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 total US Covid-19 coronavirus numbers:  34,963,907 cases … 624,746 deaths … and 29,376,590 reported recoveries.

The global numbers:  191,318,766 total cases … 4,108,178 fatalities … and 174,254,469 reported recoveries.   (Source.)

•  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that 68.2 percent of the US population age 18 and old has received at least one dose of vaccine, with 59.4 percent being fully vaccinated.

•  The New York Times writes that US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy on Sunday "reiterated warnings that false stories about the vaccines had become a dangerous health hazard. 'These platforms have to recognize they’ve played a major role in the increase in speed and scale with which misinformation is spreading'."

That followed an earlier comment by President Biden that by allowing the spread of misinformation, Facebook is "killing people."

The Times writes that Facebook has pushed back on the accusation, and "called on the administration to stop 'finger-pointing' and laid out what it had done to encourage users to get vaccinated. The social network also detailed how it had clamped down on lies about the vaccines, which officials have said led people to refuse to be vaccinated.

"'The Biden administration has chosen to blame a handful of American social media companies,' Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice president of integrity, said in the post. 'The fact is that vaccine acceptance among Facebook users in the U.S. has increased'."

Personally, I think that accusing Facebook of trafficking in misinformation is redundant, and I find it mildly amusing and disconcertingly ironic that it has a "vice president of integrity."  I made a conscious decision some time ago that while I might use social media for business purposes, like posting headlines and links (though I am sure that some folks think I traffic in misinformation), I don't look for news there and I almost never use it to post personal information.  I don't want to be a product that Facebook sells, don't trust its leadership, and think that accuracy is far less important to the company than power and enrichment.

•  Axios reports that as "coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths are back on the rise in the U.S. as the highly transmissible Delta variant spreads across the country," CDC Director Rochelle Walensky called it "a pandemic of the unvaccinated."

In urging people to get vaccinated, Walensky also said on Friday:  “Do it for yourself, your family and for your community. And please do it to protect your young children who right now can’t get vaccinated themselves.”

The CDC says that more than 97 percent of people currently hospitalized for severe COVID-19 infections are unvaccinated, and Axios writes that "vaccinations in the U.S. have plateaued just as the Delta variant has become the dominant strain of the virus here and around the world.

"A small handful of states with especially low vaccination rates — Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Missouri and Nevada — are driving a plurality of new cases. One in five new infections comes from Florida alone, Walensky said."

The Axios story notes that "some vaccinated people can still get sick, but the risk of severe illness is far lower."

The bottom line, as the story points out, is that while infections, hospitalizations and infections are increasing, the vast majority of these cases are preventable - if only these people had taken advantage of free vaccination programs available to them.

An anecdote, if I may.  On Friday, I was at the Jersey Shore, and was standing on line in a bakery.  As I waited, there was a woman who was walking out of the store, talking on her cell phone, and she said, "I know.  My kids agree with your kids.  The whole vaccine thing is a scam."

Now, she has a right to that opinion.  If she wants to be ignorant and raise ignorant kids, there's not much I can do about that.  But here's the thing - it is a pretty safe assumption that she was not vaccinated, and she wasn't wearing a mask, which is in violation of New Jersey protocols and recommendations.

I didn't say anything, though I did wish at that moment that I was wearing a mask, even though I am fully vaccinated.  But here's the deal - if you don't want to wear a mask, then get vaccinated.  If you don't trust the vaccines, then wear a mask.  But to not get vaccinated and not wear a mask is simply irresponsible, especially because we're not yet to the point where kids under 12 can be vaccinated, and there are variants out there that still pose a threat to the population, culture, and economy.