Published on: November 11, 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, the Covid-19 coronavirus numbers stand at 10,568,714 confirmed cases, 245,943 resulting deaths, and 6,602,517 reported recoveries.
Globally, there have been 51,908,157 confirmed coronavirus cases, 1,281,233 fatalities, and 36,457,449 reported recoveries. (Source.)
• From the Associated Press:
"The U.S. has surpassed 1 million new confirmed coronavirus cases in just the first 10 days of November, with more than 100,000 infections each day becoming the norm in a surge that shows no signs of slowing.
"The 1 million milestone came as governors across the nation are making increasingly desperate pleas with the public to take the fight against the virus more seriously. The Wisconsin governor planned to take the unusual step of delivering a live address to the state Tuesday, urging unity and cooperation to fight COVID-19.
"Minnesota’s governor ordered bars and restaurants to close at 10 p.m., and Iowa’s governor said she will require masks at indoor gatherings of 25 or more people, inching toward more stringent measures after months of holding out.
"The alarming wave of cases across the U.S. looks bigger and is more widespread than the surges that happened in the spring, mainly in the Northeast, and then in the summer, primarily in the Sun Belt. But experts say there are also reasons to think the nation is better able to deal with the virus this time around."
The AP goes on:
"Experts are increasingly alarmed about the virus’s resurgence in places like Massachusetts, which has seen a dramatic rise in cases since Labor Day, blamed largely on young people socializing.
"Republican Gov. Charlie Baker is warning that the health care system could become overwhelmed this winter, and he recently ordered restaurants to stop table service, required many businesses to close by 9:30 p.m., and instructed residents to stay home between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m."
"Meanwhile, political leaders in a number of newer coronavirus hot spots are doing less. In hard-hit South Dakota, Gov. Kristi Noem has made it clear she will not institute a mask requirement and has voiced doubt in health experts who say face coverings prevent infections from spreading.
"Even higher case and death rates have been seen in North Dakota, where many people have refused to wear masks. Gov. Doug Burgum has pleaded with people to do so, and praised local towns and cities that have mandated masks. But he has avoided requiring masks himself."
• The New York Times reports that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is "breaking from its tentative recommendations on mask use thus far" and now is saying that "using masks benefits wearers, which is a step beyond its previous declaration that said wearing masks would only protect those around them."
The Times goes on:
"The unequivocal statements are a departure from the agency’s previous language, which suggested that 'the latest science may convince' Americans to wear masks and that mask use could prevent an infected person from spreading the virus to others. 'The main protection individuals gain from masking occurs when others in their communities also wear face coverings,' it said.
"The agency also offered an economic argument, saying that increasing the proportion of people who wear masks by 15 percent could prevent the need for lockdowns and cut associated losses of up to $1 trillion, or about 5 percent of gross domestic product."
There will be some who will say that this change in recommendation only proves that the CDC doesn't really know what it is talking about. But what it really demonstrates is that the CDC continues to study and learn and evolve its recommendations based on new and expanded information.
• The Wall Street Journal reports that "hospitalizations, up around 30% since the beginning of the month, reached 61,964 as of Tuesday, exceeding the previous high of 59,940 reached on April 15, according to the Covid Tracking Project. A summer surge also saw hospitalizations reach just shy of 60,000 in July."
The Journal also reports:
"Texas became the first state in the country to surpass one million cases, according to Johns Hopkins. California now has the second-highest number of cases in the U.S., with more than 990,000.
"Daily caseloads for Tuesday hit record levels in Illinois, Ohio, Colorado, Montana and Wyoming, according to Johns Hopkins. And the number of new cases on Guam also continued to rise rapidly with the U.S. territory reporting 180 new cases on Tuesday, bringing its total to 5,659."
• The New York Times expands on this:
"The number of people hospitalized with the coronavirus, tallied by the Covid Tracking Project, has more than doubled since September, and now exceeds the peak reached early in the pandemic, when 59,940 hospitalized patients were reported on April 15. A second peak in the summer fell just short of matching that record.
"Those spikes in April and July lasted only a few days and quickly subsided, but as winter approaches experts do not expect that this time."
• The Wall Street Journal reports that "New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday the rising rate of positive test results for Covid-19 is worrisome, but stopped short of saying the city was in a second wave of infection.
"The share of New York City residents who tested positive for the new coronavirus last week reached 2.31%, the highest percentage since June, according to city data. The daily positivity rate was 2.88% on Sunday, the data showed.
"The Democratic mayor said the city still has time to drive down the rates through use of masks and social distancing … Despite the steady increase in Covid-19 cases, Mr. de Blasio encouraged parents of city public-school students enrolled in fully remote learning to switch to a hybrid model of some online instruction and in-person class time. Parents have until Sunday to opt into the hybrid curriculum and won’t have another opportunity for the rest of the academic year."
The Journal notes that "Any restrictions and shutdowns would need the authorization of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
New York state added nearly 4,000 Covid-19 cases on Monday, according to the governor’s office. The state’s daily positivity rate was 3.09%; the rate hasn’t hit 3% since May 26 and the state hasn’t seen this case load since May 1. On Monday, there were 32 deaths from the virus in New York."
• Bloomberg has a story about a new study from Northwestern University and Stanford University concluding that "the reopening of restaurants, gyms and hotels carries the highest danger of spreading Covid-19."
The study used "mobile phone data from 98 million people to model the risks of infection at different locations … They looked at where they went, how long they stayed, how many others were there and what neighborhoods they were visiting from. They then combined that information with data on the number of cases and how the virus spreads to create infection models."
"'We need to be thinking about strategies for reopening the economy,' said Jure Leskovec, a Stanford University computer scientist and lead author on the paper. 'This allows us to test different reopening scenarios and assess what that would mean for the spread of the virus.'
"Without virus mitigation measures, he said, they predicted that a third of the population might be infected with the virus. When they fit their model to publicly available data for the daily number of infections, the researchers found it could predict epidemic trajectories better than other models.
"The model also suggests just how effective lock-down measures can be in public spaces by noting infections and the use of those spaces over time as cities put lockdowns into effect."
• NBC News reports that "a matchup between two college football heavyweights scheduled for this weekend was postponed after players from Louisiana State University tested positive for coronavirus, school officials said.
"The LSU Tigers, who won the College Football Playoff National Championship last year after an undefeated season, were scheduled to play the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide on Saturday.
"In a statement, LSU didn’t say how many players had tested positive for the virus. But the university’s director of athletics, Scott Woodward, said that the team didn’t have the minimum number of scholarship players required for the game. The school said the match between the SEC titans may be rescheduled for Dec. 19."
• Variety reports that "indoor movie theaters in Sacramento and San Diego will have to close due to those counties being moved back into the state’s most restrictive 'purple' tier due to higher case rates of COVID-19.
"On Tuesday, the state’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, Dr. Mark Ghaly, announced 10 counties that are being required to move back to more restrictive measures. No counties were moved into a less restrictive tier."
The story notes that "counties must stay in each tier for at least three weeks before they can move to a less restrictive tier in California. They will only be eligible to move to a less restrictive tier if their numbers show improvement for at least two weeks.
"San Diego was California’s first major market to move into the purple tier, and AMC and Regal cinema chains reopened multiplexes in early September prior to Labor Day weekend."