When I shop at Trader Joe’s there is usually a line of people snaking up the front. I walked past them into the shop.
There’s an even more important path I want to take: the path to getting the Covid-19 vaccination. This time, I plan to wait my turn.
I’m not a line cutter. Trader’s Joe prioritizes people over 60 and disabled people for an hour twice a week due to the pandemic. So, at 64, I was entitled to cross the line, and I did. In fact, the only time I go to the store again is during her senior hours.
I feel a little guilty about getting special treatment. One time I took my veil off my head before entering the shop so that people waiting outside could see my gray hair. They don’t look impressed.
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I’m not weak. I’m still fast walking and can walk around the shop quite well. But I crossed the line.
Just because I have the right to do it, is it the right thing to do?
We spend our lives navigating between two opposing poles: self-interest and altruism.
People who only think about themselves are difficult to be around, sometimes even dangerous.
But people who never think about themselves can create problems too. It’s a balancing act.
Until a year and a half ago, I commuted every day to New York. If I see a pregnant woman or an elderly person having difficulty standing up, I will offer my seat on the train or subway. If I travel again, I will do the same.
Why do I feel okay dodging lines at Trader Joe’s even if I can afford to stand in them? For one, even seniors in good health are more susceptible to viruses. It’s convenient to quickly enter a store masked, shopping, and a skedaddle.
But there’s another factor: I hate waiting in line.
I have thought a lot about lines and cuts when the coronavirus vaccination campaign was launched. I am a strong believer in vaccination, and want to get needles in my arm as quickly as possible.
However, because I am under 65 years of age and not an essential worker, I may not be vaccinated for a while.
I find this frustrating and completely appropriate. Those who are most susceptible and / or exposed to the virus through their work should be vaccinated first.
Indeed, our household has benefited from this policy. My wife and son are both in a high-risk group which makes them eligible for early vaccination. They got their first shot a few weeks ago. That’s a relief.
I have been releasing articles from home lately. I am in a better position to wait for this than millions of other Americans.
So I’ll be waiting for my turn on the vaccination route.
But I’ll keep avoiding the queues at Trader Joe’s when I’m away. However, I will probably go less often. Now that my wife has been vaccinated, she says she has to go shopping. I can live with that. .
SÃO PAULO – Researchers and doctors sound the alarm a new, more aggressive type of coronavirus from the Amazon region of Brazil, which they believe is responsible for the recent increase in deaths, as well as infections in younger people, in parts of South America.
Brazil’s daily death toll from the disease climbed to its highest level this week, pushing the total number of Covid-19 deaths in the country past a quarter of a million. On Tuesday, Brazil reported a record 1,641 deaths from Covid. Neighboring Peru is struggling to curb a second wave of infections.
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The new variant, known as P.1, was 1.4 to 2.2 times more contagious than the version of the virus previously found in Brazil, and 25% to 61% more capable of reinfecting people who had been infected with the previous strain, according to a study. released Tuesday.
With mass vaccination away across the region, countries like Brazil are at risk of becoming breeding grounds strong virus version that could make the current Covid-19 vaccine less effective, public health specialists warn.
A more prolonged pandemic could also devastate the economies of countries like Brazil, slow growth and widen already large piles of sovereign debt as governments make payments to the poor, economists say.
“We have a dramatic situation here – the health systems in many states in Brazil have collapsed and others will be damaged in the coming days,” said Eliseu Waldman, an epidemiologist at the University of São Paulo.
Several doctors have reported a surge in younger patients on their Covid-19 wards, many in their 30s and 40s with no underlying health problems. In Peru, some doctors said patients became seriously ill sooner, just three or four days after first symptoms appeared, compared with an average of nine to 14 days last year.
“This virus behaves differently,” said Rosa Lopez, a doctor in the intensive care unit at Guillermo Almenara Irigoyen Lima Hospital. “It is very aggressive … the situation is very difficult, very dire.”
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The Amazonian strain, P.1, emerged in the Brazilian city of Manaus late last year and quickly caught the attention of Brazilian and international scientists racing to map its distribution. The large number of variant mutations to the spike protein, which help the virus penetrate cells, is of particular concern.
“We are at the worst of times. I wouldn’t be surprised if P.1 were all over Brazil now, ”said Felipe Naveca, a researcher at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation who has studied the new strain. He estimates that Brazil is already home to hundreds of new Covid-19 variants, even though P.1. is the most worrying so far, he said.
However, researchers are still confused as to why more young people are getting sick and whether P.1 is more deadly, or more contagious.
“The recent epidemic in Manaus has weighed on the city’s health care system, leading to inadequate access to medical care,” wrote study author P.1, led by Nuno Faria, a professor of viral evolution at the University of Oxford and Imperial College London. .
“We were therefore unable to determine whether the estimated increased relative risk of death was due to P.1 infection, pressure on the Manaus health care system, or both,” they wrote.
