retail news in context, analysis with attitude

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 US, there now have been 34,527,493 total cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus, resulting in 619,980 deaths and 29,007,373 reported recoveries.

Globally, there have been 182,620,548 coronavirus cases, with 3,954,822 resultant fatalities, and 167,232,790 reported recoveries.  (Source.)

•  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that 66.2 percent of the US population age 18 and older has received at least one dose of vaccine, and 57.2 percent is fully vaccinated.

• Bloomberg reports that "the gap between the most vaccinated and least vaccinated places in the U.S. has exploded in the past three months, and continues to widen despite efforts to convince more Americans to get a Covid shot."

While the general news about vaccination rates in the US is positive, "newly available county-level data show how those national figures hide very different local vaccine realities.

"In the least vaccinated group of counties, many of which are in the South and Central regions of the U.S., less than half as many people have gotten at least one Covid vaccine dose as in the most vaccinated counties in the cities and on the coasts. Those less vaccinated places are not catching up, either. The gap between more- and less-vaccinated counties is expanding, and the trailing counties are far below levels needed to halt future waves of infection."

• The Boston Globe reports that Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Moderna says that a new study shows that "its two-shot COVID-19 vaccine works against worrisome variants, including the Delta strain."

According to the story, Moderna says that "its vaccine produced neutralizing activity against the variants it tested, including strains of the virus that were first identified in India, Nigeria, and South Africa. Blood serum samples for the study were obtained from eight participants one week after their second Moderna shot."

“These new data are encouraging and reinforce our belief that the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine should remain protective against newly detected variants,” says Stéphane Bancel, Moderna's CEO. “These findings highlight the importance of continuing to vaccinate populations with an effective primary series vaccine.”

• From the Los Angeles Times:

"With the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus continuing to spread statewide, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is recommending that all residents wear masks in public indoor spaces — regardless of whether they’ve been vaccinated for COVID-19 … Officials have said the available vaccines appear to offer strong protection. But there’s significant concern that those who have yet to receive all their required shots, or any doses at all, remain vulnerable to the Delta variant — which may be twice as transmissible as the conventional coronavirus strains."

In its statement, county health officials wrote that, as a precaution, “people wear masks indoors in settings such as grocery or retail stores; theaters and family entertainment centers, and workplaces when you don’t know everyone’s vaccination status … Until we better understand how and to who the Delta variant is spreading, everyone should focus on maximum protection with minimum interruption to routine as all businesses operate without other restrictions, like physical distancing and capacity limits."

The Times writes that the announcement "is one of the clearest signals yet of just how seriously health officials are taking the strain, and the danger it poses, particularly to those who have yet to be inoculated."