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Is the Tide Turning in the Pandemic, Politics and Stocks?

“Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.” — Warren Buffett (“Maxims of Wall Street,” p. 123) Note: I have a special announcement today. See below. Are we seeing a turning of the tide this year when it comes…

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“Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.” — Warren Buffett (“Maxims of Wall Street,” p. 123)

Note: I have a special announcement today. See below.

Are we seeing a turning of the tide this year when it comes to the fight against the pandemic, the November elections and the stock market?

A few days ago, I met up with Bert Dohmen, longtime editor of The Wellington Letter, at his home in California. He sent me his latest newsletter with the classic headline, “Turn of the Tide?”

That headline is famous because it’s the same headline that William Hamilton, editor of the Wall Street Journal, used on October 25, 1929, to announce to the world that the Dow Theory “gave the signal of a bear market in stocks.”

His declaration came within days of the crash on Wall Street. On Black Monday, October 28, 1929, the Dow declined nearly 13%. On the following day, Black Tuesday, the market dropped nearly 12%. The slide continued through the summer of 1932, when the Dow closed at 41.22, its lowest value of the twentieth century and 89% below its peak. The Dow did not return to its pre-crash heights until November 1954.

Are We Headed for a Bear Market in 2022?

Bert Dohmen senses a bear market coming in 2022. He warned his subscribers that the stock market was topping out and would head south. “Reality is returning, at least to some sectors,” he wrote. “Eventually, it will return to most sectors. That will be painful. The technology sector continues to get hammered and should be shunned.”

The jury is still out, but there is no doubt that Wall Street has had an incredible run during this “Mother of All Bull Markets.”

We at Forecasts & Strategies have taken full advantage and have, until now, ignored the perma-bears who are constantly predicting the end of the world.

To quote J. Paul Getty, America’s first billionaire, “Businessmen can profit handsomely if they will disregard the pessimistic auguries of self-appointed prophets of doom.” (Maxims, p. 112)

Nevertheless, bear markets do raise their ugly head from time to time. As the French philosopher, Bertrand de Jouvenel, states, “A forecast is never so useful as when it warns man of a crisis.” (p. 112)

What Will the Future Bring?

I would not be surprised to see a major correction in the market this year. It’s long overdue. It may be in reaction to the Federal Reserve raising interest rates in an effort to curtail inflation; another lockdown of the global economy in response to the never-ending pandemic; Biden pushing through sharply higher tax rates and regulations; geo-political instability in Asia or the Middle East or a natural disaster.

Alex Green, investment guru at the Oxford Club, states, “The market has turned more volatile in recent weeks as investors grapple with the lightning-fast spread of Omicron, high inflation, global supply chain issues and the likelihood that the Federal Reserve will begin raising interest rates as early as March.”

Nevertheless, Green is optimistic: “The flip side of this, of course, is that Omicron is rapidly taking us closer to herd immunity, higher interest rates will moderate future inflation and supply chain issues are already beginning to abate.”

Making a Difference in the Classroom

As long-term subscribers know, I’ve made a career out of influencing our future generation into understanding how the real world works and what economic policies should be adopted to achieve: peace, prosperity and liberty.

I’ve taught at major universities around the world, including Columbia University in New York, and now at Chapman University in California. I’ve given lectures at around 50 colleges and universities, including Harvard, Stanford and the University of Chicago.

My two most popular textbooks are “Economic Logic,” which is now in its fifth edition, and “The Making of Modern Economics.”

The New, Fourth Edition of ‘Making of Modern Economics’ is Out!

Good news! The brand-new fourth edition of “The Making of Modern Economics” has just been published by the prestigious publisher Routledge (publisher of the works of Friedrich Hayek).

Guess who the hero is of my book?

It is now the most popular history textbook of the great economic thinkers used in the classroom. As Roger Garrison, professor at Auburn University, states, “My students love it. Skousen makes the history of economics come alive like no other textbook.”

It is the only history textbook that reads like a novel, with a hero (Adam Smith and his “system of natural liberty”) who constantly comes under attack by the socialists, Marxists and Keynesians. He is sometimes left for dead but then is miraculously resuscitated by the French laissez-faire school of thought, the Austrians, the supply-siders and the Chicago School of economics.

Spoiler Alert! It even has a good ending when the Adam Smith model triumphs with the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the Soviet socialist central planning model.

The fourth edition updates the dramatic story with the challenges of modern monetary theory, the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, minimum wage debates, the new socialists and more.

