deployed absorbent pads and containment buoys near the shoreline at sunrise.’

Cleanup is being led by the crew of the vessel with mechanical assistance from BPL whose trucks are holding the fuel.

Utilities Minister Alfred Sears gave this report last week on the cleanup efforts.

“Additional booms are on the way and additional pumps have been secured by BPL to accelerate the process of removal and it will be taken to a waiting ship.”

The fuel is contained to one area, thanks to the booms, said to be the bay of the Exuma Sailing Club.

In photos, while it does appear to be contained, the turquoise of the fuel free water is a jarring contrast with the now brown-black of the contaminated water and residents say the odor is equally putrid and far reaching.

Bahamian Reporter Marlena Leonard said she could smell the odor in the bus on her way to the site and residents told her they could smell it all the way in town.

Aerial images shared by the Bahamian Ministry of Works on Twitter are heartbreaking, showing the extent of the spill stretching from the bay to the open ocean.

Bahamians have taken to Twitter expressing distress, one said

“In the interest of my mental health, I am required to pretend that I did not see news about that oil spill in Exuma.”

Another said, “An oil spill anywhere in this country should spark outrage but something about seeing it happened in Exuma just feels different—“

The was a concerted effort by high ranking officials to see the scene and debrief the media. Officials from Sun Oil, BPL, the Ministry of Environment, Utilities Minister Alfred Sears, various other government officials and Acting Prime Minister Chester Cooper attended the scene yesterday morning. Prime Minister Philip Davis was in Miami at the time attending a CANTO telecommunications conference.

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Turks & Caicos and World trending up in COVID cases while Africa experiences big drop

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, July 15, 2022 – Covid-19 cases are trending up globally and in the Turks and Caicos. There were twenty one new cases between July 3rd to 9th and 61 positive cases on the island overall according to the most recent COVID-19 report. This is the highest reported total weekly case count  since the beginning of May.

They were eighteen new cases in Providenciales and three in Grand Turk. There was also one new hospitalization, thankfully there were no new deaths.

Global deaths on the other hand have a risen over 1,500 compared to two weeks ago

Brazil and the United States consistently record some of the highest case numbers in the Americas. The US had 722,000 new cases and Brazil had 396,000 new cases. Both countries along with Chile continue to record the highest death toll in the Americas.

The African region saw a major drop in cases a 33 percent decrease compared to the previous week, deaths were 17 percent lower.

Unfortunately the Eastern Mediterranean region including countries like Tunisia, Iran and Morocco saw a 78 percent increase in people who died due to Covid-19.

The BA.5 variant has not overtaken Omicron as the most dominant strain of the COVID-19 virus but infection linked to BA.5 are rising.

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