Published on: November 13, 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 10,873,936 confirmed cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus, with 248,585 deaths and 6,728,120 reported recoveries.
Globally, there have been 53,198,401 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 1,301,384 fatalities, and 37,281,310 reported recoveries. (Source.)
• From the Wall Street Journal this morning:
"The U.S. for the first time reported more than 150,000 new coronavirus cases in a single day, driven by record infection counts in more than a dozen states … California became the second state in the country after Texas to surpass one million total cases.
"Across the country, daily caseloads surged. Illinois reported a record number of infections for the second day in a row. Ohio and Minnesota each topped 7,000 daily cases for the first time since the pandemic began, while Pennsylvania and Indiana reported more than 6,000 cases in a day, according to Johns Hopkins. Other states recording all-time highs included Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, South Dakota, North Dakota, Oregon, New Hampshire and Vermont.
"The rising numbers of cases pushed hospitalizations higher. The number of people hospitalized due to Covid-19 rose to a record 67,096 for Thursday, according to the Covid Tracking Project. Intensive-care units continued to face pressure. As of Wednesday, there were 12,796 Covid-19 patients in ICUs, the highest number since May 2."
• From the Washington Post this morning:
"Covid’s long, dark winter has already arrived in the Upper Midwest, as cases and deaths surge, snatching lives, overwhelming hospitals, exhausting health-care providers and raising fears that the region’s medical system will be completely overwhelmed in the coming days.
"As coronavirus cases grow across the United States — up 70 percent on average in the past two weeks, with an average of 130,000 cases per day nationally — the situation is particularly acute now in the Upper Midwest and Plains states, with North and South Dakota leading the nation in new cases and deaths per capita over the past week, according to Washington Post data."
• From the New York Times:
"No state is seeing cases decline. Thirty-one states — from Alaska and Idaho in the West to Connecticut and New Hampshire in the East — added more cases in the seven-day period ending Wednesday than in any previous week of the pandemic. Vermont, Utah and Oregon were among at least 10 states with single-day case records on Thursday.
"But the outlook is especially dire in the Great Lakes region. Pennsylvania, Indiana and Minnesota all exceeded their previous single-day records on Thursday by more than 1,000 cases. Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio warned that hospitalizations had soared to record levels. Wisconsin surpassed 300,000 known cases this week, an increase of more than 130,000 in just a month."
• The Washington Post reports that "a record-breaking surge in U.S. coronavirus cases is being driven to a significant degree by casual occasions that may feel deceptively safe, officials and scientists warn — dinner parties, game nights, sleepovers and carpools.
"Many earlier coronavirus clusters were linked to nursing homes and crowded nightclubs. But public health officials nationwide say case investigations are increasingly leading them to small, private social gatherings. This behind-doors transmission trend reflects pandemic fatigue and widening social bubbles, experts say — and is particularly insidious because it is so difficult to police and likely to increase as temperatures drop and holidays approach."
• The New York Times this morning reports that "Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the United States, urged Americans on Thursday to 'double down' on basic precautions as coronavirus cases soared across the country and more Covid-19 patients were hospitalized than ever before."
Fauci said he believed that a national lockdown would not be necessary if Americans were to embrace actions such as social distancing and masks.
• The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that "grocery stores are reinstating purchase limits on items like paper towels or soap for the first time since the spring, as consumers stock up on staples amid rising Covid-19 cases.
"With people staying at home more, retailers say there is renewed demand for paper products and frozen foods. Stores also are reporting new shortages in staple cooking ingredients like butter and spices.
"Kroger Co. , the nation’s largest grocer, and Publix Super Markets Inc., a chain of more than 1,200 stores in the Southeast, reinstated limits on bath tissue and paper towels last week. Kroger also brought back limits on hand soap and disinfectant wipes … Some grocers, including Wegmans Food Markets Inc., haven’t fully lifted limits on staples to build up extra inventory. Others, including Albertsons Cos., are enforcing limits in some regions rather than across all of their stores.
"Grocery executives say they have learned that consumers care more about buying what they need than getting a specific product. Retailers are giving priority to ways to keep their shelves stocked, focusing on the key staples instead of offering a variety of choices."
• Albertsons said this week that "through the Federal Pharmacy Partnership Strategy for COVID-19 Vaccination," its pharmacies "will receive a direct allocation of COVID-19 vaccine once it is authorized or approved and recommended for use in the United States.
"The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) made the announcement earlier today, in which it outlined its partnership with pharmacy chains to maximize access to COVID-19 vaccines for all Americans."
• MarketWatch reports that "Costco Wholesale Corp. will require all employees and customers to wear face masks or face shields starting Monday.
"Costco has required masks in stores since May 4, but customers who could not wear face masks due to a medical condition were exempt from that rule. That will no longer be the case.
In a letter to members, CEO Craig Jelinek wrote, "If a member has a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a mask, they must wear a face shield at Costco … This updated policy may seem inconvenient to some, however we believe the added safety is worth any inconvenience. Our goal is to continue to provide a safe shopping environment for our members and guests, and to provide a safe work environment for our employees."
With the pandemic numbers surging all over the country, this strikes me as the only logical response. No exceptions. It is, quite literally, a matter of life and death.
• Fox Business reports that "the pre-concert checklist for music fans is about to get more complicated, as Ticketmaster is planning to check the coronavirus vaccination status of concert-goers prior to shows once a treatment is approved … The ticketing giant plans to have customers use their cellphones to verify their inoculation or whether they’ve tested negative for the virus within a 24- to 72-hour window, according to the exclusive report.
"The plan, which is still being ironed out, will utilize three separate components, including the California-based company’s digital ticketing app, third-party health information firms like CLEAR Health Pass and testing/vaccination distributors like Labcorp or CVS Minute Clinic."
If this technology is demonstrated to work and is widely available, then all the organizations that have had to postpone or cancel live conferences ought to adopt it ASAP. And companies like CLEAR ought to be aggressively marketing their services to these organizations.
• Variety reports that "Disneyland is expected to remain closed until the end of the entertainment and media conglomerate’s fiscal first quarter, which falls on Dec. 31 … The Anaheim, Calif. theme park has been closed since mid-March amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. As of Nov. 11, California had nearly 1 million recorded cases of COVID-19 and over 18,000 deaths."
Disney execs expressed "disappointment" that California's approach to the pandemic is keeping its doors closed.
According to the story, CEO Bob Chapek "urged state leadership in California to 'look objectively' as opposed to setting an 'arbitrary standard' that he says has kept cast members, as Disney parks employees are known, out of work. He says the closure is 'decimating' small businesses in the local Orange County community."
• Variety reports:
"Six weeks before Wonder Woman 1984 is scheduled to open in theaters on Christmas, Warner Bros. execs are considering whether to push the highly anticipated superhero sequel to the summer of 2021, or keep the movie on its Dec. 25 theatrical debut and then put it on the HBO Max streaming service in early January, according to sources with knowledge of the plans.
"The fate of the highly anticipated superhero film has been in limbo since the COVID-19 pandemic first hit in March, pushing the film’s theatrical release from June 5 to Aug. 14, then to Oct. 2, and finally to Dec. 25. But with COVID-19 cases spiking at alarming rates across the country, Warner Bros. is facing the the specter of another widespread shutdown, especially in major urban areas that drive the vast majority of the theatrical business. A cursory theatrical release could still support exhibitors on the knife’s edge of collapse, while also boosting subscriber growth for HBO Max, which has struggled to build an audience large enough to compete against Netflix, Amazon, and Disney Plus."