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:  44,314,424 total cases … 716,847 deaths … and 33,721,698 reported recoveries.

The global numbers:  234,681,962 total cases … 4,800,056 fatalities … and 211,459,283 reported recoveries.   (Source.)

•  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that 75.5 percent of the US population has received at least one dose of vaccine, with 65.1 percent being fully vaccinated.

In addition, the CDC says, 5.5 percent of the US population age 65 and older has received a booster dose of vaccine.

•  The Associated Press reports that "Merck & Co. said Friday that its experimental COVID-19 pill reduced hospitalizations and deaths by half in people recently infected with the coronavirus and that it would soon ask health officials in the U.S. and around the world to authorize its use.

"If cleared, Merck's drug would be the first pill shown to treat COVID-19, a potentially major advance in efforts to fight the pandemic. All COVID-19 therapies now authorized in the U.S. require an IV or injection."

According to the story, "Merck and its partner Ridgeback Biotherapeutics said early results showed patients who received the drug, called molnupiravir, within five days of COVID-19 symptoms had about half the rate of hospitalization and death as patients who received a dummy pill. The study tracked 775 adults with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 who were considered higher risk for severe disease due to health problems such as obesity, diabetes or heart disease."

•  The New York Times reports that Tyson Foods, which on August 3 said that it would require all of its 120,000 US employees to be vaccinated, says that 91 percent of its workforce now has been vaccinated.

The Tyson move "was notable because it included frontline workers when mandates applied primarily to office workers. At the time, less than half its work force was inoculated."

The Times writes that "Tyson was one of the first major companies to mandate vaccines after incentives like paid time off to be inoculated started to lose traction. Other companies have also issued broad mandates and have reported similar success. United Airlines said this week that 99 percent of its work force was vaccinated, and scores of hospital workers have agreed to a shot after initial resistance. In California, health care employers have reported vaccination rates of 90 percent or higher."

The reason that the Business Roundtable endorsed a national mandate being imposed by the federal government is that it gave businesses cover to be able to make the kind of public health-centric moves that Tyson and United made on their own.