business news in context, analysis with attitude

Random and illustrative stories about the global pandemic and how businesses and various business sectors are trying to recover from it, with brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  In the United States, there now have been 49,969,856 total Covid-19 coronavirus cases, resulting in 808,763 deaths and 39,523,573 reported recoveries.

Globally, there have been 266,234,254 total cases, with 5,273,613 resultant fatalities and 239,872,813 reported recoveries.  (Source.)

•  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that 75.5 percent of the US population age five and older, and 71 percent of the total population, has received at least one dose of vaccine;  63.7 percent of the five-and-older population and 59.9 percent of the total population has been fully vaccinated.

The CDC also says that 25.1 percent of the 18-and-old US population and 23.3 percent of the total US population has received a vaccine booster dose.  Almost half - 47.4 percent - of the US population age 65 and older has received a booster shot.

•  The New York Times reports that "vaccine demand has spiked from an average of under a million doses a day for much of October to an average of 1.5 million a day in recent weeks, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Demand for boosters and first time doses seems to be driving that increase."

As a result, the Times writes, "many vaccination clinics and local officials are reporting long lines and delays in booking vaccination appointments recently, the product of expanded eligibility on booster shots and fears of the Omicron variant, experts said."

•  From the Washington Post:

"The United States is averaging more than 100,000 new coronavirus cases each day for the first time in two months, as the delta variant remains dominant amid fears of the new omicron variant … The last time it topped 100,000 was Oct. 6, when the country was averaging over 101,000 new cases daily."

Keep in mind, from the beginning public health officials said that in order to say we have Covid-19 under control, we have to get the daily case rate at 20,000 or lower.

•  The Associated Press reports that "U.S. health officials said Sunday that while the omicron variant of the coronavirus is rapidly spreading throughout the country, early indications suggest it may be less dangerous than delta, which continues to drive a surge of hospitalizations."

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that while scientists need more information, “Thus far, it does not look like there’s a great degree of severity to it.  But we have really got to be careful before we make any determinations that it is less severe or it really doesn’t cause any severe illness, comparable to delta.”

• And, from the Times:

"Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a sweeping Covid vaccine mandate for all private employers in New York City on Monday morning to combat the spread of the Omicron variant.

"Mr. de Blasio said the aggressive measure, which takes effect Dec. 27 and which he described as the first of its kind in the nation, was needed as a 'pre-emptive strike' to stall another wave of coronavirus cases and help reduce transmission during the winter months and holiday gatherings."

The Times adds:

"The coronavirus variant has spread to at least 45 nations worldwide, with the United States and much of Europe reporting a number of new cases in recent days. And while much uncertainty remains about what impact the Omicron variant will have on the pandemic, many nations have scrambled to impose travel restrictions — or in some cases introduced more serious measures.

"With cases of Omicron now growing worldwide, the prospects of even more stringent restrictions are looming over a holiday period that many had hoped would be a return to some normalcy. In Europe, already the epicenter of a surge in the pandemic in recent weeks, the uncertainties raised by Omicron have ignited fears that the winter ahead will be more difficult than anticipated."

•  Brinkwire reports that worries about the new variant has prompted Tesco in the UK to require all customers to wear face masks when shopping at its stores.