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 a total of 50,270,136 Covid-19 coronavirus cases, resulting in 812,205 deaths and 39,742,867 reported recoveries.

Globally, there have been a total of 267,582,011 cases, with 5,290,523 resultant fatalities and 241,028,113 reported recoveries.   (Source.)

•  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that 71.2 percent of the total US population and 75.7 percent of the five-and0-olde population has received at least one dose of vaccine, while 60.1 percent of the total population and 63.9 percent of the five-and-older population has been fully vaccinated.

The CDC also says that 24 percent of the total population and 25.9 percent of the 18-and-older population has received a vaccine booster shot.

•  The Wall Street Journal this morning reports that "Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE said a third dose of their Covid-19 vaccine neutralized the Omicron variant in lab tests, but the two-dose regimen was significantly less effective at blocking the virus.

"A third dose increased antibodies 25-fold compared with two doses in the Omicron variant, the companies said. Still, two-doses may prove effective in preventing severe illness from Covid-19, they said.

"Pfizer and BioNTech are working on an Omicron-specific vaccine that they hope to have available by March.

"The companies’ early findings come a day after scientists in South Africa reported findings from early lab tests indicating the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine generated one-fortieth of the infection-fighting antibodies against Omicron than against the original version of the virus."

•  From the Washington Post:

"Covid-19 hospitalizations are rising in the United States, driven by surges in four states that represent nearly half the increase nationwide.

"Overall, the seven-day average number of people hospitalized with covid-19 has risen by nearly 12,000 people, or 29 percent, since Nov. 10, when about 40,000 people were being cared for in hospitals, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. On Dec. 5, an average of about 52,000 were hospitalized.

"During that time frame, Michigan’s covid hospitalizations rose by nearly 1,900, CDC data shows, marking the highest figure for a single state. Hospitalizations also went up by more than 1,400 patients each in Ohio and Pennsylvania and by more than 900 in Indiana. The four states, which have some of the highest per capita current hospitalization numbers in the nation, are responsible for almost half of the country’s increase in covid hospitalizations between Nov. 10 and Dec. 5."

•  Axios reports that "public health officials are warning that the U.S. may be on the verge of a dangerous double whammy: COVID and flu, spreading simultaneously … The Delta variant is still circulating across the U.S., and the Omicron variant isn't far behind. On top of that, experts see potential warning signs of a bad flu season, which could leave millions of Americans vulnerable and strain health care resources."

While only six out of 10 US residents have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, the CDC says that even fewer have gotten their flu shots - 41 percent of adults and 39 percent of children,"significantly lower than the same point last year," Axios writes.

It is madness that the anti-vaccination madness that apparently has pervaded a sizable percentage of the population because of Covid seems to have spread to flu shots.  Maybe, if we really put our minds to it, we' can drive even greater skepticism about vaccines and give things like measles, chicken pox and polio new life.