Free N95 Masks to Be Made Available at Pharmacies, White House Says

WASHINGTON—The Biden administration on Wednesday announced plans to make 400 million N95 masks available for free at pharmacies and community health centers across the country. The move comes as President Biden has stepped up the federal government’s response to a nationwide surge in Covid-19 cases triggered by the highly transmissible Omicron variant. Some scientists and … Read more

UnitedHealth Logged Steady Revenue Growth to Close 2021

UnitedHealth Group Inc. UNH 1.46% on Wednesday posted year-over-year earnings growth for the last three months of 2021, helped by higher revenue from premiums. The healthcare and health-insurance giant based in Minnetonka, Minn., the first industry heavyweight to report year-end results, showed little sign of serious impact from costs tied to soaring levels of Covid-19 … Read more

China Seeks to Cushion Blow of Economic Pain as Momentum Slows

HONG KONG—Last year, Chinese policy makers shook up the world’s second-largest economy just as its rebound from the pandemic was starting to wear off, unleashing a flurry of measures to address longer-term economic imbalances—and delivering a short-term hit to business activity. Now, China’s leaders are hoping that they can put a floor under the economy, … Read more

China GDP Grew 8.1% in 2021, Though Momentum Slowed in Fourth Quarter

BEIJING—China’s economy expanded 8.1% last year as a pandemic-plagued world snapped up its goods, though slowing growth in the final months of the year points to challenges ahead for its economy. As expected, the annual gross domestic product figure easily topped Beijing’s official growth target of 6% or more, as exports surged to a record … Read more

Economy Week Ahead: China GDP, U.S. Housing

A man passed through Beijing’s central business district late last year. Photo: greg baker/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images By WSJ Staff Jan. 16, 2022 3:00 pm ET U.S. housing construction and sales numbers highlight a relatively quiet week for economic data. Monday China’s economy in the fourth quarter is expected to have grown at the slowest pace … Read more

Omicron Surge Pressures U.S. Hospitals

Americans shouldn’t expect the Omicron variant to peak nationwide in coming days, the U.S. surgeon general warned Sunday, as Covid-19 cases continue to rise and put more pressure on hospitals. “The next few weeks will be tough,” Dr. Vivek Murthy said during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union.” The seven-day average for confirmed … Read more

Omicron, Inflation Drive Down U.S. Growth Outlook

The outlook for economic growth in the first quarter and 2022 is darkening amid the latest wave of Covid-19, as consumers grapple with high inflation and businesses juggle labor and production disruptions. Forecasters surveyed by The Wall Street Journal this month slashed their expectation for growth in the first quarter by more than a percentage … Read more

Citigroup Sticks With Its Covid-19 Vaccine Mandate, While GE Drops Its Rules

Citigroup Inc. C -1.25% is sticking with its Covid-19 vaccine mandate for its U.S. workers. General Electric Co. GE 0.68% is not. The two American companies are going in opposite directions after the Supreme Court blocked Thursday the Biden administration’s rule that big employers require their employees to get vaccines or submit to testing. Citigroup, … Read more

Some Starbucks, Chipotle Sites Cut Hours, Limit Seating Over Omicron

Diners are feeling a sense of déjà vu as restaurants are again selling food for takeout only, closing dining-room seating or shortening hours as the Omicron variant of Covid-19 spreads. Chains such as Starbucks Corp. SBUX -2.23% and Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. CMG -0.62% said they are temporarily limiting operations at individual stores or regions … Read more