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FACTBOX-U.S. companies gear up as Delta variant surges

    July 21 (Reuters) - A year after the COVID-19 pandemic
overwhelmed corporate America, the fast-spreading Delta variant
of the coronavirus poses new challenges, but U.S. companies
don't expect a big impact.
    The more contagious Delta variant was first detected in
India earlier this year and has since become the dominant strain
 in the United States and several other countries.
    But last year's challenges including rising costs, strict
government restrictions and remote work have prepared many
companies to better tackle the situation.
    
    Here's what companies said about the Delta variant's impact
on their businesses: 
    
 Company        Comments 
 Anthem Inc     CEO Gail Boudreaux said the company was "very
                prudent about what's going to happen with the
                Delta variant," and any potential impact was
                part of the forecast. Anthem raised its annual
                profit forecast.              
 Apple Inc      The tech giant will delay the return of its
                employees to office by at least a month to
                October at the earliest, according to media
                reports.              
 Baker Hughes   The oilfield service company said it does not
 Co             expect new variants to slow down oil recovery.
                    ".. we expect spending and activity levels
                to gain momentum through the year as the macro
                environment improves, likely setting up the
                industry for stronger growth in 2022," CEO
                Lorenzo Simonelli said. 
 Coca-Cola Co   The soda maker said it was "well-equipped" to
                manage a potential hit from the Delta
                variant.             
 Chipotle       CEO Brian Niccol said challenges related to
 Mexican Grill  COVID-19 remained, including uncertainty
 Inc            regarding the impact of the Delta variant.
                However, he said Chipotle was up to the
                "challenge and we're hopeful that we'll
                gradually see a more stable environment over
                time."
 Costco         Costco reinstated specific shopping hours for
 Wholesale      customers aged 60 and older, just weeks after
 Corp           scrapping the rule first put in place in March
                last year.
 Goldman Sachs  The firm warned that the Delta variant and
 Group Inc      uneven vaccination rates create uncertainty for
                macro markets. 
 
    
    

 (Reporting by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika
Syamnath)
  
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