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 US now has had 91,429,409 total cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus, resulting in 1,049,274 deaths and 86,752,569 reported recoveries.
Globally, there have been 568,767,915 total cases, with 6,389,721 resultant fatalities and 540,034,209 reported recoveries. (Source.)
• The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that 78.5 percent of the total US population now has received at least one dose of vaccine, with 67.1 percent. being fully vaccinated. The CDC also says that 48.1 percent of the total US population has received a first vaccine booster dose, with 28.5 percent of the 50+ population and 35.2 percent of the 65+ population having received a second vaccine booster shot.
• From the New York Times this morning:
"Covid-19 is surging around the United States again in what experts consider the most transmissible variant of the pandemic yet … The latest surge, driven by a spike of BA.5 subvariant cases in this country since May, has sent infections rising in at least 40 states, particularly in the Great Plains, West and South. Hospitalizations have climbed by 20 percent in the past two weeks, leaving more than 40,000 people in American hospitals with the coronavirus on an average day.
"More than two years after the pandemic began, though, public health officials are sounding only quiet warnings amid a picture that they hope has been changed by vaccines, treatments and rising immunity. Deaths are rising, but only modestly so far in this new wave. And state and local public health officials say they also must now factor in a reality that is obvious along the streets from Seattle to New York City: Most Americans are meeting a new Covid wave with a collective shrug, shunning masks, joining crowds indoors and moving on from the endless barrage of virus warnings of months past."
Hopefully we're all older and wiser compared to the early days of the pandemic … though I remain a little surprised by how few people have gotten the booster shots compared to the original vaccines. I mean, once you've made the commitment, why not go the whole way? As for me, I continue to wear masks when I go into stores, movie theaters, airports and airplanes … and I try to be judicious about my behavior when at public events because of subvariant concerns.
• The Washington Post reports that "Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s preeminent infectious-diseases expert, who has served as the face of the coronavirus pandemic response for more than two years, plans after more than 50 years in government to retire by the end of President Biden’s term."
There is no official date for Fauci's retirement, but he said that he would “almost certainly” retire by 2025.
“I do want to do other things in my career, even though I’m at a rather advanced age,” Fauci said.
I know that not everybody agrees with this, and I don't really want to have an extended debate on the subject. But while Fauci hasn't gotten everything right, and has had to adjust his recommendations as the science has evolved (which is sort of what scientists do), I feel strongly that he is the very model of the dedicated public servant, a model for the kind of people who occupy important positions in government and help shape nuanced and effective public - in this case, public health - policy. We are in his debt.