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09.3.2020 by David Robinson

The Promises and Perils of Fast-Tracking Covid-19 Vaccines

The pressure to speed up the development of Covid-19 vaccines is tremendous. Everyone understands why. An effective, widely available, and utilized Covid-19 vaccine is the health and economic holy grail. Sustained economic recovery depends on it. The US stock market has been remarkably resilient but probably trades at levels that assume an effective vaccine is available relatively soon.

By fast-tracking, we mean making a vaccine available to the public or at least to some before the normal FDA testing process is complete. We are encouraged to read that respected Dr. Anthony Fauci, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director believes that overwhelmingly positive trial results may justify fast-tracking. CNN The FDA announced that it may not require completion of the standard phase three trial before giving its approval. CNBC History teaches us however that rushing a vaccine to market is not without risk. CNN

Implications of the Fed Inflation Policy Shift: We noted last week that the Fed has made a major policy shift by relaxing its inflation-fighting focus by introducing more range tolerance. Does this matter to the US investor? Yes, it means that the Fed will be less likely to raise short term rates if inflation starts to pick up. When the Fed raises short term rates, it is like hitting the economic brakes. Among other outcomes, rate increases can jolt the stock market. The bottom line is that we could be in a low-interest-rate environment for years-good for stock investors but less favorable to income investors. CNBC MarketWatch CNBC

Fighting Future Pandemics Will Necessitate a Massive Mindshift: Listening to a podcast interview with Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee, a noted oncologist and virologist, left me believing that successfully and quickly defeating future pandemics that could be even more virulent than Covid-19 will demand a response that is the health equivalent to fighting a military invasion. It will take a rapid, intelligent, skilled, scientific, coordinated, and apolitical response at all levels, including temporary “civilian sacrifices”. Otherwise, one of these biological invasions is going to come along and permanently devastate us. We may look back and view Covid-19 as our national and global wake up call. Not the cheeriest of thoughts I know.

A Conversation With Siddhartha Mukherjee Nine Lessons For the Next Pandemic

Travel Restrictions, Change Fees, and Odds of Getting Covid-19 on an Airline: Planning a trip? See this list of individual state travel restrictions. CNN Check the fine print, but the major airlines (i.e., Delta, United, and American) are eliminating change fees. This provides consumers with much-needed flexibility during a pandemic and will probably be a net plus for the airlines too. CNN Ok, you have made the decision to fly. What are the chances of getting Covid-19 on the flight? Lower than we might think? CNN

Social Security Under a Biden Presidency: As the November election draws closer, we will be looking for the signals in all the noise. Joe Biden weighed in this week with his commitment to protect sources of funding for social security. Washington Post

Walmart Wants to Compete with Amazon Prime: In good news for consumers, Walmart is introducing a home delivery service to compete with Prime. Competition is healthy! Boston Globe

Winter is Coming: Health experts are concerned that colder weather will fuel the coronavirus resurgence. We will be spending more time indoors with less ventilation, schools are reopening, businesses are reopening their offices and sports played in front of crowds may begin. Anecdotally, we sense that many are weary of distancing and are venturing out into more social situations. Declaring a premature Covid-19 victory could have disastrous long-term consequences. CNBC

Pick Up the Pace to Age Successfully: Recent research indicates that to walk easily in our older years we need to do more than mosey around the block as we move through adulthood. Vigorous exercise can take many forms, including running or bicycling, but a leisurely stroll after dinner will not suffice to enable us to walk energetically later in life. New York Times

A Quote to Contemplate:Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” Stephen King

Some Worthy Short Takes to Explore:

 

Feel free to send us feedback on any topic, suggestions for improvement, or to forward the notes on to anyone who might be interested.

As always, thank you for reading. Stay safe and be well. We look forward to hearing from you and seeing you in time.

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