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 now have been a total of 30,962,803 confirmed cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus, resulting in 562,526 deaths and 23,410,884 reported recoveries.

Globally, there have been 127,863,519 coronavirus cases, with 2,797,662 resultant fatalities, and 103,062,026 reported recoveries.   (Source.)

•  The Washington Post  reports this morning that "at least 93.6 million people have received one or both doses of the vaccine in the U.S.  This includes more than 48.5 million people who have been fully vaccinated … 180.6 million doses have been distributed.

•  From the Wall Street Journal:

"Newly reported Covid-19 cases in the U.S. were down from a day earlier, following a surge in reported infections last week.

"The U.S. reported more than 43,000 new cases for Sunday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and published early Monday morning, Eastern time. That number might update later in the morning. It was down from 62,062 a day earlier but up from 33,766 a week earlier.

"Cases have surged recently, with the U.S. reporting 86,947 on Wednesday and 77,339 on Friday. While down from January’s highs of around 300,000, cases have remained above 50,000 since March 22 and above 60,000 for the four days preceding Sunday, reversing a downward trend that had lasted since March 2."

•  CBS News reports that "Dr. Anthony Fauci … warned Sunday the nation could be at risk of a new surge of COVID-19 infections as the number of daily cases in the U.S. has remained at a plateau.  'When you're coming down from a big peak and you reach a point and start to plateau, once you stay at that plateau, you're really in danger of a surge coming up,' Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in an interview with 'Face the Nation'.  'And unfortunately, that's what we're starting to see'."

•  From the Washington Post:

"The Biden administration and private companies are working to develop a standard way of handling credentials - often referred to as 'vaccine passports' -  that would allow Americans to prove they have been vaccinated against the novel coronavirus as businesses try to reopen.

"The effort has gained momentum amid President Biden’s pledge that the nation will start to regain normalcy this summer and with a growing number of companies - from cruise lines to sports teams - saying they will require proof of vaccination before opening their doors again.

The administration’s initiative has been driven largely by arms of the Department of Health and Human Services, including an office devoted to health information technology, said five officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the effort."

According to the story, "The passports are expected to be free and available through applications for smartphones, which could display a scannable code similar to an airline boarding pass. Americans without smartphone access should be able to print out the passports, developers have said … U.S. officials say they are grappling with an array of challenges, including data privacy and health-care equity. They want to make sure all Americans will be able to get credentials that prove they have been vaccinated, but also want to set up systems that are not easily hacked or passports that cannot be counterfeited, given that forgeries are already starting to appear."

•  The Wall Street Journal writes that "to achieve the vaccination rates that health authorities are aiming for, the shots must eventually reach the arms of children and teenagers, too.

"Children aren’t going to be vaccinated for several months at least, however, because drugmakers are still testing shots in younger ages.

"That means health authorities can’t be confident of securing community protection against the virus, known as herd immunity, until later this year at the earliest, because children under 18 make up a significant proportion of many countries’ populations."