Palm Beach County has around 44 billionaires. The super-rich are flocking there for business opportunities, convenient transport links, and a chance to live in ‘paradise.’

West Palm Beach
West Palm Beach is attractive for both workers and their families.

  • Palm Beach County’s grew twice as fast as the US average over the past decade.
  • This has accelerated during the pandemic as remote workers sought a sunnier climate during lockdown.
  • Three locals explained why both people and businesses are flocking to the county.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Florida has been one of the few states to see real economic progress during the pandemic.

Both businesses and companies have flocked to the US’ third-largest state over the past year because of its pro-business environment, including a lack of personal-income tax, alongside its sunny climate that made it an alluring place to spend lockdown.

And Palm Beach County, located just north of Miami, has stood out. Elliott Management is planning on moving its headquarters there, Citadel Securities based its trading-floor’s COVID-19 bubble at a hotel there, and hundreds of families have relocated to the county.

Read more: IBM is hunting for a smaller NYC office now that 80% of its employees won’t come in every day. It’s a sign of the times.

Insider spoke to parties involved in the local economy, including the mayors of Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, and Palm Beach town, to understand what’s driving people to move to the area.

‘We punch above our weight in terms of business strength’

Palm Beach County has been working to drive a migration of businesses for around 10 years, Kelly Smallridge, CEO of the county’s Business Development Board (BDB), told Insider.

West Palm Beach
The county is popular among boaters.

The county realized that executives were buying second houses or coming for vacations in Florida, but owned a large business in another state. So the BDB approached them about bringing their business to Florida, Smallridge said.

“That initiative has turned out to be the most lucrative economic development initiative in the last 40 years,” Smallridge said.

The BDB isn’t the only group actively recruiting businesses to move to the county. West Palm Beach mayor Keith James told Insider that the city had been reaching out to financial-services companies for years – not just in New York but in other Northeast states including Vermont and Connecticut, alongside some companies as far afield as California.

“We’ve seen tremendous interest in companies relocating to Boca Raton,” Scott Singer, the mayor of Boca Raton, told Insider.

He said the city had been fielding “plenty” of inbound calls, but that it had also launched targeted advertising in the New York, Chicago, and San Francisco markets, including promoting its technology business hub.

The three mayors told Insider they had especially noticed increasing levels of interest from venture capital, private equity, hedge fund, and financial-services companies, feeding into a state-wide trend.

360 rosemary related companies office building west palm beach
360 Rosemary, a new West Palm Beach office building under construction, is luring out-of-state financial firms including New Day as tenants.

Hedge fund Elliott Management is in final-stage talks to move its headquarters from Manhattan to West Palm Beach, while Maryland-based mortgage company New Day USA is leasing 50,000 square feet of office space as a second headquarters in the city.

And Ken Griffin’s Citadel Securities chose Palm Beach’s Four Seasons as the location for its trading floor’s COVID-19 bubble in April 2020.

Almost 2,500 financial-service firms have offices in the county, employing 37,000 people in total, according to the BDB.

But other industries are growing, too. West Palm Beach is targeting the marine and medical industries for future growth, while Singer said that Bacon Raton has been a tech hub for decades, noting that IBM developed the first personal computer there in 1981.

Palm Beach's marina
Palm Beach County’s 47 miles of coastline mean that its marine industry is booming.

Singer said Boca Raton had the number of corporate headquarters you’d expect from a city of four or five times its size. These include the headquarters of The Office Depot, ADT, and Bluegreen Vacations.

“We punch above our weight in terms of business strength,” Singer said.

ADT's HQ
ADT’s headquarters are located in Boca Raton.

The county also has a 350,000 square foot convention center with 19 meeting rooms for businesses to hold events, conferences, and trade shows.

Palm Beach County Convention Center
The county even has its own convention center.

Florida doesn’t have a personal-income tax but it has a variety of other business benefits, too, Troy McLellan, CEO of Boca Raton’s Chamber of Commerce, said.

He said Boca Raton has a “rich entrepreneurial environment” and “an ecosystem that supports business and entrepreneurs,” in part thanks to actions of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. He also points to the collaboration between groups such as the Palm Beach’s BDB, the regional Chamber, and Enterprise Florida.

Boca Raton alone has three college campus that create a pipeline of intellectual capital for businesses relocating to the area, McLellan said.

Florida Atlantic University campus
Florida Atlantic University’s main campus is based in Boca Raton.

There are a lot of transport developments either in place or in the pipeline for Palm Beach County, too.

The county has an international airport, which more than six million passengers pass through each year. Even the most northern part of the county, Jupiter, is located just 90 minutes’ drive from Miami and Fort Lauderdale airports for a wider range of long-haul flights.

Boca Raton also has its own general aviation airport, while West Palm Beach is planning to launch a study into the feasibility of direct flights from the city to the Caribbean to benefit its marine sector.

And traveling from West Palm Beach to the rest of Florida is getting easier after it was connected to Miami through Brightline, a rail system with investments from Richard Branson’s Virgin, John Boyd of the Boyd Company said. The route will be expanded to include Orlando and its airport as well as Tampa, too.

Brightline train
The Brightline connect cities across southern Florida.

This transport network is luring both businesses and people to the county.

Singer said there had been “tremendous interest” from executives with businesses overseas, who wanted to open offices or even locate to Boca Raton because of its transport links. Meanwhile, West Palm Beach says it has “one of Florida’s most walkable central business districts,” reducing the need to commute.

People were already migrating – but the pandemic sped this up

Not only have businesses been moving to the county but people have flocked there, too.

Palm Beach County’s population grew by around 14.2% over the past decade, according to estimates from the US Census Bureau. This is almost double the rate of overall US population growth. Its population sits at around 1.5 million, making it Florida’s third-largest county by population and second-largest by size.

This growth isn’t just because of the natural population increases that you would expect over time. There has also been soaring rates of both domestic and international migration. The county’s net migration was around 11,500 in 2020, according to US Census Bureau estimates – compared to a net migration loss of 23,625 for New York County, which has a similar population.

West Palm Beach
West Palm Beach is a hotspot for for businesses and workers.

Florida is traditionally associated with retirees but McLellan said this trend seems to be fading as more and more families and young high-flyers move to the area.

