Stuff YOU Should Know

Posted by on Sep 16, 2022 in Stuff You Should Know

Great Britain’s New Prime Minister

In addition to Queen Elizabeth II passing away last week,  Great Britain recently faced another leadership change.  Prime Minister Boris Johnson resigned his position on July 7. Two days before the queen’s death on September 8 Liz Truss took over as the nation’s Prime Minister.   Formerly Great Britain’s foreign secretary, Truss has been a cabinet minister for eight years. She was a Liberal Democrat in college but has since shifted to become much more conservative.  

Truss has announced that she will focus on the country’s current energy crisis. Her plan is to create an emergency funding package to help people pay their rising energy bills. If her plan passes, it will be one of the biggest-ever UK governmental assistance programs in peacetime. Truss must also help navigate her country through the death of Queen Elizabeth, who was the longest-reigning monarch in British history. Many of her plans for her first few weeks in office–including a trip to the United States to meet with President Biden – must be put on hold as her country enters its period of mourning. 

Dig Deeper How many prime ministers did Britain have during Queen Elizabeth’s reign? Who were they? 

Western U.S. Faces Deadly Heat Wave

While some parts of the United States are already beginning to enjoy cooling temperatures and changing fall colors, the western U.S. is enduring an unusually bad heat wave. In what is being called the worst heat wave in U.S. history, temperatures last week reached into the triple digits in parts of California, Salt Lake City, Utah, and Las Vegas, Nevada. 

These record-setting temperatures carry serious threats. The combination of the dry heat and high winds has caused wildfires to rage along the Montana-Idaho border. The Moose Fire in central Idaho is the largest wildfire currently burning in the United States. And a fire in Southern California has already killed two people and destroyed several homes. About 13 million people are living under fire alerts right now. 

The heat also places a historic strain on the electrical grids of several Western states. In Southern California, for example, nearly sixty thousand customers were facing the threat of electrical shutoffs. In and around the San Jose area, nearly twenty-four thousand people were without power last week. Another four thousand were powerless in the Silicon Valley area. Fortunately, Californians reduced their personal energy usage enough to prevent rolling blackouts. This is when electricity is deliberately shut off in certain areas to prevent the grid from overloading entirely. 

California Governor Gavin Newsom is signing legislation that will create a committee to study the effects of heat waves; develop the nation’s first heat wave advance-warning system; and devote more resources toward tackling extreme heat. 

What Do You Think? Do you think that the new legislation passed in California will be effective at combating climate change? Why or why not?

New COVID Booster Shots Available

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new, modified vaccine that specifically targets the omicron variant of the virus. It also works just as well against the original strain. A vaccine that does both is called “bivalent.”  

Both Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have been authorized by the FDA. The Moderna vaccine is approved for people eighteen and older, and the Pfizer vaccine is for people twelve and up. They will be free of cost. The CDC says that young people twelve to seventeen years old who have received a full vaccination need to wait for two months after the original vaccine before receiving this new dose. The federal government’s goal is to get as many people as possible up to date on their vaccinations before cold and flu season begins.  

The White House has announced that the nation has reached the point where for most people, a yearly booster should keep someone protected. This makes it similar to the flu shot. (Note: Older people and those who are immunocompromised or have other health problems that make them vulnerable may need to get boosted more often than that.) 

Dig Deeper Create a flyer or poster explaining the reasons the benefits of being vaccinated, as well as the contact information for your local health department.