ALERT: Equity markets are closed Friday, July 3rd in observance of the U.S. Independence Day holiday. We will have a full update next week. 

4th of July Flags

The U.S. economy gained a whopping 4.8 million jobs in the month of June, bringing the unemployment rate to 11.1 percent and roundly beating economist expectations.

The June data, released Thursday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics — one day early, in deference to the July Fourth holiday — reflects a labor market that is slowly healing from the devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

COVID-19 Update:

We got some incrementally positive news today from Pfizer and BioNTech, which are working jointly on a vaccine.  Their first clinical trial shows positive results and specifically, those receiving this vaccine showed high levels of neutralizing antibodies (1.8 – 2.8 times that of recovered patients). This development is adding to the Fauci belief that some type of commercial COVID-19 vaccine will be available in early 2021. If this is the case, the pathway to putting COVID-19 behind us is visible.

Dr. Scott Gottlieb appeared on CNBC this morning, and he commented that he believes the “infection rate” is 10 times the “case-confirmed” rate.  That is, he believes the U.S. has 400,000 – 500,000 new infections per day, but only 44,000 are “detected” and “confirmed” — a really key suggestion, because this has implications for disease prevalence (closer to the infection break point), but also regarding disease severity (hospitalization rates are far lower, if correct). Essentially, there are:

– Infections: People who contract COVID-19
– Cases: People who show symptoms
– Detected: People confirmed positive by PCR test

The datasets we use are based upon “detected” cases, or confirmed positive by a PCR test.  This is how the U.S. mostly tracks COVID-19, although states include serology tests in the total, which are based on antibodies and show past infections.  

Photo Credit: Sheri Hooley via Unsplash