Many of these migrants are coming from the Northeast. Around two in five people moving to Palm Beach County come from the New York City area, per a report by Unacast. But some also come from cities like Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco, or even from countries like India and Brazil, Boyd said.

Forbes identifies Palm Beach County as Florida’s billionaire hub. The 2,600-square-mile county has around 44 billionaires, Smallridge said. This is roughly as many as there are in the entirety of Los Angeles, according to Wealth-X’s 2020 Billionaire Census, and includes Interactive Brokers founder Thomas Peterffy, hedge-fund manager David Tepper, and food-and-drink entrepreneur Jude Reyes, per Forbes.

It’s also the home of Mar-a-Lago, the US’s second-largest mansion, owned by former President Donald Trump.

Mar a Lago better
Former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort is located in the county.

The county also has around 71,000 millionaire households, Smallridge said. Oracle Founder Larry Ellison recently bought an $80 million house in the county, though he plans to stay living in Hawaii full-time, and fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger sold his house in Greenwich, Connecticut to move to Palm Beach.

Danielle Moore, the mayor of the town of Palm Beach, said it had a reputation as “the hometown of ‘captains of industry,'” which she said motivated even more people to move there.

People had already been migrating to the county before the pandemic but COVID-19 forced people to address their work-life balance, alongside the deterioration of office culture, the mayors said.

Alongside companies opening up offices in the city, the rise in remote working during the pandemic has led to digital nomads flocking to the county.

Moore said the town of Palm Beach was experiencing the lowest inventory of available homes “in decades,” and house prices across the county have gone up around 10% over the past year as more and more people relocate.

West Palm Beach housing
Housing in the area is in high demand.

Some of these people are incredibly wealthy. Sales of million-dollar single-family homes in Palm Beach County increased by more than 140% year over year, according to the 2021 Luxury Outlook report by Sotheby’s International Realty.

Florida has remained largely open during the pandemic compared to other states. This led to people choosing to make Florida their primary residence for the pandemic.

“People can work from anywhere, so why not work from paradise?” Singer said.

“That trend is likely to continue because the office environment of New York City is not what it was,” he said. He added that New York State was also hiking its taxes.

“When they were closed down, we had plenty of recreation space and great weather year-round, and people are understanding more and more that this is where they want to be,” he added.

West Palm Beach marina
Palm Beach County’s sunny climate lures people to the area.

Alongside retirees, Florida is also associated with seasonal residents who move to the state for the colder winter months, and Moore said that the town of Palm Beach’s population more than doubles during the peak season.

But when people relocated to Florida, many started enrolling their children at nearby schools, and soon found themselves settled down in the state, Smallridge said.

Palm Beach County’s median age is 43.6, “and that number is probably going to stay steady even as we all age because younger people are being born and coming here every day,” Singer said.

The climate has attracted people, too. The county has an average temperature of 75 degrees Fahrenheit, compared to 53 degrees Fahrenheit for New York State, hasn’t had snow since 1978, and has around 47 miles of coastline.

Palm Beach
Smallridge said that some of the county’s c-suite workers go for a swim before work.

“Most executives will go take a swim in the beach before they even go to work,” Smallridge said. “They never have to shovel snow and they don’t have to ride with the subway.”

But even as more people migrate to the county, some to work remotely while others to work for the companies opening new offices in the area, this trend is ultimately creating more employment opportunities for local residents, James said. He added that West Palm Beach has offered financial incentives to companies moving to the city based on the number of jobs they create, including expedited permit reviews and tax exemptions.

McLellan, meanwhile, said Boca Raton was trying to create a pipeline of future talent for businesses in the area, and that the Chamber was working to discourage residents from migrating away from the city.

Ultimately Palm Beach County is positioning itself as not just a major financial-services hub, but also a destination for families, young graduates, and high-flying execs to move to.

This is perhaps best summed up by West Palm Beach’s tagline: “business, life, balanced.”

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One chart shows how dramatically the pace of vaccinations differs from country to country

india vaccine line
People wait in line to receive COVID-19 vaccines in Mumbai, India, April 24, 2021.

  • The global vaccine rollout is very uneven – some nations may reach herd immunity years before others.
  • Israel, the US, and UK are vaccinating people fastest, while Brazil, India, and Japan trail behind.
  • One chart shows when 18 different countries will reach three key vaccination milestones.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

By next week, around half the US population will have received at least one coronavirus shot – a milestone that could take other countries years to reach at their current pace.

The pace of vaccinations across the globe remains highly uneven: As of Monday, wealthy countries had received 83% of the world’s vaccine supply, despite making up just 53% of the world’s population, according to World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Israel, the US, and the UK have the world’s fastest vaccine rollouts so far. Israel vaccinated half its population in just two months, from December to February, while the UK reached that milestone two weeks ago. In roughly a month, around 75% of the UK could be vaccinated.

Meanwhile, plenty of other countries, including Egypt and South Africa, and aren’t expected to cross that threshold for about a decade at their current pace.

The chart below shows how long it will take 18 countries to reach these key milestones, based on their current vaccine rollout speed.

Epidemiologists have estimated that countries will need to vaccinate around 75% of their populations to reach herd immunity – the threshold beyond which the coronavirus can no longer spread easily from person to person.

For many nations, that’s a far-off goal. At the current rate of 110,000 vaccinations per day, it could take Japan eight months to immunize just a quarter of its population, and more than two years to immunize 75%. South Korea faces a similar predicament: The country’s 75% vaccination threshold is more than a year away.

That means it’s likely to take years to reach herd immunity on a global scale.

Limited vaccine supply has hampered many countries’ rollouts

Japan vaccine vaccination COVID-19
A medical worker receives a COVID-19 vaccine in Tokyo, Japan on March 5, 2021.

One of the biggest challenges to reaching global herd immunity is a lack of vaccine supply.

Early in the pandemic, wealthy countries like the US and UK struck deals with pharmaceutical companies – before it was even known whether their vaccines were safe or effective – to buy enough doses for their residents.

Lower-income countries couldn’t afford to make that gamble, so many are still vying for shots or waiting on supply from nations that manufacture doses domestically, like China and Russia.

But even some high- or middle-income nations have had slow vaccine rollouts.

