business news in context, analysis with attitude

Yesterday, we reported that the US Department of Labor announced over the weekend that enforcement of a vaccine-or-test mandate at businesses with 100 or more employees, originally scheduled to take place on January 10, now will be pushed off a month, to February 9.  The change was announced just a day after the US Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit reinstated the mandate, reversing an earlier decision by the US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit issued a stay preventing the mandate from being implemented.

I commented:

I wish that everyone were vaccinated and boosted.  I think that it would put us in a much better position as a culture and an economy.  But with every passing day, I begin to think that while public health officials are doing their level best, this thing has become way too political - it is like many of the moves being recommended by public health officials drive us further apart instead of bringing us together.  That's what used to happen, but seemingly not anymore.

Maybe the best way to deal with this is, rather than mandate that people get vaccinated, to say that if you're not vaccinated, not only are insurance companies not going to cover your medical expenses, but you're also not going to be able to go to theaters or restaurants or bars or ballgames, or travel on airplanes or stay in hotels.  Though, to be fair, this probably will deepen the sense of polarization as well.

Maybe, in the world in which we live, it will be have to be enough to let it be a pandemic of the unvaccinated.

It is a confusing time.  Yesterday, I went out to Starbucks to get coffee for my wife and daughter.  There were more than a dozen people waiting to pick up their orders, and maybe three of us were wearing masks.  A quarter-mile away, at the local Covid testing station, there were more than a dozen cars on line with people waiting to be tested.

Talk about whiplash.

I mentioned on Friday that I am way past "worn out" and "angry" about how some folks have responded to the pandemic - that I am "pissed off" and "exhausted."  But it occurs me that these emotions may be the very definition of the larger polarization.

All of which prompted the following email from an MNB reader:

I read your report everyday and prior to the pandemic quite liked you. It is views like this and opinions that you publish that make me never want to comply with anything. Your attitude is the problem. I would get vaccinated and boosted if you came at it from a point of kindness but you don’t. So reading things like this make me want to do the exact opposite of what you want. You are polarizing the country , you are part of the problem not the solution. Remember old school journalism where you just report the facts ? Maybe try that for a bit and remove your biased and incredibly condescending and rude opinions and you may see the people come together for the common good. 

I'm sorry if you don't like me anymore.  MNB never has been about just "reporting the facts."  From day one, it has been about "news in context and analysis with attitude," and lots of opinion.  (Not just mine.  Your opinions are included, too.)

I don't think I was being unkind.  Not even condescending, though I can understand if you feel that way.  But if it is attitudes like mine - and, to be fair, virtually every public health expert out there - that are keeping you from being vaccinated … well, I do not even know how to respond.

Except to say, ignore me.  Stop reading MNB, if it makes you feel better.  But please, please, please … get vaccinated.  Get boosted.  Please.

MNB reader Terry Marshall wrote:

I agree with your assessment.  My wife and I are fully vaccinated with both shots and the booster.  Did I want to do it, no, but it was the right thing to do for my health and my loved ones.  My son, though fully vaccinated, caught Covid about 2 months ago.  Was sick but was not hospitalized and fully recovered.

I think one of the issues is saying, “mandates”.  When the term first came up, I told my wife, “this is going to be a problem”.  No one wants to be told what to do with their bodies, especially by a government entity.  I think if the term,  “strongly recommended,  strongly suggest” might have helped some, but still with misinformation and everything, might not have made much of a difference.  I, like you, are burned out on Covid.  I hate turning on the news and seeing the same stories.  If there isn’t anything new to report, don’t lead off with it.  It has become too political.  Anyhow, I don’t know the answer.  All I know is I tell people it is their choice, but I would recommend it to help ensure they are around for their families.  It doesn’t cost you and what is wrong with taking that extra precaution for yourself and loved ones?

I guess I would suggest to you that the Covid story has to be the lead story for newspapers and TV news programs simply because it is the biggest story of the moment.  I, for one, can't wait until it isn't anymore.

On another subject, from another MNB reader:

Here’s some upside on the allowing the use of cellphones for grocery employees while working…

When I was a young front-end manager in a grocery store, I had difficulty getting some of our staff members to go outside and retrieve empty carts from the parking lot.  It would be exceptionally tough to find volunteers for the job, especially if it was really cold outside, really hot outside, or raining.   Now, some of those same folks who are lacking ambition happily volunteer for the job because it gives them a chance to look at (and use) their cellphones while they are away from the prying eyes of management.    I watched a clerk out in the middle of a sleet storm the other day standing at the cart corral with one hand on a cart and the other hand on their cell phone trying to text a message.   (I understand it’s a good opportunity for vaping as well…….)

Not sure this is the best way to sell it, but I get your point.

We reported the other day that a company called Simbe Robotics "has just been issued a patent for spectral imaging of produce and meats and detect how fresh they are."

MNB reader Bob Thomas responded:

The first store that makes this technology available to produce shoppers will be a winner.  Imagine no knocking on cantaloupes or squeezing tomatoes.  Maybe they could put a fake scanner by the Charmin.