COVID-19 Bulletin: December 23
December 23, 2021 • Posted in
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Four people were injured today when a
large fire broke out at Exxon’s Baytown, Texas, refinery. The cause of the fire has not been disclosed. Oil prices rose more than
1.5% Wednesday on news of a larger-than-expected crude draw last week. Crude futures were marginally higher in late morning trading, with WTI up 0.3% at $72.99/bbl and Brent up 0.4% at $75.56/bbl. U.S. natural gas was 8.4% lower at $3.64/MMBtu. Russia
reversed flows on a key gas pipeline to Germany for the second day in a row on Wednesday, keeping European energy prices at extremely high levels. Spanish industrial production prices rose at a record
33.1% annual pace in November to a new all-time high, largely the result of skyrocketing energy prices. Global oil and gas discoveries are on pace for their
lowest level in 75 years in 2021, with discovered volumes hitting just 4.7 million barrels at the end of November compared to 12.5 billion last year. The U.S. government
approved Pemex’s purchase of Shell’s oil refinery in Deer Park, Texas, in a deal to be concluded early next year. Frustration is growing between U.S. oil producers and the White House over
contradictory calls to decrease emissions yet raise production, as domestic gas prices rise to multiyear highs.
Our most recent list of force majeure and allocation announcements from suppliers is here.
The Port of Los Angeles saw annual volume declines three out of the last four months, capped by an
8.8% drop in November. Volumes at the Port of Rotterdam, Europe’s largest, rose 5% this year to a record
15 million TEUs. The global shipping benchmark Baltic Dry Index dropped to its
lowest level in eight months Wednesday. Asia-bound LNG carriers are
changing course to Europe to meet high demand and lock in record high prices. Labor shortages at U.S. air-cargo hubs have
disrupted operations for ground-handling companies that unload planes, leaving goods piling up at airports. U.S. freight tonnage is forecast to grow up to
28% over the next decade, the American Trucking Associations said. The U.S. administration is urging container lines to
improve services for agricultural exporters. Qatar announced early plans to invest more than
$10 billion in U.S. ports, primarily on the East Coast, and is currently working with banks for a financial package. U.S. regulators approved Kansas-based transport company Watco’s acquisition of
650 miles of short rail lines from Canadian National. U.S. furniture dealers are
shifting manufacturing and sourcing out of Vietnam to bypass transportation delays and other bottlenecks, including pandemic-induced factory shutdowns. Women’s apparel retailer Chico’s is the
first fashion client for Walmart’s new same-day delivery service for third-party businesses, joining other big customers including The Home Depot. Louisville has emerged as a
microcosm for labor shortages plaguing logistics firms, with employee wages and benefits quickly rising as a result. The White House’s impending order of more than 500 million at-home COVID-19 tests will
further strain suppliers already struggling to keep up with surging demand. Amazon is
reimposing mask requirements for all warehouse workers. Amazon’s cloud-computing unit suffered a
new outage Wednesday, its third this month, spurring wide-ranging disruption at companies that rely on the digital infrastructure. Australia’s government forecasts rebounding demand in China for
iron ore and metallurgical coal in 2022.
The U.S. reported
238,378 new COVID-19 infections and 2,024 virus fatalities Wednesday. The COVID-19 Omicron variant has been detected in all
50 U.S. states and Washington, D.C. The FDA cleared the nation’s
first at-home antiviral pill to treat COVID-19. Made by Pfizer, more than 250,000 pills will be available in January, while more than 10 million are expected by late summer. New York state reported
28,924 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday. New York City now has the highest new case rate in the nation, data shows, as regional hospitals start barring visitors amid a surge in virus patients. Oregon
extended its pandemic state of emergency over rising cases of the COVID-19 Omicron variant. Washington, D.C., followed Chicago in requiring
proof of vaccine for entry into bars, restaurants and most other indoor public venues. The city also became the first in the nation to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for K-12 students after reporting a record 6,200 new cases Tuesday. San Jose, California, could become the first U.S. city to
mandate COVID-19 booster doses for city workers, officials signaled. Florida added
20,194 new COVID-19 infections Tuesday, the most since September 1 and a 56% jump from Monday. The NBA
rejected calls to pause its season despite record numbers of COVID-19 infections among players. Delta Air Lines joined in calls for the CDC to
reduce quarantine periods for people with breakthrough COVID-19 cases, whose symptoms are often milder. Airplane passengers could be
twice as likely as before to catch COVID-19 following emergence of the Omicron variant, new research suggests.
