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 78,824,393 total cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus, resulting in 935,922 deaths and 49,217,354 reported recoveries.

Globally, there have been 404,430,275 total cases, with 5,798,611 resultant fatalities and 324,411,750 reported recoveries.   (Source.)

•  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that 75.7 percent of the total US population has received at least one dose of vaccine … 64.2 percent is fully vaccinated … and 42.5 percent has received a vaccine booster dose.

•  From the Wall Street Journal this morning:

"Hospitalizations continued tracking downward in the U.S., with the seven-day average of patients with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 falling to about 111,000, down 30% from a peak in January, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services … U.S. deaths are holding steady, with the seven-day average standing at 2,531 on Monday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

"Though there is growing evidence that the Omicron variant is less likely to cause severe illness than earlier strains of the virus, particularly among people who have been fully vaccinated, the number of infections means that deaths - a lagging indicator - remain high, public-health experts say. Omicron’s rapid spread means it is reaching people with other illnesses, and Covid-19 wasn’t the cause of death in some of these cases."

•  From the New York Times this morning:

"The White House has been meeting with outside health experts to plan a pandemic exit strategy and a transition to a “new normal,” but the behind-the-scenes effort is crashing into a very public reality: A string of blue-state governors have gotten ahead of President Biden by suddenly abandoning their mask mandates.

"Two of the administration’s top doctors — Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the president’s chief medical adviser for the pandemic, and Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, both expressed qualified optimism on Wednesday about the direction of the pandemic. If cases continue to fall and no new variants arise, the country 'could be heading toward what we would consider more normality,' Dr. Fauci said in an interview.

"But Dr. Fauci cautioned that the situation 'is still unpredictable,' and said any transition out of the current crisis would be gradual. And Dr. Walensky said pointedly that while her agency is working on new guidance for the states, it is too soon for all Americans to take off their masks in indoor public places.

"'Our hospitalizations are still high, our death rates are still high,' she said during a news briefing by the White House Covid response team. 'So, as we work toward that and as we are encouraged by the current trends, we are not there yet'."

•  The coronavirus has claimed another victim, according to Food & Wine - Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, a British pub that first opened in 793 and claims to be the UK's oldest watering hole.

The story says that "the current operator of the pub in St. Albans announced on Friday that they have filed for bankruptcy, blaming 'a sustained period of extremely challenging trading conditions' — a similar refrain to a number of historic British pubs that have closed during the pandemic."

The property owners say they are hoping to find a way to reopen the pub down the road.