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 a total of 30,704,292 confirmed cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus, resulting in 558,422 deaths, and 23,132,879 reported recoveries.

Globally, there now have been 125,537,800 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 2,758,723 resultant fatalities, and 101,357,928 reported recoveries.   (Source.)

•  The Washington Post reports that "at least 85.5 million people have received one or both doses of the vaccine in the U.S.  This includes more than 43.8 million people who have been fully vaccinated … 169.2 million doses have been distributed.

•  From Axios:

"The U.S. is now averaging about 53,000 new cases per day — essentially unchanged from last week’s average. Cases have been holding steady in this range for several weeks … 19 states saw their average daily cases increase over the past week, and 14 states saw their numbers fall. The biggest improvements were in Arizona and Nevada, both of which saw new cases drop by about 45%.

"Michigan, on the other hand, took the biggest step backward, with a 50% rise in new cases."

While "vaccinations are growing a whole lot faster than cases, and will ultimately bring about the end of this pandemic," the inevitable conclusion seems to be that it "will require non-vaccine interventions - like masks and social distancing - to avoid another wave of rising infections while vaccines continue to roll out."

•  Axios writes that two public health experts are warning that "the U.S. needs to ramp up the use of rapid COVID-19 testing in order to curb the pandemic and prepare for reopening."  Mass vaccinations, they say, are not enough.

" Jennifer Nuzzo of Johns Hopkins, and Michael Mina of Harvard's Kennedy School of Public Health, say mass testing will be imperative to tracking outbreaks and containing the virus in the coming months."

"We need rapid tests that are ubiquitous, that we can use in lots of different places, and at a volume that will enable repeat testing. And we also need them to be much more inexpensive than they are right now," Nuzzo said.

"Some of the cheapest rapid tests are about $5 each, which is extraordinarily low cost in the scheme of things, and particularly compared to laboratory testing" she added. "But there are 15 million public school children in the U.S. And so even if you were to test all of the ones, that would be a prohibitive cost."

"[I]n the midst of a pandemic, we can switch the purpose of testing from just purely a diagnostic test to actually a test that is going to help mitigate spread at the community level....the only way to make that a reality is to get the tests away from being prescription-use only, make them smaller, simpler and tests that people could be using at home," Mina said.

•  From USA Today:

"A growing share of Americans would feel safe resuming activities like  dining out or flying within a few weeks of their second dose of COVID-19 vaccine, but 25% to 30% would wait until the nation reaches herd immunity, according to a Harris Poll survey … Their attitudes bode well for what’s expected to be a historically robust recovery from the coronavirus recession. But the sizeable share of people who prefer to wait until at least 70% of the population is immune could mean a less roaring launch to the rebound as some activity shifts to late summer and fall from midyear."