The Delta Variant Is Already Leaving Its Mark on Business – The Wall Street Journal

Repercussions from the Delta variant of Covid-19 are starting to ripple across companies, raising staffing costs in senior housing, disrupting production of potato chips and leading some companies to rein in profit projections.

Still unclear: whether the highly contagious strain of the virus will be a momentary stumble in an improving global economy—one that businesses and consumers are now better equipped to handle—or something more serious.

In recent weeks, Kellogg Co. said Delta’s spread in Malaysia slowed production of Pringles there. Online travel company Booking Holdings Inc. said overall bookings declined as Delta took root in July. U.S. healthcare companies say elective medical procedures are slowing once again in some places.

And, as more employers postpone their return to offices, the outlook is darkening for such disparate companies as a 25-person Houston cable installer and a company with a $1.3 billion market-capitalization that sells paper goods and cleaning supplies.

“We were on a good trajectory, and then the Delta variant showed up and we’ve taken a step back as a result of that,” Donnie King, chief executive of meat processor Tyson Foods Inc., told investors last week. The company, which said early this month that it would require workers to be vaccinated, has seen efficiency drop as absenteeism rises, Mr. King added. “Essentially, it takes us six days to get five days worth of work.”

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