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 28,826,307 total cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus, resulting in 512,590 deaths, and 198,114,140 reported recoveries.

Globally, there have been 112,335,379 total coronavirus cases, with 2,487,225 resultant fatalities, and 87,864,833 reported recoveries.   (Source.)

•  The Washington Post reports that "at least 44.1 million people have received one or both doses of the vaccine in the U.S.  This includes more than 19.4 million people who have been fully vaccinated … 75.2 million doses have been distributed."

•  From the Wall Street Journal:

Newly reported coronavirus cases in the U.S. remained below 60,000 for the second day in a row and hospitalizations continued to fall, as the nation’s death toll from Covid-19 surpassed half a million … The total number of Covid-19 patients requiring hospitalization fell to 55,403, the fourth day in a row the figure has been under 60,000, according to the Covid Tracking Project.

"Intensive care units also saw a decline in the number of Covid-19 patients, with 11,536 people in ICUs, the lowest level since Nov. 8."

•  The New York Times writes that "the Food and Drug Administration said it will quickly analyze any vaccine booster shots against Covid-19 variants such as those from South Africa and the U.K., and won’t require further large clinical trials of the new shots’ effectiveness.

"Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s center for biological products, which evaluates vaccines, said Monday that the analysis of whether vaccines prevent the new strains of Covid-19 will involve a few hundred research subjects over a couple of months. That would be faster than vaccine trials, which so far have involved thousands of research subjects over several months, followed by an FDA analysis."

•  From the Washington Post:

"Drug companies planned to tell lawmakers Tuesday that they project a major increase in vaccine deliveries that will result in 140 million more doses over the next five weeks, saying they have solved manufacturing challenges and are in a position to overcome scarcity that has hampered the nation’s fight against the coronavirus."

•   Reuters has an interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, in which he called the pandemic "the worst thing that’s happened to this country with regard to the health of the nation in over 100 years."

•  Axios reports that "the number of coronavirus cases in nursing homes and assisted living facilities has drastically declined over the last two months, almost certainly an effect of vaccinations … Nursing home vaccinations began in the second half of December, and around 4.5 million residents or staff have received at least one dose of the vaccine so far, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."

•  Variety reports that "after nearly a year of closures, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has given mYork City permission to reopen at limited capacity starting on March 5 … cinemas in the city will be permitted to operate at 25% capacity, with no more than 50 people. Moreover, other safety measures such as masks, social distancing and heightened sanitizing measures will be required. Last October, New York venues outside of the city were allowed to reopen with similar restrictions."

This is a ruling that brings with it a series of problems for movie theaters.  If an auditorium normally can hold 150 people, but it only is allowed to seat 50, that cuts the amount of revenue coming in by two-thirds.  But the cost of opening are roughly the same - theaters may be able to cut back on labor a bit, but they're still going to be facing nine miles of bad road when it comes to profitability.