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January Payrolls Preview: It Will Be A Bloodbath

January Payrolls Preview: It Will Be A Bloodbath

One month ago, when discussing the lousy December payrolls print, we said that "it’s important to consider that through the December employment survey period, the Covid case count was up…

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January Payrolls Preview: It Will Be A Bloodbath

One month ago, when discussing the lousy December payrolls print, we said that "it’s important to consider that through the December employment survey period, the Covid case count was up 50% relative to the relevant November period. In early January, it is already up 440% relative to December, so the Covid drag will be an order of magnitude larger in the January data and could easily push net payrolls into negative territory for the next few months."

And sure enough, after several stark warnings by both the Fed and the White House about January's payrolls report due at 830am on Friday, following a catastrophic ADP print of -301K (which prompted Rabobank to spell out stagflation), we are looking at a payrolls abyss, with increasingly more banks expecting negative prints, while big data estimates based on Google Mobility and the Census Small Household Business Pulse, suggesting a devastating print of -4.6 million and -3.8 million, respectively.

While the median consensus expectation points to about a still respectable 133K (down from 150K just a few days ago) and down from 199K last month...

... prominent banks such as Goldman are now guiding much lower, expecting the worst jobs report since the covid crash. As Goldman chief economist Jan Hatzius writes today, "nonfarm payrolls declined by 250k, 400k below consensus of +150k. Our forecast reflects a large and temporary drag from Omicron on the order of 500-1000k, as survey data indicate a surge in absenteeism during the month. Dining activity also slowed sharply, and all of the Big Data indicators we track are consistent with an outright decline in payrolls." Needless to say, Goldman wouldn't take such a contrarian, and reputation damaging, view without justification, and we are confident that this time, Goldman will be on the money with the payrolls print coming at or below the bank's forecast.

Other banks are just as negative: TD analysts cite "temporary Omicron fallout" in looking for a -200K headline, adding that they see "downside risk to our -200k estimate."

Academy Securities' analyst Peter Tchir writes that while the "average estimate is 54k, if you look at avg estimate of those submitted/updated in February it is -89k (recent submissions reflect more up to date info)... I wouldn't be surprised to see a big NEGATIVE headline number in the establishment survey, not the same issue in household survey."

While the above estimates are likely on the money, they are incomplete as they all assign the January weakness to Omicron, which is now well on its way out, and thus should have a temporary impact. We disagree: we are confident that the US economy is now rapidly slowing and has already contracted (as the Atlanta Fed's latest GDPNow indicated) only not because of Omicron, but because the US consumer is finally tapped out, as the gargantuan, record surge in credit card usage indicated.

Still, for at least the next 3-4 months we are living in the "economic weakness is transitory" narrative (just like "inflation is transitory" last year, remember that), and it's why several Fed officials have already made clear that they will discount weak data as temporary.

Also, as TD writes, there is upside risk on average hourly earnings, with an already strong trend likely to be added to by temporary Omicron effects relating to the composition of payrolls and the length of the workweek. As such, the bank's 0.6% m/m estimate for hourly earnings implies 5.3% y/y, up from 4.7% y/y in December, a number which will be interpreted as further pouring gasoline on the Fed's hawkish fire, when in reality it is just an artifact of an excel model desperately trying to make sense of confusing data.

And while both Wall Street and the Fed will ignore tomorrow's dismal number - pretending that it is all due to Omicron - the reality is that just like last year, both will be making a huge mistake (for the second year in a row) as the true state of the US economy will be perfectly reflected in tomorrow's dismal number.

Sermon aside, here is what Wall Street expects will happen tomorrow and how it will impact markets, courtesy of Newsquawk

  • Traders will use the January jobs report to assess whether the market’s aggressive Fed bets are appropriate.
  • Money markets currently expect the FOMC to fire the equivalent of four 25bps rate hikes in 2022 to curb upside pressures to inflation, with some risk of a fifth.
  • The Fed is more focused on the inflation part of its mandate and that implies that there may be greater attention on the average hourly earnings measures within the jobs report, particularly since participants generally agree that the US is effectively at maximum employment.
  • The Omicron impact has tainted January’s economic data readings, presenting downside risks to the NFP headline (expected 134k from 199k), and upside risks to wage metrics (+0.5% M/M expected with the annual rate seen rising to +5.2% Y/Y from 4.7%; average hours worked is seen unchanged at 34.7hrs).  Meanwhile, seasonal adjustments may provide support for the headline.
  • It may be difficult to interpret the underlying health of the labor market by using the January jobs data; the market reaction will be based on a combination of how the headline fares in the context of the wage pressures; a headline miss accompanied by further upside to wages would likely embolden hawkish Fed bets; conversely a more resilient headline combined with less upside in wages may have the opposite impact.

