Vaccine Booster Is On Its Way
A new week, a new set of crises. Rising to the top is Afghanistan and American troop withdrawal. In addition, we have the Covid-19 Delta surge and its impact on health, travel, and the economy. This displaced Andrew Cuomo, the Governor of New York and the January 6th Congressional investigation. Unfortunately, one lesson that is evident is if you are in the news in a bad way, just wait and you will be replaced by the next crisis.
Market decline this week is being attributed to the current crises outlined above, however, in addition we have disappointing retail sales numbers. The comparison to last year is a huge increase but the numbers were below what was expected, and the trend increased in reverse. This is the first indication that the Delta surge is impacting spending. Restaurant and bar spending was a positive contribution to retail sales, but auto sales dragged down the numbers. Another contributor to lower retail sales spending is the end of government payments earlier in 2021. Other government spending will end in September so down the road economists are concerned. That being said, consumer spending in July exceeded the levels achieved pre-pandemic.
The Federal Reserve is talking about pulling back on bond purchases later in the year. This is dependent on employment numbers. The Delta variant surge proved to impact consumer sentiment in early August which was at a low.
The CDC and the Biden Administration are expected to recommend booster shots for the Covid-19 vaccine 8 months after receiving the 2nd vaccine. The surge in hospitalizations and deaths is attributed to the unvaccinated who account for over 95% of hospitalization and deaths.
The vicissitudes of human behavior are evident yet again with the recent news that the Biden administration will authorize booster shots for the Covid-19 vaccines. Since everything is controversial, some commentators are saying that recommending boosters will discourage the unvaccinated from getting their first vaccine. Why? Because the first two doses don’t work so why bother. Science tells us the vaccine is still well worth the investment, but buzzy headlines can cloud the facts. The vaccinated are not proving to present the problem, so why offer booster now? Timing and perception play a big role in our human behavior. The degree of confusion and frustration in regard to Covid-19 is high. As we are writing this week’s newsletter, Governor Greg Abbot of Texas has tested positive for Covid-19 even though he was vaccinated. He is being administered remdesivir- remember that? It is administered inpatient and costs over $3,000/per regimen. There were photos of Abbott at a fundraising event with no masks the night before he was tested positive.
Also reflective of human nature is a piece in Axios about automated driving features. As the sophistication of driver assist technology is increasing, drivers are paying less attention and causing more accidents. In my neighborhood there is a parking lot filled with Waymo driverless technology cars. They drive around our neighborhood constantly, often with more than one driver. What are they doing anyway? Would you let a driverless car take you to your destination?
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