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 15,822,734 confirmed cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus, resulting in 296,745 deaths and 9,231,811 reported recoveries.
Globally, the numbers are these: 69,380,480 conformed Covid-19 cases, 1,578,625 resultant fatalities, and 48,155,437 reported recoveries. (Source.)
• From the Washington Post this morning:
"For the first time in the course of the coronavirus pandemic, the United States reported more than 3,100 deaths in a single day, according to a Washington Post analysis. With overtaxed intensive care units running out of beds in many parts of the country, there was also a record number of those hospitalized with covid-19 at 106,000 on Wednesday.
"The pandemic’s new heights in the United States came as Britain began to distribute the Pfizer-BioNTech two-dose coronavirus vaccine, which Canada approved Wednesday. An advisory panel will meet Thursday to decide whether to recommend the Food and Drug Administration approve the vaccine in the United States."
• From Bloomberg:
"For six of December’s first eight days, the trailing-week average of new coronavirus cases has been at a terrifying peak. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention forecasts the U.S. will surpass 300,000 deaths by Christmas … The numbers are a frightening reminder of the virus’s seemingly limitless ability to grow -- and the wake it leaves. The newest round is challenging hospitals facing staff and bed shortages as they treat a disease more than twice as deadly for Americans as World War I."
I think terrifying is the right word. Just imagine - more people died yesterday from causes related to the pandemic than died on 9-11.
• From the Wall Street Journal:
"Infections continued to rise across the country. California, which has been struggling to contain a recent surge in infections, reported more than 33,000 new cases for Wednesday, the first time the daily number has topped 30,000, according to Johns Hopkins data.
"California health officials are placing the greater Sacramento area under a new lockdown as intensive-care hospital beds in the region fill up with Covid-19 patients. The stay-at-home order takes effect Thursday, just before midnight, officials said. It prohibits private gatherings of any size, closes certain businesses and requires masks and social-distancing compliance in all businesses that do remain open, officials said.
"Record numbers of newly reported cases were seen in several states. Tennessee, Virginia, Mississippi and Idaho all reported their highest levels of daily cases since the start of the health crisis."
• And, from Bloomberg:
"Thirty-one countries around the globe have reserved more Covid-19 vaccine per capita than the U.S., according to a Bloomberg analysis of country vaccine agreements.
"The U.S. Operation Warp Speed program is credited with shaving years off the typical development timeline for vaccines that are now on the brink of being deployed. But after leading that effort, the U.S. has yet to exercise some options to lock down additional supplies that could offer extra insurance against manufacturing problems or scientific delays.
"Bloomberg has reviewed more than 80 agreements between vaccine makers and countries around the globe to reserve allocations while they are still in development. Canada, the U.K. and Australia top the list, with enough vaccine doses reserved to cover their populations several times over.
"The U.S., meanwhile, ranks 32nd in per-capita vaccine reservations. It is behind the 27 European Union countries that banded together to pre-order vaccines in larger quantities, and sandwiched between Chile and Japan in 31st and 33rd, respectively, according to Bloomberg’s analysis."
• Reuters reports that "Britain’s medicine regulator said anyone with a history of anaphylaxis to a medicine or food should not get the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, giving fuller guidance on an earlier allergy warning about the shot … The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said there had been two reports of anaphylaxis and one report of a possible allergic reaction since rollout began."
The UK started "mass vaccinating its population on Tuesday, part of a global drive that poses one of the biggest logistical challenges in peacetime history."
• The Wall Street Journal reports that "Canada became the third country to authorize use of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE, racing ahead of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Europe’s main regulator to approve shots for its most vulnerable citizens.
"Canada will now begin its immunization rollout as early as next week - a daunting challenge for a country that is the second-largest in the world in terms of land mass yet sparsely populated. The country is on schedule to begin inoculations next week, with a portfolio of vaccine candidates that it argues is among the most diverse among large economies."