Brazil, for instance, rejected an offer to purchase 70 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine in August, instead betting on AstraZeneca’s shot (which is significantly cheaper) to drive its vaccination efforts. But Brazil is now running low on vaccine supply, so it’s relying on backup doses of China’s Sinovac shot.

Language from Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has also fueled vaccine skepticism. Bolsonaro previously joked that the Pfizer shot could “turn you into an alligator.” On Monday, however, Bolsonaro announced that the government would put an extra 5.5 billion reais ($1.05 billion) toward delivering more vaccines to the public.

Boxes containing the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine are prepared to be shipped at the Pfizer Global Supply Kalamazoo manufacturing plant in Portage, Mich., Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020.
Boxes containing the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine are prepared to be shipped at a Pfizer plant in Portage, Michigan on December 13, 2020.

In Japan and South Korea, some public-health experts have attributed slow rollouts to consistently low caseloads: Japan’s daily coronavirus cases have never exceeded 8,000, and South Korea’s daily cases have stayed below 1,000 for most of the pandemic. That created less urgency to procure doses quickly.

But there have been other holdups, too: Only doctors and nurses are allowed to administer shots in Japan, and the nation didn’t authorize its first coronavirus vaccine until February, months after the US and UK.

India has also lagged behind in delivering vaccines to the public. Its vaccination effort took a hit when cases began to skyrocket in February, amid the spread of new variants. Healthcare workers had to shift their focus away from administering shots to care for hospitalized patients.

Now, WHO officials are calling on wealthy nations to help other countries pick up the pace.

“COVID-19 has shown that our fates are inextricably linked,” Tedros said in February. “Whether we win or lose, we will do so together.”

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You are more likely to get a blood clot on birth-control pills than from the J&J vaccine – but not the same type of clot

woman gets johnson & johnson vaccine
A woman receives a Johnson & Johnson vaccine from nurse Gina Reed at a vaccination center at the Hilton Chicago O’Hare Airport Hotel in Chicago, Illinois, on March 5, 2021.

  • The CDC and FDA have recommended a pause in the rollout of J&J’s COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Of the 6.8 million Americans who got the shot, six women are known to have developed blood clots.
  • Blood clots linked to birth-control pills are more common than that, but they’re typically a different type.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The US paused its rollout of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, following six reports of blood clots among people who got the shot.

All six cases involved women between 18 and 48 years old. They developed the clots six to 13 days after their shots, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration. So far, 6.8 million Americans have gotten the J&J vaccine – so if clots are indeed linked to the vaccine (which is not yet known) they’re seen at a rate of less than one in 1 million.

To highlight how small that rate is, some experts have compared the statistic to rates of blood clots among women taking birth-control pills. As many as one in every 100 women taking birth control over a period of 10 years can experience a clot.

“As someone who got the J&J vaccine eight days ago, and who took oral contraceptives for 20 years, I’ll take these odds,” Angie Rasmussen, a virologist from Georgetown University, tweeted on Tuesday.

But it’s challenging to directly compare the clots observed in people who got the J&J vaccine to those among women who take oral contraceptives, for two main reasons. The first is that in the six cases that US regulators are investigating, patients also showed low levels of blood platelets – cells that stop bleeding. That’s not seen among women on birth-control pills who experience clots.

The second reason is that these are mostly not the same types of clots. The rare reaction that might be linked to the J&J shot is called central venous sinus thrombosis (CVST), and it’s a clot in the brain. The clots typically associated with birth-control pills, meanwhile, occur in veins inside the thigh or calf.

“This is a different clinical entity than blood clots associated with oral contraceptives,” Dr. Melanie Swift, an internist and vaccine expert at the Mayo Clinic, told Insider.

The chart below compares the rate of known CVST clots among people who’ve gotten the J&J shot with the risk of that type of clot in the general population.

A second chart compares the rate of any type of blood clots – not only CVST – among COVID-19 patients, women on birth-control pills, and women in general.

Oral contraceptives raise the risk of clots, but they’re still unusual

Estrogen, a hormone in oral contraceptives, is linked to as much as a four-fold higher risk of any type of blood clot. That’s because it prompts the body to produce more of the plasma that helps blood stick together.

Still, pill-associated clots are quite unusual.

“For women taking combined oral contraceptives, blood clotting is a very small risk but a serious condition,” Dr. Melanie Davies, a gynecologist in London and professor at University College London, told Insider. She said the risk can be compared to rare but serious events like a car crash.

“For 10,000 women over a year, one to five will have a blood clot anyway, and on the [pill] that rises to three to nine, so it is still less than one in 1,000 chance,” she said. “It’s also important to know that this is much less than the risk of getting blood clots in pregnancy and after childbirth.”

As many as 65 out of every 10,000 new mothers experience a clot in the three months after childbirth.

birth control pill

A false comparison

Most birth-control-linked clots are found in women’s legs, though they can also sometimes travel from the legs to the lungs.

“When you’re looking at clots that are associated with birth control, those are usually going to be in the form of a deep vein thrombosis and very rarely a pulmonary embolism,” Dr. Jessica Shepherd, an OB-GYN in Dallas who serves as the chief medical officer of VeryWell Health, told Insider.

Overall, your chance of developing deep vein thrombosis is one in 1,000 every year.

CVST, by contrast, occurs in the brain when the sinuses that drain blood from your head get blocked. About five people out of every million in the general population experience this each year. Women on birth control face a higher risk of CVST than men and than women who aren’t on the pill.

Several studies have also shown that some COVID-19 patients get diagnosed with CVST.

For the FDA and CDC, concerns over blood clots among J&J recipients wasn’t so much about the total number of cases, but rather that the patients also had low levels of blood platelets. According to Swift, the number of people who get this combination of symptoms is so small that it’s “too low to provide a population estimate.”

“This type of a combination of low platelets and blood clots has been very rarely seen in the past in other situations as an autoimmune phenomenon, but it’s very, very rare,” Dr. Peter Marks, director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research at the FDA, said during a briefing on Tuesday.

‘An abundance of caution’

johnson and johnson vaccine
A nurse loads a syringe with a dose of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine on March 9, 2021 in Athens, Ohio.

Experts say people who’ve already gotten the J&J shot shouldn’t panic.

