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, we've now had 7,185,915 confirmed cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus, resulting in 207,540 deaths and 4,438,628 reported recoveries.

Globally, there have been 32,447,315 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 988,230 fatalities and 23,949,161 reported recoveries.

•  From the Wall Street Journal:

"Nationwide, the seven-day moving average as of Wednesday was 43,357, and the 14-day average was 40,953, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of Johns Hopkins data. When the seven-day average is higher than the 14-day average, as it has been since Sept. 15, it suggests cases are rising.

"'If you look at the country as a whole, the baseline for the country is still about 35,000 to 45,000 new cases a day,' said Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government’s top infectious-disease expert, during a conversation with New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Thursday. Some parts of the country experiencing surges of infection 'are gonna really have a problem' if they aren’t able to move their baseline down to a more manageable level, he said.

"'You know there’s going to be Covid in the fall. How do I know? There were 40,000 infections yesterday and it’s already September 24,' Dr. Fauci added. 'It already is the fall'."

•  From the Los Angeles Times:

"A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the median age of people with COVID-19 in the U.S. has declined over the spring and summer, with Americans in their 20s now accounting for more cases than people in any other age group.

"The findings suggest that if the U.S. wants to get its coronavirus outbreak under control, it will need more cooperation from young adults."

•  Axios reports that New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo said yesterday that even after the federal Food and Drug Administration approves one or more Covid-19 vaccines, the state's health officials will do their own review as a way of reassuring residents that the vaccines are safe.

The story notes that this is highly unusual, and that states generally do not play such a role when it comes to vaccines.  And, the story says, the result could be the opposite of reassurance, but rather could "sow further public doubt that the federal government could release a vaccine based on political motives rather than safety and efficacy."

•  The Associated Press reports that "New Hampshire restaurants will be allowed to move tables closer together starting Oct. 1 if they install barriers between them, Gov. Chris Sununu said Thursday.

"Currently, tables must be placed at least 6 feet apart to reduce the risk of the coronavirus. With the weather getting colder, restaurants have been asking the state to loosen restrictions for indoor dining. Sununu said he rejected requests to allow bars and restaurants to resume the use of dart boards and other games as unsafe, given that they would put players in close proximity to each other. But he believes increasing the number of tables will be ok, with barriers installed."

•  The Columbus Dispatch reports that "Ohio is planning to reopen nursing homes and assisted living facilities to indoor visitors next month as cooler weather approaches.

"But the loved ones of nursing home residents will find their visitation looks a bit different when it starts Oct. 12, said Ursel McElroy, director of the Ohio Department of Aging.  Visits will be limited to two people at a time and to 30 minutes in a designated area of a facility, McElroy said. The designated visitation areas will need to be cleaned in between each visit."

•  In the UK, concerns about a coronavirus resurgence have led Tesco and Morrisons "to place limits on the number of items shoppers can buy."

Among the items being limited are flour, dried pasta, toilet paper, baby wipes and anti-bacterial wipes.

The BBC says that to this point, Asda and Waitrose have not yet imposed buying limits.

•  The Seattle Times reports that Pac-12 football is coming back:

"After adopting a conference-only fall football season on July 31, then postponing it altogether less than two weeks later, the Pac-12’s CEO group voted unanimously on Thursday for a seven-game season that will start on Nov. 6 and last until Dec. 18. All Pac-12 teams who do not advance to the conference title game will play a different cross-division opponent the same weekend.

"Aside from football, the Pac-12 will also resume its basketball and winter sports seasons. Pac-12 men’s and women’s basketball will begin on Nov. 25, consistent with the NCAA’s allotted start date, and other winter sports may commence alongside their determined NCAA start date as well."

At least through the end of the year, fans will not be permitted in the venues.

•  From the Washington Post:

"University officials planned for months for the resumption of fall classes amid the pandemic, with experts advising them on the rapidly evolving understanding of the novel coronavirus. They spent tens of billions of dollars creating massive testing programs, clearing out dorm space for quarantines, sticking reminder dots six feet apart on sidewalks, overhauling ventilation systems and crafting public health campaigns centered around feisty mask-wearing mascots.

"But as cases of the coronavirus have popped up on campuses, forcing some schools to empty their dorms or switch to virtual classes, one factor cannot be ignored: Students like to party. And good luck reining that in.

"College presidents, student leaders and local officials are trying a variety of approaches. Some — like the University of Maryland’s president — are dropping by popular bars near campus to hand out masks to students outside and remind them to stay safe. Others are moving to shut down socializing altogether, or berating fraternities who host parties. Others have gone so far as to kick students out for violating rules. All of this has created new tension over who really is to blame.

"Some of the penalties and scoldings have infuriated students, who argue that administrators should be held accountable if the virus spreads on a campus that they have chosen to reopen in the middle of a pandemic."

I get the problem and the idea that asking college students not to socialize is kind of counterintuitive.  To be honest, if I were running a school, I'd probably prefer a remote learning model until the pandemic has been put down.  But I would take issue with students who blame college administrators for their own bad behavior - give me a freakin' break.  You want to be treated like adults when it serves your purposes, but are unwilling to behave like adults in the middle of a pandemic.

Is it fair that maybe we're asking you to grow up a little faster than we all might want?  Sure.  But as I've been telling my own kids pretty much since birth, "Life is unfair.  Get used to it."  Show a little gumption (to use a word my grandmother probably would've liked), deal with the reality with which you are presented, and make this the moment you shine … not the moment in which you cast blame.  You're not victims.  Stop buying into victimization culture.