Click here for more information.

The book is award-winning. It has won the Choice Book Award for Academic Excellence, and it was ranked #2 Best Libertarian Books in Economics by the Ayn Rand Institute (behind Henry Hazlitt’s “Economics in One Lesson”).

Here’s what reviewers are saying:

“The most interesting and lively book on the history of economic thought ever written.” — Douglas A. IrwinDartmouth College, UK.

“A story rarely told… It’s unputdownable!” — Mark BlaugUniversity of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

“Provocative, engaging, anything but dismal!” — N. Gregory Mankiw, Harvard University, The United States

“All histories of economics are BS — Before Skousen! Live and accurate, a sure bestseller.” —Milton Friedman

“Mark’s book is fun to read on every page. I have read it three times. I love this book and have recommended it to dozens of my friends.” — John Mackey (CEO, Whole Foods Market)

“Mark Skousen is a great economist, great entrepreneur and great friend. His book brings history to life, with concise and incisive sketches of flesh and blood individuals. Read it!” — Steve Forbes

Get 50% Off by Ordering it from the Author

Routledge charges $54.95, plus shipping, but you can buy it directly from the author for only $35. Each copy is autographed, dated and mailed for no extra charge if mailed inside the United States.

To buy your copy, go to www.skousenbooks.com.

‘Turning the Tide’ in Las Vegas!

Speaking of “Turning the Tide,” that’s our theme this year at FreedomFest, July 13-16, 2022, at the Mirage Hotel & Casino.

One of our goals is to reverse this dangerous trend in the size and scope of government, both here and abroad:

Our liberties are under attack, that’s for sure.

We have a great lineup of speakers, including the return of Steve Forbes, Grover Norquist, Steve Moore, John Fund and many other top geopolitical activists who are experts in turning the tide in politics and economic policy.

We just confirmed Glenn Greenwald, the American journalist famous for revealing U.S. global surveillance programs based on classified documents provided by Edward Snowden. You won’t want to miss his talk.

FreedomFest is Famous for Its Debates

We also have Ben Stein and Arthur B. Laffer. In the famous scene in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” Ben Stein plays the boring teacher who refers to the Laffer Curve as “voodoo economics.” To watch that memorable one-minute scene, go to Voodoo Economics — YouTube.

In 2002, Ben Stein was our keynote speaker at FEEFest, the precursor to FreedomFest. Now, 20 years later, he will make his second appearance… and he has agreed to debate Arthur B. Laffer, one of the founders of supply-side economics and the inventor of the famous Laffer Curve. They will appear together on stage at FreedomFest 2022 to debate the question, “Should the Rich Pay More in Taxes? Is the Laffer Curve Voodoo Economics?”

After the debate, Ben Stein will host a luncheon on the topic, “Rich and Famous: My Life in Beverly Hills and Hollywood.”

‘Is God Making a Comeback?’

In 1966, Time Magazine ran a famous cover story, “Is God Dead?” According to Time, modern science had eliminated the need for religion to explain the natural world, and God took up less and less space in people’s daily lives.

But now, religion is making a comeback, according to the New York Times bestselling author of the new book, “Is Atheism Dead?” Eric Metaxas provides new scientific and archeological evidence against the idea of a Creator-less universe. I’ve read it and find it compelling.

Eric Metaxas will be debating Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine and author of “Why Darwin Matters” and other important books, on “Is God Making a Comeback?” I look forward to it.

After their debate, both will be autographing their books at the FreedomFest bookstore.

Take Advantage of the Early Bird Special

Make plans now to attend the “greatest libertarian show on earth” by registering at www.freedomfest.com. Or call Hayley at 1-855-850-3733 ext. 202.

Use the code EAGLE to take advantage of our early bird special of $399 per person, and only $299 for guests (up to three guests). Register today!

Good investing, AEIOU,

You Blew It!

 Why We Left New York

Last year, we sold our home in New York and said goodbye to my favorite city in the United States. We had had enough of the lockdown, the loss of Broadway, the Lincoln Center and the university clubs. Crime was rising, and “Manhattanites” wanted out of the city.

It was time to move on.

I saw that Mark Ford of the Oxford Club wrote a column, “Goodbye Bill. I Won’t Miss You.”