“If they have received the shot and it has been over two weeks since getting the shot, they should not worry, as the problem seems to occur early,” Dr. Paul Geopfert, a professor of medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham who worked on the J&J trial, told Insider. “It is also extremely rare, so it seems unlikely we will see many more in light of the safety pause.”

Those who have gotten a J&J shot in the last two weeks, Geopfert added, can look out for clot-related symptoms: “CVST would be more associated with severe headaches, confusion, and loss of consciousness,” he said.

Typical vaccine side effects like fatigue aren’t likely to signal a clot.

The US health agencies said they recommended this pause “out of an abundance of caution” and to give healthcare professionals time to understand the potential risks and treat patients accordingly.

“I respect the independence of the FDA and their need to evaluate risk. But six out of 6.8 million is not a lot, and if they are going to land on ‘we reviewed the data and everything is fine,’ they need to be clear and quick and unequivocal,” Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz tweeted.

Dr. Catherine Schuster-Bruce contributed reporting to this story.

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One chart shows which vaccine side effects you can expect based on your age, manufacturer, and dose

Netherlands Pfizer Vaccine Rollout
A healthcare worker in the Netherlands receives the Pfizer vaccine on January 6.

  • All three US-authorized coronavirus vaccines can bring mild to moderate side effects.
  • Johnson & Johnson’s shot generally has fewer side effects than Pfizer’s or Moderna’s.
  • Elderly people saw fewer side effects than younger adults across all three clinical trials.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

If you’re getting vaccinated, expect a sore arm.

Pain at the injection site is the most common side effect of all three coronavirus vaccines authorized in the US.

In general, the vaccines produce mild to moderate side effects that shouldn’t last more than a few days. Side effects typically show up within 12 to 24 hours of getting the shot. They’re often a sign that the body is building immunity to the virus.

“It’s important to remember: When people get side effects from vaccines, it’s not really because of the vaccine; it’s more of the body’s immune response to the vaccine,” Dr. Vivek Cherian, an internal-medicine physician in Baltimore, told Insider.

Scroll through the chart below to see which side effects are common based on your age group, which manufacturer’s vaccine you get, and whether you’re on dose one or two. In general, older people experience fewer side effects than younger adults, since our immune response gradually weakens with age. For two-shot vaccines like Pfizer’s and Moderna’s, the second shot amplifies an existing immune response, so people typically feel more run-down after that dose.

Vaccines spur our bodies to produce coronavirus antibodies. But since our immune systems can’t distinguish between a real infection and a vaccine-induced response, they still release inflammatory chemicals to protect us. That’s why people can develop a fever, muscle pain, fatigue, or headaches shortly after their shots.

Johnson & Johnson’s shot has the fewest side effects

Across the board, Johnson & Johnson’s shot has milder and fewer side effects than the other two. Some experts suspect that’s because it’s a single shot.

Nearly 62% of participants younger than 59 in Johnson & Johnson’s trial developed side effects, compared with 45% of people ages 60 and up.

That’s relatively similar to the reported side effects after one dose of Moderna’s vaccine: Around 57% of people younger than 65 in that trial developed side effects, compared with 48% of those older than 65. After the second Moderna dose, however, nearly 82% of people in the younger group developed side effects, compared with nearly 72% of older adults.

But Johnson & Johnson’s shot also seems to be less effective overall: Clinical trials suggest the vaccine is 66% effective at preventing COVID-19. Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccines are each more than 90% effective. However, it’s difficult to compare the companies’ trials side-by-side, since they happened at different stages in the pandemic and in different geographic regions.

Vaccine
Coronavirus vaccines are injected into muscle.

Common side effects include fatigue and headache

Once a vaccine goes into your arm, your blood flow increases and immune cells rush to the scene. This can result in pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site.

The reaction is more common after Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccines than after Johnson & Johnson’s. Across all age groups, less than 50% of participants in Johnson & Johnson’s clinical trial reported pain at the injection site compared with 92% of Moderna participants and 84% of Pfizer participants.

Headache and fatigue were also relatively common across all the trials. Around 69% of Moderna participants reported headaches compared with 55% of Pfizer participants and 39% of Johnson & Johnson’s.

In both Pfizer and Moderna’s trial, around 63% of participants reported fatigue. Just 38% of participants reported fatigue in Johnson & Johnson’s trial, but the prevalence of those side effects also varied by age.

Younger adults saw more side effects, with a few exceptions

vaccine selfie
A woman snaps a selfie after receiving her vaccine.

Just a few side effects appear to be more or equally as common among elderly participants as younger ones.

After dose two of Pfizer’s vaccine, joint paint was equally common in the two groups, with about 22% to 23% reporting the effect. But after dose two of Moderna’s vaccine, body or muscle aches were more common among adults ages 66 and up (47%) than younger adults (6%).

Though older adults tend to have fewer side effects overall, experts say there’s no reason to believe vaccines won’t work as well among the elderly.

“For the COVID-19 vaccine, we’ve actually not seen decreased effectiveness as we get older, so that’s actually a really good thing,” Cherian said.

Younger people shouldn’t worry too much about feeling strong side effects, either.

“Dealing with a few side effects of some diarrhea or some muscle aches is a much, much better thing to get than some of those serious, potentially life-threatening side effects of the COVID-19 infection,” Cherian said.

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Loud commercials are infuriating Americans, and streaming TV is making them even worse

loud commercials 2x1
Loud commercials blowing out your eardrums lately? You’re not alone.

  • The CALM Act banned excessively loud television commercials, but it doesn’t apply to streaming TV.
  • Consumers lodge thousands of complaints annually about loud commercials, and they’re on the rise.
  • The FCC almost enforced the act twice in the past decade. Audio engineer experts are trying to fix it.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

On July 1, 1941, New York’s NBC station made history by airing the world’s first television commercial.

With about 4,000 televisions in the region at the time, audience-wise it was not all that different from paying a guy to yell about a product in Times Square. The ad for Bulova watches cost $9 and ran for 10 seconds. But the world changed forever.

A decade year later, in 1954, a similar moment occurred in the annals of television history. The Federal Communications Commission got its first consumer complaints about loud commercials on television.

Needless to say, it’s pretty much all gone downhill since.

