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…

•  The US now has had a total of 49,301,0709 Covid-19 coronavirus cases, resulting in 801,326 deaths and 39,032,255 reported recoveries.

Globally, there have been 262,595,513 total cases, with 5,228,531 resultant fatalities and   237,158,557 reported recoveries.  (Source.)

•  The Centers for Disease Control and prevention (CDC) says that 74.5 percent of the US population age five and older, and 70.1 percent of the total population, has received at least one dose of vaccine, while 63 percent of the five-and-older population and 59.3 percent of the total population has been fully vaccinated.

About 20 percent of the total population, and 21.9 percent of the 18-and-older population, has received a vaccine booster dose.

•  The Wall Street Journal this morning reports that "the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention strengthened its Covid-19 booster-shot recommendations, reflecting the potential threat the new Omicron variant poses to the pandemic response in the U.S. and world-wide.

"The CDC on Monday recommended that everyone 18 and older get an additional shot after completing a first course of Covid-19 vaccination. The agency earlier this month encouraged boosters only for those 50 and above, adding that people ages 18 and above could get an additional dose."

The Journal also reports that "the Food and Drug Administration could authorize Covid-19 boosters from Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech for use in 16- and 17-year olds as soon as next week as concerns rise over a new, possibly more transmissible variant, according to a person familiar with the planning.  The agency is planning to move rapidly to take action on a request by the companies to authorize boosters for 16- and-17 year olds, according to a person familiar with the matter. So far, only people 18 years and older are eligible for boosters."

•  Also from the Wall Street Journal:

"Preliminary tests indicate the Covid-19 antibody drug cocktail from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. loses effectiveness against Omicron, the company said Tuesday, a sign that some products in an important class of therapies might need modifying if the new strain becomes widespread.

"Separate testing of another authorized Covid-19 antibody drug cocktail, from Eli Lilly & Co., indicates it also isn’t as effective against Omicron, outside scientists said. Lilly said it is testing the new variant against its antibody treatment and wouldn’t speculate on what the results will be.

"The findings are the early results of researchers’ race to assess the impact of the new Omicron variant on Covid-19 treatments that patients, doctors and hospitals have been relying on, as well as pills in development that have promised to keep people out of the hospital.

"Researchers say some antibody therapies are likely to be especially vulnerable to Omicron because it contains mutations to the spike protein that the Regeneron and Lilly drugs target, while other drugs should hold up well because they attack elements of the virus unchanged in the variant."