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, there now have been 14,108,606 confirmed cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus, resulting in 276,979 deaths and 8,333,255 reported recoveries.

Globally, there have been 64,208,879 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 1,487,013 fatalities and 44,457,096 reported recoveries.  (Source.)

• Breaking news from the Wall Street Journal this morning:

"The U.K. became the first Western nation to grant emergency-use authorization for a Covid-19 vaccine, clearing a shot developed by Pfizer Inc. of the U.S. and BioNTech SE of Germany to be distributed in limited numbers within days.

"The two-shot vaccine is also being reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration in the U.S., where a similar authorization could come later this month and a rollout before the end of the year.

"The U.K. green light punctuates a monthslong sprint by the two drugmakers, which teamed up earlier this year and then pulled ahead of two other Western pharmaceutical giants, each with its own promising shot. Vaccines typically take years to bring to market."

•  From the Washington Post:

"Americans heard the pleas to stay home. They were told what would happen if they didn’t. Still, millions traveled and gathered during last week’s Thanksgiving holiday, either doubting the warnings or deciding they would take their chances.

"Now, like any partygoer waking from a raucous weekend - feeling a bit hung over and perhaps a tinge of regret - the nation is about to face the consequences of its behavior and will need to quickly apply the lessons before heading into the doubleheader of Christmas and New Year’s.

"Health experts point to several key takeaways: Many states were overwhelmed by unexpected surges in testing — with many families hoping a negative result might make their planned gatherings a little safer. Some airports were not prepared for the huge crowds that had not been seen since the beginning of the pandemic, making it difficult for travelers to maintain social distancing.

"But perhaps the most obvious lesson: Public health messaging needs to be retooled, as whole swaths of the country are simply tuning out the warnings from officials and experts."

•  The Washington Post reports that "the number of coronavirus patients hospitalized nationwide approached 100,000 on Tuesday, pushing doctors and nurses to their breaking point."

And the Wall Street Journal added, "The number of people hospitalized with Covid-19 in the U.S. set yet another record, with patients in the ICU also hitting a fresh high, according to the Covid Tracking Project, as the fall surge continues to strain healthcare systems across the country."

•  The Boston Globe reports that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is recommending that "health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities be the first to receive vaccines for the coronavirus.

According to the story, "There have been at least 243,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases among health care workers, with 858 deaths, according to the CDC. And long-term care facility residents and staff have been decimated by the virus. They account for 6 percent of cases and 40 percent of all coronavirus deaths in the United States.

"The two top-priority groups add up to about 24 million people, officials said. Pfizer and biotech firm Moderna are expected to produce 40 million doses of their two-dose vaccines, or enough for about 20 million people, by the end of the year."

The Wall Street Journal adds, "U.S. health regulators are expected to decide in the coming weeks whether to authorize the emergency use of two Covid-19 vaccines, one from Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE and another from Moderna Inc. The companies have been manufacturing doses, but it could take several months to make enough to vaccinate the broader population."