The launch of mass vaccinations soon will mark the beginning of the end of the pandemic. This opens up the possibility of rapid global economic growth . . . an economic boom in the U.S.
A return of economic confidence and pent-up demand could combine within months to lead to a 21st century edition of the Roaring Twenties. This was the economic boom in the U.S. that followed the end of World War I and the end of the Spanish flu pandemic.
Obstacles still remain, though.
Distribution of the vaccines will not be smooth. One example: Pfizer says it can deliver only half the vaccine it thought in 2020.
The bigger obstacle is human attitude. Governments must persuade millions of healthy, and often low-risk, people to get vaccinated. If too few people get vaccinated, the virus will remain a headache.
I prefer to remain optimistic, though.
And if our public health emergency is controlled, the economic boom could be something to behold.
Just look at Australia and China, which have contained the virus. Evidence from these countries (and others) show that the economic bounce back has greatly outpaced expectations.
In other words, once restrictions are relaxed and economic activity can resume, consumers start spending . . . a lot.
I hope the spring and summer of 2021 will be remembered for its consumption and economic boom as much as 2020 will be remembered for masks and social distancing.
The Big News
Practical Covid Vaccine Advice for You
There is a lot of very encouraging data on the mRNA Covid vaccines that will soon be available. However, antibody and T-cell response data suggest that it takes about 6-8 weeks from the first dose to full protection. People are mistakenly envisioning a return to normal as soon as a vaccine is in hand. That’s wrong. Let’s not fumble the “ball” on the 1-yard line!
Biden, Fauci and Masks
Two pieces of news from President-Elect Biden yesterday. First, he asked Dr, Fauci to stay in his position as well as step up to be Biden’s chief medical advisor. Second, the president-elect asked Americans to wear masks for the first 100 days of his term in office. The goal is to get the virus spread under control.
Moderna Vaccine Production Numbers
Moderna has given guidance on its vaccine production. It expects to have between 100 million and 125 million doses of its experimental vaccine available globally in the first quarter of 2021. The company says 85 million to 100 million doses will be made available to the U.S. And 15 million to 25 million doses will go to the rest of the world.
Could Covid ‘Fog’ Lead to Dementia?
Delirium is so common in Covid-19 patients that some have proposed making the condition a diagnostic criterion. Researchers are testing whether these temporary bouts of confusion could lead to permanent cognitive decline later in life. In the past decade, long-term studies have revealed that a single episode of delirium can increase the risk of developing dementia years later. To begin to find answers, institutes globally have funded a number of studies into the long-term cognitive effects of Covid-19.
Coronavirus in Exponential Growth
The number of daily coronavirus cases in the U.S. topped 200,000 for the first time on Thursday. Covid Tracking Project data showed U.S. states reported 210,161 coronavirus cases. This eclipsed the Wednesday’s record of nearly 195,700. The U.S. first passed 100,000 daily infections on Nov. 4. The number of people currently in hospitals edged up to a record 100,667. This number doubled in the space of a month to reach the 100,000 milestone on Wednesday.
The Coronavirus Numbers
Here are the numbers from Friday at 8 a.m. ET from Johns Hopkins University:
- 65,323,809 Infected Worldwide
- 1,508,906 Deaths
- 14,147,754 Infected in the U.S.
- 276,401 Deaths in the U.S.
News that Pfizer would only deliver half the vaccines it had planned for this year – due to supply chain problems – took a little of the shine off the market. The S&P 500 yesterday fell slightly after it had struck a record intraday high.
Today’s unemployment numbers showed the U.S. economy is slowing again. Employers added only 245,000 jobs in November. That was the fifth month in a row that the pace of hiring has tapered off.
More than half of the people knocked out of a job early in the pandemic have been rehired. But there are still roughly 10 million more people out of work now than there were in February.
Market sentiment may improve though as a stimulus package inches closer to becoming reality. A bipartisan group of lawmakers seem to be getting behind the $908 billion package on the table now.
Another positive factor is that the dollar index fell again today. It is hovering around a two-and-a-half-year low.
This is boosting commodities. Oil is at its highest price since March. Copper is trading at its best level since October 2013.
And it helps most stocks. Indices in Asia and Europe were mainly higher. The U.S. market should also continue on its upward journey today.
Yours in Health & Wealth,