3/16/21 Power Five

1. Inside Pfizer’s Fast, Fraught, and Lucrative Vaccine Distribution – “It didn’t come from some algorithm. The vaccine allocation was the product of a company struggling to apportion doses while demand far exceeded supply, using an opaque process that appears to have involved a mix of order size, position in the queue, production forecasts, calls from world leaders, the potential to advance the science, and of course the desire to make a profit. “Everybody wanted [deliveries] in the first quarter, and we tried to allow discussions and negotiations to spread things so everybody would get in an equitable base,” Bourla says. The countries that hadn’t placed orders wanted a place in line, and those that had placed early orders wanted to buy more.”

2. The Ambitious Aim of Saving Mother’s Lives – “The United States has the highest rate of maternal deaths in the industrialized world. A third of those deaths happen after delivery, when a significant share of American women experience a gap in coverage. Under current law, all states provide Medicaid coverage to low-income women who are pregnant. More than 40 percentof babies born each year in the United States are to mothers enrolled in the public health program. But coverage runs out 60 days after delivery, causing many women to become uninsured shortly after giving birth.”

3. Essential Oils May Be Wreaking Havoc on Your Skin – “While inhaling certain essential oils has been shown to affect the central nervous system and stimulate the brain to release neurotransmitters like serotonin that help with mood regulation, they’ve also been shown to disrupt the normal functioning of hormones. When it comes to the skin, some experts say that in small concentrations they offer antibacterial benefits, but many believe that beyond giving a product a nice scent, they do more harm than good. “Using them on your skin almost insures that some of it will get into your bloodstream,” Dr. Petrillo said, listing a skin-crawling list of common side effects, including redness, chemical burns, headaches, swelling and blisters. And although many brands maintain that the antibacterial properties of essential oils aid in fighting acne, they can actually worsen breakouts.”

4. Bitcoin’s Climate Problem – “In the near term, nearly two-thirds of all Bitcoin mining is taking place in China, and “mining activities can also be found in regions with coal-heavy power generation, such as in the province of Inner Mongolia,” according to a study in the scientific journal Joule, which also raises the idea of imposing a carbon tax. “Regulating this largely gambling-driven source of carbon emissions appears to be a simple means to contribute to decarbonizing the economy.”

5. 7 Questions. 75 Artists. 1 Very Bad Year. – “Did you make anything that mattered? Who and what comforted you? Which momentswill you remember? Which ideas would you like to forget? What would a do-overlook like? And what’s still on your to-do list as “normal” comes into focus?

What would this look like under the old administration?