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 33,321,244 total cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus, resulting in 593,148 deaths and 26,035,314 reported recoveries.

Globally, we've had 155,944,223 coronavirus cases, with 3,258,410 resultant fatalities and 133,400,123 reported recoveries.  (Source.)

•  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that 56.7 percent of adults in the US age 18 or older now have received at least one dose of the vaccine, with 41.3 percent being fully vaccinated.

•  From the New York Times this morning:

"After weeks of coronavirus patients flooding emergency rooms in Michigan, the worst Covid-19 hot spot in the nation, hospitalizations are finally falling.

"On some recent days, entire states, including Wisconsin and West Virginia, have reported zero new coronavirus deaths — a brief but promising respite from the onslaught of the past year.

"And in New York and Chicago, officials encouraged by the recent progress have confidently vowed to fully reopen in the coming weeks, conjuring images of a vibrant summer of concerts, sporting events and packed restaurants revving cities back to life.

"Americans have entered a new, hopeful phase of the pandemic. Buoyed by a sense that the coronavirus is waning, in part because of vaccinations, more people are shrugging off masks, venturing into restaurants and returning to their pre-pandemic routines. Mayors, governors and other local officials — once the bearers of grim news about the virus’s toll and strict rules for businesses — have joined in the newfound optimism, rapidly loosening restrictions.

"Public health experts remain cautious, but said that while they still expect significant local and regional surges in the coming weeks, they do not think they will be as widespread or reach past peaks."

•  The Associated Press has a slightly different take on the same story:

"Teams of experts are projecting COVID-19′s toll on the U.S. will fall sharply by the end of July, according to research released by the government Wednesday.

"But they also warn that a 'substantial increase' in hospitalizations and deaths is possible if unvaccinated people do not follow basic precautions such as wearing a mask and keeping their distance from others.

"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention paper included projections from six research groups. Their assignment was to predict the course of the U.S. epidemic between now and September under different scenarios, depending on how the vaccination drive proceeds and how people behave.

"Mainly, it’s good news. Even under scenarios involving disappointing vaccination rates, COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths are expected to drop dramatically by the end of July and continue to fall afterward."

•  Also from the Times this morning:

"The American public’s willingness to get a Covid vaccine is reaching a saturation point, a new national poll suggests, one more indication that achieving widespread immunity in the United States is becoming increasingly challenging.

"Only 9 percent of respondents said they hadn’t yet gotten the shot but intended to do so, according to the survey, published in the April edition of the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Vaccine Monitor. And with federal authorization of the Pfizer vaccine for adolescents ages 12 through 15 expected imminently, the eagerness of parents to let their children be vaccinated is also limited, the poll found."

•  The Wall Street Journal writes that "the Biden administration said it would back a proposal at the World Trade Organization to waive intellectual property protections for Covid-19 vaccines to help speed up global production … WTO member states are discussing a proposal backed by over 100 developing nations that calls for a temporary waiver of intellectual-property-rights protection related to the prevention, containment or treatment of Covid-19."

According to the story, "Developing nations led by India and South Africa have been pushing for the waiver, saying it is needed to stem the coronavirus pandemic. More than 100 members of Congress also support the waiver.

"Pharmaceutical companies and other business groups have opposed the move, saying it wouldn’t solve supply-production problems in the short term because contract producers lack certain necessary technical knowledge."

•  Variety reports that "Broadway theaters will reopen at full capacity on Sept. 14, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced via Twitter on Wednesday. Tickets will go on sale on Thursday (though a few shows have already quietly started selling tickets) … The move is good news for a sector of the economy that has been devastated by the pandemic. Theaters have been closed in New York since March 12, 2020, leaving tens of thousands of people without work. Cinemas have been open for months at limited capacity, but Broadway theater owners and producers maintain that they cannot operate with those kind of restrictions and still make a profit."