We’ve seen an unprecedented amount of news about the extraordinary development of THREE separate COVID-19 vaccines, all proclaiming an efficacy rate of 90% or higher while demonstrating no serious side effects (so far).
And obviously, governments worldwide have placed pre-orders for hundreds of millions of doses to be distributed all around the globe.
But there’s one question that’s gone unaddressed until now: Are all of the world’s cargo airplanes well-equipped to deliver all of these vaccine doses, considering how many layoffs and setbacks the aviation industry as a whole has faced?
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) CEO Alexandre de Juniac has gone as far as to refer to this feat as “the largest and most complex logistical exercise ever,” with the IATA itself saying that “transporting vaccines to billions of people around the globe will be the mission of the century for air transport.”
Bloomberg wrote an investigative piece dedicated to answering the question I just posed, pointing out numerous factors that have to be considered.
Cargo Capacity: 22,000 ordinary jetliners exist to carry the goods that can’t fit within the 2,000 dedicated cargo freighters used exclusively for transport (~50% of all goods moved by air). Not only are flying schedules heavily slashed and travel largely restricted, but the vaccines have to be carried ON TOP of all the commerce goods behind shipped worldwide during the holidays.
Sub-Zero Storage: The #1 flaw of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine are its storage requirements, i.e. -70 degrees Celsius for six months of shelf life, a fridge can only keep the vaccine stable for 5 days, and thawed vials cannot be re-frozen. While Pfizer is intending to create special distribution containers, cargo companies will need to find a delicate balance between speed and reliability of delivery.
Helping the Less Fortunate: Cities have enough storage infrastructure and capital to store the vaccine vials. The same cannot be said for less developed countries consisting of remote towns and villages. Other countries will have to chip in with distribution and storage for the less fortunate countries who are ill-equipped to store and distribute the vaccines.
Other Modes of Transportation: What happens once the cargo airlines have done their job? It’s up to other vehicles such as trucks and motorcycles to get the vaccine delivered to non-urban areas. It’s not like every area of land has a nearby deep freezer, and the vaccines themselves are very unstable.
One thing is for sure: Having the COVID-19 vaccines delivered successfully to EVERYONE is going to be a worldwide coordinated effort. This is the time for everybody to share their manpower, resources, and intelligence.
Anything less will be insufficient and waste all of the hard work done by pharmaceutical companies to develop a working vaccine in record time.
What do YOU think about the problem of COVID-19 vaccine distribution being faced by the world? Can it be overcome, or are there too many unsolved issues that won’t be fully resolved until much later? Reply to this newsletter and share your opinions with us!
Airlines in the US Keep Getting Busier and Busier…
Remember all of those warnings from the CDC and health officials to avoid all forms of holiday travel, especially during last week’s Thanksgiving holiday? The newest numbers from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) shows that nobody gave a rat’s a** about what they had to say.
Last year, on November 29, there were a record 7.07 million passengers screened by the TSA. This was a record high for US travel for the year and overall for the history of the TSA.
This year’s post-Thanksgiving Sunday saw 1.18 million passengers being screened. While this is 41% of the same day in 2019, it’s nevertheless the busiest day for US airports since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in mid-March. It also marks the fifth day since the pandemic where the TSA has screened at least one million passengers in the time span of 24 hours.
If you look at the overall holiday weekend (November 27-29), the number jumps up to 9.4 million passengers. And surprisingly, this is corroborated by a 35% drop in US road trips over the same time period compared to last year. By extension, this makes Thanksgiving the one holiday of 2020 where the least amount of car travel was done.
Let’s see if this trend holds up for the month of December, as I know MANY people will be eager to escape the United States for a desperately needed vacation…
Miraculously, Delta Air Lines’ Pilots Are Safe from Being Furloughed!
Delta Air Lines is one of the US-based airlines that was known for enforcing the termination of several thousands of jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet in a miraculous turnaround, it seems as if the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) has struck a last-minute deal with Delta to not furlough any pilots.
The deal, while complicated in nature, is fairly straightforward to understand: In exchange for fewer guaranteed hours of work, the +1,700 pilots working for Delta will be receiving partial payments.
According to The Motley Fool, this deal is advantageous for Delta in two different ways:
“First, the airline should be able to avoid some unnecessary pilot training events that would have been inevitable had it furloughed lots of pilots…. Furloughing and subsequently recalling more than 1,700 junior pilots would have put Delta on the hook for even more expensive training events, though.
