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…

•  Here are the United States Covid-19 coronavirus numbers:  51,018,282 total cases … 819,315 deaths … and 40,154,700 reported recoveries.

The global numbers:  271,213,566 total cases … 5,331,805 fatalities … and 243,899,415 reported recoveries.  (Source.)

•  The Centers for Disease control and Prevention (CDC) says that 76.6 percent of the US population age five and older, and 72.1 percent of the total US population, has received at least one dose of vaccine, while 64.8 percent of the five-and-older population and 60.9 percent of the total population has been fully vaccinated.

The CDC also says that 29.2 percent of the US population age 18 and older and 26.9 percent of the total population has received a vaccine booster dose.

• From the Wall Street Journal this morning:

"Preliminary laboratory tests gave encouraging signs that Pfizer Inc.’s experimental Covid-19 pill could work against Omicron, the company said.

"Pfizer also said Tuesday that a final analysis of late-stage study results confirmed the drug, named Paxlovid, was 89% effective at reducing the risk of hospitalization and death in adults at high risk of severe Covid-19.

"The positive results come as the Food and Drug Administration reviews whether to clear use of Paxlovid in high-risk adults, a decision that could come before the end of the year."

•  From the Washington Post:

"Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Monday that Britain had registered its first death of a patient with the omicron variant, while U.K. health officials warned that the new version of the coronavirus was spreading at jaw-dropping speed.

"'I think the idea that this is somehow a milder version of the virus, that’s something we need to set on one side and just recognize the sheer pace at which it accelerates through the population,' Johnson told reporters during a visit to a vaccination clinic in London. He urged people to quickly increase their protection with a booster shot.

"Long lines formed outside vaccination clinics Monday, with people waiting to get a first, second or third dose.

"The prime minister’s office did not immediately offer any details about the person who died — age, vaccination status or any underlying conditions.

"It’s possible that this death is the first in the world to be officially tied to the new variant, though that in itself is of limited significance. There may have been others in which the virus wasn’t genetically sequenced to determine the variant involved."

•  From the Wall Street Journal:

"California will again require masking in all public indoor settings regardless of vaccination status as it confronts rising case rates ahead of the winter holidays and uncertainty about the Omicron variant.

"Mark Ghaly, secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency, said Monday that masks will be required in all public indoor spaces for one month beginning Wednesday through January 15.

"The state will also require those attending large indoor events to provide proof of a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours before the event. Previously, the window was 72 hours. People who use a rapid antigen test must take it within 24 hours of the event.

"In addition, state officials are now recommending that all travelers entering the state get tested within three to five days of arriving."