Issue

Covid Cases Fall 17% Globally, WHO Reports

covid cases

In the U.S. and Europe, many officials are advocating to get as many people as vaccinated as we can with a first vaccine dose. Then, they say, rely on the pharma companies to ramp up production to meet second dose needs.

The early results from the successful vaccination campaign in the UK backs up that approach.

Official data from the UK’s campaign shows that a single dose of the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine offers good protection against Covid-19.

The efficacy data showed that it triggers a good immune response about two weeks after the jab among younger adult healthcare workers . . . and after about three weeks in the elderly.

Public Health England found that a single dose reduced symptomatic infection by 65% in younger adults and 64% in people over 80. For the few lucky ones that have gotten both shots, the protection was 79% and 84%, respectively.

Data from Israel – the country leading the world in vaccination rate – also backs up the findings in the U.K.

So, let’s get everyone vaccinated with a first dose. The second dose will be there. Pfizer, for example, is really ramping up production around the world.

The Big News

WHO Recommends Use of AstraZeneca Vaccine for Adults

The World Health Organization recommended the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine for use worldwide by all adults, including the elderly. It said  the vaccine could be used by all people over the age of 18 in all countries . . . even in South Africa where the new variant has raised some concerns over its efficacy.

Asthma Drug Reduces Hospitalizations for Covid Patients

A drug commonly used for asthma – inhaled budesonide – appeared to reduce the need for hospitalization for Covid-19. This comes via a study from the University of Oxford. In a 28-day study of 148 covid cases, half of the patients took 800 micrograms of the inhaled budesonide (sold as AstraZeneca’s Pulmicort) twice per day. The findings suggest inhaled budesonide reduced the risk of urgent care or hospitalization by 90%.

Pfizer to Deliver Its Vaccine Directly

Pfizer said it could deliver its Covid-19 vaccine (which requires ultra-cold temperatures) directly to points of vaccination in South Africa. The Pfizer vaccine needs to be stored and distributed at around -70 degrees Celsius. This requires countries to have ultra-cold chain capabilities. But this requirement is a potential impediment for countries – including those in Africa – with weak public health systems.

All the Covid Virus Globally Would Fit in a Coke Can

All the Covid-causing virus circulating globally right now could easily fit inside a single can of cola. That is according to a calculation by a British mathematician at Bath University. Kit Yates used global rates of new Covid cases, coupled with estimations of viral load, to make his calculation. He worked out that there are around two quintillion – or two billion billion – SARS-CoV-2 virus particles in the world at any one time. He then used the diameter of SARS-CoV-2  (an average of about 100 billionths of a meter) to figure out the volume of the spherical virus. Bottom line: The viruses would not even fill a cola can.

Covid Cases Finally Dropping

A positive sign: The World Health Organization said that new infections worldwide have declined for a fourth week in a row. The agency recorded 3.1 million new Covid cases last week. That is  a 17% drop from the previous week’s count of Covid cases.

Covid Cases in Numbers

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

  • 107,422,538 Infected Worldwide
  • 2,357,047 Deaths
  • 27,288,100 Infected in the U.S.
  • 471,764 Deaths in the U.S.

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What’s Next

Fed chair Jay Powell yesterday reaffirmed the Fed’s commitment to keep stoking the fires.

The headline unemployment rate has fallen to 6.3%. But Powell said the real level of joblessness was closer to 10%. He said  the employment picture is “a long way” from where it needs to be.

The Reddit crowd needs no stoking. They have quickly moved on from the GameStop disaster.

This time, their target is any stock related to marijuana. Shares of Tilray, Canopy Growth, Aurora Cannabis and Aphria have all surged.

Expected legalization is fueling the speculation in these names. However, these stocks are running up way beyond what the current path to legalization will mean with regards to earnings.

The Reddit speculators are getting high on pot stocks. But just as with GME, the comedown may be harsh.

It’s another example of the frothiness and speculation that is running through corners of the market right now.

I’m just wondering which sector will be next to be  “pumped and dumped.”

Meanwhile, Wall Street plans to invest $475 million in this new EV battery stock. Go here for urgent details.

Yours in Health & Wealth,

Tony Daltorio

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