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, there have been 30,138,586 total confirmed Covid-19 coronavirus cases, resulting in 548,013 deaths and 22,286,551 reported recoveries.

Globally, there have been 120,825,779 total coronavirus cases, with 2,673,650 resultant fatalities and 97,471,405 reported recoveries.  (Source.)

•  The Washington Post reports that "at least 71.1 million people have received one or both doses of the vaccine in the U.S.  This includes more than 36.9 million people who have been fully vaccinated … 135.8 million doses have been distributed."

•  The Associated Press reports that "Connecticut plans to speed up the next age-based phase of its COVID-19 vaccination rollout by a few days and ultimately allow everyone else, age 16 and older, to begin making their appointments for a shot tentatively on April 5, Gov. Ned Lamont announced Monday.

"Meanwhile, state plans to work with health care providers and the Department of Developmental Services to accelerate access for the most medically high-risk individuals under age 45 during April."

The story says that Connecticut is speeding up access because it has been informed by the federal government that it will see a significant increase in the number of doses shipped to the state.

•  The New York Times reports that "Mississippi will become the second state to open Covid-19 vaccinations to all of its adult residents, following a call from President Biden for all states to do so by May 1.

"Alaska opened its vaccination doors last week to anybody 16 or older who lives or works in the state. The change in Mississippi takes effect Tuesday … Although Mississippi lags most states in the share of its population that has been vaccinated, it is doing better than all of its neighbors except Louisiana, according to a New York Times tracker. As of Sunday, about 20 percent of Mississippians have received at least one shot, and 11 percent have been fully vaccinated."

•  From the Wall Street Journal this morning:

"Newly reported Covid-19 infections in the U.S. rose from a day earlier, as did deaths, but both remained well below levels seen at the peak of infections earlier this year … But the daily figures remain far below those registered at the peak of U.S. infections in early January, when they were around 300,000 on several days. Infection figures tend to be lower toward the beginning of the week, as fewer people are tested over the weekend."

The story says that "according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all but five states have administered over 30,000 doses per 100,000 residents."

•  The Associated Press reports that "across the United States, air travel is recovering more quickly from the depths of the pandemic, and it is showing up in longer airport security lines and busier traffic on airline websites.

"The Transportation Security Administration screened more than 1.3 million people both Friday and Sunday, setting a new high since the coronavirus outbreak devastated travel a year ago. Airlines say they believe the numbers are heading up, with more people booking flights for spring and summer."

However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has expressed a level of concern about these numbers, worried that they could indicate complacency about the coronavirus that could create conditions leading to a resurgence of infections.

•  The New York Times reports that "scientists in Oregon have spotted a homegrown version of a fast-spreading variant of the coronavirus that first surfaced in Britain — but now combined with a mutation that may make the variant less susceptible to vaccines.

"The researchers have so far found just a single case of this formidable combination, but genetic analysis suggested that the variant had been acquired in the community and did not arise in the patient … The new version that surfaced in Oregon has the same backbone, but also a mutation - E484K, or 'Eek' - seen in variants of the virus circulating in South Africa, Brazil and New York City.

"Lab studies and clinical trials in South Africa indicate that the Eek mutation renders the current vaccines less effective by blunting the body’s immune response."

I know that the folks there want to Keep Portland Weird.  But, come on, man…

•  CNBC reports that "the head of Germany’s public health agency on Friday warned that a third wave of coronavirus infections has already begun.

"It comes at a time when the country has started to gradually relax lockdown restrictions, amid a government-led effort to speed up its vaccination rollout to as many adults as possible."

•  Axios reports that "the massive drop in recorded flu cases and deaths this season so far is one silver lining from the deadly coronavirus pandemic … Mask wearing, social distancing, personal hygiene, travel restrictions plus increased flu vaccinations are widely held as being responsible for the 2020-2021 flu season being incredibly mild so far. But some scientists wonder if there will be longer term impacts.

"This could include the elimination of some of the many variants that normally circulate globally, making the virological picture a lot simpler."

Or, as Axios notes, the result could be "a more virulent flu strain, like a swine flu, due to lack of viral competition."

Do we get a vote?