Here’s one thing widely misunderstood about vaccines: They’re much less effective when introduced into a population where coronavirus is running wild.
That’s where we are right now in the U.S.
The New York Times explained this vaccine reality with a useful analogy. . . . .
Think of a vaccine as a fire hose. A vaccine that is 95% effective – as the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine seem to be – is a very powerful fire hose. But the size of a fire is still the main factor in how much destruction the fire causes.
A new paper on this very subject was just published in the journal Health Affairs. One of the authors of the paper is Dr. Rochelle Walensky of Massachusetts General Hospital. She has been selected by President-elect Joe Biden to run the CDC.
The NYT’s David Leonhardt asked the study’s authors about our current situation.
Their response was grim. At the current level of infection – about 200,000 confirmed new infections per day – a vaccine that is 95% effective and distributed as expected would still take a terrible toll.
In the six months after vaccines are introduced, almost 10 million Americans would still catch the virus and another 160,000 people would die.
In other words, the “fire” is simply too big for the vaccines to control immediately.
So, for several months more, we must do what we can to slow the spread of the virus. These measures include wearing masks and social distancing.
If we do that, we could have a fun – and almost normal – summer.
The Big News
UK Hospitals Begin Covid Vaccinations
Doses of cases the Pfizer vaccine have begun to arrive in UK hospitals. The vaccine received emergency authorization in the UK last week. The first shots will be given to people over 80. Care-home residents had been designated as a top priority for the Pfizer vaccine. However, health authorities are still exploring how to distribute the Pfizer vaccine outside of hospitals. That’s because the vaccines come in deep-frozen packs containing 975 doses that must be stored at –94°F.
Why Didn’t U.S. Order More Vaccines?
Trump administration officials passed up a golden opportunity. In July, Pfizer offered to sell the U.S. government additional doses of its vaccine. But the Trump administration said, “No thanks.” Now the U.S. may not get more of the Pfizer vaccine until at least June. That’s because Pfizer reached deals with other countries, including the European Union, after the U.S. said no.
The Swiss Cheese Model of Covid Protection
From masks to vaccines, there are many layers of defense that can protect us from COVID. But none of them alone is sufficient. The multi-layered “Swiss cheese” model helps people visualize how – when we combine all the strategies – no one “hole” lets the virus through.
Star Trek Tricorder Now a Reality
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory scientists developed the world’s first mobile genome sequence analyzer. It is a new iPhone app called iGenomics. By pairing an iPhone with a handheld DNA sequencer, users can create a mobile genetics laboratory. It’s very useful for pandemic health workers. This is reminiscent of the “tricorder” featured in Star Trek. The iPhone app was developed to complement the tiny DNA sequencing devices being made by the UK’s Oxford Nanopore.
Baby Born With Covid Antibodies
A woman from Singapore gave birth to a baby with coronavirus antibodies. The woman was infected with the virus in March. This may offer new clues as to whether the infection can be transferred from mother to child. Researchers are now studying the effects of Covid-19 on unborn babies and whether the baby’s antibodies, in this case, shield against the virus.
The Coronavirus Numbers
In the past week, 15,813 Americans died from the virus. This broke a record that had stood since mid-April. Here are the numbers from Tuesday at 8 a.m. ET from Johns Hopkins University:
- 67,701,719 Infected Worldwide
- 1,547,164 Deaths
- 14,955,024 Infected in the U.S.
- 283,746 Deaths in the U.S.
Wall Street Bets $307 Million on This EV Stock
+$307 million. That’s how much Wall Street plans to invest in this new EV battery stock. Hedge funds. Pension funds. Silicon Valley billionaires. Even trillion-dollar sovereign wealth funds from the Middle East. Go here for urgent details.
U.S. markets traded mixed on Monday, with the Nasdaq rising and the S&P 500 and Dow a bit weaker.
Yields also pulled back, with the 10-year Treasury down to 0.93%. It had threatened to break the 1% mark on Friday.
One additional note – real interest rates moved further into negative territory. This helped to push gold higher. Spot gold prices rose through the 21-day moving average on the upside. Prices cleared the 38.2% retracement level of the March through August rally.
There is one piece of good vaccine news the market could latch onto . . .
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine provides strong protection against Covid-19 within about 10 days of the first dose, according to documents published by the FDA. And the Pfizer vaccine worked well regardless of a volunteer’s race, weight or age.
This should keep a bid under technology stocks in general . . . and especially with regard to the red-hot EV segment.
This sector is getting a boost globally, even in Europe. European tech companies (lots of them EV-related) are set to raise a record $41 billion this year, despite the pandemic.
Meanwhile, A top Tesla engineer just QUIT . . . and is now creating a brand new EV battery. Go here to grab Pre-IPO shares of this new EV stock.
Yours in Health & Wealth,