Published on: February 9, 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…
• In the United States, there now have been 27,700,629 confirmed cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus, resulting in 476,405 deaths and 17,512,584 reported recoveries.
Globally, there have been 107,070,293 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 2,338,182 resultant fatalities, and 78,951,522 reported recoveries. (Source.)
• The Washington Post this morning reports that "at least 32.6 million people have received one or both doses of the vaccine in the U.S. This includes more than 9.7 million people who have been fully vaccinated … 59.3 million doses have been distributed."
The Wall Street Journal writes that "10 states have vaccinated 10% or more of their residents with at least one shot, and a further 19 states are about to hit that goal … Alaska leads the country, with some 15% of residents vaccinated, with West Virginia following at 12.18% and New Mexico at 11.97%. The daily vaccination rate per hundred people over a seven-day period is highest in Wisconsin, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."
• Facebook announced that it will remove postings that make erroneous claims about the efficacy of the various Covid-19 vaccines, the New York Times reports.
Among the kinds of inaccurate claims being made are comments saying that the vaccines are more dangerous than the disease itself, or that vaccines can cause autism.
The Times writes that this represents a continuing evolution on the part of Facebook, which in October "prohibited people and companies from purchasing advertising that included false or misleading information about vaccines. In December, Facebook said it would remove posts with claims that had been debunked by the World Health Organization or government agencies.
"Monday’s move goes further by targeting unpaid posts to the site and particularly Facebook pages and groups. Instead of targeting only misinformation around Covid-19 vaccines, the update encompasses false claims around all vaccines."
• From the Wall Street Journal:
"The U.S. reported fewer than 100,000 new coronavirus cases for the second day in a row, as data showed that in several states, more than 10% of residents have received an initial dose of Covid-19 vaccines … Hospitalizations in the U.S. due to Covid-19 continued to decline. As of Monday, there were 80,055 people hospitalized across the country due to the disease, the fifth consecutive day the total has been under 90,000, according to the Covid Tracking Project. The number of Covid-19 patients requiring treatment in intensive care units also fell, with 16,174 people in ICUs, the lowest level since Nov. 20, according to the Covid Tracking Project."
• The Wall Street Journal writes that "World Health Organization officials expressed confidence that AstraZeneca PLC’s Covid-19 vaccine can prevent severe cases of the disease, as well as hospitalizations and deaths, despite questions about the protection it offers against a fast-spreading strain of the virus first detected in South Africa."
• From the Wall Street Journal this morning:
"The virus that causes Covid-19 most likely jumped from one animal to another before entering the human population and is highly unlikely to have leaked from a laboratory, a leader of a World Health Organization investigative team said at a news conference in the Chinese city of Wuhan … the WHO team said Tuesday it was also possible that it may have been transmitted to humans through frozen food, a theory heavily promoted by Beijing. But the team said the most likely scenario was one in which the virus spilled over naturally from an animal into humans, such as from a bat to a small mammal that then infected a person."
• The Wall Street Journal reports that Rep. Ron Wright (R-Texas) died Sunday "after contracting Covid-19, according to his campaign office, becoming the first member of Congress to die from the coronavirus while in office."
Wright's office said that he was being treated for cancer before contracting the coronavirus.
• Some Covid-19 context from Axios:
"In New Jersey, which has the highest death rate in the nation, 1 out of every 406 residents has died from the virus. In neighboring New York, 1 out of every 437 people has died, Axios' Caitlin Owens and Michelle McGhee report.
"In Mississippi, 1 out of every 477 people has died. And in South Dakota, which was slammed in the fall, 1 of every 489 people has died.
"California, which has generally suffered severe regional outbreaks that don't span the entire state, has a death rate of 1 in 899.
"Vermont had the lowest death rate, at 1 of every 3,436 residents."
• Also from Axios:
"Tampa Bay fumbled its pandemic-era Super Bowl win with postgame mass celebrations."
The story notes that warnings from public health officials did not stop "throngs of maskless fans from swarming downtown Tampa and SoHo."
Now, the story says, "The Hillsborough County health department put out a national call requesting information on COVID-19 cases associated with Super Bowl LV. Hillsborough will document all confirmed cases, Florida resident or not, of patients who report having attended the game or any official events surrounding it, health department spokesman Kevin Watler said."
• Fox Business reports that "without a fresh round of COVID-19 aid from the federal government, about a third of the nation's pandemic-stricken small businesses are warning they won't be able to survive.
"That's according to a new report published by the Federal Reserve, which found that sales for 88% of small businesses have not yet returned to pre-crisis levels.
"About one in three -- roughly 30% -- of businesses said they expected they could not stay afloat without further assistance from the government, according to the report from the U.S. central bank’s 12 regional offices."
• The Associated Press reports that Delta Air Lines "will continue to block some seats on all flights through spring break and Easter to provide a bit more space between passengers.
"The Atlanta-based airline announced Monday that it will limit capacity on flights through April 30. Delta said it will block middle seats in most cabins although groups of three or more passengers can choose to sit together."
• Interesting story in USA Today about how one of things changed by the pandemic has been ther imposition of fines by libraries for overdue books.
"Since March, dozens of libraries have abolished the fees, citing the economic barrier they create for low-income patrons<' the story says.
USA Today makes the point that the pandemic actually has accelerated - sound familiar? - the trend, as some libraries already had stopped assessing the fines because they ended up hitting economically challenged patrons who could least afford them.