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 a total of 34,377,592 Covid-19 coronavirus cases, resulting in 616,440 deaths and 28,641,439 reported recoveries.

Globally, there have been 178,253,971 total cases, with 3,859,130 resultant fatalities and  162,750,586 reported recoveries. (Source.)

•  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that 65 percent of the US population age 18 and older has received at least one dose of vaccine, with 55.2 percent being fully vaccinated.

•  The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that the federal government "will invest more than $3 billion on developing and manufacturing antiviral pills to treat coronavirus, the Department of Health and Human Services said Thursday.

"'New antivirals that prevent serious Covid-19 illness and death, especially oral drugs that could be taken at home early in the course of disease, would be powerful tools for battling the pandemic and saving lives,' said Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to President Biden and the nation’s top infectious-disease expert.

"The $3.2 billion investment will be allocated from the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package Mr. Biden signed into law in March. In a briefing Thursday, Dr. Fauci said the funding could accelerate clinical trials 'already in progress' for some antiviral pills and potentially make some of them available by year’s end. The oral antiviral medicines would be designed to be taken at home and to treat symptoms early in the course of infection.

"Dr. Fauci said coronavirus vaccines 'remain the centerpiece of our arsenal' in fighting the pandemic, but noted antiviral drugs would serve as an important complement in preventing severe illness and hospitalization.

"Researchers are testing antivirals in pill form that could become a kind of Tamiflu for Covid-19."

•  USA Today this morning reports that "Instacart has a new incentive to encourage more Americans to get vaccinated against COVID-19: Free snacks. 

"The on-demand grocery delivery company announced Wednesday that it is teaming up with the White House for its 'Get Vaxxed For Snacks' sweepstakes in support of President Joe Biden's month-long effort to get 70% of Americans vaccinated by July 4.  Through June 30, vaccinated customers nationwide have a chance to win free snacks through a $500 gift card this summer, the company said in a news release.

"The company says it also has been supporting vaccinations with its COVID-19 Shopper Vaccine Stipend Program and has paid out $2 million to support its paid shoppers who received the vaccine."