August 2, 2021 • Posted in Daily Bulletin

COVID-19 Bulletin: August 2

More news relevant to the plastics industry:

Some sources linked are subscription services.


  • Declines in U.S. crude stockpiles and continued strength in gas demand pushed oil prices up Friday, concluding the fourth consecutive month of gains.
  • Crude futures took a hit in late morning trading today, with WTI down 3.9% at $70.10/bbl and Brent off 3.4% at $72.83/bbl. Natural gas was 1.7% higher at $3.98/MMBtu. 
  • OPEC’s oil output of 26.7 million bpd in July was the highest since April of last year and a 610,000 bpd increase over June. 
  • U.S. oilfield services provider Baker Hughes will use its strong quarterly results to buy back nearly $2 billion in shares, part of an increased focus on shareholder returns over production expansion.
  • Our most recent list of force majeure and allocation announcements from suppliers is here.  

Supply Chain

  • Wildfires in California have scorched close to four times the number of acres destroyed at this time last year, largely a result of spreading “exceptional drought” conditions now affecting 14.5 million residents.
  • Oregon’s governor declared a state of emergency in 23 counties Friday following another week of blistering high temperatures. 
  • Volkswagen predicts a “challenging” third quarter as effects of the global semiconductor shortage continue to affect production.
  • French officials lowered forecasts for auto sales for the rest of 2021, citing the global chip shortage. 
  • The chip shortage and rise in online commerce during the pandemic has prompted Ford to shift toward a build-to-order sales approach and away from stocking dealer lots with inventory, a retail model long ago embraced in Europe. 
  • Pandemic-induced factory shutdowns in Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines and other Southeast Asian nations are increasing amid continued low COVID-19 vaccination rates. The disruption has caused Toyota to suspend production at three of its Japanese assembly lines in August. 
  • South Korean exports rose nearly 30% from a year earlier to a record-high in July, the ninth consecutive month of growth. 
  • Booming imports have caused a scarcity of warehouse space near major U.S. ports, particularly in California and New York.  
  • Congress is expected to finalize a near-trillion-dollar bipartisan U.S. infrastructure bill as soon as this week, lawmakers say. 
  • Caterpillar is predicting hits to third-quarter profits on higher raw materials and freight costs, with the company already carrying out two price increases this year to offset the strongest inflationary pressures in three decades. 
  • Sports equipment maker Polaris is considering another round of price hikes and adding more suppliers as cost increases and supply chain constraints impact sales and earnings.  
  • Hasbro is building inventories, expanding its supply chain and increasing prices to offset rising costs and supply chain congestion. 
  • Tractor Supply Company announced plans to invest $2.5 billion to revamp its supply chain. 
  • Trucking/logistics firm Werner Enterprises posted strong second-quarter earnings, with total revenue increasing 14% year over year to $649.8 million, on par with significant per-truck revenue increases for shipper Schneider National. 
  • Workers at the world’s largest copper mine in Chile have voted to strike, potentially risking disruptions to the supply of a key metal for everything from electrical wiring to motors and construction.


  • Despite a new wave of COVID-19, the U.S. administration has signaled it will not send the country into another lockdown. There were 25,141 new COVID-19 infections along with 71 virus deaths in the U.S. yesterday. 
  • Fewer than 1% of fully vaccinated people suffer “breakthrough” infections, but the CDC warns that the Delta strain of COVID-19 is as infectious as chickenpox for those unvaccinated. 
  • Almost 100% of breakthrough COVID-19 infections in fully vaccinated people did not lead to hospitalization or death, new data shows.
  • Soaring COVID-19 infections in many areas are overwhelming hospitals and impacting care for other emergency patients. 
  • Rising COVID-19 infection and hospitalization rates have had little impact on views about vaccines among U.S. adults:
Americans Tend to Stick to Their Stance on COVID-19 Vaccines
  • U.S. regulators are being urged to fully approve COVID-19 vaccines as a precondition for public and private employers seeking to make the shots mandatory. 
  • Florida reported its highest one-day tally of new COVID-19 cases (21,683) and hospitalizations (10,207) since the start of the pandemic, as the state became the nation’s new virus epicenter last week. 
  • COVID-19 cases in Georgia, where just 40% of the population is fully vaccinated, increased 204% in the past two weeks. 
  • Alabama’s COVID-19 hospitalizations surged in July, rising from 204 to 1,345, driven mostly by the Delta variant. 
  • Nevada will require all state employees who have not been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to undergo weekly testing beginning Aug. 15.
  • California became the first state to surpass 4 million COVID-19 infections, while the U.S. surpassed 35 million total infections yesterday. Los Angeles schools will require all students and staff to be tested weekly for COVID-19 this fall, regardless of vaccination status. 
  • New York reported over 3,000 COVID-19 infections Friday, its highest one-day total since May. Despite a 75% vaccination rate, New York experienced rising test positivity rates in every region of the state over the past three days.  
  • Vermont reported 55 new COVID-19 infections Friday, its highest daily total since May. 
  • COVID-19 infections in Hawaii are continuing to rise, with the state reporting 452 new cases Sunday, its third-highest daily total since the start of the pandemic. The state is inching closer to a full reopening of its economy after crossing a 60% full-vaccination rate among residents. 
  • Juneau, Alaska, instated new pandemic restrictions, including a city-wide indoor mask mandate regardless of vaccination status, amid a continued rise of COVID-19 infections in the state’s capital. 
  • New research shows the risk of catching “long-haul” COVID-19 is cut in half after two doses of a vaccine. 
  • The New York Times has indefinitely pushed back plans to return to the office amid a spike in COVID-19 infections stemming from the Delta variant. 
  • Broadway audiences will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and wear masks at performances through October. 
  • A pandemic-induced federal ban on evictions ended Saturday, with more than 15 million people nearly $20 billion behind on rental payments.
  • U.S. consumer spending rebounded by a higher-than-expected 1% in June amid inflation increases and a boost in travel fueled by COVID-19 vaccinations. 
  • A broad measure of U.S. labor costs rose 0.7% last quarter, supporting the view that high inflation could persist beyond this year, while inflation worries sent consumer sentiment to fall to a five-month low
  • U.S. consumer spending surged in June alongside the fastest wage growth in 13 years
  • Disney will require COVID-19 vaccinations for all U.S. employees, a major announcement aligned with recently updated policies of Google and Facebook. Walmart will require masks for all employees in COVID-19 hotspots and vaccines for those in corporate offices. 
  • Uber is pushing back its return-to-office to October alongside a new COVID-19 vaccine mandate for returning U.S. employees. 
  • Six passengers of a recent Royal Caribbean cruise tested positive for COVID-19, signaling continued trouble for the industry as it resumes frequent sailings. 
  • This week, the White House is expected to roll out proposed revisions to vehicle emissions standards through 2026 in a bid to increase sales of electric vehicles. 


