Published on: January 19, 2022
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 a total of 68,767,004 total cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus, resulting in 877,240 deaths and 43,528,110 reported recoveries.
Globally, there have been 335,626,229 total cases, with 5,575,431 resultant fatalities, and 271,418342 reported recoveries. (Source.)
• The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that 75.1 percent of the total US population and 79.9 percent of the population age five and older have received at least one dose of vaccine, while 63 percent of the total population and 67 percent of the five-and-older group are fully vaccinated.
The CDC also says that 38.7 percent of the total US population has received a vaccine booster dose.
• The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the US Postal Service (USPS) yesterday did a soft launch of a new website that allows every American household to request four free at-home Covid-19 rapid tests.
The launch came about 24 hours earlier than expected, and from all reports, everything was working smoothly.
You can access the site here.
It was kind of amazing how fast emails and texts were being passed around yesterday advising folks about how the site was up and working. We got several notes from friends and family members, and then immediately passed along the news to other folks. The reports seemed accurate - it took me about 20 seconds to place our order for the four at-home test kits, which are expected to be delivered by the end of the month.
• From NBC News:
"The Biden administration will make 400 million N95 masks available for free at thousands of locations across the country, a White House official said Wednesday, as health experts stress the importance of high-quality face coverings to protect against the omicron variant of the coronavirus.
"The plan consists of working with pharmacies and community health centers to distribute the nonsurgical masks, which will come from the Strategic National Stockpile. The administration will begin shipments this week and hopes to have the program fully operational by early February, the White House official said."
• Axios reports that "the Omicron wave is likely beginning to recede in the U.S., experts say … Omicron is still wreaking havoc in parts of the country, but infectious disease experts are optimistic that relief is around the corner."
The story goes on: "In South Africa and in the U.K., which experienced their Omicron waves before the U.S., cases spiked dramatically and then fell almost as quickly.
"That appears to be happening now in parts of the U.S. that got hit with the variant early, including Boston, New York and Washington, D.C.
"'The trajectory was incredibly steep and rising to, of course, a new height in infections. That does appear now, in aggregate, to be starting to decline,' Chris Beyrer, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told Axios."
However, experts also warn that while the numbers seem to be coming down in some parts of the US, there are other regions that have not yet hit their Omicron peak.
• The Washington Post reports on clothing brand Carharrt, which communicated to its employees this week that the Supreme Court decision rejecting a federal mandate for vaccinate-or-test policies at all businesses with 100 or more employees would not affect its own internal policy requiring employees be vaccinated.
"“We, and the medical community, continue to believe vaccines are necessary to ensure a safe working environment for every associate and even perhaps their households," the company said in an internal email, adding, "An unvaccinated workforce is both a people and business risk that our company is unwilling to take."
The position was made public on social media, and now, the Post writes, "While the email has been celebrated by Carharrt fans supportive of its health and safety measures, some conservatives and anti-vaccine pundits have targeted the company on social media in what appears to be the latest attempt to shame and boycott a company over its mandatory coronavirus vaccination policy for employees. The company has also faced protests from employees opposed to the vaccination policy in recent months."
Kind of makes me want to shop at Carharrt. Their position seems entirely responsible to me. Also kind of interesting how some folks who disagree with federal regulation of business because they think businesses ought to be able to make their own decisions then have trouble with businesses that actually make their own decisions.
• It is worth reading a piece in the Boston Globe that suggests it may be time for a reset in how we deal with children during the pandemic.
"Sometimes you can feel an inflection point.
"We’re seeing it in waste water, where, in the Boston area, evidence of COVID-19 has been plummeting for about a week.
"That already seems to be reflected in moderating case numbers. And, soon, we may start to witness a radical shift in how we think about COVID and school.
"Such a shift would impact a core part of society, one that has been a lightning rod for the last two years. And it may set the stage for a new chapter in the pandemic.
" David Rubin, a pediatrician at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia — one of the largest children’s hospitals in the country — insists: Not only do we need to keep schools open, but our entire approach to kids has to change … Rubin, who runs his hospital’s PolicyLab and serves as a professor of pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, has worked with colleagues on what might feel like fairly radical new guidelines.
"Among other things, they argue that we should stop regularly testing asymptomatic kids, and we should allow teachers and students with in-school exposure to stay in school if they’re asymptomatic (they call it 'mask to stay')."
You can read the entire piece here.