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 33,586,136 confirmed Covid-19 coronavirus cases … 597,785 deaths … and 26,620,229 reported recoveries.
Globally, there have been 161,134,621 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 3,346,912 resultant fatalities, and 138,959,251 reported recoveries. (Source.)
• From Axios this morning:
"America’s battle against the coronavirus is going great … For the first time in a long time, nobody needs to cherry-pick some misleading data to make it seem like things are going well, and the good news doesn’t need an endless list of caveats, either. It’s just really good news. We’re winning. Be happy … The U.S. averaged fewer than 40,000 new cases per day over the past week.
"That’s a 21% improvement over the week before, and the first time the daily average has dipped below 40,000 since September — eight months ago.
"New cases declined last week in 37 states. Not a single state moved in the wrong direction.
"Deaths from the coronavirus are at their lowest level since last July - about 600 per day, on average, per the AP, and may soon hit their lowest point of the entire pandemic. Nationally, hospitalization rates are also falling significantly.
"The U.S. is finally winning its battle against COVID-19 thanks almost exclusively to one weapon: the vaccines."
• The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that 58.7 percent of Americans 18 or older have received at least one dose of vaccine, and 45.1 percent now are fully vaccinated.
• The Wall Street Journal writes that the CDC "recommended Wednesday that 12- to 15-year-olds receive the Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE, expanding the nation’s vaccination campaign.
"The CDC took the step after its vaccination advisory panel voted to recommend the shot at a meeting Wednesday after reviewing clinical trial data and other relevant information. The vote by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, or ACIP, was 14-0, with one voting member recusing."
• The Boston Globe reports that Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said the company "is working on three different options for a single-dose booster shot against variants of concern: the current vaccine, a new variant-specific vaccine, and a 50/50 mix of the two.
"Moderna last week shared early study results that showed its first two options — the current vaccine at half the dosage and a shot of its reworked vaccine — both appeared to raise antibody levels against variants that first emerged in South Africa and Brazil. Bancel said the company is expecting to receive data on the third booster strategy in the coming weeks."
"'And then we’ll work with the FDA to get the safe and effective variant-specific booster to the American people as fast as we can,' he added."
• The New York Times reports that "federal health officials have now confirmed 28 cases, including six in men, of a rare blood clotting disorder in adults who have received the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine … The figure is an increase from the 15 confirmed cases, all of which were in women, that were reported at last month’s meeting.
"Although officials have now identified a handful of cases in men, women — especially those between the ages of 30 and 49 — appear to remain at elevated risk."
• Fox News reports that in Ohio, Gov. Mike DeWine has come up with a unique carrot to encourage residents to get vaccinated.
One million dollars.
According to the story, "Starting next Wednesday, adults who have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and are at least 18 years old, may enter a lottery that will provide a $1 million prize each Wednesday for five weeks."
In addition, the story says, "In random drawings, the state will also provide five full four-year scholarships to an Ohio public university - including tuition, room-and-board, and books - to Ohioans under the age of 18 who have been vaccinated."
Fox News writes that "in announcing the end of the mandates, the governor cited the sharp drop in the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations and high vaccination rates among people 65 and older. He also said the vaccine is a 'tested and proven weapon' that all Ohioans 12 and older can now avail themselves of." However, while "more than 4.2 million people in Ohio had completed the vaccination process as of Tuesday, or about 36% of the population," the fact is that "the number of people seeking vaccines has dropped in recent weeks, with an average of about 16,500 starting the process last week, down from figures above 80,000 in April. About 42% of Ohioans have received at least one dose."
• McDonald's is putting its back into the promotion of vaccines.
Media Post reports that "McDonald's says it plans to introduce a Times Square billboard later this month and is also using McCafé cups and McDelivery seal stickers to spread the word. Those lead people to vaccine.gov, the U.S. site that provides information on vaccine availability.
"The move comes at a pivotal moment in the pandemic. The vaccine supply is surpassing demand in many states, and public-health efforts now focus on winning over those who are still vaccine-hesitant."
• From the Wall Street Journal:
"The return to a pre-pandemic normal in the U.S. is gaining speed.
"The New York City subway hit its highest daily ridership since March 13, 2020, with some 2.2 million riders last Friday. More than 1.7 million people traveled through the nation’s airports on Sunday, the most since the start of the pandemic.
"The San Francisco Symphony held its first in-person performance in more than a year, and the Kansas City Symphony plans to return later this month to its concert hall. On Monday, some restaurants in the U.S. hit a milestone, according to data from OpenTable. Seated diners at reopened restaurants on the reservation platform’s network reached 100% of 2019 levels."