Busy Agenda Gets a Complication — New Covid Variants
Author: Greg Valliere
July 11, 2022
HEALTH OFFICIALS WORRY about an enormous surge of the BA.5 variant, which is highly contagious, just as most Americans have concluded — perhaps prematurely — that the virus has disappeared. It hasn’t.
SOME HEALTH CARE EXPERTS BELIEVE there could be 1 million new U.S. cases a week by late summer, the Washington Post reports this morning. Antibodies from vaccines and previous coronavirus infections offer limited protection against BA.5.
THE SEVERITY OF THIS VARIANT is unclear; U.S. hospitalizations have been rising for weeks but are still relatively low at 38,000, while fatalities have stayed stable at about 325 per day, far below levels in the past two years.
EXPERTS DON’T AGREE ON HOW LETHAL this variant is, but they do agree that the country seemingly doesn’t care; recommendations to voluntarily resume masking have fallen on deaf ears. “We’ve chosen, deliberately, to expose ourselves and make ourselves more vulnerable,” a health expert told the Post. Less than half of all Americans have received any booster shots.
MUCH IS UNKNOWN — will reinfections blast through booster shots? Will there be a winter Covid surge? The Food and Drug Administration has asked vaccine makers to come up with new formulas that target BA.5 and BA.4; those boosters could be ready by this fall.
WHILE VIRTUALLY ALL POLITICIANS DON’T WANT to even consider new restrictions, a leading politician has become a victim. Charles Schumer, the Senate Majority leader, tested positive this weekend, which could complicate his goal of moving quickly on two major new bills — one would provide funds for U.S. manufacturers of computer chips; another would allow for negotiations on prescription drug prices.
* * * * *
THE BIG ISSUE FOR THE MARKETS THIS WEEK almost certainly will be new inflation data; the June CPI report, due on Wednesday, may show year-over-year prices rose by nearly 9%. This will get enormous media attention, as will Thursday’s PPI data. A 75 basis point rate hike from the Federal Reserve on July 27 is a very safe bet.
SOME COMMODITY PRICES may have leveled off, and Biden could have a positive meeting in Saudi Arabia on Friday, but any hopes for less aggressive Fed tightening will have to wait until the Sept. 20-21 FOMC meeting, when there will be more clarity on Ukraine, the economy and this new Covid wild card.
The views expressed in this blog are provided as a general source of information based on information available as of the date of publication and should not be considered as personal investment advice or an offer or solicitation to buy and/or sell securities. Speculation or stated believes about future events, such as market or economic conditions, company or security performance, or other projections represent the beliefs of the author and do not necessarily represent the view of AGF, its subsidiaries or any of its affiliated companies, funds or investment strategies. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy in these commentaries at the time of publication; however, accuracy cannot be guaranteed. Market conditions may change and AGF accepts no responsibility for individual investment decisions arising from the use of or reliance on the information contained herein. Any financial projections are based on the opinions of the author and should not be considered as a forecast. The forward looking statements and opinions may be affected by changing economic circumstances and are subject to a number of uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated in the forward looking statements. The information contained in this commentary is designed to provide you with general information related to the political and economic environment in the United States. It is not intended to be comprehensive investment advice applicable to the circumstances of the individual.
AGF Investments is a group of wholly owned subsidiaries of AGF Management Limited, a Canadian reporting issuer. The subsidiaries included in AGF Investments are AGF Investments Inc. (AGFI), AGF Investments America Inc. (AGFA), AGF Investments LLC (AGFUS) and AGF International Advisors Company Limited (AGFIA). AGFA and AGFUS are registered advisors in the U.S. AGFI is a registered as a portfolio manager across Canadian securities commissions. AGFIA is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland and registered with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission. The subsidiaries that form AGF Investments manage a variety of mandates comprised of equity, fixed income and balanced assets.
About AGF Management Limited
Founded in 1957, AGF Management Limited (AGF) is an independent and globally diverse asset management firm. AGF brings a disciplined approach to delivering excellence in investment management through its fundamental, quantitative, alternative and high-net-worth businesses focused on providing an exceptional client experience. AGF’s suite of investment solutions extends globally to a wide range of clients, from financial advisors and individual investors to institutional investors including pension plans, corporate plans, sovereign wealth funds and endowments and foundations.
For further information, please visit AGF.com.
©2023 AGF Management Limited. All rights reserved.