The Covid pandemic shows how unprepared our healthcare supply chains are.
Shortages of protective equipment — masks, gloves, gowns, etc. were rampant. This led to them being used again and again. Normally, it’s one use and done for this type of gear.
Their re-use may have prevented some transmission of Covid through the air. But it opened a whole new “can of worms”. . . . .
Drug-resistant bacteria and fungus thrives in this environment. They cling to everything, even ventilators. That’s why ‘one and done’ for protective gear was normal policy in healthcare facilities.
Sadly, these nasty bacteria most often attack the same people Covid-19 does. That is, the elderly and other people that are very ill.
There have been outbreaks of drug-resistant infections in Florida, California and New Jersey.
Even before the pandemic hit, this was a problem. A 2019 study showed that as many as 65% of residents of nursing homes carry some form of drug-resistant infection.
Many nursing homes are not well-funded. So, they cut corners on things like disinfecting equipment, screening for germs and training staff.
Other factors need to be studied, too . . . such as the use of steroids to combat Covid. Steroids can leave the immune system compromised. That allows germs to more easily defeat the body’s weakened defenses.
We as a country can do more to protect our most vulnerable.
The Big News
GSK to Aid CureVac With Vaccine Production
GlaxoSmithKline plans to partner with CureVac to help manufacture its messenger RNA vaccine. In 2021, GSK will make up to 100 million doses of the vaccine currently in development by CureVac. Also, they will jointly develop a separate vaccine to target new variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The next-generation vaccine may be a multivalent. That means it would protect against several strains of the virus. The companies hope to be able to introduce an updated vaccine in 2022, pending approval from regulatory agencies.
More Covid Vaccinations Than Infections
We hit an important milestone in the global fight against Covid yesterday. The number of Covid-19 vaccinations globally has surpassed the total number of confirmed cases. According to the Financial Times vaccine tracker, the total number of doses administered climbed to 105 million on Wednesday while the number of confirmed cases was 103.5 million.
Can Different Covid Vaccines Be Mixed?
Many people have wondered whether you can get one vaccine for a first dose and then a different vaccine for the second dose. A clinical trial in the UK aims to answer that question. It will assess immune responses when doses of the Covid-19 vaccines from Pfizer and AstraZeneca are combined in a two-shot schedule. It will test an initial dose of the Pfizer vaccine followed by a booster of AstraZeneca’s, and vice versa.
Moderna to Add More Vaccine Doses Per Vial
Moderna is asking for FDA approval to fill empty space in its Covid-19 vaccine vials with as many as 50% more doses. Moderna has been ramping up production of its vaccine. But the process of filling, capping and labeling millions of tiny vials has emerged as a roadblock. The company could produce more vaccine if regulators allow it to make fuller vials.
AstraZeneca Working On Vaccine to Battle Variants
AstraZeneca and Oxford University aim to produce the next generation of Covid-19 vaccines. These vaccines will protect against virus variants as soon as the autumn. Asked when AstraZeneca could produce a next generation vaccine to tackle new variants, AstraZeneca research chief Mene Pangalos said, “. . .as rapidly as possible. We’re working very hard and we’re already talking about not just the variants that we have to make in laboratories, but also the clinical studies that we need to run.”
The Coronavirus Numbers
Here are the numbers from Thursday at 8 a.m. ET from Johns Hopkins University:
- 104,477,541 Infected Worldwide
- 2,270,860 Deaths
- 26,558,509 Infected in the U.S.
- 450,823 Deaths in the U.S.
+$475 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.
The market pushed higher at the open this morning amid earnings reports from Ebay and Paypal.
Meanwhile, some Reddit/wallstreetbets traders are getting burned. The guy that thinks he is better than Warren Buffett at picking stocks, Dave Portnoy, sold down all his “memestocks” for a $700,000 loss.
This is hardly a surprise. However you dress it up, it is a greater fool speculative bubble. These always end one way: badly. The party for so-called memestocks was always going to be wild . . . but ultimately rather short-lived.
And, Dogecoin was sent skywards after Elon Musk this morning tweeted “Doge.”
And Elon Musk tweeted further, “Dogecoin is the people’s crypto.” This just plays into the whole narrative of these last two weeks. Earlier this week Elon Musk added “#bitcoin” to his Twitter bio.
Social media is used by various characters to ramp individual assets. Anything Elon Musk tweets about shoots higher because he has a huge following social media. People will literally invest in him and his ideas. They don’t care what the fundamentals are.
I think I will stick with what has worked for me since I began in the investment industry in the 1980s. Invest for the long term; avoid the investing crowd.
Yours in Health & Wealth,