Investment Advice from the Federal Reserve Bank

mental health

Mental health is emerging as a major concern as Covid-19 spreads through the population.

The latest worry came from a study a study published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal. The mental health study was conducted by researchers from Britain’s Oxford University.

It analyzed electronic health records of 69 million people in the United States, including more than 62,000 with cases of Covid-19.

The study focused on people in the three months following their testing positive for Covid-19. It discovered that one in five survivors were recorded as having a first-time diagnosis of anxiety, depression or insomnia.

That percentage is roughly about twice as high as for other groups of patients in the same period, the researchers said.

People with a pre-existing mental health illness were 65% more likely to be diagnosed with Covid-19 than those without, the study found.

This latest study just adds to a growing body of evidence on Covid-19. It seems that the virus can affect the brain and mind. A growing number of “brain fog” cases are being documented among Covid survivors. Now, this study highlights a range of more serious psychiatric illnesses.

Anxiety, depression and insomnia were most common conditions among recovered Covid-19 patients in the study who developed mental health problems. The researchers also found significantly higher risks of dementia, a brain impairment condition.

Bottom line – this virus is certainly not the flu. And vaccines cannot come soon enough.

The Big News

Call for Operation Warp Speed Revamp

Dr. Céline Gounder, a member of Biden’s advisory group, said Operation Warp Speed needs to be revamped. She said it should spend more on improving the quality of testing. It has been a sprawling federally-funded effort that has paid billions of dollars to drug companies to develop vaccines. She said, “We need to be funding not just vaccines. I think another major area we need to be looking at is diagnostics.”     

This Is What Exponential Growth Looks Like

Some 160,000 new coronavirus cases were reported in the U.S. on Thursday. It was the first day ever over 150,000. This alarming record that came just over a week after we first experienced 100,000 cases in a day. Hospitalizations for Covid-19 also set a record on Thursday as they climbed to 67,096. It was the third straight day of record numbers. The number of hospitalizations has doubled in just five weeks.         

South Korea Starts Fining People for Not Wearing Masks

South Korea has started fining people who fail to wear masks in public. It is taking the action even though it reported only 191 new cases. People caught without masks in nightclubs, malls, theme parks, hair salons and other public places face fines of up to 100,000 won ($89.75).    

DoorDash Dashing Toward an IPO

The meal-delivery company DoorDash filed its IPO prospectus. It plans to raise $2 billion from investors. The company has been a major beneficiary of the pandemic as people eat more meals at home. After the pandemic ends, it has plans for continued growth. These include expanding grocery delivery, opening in more markets overseas and signing up more customers to its DashPass subscription service.                

Disney and the Pandemic

Disney (NYSE: DIS) said the pandemic wiped out another $3.1 billion in operating profit during the third quarter. This occurred as cinemas and theme parks remained largely empty. But the world’s largest media company revealed its success with its Disney Plus streaming platform. Disney lured an impressive 73.7 million subscribers to Disney Plus just a year after its launch. Shares of Disney jumped more than 5% in after-hours trade.         

The Coronavirus Numbers

Here are the numbers from Friday at 8 a.m. ET from Johns Hopkins University:

  • 52,864,762 Infected Worldwide
  • 1,295,403 Deaths
  • 10,557,451 Infected in the U.S.
  • 242,436 Deaths in the U.S.

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What’s Next

At the moment, it looks like investors are trying to figure out what to do next.

Resume the exuberant vaccine-induced rally or sell some positions?

Central bankers did throw some cold water on the recent rally. This occurred at a virtual annual forum on central banking. Attending were the Fed’s Jerome Powell, the ECB’s Christine Lagarde and the Bank of England’s Andrew Bailey.

Bankers issued a warning that a vaccine was not enough to end all the economic challenges.

Jay Powell warned that “significant challenges and uncertainties remain” on vaccines’ timing, production, distribution and efficacy.

In other words, the euphoria from earlier this week was a bit premature. The next few months will be challenging, to say the least.

I thought it was interesting that Powell, in effect, gave investors a guideline on how to invest going forward.

Powell stressed that the U.S. economy was likely to be fundamentally transformed by the pandemic. He believes it will be more reliant on technology and automation.

“We’re recovering, but to a different economy,” Powell said. “There’s going to be a substantial number of workers who are going to need support as they find their way in the post-pandemic economy, because it’s going to be different in fundamental ways.”

That tells me that tech and healthcare will still be the go-to sectors for smart investors.

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Yours in Health & Wealth,

Tony Daltorio

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