Second, by keeping all of its pilots on the payroll, Delta will have more flexibility to restore capacity as demand recovers… Being able to react to booking trends by adjusting flying on short notice will be an important competitive advantage in the near term.”
Not the best of situations, but sometimes you have to make lemonade out of lemons.
Spirit Airlines’ “Travel Tuesday” Lets You Pay as Low as $20 per Flight…
When you combine the Cyber Monday holiday with an airline who is desperate for more passengers, you get some ridiculously cheap deals that you may never see for another 10-20 years.
As part of their Travel Tuesday initiative, which expires TODAY, Spirit Airlines is offering one-way flights happening between January 6th and March 4th of 2021 for as little as $20. While this price does not include surcharges, even the worst-off traveler has $20 in their pocket to pay for a small getaway.
Some of the routes include (but are not limited to)…
- Los Angeles going to: Baltimore, New Orleans, Dallas, Chicago, Philadelphia
- New York going to: Tampa, Detroit, Orlando
- Austin going to: New Orleans, Denver
- Boston going to: Orlando, Newark
- Atlanta going to: Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Austin
Any of my US-based readers should take a good look at all of the deals being offered at the Spirit Airlines website, as it might be your best opportunity to visit family and friends for pennies on the (usual) dollar.
You should act immediately, as I’m fairly sure that even the Christmas holidays won’t have such generous deals offered!
The COVID-19 Vaccine Passport Stamp: Coming Soon to the UK!
Until the eventual arrival of the “digital health passport” that shows airport security our intimidate details regarding COVID-19 tests and vaccinations, authorities will need to make-do with another method for confirming that passengers are getting the vaccine.
The UK’s Department of Transport has an idea for such a method: Put a stamp on a traveler’s passport certifying that they have been given the COVID-19 vaccine, thus allowing them to travel internationally to other countries.
Tory MP James Sunderland had some comments about this new initiative, mentioning that everyday businesses (i.e. sports arenas, movie theaters, restaurants, etc.). might take on this same initiative:
“We must do everything possible to boost the economy by re-opening our travel, hospitality, leisure and business sectors and how fantastic would it be to have our planes, trains and boats full again. A vaccination stamp is simple, would save all the hassle at either end and really boost confidence.”
As much as I hate Sunderland’s comments, I don’t think he’s wrong with this line of thought. There will be an incredible amount of pressure from governments, employers, and businesses to keep their environments as safe as possible. In their eyes, the fastest way towards that end goal seems to be the COVID-19 vaccine.
So it’s not as if we’re being “forced” to take the vaccine in the technical sense… but life will become extremely inconvenient if we refuse to do so.
What are YOUR thoughts on a possible passport stamp for certifying you took the COVID-19 vaccine? Are you for it, or do you perceive this as a tyrannical over-reach that abuses our freedom as human beings? Reply to this newsletter and let us know how you feel about this issue!
New COVID-19 Rules for Hong Kong and They’re the WORST Ones So far
Hong Kong has fallen victim to numerous COVID-19 outbreaks, yet the local government is cashing in all their chips for the “double down” approach on whatever has clearly failed to work so far.
Here are the new pandemic rules that inhabitants are being subject to as of December 2nd:
- All government employees must work from home until December 15th (exceptions for essential public services and emergency workers)
- Gatherings in public places are now limited to a maximum of two people (also applies to gyms and beauty parlors for group gatherings)
- Restaurants can only host two people per table and must shut down at 10pm
- Swimming pools, mahjong parlors, video game centers, and karaoke parlors must shut down
- All in-person school classes are shut down until the Christmas break
Keep in mind that this is on top of existing rules that make social distancing and wearing face masks mandatory. Anybody caught violating these rules will be fined a higher amount than the current US$258, and last week alone saw 484 fines issued for breaking the existing rules.
I don’t know what more to say, other than Hong Kong has been extraordinarily unlucky during the entire course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Just when they think they’ve conquered one outbreak, another comes along and puts the city in a state of chaos.
At this point, I don’t know how long it will be before Hong Kong ever returns to a state of normalcy. For them, this restricted way of living life may be the “new normal” for the next 5-10 years.