Good morning. On today’s docket: a 25-year-old cold case heats up, Apple announces a press event, and White Claw launches a new seltzer.
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“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.”
🇺🇸💉 U.S. Recommends Pausing J&J Vaccine
The CDC and FDA issued a joint statement yesterday recommending a “pause” in the use of Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot vaccine “out of an abundance of caution” while the agencies investigate reports of rare blood clots.
🤿 A deeper dive…
The agencies cited six reported U.S. cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) out of more than 6.8M administered doses of J&J’s vaccine. (Per Johns Hopkins, the natural occurrence of CVST is about five in 1 million adults each year.)
All six cases occurred among women between the ages 18 of 48, and symptoms occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination. One person has died.
The FDAsaid the cases appear similar to the rare blood clots possibly linked to AstraZeneca’s vaccine.
They also stressed that no signals of clot problems have been found in Moderna or Pfizer’s vaccine, the two most widely used in the U.S. (Separately, Moderna released new data showing its vaccine is over 90% effective six months after the second shot.)
Johnson & Johnson released a statement saying it was aware of the reports of blood clots, but that no link to its vaccine had been established. The company also said it would delay its European rollout as a precautionary measure.
All 50 states have enacted or recommended a pause on the administration of J&J’s vaccine.
⏭️ What’s Next?
The CDC is convening a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices today to review the six cases and “assess their potential significance.” The FDA will conduct its own separate investigation.
The acting FDA commissionersaid yesterday she expects the recommended pause on J&J’s vaccine to last “a matter of days.”
Johnson & Johnson vaccine suspension – what this means for you
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🇯🇵 Japan to Dump Nuclear Wastewater
The Japanese government announced plans to begin dumping more than a million tons of treated – but still radioactive – nuclear wastewater into the Pacific Ocean in two years, a process that will take decades to complete.
From the International Atomic Energy Agency: “The Japanese Government’s decision is in line with practice globally, even though the large amount of water at the Fukushima plant makes it a unique and complex case.”
🕵️ Cold Case Suspect Arrested
Paul Flores, prime suspect in the 25-year-old disappearance of Cal Poly student Kristin Smart, was arrested yesterday and charged with one count of murder in connection with the case. His 80-year-old father was also arrested as an accessory after the fact.
Smart was last seen at a party in 1996, after which Flores reportedly walked her home. Her body was never found and she was declared legally dead in 2002.
More: A 2019 podcast series covering the case – Chris Lambert’s Your Own Backyard – prompted a new witness to come forward who helped the investigation, according to the local sheriff.
It warns of a “diverse array” of global threats, including China’s global push for power and the “provocative actions” of Russia, Iran, and North Korea.
The report also mentions “transnational issues” (like the COVID-19 pandemic & climate change/environmental degradation) and “conflicts and instability” (including Afghanistan, India-Pakistan, & Syria) as potential threats to the U.S.
🪖 U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan will be reduced from ~3,500 to zero by Sept. 11, 2021, per a senior administration official. President Biden is expected to formally announce the move today. (From the Left | From the Right)
👮 Brooklyn Center Police Officer Kim Potter resigned after fatally shooting Daunte Wright. Police Chief Tim Gannon also submitted his resignation. (From the Left | From the Right)
☝️ 1 Last Thing…
📺 A record 110k peoplecontacted the BBC to complain about its coverage of Prince Philip’s death (#2 was the network’s 2005 airing of Jerry Springer: The Musical, which raked in 63k complaints).
*Correction: We mistakenly referred to Daunte Wright as “Daune Wright” (which was autocorrected to “Duane” upon sending) and misspelled “La Soufrière,” the St. Vincent volcano, yesterday. We’re sorry for any confusion.
Completely and totally unrelated: We’re hosting a Spelling Bee at DONUT HQ today.
💰 Grab ‘N Go
Singapore-based “super app” maker Grab Holdings Inc. announced plans to go public via an SPAC merger with Altimeter Growth Corp. in the largest such deal in history.
The SoftBank& Uber-backed company is valued at ~$40B.
More: Grab started in 2012 as a ride-hailing service in Southeast Asia, eventually morphing into an app providing food/grocery delivery and financial services in addition to ride-hailing.
Today’s Notable IPO: Coinbase, which was valued at ~$100B in its last private funding round. Dig deeper.
📢 Apple Announces an Announcement
Apple revealed its next press event, called “Spring Loaded,” will take place on April 20 at 1 p.m. ET. The company did not specify which products will be unveiled.
Rumored devicesinclude new versions of the iPad Pro, a new Apple Pencil stylus, and AirTags – a product with Bluetooth connectivity allowing users to track their devices using Apple’s Find My software.
More: Per Bloomberg ($), Apple is working on a product that would combine its Apple TV and HomePod speaker capabilities with a camera for video conferencing and other smart-home functions.
📈 The Notorious NFT
Sales of NFTs rose to more than $2B in the first quarter of 2021, according to a report from NonFungible.com – more than 20 times the volume of the previous quarter ($93M).
The stated totaldoesn’t include NBA Top Shot – which racked up $472M in sales last quarter – or the $69M NFT sold by digital artist Beeple at Christie’s in March.
He began to type out a Facebook post notifying customers as to why the establishment’s door was missing, writing:
“Our burritos are such a smash hit that we’ve got people breaking in for their fix.” Nice one, Carl.
But then the post takes a turn.
Rather than alerting the authorities, as most would, Carl offered the robber a job application.
“There are better opportunities out there than this path you’ve chosen,” the post reads. “My personal cell is [redacted]. No police, no questions. Let’s sit down and talk about how we could help you and fix the road you’re on.”
In a comment to TODAY, Carl reiterated he has no intention of pressing charges and is “extremely hopeful” that the man will come by for an interview.
“I’m a person that believes that everything happens for a reason… we are all just one good choice away from a completely different life.”
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5. Educational resources on nutrition and mental health.
🩺 Smart Medicine… the FDA authorized the marketing of Cosmo Pharmaceuticals’ GI Genius – the first endoscopy system to use AI to help doctors detect lesions during a colonoscopy in real time. (Colorectal cancer is the third deadliest form of cancer in the United States.)
🌮 Faster Food… today, Taco Bell is opening its first U.S. digital-only restaurant in Times Square. Customers are required to place a digital order ahead of visiting the establishment or use a self-order kiosk inside the restaurant in lieu of interacting with human employees – though some will still be available to serve booze.
🧠 Better, Faster, Stronger… researchers at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology announced the discovery of a new protein binding necessary for repairing brain damage, which may allow physicians to develop treatments for currently incurable brain diseases, such as schizophrenia.