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 6,876,126 confirmed cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus, with 202,237 deaths and 4,155,933 reported recoveries.

Globally, there have been 30,375,397 coronavirus cases, with 950,988 fatalities and 22,060,016 reported recoveries.

•  The Pew Research Center is out with a new report saying that "as efforts to develop and test a COVID-19 vaccine spur debate around the timing and release of a federally approved vaccine, the share of Americans who say they would get vaccinated for the coronavirus has declined sharply since earlier this year.

"About half of U.S. adults (51%) now say they would definitely or probably get a vaccine to prevent COVID-19 if it were available today; nearly as many (49%) say they definitely or probably would not get vaccinated at this time. Intent to get a COVID-19 vaccine has fallen from 72% in May, a 21 percentage point drop.

"The share who would definitely get a coronavirus vaccine now stands at just 21% – half the share that said this four months ago."

The study finds that "three-quarters of Americans (77%) think it’s very or somewhat likely a COVID-19 vaccine will be approved in the United States before its safety and effectiveness are fully understood. And when asked about the pace of the vaccine approval process, 78% say their greater concern is that it will move too fast, without fully establishing safety and effectiveness, compared with just 20% who are more concerned approval will move too slowly, creating unnecessary delays."

•  From the Washington Post:

"Several states that moved quickly to lift lockdown restrictions this summer — only to slam the brakes as coronavirus infections began surging — are once again moving ahead with reopening.

"In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced Thursday that restaurants, retail stores and gyms in most parts of the state could resume operating at 75 percent occupancy, the limit that was in place in June before Abbott reversed course and imposed new restrictions. Bars, however, will remain closed. The state is also resuming elective surgeries in most hospital districts, with exceptions for parts of the Rio Grande Valley that are still seeing high numbers of hospitalizations.

"In Nevada, a state coronavirus task force authorized reopening bars in Clark County, where Las Vegas is located, for the first time since July. Shutdowns were also lifted for Elko County, which had been the only other county where bars remained closed because of a failure to meet key testing metrics.

"Florida also plowed ahead with reopening this week, allowing bars statewide to welcome back patrons at 50 percent capacity. Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) initially closed bars when outbreaks began appearing in March, but allowed them to reopen in early June, a move that was followed by a steep uptick in cases. Later that month, state liquor regulators intervened and shut down bars for a second time."

•  The Washington Post writes that in the UK, "Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Friday that the coronavirus was once again 'accelerating' in Britain and did not rule out the possibility of another nationwide lockdown if cases continue to climb.

From the Post story:  "Britain has imposed restrictions in high-risk areas in recent weeks, taking a targeted approach to slowing the spread of the virus where new outbreaks appear. More than 30 areas are under local restrictions, according to British media reports, with an estimated 10 million people already under lockdown and unable to see family or friends.

"Nationally, gatherings of more than six people have been banned as of this week in an effort to contain the virus’s resurgence."

•  New York City parents counting on sending their kids back to school next Monday may be disappointed.

The Gothamist writes that "the school year slated to begin Monday will instead commence remotely, with only blended learning 3K, Pre-K and special education students going to school in-person, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday in a sudden shift that upended the plans and schedules of educators and families across the school system.

"While all students will commence remote learning Monday, blended learning students attending K-5 and K-8 schools will not set foot in school buildings until September 29th. Blended learning students attending middle and high schools, as well as students in secondary schools (schools spanning grades 6-12), and transfer schools/adult education schools, will return to buildings on October 1st.

"The switch comes after weeks of mounting pressure from unions and educators who say many of the city’s 1,600 schools are in buildings that are unsafe, with antiquated ventilation systems, windowless classrooms, and disorganized distribution of personal protective equipment. They also pointed to the need for many more teachers to implement the blended learning model."

•  The Washington Post reports on one impact of the pandemic in the UK - the price of a puppy has more than doubled to an average of almost $2,500 (US).

The reason?  People on lockdown decided that what they really needed was a pet to keep them company.

One just hopes that puppy farms, which often have little regard to the welfare of the dog, being more concerned about the price tag, are not the beneficiaries of this trend.  Even more importantly, I hope that when the lockdowns end, people don't cast the pets aside as no longer relevant.