Issue

This Animal Is a Virus Super-Spreader

Is the next Wuhan already occurring in Denmark?

Denmark has locked down its north-west region until Dec. 3.  The government wants to stop the rise of a virus potentially capable of evading Covid-19 vaccines.

Denmark’s researchers noticed that mutated forms of Sars-Cov-2 were spreading among fur farm animals — minks — and workers.

Coronaviruses are constantly mutating, though relatively slowly. Still, minks in farms have become a very active source of new variants of the virus against which vaccines might not be effective.

And this is the danger. . . . .

There is both spillover, when the virus goes from animals to people, and “spill back” when the virus moves back from people to animals. Each breaching of the species barrier offers a unique opportunity for the virus to mutate, with unpredictable effects. That’s why minks could be super-spreaders.

Most scientists are not concerned about minks as super-spreaders yet. But it does show the dangers of zoonotic diseases.

The Big News

Cleaning Surfaces Does Not Stop Covid Spread

All over the world, people are soaping, wiping and fumigating surfaces to fight the coronavirus. But scientists increasingly say that there is little evidence that contaminated surfaces can spread the virus. In indoor spaces, the virus that is exhaled by infected people. And that lingering in the air is the much greater threat.      

WHO Advises Against Using Remdesivir for Covid

The WHO recommended that doctors do not prescribe Gilead’s remdesivir to patients in hospital with coronavirus. “Remdesivir has no meaningful effect on mortality or on other important outcomes for patients, such as the need for mechanical ventilation or time to clinical improvement,” the WHO said. The recommendation is based on four randomized trials involving more than 7,000 patients.              

Sweden’s Covid Policy Not the Success as Touted

Even Sweden is abandoning the “Swedish Model.” On Monday, authorities there banned gatherings of more than eight people. Other protocols come into effect this week. These include protective measures at nursing homes and bans on alcohol sales at restaurants and bars after 10 p.m. Sweden has six times the death rate of other Scandinavian countries. And its economy is no better than its neighbors.       

Asymptomatic Covid

About 20% of people infected with Covid experience no symptoms, researchers now believe. That is much lower than the number estimated early in the pandemic. Asymptomatic people also seem less likely than people with symptoms to transmit the infection to others. Researchers still differ about whether asymptomatic infections are acting as a “silent driver” of outbreaks.

Arthritis Drug Combats Covid

A drug used to fight rheumatoid arthritis leads to much better outcomes for severely ill Covid-19 patients. Tocilizumab, an immunosuppressant drug, was effective in randomized controlled clinical trials involving 303 patients. Scientists measured mortality rates and length of time spent in ICU. They found with 99.75% probability that the drug improved outcomes for the most severely ill patients. It is the first immune-modulating drug found to have an effect on outcomes of hospitalized Covid-19 patients.           

The Coronavirus Numbers

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

  • 57,011,978  Infected Worldwide
  • 1,362,424  Deaths
  • 11,718,867  Infected in the U.S.
  • 252,564  Deaths in the U.S.

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What’s Next

A conflict between the Fed and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has broken out into the open.

Steve Mnuchin called on Fed chairman Jerome Powell to extend four lending programs by 90 days. But he demanded a scheduled end to five other lending programs. Mnuchin also wanted the Fed to hand back $455 billion in unused funds for use elsewhere.

The Fed said no.  It “would prefer that the full suite of emergency facilities established during the coronavirus pandemic continue to serve their important role as a backstop for our still-strained and vulnerable economy,” the Fed said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Tesla shares powered to a record high Thursday at $508 as investors continue to buy the stock ahead of its inclusion in the S&P 500.

According to Goldman Sachs, of the 189 large cap mutual fund managers it follows, 157 do not own Tesla. Goldman’s estimates Tesla’s inclusion in the S&P 500 on Dec. 21 “could result in $8 billion of demand from active U.S. large-cap mutual funds.”

Finally, Bitcoin pushed up to $18,400 again this morning. It looks like an attack on the all-time high is coming. I would not be surprised if we see $20,000 very soon.  

Meanwhile, the #1 biotech to buy now is going public. And shares could surge 454% after its huge IPO.

Yours in Health & Wealth,

Tony Daltorio

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