Published on: July 23, 2020
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, we now have had 4,101,308 confirmed cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus, with 146,192 deaths and 1,943,503 reported recoveries.
The global tally: 15,400,761 confirmed coronavirus cases, 630,781 fatalities, and 9,377,142 reported recoveries.
• Fox News reports that California has passed New York to become the state with the greatest number of confirmed coronavirus cases. Florida is third.
The Fox News story points out that "New York, however, still leads the nation in coronavirus-related deaths, with more than 32,500, while neighboring New Jersey still ranks No. 2, with more than 15,700 deaths despite being No. 11 in population.
"California, with a population of about 39.5 million people, ranks No. 4 in deaths with just under 7,900, according to Johns Hopkins."
One other note: "Coronavirus cases in California appear to defy a widely held assumption about the outbreak: While many people view the pandemic as affecting mostly elderly people, nearly 70 percent of the cases in California affect people under age 49."
• The Wall Street Journal reports that "Texas reported 197 additional deaths Wednesday, a single-day record, bringing its total to 4,348 dead, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services."
• The Washington Post reports that "despite mounting anecdotal evidence, doctors remain unsure whether it’s possible to get the coronavirus twice."
• The Washington Post reports that "roughly two-thirds of U.S. states require face coverings to be worn in public, with Ohio, Indiana and Minnesota the latest to introduce statewide mask mandates."
• From Bloomberg:
"Walmart Inc. has some advice for employees who have the unenviable task of reminding shoppers to wear masks: Stay calm, listen intently and show understanding. But if customers insist on walking in without one, staffers should just get out of the way.
"That’s the message from a short training video for Walmart’s new 'Health Ambassador' role. The two-minute guide, which was obtained by Bloomberg News, teaches employees how to deal with customers who are not wearing masks -- an issue that has divided the nation as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread.
“'If a customer tells you they can’t for one of these reasons, listen and tell them you understand,' says the video, which is dated July 13, just two days before Walmart decided to require that all customers wear masks regardless of local mandates. 'And thank them for shopping at Walmart … Never engage with a customer physically,' the video says. 'Do not block their entrance or attempt to stop them. Never ask a customer to explain their health condition, religious reason or any other reason they give for not wearing a face mask'."
• The Los Angeles Times reports that "there’s now mounting evidence that silent spreaders are responsible for the majority of transmission of the coronavirus - making universal masking essential to slow the spread of the highly contagious virus, experts say.
"This makes the coronavirus different from the seasonal flu. With seasonal flu, peak infectiousness occurs about one day after the onset of symptoms. But with the coronavirus, even among people who do end up becoming visibly sick, peak infectiousness can occur before they show symptoms.
"In fact, experts say, significant amounts of virus can start coming out of people’s noses and mouths even when they feel well.
"This is a key reason, they say, why tactics to deal with the coronavirus must be markedly different than with the seasonal flu. And the universal wearing of masks is key."
• The Washington Post also reports that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its self-isolation rules, and is advising "most people with active cases of covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, to isolate for 10 days after symptoms begin and 24 hours after their fever has broken.
"For those who have a positive test but are asymptomatic, the public health agency as of Friday recommended isolating 10 days from the testing date. The CDC had previously recommended people isolate until two negative swabs for the coronavirus — but that turned out to be impractical given the shortage of tests."
• The Reno Gazette Journal reports that the impact of the pandemic - lost tourism and conventions - has caused the Las Vegas Sands company to lose $985 million during the second quarter, "down 97.1% from last year. The company recorded a net income of $1.11 billion in the second quarter of 2019."
President and COO Rob Goldstein said yesterday that "the pandemic has essentially transformed Las Vegas from a global destination to a regional gambling hub dependent on 'drive-in' business.'" Las Vegas, he said, "cannot make money with limited hotel occupancy … We're in a world of hurt here in terms of Las Vegas. I've never felt more gloomy than I do today about what's happening in Las Vegas."
• From NBC News:
"The Food and Drug Administration has expanded the list of hand sanitizers - some sold at Walmart, Costco and other national chains - being recalled to at least 75 recently, saying toxic levels of wood alcohol in them can cause injury or death.
"The FDA said that there has been an increase in hand sanitizers that are labeled to contain ethyl alcohol, or ethanol, but have tested positive for methanol, or wood alcohol. If methanol is absorbed through the skin, it can cause blindness and hospitalizations, or death if ingested."
• The Los Angeles Times reports on yet another result of the pandemic: "Downtown Los Angeles skyscraper U.S. Bank Tower will be sold at a discount to the developer of the rebuilt World Trade Center in New York as the pandemic drives down office leasing across the country and raises questions about the future appeal of high-rise office buildings."
The sale will enable Singapore-based OUE, which is selling the property, “to streamline its asset ownership in a period when the longer term outlook of the U.S. property market may not be favorable,” the company said in a statement.