The pandemic has changed the workplace forever. The days of working in an office from 9 to 5 are gone, and the tech industry is leading the charge.
Cloud computing company Salesforce just announced a big change in how it allows its employees to work. “The 9-to-5 workday is dead,” Salesforce declared in a blog post published Tuesday,
Salesforce will allow employees to choose one of three categories on how often, if ever, they return to the office once it’s safe to do so. Salesforce will also give employees more freedom to choose what their daily schedules look like.
The company joins other tech firms like Facebook and Microsoft that have announced permanent work-from-home policies in response to the pandemic.
Changes like this should not come as a surprise to anyone familiar with history. Pandemics always have significant effects.
History tells us that the great cholera pandemic of 1832 was perhaps the prime event that led to the 1848 revolutions. These were a series of revolts against European monarchies. They began in Sicily and spread to France, Germany, Italy, and the Austrian Empire. All ended in failure and repression.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) picked up this theme in a research paper.
Its study of 130 countries showed that pandemics – and the social and economic stress they create – tend to result in political unrest, as we have seen recently in the US. Not to mention major economic shifts.
What was most interesting was this: The IMF found that the biggest effects often happen several months or even years after the plague itself.
So, it may a smart thing for the Fed to keep doing what it can to boost the economy. A fiscal boost would also be helpful. We’ll have to wait and see what the politicians come up with.
The Big News
Production Ramps Up for Pfizer Vaccine
The German pharma company Dermapharm aims to start making the Pfizer vaccine for Covid-19 at a second site in Germany in May. This is part of efforts to ramp up Pfizer vaccine production. Dermapharm has been producing the Pfizer vaccine at its factory in Brehna, Germany, since October. It’s also in the process of converting a second site in Reinbek near Hamburg. The locations are part of a network of 13 production sites that have been contracted by Pfizer/BioNTech to meet their 2021 production goal of 2 billion Pfizer vaccine doses.
WHO Backs AstraZeneca Vaccine
WHO officials expressed confidence that the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine can prevent severe cases of the disease, as well as hospitalizations and deaths. This is despite questions about protection the vaccine offers against a fast-spreading South African strain of the virus. The remarks followed a release of information over the weekend about a small clinical trial of the vaccine in South Africa. That trial led the government there to halt a planned rollout of the vaccine.
Lilly Antibody Treatment: FDA Gives Go-Ahead
The FDA on Tuesday granted emergency use authorization for the Eli Lilly antibody treatment. The Lilly antibody treatment combines two monoclonal antibody drugs. The Lilly antibody treatment combines Lilly’s bamlanivimab — which was authorized in November and is being used for high-risk Covid-19 patients — with a second drug known as etesevimab. Both parts of the Lilly antibody treatment consist of artificially synthesized copies of the antibodies generated naturally when an immune system fights off infection.
People With Dementia More Likely to Get Covid
Researchers at Case Western Reserve University analyzed electronic health records of 61.9 million people age 18 and older in the U.S. from Feb. 1 through Aug. 21, 2020. They found that people with dementia have significantly greater risk of contracting the coronavirus. These patients are much more likely to be hospitalized and die from it. Even adjusting for risk factors, Americans with dementia were still twice as likely to have gotten Covid-19.
Iceland Reopens Economy
Iceland became one of the first European countries to start opening up society again after the second wave of Covid-19. Iceland is, at present, the only country in Europe rated “green” by the Europe’s CDC. It has low infection rates and a test positivity rate of less than 4%. Iceland has been widely praised for its use of widespread testing and data analysis to track the spread of the virus. It also tested and quarantined all arrivals.
The Coronavirus Numbers
Here are the numbers from Wednesday at 8 a.m. ET from Johns Hopkins University:
- 106,993,984 Infected Worldwide
- 2,343,277 Deaths
- 27,193,850 Infected in the U.S.
- 468,2173 Deaths in the U.S.
Stocks around the globe hit another record early Wednesday. The driving force continues to be optimism over both the vaccines beating back the virus and massive stimulus coming from the U.S.
On Wall Street, futures markets indicated that the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq 100 would add 0.3% in early trading.
Twitter beat sales and profit estimates, sending its stock skyward. Lyft soared after it said it could make an adjusted in the third quarter of this year. Uber is up in sympathy – its earnings are out later today.
The weakening dollar is sending most commodities higher. Many mining companies’ stocks are at or near 52-week highs.
The stocks are also being boosted by the move toward green energy and EVs. Copper, for example, will benefit greatly from this shift.
Yours in Health & Wealth,