President Biden said Thursday that the U.S. will have enough supply of the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the summer to inoculate 300 million Americans.
The U.S. secured contractual commitments from Moderna and Pfizer to deliver the 600 million doses of vaccine by the end of July, Biden said. That is more than a month earlier than initially anticipated.
And there are more positives on the vaccine front. . .
The U.S. is on pace to exceed President Biden’s goal of administering 100 million vaccine doses in his first 100 days in office. More than 26 million shots have been delivered in his first three weeks.
The pace of vaccinations could increase even further when vaccine production and vaccine supplies increase.
And that is likely soon. A third coronavirus vaccine from Johnson & Johnson is likely to receive approval from the FDA soon.
The JNJ vaccine is perfect for areas of the country that are medically underserved. That’s because it is a one-shot vaccine. So, no need for a follow-up shot.
The Big News
President Trump Was Sicker Than Revealed
President Trump was sicker with Covid-19 in October than publicly acknowledged at the time. He had extremely depressed blood oxygen levels (in the 80s). He had a lung problem associated with pneumonia caused by the coronavirus. Doctors believed he would need to be put on a ventilator because he was found to have lung infiltrates. These occur when the lungs are inflamed and contain substances such as fluid or bacteria.
Arthritis Drug Saves Covid Patients’ Lives
The arthritis drug tocilizumab saves lives and accelerates recovery in patients admitted to hospital with Covid-19, Oxford University researchers found. They studied 4,000 people in the UK who needed oxygen therapy but were not in intensive care. Tocilizumab cut patients’ mortality risk by about 15%, reduced need for mechanical ventilation and shortened hospital stays. The drug is made by Roche. It’s sold under the trade names Actemra and RoActemra and has been prescribed to 1.6 million people in 110 countries over the past 10 years for arthritis.
Merck and Teva to Help in Vaccine Production
Teva Pharmaceutical is in talks with other drug makers to boost vaccine production by co-producing Covid-19 vaccines. Merck is also in talks with governments and companies to potentially aid in vaccine production for vaccines that are already authorized. It said it will also scale up production of its investigational therapeutic candidates for the coronavirus.
AstraZeneca’s Next-Gen Vaccine in the Works
AstraZeneca is aiming to get a next-generation vaccine targeting emerging variants approved and into the arms of patients by autumn. The accelerated development and vaccine production assumes that regulators are prepared to accept immunogenicity data from smaller trials. “Work on variants has not started today – it started weeks and months ago,” said Mene Pangalos, executive vice president of biopharmaceuticals R&D.
How Badly Covid Tanked the UK Economy
The UK economy was historically bad in 2020. It contracted by 9.9%. A study by the Bank of England showed the recession was the worst since 1709. That was the year of the so-called Great Frost, an extraordinarily cold winter in Europe.
The Coronavirus Numbers
Here are the numbers from Friday at 8 a.m. ET from Johns Hopkins University:
- 107,848,144 Infected Worldwide
- 2,370,280 Deaths
- 27,392,803 Infected in the U.S.
- 475,449 Deaths in the U.S.
Thursday’s market performance was muted. The S&P 500 finished slightly higher and the Nasdaq was up 0.38%. Stocks continue to be supported by the continued pledges from the Fed to keep monetary policy loose during the recovery and the building momentum behind the Biden pandemic-rebound stimulus plan.
It is likely that stocks today will remain quiet ahead of the three-day weekend.
But as expected, pot stocks reversed gains as a Reddit-fueled rally unwound in spectacular fashion. Tilray declined 50% – its worst day on record – having jumped 50% the previous day. Canopy Growth, the largest pot stock, fell 22%.
Another unsurprising development was that U.S. regulators are probing whether market manipulation or other forms of misconduct was behind the rally in GameStop last month.
Finally, Disney reported really good earnings. The pandemic has hurt its theme parks business. But it put a rocket underneath its Disney+ streaming business.
Yours in Health & Wealth,