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Peak Omicron

It’s a chilling Tuesday.

Eric Hill, of the Cambridge Historical Society, takes us back to a time when shoe manufacturing was such a big deal that an exhibition hall was built along the Charles River to showcase the latest in leather work technology.

It’s not a vaccination passport but Hiawatha Bray reports on the new Massachusetts website that will allow you to confirm your vaccination status. Here’s how to start. Meanwhile cases are through the roof. This surge is crazy. Here’s the latest data from the state.

Look at where we are now compared to any of the worse previous surges to get an idea of how widespread Omicron is.

Despite it being less serious, it’s still having an impact on hospitals just by virtue of the numbers. A lot of routine surgeries are being deferred because of staffing. The unvaccinated are being hospitalized at a much higher rate than those who have had the shot, as this chart from the Times shows for New York and Seattle.

But deaths are not peaking quite as badly as they would if Omicron was more potent. Again, vaccination is a big factor in who dies. Now we’ll be watching the numbers going forward to see if this is the acme or if we’ll top off going into February. By March we should be in a better place. Famous last words.

No passengers, no problem. Lufthansa has been flying empty planes to keep gate slots.

And speaking of flying, TSA has released their top ten prohibited items that people tried to take on to a flight last year, complete with Memojis. My favorite is the meth-burrito, although the chainsaw is pretty good, too.

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