Could the virus be on the ropes? Could it be overhyped here right now and we are overly worried? It's tough to tell because there are some outbreaks in Texas and Arizona, and they seem to be warranting some real concern.
But the fact is that our efforts have been relatively successful. One look at the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center state by state indicator says that we must guard against being overly fearful. There just aren't that many states that are going the wrong way.
That doesn't mean we should relent and stop worrying about a second wave. It does mean that what we are doing -notably social distancing and masks - is working and our vigilance is what's keeping us safe. Yes, there are places where we expected there would be big spikes, like the state of Florida with its wide-open beaches, but it hasn't happened. They do taunt those of us who still wear masks and remain socially distant, but I think it's better to be safe than sorry.
Why? Because it is pretty clear now that there are whole countries that, with masks, social distancing, and contact tracing have managed to avoid the worst of the scourge. Taiwan, for example, with 23 million people, had 443 confirmed cases with 431 people recovered and seven dead. New York City with 8 million people has 381,000 confirmed cases and 24,442 deaths. The only difference? Their practices.
Now Taiwan's population already had experienced SAARS, so they had a ready game plan and we are not comfortable with masks and have an aversion to contact tracing on anything but a manual fashion. We have not embraced the combined efforts of Alphabet/Google (GOOGL) and Apple (AAPL) to allow your phone to tell you if you have been near someone who has covid because to do so would mean we would have to go to a central healthy registry, something that seems antithetical to what I would call our 'Live Free or Die' culture. So we have to find out who has it, then call everyone who may have been in contact with that person, a totally inefficient way to isolate and self-quarantine possible subjects.
Still, the fact that we do have ways to contain it tells me that we are over the hump, so to speak, and if we maintain masks and social distancing we can slow things down to where we know how to treat the illness better. Remember, we initially thought you could get it only from someone who exhibited symptoms and had temperature. Once you had it, the illness was treated as a respiratory disease instead of a circulatory one. We were throwing everything at people because we didn't know any better. Now we do.There are still plenty of people at risk but at least they know now that they are at risk
Which brings me to the really good news about why we could bounce back so quickly from yesterday's debacle. While it is true that we can cut the odds of getting the disease it comes at a considerable cost to the shop and eat until you drop economy of ours.
We need antibodies and we need a vaccine to shut this thing down to save millions of jobs that are about to disappear. That's why, in the midst of yesterday's selloff, I took heart because the firm that has the most knowledge of how to treat a virus like Covid-19, Regeneron (REGN) , which mastered ebola, is going into clinical trials for its antibody cocktail. Even after its tremendous success with so many medicines it is still very unknown. Believe me if this were Merck (MRK) or Pfizer (PFE) announcing these trials you would have been buying anything that got crushed yesterday.
I have faith in the vaccine makers, like Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) , and I have faith in an antibody cocktail from Regeneron that keeps you out of the hospital, or that little outfit, Cerus (CERS) , that we talked to this week, that makes convalescent plasma from those who have already had the disease.
Masks, social distancing, manual contract tracing, antibodies, convalescent plasma, better treatment and a vaccine on the horizon? No wonder we could bounce back so quickly from yesterday's decline. The day where the virus ruled our lives may be waning, but only if we are vigilant until we get antibodies or the vaccine.