You’re going to have to start shelling out a lot more for your eggs.
U.S. farmers in 20 states have killed more than 40 million chickens and turkeys since December, including about a third of the commercial, egg-laying birds in Iowa, as the United States experiences its biggest-ever bird flu outbreak.
The diminishing poultry population has led to an egg supply crunch, pushing prices some 85 percent higher, according to The Wall Street Journal. Economists say prices could spike another 20 to 30 percent.
The outbreak comes just as eggs are returning to favor with consumers after years of fighting perceptions that they’re unhealthy. In 2013, Americans consumers munched on more than 250 eggs per capita, the highest rate in six years.
Last year, the U.S. poultry industry produced nearly 100 billion eggs. USDA associate deputy administrator Jack Shere told the Associated Press that the avian flu could cost the U.S. taxpayers about $400 million this year.
Big Food companies are already considering changes to their menus and their pricing following the shortage. McDonald’s, Panera Bread, and General Mills, The New York Times reports.
The last serious avian flu outbreak in the United States occurred in 1983 and led to the killing of 17 million chickens, turkey, and guinea fowl in Pennsylvania and Virginia. While avian flu spread to humans in Asia in 2003, the Centers for Disease Control considers the risk to people from the current strain to be low.
The White House on Friday unveiled plans for a new effort to ramp up testing for Covid-19, which experts say is an essential part of limiting the spread of the virus. This chart from Vox gives a sense of just how far the U.S. has to go to catch up to other countries that are dealing with the pandemic, including South Korea, the leading virus screener with 3,692 tests per million people. The U.S., by comparison, has done about 23 tests per million people as of March 12.
The Air Force has scrapped a planned upgrade of its B-2 stealth bomber fleet — even after spending $2 billion on the effort — because defense contractor Northrup Grumman didn’t have the necessary software expertise to complete the project on time and on budget, Bloomberg’s Anthony Capaccio reports, citing the Pentagon’s chief weapons buyer.
Ellen Lord, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, told reporters that the nearly $2 billion that had already been spent on the program wasn’t wasted because “we are still going to get upgraded electronic displays.”
Bernie Sanders wants to eliminate $1.6 trillion in student debt, to be paid for by a tax on financial transactions, but doing so won’t be easy, says Josh Mitchell of The Wall Street Journal.
The main problem for Sanders is that most Americans don’t support the plan, with 57% of respondents in a poll last fall saying they oppose the idea of canceling all student debt. And the politics are particularly thorny for Sanders as he prepares for a likely general election run, Mitchell says: “Among the strongest opponents are groups Democrats hope to peel away from President Trump: Rust Belt voters, independents, whites, men and voters in rural areas.”
That’s how much Michael Bloomberg is spending per day in his pursuit of the Democratic presidential nomination, according to new monthly filings with the Federal Election Commission. “In January alone, Bloomberg dropped more than $220 million on his free-spending presidential campaign,” The Hill says. “That breaks down to about $7.1 million a day, $300,000 an hour or $5,000 per minute.”