There is only one word to describe yesterday’s Covid news . . . grim . . . as the number of Covid-19 patients in U.S. hospitals passed 100,000 for the first time.
Hospitalizations have more than doubled since the end of October, data from Covid Tracking Project showed. New cases also jumped by a record 195,695. The 2,733 deaths reported were the second-biggest one-day increase of the pandemic.
More than one million Americans have been diagnosed with Covid-19 nearly every week in November. And conditions will not get better for months.
Robert Redfield, director of the CDC, said Americans faced a winter like no other because of high infection rates across the country.
Dr. Redfield said, “The reality is that December, January and February are going to be the most difficult time in the public health history of this nation, largely because of the stress that it is going to put on our healthcare system.”
He went on to say that hospitals were already overstretched by high rates of infection across much of the country. With every region affected, there were fewer places with available healthcare resources and staff that could be shifted to hotspots, he said.
The biggest obstacle now is the lack of qualified medical personnel to treat patients; that is the consensus in the medical community
It means 3,000+ deaths per day will soon become commonplace. That’s as if one 9/11 tragedy is happening each and every day.
The Big News
Why Congress Needs to Pass More Stimulus
Congress needs to pass more economic relief legislation ASAP. Here’s why: Moody’s Analytics forecasts that without more aid, the economy will fall into a new recession early next year. It expects the unemployment rate to approach 10%. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell says that the history of economic crises suggests Congress usually passes too little stimulus, not too much.
Do We Need a Science Readiness Team?
In times of crisis, like the pandemic, the public and private sectors often join to solve problems. Think “Operation Warp Speed.” However, these emergency efforts don’t prepare our country for the next disaster (another pandemic?). So, IBM is asking the incoming Biden administration and Congress to create a new public institution devoted to scientific preparedness. This makes sense because the pandemic will not be the last emergency.
CDC Shortens Covid Quarantine Period
The CDC has changed its official guidelines on Covid. People who come into contact with someone who has been infected with coronavirus will no longer have to remain in quarantine for 14 days. They could return to normal life as soon as 10 days if they have no symptoms. And as soon as seven days if they have no symptoms and test negative for the disease. The CDC calculated the risk of someone infecting another person even after completing a 10-day quarantine period at 1%. And the risk of doing so after seven days at 5%.
Covid Measures Help Against Pneumonia
New research shows pneumonia each year leaves 42 million children under the age of five in poorer countries fighting for breath. Measures put in place to combat Covid-19, such as mask-wearing and improved hygiene should help. Pneumonia is still the biggest infectious killer of children globally.
The Pandemic and Cities
If you were out on city streets after March, you may have noticed a big change. Cars have been replaced by scooters, bikes and foot traffic. And even Gita, a two-wheeled, cargo-carrying robotic vehicle developed by Piaggio made appearances. This may have been an early indicator of the ways that automation might radically change how people move around in cities. That’s one good thing that may have come from the pandemic.
The Coronavirus Numbers
Here are the numbers from Thursday at 8 a.m. ET from Johns Hopkins University:
- 64,615,624 Infected Worldwide
- 1,495,311 Deaths
- 13,925,354 Infected in the U.S.
- 273,847 Deaths in the U.S.
The good news is the Wall Street forecast. According to Wall Street analysts, we will see the biggest rally in corporate earnings since 2003. Optimism over corporate earnings is sky-high.
Now for the bad news. Unfortunately, these analysts are almost always wrong in the Wall Street forecast.
Since the onset of the financial crisis in 2008, according to JPMorgan, start-of-year earnings estimates have overshot reality 11 times for the U.S.
The consensus Wall Street forecast is predicting 22% growth in earnings per share in the U.S. next year.
And the double-digit recovery in earnings will extend into 2022 as laggards such as the financial and travel industries catch up. So says Wall Street.
This Wall Street forecast does have one thing going for it . . .
Economic recovery hopes are underpinned by a likely global expansion in GDP next year of 5%+. That would be the best since the 1970s. The recovery will be boosted by central banks too fearful to withdraw support for their economies.
However, the ongoing pandemic still keeps me cautious. I think I’ll stick to sectors I like – tech, healthcare and “green” investments.
Yours in Health & Wealth,