Apple indefinitely delays return of employees to corporate offices over COVID fears

Apple is indefinitely delaying the return of employees to corporate offices from February 1st to a “date yet to be determined” due to continued COVID fears, staff were informed via a memo sent by CEO Tim Cook on Wednesday.

Apple Park in Cupertino, California
Apple Park in Cupertino, California

Mark Gurman for Bloomberg News:

The delay comes just weeks after the company asked employees to begin returning by February, a timeline that had already been pushed back several times.

“We are delaying the start of our hybrid work pilot to a date yet to be determined,” Cook said in the memo. “Our offices remain open and many of our colleagues are coming in regularly, including our teams in Greater China and elsewhere.”

He cited “rising cases in many parts of the world and the emergence of a new strain of the virus.” Cook also strongly encouraged employees to receive vaccinations and booster shots, saying “this is by far the best way to keep you and your community safe.”

In the memo, Cook also said the Cupertino, California-based company will provide each employee a $1,000 bonus that may be used for work-from-home needs, saying it’s “in support of our commitment to a more flexible environment.” That includes retail workers.

“These funds are intended to help you with your home workspace and can be used as you see fit. You will be receiving more information about this shortly,” he said.

MacDailyNews Take: Listen, we’ve always told it like we see it, so here you go:

Why actually work when you can simply apply a little pressure to spineless, paralyzed “leadership” and stay at home, coddled, not having to work at anywhere near the same level as before, yet still receive your regular paychecks, random $1,000 bonuses, etc.?

Who, besides your customers, care if promised tentpole features are delayed into next year?

If all you have to sit through are the occasional mealy-mouthed memos devoid of actual science-based facts from your jellyfish “leaders,” that’s an infinitesimally small price to pay.

Life is good when your bosses seemingly watch and, laughingly, believe CNN.

Does Tim Cook actually believe the tripe in his memo or is he as afraid of being sued into oblivion by his own employees if he requires them to actually come into work? We hope it’s the latter, but these endless delays of the inevitable are still a sign of worrisome weakness, dithering, and indecision.

Tim Cook and Apple “leadership,” here’s a fact that we know for certain because we’ve personally heard it: Apple employees are laughing at you behind your backs.

At some point, some Apple employee, likely someone older who unfortunately has multiple comorbidities — maybe who smokes, has asthma, is overweight, or has other risk factors — is very likely going to contract COVID-19 and die. Some lawyer will be enlisted to try to sue Apple over it. This sad scenario is virtually unavoidable. Return-to-work delays atop return-to-work delays are simply kicking the unavoidable down the road; a waste of time.

In general, human-transmissible coronaviruses do not disappear. There is no such thing as zero-COVID.

COVID-19 is here to stay. It will very likely become endemic, yet pose less danger over time. People will acquire immunity via vaccines (effectiveness TDB) and naturally as they contract and recover from variants like omicron since the partially-effective vaccines permit not only transmissibility, but also breakthrough infections. Influenza and the four human coronaviruses that cause common colds (OC43, 229E, NL63 and HKU1) are, of course, also endemic, but a combination of annual flu vaccines and acquired immunity means that sane societies tolerate the unavoidable seasonal deaths and illnesses they bring without requiring lockdowns, masks, social distancing, indefinite return-to-work delays, etc.

At which point, if ever, will some people decide that wasting away their short lives in abject fear of a bad flu, very likely engineered by China and partially funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, is a hysterical self-defeating overreaction?

Adam Gopnik was writing about a different “disaster,” but, going on two years worth of “two weeks to slow the spread,” his words from August 2011 are a rather interesting read in late 2021 and something to bear in mind as you consume “news” media:

[T]he relentless note of incipient hysteria, the invitation to panic, the ungrounded scenarios — the overwhelming and underlying desire for something truly terrible to happen so that you could have something really hot to talk about — was still startling. We call disasters unimaginable, but all we do is imagine such things…

That, you could conclude mordantly, is the real soundtrack of our time: the amplification of the self-evident toward the creation of paralyzing, preemptive paranoia. The real purpose not to get you to do anything, but to get you so scared that all you can do is keep the television, or radio, on. This is obvious, and yet there is something truly helpful, really instructive, about experiencing it again after a month of absence and silence. Two things that ought to be apparent all the time become briefly clear to you again. First, that the media, television particularly, are amplifying devices in which tiny kernels of information become vast, terrifying structures of speculation. The news business is one in which a minimum of news is really given the business.

