Last week, ratings down, audience tuning out:

Associated Press: Scientists mystified, wary, as Africa avoids COVID disaster, By MARIA CHENG and FARAI MUTSAKA November 19, 2021

When the coronavirus first emerged last year, health officials feared the pandemic would sweep across Africa, killing millions. Although it’s still unclear what COVID-19’s ultimate toll will be, that catastrophic scenario has yet to materialize in Zimbabwe or much of the continent.

Scientists emphasize that obtaining accurate COVID-19 data, particularly in African countries with patchy surveillance, is extremely difficult, and warn that declining coronavirus trends could easily be reversed.

But there is something “mysterious” going on in Africa that is puzzling scientists, said Wafaa El-Sadr, chair of global health at Columbia University. “Africa doesn’t have the vaccines and the resources to fight COVID-19 that they have in Europe and the U.S., but somehow they seem to be doing better,” she said.

This makes it difficult for the audience to suspend disbelief.

So, this week: a script doctor comes in and puts the narrative back on track:

Biden restricts travel from South Africa and seven other countries starting Monday

President Joe Biden announced Friday the US will restrict travel from South Africa and seven other countries starting Monday as a new coronavirus variant has emerged.

Acting on advice from the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Biden administration will restrict travel from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi.

The decision to restrict travel comes as the federal government is still attempting to learn more about the new variant, named Omicron. They need to see more sequencing, but after discussing what they’ve seen so far, officials decided to halt travel from these other countries out of concern about what they don’t yet know.

NICK: Cigarettes in space?

JEFF: It's the final frontier, Nick.

NICK: Yeah but wouldn’t they blow up in an all oxygen environment?

JEFF: Probably. But it's an easy fix. One line of dialogue. "Thank god we invented the, you know, whatever."

-- Thank You For Smoking (2006)