New B.1.1.529 Coronavirus Variant Poised To Be Deadlier Than Delta

Markets, medical experts and governments are raising concerns over the latest Coronavirus variant.


As the public in the United States gathers in observance of Thanksgiving, South African experts and global governments are alarmed at the B.1.1.529 variant of the Coronavirus. Enough concern has been raised to shutdown air-traffic partially between UK/Europe and parts of Africa. The new variant was reported Wednesday, 8:11 pm PST and will eventually receive a Greek letter name, according to Bloomberg News.

Origin

First spotted in Botswana, the B.1.1.529 variant appears to have more of the protein spikes associated with more aggressive viruses, like the Delta variant. Roughly speaking, the spike protein allows for the virus to penetrate the cellular membrane of a healthy human cell. Afterwards, it inserts RNA into healthy human cells, which then causes issues in vulnerable lung tissues e.g Covid-19.

The B.1.1.529 variant is thought to have evolved from an untreated HIV/AIDS patient, according to Francois Balloux via Bloomberg News. Unfortunately, people who are immunocompromised can carry the coronavirus for longer periods of time, allowing for significantly different variants to emerge and eventually infect others.

This when paired with the fact other healthy individuals who are unvaccinated will contract this variant makes for a perfect storm of conditions to raise the prospect of a new wave of Covid-19 infections.

New Variant B.1.1.529 Raises Concerns Globally (Source: Guardian)

India Increases Testing, Israel Reacts

The country of India is now increasing testing for foreign travelers out of fear that this deadlier, more transmissible than the Delta variant will reach its already vulnerable populace.

Israel is also testing for the variant.

Affects Those Under 25

In places with fewer vaccinations, the populace under 25 is expected to see a spike of B.1.1.529 infections. For instance, South Africa has around 1/4 of its under 25 populace vaccinated and it is this population most affected with the variant in Gauteng. South African authorities have several confirmed cases, with laboratories expecting to confirm additional ones after sequencing is performed on new samples.

According to South African public health authorities:

“This variant is reported to have a significantly high number of mutations, and thus, has serious public health implications for the country, in view of recently relaxed visa restrictions and opening up of international travel.”

National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) via OdhisaTv

Flights Between South Africa, UK Halted

The UK is now banning flights from six African countries. A strict quarantine will take place from these six countries: South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana – the original site for the variant – Mozambique, Namibia and Eswatini.

Markets React

Shares in Intercontinental are now down 6.7 percent in stock futures after a busy holiday season in the US, according to Dow Jones. If past behavior is an indicator, travelers will now do a double take on travel plans globally and in the domestic US as Christmas travel was gearing up as a windfall for airlines, hotels and oil companies/gas retailers.

Another Zero Day Exploit For Microsoft

Even Windows 11 is affected.

Apparently, one can open a command line window and deploy an exploit to raise permissions on a machine using a .exe file freely available on Github. Nice.

The exploit works on Windows 10, Windows 11 and Windows Server versions of this OS. The exploit consists of a low privileged user raising their own privileges by running basic commands on the CMD prompt. Fascinating.

Bleeping Computer Blog Finds Exploit

The exact issue is described by BleepingComputer yesterday in a much circulated blog post:

[BP] has tested the exploit and used it to open to command prompt with SYSTEM privileges from an account with only low-level ‘Standard’ privileges.

– Bleeping Computer

After Success Unifying Super Middleweight Division, Canelo Calculates Legacy With Cruiserweight Challenge

Saul “Canelo” Alvarez is now contemplating challenging a much bigger man who is the champion at the Cruiserweight weight division in the WBC.

The Canelo legacy keeps rising as the 31 year old Mexican enters his prime and relishes success compounded repeatedly after multiple successful defenses of titles. Most recently, the Mexican has unified the competitive 168lb pound division.

His fanbase is expanding globally, with English speakers placing support behind the ‘face of boxing’ amidst the usual controversies and biases that all combat sports tend to manifest.

The Mexican fanbase too looks on as they toil away at their jobs being the backbone of multiple regional and national economies. Every Canelo fight affirms some of the positive image that exists globally of the Mexican man. At least, that is how most sports watchers interpret the presence of Canelo in media depictions. To talk about this legend in development is to talk about the importance of boxing within the Mexican community. Thus, the moves he makes will define the sport for decades to come.

Early Details On Canelo’s Move To Cruiserweight

According to Michael Benson, Canelo is planning to weigh at 180lbs as he faces Ilunga Makabu, an opponent with a significant weight and height advantage, 200lbs and much taller.

Canelo vs Plant Is Finally Here

Canelo is now set to face his last and potentially most difficult fight for Super Middleweight supremacy: Caleb Plant.

The Super Middleweight unification bout is set to kick off tomorrow at around 6pm PT from Las Vegas, Nevada. It’s at 75 dollars, which is not terrible alongside a decent undercard. Already, Canelo is a four-division world champion but Plant is IBF champion. Whoever wins is the first undisputed super middleweight world champion in boxing history. The stakes can not be higher.

Canelo marks 168lbs vs Plant at 167lbs – fight night rehydration may add 10 pounds, but the muscle density is on Canelo’s side.

Weigh-In For #CaneloPlant.

At 168 pounds, Canelo looked bulky and ready to deliver powerful blows. He made weight spot-on, 168lbs is the Super Middleweight limit, even going as far as to still wear a heavy gold pendant at the scale. For his part, Caleb Plant weighed in at 167 pounds:

The current IBF title holder at 168 pounds looked muscular as well, but thinner and trim as he is over 6ft tall – a bit of a liability when fighting a compact, explosive opponent.Our best guess is that Caleb Plant’s 167lb frame is an indication that he will fight at distance – “run” as some detractors say – during the fight:

Regardless, this looks to be an historic night with one man ready to unify all the belts. Reportedly, Al Haymon and Eddy Reynoso have been planning or open to additional fights.

Resumes Heading In To Fight

Each fighter has a respectable resume, but the best belongs to the current Pound-for-Pound king, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. He has most recently defeated 2 previously unbeaten Super Middleweights and defended his title against a formidable challenger in Avni Yildrim.

With respect to Plant, he does have 4 title defenses with his best win being over Jose Uzcategui. Mike Lee was also a respectable opponent, but one would be hard pressed to compare either one with Billy Joe Saunders or Callum Smith – the two Brits defeated by Alvarez.

Prediction

Canelo must KO Plant because as the PBC fighter, Plant is likely set to get the judges nod. Canelo must realize this and is predicting an 8th round KO. It’s tough to take this type of assertion seriously, with many cautioning other fighters about making such predictions. However, in Canelo’s case, most make an exception.

Personally, my fear is that this fight will be boring, with Plant excessively moving as his track leg physique indicated at the weigh-in. I hope I am wrong, but think I may not be.