He states in part:

“I’ve not lived there for 40 years, but in some ways, I still consider myself a New Yorker. Like most expatriates, I identify with everything that is great about the city. And there used to be so much. Lately, however, it has devolved in several critical respects. This is largely due to the woke politics of Bill de Blasio and a cast of cronies, including the infamous AOC. For example:

* From 2012 to 2018, 200,000 left the city. In 2021, 300,000 fled, most of them high-income earners.

* New York has also lost many big and vibrant businesses due to higher taxes and soaring crime. And it has lost hundreds of restaurants and retail stores due to the COVID lockdown.

* Murders are up 50%. Rapes are up 25%. Even my wokest friends, loyal denizens of the city, feel it’s unsafe to take a walk at night.

* Plus, New York has become the dirtiest city in the country. Its infrastructure is crumbling. Its sanitation is Third World.

“But it can recover. The Big Apple has been rotten before. It was dirty and dangerous when I was in my teens. And it came back beautifully from that. Its best hope is its new mayor, Eric Adams. He’s got his work cut out for him. But as a former policeman, he seems to understand that the first priority in fighting crime is a belief in law and order. Whether he will actually do anything about that remains to be seen.”

Even Mayor Eric Adams is going to have a hard time. Alvin Bragg, the newly elected district attorney, has issued a memo entitled “Achieving Fairness and Safety.” His policy includes de-prosecuting entire categories of crimes and slashing sentences. They are a “recipe of violence and disorder,” according to the Manhattan Institute.

Looks like New York is going the way of San Francisco. What a pity.

The post Is the Tide Turning in the Pandemic, Politics and Stocks? appeared first on Stock Investor.

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About 35% of People Who Received Placebo in Vaccine Trials Report Side Effects and More COVID-19 News

According to a recent study conducted by researchers at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, 76 percent of the adverse side effects (such as fatigue or headache) that people experienced after receiving their first COVID-19…

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About 35% of People Who Received Placebo in Vaccine Trials Report Side Effects and More COVID-19 News

The placebo effect is where a person who received a placebo instead of a drug or vaccine shows clinical signs, positive or negative, associated with the actual treatment. Much has been made about the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines, but a new study found a startlingly high number of adverse events associated with people who received placebos in clinical trials. For that and more COVID-19 news, continue reading.

COVID-19 Vaccine Side Effects: Real or Placebo Effect?

A recent study out of Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center evaluated 12 COVID-19 vaccine trials with a total of 45,380 participants. The study found that 76% of the adverse side effects reported, such as fatigue or headache, after the first shot were also reported by participants who received a placebo. Mild side effects were more common in people receiving the vaccine, but a third of those given the placebo reported at least one adverse side effect. The statistics from the study showing that 35% of placebo recipients reported adverse side effects is considered unusually high. Several experts suspect that there’s such a high report of adverse events because of the amount of misinformation found on social media about the dangers of the vaccines and the amount of media coverage.

This is not to say that the adverse side effects felt by people who received the vaccines are all in their heads. People do have side effects to vaccines, but this study reports on an unusually high level of the placebo effect. Nocebo is used to describe a negative outcome associated with the placebo.

Source: BioSpace

“Negative information in the media may increase negative expectations towards the vaccines and may therefore enhance nocebo effects,” said Dr. Julia W. Haas, an investigator in the Program in Placebo Studies at Beth Israel Deaconess and the study’s lead author. “Anxiety and negative expectation can worsen the experience of side effects.”

Four Factors for Long COVID

A study published in Nature Communications identified specific antibodies in the blood of people who developed long COVID. Long COVID is not well understood and has a range of up to 50 different symptoms, and it is difficult to diagnose because there is no one test for it. The study, conducted by Dr. Onur Boyman, a researcher in the Department of Immunology at University Hospital Zurich, compared more than 500 COVID-19 patients and found several key differences in patients who went on to present with long COVID. The most obvious was a significant decrease in two immunoglobulins, IgM and IgG3. The study found that a decrease in these two immunoglobulins, which generally rise to fight infections, combined with other factors, such as middle age and a history of asthma, was 75% effective in predicting long COVID.

75% of COVID-19 ICU Survivors Show Symptoms a Year Later

A study out of the Netherlands found that a year after being released from an intensive care unit (ICU) for severe COVID-19, 75% of patients reported lingering physical symptoms, 26% reported mental symptoms, and up to 16% noted cognitive symptoms. The research was published in JAMA. The research evaluated 246 COVID-19 survivors treated in one of 11 ICUs in the Netherlands. The mental symptoms included anxiety (17.9%), depression (18.3%), PTSD (9.8%). The most common new physical symptoms were weakness (38.9%), stiff joints (26.3%), joint pain (25.5%), muscle weakness (24.8%), muscle pain (21.3%) and shortness of breath (20.8%).

