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…
• From the Wall Street Journal:
"Summer is bringing us hot days, vacations - and a Covid bump.
"If you are surprised to learn that your neighbor, co-worker or kid’s best friend just tested positive for Covid-19, don’t be. Measures of Covid rates including virus levels in wastewater, ER visits, test positivity and hospital admissions are increasing nationally, according to the most recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. The good news is that we are starting from very low rates.
"Doctors are watching the current trends for clues to Covid’s yearly pattern going forward. Other respiratory viruses such as flu and RSV typically start spreading in the fall and peak in the winter. Covid, a much newer virus that has mutated a lot since emerging a few years ago, so far has had winter surges as well as summer bumps, like we’re seeing again this year.
"One possible factor: Heat waves are sending people fleeing for air-conditioned indoor spaces, where Covid transmits more easily compared with outside. Summer travel might also play a role, as people crowd into airports and bring their germs along with them crisscrossing the world."
• In the Boston Globe, Dr. Ashish Jha, Dean of the School of Public Health at Brown University and the former White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator, has a piece about how - and why - "most of us can finally ignore COVID."
He writes, in part:
"We are living with COVID. The virus isn’t going anywhere, but how safely we live with it has changed dramatically. Most Americans have resumed the full range of their pre-pandemic activities — concerts, parties, summer camps, and family events. But with the virus still circulating, many who have gone back to pre-pandemic life still worry if they are safe.
"It makes sense to be wary. We have lived with these risk assessments and daily decisions for almost four years. And yet we are in a much different, much better place. We can protect ourselves with vaccines, which remain free and widely available. Treatments like Paxlovid are more accessible than ever. Innovative research continues, with an updated vaccine expected in the fall that will better target the circulating variant. Tests are available for those who still want to use testing, and surveillance, through wastewater and genomic sequencing, is much better than it used to be. Add in large investments in improving indoor air quality and the infrastructure to respond more effectively to future outbreaks and things are much better.
"The truth is that we can now prevent nearly every COVID death. People who are up to date on their vaccines and get treated when infected rarely get seriously ill. Even for the vulnerable like my parents, who are in their 80s, vaccines coupled with treatments provide a very high degree of protection against serious illness. This is also true for most immunocompromised individuals. The fact is, now a few basic steps mean you can ignore COVID safely — and get back to doing things that matter, even with COVID still around. Think of these safety measures like the routine check-ups that keep your car safe to drive.
"What are these measures? The most important is making sure immunity is up to date. For most of us, this means one COVID booster shot annually. For high-risk people whose immune systems are less robust (like my parents and others over 65), two shots per year will help shore up waning immunity and avoid unnecessary vulnerability. The Biden administration has made a large investment in building vaccines that will stop infections and whose benefits will potentially last years. Until those vaccines arrive, an updated shot annually for most of us and two shots a year for the most vulnerable will keep most people safe from serious illness."
I have a simple philosophy about this. Stick however many needles in my arm that are necessary for me to stay healthy, and I'll live my life - I trust the science, and I trust the scientists.
• The US now has had 107,515,738 total cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus, resulting in 1,169,813 deaths and 105,647,470 reported recoveries.
Globally, there have been 692,532,722 total cases, with 6,903,506 resultant fatalities and 664,605,343 reported recoveries. (Source.)
• The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that 81.4 percent of the total US population now has received at least one dose of vaccine, with 69.5 percent. being fully vaccinated and 17 percent having received an updated booster dose.