Published on: September 16, 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've now crossed a line - there have been 200,197 deaths from the Covid-19 coronavirus, with a total of 6,788,147 total confirmed cases and 4,068,086 reported recoveries.
Globally, there have been 29,757,889 confirmed coronavirus cases, 939,755 fatalities, and 21,560,131 reported recoveries.
• From the Washington Post:
"It’s unlikely that the world will return to normal 'pre-covid' life before 2022, Soumya Swaminathan, the World Health Organization’s chief science officer, said Tuesday.
Here's the money quote, from the Post story:
"'The way that people are picturing it is that in January you have vaccines for the whole world and things will start going back to normal,'" Swaminathan said. "But that 'is not how it works,' she said, adding that the most realistic timeline places the rollout of a vaccine sometime in the middle of 2021. Even once that happens, she warned, immunizing a significant portion of the world’s population won’t happen overnight, and masking and social distancing will be necessary for quite some time.
"'Those will have to continue after the vaccine starts getting rolled out, because we need 60 percent to 70 percent of the population to have immunity before you will start seeing a dramatic reduction in transmission of this virus,' Swaminathan said … 'We also don’t know how long these vaccines will protect for — that’s the other big question mark: How long does immunity last? And it’s possible that you will need a booster'."
• From the Wall Street Journal:
"New coronavirus cases in the U.S. rose to more than 52,000, the highest daily total in more than a month, as wildfires in some Western states and an approaching hurricane in the Southeast opened potential pathways for the virus to spread further.
"The wildfires in California, Oregon and Washington state have killed at least 34 people and are part of a wider outbreak that has scorched more than 4.7 million acres, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. Health experts say the wildfires make it harder for people to take preventive measures against the virus as people are forced to seek shelter."
• CNN reports that "since many Florida public schools opened their doors about a month ago, the number of children under 18 who have contracted Covid-19 statewide has jumped 26%, state data show."
However, the story suggests that the state has been reticent to provide school-level data about infections. "To deal with this information gap, some school districts have created their own Covid-19 data dashboards or released coronavirus case numbers on social media pages or their websites. While useful in those jurisdictions, the overall result is a patchwork of data that varies in completeness and timeliness by district at a time when students, parents, teachers and administrators are making tough decisions about whether to opt for virtual or in-person learning."
• The New York Times reports that "universities across the country have faced daunting challenges in trying to resume in-person instruction. But the disarray at SUNY Oneonta has left university officials scrambling to explain why they did not put in place a strict monitoring system to prevent the virus from gaining a foothold. The oversight of the broader State University of New York system has also been called into question.
"Students, parents and staff members said they were dismayed that SUNY Oneonta did not require students to have negative virus tests before they arrived. Nor did the university test students once they came to campus. The university also did not closely prevent gatherings in off-campus housing.
"The fallout has been swift.
"Next semester, all SUNY schools will be required to develop testing plans, and surveillance testing is now mandatory on every campus, according to the system chancellor, Jim Malatras.
"SUNY is also conducting a review on 'what went right and what went wrong' at Oneonta, the chancellor said, adding that 'clearly, things went wrong'."
• From CNBC:
"New data from the National Restaurant Association outline how hard the industry has been hit by the pandemic, with an estimated $165 billion in sales lost from March through July and more than 8 million workers either furloughed or laid off at the peak of the outbreak. The industry advocacy group projects that 15% of all eating and drinking places, some 100,000 establishments, are not open for business in any capacity. It remains to be seen how many of these closures become permanent."
• The Boston Globe has a story about the degree to which the pandemic has affected the city's North End, where there are m ore than 100 restaurants in just a few square blocks.
"The troubles of the city’s most celebrated restaurant neighborhood are representative of what eateries throughout the region have experienced," the Globe writes. "And while it has the advantage of being a dining destination, that has its own drawbacks: Its intimate spaces may become too close for socially distant comfort as the chill sets in. Many eateries have struggled to make their take-out menus stand out in a sea of Italian fare. And as restaurant closures mount throughout the city, everyone wonders just how many will be able to weather the winter. If restaurants in the North End aren’t able to survive, then who can?"
It tells you something that one of the restaurant owners quoted in the piece has added a new daily ritual - she goes to Mass. And then she goes to her restaurant, which she says she is keeping open "to give my employees a job. I keep pouring more and more money of my own into it and pretty soon that’s going to have to stop."
• The Washington Post has an update on the Maine wedding that took place in early August, attended by just 65 people.
Those nuptials, the story says, "began an outbreak now traced to more than 175 reported coronavirus infections and also to the deaths of seven people, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday."
Here's the kicker: None of the seven people who died attended the wedding.
Breaking news from the Washington Post this morning:
"Just over a month after the Big Ten became the first major conference to postpone the 2020 football season, the league reserved its decision Wednesday and announced plans to begin playing the weekend of Oct. 23-24.
"The Big Ten will have medical protocols that include daily coronavirus testing and enhanced cardiac screening, the announcement said. The conference’s university presidents and chancellors voted unanimously to resume the season.
"The four teams participating in this season’s College Football Playoff will be announced Dec. 20. The Big Ten would have eight weeks for regular-season games and then presumably a conference championship held just before the playoff committee’s selection. However, a date for the conference championship game was not included in the Big Ten’s announcement."
Here's what I want to know. Will the student athletes be asked or required to sign liability waivers which will absolve the universities or the NCAA of any responsibility if a student who might've gone on to play in the NFL gets sick and no longer can play? If they are, that'll tell us everything we need to know about this decision.