Our political leaders gave us a perfect example of how not to act during the coronavirus pandemic.
The date was Sept. 26. Many of our nation’s political leaders gathered at the White House to celebrate the Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett.
Most of them decided the coronavirus pandemic rules that applied to everybody else didn’t apply to them.
There were no masks and no social distancing at the event.
Instead, they shook hands, spoke to each other in close proximity and exchanged hugs and kisses.
The end result was inevitable . . . a superspreader event.
To date, the list of prominent people infected include: the President and First Lady, two Senators, one former governor, the president of Notre Dame, and a number of staffers and journalists.
Obviously, the families of all these people are at risk for infection.
Apparently, everyone at the gathering suffered from what psychologists call the “Mandela Effect.” All had thought the virus was gone and in the past.
Let’s move on to the serious matter of the President’s health.
I spoke to several old college friends of mine over the weekend that are epidemiologists. They all thought President Trump likely had Covid pneumonia. His blood oxygen level dropping below 94 is a sign of that.
They all pointed to the President receiving an experimental antibody cocktail, Remdesivir (which EUA approval from the FDA for severe cases), and dexamethasone (a steroid used in severe cases) as signs of the seriousness of his condition.
Of course, no one really knows . . .
Outside health experts cannot tell if President Trump was sicker than he appeared in photos . . . or whether his doctors were treating him with unusual aggressiveness.
The Big News
Movie Theaters to Close Temporarily
Cineworld said it would temporarily close all its screens in the United States and Britain. Its theaters had just reopened in July. The possible closure comes after studios pulled major releases, such as the latest James Bond film. Cineworld is the world’s second-biggest theater operator. The shutdown will take effect on Thursday.
Lockdown 2.0 for Parts of New York City
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Sunday that he intended to “rewind” the reopening of nine neighborhoods in the City. These neighborhoods have had a testing positivity rate of more than 3% over the last seven days. This means the closure of nonessential businesses as well as all schools in those neighborhoods, which are in Brooklyn and Queens.
Covid Tackles the NFL Again
The N.F.L. delayed Sunday’s highly anticipated game between the New England Patriots and the Kansas City Chiefs. This came after positive coronavirus tests on both teams. Among those who tested positive was Patriots star quarterback, Cam Newton. The delay is the latest in a string of positive cases in the N.F.L. The league decided not to create “closed communities” to significantly lower the risk of players’ infection.
U.S. Business Insolvencies to Soar
The credit insurance firm Euler Hermes has a dire prediction. It forecasts the effects of the coronavirus pandemic will be felt most severely in 2021, at least when it comes to business insolvencies. Of all the world’s countries, it predicts the U.S. will see the sharpest rise in insolvencies. It is looking for a jump of 57% when compared with 2019 levels.
New York to Lose 159,000 Restaurant Jobs
As many as half of New York City’s restaurants could close permanently over the next year. According to an audit from the state comptroller, the coronavirus pandemic could cost up to 159,000 jobs. The audit was based on credit card transactions and other data. The report concluded that about a half of the city’s bars and about a third of its restaurants that were open before the pandemic have already shut their doors. In a worst-case scenario, up to half of New York’s pre-pandemic restaurants could close permanently within a year.
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Coronavirus Pandemic Numbers
Here are the numbers from Monday at 8 a.m. ET from Johns Hopkins University:
- 35,220,166 Infected Worldwide
- 1,037,604 Deaths
- 7,418,737 Infected in the U.S.
- 209,734 Deaths in the U.S.
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Wall Street continue to wear rose-colored glasses. But I guess things always look sunny when the Fed continues to give you billions and billions of dollars.
In the real world, conditions aren’t so rosy.
The U.S. labor market is not in good health. The economy only created 661,000 jobs in September. Expectations were for a gain of 800,000 jobs. 1.371 million jobs were created in August.
The U.S. economy has recovered about half the jobs lost at the peak of the pandemic.
Think about this for a moment. . . . .
Let’s exclude the sectors directly affected by the coronavirus pandemic — air transport, arts and entertainment, hotels and restaurants, and education.
That still leaves the number of jobs in America 4.6% lower in September than in February.
That is pretty close to 5.3% drop in total employment that took place during the entire 18 months of the Great Recession.
The problem remains the same as it has been for months now.
The economic reopening rebound was the easy part. The hard slog lies ahead.
It could take years to fully recover all the lost jobs. Even the Fed is saying that. And many of the previously existing jobs will no longer be there.
The pandemic has accelerated change and the movement toward more technologies in our lives.
It reminds me of a famous quote by Lenin: “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.”
This means the best investment opportunities still remain in technology stocks. Including in some IPOs.
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Yours in Health & Wealth,