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 United States, there now have been 47,105,468 total Covid-19 coronavirus cases, resulting in 770,854 deaths and 37,116,604 reported recoveries.

Globally, there have been 248,961,251 total cases, with 5,039,825 resultant fatalities and   225,531,086 reported recoveries.  (Source.)

•  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that 78.3 percent of the US population age 12 and older has received at least one dose of vaccine, with 68 percent being fully vaccinated.  The CDC says that 66.9 percent of the total US population has received at least one dose of vaccine, with 58.1 percent being fully vaccinated.

The CDC also says that 26.6 percent of the US population age 65 and older has received a vaccine booster shot.

•  The Washington Post reports this morning that "regulators in Britain granted approval to the experimental drug molnupiravir from U.S. pharmaceutical giant Merck on Thursday, marking the first authorization from a public health body for an oral antiviral treatment for covid-19 in adults.

"Experts say that if widely authorized, molnupiravir could have huge potential to help fight the pandemic: Pills are easier to take, manufacture and store, making them particularly useful in lower- to middle-income countries with weaker infrastructure and limited vaccine supplies … The company has applied to the U.S. Food and Drug Agency for emergency use authorization, while the European Medicines Agency has launched a rolling review of the oral antiviral medicine. It said it was also working to submit applications to other regulatory agencies."

•  The New York Times reports that "Tyson’s announcement that it would require vaccinations across its corporate offices, packing houses and poultry plants, many of which are situated in the South and Midwest where resistance to the vaccines is high, was arguably the boldest mandate in the corporate world.

"'We made the decision to do the mandate, fully understanding that we were putting our business at risk,' Tyson’s chief executive, Donnie King, said in an interview last week. 'This was very painful to do.'

"But it was also bad for business when Tyson had to shut facilities because of virus outbreaks. Since announcing the policy, nearly 60,500 employees have received the vaccine, and more than 96 percent of its work force is vaccinated.

Tyson’s experience shows how vaccine mandates in the workplace can be persuasive. It comes as many employers await the start of Biden administration rules that will require vaccines — or weekly testing — at companies with 100 or more workers … Tyson’s aggressive push on vaccines also marks a significant turn for a company that had been criticized early in the pandemic for failing to adequately protect workers in its plants. Its low-wage workers typically stand elbow-to-elbow to do the work of cutting, deboning and packing meat, making them particularly vulnerable to the airborne virus."