One element in the vaccine rollout worries me more than any other: The timing of two-dose vaccines.
Countries are stumbling and bumbling with their vaccination strategies. So, the interval between the first and second doses appears to be up in the air.
Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require a second shot two to three weeks after the first.
In England, second doses could be delayed up to 12 weeks after the first dose. In the U.S., President Biden has planned to release nearly all available vaccine doses. He is relying 100% on the vaccine supply chain to come through.
What happens if people receive second doses many months after the first dose?
The delays could result in millions of people with only partial immunity. This could become a breeding ground for vaccine-resistant mutations.
Luckily, history is on our side. Very few viruses have evolved resistance to vaccines. Although, obviously, seasonal influenza has. We need a newly formulated flu vaccine every year.
But delayed second vaccine doses could push the Covid-19 virus into vaccine resistance.
The Big News
Biden On War Footing Against Virus
President Biden unveiled a “full-scale wartime effort” against the pandemic in a 200-page plan. He unveiled a series of initiatives, including mask mandates for interstate travel and quarantines for international arrivals. Dr. Anthony Fauci — who said he was happy to “let the science speak” under a new administration — warned of drug-resistant coronavirus strains and constraints on vaccine supply.
Lilly’s Monoclonal Antibodies Stops Covid Infections
Eli Lilly (LLY) says its monoclonal antibodies prevented Covid-19 infections in nursing home residents and staff in a clinical trial. This is the first time such an antibodies treatment has been shown to prevent infection. Lilly said it would publish the data on the antibodies treatment as quickly as possible. In November, the antibodies treatment was authorized for emergency use by the FDA in treating Covid patients who are at risk of more severe disease.
New Virus Variants and Schools
variants have put children’s role in the pandemic back into the spotlight.
Initial fears that a variant called B.1.1.7 was spreading more in children than
in adults were unfounded. Researchers now say that the UK variant is spreading
more in all ages. Still, scientists are calling for more testing and
surveillance in children to inform policies on school closures.
Pandemic Price Rises
Hundreds of essential products that have come to define pandemic living have sustained significant price increases on Amazon this year. Analysis published by the Public Interest Research Group, a non-partisan consumer advocacy organization, looked at 750 “essential” items sold on Amazon’s marketplace. PIRG compared their pre-pandemic prices to what customers paid for them at the end of 2020. It found that of the 750 items, the prices of 409 had increased by more than 20%, while 136 had more than doubled.
More Vaccine Bumbling
A company responsible for vaccinating residents at eight Ohio nursing homes botched the job. Company employees allowed 890 doses of the Moderna vaccine — more than half its supply — to become spoiled. It failed to keep them cold enough.
The Coronavirus Numbers
President Biden warned that U.S. coronavirus deaths would top 500,000 in the next month or so. Here are the numbers from Friday at 8 a.m. ET from Johns Hopkins University:
- 97,607,105 Infected Worldwide
- 2,093,605 Deaths
- 24,632,468 Infected in the U.S.
- 410,378 Deaths in the U.S.
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Stocks on Wall Street yesterday were flat, although the Nasdaq rose 0.55%, building on Wednesday’s record high.
Investors are betting on big tech delivering bumper earnings. Apple shares rallied over 3% ahead of next week’s earnings report. Quarterly revenues are seen exceeding $100 billion for the first time on renewed iPhone demand.
Today looks lot like last Friday. Risk is coming off going into the weekend. That’s not a great sign of confidence.
The market remains confident on the big picture, thanks to stimulus and vaccines. But it’s possible there is some kind of correction move lower in major indices over the next few weeks.
After all, weekly jobless claims (900,000) continued to show the need for fiscal stimulus.
I will use any weakness to add to positions in the EV and green energy space.
Yours in Health & Wealth,