A study led by Mr Naveca released last week showed that in some cases the P.1 strain carried a viral load about 10 times higher than the initial version of the virus circulating in Brazil for most of the pandemic. But an international group of scientists led by Mr Faria concluded that it would not be possible to determine whether P.1 infection was associated with increased viral load until detailed clinical investigations were carried out.
Researchers in South Africa grapple with the same questions while studying Another new variant, B.1.351. Doctors there also reported increased hospitalizations and deaths for younger patients, but the researchers concluded that more younger people became seriously ill as more people became infected overall. The likelihood of younger people dying increased, they said, because hospitals were overwhelmed, not because the variant itself was more lethal.
Another possible explanation for the increase in younger patients is that the virus has spread through many of the elderly who have died, said Francisco Cardoso, an infectious disease specialist at Emílio Ribas hospital in São Paulo.
Latin America has been one of the world’s Covid-19 hotspots since the pandemic began, but in recent days doctors in Brazil have grown increasingly desperate, portraying horror scenes across the country. While the new strains are largely to blame, so is a lack of preparation and prevention by regional governments, said public health specialists.
Hospitals operate with ICU occupancy rates above 80% in nearly two-thirds of Brazilian states. After many patients suffocate in Manaus Earlier this year when the hospital ran out of oxygen, prosecutors were investigating reports from another Amazon city that intubated patients were tied to their beds after a sedative shortage.
In Peru, where the government has detected the P.1 strain, hospitals were quickly pushed out of capacity as infections spiked in January after one of the world’s worst outbreaks last year. Doctors are now choosing among dozens of patients when the ICU beds are open, while Chile is donating rescue oxygen amid an acute shortage.
The scene comes as the US, UK and Israel celebrate falling infection rates amid a mass vaccination campaign, evidence of a widening immunity gap between rich and poor countries. While more than 15% of people in the US have received a Covid-19 shot, Brazil has administered the vaccine to only 3% of the population. Peru and Colombia have vaccinated less than 1%.
If Latin America doesn’t find a way to speed up vaccination campaigns, other countries such as Colombia and Bolivia that have seen a slowdown in recent infections could also fall victim to the new variant, infectious disease specialists said.
The longer the disease is allowed to rot in countries like Brazil, the more likely it is that new variants will emerge that reduce the effectiveness of the Covid-19 vaccine, thus also becoming a threat to countries that have immunized their populations.
“Unless everyone in the world gets the vaccine immediately, none of us will be protected,” said Patricia Garcia, a former Peruvian health minister and epidemiologist. It will never stop.
Cesar Palacios, a 44-year-old pediatrician in the northern Peruvian city of Piura, lost his parents and younger sister to the disease earlier this year. She spent 10 days on a ventilator after she fell ill herself, her illness escalating rapidly as oxygen levels in her blood dropped to dangerous territory, at 86% just a day after her first symptoms. A few days later he was in the ICU.
“When you are going to be on a mechanical ventilator, you think, am I going to live? Am I going to die? “Said Dr. Palacios. “I have no other choice. I am very afraid. “
While Peru has imposed a curfew on Lima and other states with high infections, Brazilian cities such as São Paulo and its capital, Brasília, have imposed stricter restrictions over the past few days.
But many Brazilians break the rules, following directions from the country’s president. Right-wing leader Jair Bolsonaro has played down the disease and attacked state governors for imposing a lockdown, accusing them of destroying local businesses.
The military police in São Paulo raided about 50 companies over the weekend that refused to comply, including a group of 190 elderly Brazilians holding a clandestine party.
—Luciana Magalhaes in São Paulo and Gabriele Steinhauser in Johannesburg contributed to this article.
