Published on: July 26, 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…
• Here are the US Covid-19 coronavirus numbers: 35,199,465 total cases … 626,762 deaths … and 29,511,909 reported recoveries.
The global numbers: 194,967,707 total cases … 4,178,305 fatalities … and 176,888,707 reported recoveries. (Source.)
• The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that 69 percent of the US population age 18 and older has received at least one dose of vaccine, with 60 percent fully vaccinated. The CDC also says that 66.4 percent of the population age 12 and older has gotten at least one dose of vaccine, with 57.4 percent fully vaccinated.
• The Associated Press quotes Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, as saying that "'the United States is in an 'unnecessary predicament' of soaring COVID-19 cases fueled by unvaccinated Americans and the virulent delta variant.
"We’re going in the wrong direction, Fauci said, adding that "recommending that the vaccinated wear masks is 'under active consideration' by the government’s leading public health officials. Also, booster shots may be suggested for people with suppressed immune systems who have been vaccinated, Fauci said … He noted that some local jurisdictions where infection rates are surging, such as Los Angeles County, are already calling on individuals to wear masks in indoor public spaces regardless of vaccination status."
“This is an issue predominantly among the unvaccinated, which is the reason why we’re out there, practically pleading with the unvaccinated people to go out and get vaccinated,” Fauci said.
• Bloomberg reports that "a growing number of public-health experts are urging the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to recommend that even fully vaccinated people wear face masks in public amid the resurgence of virus cases fed by the Delta variant … CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said July 22 that the organization was sticking with its recommendations that fully vaccinated people don’t usually need masks, while allowing that wearing one may have some advantages."
“Communities and individuals need to make the decisions that are right for them based on what’s going on in their local areas,” she said. “You get exceptional protection from the vaccines, but you have the opportunity to make a personal choice to add extra layers of protection if you so choose.”
I've started wearing a mask again when I go to stores. I'm fully vaccinated, but I know that I could still get Covid-19 and, even if asymptomatic, spread it to other people. Which I am determined not to do to the best of my ability.
• The Wall Street Journal reports that "Florida is recording more Covid-19 cases than any other U.S. state, as hospitalizations in some areas increase at the fastest rate since the start of the pandemic.
"The state accounts for one in five new infections in the U.S. and logged 73,181 cases over the past week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Florida had 341 cases per 100,000 people over the past week, second only to Louisiana. The weekly total of new cases reported by Florida jumped more than fourfold between July 1 and July 22, reaching its highest point since mid-January.
"Deaths in Florida totaled 319 over the past week, the most among states, with a rate of 1.5 per 100,000 people, fourth-highest, according to the CDC.
"Epidemiologists say various factors are at play: large numbers of unvaccinated people, a relaxation of preventive measures like mask-wearing and social distancing, the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus and the congregation of people indoors during hot summer months."
• From the New York Times:
"After an all too brief respite, the United States is again at a crossroads in the pandemic. The number of infections has ticked up — slowly at first, then swiftly — to 51,000 cases per day, on average, more than four times the rate a month ago. The country may again see overflowing hospitals, exhausted health care workers and thousands of needless deaths.
"The more contagious Delta variant may be getting the blame, but fueling its rise is an older, more familiar foe: vaccine hesitancy and refusal, long pervasive in the United States. Were a wider swath of the population vaccinated, there would be no resurgence — of the Delta variant, or Alpha variant, or any other version of the coronavirus.
"While mild breakthrough infections may be more common than once thought, the vaccines effectively prevent severe illness and death. Yet nearly half of the population remains unvaccinated and unprotected. About 30 percent of adults have not received even a single dose, and the percentage is much higher in some parts of the country.
America is one of the few countries with enough vaccines at its disposal to protect every resident — and yet it has highest rates of vaccine hesitance or refusal of any nation except Russia."
It is worth noting that from almost the very beginning of the pandemic, Fauci was saying that the US had to keep the daily case rate below 20,000 if we were to have any claim to being in control of the pandemic. It took us until early summer 2021 to get to that point; our high, last winter, was more than 300,000 cases a day. But now we're up in the 50,000-cases-per-day area, and there are two things that we know about that number - it is unacceptable from a public health point of view, and it is almost entirely preventable.