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 Financial Times reports on studies suggesting that Covid-19 is creating a swath of people around the world suffering from other serious maladies as a result - such as heart and brain disease - that will create stresses on health care systems and he global economy for years to come.

The belief in some circles, the story says, is that "Covid generated a kind of epidemiological aftershock by leaving people susceptible to a huge range of other conditions, threatening global health systems already struggling with insufficient resources and aging populations."  In essence, Covid seems to be "increasing vulnerability to other serious illnesses."

An excerpt from the FT story:

"While more data will accumulate in the coming years, there is already evidence to back up his concerns.  A Financial Times analysis of data from the UK’s NHS, one of the world’s richest health data sets, showed significant rises in deaths from heart disease since the start of the pandemic in all but the very oldest age groups. In the 40-64 age group, heart attack deaths increased 15 per cent in 2021 compared with 2019.

"In February, meanwhile, an analysis of more than 150,000 records from the national healthcare databases at the US Department of Veterans Affairs suggested that even some people who had not been seriously ill with Covid had an increased risk of cardiovascular problems for at least a year afterwards.

"Researchers found that rates of many conditions, such as heart failure and stroke, were substantially higher in people who had recovered from Covid than in similar people who had not been infected. A separate analysis of VA data, published in March, suggested that in the 'post-acute phase' of the disease, people with Covid 'exhibit increased risk and burden of diabetes'."

•  The Wall Street Journal this morning writes that "the Education Department’s first look at test-score trends since the pandemic began reveals the worst drop in math and reading scores in decades for students in fourth grade, a crucial indicator for educational and economic trajectory.

"Scores released Thursday show unprecedented drops on the long-term trends tests that are part of the National Assessment of Educational Progress, known as the “Nation’s Report Card.” The tests are administered to U.S. students age 9.

"The test scores reflect more than a pandemic problem, with experts saying it could take a generation for some scores to rebound. Some say current achievement levels could weigh on economic output in years to come."