Published on: May 19, 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, we've now had 33,774,945 total Covid-19 coronavirus cases, 601,330 deaths, and 27,253,327 reported recoveries.
Globally, there have been 164,963,559 total cases, 3,420,795 fatalities, and 143,951,585 reported recoveries. (Source.)
• The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that 60 percent of the population age 18 and older has received at least one dose of a vaccine, with 47.6 percent being fully vaccinated.
• The Washington Post writes about the "millions of immunocompromised Americans, about 3 to 4 percent of the U.S. population, for whom the shots may not work fully, or at all, and who are unsure of their place in a country that is increasingly opening up. Emerging research shows that 15 to 80 percent of those with certain conditions, such as specific blood cancers or who have had organ transplants, are generating few antibodies."
According to the story, "Federal health officials’ decision last week to rescind almost all masking and distancing recommendations for those who are fully vaccinated only added to the sense of fear, isolation and confusion for those with immune issues. On Twitter and other social media platforms, many such patients expressed frustration that the change might leave them with less — not more — freedom as their risk of infection grows as more of their neighbors and co-workers ditch their masks."
• The Washington Post reports this morning that "the European Union on Wednesday agreed to open its borders to vaccinated travelers after more than a year in which travel into the bloc has been severely restricted, a spokesman said Wednesday."
The date when the opening will take place has not been set, and the Post writes that "a formal final approval is still necessary, but its passage is not in doubt. Travelers would need to have vaccines approved for use within the European Union - meaning that all the vaccines currently available in the United States would be greenlighted, but vaccines currently manufactured in Russia and China would not be."
• Giant Eagle announced that it will no longer require masks for employees and customers who are fully vaccinated.
“As we continue to navigate this public health crisis, it is vital that we all work together to protect ourselves and each other,” the company said in a prepared statement. “To best do this, we have taken steps to increase access to the COVID-19 vaccine by offering walk-up availability in our in-store pharmacy locations. We encourage anyone eligible who has not yet received the vaccine to consider doing so.”
• Axios reports that Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said this week that "many Americans are 'misinterpreting' the CDC's new mask guidance, which lets vaccinated individuals forego masks indoors."
"I think people are misinterpreting, thinking that this is a removal of a mask mandate for everyone. It's not," Fauci tells Axios. "It's an assurance to those who are vaccinated that they can feel safe, be they outdoors or indoors … It's not their fault. People either read them quickly, or listen and hear half of it. They are feeling that we're saying: 'You don't need the mask anymore.' That's not what the CDC said. They said: If you are vaccinated, you can feel safe — that you will not get infected either outdoors or indoors. It did not explicitly say that unvaccinated people should abandon their masks."