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…

•  The United States now has reported a total of 73,449,185 Covid-19 coronavirus cases, resulting in 894,880 deaths and 45,119,980 recoveries.

Globally, there have been 359,854,075 total cases, with 5,636,526 resultant fatalities and 284,988,274 reported recoveries.   (Source.)

•  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that 75.7 percent of the US population has received at least one dose of vaccine … 63.5 percent has been fully vaccinated … and 40.3 percent of the US population has received a vaccine booster dose. 

•  The New York Times reports that "the Biden administration is withdrawing its requirement that large employers mandate workers be vaccinated or regularly tested, the Labor Department said on Tuesday.

"In pulling the rule, the department recognized what most employers and industry experts said after a Supreme Court ruling this month — that the emergency temporary standard could not be revived after the court blocked it … The Supreme Court’s decision, which was 6 to 3, with the liberal justices in dissent, said the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, did not have the authority to require workers to be vaccinated for coronavirus or tested weekly, describing the agency’s approach as 'a blunt instrument.' The mandate would have applied to some 80 million people if it had not been struck down."

The story notes that "without the Labor Department’s standard in effect, employers are subject to a patchwork of state and local laws on Covid-19 workplace safety, with places like New York City requiring vaccine mandates and other governments banning them."

•  From the Wall Street Journal this morning:

"Covid-19 deaths in the U.S. have reached the highest level since early last year, eclipsing daily averages from the recent Delta-fueled surge, after the newer Omicron variant spread wildly through the country and caused record-shattering case counts.

"The seven-day average for newly reported Covid-19 deaths reached 2,191 a day by Monday, up about 1,000 from daily death counts two months ago, before Omicron was first detected, data from Johns Hopkins University show. While emerging evidence shows Omicron is less likely to kill the people it infects, because the variant spreads with unmatched speed the avalanche of cases can overwhelm any mitigating factors, epidemiologists say."

There are a lot of columns being written and commentaries uttered by people saying they are "done with Covid."  Which is nice, except that Covid clearly is not done with us.

Not that the world has to end.  We have to continue being masked indoors, especially with people we don't know.  We have to practice prudent physical distancing.  And we have to continue to improve our vaccination rates so that, even if people continue to get infected, we can stem the tide of serious illness and death.  Do all those things, and we get to live our lives.  "Normal" is such an imprecise word, because it means different things to different people.  I prefer "reality" - it is more specific, tangible and we can create a new reality if we're willing to accept and deal with the facts of our current reality.