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 33,550,115 confirmed cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus, resulting in 596,946 deaths and 26558,138 reported recoveries.

Globally, there have been 160,409,776 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 3,333,728 resultant fatalities and 138,201,737 reported recoveries.  (Source.)

•  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that 58.6 percent of the US population age 18 or older has received at least one vaccine, with 44.7 percent being fully vaccinated.

•  The New York Times reports that "the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday defended the agency against accusations that federal scientists were being too slow to update their pandemic-control guidance and overly conservative with their recommendations, especially on outdoor mask wearing … Their complaints echoed mounting exasperation — even among some public health experts — with the federal government’s pace in relaxing its recommendations as states across the country move to reopen their economies."

Especially at issue is the CDC's conservative approach to reopening schools, which critics ascribed to undue political influence in the regulatory process, to its assertion "that 'less than 10 percent' of transmission was occurring outdoors, a statistic infectious disease experts said was a misleading exaggeration."

I tend to think that it is possible that a few things are happening here simultaneously.

One is the CDC probably is being overly cautious in its regulatory and guidance approach - it is staffed by scientists, not marketers or businesspeople or politicians.  The thing is about science is that it requires constant observation and learning … it can be frustrating to the rest of us, but I tend to trust these elite physicians and scientists.  Part of their job is to be cautious, to do everything possible to make sure we don't have a resurgence.

Two, it is amusing to watch people who would love to influence the regulatory process for political reasons complain about political interference.

Three, regardless of influence, I do think the teachers unions are being unreasonable.  Once teachers are vaccinated - especially now that young people also can be vaccinated - it is time to get back into the classroom. It is hard for many businesses to reopen if schools haven't reopened.

•  Axios reports that the federal government "has reached agreements with ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft to offer free rides to coronavirus vaccination sites through July 4 … A new feature will allow app users to 'simply select a vaccination site near them, follow simple directions to redeem their ride, and then get a ride to take them to and from a nearby vaccination site free of charge,' according to the White House.

"Lyft and Uber are not being paid by the federal government for the rides."