President Biden’s new goal for U.S. vaccinations is to give 70% of Americans at least one vaccine dose by July 4.
To reach that goal, the Biden administration is taking several steps. It will expand U.S. vaccinations at pharmacies and vaccination sites and offer additional mobile vaccination units. In addition, it will push even harder on a public-relations campaign aimed at boosting vaccine confidence.
These measures – and more – are needed.
The government should shift its focus from mass vaccination sites to local doctors’ offices, clinics and pharmacies.
The pace of the U.S. vaccinations effort has fallen off a cliff. Back in mid-April, the country was administering just under 3.4 million vaccine doses each day. As of Tuesday, the rate had nosedived to just under 2.3 million.
At the current rate of U.S. vaccinations, herd immunity in the U.S. will NOT be reached. What everyone is longing for – normalcy – will hang tantalizingly out of reach.
If that comes to pass, down days (like yesterday) on the stock market will become more common . . . because economic growth will stall out.
The Big News
Uneven Global Vaccine Distribution
More than three-quarters of all Covid-19 vaccines given so far have been administered in just 10 countries. People in more than 170 other nations have had to share the few remaining vaccines. As of last month, wealthy countries had secured more than 87% of Covid-19 vaccines. Meanwhile poor countries had received only 0.2%.
Pfizer Vaccine for Youngsters Coming Soon
Pfizer expects to apply to the FDA in September for emergency authorization to administer its coronavirus vaccine to children between the ages of 2 and 11. The company said it also plans to apply this month for full approval of the vaccine for use in people from ages 16 to 85. And it said it expected to have clinical trial data on the safety of its vaccine in pregnant women by early August. By early next week, the FDA will likely issue an emergency use authorization allowing the vaccine to be used in children 12 to 15 years old.
Children Now Account for 22% of U.S. Covid Cases
The number of children contracting Covid-19 in the U.S. is much lower than the record highs set at the start of the new year. But kids now account for more than a fifth of new coronavirus cases, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Just a year ago, child Covid-19 cases made up only around 3% of the U.S. total. On Monday, the AAP said children represented 22.4% of new cases reported in the past week. The latest report, drawn from data collected through April 29, shows how children’s share of coronavirus infections has grown in recent weeks.
One-Third of Deaths in Brazil Due to Covid
Since this year began, one third of all people who’ve died in Brazil were victims of Covid-19. According to data from Brazil’s National Civil Registry, 615,329 deaths were reported in the country between Jan. 1 and April 30. Of those, 208,370 were related to Covid-19, according to Brazil’s health ministry — 33.9% of the nation’s total. Covid has claimed more lives in the past four months than in all of 2020. More than 78,000 people in Brazil were killed by the virus last month alone.
Chinese Vaccines Approval?
The World Health Organization (WHO) is considering authorizing two COVID-19 vaccines developed in China for emergency use. One of the two vaccines under review is made by Chinese state-owned firm Sinopharm, and the other is produced by a private company, Sinovac. More than 45 countries have already approved their use. But the WHO is among the first stringent regulatory body to review the data. Many questions remain about the vaccines. Published trial data remain scarce. If the WHO backs the vaccines, it could boost desperately needed distribution in lower-income nations through the COVAX initiative.
The Coronavirus Numbers
Here are the numbers from Wednesday at 8 a.m. ET from Johns Hopkins University:
- 154,435,614 Infected Worldwide
- 1,178,869,058 Vaccines Given Globally
- 3,229,995 Deaths
- 32,513,455 Infected in the U.S.
- 247,769,049 U.S. Vaccinations
- 578,503 Deaths in the U.S.
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Interest rate worries hit the market hard yesterday. Especially tech stocks. Apple, for example, had its steepest one-day loss since January.
Treasury secretary (and former Fed head) Janet Yellen said at an event on Tuesday that rock-bottom U.S. interest rates might have to rise to stop the rapidly recovering economy from overheating. She did partially walk back those comments later.
Investors are cooling on the tech sector. But a rebound in global growth – with interest rates so ultra-low – will continue to support stock markets in general.
Investors seem to want to be much more exposed to reflation and the reopening trades. That could make basic materials and energy stocks top performers for now.
Yours in Health & Wealth,