Amazon and Walmart are limiting the number of at-home COVID-19 tests people can buy online due to surging demand rapidly depleting inventories. Oreo cookies maker Mondelez and drugstore chain CVS have
indefinitely pushed back return-to-office plans over rising U.S. COVID-19 infections. Rising COVID-19 cases are
shutting down major U.S. technology expos for the second year in a row. More than half of vaccinated Americans surveyed say the fast-spreading COVID-19 Omicron variant prompted them to get a
booster dose. The U.S. has been adding about 1.6 million new vaccine shots per day, up from 1.4 million before Thanksgiving. Health experts are warning that COVID-19 may take on
endemic status, with waves of the virus coming and going each year like influenza. The U.S. military is expected to unveil its own single-shot COVID-19 vaccine in the coming weeks, with early trials showing promising results against
every strain of the virus. Consumer spending rose
0.6% in November, down from 1.4% growth in October. First-time jobless claims last week remained unchanged at
205,000. A record number of Americans signed up for
government-subsidized healthcare in the second year of the pandemic, new data shows. The White House
extended a pause on federal student-loan repayments until May on fresh signs that students continue to suffer financial fallout from the pandemic. U.S. existing home sales rose a monthly
1.9% in November, the highest pace since January, putting home sales on track for their best year since 2006. More than
2 million people were screened at U.S. airports for the fifth day in a row yesterday, with holiday travel levels expected to rise 30% from last year. U.S. drugstore chain Rite Aid is
closing 63 of its more than 2,400 retail locations over the next several months. GM is
expanding its presence in the “electrification” market with plans to offer battery retrofits to more vehicles in a wider variety of industries. The FAA proposed
fixes to Boeing’s 777 aircraft that would allow the plane to return to service, 10 months after a failed Pratt & Whitney engine rained parts on a Colorado suburb. Share prices of U.S. self-storage firms have risen faster than many other companies this year, reflecting
record occupancy levels due to a pandemic-induced need for more space.
The U.K. reported
106,122 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, smashing a previous record. Despite rising case counts, the nation has tallied just 14 deaths and 129 hospitalizations linked to the Omicron variant. On Wednesday, regulators approved vaccines for children as young as age 5, while Northern Ireland reimposed pandemic curbs. France’s fifth wave of COVID-19 is bringing more than
70,000 new cases per day, with officials warning that number could soon top 100,000 for the first time in the pandemic. Belgium is
closing theaters, concert halls and other indoor entertainment venues over rising cases of the COVID-19 Omicron variant. German officials signaled
fourth COVID-19 vaccine doses may be required for some people soon. The nation’s leading ethics body recommended mandating vaccines for the entire population yesterday. Spain significantly tightened pandemic restrictions Wednesday, now requiring the use of
masks in outdoor public areas. More than 60,000 new COVID-19 cases were reported yesterday, a record. New COVID-19 infections in Portugal approached
9,000 Wednesday, the most since February. Total COVID-19 infections in Russia topped
600,000, the third highest in the world behind the U.S. and Brazil. New COVID-19 cases in Canada jumped to
11,300 Tuesday, up from a national average of 5,000 per day last week.
Critically ill COVID-19 patients surged to a record in South Korea, prompting hospitals to organize the addition of 10,000 beds in January. India’s capital is
banning holiday celebrations after record COVID-19 cases were reported yesterday.
Singapore and Thailand have suspended their programs for quarantine-free travel to many countries with a COVID-19 health pass. Australia reported
8,200 new COVID-19 infections Thursday, a record. COVID-19 cases in Japan have
plummeted nearly 100% since September, baffling researchers as case counts pick up across the globe. Global COVID-19 fatalities this year surpassed combined deaths from tuberculosis, HIV and malaria by a large margin:
At M. Holland
M. Holland will be closed
tomorrow in observance of Christmas. We wish all a wonderful holiday! 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.
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