Published on: October 6, 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 7,679,908 confirmed cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus, resulting in 215,039 deaths and 4,895,291 reported recoveries.
Globally, there have been 35,736,102 confirmed coronavirus cases, 1,046,546 fatalities and 26,894,740 reported recoveries.
• The Wall Street Journal reports that "the U.S. reported fewer than 40,000 new coronavirus cases for the first time in a week, as President Trump returned to the White House from the hospital and another member of his staff tested positive for the virus.
"The 35,504 cases reported Sunday - lower than the initially reported figure of 38,630 - constitute the lowest daily increase since last Monday, when the U.S. reported 33,312 new cases, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Case counts often dip after the weekend before rising midweek."
However, the Journal writes, "California reported more than 3,000 new cases Sunday, and Texas reported more than 2,700, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins. Eleven other states, including Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Minnesota recorded more than 1,000 new infections apiece … In 31 states, the seven-day average of new cases was higher than the 14-day average, an indication cases in those states are rising, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of Johns Hopkins data. A week earlier, that figure was 34 states."
• From the Washington Post:
"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledged Monday that people can sometimes be infected with the coronavirus through airborne transmission, especially in enclosed spaces with inadequate ventilation.
"The long-awaited update to the agency web page explaining how the virus spreads represents an official acknowledgment of growing evidence that under certain conditions, people farther than six feet apart can become infected by tiny droplets and particles that float in the air for minutes and hours, and that they play a role in the pandemic."
• From the New York Times this morning:
"Nearly a third of hospitalized Covid-19 patients experienced some type of altered mental function — ranging from confusion to delirium to unresponsiveness — in the largest study to date of neurological symptoms among coronavirus patients in an American hospital system.
"And patients with altered mental function had significantly worse medical outcomes, according to the study, published on Monday in Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology.
The story goes on: "These patients stayed three times as long in the hospital as patients without altered mental function.
"After they were discharged, only 32 percent of the patients with altered mental function were able to handle routine daily activities like cooking and paying bills, said Dr. Igor Koralnik, the senior author of the study and chief of neuro-infectious disease and global neurology at Northwestern Medicine. In contrast, 89 percent of patients without altered mental function were able to manage such activities without assistance.
"Patients with altered mental function — the medical term is encephalopathy — were also nearly seven times as likely to die as those who did not have that type of problem."
• CNN reports that White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, as well as two of her deputies, have tested positive for the Covid-19 coronavirus, joining a list of White House aides and elected officials who have tested positive over the past week.
• From the Wall Street Journal, this assessment of how the pandemic has affected the retail sector:
"The coronavirus pandemic accelerated a major shift in the retail industry. Traffic to stores evaporated. Online credit-card transactions soared. E-commerce sales in the second quarter rose by 44.5% compared with the same period in 2019 and they now make up 16% of all U.S. retail sales, according to the Commerce Department."
Even as lockdown restrictions were lifted during the summer, certain sectors did better than others: "Sales, profits and hiring at many grocers and home-improvement retailers are up. Many apparel sellers have slashed staff and closed stores for good."
The story goes on: "The pandemic pushed many of the last online-shopping holdouts over the e-commerce hump. Online transactions with credit and debit cards have increased an average of 88% each month since the beginning of April, according to weekly transactions collected by financial-data firm Facteus."
• The Wall Street Journal reports that in New York City, the annual Greenwich Village Halloween Parade, "an affair that draws thousands of costumed participants and a far greater number of spectators," has been cancelled because of the coronavirus.
However, the governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut - early hot spots that of late have had low infection numbers - have not banned Halloween trick-or-treating. Events in all three states are being allowed to go forward, albeit with "capacity restrictions and other pandemic-related requirements."
Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports that "costume shops, party stores and seasonal pop-ups that rely on Halloween for the bulk of their profits say they’re bracing for a steep drop-off in sales that could tip them into insolvency. Halloween spending is expected to fall 8 percent, to $8.05 billion, with costume sales accounting for much of the decline, according to the National Retail Federation."
• The Wall Street Journal reports on a new restaurant trend - time limits.
"To survive the pandemic, some restaurants are taking an unusual approach to hospitality: showing diners the door," the story says. "They are limiting meals to 90 minutes or two hours to stay afloat amid capacity limits due to the virus."
The story goes on:
"Reseating parties more quickly throughout the evening allows restaurants to benefit from higher food sales rather than letting the same guests linger at the table.
"Turnover is especially important when Covid regulations call for serving fewer guests in the dining room at one time and keeping diners farther apart.
"The strategy often clashes with customers’ wishes. Many who are just resuming dining out want to do so at a leisurely pace. Among people planning to return to restaurants, 29% said that they would stay longer than before to enjoy their time out, according to Datassential, a food-industry market-research firm in Chicago. Feeling rushed, especially after months of not dining out, can have a negative impact on experience, says Datassential’s Mike Kostyo."
• The Daily Beast reports that "Ireland could face harsh new coronavirus restrictions within days after the country’s public-health advisory team recommended the country go back into an almost total lockdown. Pubs and restaurants would only be allowed to offer takeout and nonessential retail outlets would close if the country, which is split between Level Two and Level Three of a five-level restriction system, moves to Level Five. All sports would be canceled, social visits would be banned, and people would be legally obliged to remain within 5 kilometers of their homes. Only six people would be permitted to attend a funeral and only 10 people allowed at a wedding."
• The fallout from the pandemic continues to affect the movie business, which is reacting to the unwillingness of patrons to go back to theaters and the decision by Regal to close its cinemas indefinitely because of lack of business.
Variety reports that "Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures have delayed the release of Dune, the big-budget sci-fi epic from director Denis Villeneuve. It will no longer premiere on Dec. 18 and is now slated to debut in theaters on Oct. 1, 2021."
And the Hoillywood Reporter writes this morning that "The Batman, which stars Robert Pattinson as the caped crusader, is on the move again. After a series of production delays, the superhero pic’s release date in theaters is being pushed from Oct. 1, 2021 to March 4, 2022, Warner Bros. announced Monday evening."
Look for a lot more delays going forward, or shifts to streaming platforms.