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…

•  Here are the current US Covid-19 coronavirus numbers:  34,732,753 total cases … 622,845 deaths … and 29,244,103 reported recoveries.

The global numbers:   187,681,587 total cases … 4,050,192 fatalities … and 171,629,112 reported recoveries.  (Source.)

•  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that 67.6 percent of the US population age 18 and older has received at least one dose of vaccine, with 58.8 percent being fully vaccinated.

•  From the Wall Street Journal:

"Hospitalizations related to Covid-19 are rising in the U.S. after a long decline, federal data showed, providing evidence of the human toll the Delta virus variant is taking on unvaccinated Americans.

"Just under 2,000 new patients were admitted to hospitals each day over the week ending July 5, a 6.8% increase over admissions during the previous week and an 88% decrease over a seven-day average of 16,492 patients admitted daily in early January, according to data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"New cases are up too, to a seven-day daily average of 13,859 on July 6, about an 11% increase over the previous seven-day average, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said Thursday at a White House briefing."

•  The Wall Street Journal reports that "the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday that teachers and students who are vaccinated against Covid-19 don’t need to wear masks in schools. Unvaccinated adults and children under 12, for whom vaccines haven’t yet been authorized in the U.S., should wear masks and students of all ages should continue to learn 3 feet apart, the CDC said.

"Where that isn’t possible, the CDC said, classes should be held anyway in conjunction with other precautions like ventilation and cleaning. Even where Covid-19 cases are rising as the highly contagious Delta variant spreads, the CDC said that all students and teachers should continue to meet in person and that those who are unvaccinated should be tested weekly.

"The guidance advances the CDC’s incremental rollback in recent months of measures adopted to prevent the spread of Covid-19. As vaccines have helped push new cases to a fraction of the peaks reached last winter, the CDC has moved in stages to relax its guidance on face masks, travel and schools."

•  Public health officials are saying that the vast majority of all new Covid-19 coronavirus cases - more than 99 percent - are affecting people who have not been vaccinated.

What if insurance companies established a policy - no pun intended - that if you had access to a vaccine and refused to get it (as opposed to being unable to get it because of age or geography or a health condition), then they will not cover expenses incurred during treatment for the coronavirus?  (According to HealthCare Finance, the "average cost of hospital care for COVID-19 ranges from $51,000 to $78,000, based on age.")   If you don't follow public healthy experts' recommendations, then you have to cover the expenses yourself … and could, if you don't have that kind of cash lying around, lose your house, savings and other assets.

And here's an ever bigger question.  If an insurance company that is publicly traded made that announcement, do you think its stock would go up or down in the immediate aftermath?  I think its stock would go up.