retail 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 8,962,783 confirmed cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus, with 231,045 resultant deaths and 5,833,824 reported recoveries.

Globally, there have been 43,847,616 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 1,165,469 fatalities and 32,215,733 reported recoveries.  (Source.)

•  From the Washington Post:

"Over the past week, the nation has suffered a 20 percent increase in cases, a 13 percent rise in hospitalizations and an 11 percent rise in daily deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University, with the seven-day average of new cases reaching its highest level ever. The increase has been driven by spread in rural communities and northern states, including Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota and parts of Michigan…"

•  The Wall Street Journal reports that "a large English study showed the number of people with Covid-19 antibodies declined significantly over the summer, suggesting that getting the virus might not confer long-lasting immunity from future infection.

"The survey of 365,000 adults in England who tested themselves at home using a finger-prick test showed the proportion of people testing positive for Covid-19 antibodies declined by 26.5% between June 20—12 weeks after the peak of infections in the country—and Sept. 28.

"The results also suggested that people who didn’t display symptoms were likely to lose detectable antibodies before those who had showed symptoms. The study, conducted by Imperial College London and the Ipsos Mori polling organization, was funded by the British government, which announced the results and published the study on Monday night. The results haven’t yet been reviewed by other experts."

•  The Washington Post reports that "hospitals in many regions of the country — the Upper Midwest, the Mountain West, the Southwest and the heart of Appalachia — are seeing record levels of patients suffering from covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

"More than 42,000 people were hospitalized nationally with the virus Monday, a figure that is steadily climbing toward the midsummer peak caused by massive outbreaks in the Sun Belt. In the places hit the hardest, this is nudging hospitals toward the nightmare scenario of rationing care.

"The country is not there yet, but the recent rise in confirmed coronavirus infections — which set a single-day record Saturday of more than 83,000 — is an ominous leading indicator of an imminent surge of patients into hospitals. The pattern of this pandemic has been clear: Infections go up, hospitalization rates follow in a few weeks, and then deaths spike."

•  The Wall Street Journal reports that yesterday "the U.S. reported more than 66,000 new coronavirus cases, lower than the peaks reached over the weekend, but elevated compared with daily levels in recent weeks.

"The number of new cases reported tends to be lower at the beginning of the week because fewer people get tested over the weekend. Even so, Monday’s total was more than 8,000 higher than the figure reported a week earlier and more than 25,000 higher than the total on Oct. 12, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University."

•  From the New York Times:

"Among health care workers, nurses in particular have been at significant risk of contracting Covid-19, according to a new analysis of hospitalized patients by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"The findings were released Monday as a surge of new hospitalizations swept the country, with several states hitting record levels of cases.

"About 6 percent of adults hospitalized from March through May were health care workers, according to the researchers, with more than a third either nurses or nursing assistants. Roughly a quarter, or 27 percent, of those hospitalized workers were admitted to the intensive care unit, and 4 percent died during their hospital stay.

"The study looked at 6,760 hospitalizations across 13 states, including California, New York, Ohio and Tennessee."

•  From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

"The City of Milwaukee on Monday issued a new health order aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus, including by reducing the number of people who can gather inside and outside.

"The new order, which goes into effect Thursday, is a step back as the key indicators the city is using to gauge progress on combating the virus have regressed.

"The city has seen a total of 27,614 positive COVID-19 cases and 300 deaths, according to its online dashboard.  Meanwhile, the state has seen a rise in confirmed cases per day and in patients hospitalized with COVID-19, becoming one of the nation's hot spots."

•  The Wall Street Journal reports that "a growing number of countries are trimming the length of time people potentially exposed to the coronavirus need to self-quarantine to reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19. Their reasoning: Shorter spells might help manage the pandemic by encouraging greater compliance.

"Some disease and public health experts offer cautious support to the idea, saying that although data is patchy, such a trade-off might make sense, especially where citizens’ weariness or inability to comply with more burdensome restrictions are complicating efforts to beat back a resurgent pandemic. Cases in Europe are accelerating fast following a summer lull, and in the U.S. recently topped a new daily record of more than 80,000.

"Others, though, including the World Health Organization, say it is a gamble that could backfire and will likely result in some additional cases slipping through. And gaps in knowledge about how exactly the virus behaves make it difficult to determine the best abbreviated cutoff date or strategy."