Go ahead. Feel free to take off your mask outdoors. But only if you have been vaccinated. Meanwhile, IPOs around the world are red-hot.
The new mask directive was the latest message from the CDC on Tuesday. This a significant first step to loosen social-distancing requirements.
Coronavirus infections in the U.S. continue to fall to levels last seen six months ago. The country has averaged 54,400 infections a day over the past week, according to the CDC.
The U.S. now has an average of around 55,000 new cases a day. That is roughly a 20% drop from just two weeks ago. And it is down from a peak of almost 250,000 daily new cases in early January.
That’s despite having only 29% of the country fully vaccinated so far. About 43% of Americans have had one shot.
The results we see here are just basic coronavirus math. As the number of vaccinated people goes up, cases will go down.
Let’s hope the trend continues.
The Big News
BioNTech Vaccine Effective Vs Indian Variant
Ugur Sahin, CEO and founder of BioNTech, said he was confident that the Covid-19 vaccine his company pioneered with Pfizer was effective against the Indian mutation. That variant is currently overwhelming India’s health system. And it has popped up in 16 countries. He said BioNTech had so far investigated more than 30 variants of coronavirus and found “that our vaccine works just as well against almost all of [them]”, particularly B.1.1.7, the variant first identified in the UK.
Pfizer Will Have Pill to Treat Covid at Home
Pfizer’s experimental oral drug to treat Covid-19 at the first sign of illness could be available by the end of the year. Trials began in March. The drug is part of a class of meds called protease inhibitors. It works by inhibiting an enzyme that the virus needs to replicate in human cells. The pill could be a game changer because people newly infected with the virus could use it at home. Researchers hope the medication will keep the disease from progressing and prevent hospital trips.
Old Colds Could Shorten Covid Illness
Recent infection by viruses related to SARS-CoV-2 could reduce the duration of Covid-19. Researchers analyzed samples from 2,000 health-care workers in search of rare antibodies against other coronaviruses that pre-date the pandemic and can bind to SARS-CoV-2 proteins other than spike. The team found that people with the pre-pandemic antibodies that work against SARS-CoV-2 were not protected from contracting the virus and developing Covid-19. But high concentrations of other antibodies that had been elicited by two betacoronaviruses — a category that includes SARS-CoV-2 — were associated with a quicker recovery from Covid-19 symptoms.
Real-Life Care Home Test for Pfizer Vaccine
In a real-world test, an mRNA-based vaccine protected care-home residents and staff against a new SARS-CoV-2 variant. The Pfizer–BioNTech vaccine was 86.5% and 87.1% effective at preventing Covid-19 among residents and staff, respectively, at a Kentucky care home where an unvaccinated health-care worker had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. That person had the rare R1 virus variant.
Novartis to Make Vaccines for CureVac
Novartis (NVS) is scaling up facilities to make Covid-19 vaccine doses for CureVac (CVAC). And it could boost production beyond levels agreed so far. Novartis aims to produce up to 50 million doses in 2021 and up to a further 200 million doses in 2022 for CureVac. Production will be at its facilities in Austria’s Tyrol region near Innsbruck. CureVac is still seeking approval for its mRNA vaccine, with hopes of the shot being ready in Europe by next month.
The Coronavirus Numbers
Here are the numbers from Wednesday at 8 a.m. ET from Johns Hopkins University:
- 148,815,508 Infected Worldwide
- 1,043,726,578 Vaccines Given Globally
- 3,123,249 Deaths
- 32,176,908 Infected in the U.S.
- 232,407,669 U.S. Vaccine Doses Administered
- 573,383 Deaths in the U.S.
Bitcoin +$50k – Grab the #1 Pre-IPO
Treasury yields rose yesterday, with the 10-year yield up at its fastest pace in four weeks to 1.64 % ahead of the Fed statement today. Stock indices in the U.S. were flat yesterday.
Big tech companies did deliver great results as expected.
Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOG) shares jumped 5%. It reported a massive earnings beat as YouTube ad revenues rose 50% year-on-year. Total earnings were up 34% to $55.31 billion vs the $51.70 billion expected. Earnings per share hit a lofty $26.29 a share vs the $15.82 expected. Cloud revenues were up 46%.
Meanwhile Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) also reported earnings and sales that beat analyst expectations. Its growth was driven by growth in the cloud. Still, with shares bid up ahead of the earnings, the stock dipped a little in after-hours trade.
Here is something that got my attention . . . listings on stock markets globally are running at a record pace. Both deal numbers and values are at their highest levels for the start of any year in at least two decades.
In other words, the IPO market around the world is red-hot.
Yours in Health & Wealth,