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 34,264,727 cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus, resulting in 613,494 deaths and 28,254,091 reported recoveries.

Globally, there have been 175,225,510 coronavirus cases, with 3,778,523 resultant deaths and 158,747,958 reported recoveries.   (Source.)

• The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that 63.9 percent of the US population age 18 and older has received at least one dose of vaccine, with 53.3 percent being fully vaccinated.

• The New York Times offers "the latest about the rules in the United States on vaccinations in the workplace.

"Employers can require employees to get vaccinated and offer incentives to do so.

"Federal laws do not prevent companies from requiring employees to provide documentation or other confirmation of vaccination, though they must keep that information confidential. Employers can also distribute information to employees and their family members on the benefits of vaccination, as well as offer incentives to encourage employees to get vaccinated, as long as the incentives are not coercive.

"If an employee will not get vaccinated because of a disability or a sincerely held religious belief, the agency said, he or she may be entitled to an accommodation that does not pose an 'undue hardship' on the business. The agency said examples of reasonable accommodation could include asking the unvaccinated worker to wear a face mask, work at a social distance from others, get periodic coronavirus tests or be given the opportunity to work remotely."

Still, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidelines recommend employers to keep in mind that some individuals or demographic groups may face more barriers to receiving a vaccine than others.

From the Wall Street Journal:

"A growing number of states are slowing the pace of their reports on key pandemic data, including cases, deaths and hospitalizations, concerning some epidemiologists and researchers, who say such moves may be too soon given how crucial data is for spotting outbreaks.

"They worry lagging data will leave public-health leaders with blind spots as new variants of the coronavirus circulate and many parts of the world battle rising cases … According to data collected by Johns Hopkins University, half of states are no longer providing daily reports. Some have gone from reporting data every day to five days a week. At least three states have lessened that frequency to three times a week, and Florida and Alabama this week shifted to a once-a-week schedule."

• H-E-B said yesterday that it will no longer require masks in its stores, saying that fully vaccinated people won't have to wear them … though there is no way to determine whether people are being honest about their vaccination status.

When Gov. Greg Abbott eliminated the statewide mask mandate back in March, H-E-B initially followed suit, but then backtracked when employees objected.  Until now, masks have been required, but the requirement was not be enforced because H-E-B wanted to avoid conflicts between staffers and shoppers.