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 US now has had 97,430,411 total cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus, resulting in 1,078,018 deaths and 93,705,279 reported recoveries.

Globally, there have been 616,240,937 total cases, with 6,526,195 resultant fatalities and 595,439,686 reported recoveries.  (Source.)

•  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that 79.3 percent of the total US population now has received at least one dose of vaccine, with 67.7 percent. being fully vaccinated.  The CDC also says that 48.6 percent of the total US population has received a first vaccine booster dose, with 34.7 percent of the 50+  population and 41.9 percent of the 65+ population having received a second vaccine booster shot.

• Ipsos and Axios are out with their latest Coronavirus Index, which finds that the country has largely — though not completely — moved on from the pandemic. "The perceived risk the virus poses in Americans’ minds has steadily declined since the Omicron surge in the winter of 2022, and Americans have continued to engage in out-of-home behaviors despite cases rising in the beginning of the summer.

"The poll also finds that the vast majority of Americans believe COVID-19 changed Americans’ lives forever, but that we are now in a better place than we were a year ago. Many also report feeling optimistic about their health, home life, and finances.

Finally, while Americans support ending government mandated COVID restrictions, they support the (now defunct) federally funded at-home testing program and free access to vaccines and treatment."

Specifically:  "The share of Americans who report being concerned about COVID-19 (57%) is among the lowest captured throughout the pandemic. Of those who are concerned, a plurality is more concerned about spreading the virus to people who are at higher risk of serious illness (28%) than for themselves, whether it’s developing long COVID (18%), being hospitalized (12%), or dying (11%).

"Nearly two in three (65%) say there is a small risk or no risk in returning to their normal, pre-COVID life.

"More Americans now say they already have returned to their normal, pre-COVID life (46%) than at any point during the pandemic.

"Still, just 11% say there is no risk of them contracting COVID."

And, Ipsos goes on:  "A large majority of Americans agree that we will never fully be rid of the virus in their lifetime (85%) and that COVID-19 changed Americans’ lives forever (88%).  At the same time, 82% say we are in a better place than we were a year ago when it comes to COVID.

"Many describe different aspects of their life as good, such as their home and home life (90%), mental health (85%), emotional wellbeing (84%), physical health (83%), and personal finances (78%)."

I find some of mask attitudes in the study particularly interesting:  "Roughly half report wearing masks at all times or sometimes when on an airplane (48%) … Fewer report wearing masks at all times or sometimes when on public transportation or in a rideshare (39%) … Finally, the lowest share of Americans report wearing masks at all times or sometimes in grocery stores (33%) and when walking into a restaurant to dine indoors (27%) … Of people who say they wear a mask at all times, sometimes, or occasionally, nearly one in five (19%) report worrying how other people view them because of their mask.

I would be one of those people who wears a mask when I go to the store, walk through an airport, or sit on a plane.  Not as religiously as I once did, but the vast majority of the time.  I have no problem getting up in front of audiences without wearing a mask, largely because a) it is how I make a living, and b) I'm trusting the vaccines and boosters I've gotten to protect me from serious illness.  I've been lucky to this point, and I'd rather not push it … plus, I believe in what Branch Rickey once said:  "Luck is the residue of design."

And, for the record, I don't give a damn how other people view me if I'm wearing a mask in a store or on an airplane.