The pandemic has forced people to spend more time in front of the television than they have in ages. Simple questions like “Is it just me or are the ads way louder than ‘Jeopardy!’ every night?” provoke evocative answers. Casually asking people if they’ve experienced loud commercials yields one of two general responses: “It’s so annoying!” and “It’s way worse on my streaming TV service.”

If you’re hearing things, you’re not alone: the four-month period from November 2020 to February 2021 saw FCC complaints of loud commercials up 140% compared to the same period a year ago, more than double the volume of complaints.

There is a law on the books – the CALM Act, passed in 2011 – that is supposed to rein in loud commercials. But the FCC hasn’t done any enforcement on it in the better part of a decade.

Most significantly of all, for the people angry about explosively loud ads on streaming, there’s absolutely nothing the FCC can do about that even if they were enforcing it. What’s more, it’s not entirely clear there’s any way to do anything about that even through Congress.

The CALM Act is supposed to regulate loud commercials but the FCC hasn’t enforced it

Anna Eshoo Sheldon Whitehouse loud tv commercials
Rep. Anna Eshoo and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse mark the implementation of the CALM Act, the federal law that requires TV ads be no louder than the programs that accompany them, on Dec. 13, 2012.

The story goes that Rep. Anna Eshoo wrote the CALM Act after a loud television commercial interrupted dinner, which may be the single best argument for being an elected member of Congress I have ever heard.

It cascaded through the legislature, passing the Senate unanimously and the House in a voice vote before then-President Barack Obama signed it. Eshoo remarked at the time it was the most popular piece of legislation she had ever introduced in Congress.

The CALM act is actually fairly simple; it doesn’t say “commercials must be this loud” and it doesn’t get into the nitty gritty of how to measure that or enforce it or what consequences shall befall an operator who violates it. It’s fairly clever: all it actually says is that broadcasters and cable operators have to abide by the A/85 standard approved by the Advanced Television Systems Committee, and that the FCC has to enforce that.

A/85 is essentially an intricate, 72-page technical document that gets extremely specific about how things should sound. It’s not written for most of us to understand. But it does set acceptable bounds for the soundscape of television.

The experts wrote A/85, and Congress passed a law that said A/85 is mandatory, so Congress doesn’t have to learn about audio and the problem gets solved.

It’s a smart approach, because Congress is home to lawyers, doctors, activists, and people with all manner of expertise, but conspicuously no audio engineers, and the Advanced Television Systems Committee is understandably full of them. Congress took a standard that industry professionals had approved, and simply started requiring it.

A/85 required the average loudness of a commercial should be about as loud as the dialnorm, or the average dialogue level of a show. Because commercials can appear on your screen through a number of different ways from a number of different sources – such as being inserted by the local station or television provider, or embedded with the content itself – a standard for the whole system, top to bottom, at least formalizes the acceptable volume.

After an initial surge in complaints about loud commercials to the FCC following the Act’s passage and implementation, the bill largely had the desired impact, with complaints leveling off after a few years.

“FCC data I’ve seen shows consistent annual decreases in complaints since 2014,” Eshoo told Insider. “If that trend has changed, investigations are warranted.”

The past several months show complaints on the rise, according to an Insider analysis of the FCC database of complaints. Should the current rate hold, 2021 is poised to be the worst year since the initial rollout.

All that said, on a practical level, the CALM Act is not enforced.

There is no pipe exiting a cable company that says “out” and there is no meter on that imaginary pipe that says “too loud.” In reality, large stations and providers were supposed to spot-check once a year during the first two years of the rollout, doing 24 hours of monitoring over a seven-day period. If they found a problem, they were supposed to tell the FCC. You will be positively shocked to discover that only two small stations asked for a waiver while they fixed issues they found.

And since then? The FCC doesn’t audit stations. The agency will only investigate in the event that a pattern or trend emerges based on consumer-submitted complaints. From 2012 to 2019, consumers submitted 47,909 complaints to the FCC about loud commercials.

“In 2013, the Enforcement Bureau sent letters of inquiry to two separate companies addressing potential violations of the CALM Act and associated regulations,” an FCC spokesperson told Insider in an email, drawing from a 2020 letter from FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai responding to questions from Eshoo. “There were no violations found in either case and there are no public documents associated with these letters of inquiry. Since the 2013 letters of inquiry, the Enforcement Bureau analyses have not uncovered any pattern or trend of complaints supporting further inquiry.”

That is to say, the sum total of FCC enforcement on disproportionately loud commercials in the decade since the CALM Act has amounted to two letters – and no enforcement.

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) commissioner Ajit Pai arrives at a FCC Net Neutrality hearing in Washington February 26, 2015. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
Then-Federal Communications Commission (FCC) commissioner Ajit Pai on February 26, 2015.

In 2014, the FCC did update their technical standards to address a clever workaround that some commercials had discovered. Basically, if the average volume of your commercial has to be on par with the average volume of the program, then you could hypothetically craft a 30-second advertisement that is 15 seconds of silence and 15 seconds at twice the volume of the program and technically not violate the standard, as you’ve technically maintained the average. The 2014 update discouraged this.

Despite thousands of complaints per year, the FCC has not discerned the kind of “pattern or trend of complaints” to support further inquiry.

The FCC declined to answer Insider’s questions regarding what precisely would qualify as a pattern or trend of complaints, whether the recent rise in complaints would qualify as a pattern or trend, or a question regarding the number of people working on CALM Act enforcement at a given time.

“If CALM Act-related complaints are increasing, the FCC should analyze the complaints to understand what is driving the shift,” Eshoo said. “If an analysis of the complaint data shows a pattern of legitimate complaints against specific companies, the FCC must investigate those companies. If the Commission finds violations through its investigations, it should bring enforcement actions.”

Increased enforcement could stymie the surge in complaints. However, as streaming television rises and cords are cut, more and more Americans are getting their television from services that are not covered by the CALM act, which applies to MVPDs, or multichannel video programming distributors, which is the official legal name for cable providers.

So, why not just pass a CALM Act for streaming?

The government can’t actually regulate streaming services

loud tv commercials
The loud commercials hurt his ears.

