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, here are the numbers:  23,143,197 confirmed cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus … 385,249 deaths … and 13,680,461 reported recoveries.

The global numbers:  91,392,390 confirmed coronavirus cases … 1,955,171 fatalities … 65,409,960 reported recoveries.  (Source.)

•  From the Wall Street Journal this morning:

"The number of newly reported coronavirus cases in the U.S. edged down, but remained above 200,000 for the seventh day in a row.

"The U.S. reported more than 204,000 new coronavirus cases for Monday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, a decline of more than 10,000 cases from the previous day and sharply lower than the daily totals at the end of last week.

"The number of people hospitalized in the U.S. due to Covid-19 was slightly higher than the total a day earlier, with 129,748 patients in hospitals, according to the Covid Tracking Project. While elevated, that number was still a decline from the record numbers of hospitalizations seen last week. Intensive care units remained under stress. The number of patients in ICUs across the country topped 23,000 for the 13th day in a row Monday, according to the Covid Tracking Project."

•  From the New York Times this morning:

"The Trump administration will recommend giving a coronavirus vaccine to everyone over 65 in the country, in an attempt to accelerate lagging distribution as Covid-19 deaths have soared to their highest levels since the pandemic began.

"The Department of Health and Human Services is expected to announce the new guidelines at a briefing at noon Eastern on Tuesday, according to an official briefed on the plans who was not authorized to speak publicly about the change. Axios earlier reported the new guidelines … Health officials are also expected to recommend that the vaccines be given to all adults with pre-existing conditions that make them more likely to develop serious illness from the virus. Currently, the vaccines are largely being distributed to people in the highest-risk categories, including frontline health care workers and older people in nursing homes.

"In addition to the eligibility changes, health officials are also adding more community centers and pharmacies to the list of places where people can be vaccinated.

"H.H.S. will also no longer hold back vaccine doses to ensure that those who receive a first dose will have a second dose in reserve. Instead, all existing doses will be sent to states to provide initial inoculations. Second doses are to be provided by new waves of manufacturing.

"That change comes just days after aides to President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. said his administration would make a similar adjustment by using more of the already procured vaccines for initial doses. Mr. Biden’s team said it would aim to distribute the doses more quickly at federally run vaccination sites at high school gyms and sports stadiums, and mobile units to reach high-risk populations."

•  According to the Washington Post this morning, "Ireland, which currently has the world’s higher per capita rate of coronavirus infections, may ask people who have already contracted the virus to wait to be vaccinated … While there is no definitive guarantee of how long coronavirus antibodies provide immunity against future infections, the emerging scientific consensus suggests that recovered covid-19 patients are protected for approximately eight months on average. For countries struggling to get enough vaccine doses to immunize their entire population, prioritizing people who haven’t already been sick could make logical sense.

"But some experts have been skeptical, since trying to figure out who’s already been infected could further complicate the distribution process. In many countries, shortages of supplies have proven to be less of an issue than the slow speed of the vaccine rollout."

•  Disneyland in Southern California, which has remained closed because of concerns about the pandemic, finally will start to see people lining up there - it has been identified by Orange County officials as a "super" point-of-dispensing site for the Covid-19 vaccine.

Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles also is being used as a super vaccination site.

It is expected that these large-scale vaccination sites will be able to inoculate thousands of people per day.

•  The Washington Post reports that "three gorillas at the San Diego Zoo have contracted the coronavirus, marking the first known instance of infections among great apes. The animals were tested after they began coughing and are believed to have contracted the virus from an asymptomatic staff member.

"Given the biological similarities between humans and apes, scientists have raised concerns that the coronavirus could pose a threat to endangered primates."