HEADLINE:

  • The pace of payrolls additions has been easing, with the 3-month average currently 365k, the 6-month average at 508k, and the 12-month average at 537k, which many think is more a function of labour market tightness rather than a major downturn.
  • The pace is likely to slow even further in January, with the consensus expecting to see 150k nonfarm payrolls added, and the unemployment rate expected to be unchanged at 3.9%.
  • Many economic data prints for January have been negatively impacted by the Omicron wave, and that is likely to be reflected in the January jobs report too. White House economic advisor Deese has warned that Americans need to be prepared for January employment data that "could look a little strange". This theme was certainly reflected in the ADP gauge of private payrolls, which saw a reading of -301k in January against an expected +207k.
  • ADP explained that the Omicron effect was to blame, with most of the job losses in the Leisure & Hospitality sectors after hefty gains in Q4; but ADP judged that the impact of Omicron was likely to be temporary.

Forecast by bank:

  • HSBC +225K
  • CS +200K
  • Daiwa +200K
  • Mizuho +200K
  • AP +170K
  • SocGen +155K
  • BNP +150K
  • DB +150K
  • JPM +150K
  • RBC +150K
  • BMO +100K
  • Citi +70K
  • Median +70K
  • Barx +50K
  • UBS +50K
  • Nom -50K
  • Scotia -100K
  • WF -100K
  • BofA-150K
  • Jeff -200K
  • TD -200K
  • MS -215K
  • GS -250K
  • NW -350K

OMICRON IMPACT: For the week that traditionally coincides with the BLS employment situation report survey, initial jobless claims jumped to 290k from 231k and continuing claims rose to 1.675mln from 1.624mln. Pantheon Macroeconomics said that this Omicron impact would not last long, however, given that cases have begun to fall back, but still noted that the near-term outlook remains uncertain. "The jump in claims is consistent with the message from the Homebase data for the week which suggests payrolls will be reported falling by about 300K, and that's after we allow for the usual upward revisions to the initial Homebase data."

SEASONAL ADJUSTMENTS: Analysts have pointed out that there could be some seasonal adjustments in January that could give support to the headline; Citi thinks the adjustment could add around 3mln jobs; "if fewer than usual layoffs occur in some industries this year, perhaps reflecting that the level of employment is already lower than desired given worker shortages, adjusted figures would show a large increase," the bank explains. There is even more uncertainty this month however, given that the January jobs data will also include revisions to the establishment survey; Citi therefore cautions about trying to over-interpret what the January jobs report is saying about the true health of the underlying labour market.

WAGES ARE KEY: Average hourly earnings are expected to rise +0.5% M/M in January (prev. +0.6%), and to 5.2% Y/Y (prev. 4.7%). With most FOMC participants agreeing that US labour market conditions are consistent with maximum employment, and with the recent upside in price pressures which has resulted in the FOMC pivoting in a hawkish direction, the nonfarm payroll headline will only be part of the story in January. Many analysts will be paying more attention to the average hourly earnings metrics for a gauge on how wages have responded to higher prices amid a tight labour market; the theory is that surging wages will likely lead to FOMC participants leaning towards the more aggressive end of monetary policy expectations (where the possibility of a 50bps incremental rate hike, and/or possible hikes at every meeting this year, and/or a potential acceleration of the balance sheet wind down), whereas slowing wage metrics may see some of the aggressive Fed bets pared back (currently, money markets are pricing the equivalent of four 25bps rate hikes this year, although pricing suggests there are risks for a fifth hike too).

UPSIDE RISKS TO WAGES: The Omicron impact is likely an upside risk to wages in January. Compositional issues imply that low-paid workers who do not receive sick pay will have dropped out of the wage calculations, as White House economic advisor Deese recently noted, and that would likely result in the average moving upwards for the sample; any downside to average workweek hours could exacerbate this effect (the consensus expects average workweek hours to be unchanged at 34.7hrs). Additionally, overtime pay could also be higher if healthier staff were paid to cover their sick colleagues.

