Breaking News from COVID-19 Recovery | May 2021

Apr 28, 2021

 

As part of our continued coverage on COVID-19 cases and recovery, we will look at how the Coronavirus pandemic in Spring 2021 is being handled and contained – and what we may expect moving forward.

 

In today’s article we will take a look at:

  • Vaccine Roll-out Spring 2021
  • Vaccine Types
  • Side Effects and Effectiveness
  • AstraZeneca going to other countries
  • US and Worldwide COVID Case Load
  • Coronavirus Variants
  • International Travel Restrictions
  • Economy spring 2021

We hope that each and every one of you – and all your loved ones – stay healthy and safe. Let’s not forget the priorities in these trying times. We can also keep our chins up, knowing better times are ahead.

 

Vaccine Rollout Spring 2021

In the US, as of April 26, 2021
• At least 140,969,663 people or 42% of the population have received at least one dose.
• Overall, 87,867,908 people or 26% of the population have been fully vaccinated.
• In the US, 290,692,005 doses have been distributed so far, with 79% or 230,768,454 of the doses used.

 

From UPI News April 27th:

Last week, Biden called on businesses to give workers paid leave so they can get vaccinated and said his goal of 200 million vaccinations within his first 100 days had been reached.

As of April 20, 2021, nearly 208 million people around the world have been vaccinated.

 

Vaccine Types

There are currently three authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccines in the United States:

The vaccine makers use 2 different types of delivery systems: mRNA or Viral Vector, the main practical difference being the viral vector delivery can be issued as 1 dose.

 

Side Effects

J&J COVID-19 Vaccine:
• Headaches, fatigue and muscle pain were some of the most common side effects from J&J’s Covid-19 vaccine, according to a new FDA report.
• Roughly 40% of people reported headaches and just more than 38% reported feeling fatigued, the report said.

The Johnson & Johnson Vaccine rare side effects:
• severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath
• rare but serious brain blood clots.

The Johnson & Johnson Vaccine production in Baltimore was halted on April 13th by the FDA. The reasons were twofold. It was determined that there was a cross contamination from a previous spoiled batch made by AstraZeneca in March at the same facility. Furthermore, there have been 15 occurrences of blood clots, resulting in 3 deaths, in over 8 million applications of the one-shot dose.

 

Effectiveness

The question that many of us ask is how effective the vaccine is, and what does it protect us against?

According to Michael Saag, associate dean of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Alabama Birmingham:

You certainly can continue to [get routine tests], but it would be highly unlikely that you’re ever going to test positive.

The vaccine, we now know, protects against symptomatic infections and also appears to protect against any kind of meaningful transient infections as well. Does that mean that you can never get infected? No, but it’s just much less likely.”

But as Saag clarified, the vaccines, while extremely effective, still don’t provide a 100-percent guarantee against infection. Researchers are still observing how well the existing vaccines protect against variants. So far, the mRNA vaccines (Moderna and Pfizer) appear to protect against known variants in the United States.

According to the CDC, even though the vaccine is proving effective at preventing against symptomatic infections, travel within and without the US is discouraged until more people have been vaccinated and the outbreak shows better containment stabilization.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky advised against any kind of travel despite vaccination to avoid a surge.

We know that right now we have a surging number of cases. I would advocate against general travel overall.

We are not recommending travel at this time, especially for unvaccinated individuals.

 

AstraZeneca Vaccine to be shared with other countries

The US made AstraZeneca Vaccine has not yet been approved for emergency usage in the US. Yet, the 3 other vaccines mentioned above are already approved. It was announced late April 26th that up to 10 million stockpiled Astra vaccines will be offloaded to countries (rumored to be India among others) before the vaccines reach their expiry date.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki described that given the robust portfolio of Coronavirus vaccines that America has already approved and that is available in huge quantities, including 2-dose vaccines and 1-dose vaccine, and given that AstraZeneca isn’t authorized for use in the U.S., they don’t need to use AstraZeneca in their country against Coronavirus in the upcoming few months.

Also, Mexico became a recipient of the US made Astra vaccine in late April.

The doses were sent to Mexico as part of an agreement with the administration of President Joe Biden for 2.7 million shots of AstraZeneca’s vaccine to help supplement Mexico’s vaccination campaign amid global delays and shortages.

