Sunday, February 2, 2020

Clearing Out The In-Box, Part 1 -- February 2, 2020

Belarus: US can supply Belarus with 100% of its demand fro oil, gas -- at half the price the Russians would sell it for them. No link. Google it. Russia cut off oil and gas supplies to Belarus on December 31, 2019

Winter coming to an end: Punxsutawney Phil.

Guns in England? I did not know guns were allowed in London.

STEM: today is a rare palindrome that has not happened in over 900 years -- another "first" for the Trump administration. It simply never quits. Link here.

Re-posting because I find it endlessly fascinating: Recent dividend announcements:
  • MPC: increases dividend to 58 cents; pays 4.4%
  • WMB: increases dividend to 40 cents; pays 7.39% (and it's not a foreign company; and it's not an MLP, as far as I know)
  • Hess Midstream Partners: increases dividend to 43 cents; pays 7.13%
  • Oasis Midstream Partners: increases dividend to 54 cents, up from 51.5 cents; pays 12.63%; shares at $15.54; one-year target at $20.33;
  • Nextera Energy Partners: increases dividend to 54 cents; pays 3.7%
  • Dominion Energy: increases dividend to 94 cents; pays 4.48%
  • Yum! Brands: increases dividend to 47 cents; pays 1.79%
  • Valero Energy: increased dividend to 98 cents; pays 4.38%
  • Pfizer: increasing dividend by 5.6%; new dividend, 38 cents, up from 36 cents

Viruses, Flu, Corona, and All That Jazz

A reader called me out -- and rightly so -- on my flippant remarks regarding coronavirus. So, where do we stand on this issue? Here are a few links:
Pop Quiz

Now that you have read the stories above, answer the following questions:
  1. what is the human receptor to which this novel virus binds?
  2. a related coronavirus is the MERS coronavirus -- from what animal do humans contract this disease?
  3. so far, how many "flu" cases in the US?
  4. the percentage of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza so far this year is 6.7%; what is the epidemic threshold?
  5. so far this flu season, at least 2,900 people in the US are estimated to have died of the flu; is this more or less than the previous week, and by how much?
  6. this year will be worse; how many deaths from the flu last year?  
  7. is the current flu season winding down in the US?
  8. true or false: so far the 2019-nCoV has affected millennials disproportionately 
  9. if one age group has been more affected than past flu seasons, what age group would that be?
  10. every state in the union has widespread flu activity, except two. Name the two.
  11. what was the worst year for flu since 2015?
  12. in the past five years, has seasonal flu in the US ever exceeded the "epidemic threshold"?
  13. for which of the following do "we" have a vaccine: SARS, novel coronavirus, "seasonal flu"?
  14. how long did SARS "last" before it burned itself out?
  15. when do US companies expect this novel coronavirus health crisis to be winding down?
Answers to Pop Quiz 
The answers:
  1. ACE2
  2. camels, Saudi Arabia
  3. 19 million cases; 180,000 hospitalizations, 10,000 deaths (including 68 children); in the US, so far, and it appears not to be over yet;
  4. 7.2%
  5. 800 more deaths this past week than the previous week (in the US)
  6. 34,000 deaths (in the US) last year;
  7. no, it is not winding down; it appears "we're having a second wave"
  8. false, the novel virus has largely affected the aged and the infirm
  9. children have been affected more this year than in previous years
  10. DC and Hawaii are only reporting "local activity" -- not widespread activity
  11. by far, the worse flu season in the last five years was week 50 of 2017 through week 15 of 2018
  12. seasonal flu in the US greatly exceeded the "epidemic threshold" during the 2017- 2018 season
  13. "we" have a vaccine for only "seasonal flu" (of the three)
  14. SARS: from November to the following July
  15. March, 2020

From wiki:
Angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is an exopeptidase that catalyses the conversion of angiotensin I to the nonapeptide angiotensin or the conversion of angiotensin II to angiotensin 1-7. ACE2 has direct effects on cardiac function,a and is expressed predominantly in vascular endothelial cells of the heart and the kidneys. ACE2 receptors have been shown to be the entry point into human cells for some coronaviruses, including the SARS virus, and the Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
Physicians use "ACE-inhibitors" to treat heart failure.

First question (and I don't know the answer): is the receptor on the angiotensin converting enzyme 2 exopeptidase used by physicians to treat heart failure, the same receptor used by the virus to gain entry into the human genome?

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