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 United States now has had a total of 82,316,348 total cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus, resulting in 1,015,451 deaths and 80,202,314 reported recoveries.

Globally, there have been 504,834,324 total cases, with 6,223,645 resultant fatalities and 456,066,165 reported recoveries.   (Source.)

•  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that 77.3 percent of the total US population has received at least one dose of vaccine … 65.9 percent are fully vaccinated … and 45.4 percent of fully vaccinated people have received a vaccine booster dose.

•  Bloomberg reports that "a Covid-19 breathalyzer test with the ability to provide diagnostic results in three minutes has won emergency-use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the agency announced Thursday.

"The test, made by Frisco, Texas-based InspectIR Systems, is authorized for those 18 and older and in settings where samples are both collected and analyzed, such as doctor’s offices, hospitals or mobile testing sites. The device is about the size of a piece of carry-on luggage, the FDA said, and works by detecting chemical compounds in breath samples associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection.

"The agency said the test was validated in a study of 2,409 people, where it correctly identified 91.2% of positive samples and 99.3% of negative samples. It performed similarly in follow-up tests focused on the omicron variant. The breathalyzer’s sensitivity is comparable to that of rapid antigen tests, studies show."

•  From the Wall Street Journal:

"Health officials are leaving it up to people to assess if they need booster shots, whether to wear a mask and how long to isolate after a positive test. Businesses, schools and other entities are scaling back specific guidelines as they prepare for a return to normal.

"The question of when older adults should get a second vaccine booster is the latest example of the government shifting decisions from broad-based community outreach to personal choice. People 50 years and older can get the additional booster at least four months after their first, but health authorities aren’t pushing those eligible to get the shots.

"The actions represent a shift from two years ago when government officials responded to the pandemic by shutting down cities, limiting capacity in public places and mandating social distancing. Then, they lacked effective treatments, vaccines and widespread testing to fight the pandemic. Now, as those tools help dent the worst outcomes as the virus continues to spread, the response is becoming more tailored to people’s own health and appetite for risk, according to public-health experts."