Data on the COVID-19 vaccines’ effectiveness against the Omicron variant, insurer coverage of COVID-19 tests, strengthened capital spending at businesses, worker illnesses in manufacturing, and a call for more support for Connecticut’s child care businesses are among the top business news items this morning.
Pfizer’s CEO is warning that two doses of the company’s COVID-19 vaccine may not provide adequate protection against the virus’s Omicron variant, with a third dose necessary to better safeguard against severe illness. Data from the United Kingdom suggests that both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are minimally effective against preventing Omicron infection, but that booster shots considerably improve protection against both infection and hospitalization.
The White House has announced a plan for private health insurers to cover the cost of over-the-counter COVID-19 tests as part of the Biden administration’s strategy to combat the Omicron variant. Under the policy, insured individuals will be reimbursed for up to eight tests a month or able to purchase the tests at no cost through their insurer.
Capital spending has remained strong at businesses in anticipation of strong consumer demand despite challenges such as inflation and supply chain constraints. Analysts expect that companies will continue to make significant investments in areas such as stores, logistics improvements, and upgraded technology.
Worker illnesses are adding to the labor challenges faced by the manufacturing sector. An increase in COVID-19 infections is forcing some manufacturers to slow down their operations or seek other solutions to maintain output.
Child care providers in Connecticut warned Governor Ned Lamont that they are facing a staffing crisis, which reduces the number of child care slots available to working families. The providers called for additional federal support to address the issue and voiced support for the Build Back Better Act, which would dedicate funds to establishing an early childhood care system.