Booking Holdings Inc.’s operations continued to struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic at the end of 2020, but held up better than analysts expected. Booking BKNG, + 3.57%, known as Priceline before changing its corporate name to one of its other online travel brands, said fourth-quarter losses on Wednesday of $ 165 million, or 4 .02 dollars per share, down from earnings of $ 27.75 per share. in the same quarter a year ago. Sales fell to $ 1.24 billion from $ 3.34 billion during the 2019 holiday season. After adjusting for some tax impacts and other costs, Booking recorded a loss of 57 cents per share, down compared to adjusted earnings of $ 23.30 per share a year ago. Analysts on average expected adjusted losses of $ 4.28 per share on sales of $ 1.2 billion, according to FactSet. Shares gained around 2% after hours of trading following the release of results. The travel industry came under fire during the COVID-19 pandemic and the decline worsened in the last quarter of the year, with the coronavirus causing more lockdowns. Chief Executive Officer Glenn Fogel issued a note of hope in a statement during Wednesday’s announcement. “The travel environment continued to be difficult during the fourth quarter of 2020 and through January 2021 as the number of COVID-19 cases remained very high and travel restrictions were reimposed in many. regions of the world, ”Fogel said. “However, in recent weeks we have started to see improvements in booking trends which we will continue to monitor.” Although Booking did not provide a forecast for the first quarter in Wednesday’s announcement, analysts expected any recovery to start further into 2021. “Given the likelihood of lockdowns extending as far as in March (notably in the UK) we expect a reset is needed for 1H: 21 Street forecasts (with our estimates) as intra-quarterly travel is muffled, although this should be to some extent within the expectations, ”Stifel analysts wrote in an online travel revenue snapshot earlier this month. “We believe the situation looks more favorable over a 12 to 18 month period for Booking, given the strong leverage effect on leisure travel, exposure to alternative accommodation and the ability to generate revenue.” Investors have been betting heavily on a possible turnaround, as Booking shares jumped over 27% last month and are now up over 36% last year, while the S&P 500 SPX index, +1, 14%, increased by 20.3%. Some of these gains appear to be linked to the initial public offering and early trading by Airbnb Inc. ABNB, + 6.72%, which sells full-residence accommodation instead of hotels – Booking and another rival, Expedia Group Inc. EXPE, + 1.93%, offer similar options in their brand portfolios. “A public assessment of Expedia’s alternative accommodation portfolio in the form of Airbnb seems to suggest a significant pricing error one way or the other” and “a similar argument can be made for Booking on a sum basis parts relating to Airbnb, ”Wedbush analysts wrote earlier this month, while improving Expedia’s stock and raising their reservation price target. Airbnb, which is worth more than Booking despite being considerably smaller, is expected to publish its results for the first time as a public company on Thursday afternoon. Airbnb stock, which sold for $ 68 when it went public in December, closed at more than $ 200 on Wednesday. .
Airbnb Inc.’s business was decimated by the coronavirus pandemic, but quickly rebounded to the point that it had one of the biggest initial public offerings of 2020. Now is the time to find out what is expected. for 2021. Airbnb ABNB, -5.19% will report financial results for the first time since going public on Thursday afternoon, ending a blistering year for the company and a difficult year for the travel industry. So far, it appears that the online accommodation booking platform has been better positioned to deal with the pandemic than other companies in the travel industry, as travelers have finally sought out getaways near their homes where they could. avoid other people. Airbnb “has shown it to be more resilient to this particular shock of traveling,” said Tom White, analyst at DA Davidson. Airbnb reported third-quarter profit of $ 219 million, in part thanks to aggressive cost-cutting measures it implemented, on revenue of $ 1.34 billion – its second largest quarter never recorded. But an increase in COVID-19 cases in the fourth quarter led to further travel restrictions, which weighed on other companies in the industry, such as Expedia EXPE, -0.73%, and could also be reflected in Airbnb results – Analysts expect less than $ 750 million in fourth quarter revenue. The prospects offered by Airbnb could be greater for Airbnb and the travel industry. Airbnb released a report at the end of January in which it cited the results of its own survey as saying, “A majority of Americans (54%) have already booked, are currently planning to travel, or are planning to travel in 2021.” It remains to be seen whether travelers will still be pitted against Airbnb’s main competition: hotels. “Unless there is a structural change in traveler behavior, the change in preference is likely to be gradual, especially when hotels are back on a level playing field,” KeyBanc Capital Markets’ Justin Patterson wrote in a recent note. What to expect Profits: Analysts polled by FactSet are forecasting an average loss of $ 8.41 per share, largely thanks to the equity compensation costs of Airbnb’s IPO. Estimize, which brings together estimates from analysts, hedge fund managers, executives and more, expects a loss of $ 6.09 per share on average. Revenue: Analysts are expecting an average of $ 739.4 million in revenue, according to FactSet. The estimate is $ 775.9 million. Stock movement: Airbnb shares gained 35% during their period in public markets, while the S&P 500 SPX index, -0.49%, rose 6.5% during this period. a quarter-over-quarter slowdown in the fourth quarter in Europe and “lingering weakness” in the first quarter. But they said they believed Airbnb would withstand a downturn better than other online travel companies “given its focus on alternative accommodation inventory.” Growth: Airbnb continued to outperform hotels and OTAs in December year over year, KeyBanc analysts wrote in a note, which also said Airbnb and its smaller rival Vrbo had experienced positive growth year-over-year spending in January. The CFRA said in a note that it expects a strong rebound in bookings in 2021, including monthly bookings exceeding previous peak levels by the end of the summer. Regulatory risks: Airbnb faces bans and restrictions on stays or listings in different regions of the world. In his home country, he may also be affected by efforts to amend or reject section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which, among other things, protects him and other companies based in line, of any responsibility for the words and actions of their users. Sucharita Kodali, an analyst at Forrester, said that if Section 230 “was canceled, it would dramatically change all markets.” Without Section 230, she said Airbnb would have “a lot more than it needs to master,” as it could potentially face lawsuits for rental clauses, property damage and violence. Of 29 analysts polled by FactSet, 10 have a buy rating on Airbnb stock, while 16 have a hold, two say sell and one considers the stock’s overweighting. The average price target was $ 164.65 on Monday, when the stock closed at $ 195.34. .