Published on: October 8, 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, there now have been 7,776,796 confirmed cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus, resulting in 216,788 deaths and 4,984,154 reported recoveries.
Globally, there have been 36,429,108 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 1,061,144 fatalities and 27,432,096 reported recoveries.
• Axios reports that "the pace of coronavirus infections increased last week in 23 states plus Washington, D.C., and only declined in four states and Puerto Rico," leading to the not unreasonable conclusion that "the virus is not under control, or anywhere close to it."
This is "especially true in Washington, D.C., where the outbreak tied to the White House appears to be increasing the caseload. The District experienced a 26% increase last week, rising from about 40 new cases per day to about 50 … Nationwide, cases were up 6%, compared to the week before. The U.S. is now averaging roughly 43,700 new infections per day."
Axios goes on: "Just four states — Hawaii, Kansas, North Carolina and South Carolina — saw the pace of new infections slow over the past week.
In Wisconsin, the story says, "Gov. Tony Evers announced on Wednesday that a field hospital will be opened at the state fairgrounds near Milwaukee to expand care for coronavirus patients after hospitalizations more than doubled in the past month … Health officials attribute the state's increase to university and K-12 school reopenings and overall public fatigue on mask-wearing and social distance practices."
Also: "Testing was largely unchanged over the past week. The U.S. is conducting about 927,000 tests per day."
• ABC News reports that "the coronavirus outbreak has infected '34 White House staffers and other contacts' in recent days, according to an internal government memo, an indication that the disease has spread among more people than previously known in the seat of American government.
"Dated Wednesday and obtained by ABC News, the memo was distributed among senior leadership at FEMA, a branch of the Department of Homeland Security and the agency responsible for managing the continuing national response to the public health disaster."
It was pointed out on several news platforms that over the past seven days, the White House alone has been responsible for more Covid-19 infections than Taiwan or New Zealand.
• The New York Times has a story about how retailers are trying to calculate how many turkeys to buy this year, since "all indications are that the holiday gatherings that used to bring together dozens of people to share one or two turkeys will be scuttled in favor of smaller celebrations. That could lead to a run on small turkeys, a higher-than-usual demand for parts like whole breasts, and higher prices across the board. And although no turkey farmer likes to hear this, some cooks may simply decide to go all in on a big chicken."
The calculations, according to the Times, "are tricky. Contracts to buy the baby turkeys called poults are often written a year in advance, and growing those poults to the proper size for the market takes months. Even if farmers wanted to raise smaller turkeys, it’s not that easy. Genetics, coupled with economically driven feed formulas, produce birds that mature at a predetermined size in a set amount of time."
Won't be an issue in my house. By popular demand, we eat steak on Thanksgiving, accompanied by short rib mac and cheese.
• The Associated Press reports that "despite increasing coronavirus cases across the U.S., Hawaii officials hope to reboot tourism next week by loosening months of economically crippling pandemic restrictions, including a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all arriving travelers.
"The plan, which was postponed after the virus surged in the summer, will allow Hawaii-bound travelers who provide negative virus test results within 72 hours of arrival to sidestep two weeks of quarantine.
"But the Oct. 15 launch of the pre-travel testing program is causing concern for some who say gaps in the plan could further endanger a community still reeling from summer infection rates that spiked to 10% after local restrictions eased."
• From the Boston Globe:
"With Boston’s coronavirus positivity rate rising to 4.1 percent, Boston officials announced Wednesday they will delay the start of in-person learning for the next phase of students who were slated to return on Oct. 15, but will continue in-person classes for students who already have returned.
"Students in the Oct. 15 cohort — 3-to-5-year-olds in grades K0, K1, and K2 — will now start no sooner than Oct. 22, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh said during a press conference. City officials will reevaluate the coronavirus data before that date to determine whether it is safe for students to begin in-person instruction."
• The New York Times has a story about XpresSpa, best known "for offering manicures, pedicures, massages and waxing services at 25 airports in the United States and around the world, where travelers with some time between flights could get themselves spruced up."
This week, however, "the company began offering a rapid molecular coronavirus test, manufactured by Abbott Laboratories, that will return results within 13 minutes at Kennedy International and Newark Liberty International airports under the name XpresCheck … The company’s move comes as the number of people flying remains low — on Tuesday the Transportation Security Administration screened about 590,000 people, compared with more than two million on the same date in 2019 — whether out of fear of air travel or because the 14-day quarantine requirements in some states make travel unattractive.
"In recent weeks, airlines including United, Hawaiian Airlines and JetBlue, as well as airports, said they would begin offering coronavirus tests; with a negative test often meaning that the traveler can skip quarantine at their destination."
• CBS Sports reports that "as the NFL works not only to reduce the spread of COVID-19 between infected players but investigate potential team violations of COVID protocols, it's not out of the realm of possibility that the league could put a hold on the entire 2020 season.
"Asked Wednesday on NFL Network whether a temporary pause to the regular-season schedule is an option amid continued outbreak in Tennessee, as well as additional COVID cases in Las Vegas and New England, the NFL's chief medical officer confirmed as much."
• From the Los Angeles Times:
"Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday that California theme parks have to remain closed for now — a stance that has put him at odds with park owners such as Walt Disney Co. and some legislators … California, home to the original Disneyland and Comcast Corp.’s Universal Studios, is among the last states to reopen its theme parks. Florida began letting them reopen in June, and Disney parks from Shanghai to Paris have also opened to guests after closing for several months this year due to the coronavirus."