Weekly Update – December 23 2021, Best Wishes for a Happy Holiday Season

Even if you’re fully vaccinated and have your COVID-19 boosters up to date, there is a possibility you’ll still get a breakthrough case of COVID-19. Vox has a list of things you can do now to prepare: get a booster and a flu shot figure out how you can most easily get tested, including possibly purchasing an at-home test kit continue wearing your mask, and consider upgrading to a more…  Read more

Weekly Update – December 16th 2021

We are in the early days of understanding the possible impact of the new Omicron variant; it can be difficult to parse fact from opinion. In The Atlantic, Derek Thompson looks at the studies and anecdotal evidence available at this point so we can develop an early if imperfect evaluation of the risks. Omicron is more transmissible and will spread faster than Delta. Omicron will cause more breakthrough infections. On the…  Read more

Weekly Update – December 9th 2021

What happens to the people who don’t quit or retire during the “Great Resignation?” Those left behind may be picking up additional responsibilities, earning bonuses,  while putting in those extra hours. Over time, managers begin to see the extra hours and work that their team puts in as the norm.  This may also lead to burnout and the loss of knowledge from the workplace as people with specific skill sets are not…  Read more

Weekly Update – December 2 2021; Happy Holidays

Over the weekend, several countries reported their first cases of the new Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus. While little is known about the new variant, genetic sequencing indicates it has at least 30 mutations on the spike protein, which it uses to bind to human cells, so it could be even more easily spread than the Delta variant. In response to the uncertainty, Israel has banned all foreigners from entry, while…  Read more

Weekly Update – November 26th 2021, Happy Thanksgiving; Happy Holiday

In honor of the Thanksgiving Holiday this week, we are keeping this short and sweet. Pumpkin Pie for Thanksgiving I am so grateful my family can be together this thanksgiving holiday.  Yesterday morning my husband David and I flew into Detroit (DTW) minutes before my daughter Jessie’s flight from Atlanta landed a few gates away. DTW We all headed for the pick-up area where my daughter Emily and her husband…  Read more

Weekly Update – November 18th 2021

Just a few weeks ago, it appeared that the Delta variant was on the wane in the US. However, cases are climbing, in pockets of the Midwest, Southwest, and Northeast, and just ahead of the holiday travel season. Minnesota is experiencing its highest average daily case counts since April, at 3,500 per day, overwhelming some hospitals. In response, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz has enlisted the National Guard to staff temporary sites…  Read more

Weekly Update – November 11th 2021

Sending best wishes and our thanks to our veterans and their families this Veterans day 2021.  We salute you and appreciate your courage and service to our country.   We’ve been hearing about the tight market for available workers, so what’s the solution?  Per this recent Wall Street Journal article, some companies are responding by loosening hiring requirements such as the need for a bachelor’s degree, work experience or or background check. …  Read more

Weekly Update – October 14th 2021

Global supply chain delays have become so bad that the biggest U.S. retailers are chartering their own cargo ships to stock shelves this holiday season. Walmart, Home Depot, Costco, and Target are among companies that are paying the additional expense to mitigate holiday disruptions. While the smaller ships these companies will use are far more expensive than the larger ones, they have the advantage of the ability to dock at smaller, less…  Read more

Weekly Update – October 7th 2021

What does it cost to be hospitalized for COVID-19? A study by The Wall Street Journal found the cost can vary by tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the hospital and the insurance policy. While most insurers waived out-of-pocket costs for patients for most of the pandemic, many patients are now receiving bills for hospital stays, which can depend on rates negotiated between hospitals and insurers. For example, at one…  Read more

Weekly Update – September 30th 2021

This recent article in the Washington Post has highlighted (please sing as you read) where have all the employees gone…to the legal cannabis industry,  which has been absorbing furloughed, laid-off, and disenchanted retail and restaurant workers at a rapid pace throughout the pandemic. An estimated 321,000 people in the U.S. work in the industry, more than work as dentists, paramedics, or electrical engineers. Burnout, overwork, and challenges with unhappy customers in retail during…  Read more