And second, that the reasons for this are essentially non-ideological; frightened people need news for reassurance, and want to get a more heightened experience by being frightened still more, and the business the people supplying the fright are in (which we’re in too, of course) is not really that of dispensing information but of assembling enough listeners or readers, preferably still caught in that same spirit of credulous attentiveness, to offer to advertisers or keep subscribing. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, August 28, 2011

As we wrote back on March 9, 2020: The real virus is the panic.

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  1. Thanks for that take, MDN, it’s always nice to read some common sense for a change.

    By the way, the death rate for the vaccinated is nearly 3 times that of the unvaccinated in Vermont, the most highly vaxxed U.S. state.

    CFR (Case Fatality Rate) of 1.02 percent vs CFR of 0.45 percent.

  2. Some of you may wish to consider an alternative to one of the points of the MDN take, notably:

    “Human-transmissible coronaviruses do not disappear. There is no such thing as zero-COVID.”
    Viruses and other pathogens do disappear, extinction and eradication (the complete removal) do happen.

    Viral diseases that are considered eradicated are: Smallpox (1980), Rhinderpest (2011), Polio (116 cases 2017). Measles, mumps and rubella are still around but in relatively low numbers.

    The eradication process can be attributed to two main factors, hygiene and vaccines. Sure vaccines can cause side effects and even death, and sure it will be useless on some people who have the proper immunity setup, but from a population level vaccines make sense. If you want to check out some real wild symptoms take a look at some cases of small pox.

    Even a human transmissible coronavirus can disappear. The SARS-CoV-1 responsible for the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) has not been reported world-wide since 2004. This is believed to have been achieved by public health measures, testing, isolating, quarantine, travel restrictions. Sound familiar?

    Apple is doing what they believe is a public health measure and they are not alone. There are over 190 countries on the planet grappling with this, and it’s just a shot across the bow.

    The winds of changes will be racing through soon enough.

      1. You do realize that the link to the article you provided backs up MacDailyNews statement that SARS-CoV-2 is not going not disappear, right?

        There is no such thing as zero-COVID.

        1. The point from the article that I wish to highlight is that there is no such thing as SARS-CoV-1 anymore (it is considered eradicated). Both SARS CoV-1 and SARS CoV-2 are both human-transmissible coronaviruses and one has indeed disappeared.

          Yes there may be no such thing as zero-COVID-19…yet, but the point is that there is such a thing as zero SARS C0V-1 as the article points out that one human-transmissible coronavirus has indeed disappeared. I find that does not jive with MDN’s statement but your mileage may vary.

          1. See my list of reasons below why SARS CoV-1 is a poor basis for thinking (wishing, dreaming, hallucinating) that SARS CoV-2 is going to “disappear.”

            COVID-19 is not going away any more than the common cold is going to go away.

            It’s here to stay. It’s something we simply have to live with, not cower from indefinitely.

            1. I agree the SARS CoV-2 is not going to go away and will probably be endemic. That’s not the part of the statement I have issue with, it’s the first sentence.
              Thanks for all the info. I guess cowering times will vary.

    1. SARS-CoV-2 is transmitted much more easily than SARS-CoV.

      With SARS, viral loads peaked much later in the illness. People with COVID-19 transmit the virus much earlier in the course of the infection, just as their symptoms are developing but before they begin to worsen, leading to spread.

      Between late 2002 to mid-2003 there were some 8,000 cases of people contracting the SARS-CoV virus.

      There have so far been some 272 million cases of people contracting the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

      COVID-19 is not going away because:

      ■ About 80 percent of people with COVID-19 have a mild illness. Some may not even know that they’re sick. This makes it harder to determine who has developed a viral infection and who has not.

      ■ People with COVID-19 appear to shed the virus earlier in the course of their infection than people with SARS. This makes it more difficult to detect who has the virus and isolate them before they transfer it to others.

      ■ SARS-CoV-2 is easily transmitted within communities. This was not the case with SARS-CoV, which was more commonly transferred in more controlled healthcare settings.

      ■ The world is even more globally connected than we were in 2003, making it easier for SARS-CoV-2 to be transmitted between regions and countries.

      The Wuhan genie is not going back in the bottle.

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