When Insider asked that question of experts in government, legislature, and the industry, the response was similar to asking “Why not legalize civil unions for leprechauns” or “When will the Federal Aviation Administration crack down on Pogo sticks,” in that it reveals a fundamental misunderstanding about what the FCC is.

“The FCC’s subject matter jurisdiction is communication by wire or radio,” said Gigi Sohn, a Distinguished Fellow at the Georgetown Law Institute for Technology Law & Policy. “The FCC doesn’t have jurisdiction over devices.”

The streaming landscape is vastly different from television. It may look like television, but it’s legally something else entirely, and while the offerings of a virtual over-the-top service may look nearly identical to the offerings of a traditional cable television service, legally it’s completely different, and not under the regulation of the FCC.

Streamers such as Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Youtube TV, FuboTV, Sling TV, and Hulu with Live TV may look aesthetically similar to a cable package, but from the perspective of the FCC, you may as well ask them to regulate your toaster. The FCC simply lacks jurisdiction over streaming services.

One side effect of this lack of jurisdiction is that for loud commercials, the FCC can’t do a thing. And the agency can’t address any of the other anxieties of modern streaming, including local blackouts, delivery issues, billing, usage caps, content exclusivity, bans, or any of the other policies enacted by fiat by the largest media companies on the planet.

Toward the end of the Obama administration, niche virtual streaming services sought classification as MVPDs. The companies – Pluto TV and Sky Angel – wanted the FCC to expand the definition of MVPD to include streamers like them, arguing that they should be under the FCC’s direction. In 2014, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler supported the move and the FCC began considering the shift.

“They determined the benefits that accrue to them justified the FCC oversight,” said Sohn, who was working for Wheeler at the time.

fcc chairman tom wheeler
Former FCC chairman Tom Wheeler.

But the move to expand the definition was opposed both by legacy MVPDs, as well as larger streaming companies, such as Amazon, which did not want the FCC encroaching on their business, with the main fear being that any regulation would open the door to further regulation.

Proponents of the change needed three of the five commissioners of the FCC to approve it.

“We didn’t have the votes,” Sohn said. The move never went through.

Commissioner Ajit Pai, who opposed the move, shortly after became the FCC chair, functionally killing the proposal. Last year there was some movement from network affiliates to reconsider it, but for the foreseeable future the virtual streaming services are unregulatable, and part of that means they can run commercials however loud they please.

While there is nothing to stop the FCC from adapting a definition of multi-channel video provider that would include the virtual providers, or even streaming services, the result would likely be a massive lawsuit that they would probably lose very badly.

In order for the FCC to have any authority over streamers, Sohn said, Congress would have to pass a law.

“I think this is a huge fight that might happen some day,” she said. “It’ll be a battle royale. Streaming services don’t want to be regulated.”

However, the difficulties that Congress faces in regulating streaming television doesn’t mean erratic commercial volumes on streaming is going to be a problem forever.

The small committee you’ve never heard of that might actually end loud annoying streaming ads

watching tv snack
She just learned about the Audio Engineering Society and she’s pumped.

When Congress passed the CALM Act, they passed a law that essentially took an existing audio industry standard and instructed the FCC to take the necessary steps to enforce that standard.

Right this moment, the Audio Engineering Society is designing a new audio standard for streaming television.

David Bialik is a systems engineer and the co-chair of the Audio Engineering Society’s Technical Committee on Broadcast & Online Delivery. If you’ve never heard of them, you’ve definitely heard them. This is the group of audio engineers who design the standards for much of how America’s media diet sounds.

The reason you change the channel and one isn’t materially louder than another, or if you’ve gone to a concert and not seen drastically different sounds between sets – all of that is genuine scientific work agreed upon by pros and at times set as standards.

And those standards may be the ticket to a better experience on web-based streaming.

The process by which an idea becomes a standard is not entirely like the serpentine process by which a bill becomes law. Think of it as a version of the Schoolhouse Rock song “I’m Just A Bill,” but instead of a bill it’s an intricate technical document, instead of congressional committees it’s a technical committee of audio experts, and in lieu of congressional votes it’s approval by the broader audio committee.

The equivalent of the presidential signature that makes it “law” is a vote that elevates the technical document to an official Standard, a move that in A/85’s case was carried out by the Advanced Television Systems Committee, but other standards go different routes.

Right now, the Audio Engineering Society’s technical committee is working on a new technical document that would address loudness on streaming services. And if it works, the issues of variable volumes on digital television could be solved without Congress at all.

“My hope is to see this released within the next 4 to 5 months,” Bialik told Insider. The gist is that programming material will come with loudness controls within metadata, indicating precisely how loud programming should be. They’re now getting comments from the 90 members of the committee. “It is our hope that our work gets elevated to a standard.”

“This isn’t something we’re taking lightly,” he added. The bigger players have good reason to play ball, namely because a unified consumer sound experience is good for the field as a whole.

“You want your content to be the same level as everyone else’s, on a level playing field,” Bialik said. A user touching the volume knob is bad. “When you invite the audience to touch the volume knob, you invite them to touch other knobs, too.”

Despite the many issues, Congress has been mulling an update to the 1992 Cable Act, which was the last major overhaul of the cable system. Needless to say, in the intervening years the landscape of television has changed somewhat, and to that end Republican Rep. Steve Scalise and Democratic Rep. Eshoo jointly introduced the Modern Television Act of 2019.

There’s little consumers can do outside of sending in official FCC complaints, or even just complaining about it on social media. In fact, those techniques are genuinely effective.

“I periodically hear from constituents about the annoyance of loud ads on streaming services and that worries me. I’ve also seen complaints on social media,” Eshoo said.

“Right now, I’m examining how large of a problem it is. If there is a real problem that we see beyond anecdotal reports, I will certainly consider legislation to address it.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

California and Florida just announced April dates when all adults can get vaccines – here’s when every state will expand its rollout

texas vaccine covid
A medical staffer after receiving the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in Houston on December 21.

  • At least 35 states will meet Biden’s target of rolling out vaccines to all adults by May 1.
  • Six states are already vaccinating all people over 16, and five more will do so before April 1.
  • The interactive map below shows when each state plans to open vaccine eligibility to all adults.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

President Joe Biden has directed states to make coronavirus vaccines available to all adults by May 1.

Six states – Alaska, Arizona, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Utah – have met that goal early and are vaccinating people 16 and older.

