Yesterday, I told you about our country’s stumbling rollout of vaccine doses. But we are hardly alone.
European governments have proved to be no better and maybe worse.
At least, the U.S. has administered more than 4 million vaccine doses.
The U.K. has not been bad, vaccinating over a million people. But Germany has managed to deliver just 265,000 vaccine doses.
And France is finally ramping up its immunization campaign. Its overly cautious, phased strategy managed only about 350 vaccine doses! Needless to say, this sparked nationwide anger.
Overall, people in the EU are not happy with their governments’ handling of the pandemic.
Governments across the continent including Germany, France and the U.K. are extending tough lockdown restrictions. The new, more contagious virus variant is creating havoc there.
And the vaccine rollout program is a disaster.
Markus Söder, the premier of Bavaria and leader of the Christian Social Union (one of Germany’s governing parties), said this: The EU had “ordered too few doses and relied on the wrong manufacturers”. He called for vaccination efforts to be “massively accelerated.”
The EU though has signed contracts for two billion vaccine doses. That should be enough. The question is whether the governments can actually get the vaccines into the arms of their citizens.
The Big News
AstraZeneca Vaccine: Delayed in U.S.?
Americans are unlikely to receive the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine doses before April. This is due to lingering questions about its effectiveness in certain groups. The prediction came from Moncef Slaoui, head of Operation Warp Speed. It moves back the U.S. government timeline for green-lighting the AstraZeneca shot by at least two months. Unlike rival vaccines, it can be stored, transported and handled at normal refrigerated conditions (36 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit) for at least six months.
Chemotherapy Med Outperforms Remdesivir
A chemotherapy medication developed to treat lymphoma outperformed remdesivir against Covid-19 in lab settings. It could potentially be repurposed to treat coronavirus. A novel drug screening strategy combined with lab experiments suggest the pralatrexate drug is a promising candidate for Covid-19 patients. Both pralatrexate and azithromycin successfully inhibited replication of the virus. Further lab tests showed pralatrexate more strongly inhibited viral replication than remdesivir.
In 2020, there were 12 public mergers or acquisitions of biopharma companies with a total value of $96 billion. That was a decrease from 17 deals valued at $201 billion in 2019. Blame Covid and acquisition targets with unrealistic asking prices for the disappointing year. However, M&A activity should rise in 2021.
Nasty Covid Side Effects
Long-term loss of smell and taste is a side effect among some Covid-19 survivors. It’s getting new attention from scientists. Here’s why: Many researchers are finding that it is linked to patients’ nutritional and mental health.
Hospital Pharmacist Destroys Vaccines
A pharmacist at a Wisconsin hospital – an “admitted conspiracy theorist” – destroyed about 500 doses of a coronavirus vaccine. Police said he did so because he thought the vaccines weren’t safe.
The Coronavirus Numbers
Here are the numbers from Tuesday at 8 a.m. ET from Johns Hopkins University:
- 85,783,178 Infected Worldwide
- 1,855,872 Deaths
- 20,824,711 Infected in the U.S.
- 353,628 Deaths in the U.S.
+$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.
Wall Street greeted the New Year with uncertainty. All of a sudden, rising virus cases is on Wall Street’s radar again.
Wall Street indices did hit record highs yesterday. But they retreated sharply in a wild session that saw the Dow and S&P 500 suffer their biggest declines since Oct. 28.
The S&P 500 declined 1.5%. But just was off the lows and held on to 3,700 at the close after dropping as low as 3,662. The Dow Jones fell almost 400 points but was about 350 points off its lows of the day by the close.
It was a tough start to the year on Wall Street. But the rejection of the lows is a positive sign that there is not much appetite to fight the Fed. Its continuing flood of liquidity to fight the virus should keep stocks on an upward path.
One final note: The CSI 300 Index, which tracks the largest stocks listed in mainland China, closed up 1.8% at a 13-year high. Bullish investors think the Chinese economy could grow more than 8% in 2021.
Yours in Health & Wealth,