Weekly Update – September 23rd 2021

Even before the pandemic, some restaurant owners were challenging the model of paying servers only $2.13 an hour and depending on tips from customers to make them whole. Today, as restaurants and bars struggle to find enough workers to stay open, a few are making further changes to their business model. Some are raising wages and offering sign-on bonuses. Others are adding service charges to every bill, and others are simply…  Read more

Weekly Update – September 16th 2021

The recent announcement by the Biden administration of a plan that mandates COVID vaccinations or weekly testing has drawn both phrase and critizim from the business community.   Some business leaders applaud the plan as a way to keep the surge in COVID cases from hurting the economy, although smaller employers may find the mandate difficult to enforce. Expanding testing may not be possible unless capacity is also significantly increased. Some business leaders…  Read more

Weekly Update – September 9th 2021

Thanks to tight supply chains and logistics in the developed world, many people have grown accustomed to receiving whatever they ordered promptly and predictably. That era may be over, as shortages are likely to continue. Toyota will be slashing production of cars by 40% in the face of a continuing chip shortage. It may be another year – or two – before shortages in sectors from construction to medical testing to…  Read more

Weekly Update – August 26th 2021

The FDA has now granted Pfizer and BioNTech full approval of their COVID-19 vaccine for persons aged 16 and up. This means this vaccine has met the agency’s standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality. This approval was based on close examination of six-months of follow-up which revealed no additional long-term safety concerns. This approval may now spur major companies to require employees to be vaccinated. Based on clinical studies, this vaccine…  Read more

Weekly Update – August 19th 2021

Those COVID-19 relief programs which certainly helped keep millions of Americans and businesses afloat during the pandemic,  have unfortunately also been a spectacular bonanza for an array of international scam artists, including Russian mobsters, Chinese hackers, and Nigerian scammers. An estimated $87 million to $400 billion in unemployment benefits may have been lost to fraud; at least half of that is thought to have been stolen by foreign criminals. Many took…  Read more

Weekly Update – August 12th 2021

What sets the Delta variant apart from other strains of the COVID-19 coronavirus is the amount of virus produced by those infected, a measure called viral load. One recent study found that people with the Delta variant had viral loads up to 1,260 times as high as the original strain. Higher viral loads make the Delta variant more transmissible and can also make infected people sicker. However, the CDC has also…  Read more

Weekly Update – July 29 2021

The U.S. economy depends on population growth as a driver, but recent estimates indicate that the COVID-19 pandemic has compounded a decade long fertility slump to result in the lowest population growth rate in history. In half of all states, more people died than were born. The impact is most acutely felt in rural communities, which frequently lack the jobs, child-care options and housing that young families need. The result…  Read more

COVID-19 Weekly Update – March 17th 2021

Eventually, epidemiologists hope that the coronavirus will become a seasonal pathogen, not much worse than the flu. But the path to that state is not a straight line, as this article in Stat describes, breaking the continued pandemic into short-, middle- and long-term phases. With vaccines steadily reaching more people, most agree that we are at least approaching the end of the “crisis” phase. Over the short-term, we may see…  Read more

COVID-19 Weekly Update – March 10th 2021

Today could be the day! Congress is expected to vote on the 1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief bill today, Wednesday March 10th, just before the expanded unemployment insurance benefits end.  As per the Associated Press morning wire : A dominant feature of the bill is initiatives making it one of the biggest federal thrusts in years to assist lower- and middle-income families. Included are expanded tax credits over the next year for children,…  Read more

COVID-19 Weekly Update – March 3rd 2021

Congratulations! You got the COVID vaccine! I have an appointment for my first shot for this afternoon due to an underlying condition.  Now what should you/we do?  As an article in The Atlantic describes, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, but “When deciding what you can and can’t do, you should think less about your own vaccination status, and more about whether your neighbors, family, grocery clerks, delivery drivers, and friends are…  Read more

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