Positive real-world data on vaccine effectiveness continues to roll in. In Italy, a study found that Covid infections in adults of all ages fell by 80% five weeks after a first dose of a vaccine. The Italian research was published on Saturday.
The vaccines came from Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca.
This was the first such study by an EU country on the real-world impact of its vaccine campaign. The research was carried out by Italy’s National Institute of Health (ISS) and the Ministry of Health.
Scientists studied data on Italy’s vaccination campaign (Dec. 27, 2020, to May 3, 2021). The campaign covered 13.7 million Italians.
The analysis showed that the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection, hospitalization, and death decreased after the first two weeks following the initial vaccination.
The ISS said that as of 35 days after the first dose, there was an 80% reduction in Covid infections, 90% reduction in hospitalizations, and 95% reduction in deaths. It added that the same pattern was seen in both men and women, regardless of age.
ISS president Silvio Brusaferro said in a statement: “This data confirms the effectiveness of the vaccination campaign and the need to achieve high coverage across the population quickly to end the emergency.”
The Big News
U.S. Agencies Warn of Continuing Mask Mandate
U.S. federal agencies warned over the weekend that a nationwide mask mandate remains on public transport in the country. While the CDC issued guidance that fully vaccinated people can resume travel, it, along with the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Transportation, said the public is still required to wear a mask on planes, buses, trains and other forms of public transit. Masks also have to be worn in transport hubs such as airports, railway stations and bus terminals.
Disney Drops the Mask
Disney World and other U.S. amusement parks updated their mask policy. This follows the latest guidance from the CDC last week. Masks have been made optional in outdoor areas and pool decks at Disney World in Orlando effective May 15. Masks are still needed for entering rides and at indoor locations. Universal Orlando also relaxed its mask policy for guests at outdoor locations. Face coverings will remain required at all indoor locations, including restaurants, shops and indoor hotel public areas.
Antiviral Drug Wipes Out Virus in Mice
An antiviral drug to treat Covid-19 has been found to reduce the amount of virus in the lungs of mice by 99.9%. The treatment prevents the virus from replicating by attacking its genome directly, said scientists at the Menzies Health Institute Queensland at Griffith University and U.S. research facility City of Hope. The drug is designed to work on Sars-Cov-2 as well as “any new variants” that may emerge as Covid infections. Co-lead researcher Nigel McMillan said the nanoparticles used to deliver the treatment inside the body are stable at 39.2°F for a year and at room temperature for more than a month.
Covid Vaccine Booster Making Progress
GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi said a mid-stage clinical trial of their Covid-19 vaccine candidate “triggered strong neutralizing antibody responses in all adult age groups.” The companies plan to start a phase 3 study “in the coming weeks” after the trial suggested high immune response after a single dose in patients with prior infection. They said the trial shows strong booster potential.
Aussie Rugby Tournament Draws 100,000 Fans
It’s nice to see life starting to return to normal. The Queensland state government in Australia estimated that at least 128,000 people attended a weekend tournament featuring 16 National Rugby League teams playing eight games. The annual event was canceled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Coronavirus Numbers
Here are the numbers from Monday at 8 a.m. ET from Johns Hopkins University:
- 163,120,093 Infected Worldwide
- 1,474,703,904 Vaccines Given Globally
- 3,380,516 Deaths
- 32,941,112 Infected in the U.S.
- 272,925,411 U.S. Vaccine Doses Administered
- 585,970 Deaths in the U.S.
After a very choppy week, global stock markets were up on Friday. Markets apparently survived the big test of the previous few sessions. We’ll have to see for how long.
The market has already factored in the economic recovery from the pandemic. But now, is it starting to factor in an economic slowdown?
Peak growth may be a few quarters away. But some analysts – Goldman Sachs, Strategas – think it is already happening.
No one knows, of course. But it is always more fun to be invested when growth is set to accelerate than when it is set to slow.
Elon Musk continues to move crypto prices. In the latest drama, Bitcoin jumped about $2,500 this morning after Elon Musk denied Tesla had sold its Bitcoin holdings. Musk had earlier indicated in a reply to a tweet that Tesla was dumping or had already dumped all its Bitcoin. Prices fell sharply over the weekend and, at $44,000, it was down by around a third from the all-time high near $66,000 set in April.
Yours in Health & Wealth,