The lack of patience among many Americans seems to be the biggest obstacle in overcoming the pandemic as a third coronavirus surge engulfs the U.S.
Over the last week, the U.S. has averaged about 59,000 new cases a day. That is the most since the start of August. The daily total could soon surpass the record of 75,687, set on July 16.
How did our country reach this point?
A lack of patience.
The summer surge was driven by states that reopened their economies too quickly. But this latest wave can be attributed to a different type of impatience.
Americans have quickly become exhausted and frustrated. And with no end to the pandemic in sight, a public weariness is sinking in. That means people are going to bars, family get-togethers and sporting events . . . damn the consequences.
And the coronavirus is loving it.
The same dynamic is playing out in Europe, which had beaten back the virus with lockdowns in the spring. But people got tired of restrictions there, too. Now Europe is facing a terrifying new coronavirus surge.
Europe is important because U.S. virus patterns seem to follow it with a lag of a few weeks.
That’s why former FDA commissioner, Scott Gottlieb, said this to CNBC about the coronavirus surge: “I think we’re about two or three weeks behind Europe — so we’re about a week away from starting to enter a period where we’re going to see a rapid acceleration in cases.”
Yet, in many parts of Asia, the situation couldn’t be more different.
In China, South Korea, Japan, New Zealand and Australia, people changed their behavior. Containment measures have been tough and very effective.
In fact, many people in those countries have complained that their governments haven’t gone far enough to contain the virus.
The Big News
Yes, Covid Is Far Worse Than Flu
How much worse are Covid’s consequences than those of influenza? Influenza infects about 45 million Americans each year and kills an average of 61,000. New research has found that hospitalized coronavirus patients had a higher risk of 17 complications as compared with hospitalized flu patients. Covid patients were also more than five times as likely to die in the hospital — 21% of them died there, compared with 3.8% of those hospitalized with flu. More than a third of the Covid patients were admitted to an ICU. Fewer than a fifth of influenza patients spent time in an ICU. The new research was published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
More Covid Diabetes Cases
Doctors are seeing people without the risk factors for type 2 diabetes — such as being older or overweight — experience a diabetic emergency after exposure to COVID-19. Cases from around the world are pointing to Covid. “We have more questions than answers right now,” said Dr. Robert Eckel, president of medicine and science at the American Diabetes Association. “We could be dealing with an entirely new form of diabetes.”
Netflix’s Pandemic Bump Is Over
Business at Netflix is good but below some analysts’ numbers. The company reported 2.2 million new memberships in the third quarter. That is about one million subscriptions lower than expected. Netflix said that subscriptions for the fourth quarter would be lower than analysts’ estimates also. But thanks to a surge earlier in the pandemic, Netflix expects to close the year with a record number of new members. The total will be about 34 million, giving it just over 200 million subscribers globally.
First Covid Human ‘Challenge Trials’ to Begin
London will host the first “human challenge” trial for COVID-19 vaccines. It involves intentionally infecting healthy, young volunteers with the coronavirus to test potential vaccines. An estimated 30-50 participants will be exposed to the virus in a high-level isolation unit of a London hospital. Critics note that the focus on young, healthy people will skew any results. And even then, there are risks. The participants could literally be risking their lives.
CVS Health to Hire 15,000 People
CVS Health plans to hire 15,000 workers to prepare for a coronavirus surge and flu season in the U.S. in fall and winter. More than 10,000 of the new jobs will be licensed pharmacy technicians at CVS Pharmacy locations. They will help give Covid-19 tests, process prescriptions, dispense meds and possibly give Covid vaccines.
The Coronavirus Numbers
Here are the numbers from Wednesday at 8 a.m. ET from Johns Hopkins University:
- 40,846,867 Infected Worldwide
- 1,125,752 Deaths
- 8,275,066 Infected in the U.S.
- 221,083 Deaths in the U.S.
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Sentiment among investors toward the U.S. election has changed lately.
The old Wall Street view is that victories by Democrats are bad. They are perceived as a path to higher taxes that hurt corporate profits and drag stocks lower.
That old idea still sticks despite the recent historical examples.
The S&P 500 index more than doubled from the time Democrat Barack Obama was elected President in 2008 to President Trump’s victory eight years later. The market under President Bill Clinton also did well.
A Democratic win bringing higher levels of fiscal spending may be just what the doctor ordered for our pandemic-sickened economy.
Even the Federal Reserve is pleading for more fiscal stimulus for our pandemic economy.
And even if you are looking for a sell-off, hedges are getting harder to find.
Typically, U.S. Treasury bonds perform well in periods of stress. But yields on Treasury debt are already minuscule. That is thanks to the Federal Reserve cutting benchmark interest rates to near zero in March.
And put options, which profit from a drop in the stock market or individual stocks, are already expensive.
The fall in the U.S. dollar is gathering momentum. That should bring to the fore assets that are cheap – precious metals.
Gold is back up to $1,925 an ounce and silver is back over $25 an ounce. These precious metals should perform well in the current environment.
Yours in Health & Wealth,