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…

•  The US Covid 19 coronavirus numbers:  33,802,324 total cases … 601,949 deaths … and 27,299,180 reported recoveries.

The global numbers:  165,631,127 total cases … 3,433,605 fatalities … and 144,691,065 reported recoveries.   (Source.)

•  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that 60.2 percent of the US population age 18 and older has received at least one dose of vaccine, with 47.9 percent being fully vaccinated.

•  Kroger said yesterday that starting today, "fully vaccinated customers and most fully vaccinated associates no longer need to wear a mask in our facilities, including stores, distribution centers, plants, and offices, unless otherwise required by state or local jurisdiction. If there is a state or local mandate, we will adhere to that requirement and its timeline.

"Non-vaccinated associates will be required to wear a mask.

"Associates in our pharmacy and clinic locations will be required to continue wearing a mask due to the CDC’s guidance for healthcare settings.

"We request that non-vaccinated customers continue to wear a mask.  And we will continue to respect the choice of individuals who prefer to continue to wear a mask … We will continue to implement enhanced cleaning and physical distancing across all facilities as well as offer associates a $100 one-time payment for receiving the recommended doses of the COVID-19 vaccine."

•  Fox News reports that "Wegmans on Wednesday joined a number of major retailers loosening their coronavirus face mask policies after federal health officials declared that fully vaccinated Americans no longer need to cover their faces while in most indoor settings. 

"Fully vaccinated customers – which is anyone who is two weeks past their last required vaccine dose —are no longer required to wear a face-covering in any one of Wegman's stores 'except where mandated at the state or local level,' a Wegmans spokesperson said … Customers who are not fully vaccinated, however, will still be asked to continue wearing appropriate face coverings until they are vaccinated."

•  From the Wall Street Journal this morning:

"While most countries are still cranking up their vaccination drives, some are already making plans to deliver millions of booster shots into arms later this year.

"Concerns that Covid-19 may morph into a seasonal menace are driving preparations in the U.S., the European Union and the U.K. for a winter vaccine booster program. The plans are precautionary, according to public-health officials, and it isn’t yet certain they will be put into operation or at what scale.

"Disease experts say the need for a winter vaccine drive will depend on whether vaccine-induced immunity fades over time and if the current crop of vaccines are effective against virus variants.

"Scientists are still gathering data on both those issues, and the answers they find will shape the design of any booster program, including who would get one and which vaccine they might receive."