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 29,744,652 total confirmed cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus, resulting in 538,628 deaths and 20,449,634 reported recoveries.
Globally, there have been 117,814,133 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 2,613,648 resultant fatalities and 93,496,463 reported recoveries. (Source.)
• The Washington Post reports that "at least 60 million people have received one or both doses of the vaccine in the U.S. This includes more than 31.3 million people who have been fully vaccinated … 116.4 million doses have been distributed."
These numbers reflect an important benchmark - there now have been more people in the US who have gotten both does of the vaccine than have, in total, been diagnosed with Covid-19.
• The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) yesterday released guidance for how fully vaccinated Americans can behave going forward, offering citizens a glimpse of a more "normal" future.
The Washington Post reports that the CDC "said people who are two weeks past their final shot face little risk if they visit indoors with unvaccinated members of a single household at low risk of severe disease, without wearing masks or distancing. That would free many vaccinated grandparents who live near their unvaccinated children and grandchildren to gather for the first time in a year. The guidelines continue to discourage long-distance travel, however.
"The CDC also said fully vaccinated people can gather indoors with those who are also fully vaccinated. And they do not need to quarantine, or be tested after exposure to the coronavirus, as long as they have no symptoms."
According to the story, "CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said the recommendations attempt to balance potential risk to those who are unvaccinated and on community transmission, against the benefit of 'getting back to some of the things that we love in life' for those who have gotten their shots … CDC will continue to update this initial guidance, perhaps loosening travel restrictions if new infections continue to decrease while vaccinations go up, Walensky said. But with over 90 percent of the population still unvaccinated and levels of virus high, even those who have received the shots 'might get breakthrough infections with lesser amounts of virus,' she said, referring to a fully vaccinated person getting infected."
• Axios reports on a new Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus survey showing that a majority of people seem committed to behaving responsibly even after being vaccinated for the coronavirus.
"Just 7% of respondents said they plan to stop wearing masks in public after they've been vaccinated," the survey says. "Only 13% said they plan to stop social distancing … 81% said they'll keep wearing masks, and 66% said they'll keep social distancing until the pandemic ends - even after they've gotten the shot … 87% said they'll keep frequently washing their hands until the pandemic ends."
• From the Wall Street Journal:
"The U.S. reported a rise in newly reported coronavirus cases, even as vaccinations continued to gather pace and safety guidelines were relaxed for fully inoculated people.
"The country reported more than 50,000 new cases for Monday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University that was published early Tuesday. The data may update later. Monday’s total was up from the 40,903 new cases reported on Sunday but still sharply lower than peak levels in January, when daily tallies often exceeded 200,000."
Remember - from the beginning Dr. Fauci said that we needed to keep the daily case number below 20,000. We're making progress, but there is a way to go.
• From the Washington Post:
"The Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine appears to be highly effective against a more contagious variant of the virus first discovered in Brazil, according to a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, raising hopes that ongoing vaccination efforts will help curb the variant’s spread.
"The study of the vaccine produced by U.S. firm Pfizer and German partner BioNTech was conducted by scientists from the two companies and researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch. It comes as public health experts warn that the more transmissible variants could drive yet another surge in covid-19 cases, particularly as restrictions are lifted across the United States."
• And finally, you may remember that last week, when she got her first vaccination, Dolly Parton (who wrote a check for $1 million last year and donated it to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, which used the money to help develop the Moderna coronavirus vaccine), not only did it on camera but also sang a pro-vaccination song that changed the lyrics of her hit, "Jolene."
Yesterday, singer-songwriter Carole King contributed her own pro-vaccine ditty: