Yesterday was the day that America finally got a “shot of hope.”
The first shots of Covid vaccine were given to front-line healthcare workers on Monday. Ironically, it was the same day where we passed the grim milestone of 300,000 Americans dead from Covid-19.
Dr. Fauci predicted that people with no underlying health conditions would get the vaccine by early April. By the autumn, Dr. Fauci said life may start to look normal again.
It cannot come soon enough.
Dr. Fauci is likely correct in his timeline. That’s because more vaccines are on the way.
The coronavirus vaccine made by Moderna is highly protective for adults and prevents severe cases of Covid-19. This is according to data released by the FDA.
The FDA review confirmed Moderna’s statement that the vaccine had an efficacy rate of 94.1%.
These were very encouraging data points. So, the FDA is expected to grant emergency use authorization (EUA) to Moderna’s vaccine on Friday.
Let’s assume this approval is given. What happens next is that distribution of six million doses of the vaccine will begin early next week.
These two vaccines are a blessing. That’s because some of the other vaccines are falling by the wayside. AstraZeneca, Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline have seen major disappointments, although the vaccine from Johnson & Johnson may come through.
Let’s hope other vaccines do work. Covid vaccines are something we need a lot of at the moment.
The Big News
Top Secret Covid Data and the FBI
The FDA has taken a very unusual step. It is having Covid-19 vaccine data physically delivered by FBI agents. Vaccine makers are sending sensitive documents to the FDA on a USB stick handed directly to an FBI agent. The FDA usually takes submissions electronically. But it took the additional precautions because of the sensitivity of documents relating to coronavirus vaccines. After all, hackers are looking to ether steal intellectual property or to wreak havoc by disrupting it.
New Strain of Coronavirus
A new variant of coronavirus emerged in the U.K. It is possible that it could be contributing to a rapid rise in infections in some parts of the country. Researchers are investigating whether the new strain was more transmissible than previous coronavirus variants. So far, there is nothing to suggest that this variant is more likely to cause more serious disease . . . or not respond to a vaccine. More than 1,000 cases with the new variant were detected, mainly in the south of England.
Contact Tracing Failure
The contact tracing failure in the U.S. is apparent. It and some others (U.K., etc.) did not break the virus spread chain. But other countries did. Examples include Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam. The lesson learned is this: Invest in your national public-health system.
Apple’s iPhone Demand Surges
Apple plans to produce up to 96 million iPhones for the first half of 2021. That is a nearly 30% year-on-year increase. This will occur after demand for its first-ever 5G handsets surged amid the pandemic. The tentative full-year forecast that Apple shared with its suppliers suggests it plans to build up to 230 million iPhones in 2021, including both old and new models. This would mark a 20% rise from 2019, though industrywide shortages of key components could threaten that target.
A Split Stimulus Package
Lawmakers are still trying to break the stimulus logjam in Congress. The group of moderates divided their $908 billion plan in two. First is a $748 billion package that includes reviving federal unemployment payments and small business loans. Then there is a $160 billion bill addressing more contentious issues like aid for states and a legal liability shield for employers.
The Coronavirus Numbers
The U.S. now has more than 300,000 people dead from Covid-19. Here are the numbers from Tuesday at 8 a.m. ET from Johns Hopkins University:
- 72,948,590 Infected Worldwide
- 1,623,611 Deaths
- 16,520,083 Infected in the U.S.
- 300,494 Deaths in the U.S.
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U.S. markets were weak yesterday, slipping for the fourth straight day.
Tech companies have been leading the way in this year’s strong stock market performance.
But they are coming under pressure amid signs that the US, EU and UK governments are preparing to tighten regulation of the tech giants.
However, today looks different. Vaccines are rolling out. And a little more political uncertainty was removed as the electoral college confirmed presidential election results.
If Dr. Fauci is correct in his vaccination forecast, the global economy could be booming by the autumn of 2021.
The forecast from Dr. Fauci bodes well for many sectors – from tech to healthcare to industrials to commodities . . . although anything green-related, such as electric vehicles, remains my favorite.
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Yours in Health & Wealth,