Five more – Georgia, Indiana, North Dakota, Ohio, and Texas – are poised to roll out vaccines to the general public before the end of March. And 17 states have pledged to reach that milestone in April. California and Florida became the latest additions to that list on Thursday: Gov. Newsom announced that all Californian adults will be able to sign up for shots starting April 15, and Gov. DeSantis announced Florida’s age restrictions will lift on April 5.

The map below shows when each state plans to open vaccine eligibility to all adult residents. You can hover over your state to find the specific date. But some states have not yet announced dates for that final phase.

Most states hope to start vaccinating all adults in May

In total, at least 35 states will either meet Biden’s May 1 deadline or start vaccinating the general public even earlier. South Carolina will be just two days behind: The state plans to open vaccines to all adults ages 16 and up on May 3.

But 15 states haven’t offered a definitive timeline for when they plan to start vaccinating the general public.

Officials in New Mexico have said it’s possible the state will start vaccinating all adults in April if supply continues to ramp up steadily. Arkansas and Pennsylvania officials have also said their timelines depend on the number of available doses.

“What we want to have is the scheduling system and the infrastructure so that folks can be in line, know that they can actually have that appointment scheduled, and then have the peace of mind that they know their appointment is coming,” Alison Beam, the acting secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, told ABC27 News.

Two more states, Louisiana and Minnesota, have promised to roll out vaccines to all adults by the summer but haven’t given a more specific timeline.

Where the general public can already get vaccinated

On March 9, Alaska became the first state to start vaccinating the general adult public. Mississippi and Oklahoma opened vaccines to all adults on March 16, followed by Arizona and Utah on Thursday.

In Wyoming, at least 14 counties are already vaccinating all adults, but the remaining nine still have age restrictions in place.

K-12 teachers are now eligible to receive vaccines in all 50 states. Meanwhile, 35 states are vaccinating grocery-store workers, and 29 states are vaccinating restaurant workers, according to a New York Times survey. Adults with high-risk medical conditions are eligible to receive vaccines in all but three states: Connecticut, Idaho, and Maine.

In total, more than 87 million Americans – more than a quarter of the population – have received at least one vaccine dose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Among Americans 65 and over, 71% have gotten at least one dose.

The US is administering about 2.2 million doses a day on average. At that pace, the country is on track give first doses to all of its adult population by early June.

This article was originally published on March 20. It is being updated regularly to include states’ latest vaccination schedules.

Read the original article on Business Insider

At least 33 states have announced dates when all adults will be eligible for vaccines – here’s the list

texas vaccine covid
A medical staffer after receiving the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in Houston on December 21.

  • At least 33 states will meet Biden’s target of rolling out vaccines to all adults by May 1.
  • Six states are already vaccinating all people over 16, and five more will do so before April 1.
  • The interactive map below shows when each state plans to open vaccine eligibility to all adults.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

President Joe Biden has directed states to make coronavirus vaccines available to all adults by May 1.

Six states – Alaska, Arizona, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Utah – have met that goal early and are vaccinating people 16 and older.

Five more – Georgia, Indiana, North Dakota, Ohio, and Texas – are poised to roll out vaccines to the general public before the end of March. And 15 states have pledged to reach that milestone in April.

The map below shows when each state plans to open vaccine eligibility to all adult residents. You can hover over your state to find the specific date. But some states have not yet announced dates for that final phase.

Most states hope to start vaccinating all adults in May

In total, at least 33 states will either meet Biden’s May 1 deadline or start vaccinating the general public even earlier. South Carolina will be just two days behind: The state plans to open vaccines to all adults ages 16 and up on May 3.

But 17 states haven’t offered a definitive timeline for when they plan to start vaccinating the general public.

Officials in Florida and New Mexico have said it’s possible their states will start vaccinating all adults in April if supply continues to ramp up steadily. Arkansas and Pennsylvania officials have also said their timelines depend on the number of available doses.

“What we want to have is the scheduling system and the infrastructure so that folks can be in line, know that they can actually have that appointment scheduled, and then have the peace of mind that they know their appointment is coming,” Alison Beam, the acting secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, told ABC27 News.

Two more states, Louisiana and Minnesota, have promised to roll out vaccines to all adults by the summer but haven’t given a more specific timeline.

Where the general public can already get vaccinated

On March 9, Alaska became the first state to start vaccinating the general adult public. Mississippi and Oklahoma opened vaccines to all adults on March 16, followed by Arizona and Utah on Thursday.

In Wyoming, at least 14 counties are already vaccinating all adults, but the remaining nine still have age restrictions in place.

K-12 teachers are now eligible to receive vaccines in all 50 states. Meanwhile, 35 states are vaccinating grocery-store workers, and 29 states are vaccinating restaurant workers, according to a New York Times survey. Adults with high-risk medical conditions are eligible to receive vaccines in all but three states: Connecticut, Idaho, and Maine.

In total, more than 85 million Americans – more than a quarter of the population – have received at least one vaccine dose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Among Americans 65 and over, 70% have gotten at least one dose.

The US is administering about 2.2 million doses a day on average. At that pace, the country is on track give first doses to all of its adult population by early June.

This article was originally published on March 20. It has been updated to reflect states’ latest vaccination schedules.

Read the original article on Business Insider

One map shows when all adults will be eligible to get a coronavirus vaccine in each US state

texas vaccine covid
Medical staff member Gabriel Cervera Rodriguez raises his fist to celebrate after receiving the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, Texas, on December 21, 2020.

  • At least 23 states will meet Biden’s target of rolling out vaccines to all adults by May 1.
  • Three states – Alaska, Mississippi, and Oklahoma – are already vaccinating people ages 16 and up.
  • Another 12 states say they’ll reach that milestone in April.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

President Joe Biden has directed states to make coronavirus vaccines available to all adults by May 1.

Three states – Alaska, Mississippi, and Oklahoma – have met that goal early and are are vaccinating people 16 and older.

Two more, Ohio and Utah, are poised to roll out vaccines to the general public before the end of March. And 12 states say have pledged to reach that milestone in April.

The map below shows when each state plans to open vaccine eligibility to all adult residents. You can hover over your state to find the specific date. Some states, however, have not yet announced dates for that final phase.

