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…

•  Here are the US Covid-19 coronavirus numbers:  38,545,144 total cases, resulting in 645,058 deaths and 30,472,804 reported recoveries.

The global numbers:  212,681,275 total cases, with 4,446,651 resultant fatalities and 190,303,408 reported recoveries.  (Source.)

•  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that 71 percent of the US population age 12 and older has received at least one dose of vaccine, with 60.2 percent being fully vaccinated.

•  From the New York Times this morning:

"The Food and Drug Administration is poised to give its full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine as early as Monday, and health officials are hoping the decision will lead to policy changes, shifts in public sentiment and an increase in the vaccination rate among hesitant Americans.

"The approval is expected to pave the way for a series of vaccination requirements by public and private organizations.

"For instance, as many schools and universities across the country prepare for students to return to campus, some, like Indiana University, are already requiring vaccines for students. But others, like the University of Memphis, have signaled that they will pursue a vaccine mandate as soon as the vaccines gain full federal approval.

"Federal and state health officials are also hoping that full approval will win over those who had been reluctant to roll up their sleeves for a vaccine only authorized for emergency use."

•  Excellent piece in the New York Times about how, to use its headline, Americans are "getting a crash course in scientific uncertainty."

Here how the Times frames the issue:

"When the coronavirus surfaced last year, no one was prepared for it to invade every aspect of daily life for so long, so insidiously. The pandemic has forced Americans to wrestle with life-or-death choices every day of the past 18 months — and there’s no end in sight.

"Scientific understanding of the virus changes by the hour, it seems. The virus spreads only by close contact or on contaminated surfaces, then turns out to be airborne. The virus mutates slowly, but then emerges in a series of dangerous new forms. Americans don’t need to wear masks. Wait, they do.

"At no point in this ordeal has the ground beneath our feet seemed so uncertain."

What is happening, the Times writes, is that "Americans are living with science as it unfolds in real time. The process has always been fluid, unpredictable. But rarely has it moved at this speed, leaving citizens to confront research findings as soon as they land at the front door, a stream of deliveries that no one ordered and no one wants."

•  The Wall Street Journal reports that "children under age 12 aren’t yet eligible to be vaccinated, and vaccination rates for those between 12 and 17 remain relatively low, according to data compiled by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Although children are much less likely than adults to develop severe Covid-19 or die from the virus, recent data from the Department of Health and Human Services show pediatric hospitalizations for Covid-19 are at the highest point since the agency began tracking them last year, driven by states that have been hit hard by the Delta variant.

"Children’s hospitals are bracing for even more cases as schools reopen. They are hiring more nurses, reworking discharge protocols, speeding up room cleanings, laying contingency plans to expand bed capacity and preparing staff for an uptick in multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C. A rare condition that can occur several weeks after Covid-19 infection, MIS-C can lead to organ damage or even death without the proper diagnosis and management."

•  United Airlines announced last week that its customers now "can access even more COVID testing locations, including more than 3,000 new Walmart and Albertsons Companies locations across the U.S., through the airline's website and mobile app in the Travel Ready Center.

"Customers can now easily book COVID-19 testing appointments at more than 3,800 total testing providers powered by Accenture technology and the CLX Health's TrustAssure network and have their results delivered within 4 to 48 hours of their test and directly submitted to United's website and mobile app to be reviewed for their flight … Through United's Travel Ready Center, customers can view a list of localized, eligible COVID testing locations, now including select Albertsons Companies and Walmart locations, as well as additional popular drug store, pharmacy chains, and local healthcare providers across the country."

•  The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) now is dealing with the fact that some people who have been resistant to taking a coronavirus vaccine - in part because to this point vaccinations have only received "emergency authorization," not full authorization - have decided that they are better off taking de-worming medicines designed for horses and cows when treating or trying to prevent Covid-19.

The New York Post notes that "ivermectin is approved for both humans and animals, but animal drugs are concentrated at levels that can be highly toxic for humans. The FDA has no data proving ivermectin’s use as a COVID treatment."

The FDA posted the following statement on Twitter:

“You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all. Stop it."

The Post writes that "the Mississippi Poison Control Center on Friday reported an 'increasing number of calls' from individuals who took ivermectin meant for animals and ended up with symptoms such as rash, nausea and vomiting.

"At least 70 percent of calls to the state poison-control center were from individuals who had ingested ivermectin from livestock supply centers, officials said in a statewide alert."

The New York Times points out that Mississippi is a state where "only 37 percent of the population is fully vaccinated … Mississippi, which has seen a surge in cases recently, reported 5,048 cases on Friday. Hospitalization and death rates have also been rising."

Proving, I think, that while people may not in fact be horses, some may actually be horses asses.