Pennsylvania Averaging Most COVID-19 Deaths Per Day in a Year

In general, COVID-19 deaths are dropping across the country. However, in two states, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the numbers are increasing. Pennsylvania is averaging 156 COVID-19 deaths per day over the past seven days, which is a 17% uptick compared to two weeks ago. The number of deaths per day in Pennsylvania is below what was hit in January 2021, largely due to the availability of vaccines. New Jersey averages 111 deaths from COVID-19 per day, an increase of 61% over the last two weeks and the highest since May 2020. Similarly, New Jersey cases and hospitalizations are declining.

Omicron Surge: Shattering Cases and Hospitalizations, but Less Severe

According to the CDC, although the current Omicron surge is setting records for positive infections and hospitalizations, it’s less severe than other waves by other metrics. Omicron has resulted in more than 1 million cases per day in the U.S. on several occasions, and reported deaths are presently higher than 15,000 per week. However, the ratio of emergency department visits and hospitalizations to case numbers is lower compared to COVID-19 waves for Delta and during the winter of 2020–21. ICU admissions, length of stay, and in-hospital deaths were all lower with Omicron. They cite vaccinations and booster shots as the likely cause. Although the overall result is that Omicron appears less severe, it’s not completely clear if that’s because the viral variant doesn’t infect the lower lung as easily as other variants, or because so much of the population has either been vaccinated or exposed to the virus already. It is clearly far more infectious than other strains, which is placing a real burden on healthcare systems. The number of emergency department visits is 86% higher than during the Delta surge.

J&J Expects Up to $3.5 Billion in COVID-19 Vaccine Sales This Year

Johnson & Johnson projected annual sales of its COVID-19 vaccine for 2022 to range from $3 billion to $3.5 billion. This was noted during the company’s fourth-quarter 2021 report. In December 2021, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended the PfizerBioNTech or Moderna shots over J&J’s due to a rare blood condition observed with the J&J shot. By comparison, Pfizer and BioNTech project their vaccine will bring in $29 billion in 2022, after having raked in almost $36 billion in 2021. Moderna expects approximately $18.5 billion this year, with about $3.5 billion from possible additional purchases. Although final figures for Moderna aren’t in yet, they projected 2021 sales between $15 and $18 billion.

BioSpace source:

https://www.biospace.com/article/about-35-percent-of-people-receiving-placebo-in-vaccine-trials-report-side-effects-and-more-covid-19-news

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COVID-19 cases at highest ever in Americas – regional health agency

New cases of COVID-19 in the Americas in the past week were the highest since the pandemic began and the very contagious Omicron variant has clearly become the predominant strain, the Pan American Health Organization said on January 26.

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COVID-19 cases at highest ever in Americas – regional health agency

BRASILIA, Jan 26 (Reuters) – New cases of COVID-19 in the Americas in the past week have been the highest since the pandemic began in 2020 and the very contagious Omicron variant has clearly become the predominant strain, the Pan American Health Organization said on Wednesday.

There were more than 8 million new cases, 32% higher than the previous week, while fatalities throughout the region also increased by 37%, with 18,000 new deaths caused by COVID-19.

The United States continues to have the highest number of new infections, although cases decreased by nearly 1 million over the last week, the regional health agency said.

Mexico’s southern states have seen new infections triple and Brazil has seen new cases surge 193% over the last seven days, PAHO said in weekly briefing.

Medical workers take care of patients in the emergency room of the Nossa Senhora da Conceicao hospital that is overcrowding because of the coronavirus outbreak, in Porto Alegre, Brazil, March 11, 2021. REUTERS/Diego Vara

Children in the Americas are facing the worst educational crisis ever seen in the region, with millions of children yet to return to classes, according to PAHO, which recommended that countries try to get them safely back to school to protect their social, mental and physical wellbeing.

It urged parents to get their children vaccinated.

Many countries have already authorized and are safely administering COVID vaccines to adolescents, PAHO said.

Last week, the WHO’s expert group on immunization authorized the COVID vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) for children aged 5 to 12 years, offering a roadmap for countries to roll out vaccines for them, the regional agency said.

Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by David Gregorio

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

 

Reuters source:

https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/covid-19-cases-highest-ever-americas-says-regional-health-agency-2022-01-26

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Don’t believe the claim that only 17,371 people have died from COVID in England and Wales

A freedom of information request is only useful if you know how to read the data.

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There is no doubt that the pandemic has led to many deaths; however, in the past week, new claims have emerged that the true number of people who have died from COVID in England and Wales is much lower than previously thought. These claims have been widely shared on social media and even amplified by a senior MP. Can it really be true that new data shows that COVID has killed far fewer people than we previously thought?

To arrive at an answer, we first need to delve into the various ways that COVID deaths are counted in England and Wales. There are two main sources of this data: the first, published by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and featured prominently on the government’s coronavirus dashboard, is a simple count of all deaths that occur within 28 days of a positive COVID test.

The second, published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) is based on death certificates that list COVID as a cause of death. Being based on a medical assessment of the circumstances of each individual death, the ONS figures represent the gold standard.

The UKHSA figures will include some deaths that are clearly unrelated to COVID – for example, somebody who has a mild case of COVID and is involved in a car accident three weeks later – and exclude some COVID deaths where someone is in hospital for more than 28 days. The UKHSA data gives us a picture of what is happening now – albeit an imperfect one – while the ONS data takes several weeks to process.

We also need to understand how death certificates work in England and Wales. When somebody passes away, a medical professional completes a death certificate. This includes a field for the “disease or condition directly leading to death” – often called the “underlying cause”. It also includes the option to list one or two diseases or conditions that were not the underlying cause, but which contributed to the death (“contributory causes”).

The data that the ONS publishes shows that, in 2020 and 2021 combined, 157,889 deaths were registered where COVID was mentioned on the death certificate. Of these, 139,839 listed COVID as the underlying cause. In almost 90% of cases where COVID was a factor in somebody’s death, it was considered by medical professionals to be the primary reason they died. So where does the figure of 17,371 COVID deaths come from?

Freedom of information request

This figure originates from a freedom of information request to the Office for National Statistics that asked for the number of deaths where COVID was the only cause of death recorded. This is complicated by the fact that often COVID itself can cause complications, such as severe respiratory difficulties or organ failure, which will then be listed alongside COVID on the death certificate.

To exclude these deaths, the ONS responded by giving the number of deaths where no “pre-existing conditions” were listed on the death certificate. Which comes to 17,371 for the period up to the end of September 2021. But what is a “pre-existing condition”?

Pre-existing conditions and their International Classification of Diseases (ICD) codes

Office for National Statistics

This list is extensive, including high blood pressure, asthma, COPD, diabetes and a wide range of other common conditions. The argument being made by some is that 17,371 is the true number of COVID deaths, because people with these pre-existing conditions, who make up the vast majority of deaths that list COVID on the death certificate, were already sick. But even a cursory glance at the list makes it clear that this will be incorrect for a great many people.

Over a quarter of adults have high blood pressure, 4 million people in England have diabetes and a similar number have asthma. Having one of these conditions is neither a death sentence nor a sign of being in poor health. You almost certainly know several people with one or more of them, or are living with one yourself.

The idea that people with a pre-existing condition are at death’s door is simply untrue. Over half of people aged 50 and over have at least one long-term health condition. But if someone with one of these conditions is unlucky enough to catch COVID and subsequently die, all it takes is for the condition to have some impact for it to end up being listed as a contributory cause on the death certificate.

Let’s take asthma as an example. COVID frequently attacks victims’ lungs, leading them to require ventilation. As a respiratory condition, asthma may well exacerbate these difficulties and will therefore be listed on the death certificate if the person dies. It would be bizarre to claim that the person died of asthma on this basis. Perhaps they would not have died if they didn’t have asthma, but they certainly wouldn’t have died if they hadn’t got COVID.

The vast majority of people who get seriously ill with COVID were living full, independent lives before they were hospitalised. And reasonable estimates suggest that the average number of years of life lost per COVID death is around ten. The idea that people who died from COVID are all extremely ill and would have died soon anyway is not borne out by the facts.

To argue that the deaths from COVID of people with pre-existing conditions don’t count as true COVID deaths is to say that people with pre-existing conditions don’t matter; that their lives are expendable and shouldn’t be considered when assessing the impact of the pandemic. Over 140,000 people with pre-existing conditions have died of COVID in the last two years. We should be mourning this tragic loss of life, not minimising it.

Colin Angus does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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