Most states hope to start vaccinating all adults in May

In total, at least 23 states will either meet Biden’s May 1 deadline or start vaccinating the general public even earlier. South Carolina will be just two days behind: The state plans to open vaccines to all adults ages 16 and up on May 3.

But 26 states haven’t offered a definitive timeline for when they plan to start vaccinating the general public.

Officials in Florida, Georgia, and Virginia have said it’s possible their states will start vaccinating all adults in April if supply continues to ramp up steadily. Arkansas and Pennsylvania officials have also cautioned that their timelines depend on the number of available doses.

“What we want to have is the scheduling system and the infrastructure so that folks can be in line, know that they can actually have that appointment scheduled, and then have the peace of mind that they know their appointment is coming,” Alison Beam, acting secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, told ABC27 News.

Several states – including Alabama, Indiana, Louisiana, Minnesota, and New Mexico – have promised to roll out vaccines to all adults by the summer, but haven’t given a more specific timeline.

Where the general public can already get vaccinated

On March 9, Alaska became the first state to start vaccinating the general public. Mississippi and Oklahoma followed suit on Tuesday, March 16.

A few states have also opened vaccines to the general public in select counties.

At least 10 counties in Wyoming are now vaccinating all adults, for example, though the remaining 13 counties have age restrictions in place. Two Arizona counties, Gila and Greenlee, are also vaccinating people ages 16 and older, while Pinal County is vaccinating anyone over 17.

Earlier this week, two Texas counties, Liberty and Matagorda, briefly opened vaccine appointments to the general public after receiving a surplus of doses. But the counties haven’t officially lifted their age restrictions yet.

In total, more than 77 million Americans – nearly a quarter of the population – have received at least one vaccine dose so far, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Among Americans 65 and over, 67% have gotten at least one dose.

The US is now administering roughly 2.5 million vaccines per day, on average. At that pace, the country is on track give first doses to all of its adult population by the start of June.

Read the original article on Business Insider

One chart shows how well COVID-19 vaccines work against the 3 most worrisome coronavirus variants

covid19 vaccine
A woman receives a COVID-19 vaccine in Los Angeles on March 1, 2021.

More than 33 million Americans have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 – more than the number of US cases reported since the pandemic’s beginning. But the proliferation of pernicious variants, some of which can partially evade vaccines, means we’re not out of the woods.

New research suggests that Moderna and Pfizer’s shot are significantly less effective against the variant first found in South Africa, called B.1.351. That study used blood samples from vaccinated people to compare antibody responses to the original virus and to the B.1.351 variant. The results showed that those who got Moderna’s shot had 12 times fewer antibodies that could neutralize B.1.351, while the Pfizer recipients saw 10 times less of those antibodies.

The study authors said both vaccines would likely be less effective against P.1, a variant first found in Brazil as well.

The chart below summarizes what we know so far about how well five vaccines work to protect people from three of the most worrisome coronavirus variants.

Three variants, three stories

Countless versions of the coronavirus circulate worldwide, each separated by a small number of genetic mutations.

Once a slew of mutations makes a particular strain better at infecting people, deadlier, or able to evade the antibodies generated from a vaccination or previous infection, geneticists label it a variant of concern.

There are three of these: B.1.1.7, the variant initially spotted in the UK in September; P.1, which was discovered in December; and B.1.351, which was detected in samples from South Africa dating back to October.

COVID-19, South Africa
Health worker Vuyiseka Mathambo takes a nasal swab from a patient to test for COVID-19 in Cape Town, South Africa.

All three share a mutation that affects the shape of the virus’ spike protein, which it uses to invade cells. That may be why these variants are more transmissible.

Studies have shown that the B.1.1.7 variant – which has thus far been reported in 94 countries, including the US – is between 50% and 70% more contagious than its viral predecessors. Recent evidence also suggests that people infected with this variant may face a higher risk of death than those who get other strains.

The B.1.351 variant from South Africa has been reported in 48 countries and 23 US states. But studies have not found it to be more lethal than the original virus.

The same goes for the P.1 variant, which a March study suggests is between 40% and 120% more transmissible than earlier versions of the virus. P.1 has been detected in 26 countries and 10 US states.

A nurse shows a COVID-19 vaccine produced by Chinese company Sinovac Biotech at the Sao Lucas Hospital, in Porto Alegre, southern Brazil
A nurse shows a COVID-19 vaccine produced by Chinese company Sinovac in Porto Alegre, Brazil.

Research suggests that existing vaccines work to protect people from B.1.1.7 but are less effective against B.1.351 and P.1. That’s likely because those latter two variants share a mutation that can prevent the antibodies generated in response to the original virus from recognizing it.

This genetic tweak is mostly missing in the B.1.1.7 variant, though UK researchers did find 11 cases of B.1.1.7 with that mutation in a set of more than 200,000 samples.

B.1.351 and P.1 also have a mutation that may help the virus bind more tightly to cells.

What these variants mean for you

Both Pfizer and Moderna said in January that they plan to develop and test booster shots to tackle the B.1.351 variant. That means vaccinated people may need to get a follow-up shot. Until that process is complete, people who’ve been vaccinated or previously got COVID-19 could still be at risk of infection from the B.1.351 and P.1 variants.

Texas Vaccine
Nurse Roy Christian receives a Covid-19 vaccine at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, December 15, 2020.

However, vaccines probably still confer some degree of protection against these variants, even if they’re less effective.

“The more vaccines we can get into the arms of people, the fewer numbers of overall infections,” Kristian Andersen, an immunologist the Scripps Research Institute in California, tweeted in January. That includes infections with the B.1.351 and P.1 variants, he added.

What’s more, the variants jump between hosts the same way as the original virus – so social distancing and personal protective equipment should still help stop their spread. That’s why those mitigation measures remain critical, especially given that if you get exposed to a more transmissible variant, you’re more likely to get infected.

“Let’s get our genomic surveillance in place, better masks, more masks, much more widespread testing and screening – and avoid gatherings and crowded settings,” Andersen wrote. “Combine that with accelerated vaccine distribution and an accelerated plan for updated boosters.”

Dr. Catherine Schuster-Bruce contributed reporting to this story.

Read the original article on Business Insider