Scientific evidence is building that an early mutation in the virus made it harder to stop. Meanwhile, Bill Gates has predictions on the next pandemic we may face.
It is normal for viruses to mutate. Most mutations have little effect or are even benign. But one mutation near the beginning of the pandemic was not benign.
This one mutation, known as 614G, was first spotted in eastern China in January. It then quickly spread to Europe and then New York City. Within months, this particular variant took over much of the world, displacing its virus “cousins.”
Lots of new research supports the view that the mutated virus did have a distinct advantage over its “cousins.” The advantage was its ability to infect people much more easily than the original variant detected in Wuhan, China.
Some studies indicate that the 614G variant has roughly a 20% “advantage” over the original virus in its exponential rate of growth.
Luckily, there is no evidence that a coronavirus with the 614G mutation causes more severe symptoms, kills more people. And it will not complicate the development of vaccines. But because it spreads so easily, this virus mutation is what made the pandemic the pandemic. It’s why over 88,000 people are hospitalized now in the U.S. for Covid-19.
Let’s hope there are no more mutations like this one that will make the pandemic worse.
But that possibility exists. Some early data from Arizona describes the spread of other variants. Hopefully, these mutations are benign.
The Big News
Bill Gates Predicts Next Pandemic
Bill Gates revealed his thoughts on future pandemics in his podcast. “Hopefully, it could be 20 years from now,” Bill Gates said. “But we must assume it could be three years from now . . . There is a reasonable probability that the world will face something like this in the next 10 or 15 years,” Bill Gates said.
Dogs Can Sniff Out Covid
Research groups around the world are training dogs to detect COVID-19 in the sweat of infected people. In trials, dogs did pick out positive cases with an accuracy rate of about 90%. It is believed dogs can do this by smelling volatile organic compounds. Trial numbers are still too small to justify deploying teams of dogs at airports. But more data could make that possible.
Trump Covid ‘Breakthrough’ Not Effective
On Aug. 23, President Trump held a press conference hailing a “very historic breakthrough.” Convalescent plasma (CP) for treating Covid was subsequently given an EUA by the FDA. But now, three months later, a randomized, placebo-controlled trial of CP for seriously-ill Covid patients resulted in “no significant differences” for patients.
Pfizer Readies Vaccine Plans
Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech are readying for vaccine distribution. Pfizer plans to ship 6.4 million doses of the vaccine across the U.S. in mid-December. First in line to receive the vaccine will be front-line healthcare workers. The elderly and other high-risk groups – first responders and other essential workers – will be next.
Qantas Will Require Vaccines
Australia’s largest airline, Qantas, is going the extra mile to ensure passengers’ health. It plans to make coronavirus vaccines — whenever they become available — compulsory for all passengers who want to fly internationally.
The Coronavirus Numbers
More than 88,000 people are now hospitalized with Covid-19. This was the 15th day in a row for record hospitalizations in the U.S. Here are the numbers from Wednesday at 8 a.m. ET from Johns Hopkins University:
- 59,905,468 Infected Worldwide
- 1,412,223 Deaths
- 12,598,660 Infected in the U.S.
- 259,976 Deaths in the U.S.
U.S. stocks are on course for their best month since 1987. The Dow Jones industrials are up over 13% so far.
The much maligned Russell 2000 small-cap index has soared 20% in November. That is its best month ever.
The mood in global markets has been lifted by very encouraging vaccine news and the Presidential election finally being “settled.”
The appointment of former Fed chair Janet Yellen to be the next Treasury Secretary was also positively received on Wall Street.
Tesla shares rose another 6% to $555.Anything related to electric vehicles and green energy remains red-hot.
The dollar remains weak and oil continues in its upward move.
Bitcoin eased back off its highs after breaking $19,000 yesterday. Its intra-day high was $19,495. Bloomberg says the all-time high is $19,511.
Gold seems to have found support at the 200-day moving average support around $1,800.
What’s interesting is that the recent breakdown in gold occurred even as real interest rates declined deeper into negative territory. That tells me the drop will not last for long.
Yours in Health & Wealth,