Medical risks show signs of improvement, Markets continue to rally

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Mike Zirbel, a Financial Advisor with 307 Financial Services
located at 416 East Main Street, Riverton, WY, 82501.
PH: (307)856-8200.
It is intended for educational purposes and not to provide specific advice.

As expected, the seasonal holidays have affected the pandemic indicators. The COVID-19 case rate appeared to pull back, but that is likely due to slower reporting than an actual decline in cases. Looking forward, travel and gatherings over the holidays may well result in another surge of cases. That said, however, the signs of improvement are real. 

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Even taking the holidays into account, the rate of case growth has slowed. Although according to the headlines, the vaccination process has been slower than anticipated, its pace will improve over the next couple of weeks. The number of vaccinated individuals will grow, as will the number of people who have been exposed to the virus. Both factors should help reduce infection rates. We are getting close to the worst of the pandemic, and maybe there already. After the peak has been reached, more improvement should come steadily. 

Some recent economic news has been negative, due to widening lockdowns around the country. Still, we can point to positive economic signs. The federal government is in the final stages of passing a stimulus program that should support the economy over the next couple of months. Regarding the medical news, there are signs of improvement and reasons to believe we are close to the bottom of the pandemic. That seems to be what markets are thinking, as a combination of slowly decreasing medical risks and economic resiliency has kept them close to all-time highs in the past weeks. Let’s take a look at the details.

The Virus: Christmas Travel Cases May Be Showing Up in the Data

New cases per day. The most obvious metric for tracking the virus is daily new cases. We are now seeing a data distortion lull in the aftermath of the Christmas holiday, as we did with Thanksgiving when a significant drop in new cases reversed. Now, as then, the drop is likely due to slower data reporting. As a consequence, case growth is very likely to bounce back as the holiday travel surge shows up over the next couple of weeks. While the lockdowns in many states are working, the third wave continues at a national level. 

New daily infection rates were 234,775 on December 30, up slightly from 233,572 a week earlier. The seven-day average number of new cases per day was 185,704 per day, down from 216,683 a week ago, reflecting the drop in reported cases over Christmas. While case growth remains high, the good news is that the rate of increase may have slowed. If this trend continues, we could see the third wave peak in the next couple of weeks, once the post-holiday surge fades.

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Michael W Zirbel is a financial professional with 307 Financial Services, LLC at 416 E Main ST. Riverton, WY. 82501. He offers securities as a Registered Representative of Commonwealth Financial Network®, Member FINRA/SIPC. He can be reached at 307-856-8200 or at [email protected].

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