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 33,747,439 total Covid-19 coronavirus cases, resulting in 600,533 deaths and 27,202,309 reported recoveries.
Globally, there have been 164,333,208 total cases, with 3,406,346 resultant fatalities and 143,111,873 reported recoveries. (Source.)
• The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that 59.8 percent of the US population age 18 and older has received at least one vaccine, with 47.4 percent being fully vaccinated.
• The Wall Street Journal reports that "hospitals are seeing fewer Covid-19 patients but increasingly the ones who do land in the hospital are 50 or younger, according to national data.
"With older Americans vaccinated at higher rates, health officials and epidemiologists said they aren’t surprised that more hospital beds are being filled with younger patients.
"But some are concerned about the potential stumbling blocks the trend poses. They worry that stagnating vaccination rates among younger Americans could persist and delay the pandemic’s end. Others are concerned that new, more transmissible and possibly deadlier coronavirus variants are contributing factors sending more younger people into hospitals."
• The Los Angeles Times reports that Los Angeles County public health officials "have been contacting a number of retail chains to emphasize that existing rules that require everyone to wear masks indoors in a store remain in effect in California.
"The education effort came after the Trader Joe’s in South Pasadena posted a sign in front of its store on Friday that gave permission for vaccinated shoppers to enter its market without a mask - a policy that violates California orders."
"'Our teams are out notifying all of the chains that have made announcements nationally that they would be relaxing their masking requirements' that California’s mandatory mask policy within stores statewide remains in effect, L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said.
"'Absolutely, masking requirements are in place here and all across California,' Ferrer said. 'So this is going to be pretty easy for businesses and customers, residents and visitors to understand - because there’s one standard for the whole state. And it requires that we continue to wear our masks until June 15'."
Jimmy Fallon had a pretty funny line on The Tonight Show last night, commenting that it is a pretty confusing time when Best Buy has tougher mask-and vaccine restrictions than the CDC.
• Axios reports that "Target and CVS Pharmacy on Monday were among the latest to update policies to allow fully vaccinated guests in their stores without face coverings, unless it is required by local law.
"CVS will still require employees to wear masks while at work … Target is also 'providing paid time to U.S. hourly team members when they get their vaccines' as well as offering free Lyft rides, up to $15 each way, for their workers to drive to and from their vaccine appointments."
• Hy-Vee said this morning that it "no longer requires fully vaccinated customers and employees to wear face coverings in its stores, except where it’s required by local ordinances. Face coverings, however, continue to be strongly recommended for Hy-Vee customers who are not fully vaccinated and are still required by the company for employees who are not fully vaccinated."
The company said it "will continue to implement its extra safety and sanitization procedures that have been in place since COVID-19 first began. Hy-Vee will also maintain its Plexiglas barriers all manned check stands, self-checkout stations, pharmacy counters, customer service counters and convenience store checkouts."
• The Detroit Free Press reports that "Grand Rapids-based Meijer announced on Monday that fully vaccinated customers now can enter its stores without a face covering. But the Grand Rapids-based retailer will still require its store team members to wear a face covering."
• The Boston Globe reports that the state of Massachusetts plans to fully reopen, following the revised CDC guidelines on May 29 - including Fenway Park, where the Boston Red Sox - currently in first place in the AL East - will be able to play in front of a full capacity crowd for the first time in more than a year.
"Governor Charlie Baker on Monday said Massachusetts will lift all restrictions on businesses Memorial Day weekend, moving up the full reopening date by two months. It was a telling sign that the state is returning to something akin to normal after more than a year of death, sickness, and punishing lockdowns."
• Axios reports that "the 50th running of the New York City Marathon will be on the customary day — the first Sunday in November — but with 33,000 entrants instead of the usual 55,000."
• ABC News reports that New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said yesterday that the state will "lift the outdoor mask mandate for all people in public spaces, while indoor rules remain in place … Murphy said it's unfair to put the burden on business owners and frontline employees to police every patron."
"Our indoor mask mandate remains in place in public spaces," Murphy said. "The majority of New Jerseyans are still unvaccinated, and keeping this mandate in place in public settings protects you, your family, essential workers, and our entire community."
• The Washington Post reports that "the Tokyo 2020 Games start in 66 days, but a major Japanese doctors’ group is calling for the already delayed event to be canceled over fears that the country’s health-care system cannot accommodate the potential medical needs of thousands of international athletes, coaches and media amid a surge of coronavirus cases in the country.
"'We strongly request that the authorities convince the [International Olympic Committee] that holding the Olympics is difficult and obtain its decision to cancel the Games,' said the Tokyo Medical Practitioners Association.
"Tokyo hospitals 'have their hands full and have almost no spare capacity,' the association of roughly 6,000 primary care physicians added. It is at least the second group of Japanese doctors to ask that the Olympics and Paralympics be canceled."