business 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 a total of 44,781,200 Covid-19 coronavirus cases, resulting in 724,728 deaths and 34,282,121 reported recoveries.

Globally, there have been 236,704,318 total cases, with 4,833,888 resultant fatalities and 213,815,312 reported recoveries.  (Source.)

•  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that 76 percent of the US population age 12 and older has received at least one dose of vaccine, with 65.6 percent being fully vaccinated.

The CDC also says that 8.4 percent of the US population age 65 and older has received a vaccine booster shot.

•  From the New York Times:

"Even in its first months, the U.S. coronavirus vaccination campaign saved the lives of tens of thousands of older people, according to a federal government report released on Tuesday.

"From January through May, vaccination prevented about 265,000 cases, 107,000 hospitalizations and 39,000 deaths among Medicare recipients, who are either over age 65 or are disabled, the Department of Health and Human Services analysis said.

That includes a period of time when relatively few people had received the shots. Vaccination began in the United States in mid-December, and at first was generally limited to the elderly and people with serious underlying conditions.

"But the rollout was uneven, and vaccine production and distribution were still ramping up. In mid-February, only 4 percent of the U.S. population had been fully vaccinated, but by the end of May, the figure was 41 percent, and about 80 percent for people over 65."

•  The Washington Post has a story about how, even as major US companies have b been finding success with vaccine mandates for their employees, "in an economy facing gaping labor shortages and where vaccination rates have slowed, executives at smaller companies are less certain of their ability to compel compliance. They are trying to gently prod reluctant workers to get vaccinated ahead of an expected federal vaccine mandate for private employers with more than 100 workers. And they want to avoid business disruptions at the same time."

Hundreds of companies, the Post writes, have "turned to a little-known group created to provide corporations with a road map for selling vaccination to their workforces - which could prove critical to ensuring a smooth transition as vaccination moves from mostly encouraged to mostly required.

"The Health Action Alliance - launched earlier this year by a group that includes the Business Roundtable, the CDC Foundation and the Ad Council - offers a detailed blueprint for companies intent on boosting immunization rates, down to the words they use: Don't say 'anti-vaxxers' or 'back to normal.'  Do stress 'personal responsibility' and 'public health' … The alliance - which works with companies such as Starbucks and Target and shares findings with groups such as the National League of Cities - also coordinates calls to allow corporate officials to hear directly from public health experts. One recent meeting featured a former federal workplace safety official offering advice and a current NFL executive discussing how the league persuaded more than 90% of its players to get vaccinated."

•  The New York Times also reports that "New Zealand hopes to vaccinate as many as 350,000 people in a single day next week, the country’s largest Covid inoculation effort to date, as it pushes closer to reopening its economy.

"Vaccination clinics will be open all day on Saturday, Oct. 16, said Chris Hipkins, the minister leading New Zealand’s Covid-19 response. The facilities will be able to vaccinate 350,000 people — about 8.3 percent of the eligible population of people 12 and older, he said."