 

US Case Load

The US has had more Covid-19 cases and deaths than any other country: 31,575,640 confirmed infections and 566,224 fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins University data. At least 202,282,923 doses of coronavirus vaccine have been administered; 72,813,391 have been fully vaccinated – 22% of the US population, Johns Hopkins said.

On Sunday April 25th, the United States reported a 14% decline in the seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases per day, according to a CNBC analysis of Johns Hopkins University data. Fauci said there have been about 3 million vaccinations per day.

 

Worldwide case load

As of April 20th, 2021 US State Department officials report more than 142.2 million cases of COVID-19 across the globe, with more with 3 million deaths.

 

COVID Variants

As the Coronavirus mutates many people question how effective the new vaccines will be against the new variants.

According to Nurith Aizenman of Byline:

All three variants of concern have been found in the U.S., as well as in a broad swath of other countries. And across the world, there are 10 vaccines in play. So this question – how well does each of the vaccines work against each of the worrying mutant strains? – it’s one of the hottest topics in biomedical research right now.

An experiment found that for AstraZeneca, it takes 86 times as many antibodies to neutralize the variant in South Africa compared to the original strain, meaning that this particular vaccine is not effective against that Coronavirus variant.

The consensus among disease experts is that as more data comes in, particular vaccines will be recommended to combat specific strains, and that these recommendations will change as variant predominance alters.

 

International Travel Restrictions

International travel continues to be restricted.

Countries Facing US COVID-19 Travel Restrictions, ie countries from which travel is barred for an indefinite time as of January 26, 2021:

  • Europe’s Schengen area, including Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
  • United Kingdom (excluding overseas territories outside of Europe) and the Republic of Ireland.
  • Republic of South Africa.
  • Federative Republic of Brazil.
  • People’s Republic of China, excluding the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau (continuation of a January 31, 2020, proclamation signed by Trump)
  • Iran (continuation of a February 29, 2020 proclamation signed by Trump).

Furthermore, the US has recently placed over 200 countries (over 80% of the world’s total) on the Do Not Travel List.

Four levels of advisories are issued: exercise normal precautions, exercise increased caution, reconsider travel and do not travel.

The change “will result in a significant increase in the number of countries at Level 4: Do Not Travel, to approximately 80% of countries worldwide,” the department said in a media note. “This does not imply a reassessment of the current health situation in a given country, but rather reflects an adjustment in the State Department’s Travel Advisory system to rely more on CDC’s existing epidemiological assessment.”

 

Economy Spring 2021

Probably one of the most surprising – and positive – pieces of news regarding the pandemic this spring is how well the economy and market have recovered after the initial downturn a year ago.

According to Northern Trust:

A year ago, the U.S. registered its deepest economic contraction since the Second World War. One year later, the economy is poised to post its strongest year of growth in almost four decades.

Economic activity is gaining traction, thanks to expanding vaccine distribution, lowered public health restrictions and substantial fiscal support. For the first time since the outbreak, the economic risks for the U.S. are tilted to the upside. Inflation will return, but won’t run out of control for reasons highlighted here.

The outlook is generally brightening, but uncertainty around the efficacy of current vaccines against mutated versions of the virus, which would cause a return of lockdowns, remains a key risk.

The outlook for high net-worth investors in 2021 is caution mixed with opportunity. Some of the markets and asset classes to consider include:

  1. Private Equity Funds
  2. Real Estate – particularly Florida and other migration destinations
  3. Fintech and Tech stocks

The first 2 options should suit the mid to long term investment profile, while the market, although soaring, is more volatile, and will be treated accordingly.

 

Today’s Takeways

The Coronavirus contains to wreak havoc, destroy lives and create uncertainty. Yet, with the best information and technology possible, we can, and will, find ourselves on the road to recovery, in our health, in our communities, and in our economies.

The vaccines and their continued roll-out will help to create a more calm and normalized social atmosphere, where we can begin assuming our normal lives once again, after 2 years of loss and intense restrictions. In the meantime, don’t forget to take advantage of the market sectors that are currently hot.

 

Take the opportunity to book a no obligation appointment with one of our investment analysts today.

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