Published on: January 26, 2021
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…
• The global Covid-19 coronavirus numbers have crossed a troubling line - there now have been more than 100 million cases worldwide The precise numbers are these: 100,351,416 confirmed cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus, resulting in 2,151,569 fatalities, and 72,402,569 reported recoveries.
In the United States, there now have been 25,861,597 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 431,392 resultant deaths and 15,617,360 reported recoveries. (Source.)
• The Washington Post reports that "at least 19.3 million people have received one or both doses of the vaccine in the U.S. This includes more than 3.3 million people who have been fully vaccinated … 41.4 million doses have been distributed."
• From the Wall Street Journal:
"Hospitalizations in the U.S. due to Covid-19 fell below 110,000 for the first time since Dec. 13, as the country reported fewer than 200,000 new coronavirus cases for the ninth day in a row.
"A total of 109,936 people across the country were hospitalized due to the disease as of Monday, according to the Covid Tracking Project. The number of patients requiring treatment in intensive care units also fell slightly to 20,875."
According to the Journal story, "President Biden said Monday that his target of administering 100 million Covid-19 vaccines in his first 100 days in office might rise to 150 million. Addressing reporters at the White House, Mr. Biden said he was hopeful the U.S. could soon reach an average of 1.5 million shots a day, up from the current 1 million. He also expressed optimism that by spring, any American who wants a coronavirus vaccine should be able to get one."
• CNBC reports that "Moderna said Monday it’s accelerating work on a Covid-19 booster shot to guard against the recently discovered variant in South Africa.
"The company’s researchers said its current coronavirus vaccine appears to work against the two highly transmissible strains found in the U.K. and South Africa, although it looks like it may be less effective against the latter."
• CBS News reports that "Merck is pulling the plugs on two potential COVID-19 vaccines following poor results in early-stage studies. The drugmaker said Monday it will focus instead on studying two possible treatments for the virus that also have yet to be approved by regulators. "
• The Wall Street Journal reports that "in California, the daily total of new coronavirus cases has remained under 30,000 for six days, according to Johns Hopkins data. Saying the curve appears to be flattening, Gov. Gavin Newsom lifted regional stay-at-home orders across the state on Monday, but warned, 'We are not out of the woods yet'."
• The Los Angeles Times reports that "in a significant reshuffling of vaccine eligibility guidelines, California officials said Monday they will be shifting who is prioritized in the next round of COVID-19 inoculations to focus on age rather than specific occupations considered higher risk.
"The modifications announced Monday by Gov. Gavin Newsom leave unchanged the current priority list, which focuses on healthcare workers and residents 65 and older before expanding to teachers, farmworkers and first responders.
"But there will be shift in who gets the vaccine after them. Under the original plan’s tier structure, Tier 2 workers in manufacturing, transportation and commercial and residential settings along with incarcerated people and the homeless would be prioritized.
"Under the new plan, the next priority would be people under 65 year old. No details about the criteria were released Monday, but it could end up focusing on people over 50 first."
• The New York Times has a story about how vaccines are expected to create a lot of opportunity for socialization: "Dating app companies confirmed that vaccination has become a hot topic on their platforms. On Tinder, vaccine mentions in user bios rose 258 percent between September and December. 'Those who have gotten the vaccine are using their status as a way to spark conversation with potential matches about their experience,' Dana Balch, a Tinder spokeswoman, wrote in an email.
"On OkCupid, those who indicate that they have already received the vaccine are being liked at double the rate of users who say that they are not interested in getting the vaccine, according to a spokesman for the app, Michael Kaye.
'Basically, getting the vaccine is the hottest thing you could be doing on a dating app right now,' Mr. Kaye said, adding, 'What a world we’re living in'."
At then same time, the Times writes, there is evidence of how privileged folks have decided that their privilege entitles them to jump to the front of the line:
"Knightsbridge Circle, a luxury travel service in London that charges 25,000 pounds a year for membership, made waves earlier this month when its founder, Stuart McNeill, told The Telegraph that the club would fly members who were 65 or older to the United Arab Emirates to receive privately obtained vaccines. (In Britain, the vaccination is only available through the National Health Service.)
"Since going public with the offer, the club, which arranges luxury experiences and accommodations for its members, has received more than 2,000 applications for membership and thousands of phone calls, emails and social media requests, according to Mr. McNeill. He also wrote, in response to emailed questions, that his organization has been approached by 'several private jet companies' looking to team with the club to transport the vaccinated.
"On Friday, his organization announced that it would begin selling vaccines to people who were not previously members of the club for the price of 10,000 pounds per person, as long as individuals are 65 or older — or can prove that they have underlying health conditions. (Knightsbridge Circle will 'ask for proof of this when booking,' a spokeswoman wrote in an email.)
"The vaccines will come as part of a three-week 'membership package.' But that package will not include anything beyond the vaccine and transport to and from the airport and vaccination sites. Interested parties will have to book airfare and three weeks worth of accommodations themselves."
Ten thousand pounds converts to more than thirteen thousand dollars. And I don't know about you, but I'm not buying for a second that these mercenaries are only going to take money from people of a certain age or with underlying health conditions. I think they just want to know the check won't bounce. But I'm a cynic about human nature.