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, as of this morning there have been 2,388,225 confirmed cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus, with 122,611 deaths and 1,003,062 reported recoveries.

Globally, there have been 9,210,002 confirmed coronavirus cases, 474,799 fatalities, and 4,957,024 reported recoveries.

•  From the New York Times this morning:

"New known virus cases were on the rise in 23 states on Monday as the outlook worsened across much of the nation’s South and West. Hospitalizations for the coronavirus reached their highest levels yet in the pandemic in Arizona and Texas, and Missouri reported its highest single-day case totals over the weekend. Even as much of the Northeast and Midwest continued to see improvement, there were signs of new spread in Ohio, where case numbers have started trending upward after weeks of improvement, and in Pennsylvania, where several counties have had troubling numbers of cases."


"Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas delivered a somber assessment of the coronavirus on Monday, saying that it was spreading in the state at “an unacceptable rate” and that tougher restrictions could be necessary, although he did not specify what those measures would be … The number of daily hospitalizations and confirmed cases in Texas has doubled when compared with last month, according to the governor. But he said he was hopeful that the trend could be reversed if people wore face masks, washed hands and abided by social distancing."

“Closing down Texas again will always be the last option,” he said at a news conference. “We can protect Texans’ lives while also protecting their livelihoods.”

The Times also notes that South Carolina has reported "an additional 1,008 new cases on Monday, the third-highest daily increase in the state."

Also from the Times:

"As parts of the country tentatively reopen, clusters of cases have spread from the most widely known locations — like meatpacking plants, nursing homes and prisons — to locations that have gotten far less attention. Four people who spent time at Cruisin’ Chubbys Gentlemen’s Club, a Wisconsin strip club, recently tested positive. In Colorado, at least 11 staff members at Eagle Lake Overnight Camp came down with the virus before any campers showed up, leading the camp to close for the rest of the summer. And in Connecticut, the city of New Haven shut down a nightclub that the authorities said hosted a gathering of about 1,000 people on Saturday night in its parking lot, violating orders on the size of gatherings."


"Black people have been hospitalized for Covid-19 four times more than white people, new data released Monday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services found. The data reinforced the many public accounts of the disparities in access to health care and treatment outcomes faced by African-Americans during the pandemic."

•  According to the International Food Information Council’s (IFIC) 2020 Food & Health Survey, "85% of Americans have made at least some change in the food they eat or how they prepare it because of the coronavirus pandemic … Long-term trends indicate a growing emphasis on the healthfulness of our diets—while in the shorter term, the number of Americans who are following a diet or are concerned about environmental sustainability continues to increase."

The survey goes on:  "COVID-19 has also upended almost every aspect of our daily lives, not the least of which includes our eating and food-purchasing habits. Among the 85% who have made any change, the biggest - far and away - is that 60% of Americans report cooking at home more. Respondents also say they are snacking more (32%), washing fresh produce more often (30%) and thinking about food more than usual (27%)."

And:  "Nearly half (49%) of consumers are at least somewhat concerned about the safety of food that was prepared outside their homes, such as takeout or delivery. A similar number (46%) are concerned when they eat outside the home, such as in restaurants. Trailing behind are those who are concerned about food safety when shopping for groceries online (42%), shopping for groceries in-store (36%) and preparing meals at home (30%)."

•  The Washington Post reports that when Apple unveiled new software products yesterday, one of them was exceptionally timely:

"A feature made just for our pandemic times, the new hand-washing alert on the Apple Watch is a gentle nudge to stop the spread of the coronavirus, or any other viruses or germs that are going around. With the update, the Watch will look out for the signs you’re at a sink, from the way you move your hands to the sound of water swooshing by. Then the Watch will give you a countdown to make sure you spend the doctor-recommended amount of time cleaning away all those nasty germs."

•  CNN reports that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) "is advising consumers not to use hand sanitizer products manufactured by Eskbiochem SA due to the potential presence of a toxic chemical.

"The FDA has discovered methanol, a substance that can be toxic when absorbed through skin or ingested, in samples of Lavar Gel and CleanCare No Germ hand sanitizers, both produced by the Mexican company.

"Eskbiochem did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNN."

•  CNBC reports that "major cruise lines have agreed to voluntarily extend a suspension of operations out of U.S. ports until Sept. 15, the Cruise Lines International Association announced … Members of the trade group, which includes cruising giants such as Royal Caribbean, Carnival Corp. and Norwegian Cruise Line, had previously announced a pause of operations on March 13. 

On March 14, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a no-sail order for cruise ships, and on April 9 it extended the order until July 24."

•  The New York Times reports that the University of Michigan has decided that it will not host the second presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden in October, "because of concerns about bringing hordes of national and international media and campaign officials to the Ann Arbor campus amid the coronavirus pandemic."

The story notes that "presidential general election debates cost their hosts millions of dollars, which universities typically raise from their own large donors in order to bask in the prestige of hosting an event that draws international attention.  But with the coronavirus pandemic stretching budgets and making large gatherings of students and donors on campus not viable, some of the value in hosting a major debate may be lost."

Expectations are that the debate "will be moved to the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, which hosted the first debates of the 2020 Democratic primary season last summer."