  • Global COVID-19 cases have topped 198 million, while the death toll from the virus rose above 4.2 million.
  • New COVID-19 cases in Japan topped 10,000 for the fourth straight day Sunday, with infections in Tokyo rising to a record 4,058. The nation extended a state of emergency to three prefectures outside the capital over the weekend, largely a result of spreading Delta variant infections.
  • Vietnam, Malaysia and other southeastern Asian nations all announced record single-day COVID-19 infections over the weekend.
  • More than 200 COVID-19 cases were reported in Sydney, Australia, Sunday, prompting deployment of the region’s soldiers to help enforce isolation orders. Brisbane joined Sydney in locking down its population after six cases of the Delta variant were reported in the city. The country’s prime minister announced that the nation will reopen once 70% of its adult population has been vaccinated.
  • China reported 75 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, up from 55 a day earlier as affected cities ramp up pandemic restrictions. 
  • Hard-hit Indonesia extended pandemic restrictions by another week following continued spread of COVID-19. 
  • As hospitals near capacity with COVID-19 patients in Thailand, the nation announced that it will expand its home isolation mandate. The nation reported more than 18,000 new infections Sunday. 
  • The Philippines will impose a strict two-week lockdown in the capital city of Manila amid rising infections of the COVID-19 Delta variant. 
  • The U.K. reported fewer than 25,000 new COVID-19 cases Sunday as more than 72% of the population is fully vaccinated. New virus infections have declined more than 30% the past week, while the nation will begin inoculating nearly half its population with a third “booster” shot starting next month. 
  • Germany will begin offering COVID-19 booster shots to the elderly and at-risk citizens starting Sept. 1.
  • Protests in France are intensifying following the country’s order to make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for public activities. 
  • The COVID-19 Delta variant now accounts for nearly 95% of new cases in Italy. 
  • Kenya will maintain its pandemic restrictions after the nation’s COVID-19 positivity rate jumped to 18% last week. 
  • Brazil’s unemployment rate remained near a record high of 15% in the first quarter of 2021, spurred by continued low vaccination rates, weak job growth and rising inflation. The country registered a weekly average of fewer than 1,000 COVID-19 deaths for the first time since January.
  • Mexico’s economy shrank 8.5% in 2020, the nation’s worst performance since 1932. The country’s economy grew 1.5% in the second quarter versus the first quarter of 2021, fueled by exports to the U.S. 
  • Canada’s economy likely grew by 0.7% in June as the country lifted many pandemic restrictions. 

Our Operations

  • M. Holland will be exhibiting at MD&M West in Anaheim, California, Aug. 10-12! MD&M West is the largest medtech conference in the U.S. If you’re attending, please stop by Booth #4005 to meet our Healthcare experts.
  • M. Holland’s 3D Printing group offers a rapid response alternative for producing selected parts where resin availability is tight during prevailing force majeure. For more information, email our 3D Printing team.
  • Market Expertise: M. Holland offers a host of resources to clients, prospects and suppliers across nine strategic markets. To arrange a videoconference or meeting with any of our Market Managers, please visit our website.

Thank you,

M. Holland Company

We will provide further COVID-19 bulletins as circumstances dictate. For all COVID-19 updates and notices, please refer to the M. Holland website.

Stay informed with industry trends and insights.