Facts about Deltacron, the true death toll from COVID, more Biden crackdowns on Russia and what to watch this weekend

Contrary to popular perception, he didn’t just walk around randomly tossing apple seeds from his shoulder pocket, hoping they would sprout. In fact, he built nurseries of sorts, carefully planting trees, fencing them off, and handing over the responsibility of maintaining them to a neighbor, who could sell the apples and keep some of the money.

But yes, he was a wanderer, often walking barefoot and wearing a tin pot on his head as both a hat and a handy container for making food. He worshiped nature and animals, even going so far as to put out a fire he had built for warmth when he noticed mosquitoes flying into the flame and dying. He eventually became a vegetarian.

How is it outside? Beautiful and sunny today, but it will be a weekend of wild weather: Heavy rain tomorrow morning, followed by snow in the afternoon. Metro Boston should get two inches or less; look for 3 to 4 inches in Central Mass. and up to 8 inches in the Berkshires. Here’s more from The Globe’s Dave Epstein.

Hi, sport: Now that MLB players and owners have reached a new contractual agreement, ending the lockdown, players can start showing up for spring training today. It will be a shortened pre-season, but the full 162-game schedule will be played, although the regular season will start on April 7 instead of March 31. They will play missing games on days off or adding doubleheaders here and there.

The Celtics will host the Pistons at the Garden at 7:30 p.m. tonight (NBC Sports Boston) and the Mavericks at 3:30 p.m. Sunday (ABC).

Besides, by Kevin Garnett The No.5 will be retired to the Garden in Sunday’s game. Here are some interesting facts about the big guy.

And Globe columnist Tara Sullivan examines the double standards at play in the lack of publicity and outrage over Russia’s arrest and detention of the WNBA superstar Britney Griner of the Phoenix Mercury on drug charges that may or may not be true.

The Bruins will be at the Garden in between, playing against Arizona at 7 p.m. Saturday (NESN).

The Towers are also at home, taking on Salt Lake at 7:30 p.m. Saturday (TV38 and ESPN+).

The Boston Pride The women’s professional hockey team plays back-to-back games in Toronto against the Six at 2 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday, both viewable on twitch.tv.

The New England Free Jacks The professional rugby team hosts the Toronto Arrow at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at their home stadium, the Veterans Memorial in Quincy (NBC Sports Boston).

Current US coronavirus / COVID-19 numbers in the United States

From the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University

Confirmed US cases: 79,465,525

Confirmed deaths in the United States: 965 866

So should we all be worried about another COVID-19 infection dubbed Deltacron which has been found in a few countries? No. At least not yet. There simply aren’t enough cases of the infection – which is a combination of genetic material from the delta and omicron variants – to declare it a new variant.

It has been detected in France, the Netherlands, Denmark and the United States, but in such low numbers that scientists are not worried.

“It’s only a variant if it produces a large number of cases,” said William Hanage, epidemiologist at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. “So no, if it’s not causing a lot of cases, people don’t have to worry.”

Here’s more from USA Today.

I’m much more worried about the planned East Coast invasion of the enormous, palm-sized joro spider, native to Japan, which is certainly found in northern Georgia and has reportedly been spotted as far north as Tennessee. (They are apparently large enough to carry a backpack and travel.)

The insects expect to continue their journey north and end up in New England.

I’m not too worried about encountering one, since scientists say they are not dangerous or aggressive towards humans. What worries me is someone slapping me, thinking I’m a joro, since I share two of their most important characteristics: straight legs (I’m still doing my knee rehab) and a bulbous abdomen .

Here’s more from the Globe.

The true COVID death toll?: Meanwhile, researchers from the University of Washington Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation studied excess deaths worldwide in 2020 and 2021, compared to death data from the previous 11 years, and came to a disturbing conclusion:

As of the end of 2021, the total number of deaths worldwide from COVID-19 was not the official tally of 5.9 million. It was actually more than three times that number: 18.2 million people.

The IHME team studied death statistics from 74 countries and 266 states or provinces using government websites. They published their findings in the medical journal The Lancet yesterday. You can read it here.

“I’ve never seen an analysis of this scale before on excess mortality,” Dr Steven Woolf, director emeritus of the Center on Society and Health at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, told reporters. (He is not affiliated with the study.) “The results are sobering.”

Here in Massachusetts, the Globe obtained health data on COVID-19 through a public records request, then asked researchers from Boston University’s School of Public Health to analyze the data.

Talk about sobering up: The analysis found that across all adult age groups, Hispanics and black people in Massachusetts died of COVID at higher rates than white people. The differences were particularly pronounced among prime-aged people. Among Hispanics between the ages of 20 and 49, the death rate was nearly three times higher than among non-Hispanic whites. Among non-Hispanic blacks, the rate was 2.5 times higher.

Here are more details from the Globe.

Several developments linked to Putin’s brutal attack on Ukraine as missiles continue to hit hospitals, apartment buildings and other civilian targets:

— President Biden announced today that the United States, the European Union and the Group of Seven countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom and United States) are revoking the status of Russia’s most favored nation, which means they can all impose exorbitant tariffs on Russian imports.

— In addition, the United States bans the import of Russian seafood, alcohol and diamonds, and prohibits American companies from sending Russian luxury goods such as expensive watches and clothes, jewelry , high-end liquor and luxury vehicles – all of which will crimp the style of the mega-rich Russian oligarchs.

– This 40-mile-long Russian tank convoy that was apparently stuck on its way to the capital, Kyiv, has expanded, leading military experts to conclude that Russia is planning to encircle the city and deprive of food, water, heat, and other supplies.

That’s what Putin did in the coastal city of Mariupol, where up to 400,000 desperate residents burst into shops for food, melt snow to drink water and shiver in subterraneans. unheated floors as Russian soldiers surround their town. This is probably the worst humanitarian crisis in Ukraine right now.

– Ukrainian military enjoys some success: Drone footage shows a Russian convoy of tanks ambushed by Ukrainian rockets in Brovary, just northeast of the capital Kyiv. The attack reportedly caused numerous casualties and killed the unit’s Russian commander.

— Russia says the United States and Ukraine are conspiring to start using chemical or biological weapons, which is quite disturbing, because like his best friend Trump, Putin often accuses his opponents of behavior he has already adopted or is considering adopting.

Lots of news today, folks, so I’ll be printing more of your suggested aid organizations helping Ukraine next week.

To finish, The Globe’s Mark Feeney loves Ryan Reynolds’ new movie, ‘The Adam Project’ (on Netflix), but has mixed feelings about Pixar’s latest film, ‘Turning Red,’ an animated film about a young girl from 13 years old who finds herself becoming a Panda(!). It’s streaming on Disney+ starting today.

Thanks for reading. At least I don’t have fangs that can inject venom. While this may be helpful… Email your comments and suggestions to [email protected], or follow me on Twitter @BostonTeresa. See you next week.

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Teresa M. Hanafin can be contacted at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @BostonTeresa.