ARGUING FOR A WEAKER-THAN-EXPECTED REPORT:

  • Arguing for a weaker-than-expected report: Omicron. Covid infections rose sharply in December and remained high during the  January survey period. And as shown in Exhibit 1, the Household Pulse survey from the Census indicates a surge in absenteeism during the month. Based on the historical relationship between the household survey question “not at work due to own illness/other” (plotted in Exhibit 1) Goldman is assuming a drag from Omicron of 500-1000k in tomorrow’s report.

  • Big Data. High-frequency data on the labor market indicate an outright decline in payrolls (see Exhibit 2). We believe the Google series overstated the January employment decline due to a shift to work-from-home this month (these workers are still counted as employed in the nonfarm payroll figures). Relatedly, workers who used sick leave are also counted as employed.

  • Dining activity. Dining activity pulled back sharply in January—falling to 20% below 2019 levels. Coupled with the drop in ADP’s estimate of leisure and hospitality jobs, we expect a large pullback in leisure sector payrolls in tomorrow’s report (our estimates embed a drag of 350k).

  • ADP. Private sector employment in the ADP report decreased by 301k in January, against consensus expectations for a 150k increase and likely reflecting a meaningful Omicron drag.
  • Employer surveys. The employment components of business surveys generally decreased in January. Our services survey employment tracker decreased 0.8pt to 53.0 and our manufacturing survey employment tracker decreased 1.7pt to 56.2. The Goldman Sachs Analyst Index (GSAI) fell by 8.7pt to 68.2 in January, and the employment component declined by 9.2pt to 73.2.

ARGUING FOR A BETTER-THAN-EXPECTED REPORT:

  • End-of-year layoffs. The tight labor market likely catalyzed some employers to retain workers who would normally leave at the end of the year. The BLS seasonal factors assume 3mn net job losses in a typical January. And while initial jobless claims rebounded during the month (227k on average vs. 204k in December) the level is considerably lower than a typical year. Continuing claims in regular state programs also decreased 46k from survey week to survey week—despite a likely boost from Omicron.
  • Education seasonality. Education weighed on job growth during the fall, likely because some janitors and support staff declined to return for the new school year. Many of these individuals typically stop working for the January survey period, implying a seasonally adjusted gain in education payrolls in tomorrow’s report (we assume +50k, public and private).

NEUTRAL/MIXED FACTORS:

  • Job cuts. Announced layoffs reported by Challenger, Gray & Christmas decreased by 16% month-over-month in January but had increased by 23% in December (SA by GS).
  • Job availability. The Conference Board labor differential—the difference between the percent of respondents saying jobs are plentiful and those saying jobs are hard to get—decreased by 0.4pt to 43.8. JOLTS job openings increased by 150k in December to 10.9mn and remained higher than the pre-pandemic peak.
Tyler Durden Thu, 02/03/2022 - 22:40

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International

Red Candle In The Wind

Red Candle In The Wind

By Benjamin PIcton of Rabobank

February non-farm payrolls superficially exceeded market expectations on Friday by…

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Red Candle In The Wind

By Benjamin PIcton of Rabobank

February non-farm payrolls superficially exceeded market expectations on Friday by printing at 275,000 against a consensus call of 200,000. We say superficially, because the downward revisions to prior months totalled 167,000 for December and January, taking the total change in employed persons well below the implied forecast, and helping the unemployment rate to pop two-ticks to 3.9%. The U6 underemployment rate also rose from 7.2% to 7.3%, while average hourly earnings growth fell to 0.2% m-o-m and average weekly hours worked languished at 34.3, equalling pre-pandemic lows.

Undeterred by the devil in the detail, the algos sprang into action once exchanges opened. Market darling NVIDIA hit a new intraday high of $974 before (presumably) the humans took over and sold the stock down more than 10% to close at $875.28. If our suspicions are correct that it was the AIs buying before the humans started selling (no doubt triggering trailing stops on the way down), the irony is not lost on us.

The 1-day chart for NVIDIA now makes for interesting viewing, because the red candle posted on Friday presents quite a strong bearish engulfing signal. Volume traded on the day was almost double the 15-day simple moving average, and similar price action is observable on the 1-day charts for both Intel and AMD. Regular readers will be aware that we have expressed incredulity in the past about the durability the AI thematic melt-up, so it will be interesting to see whether Friday’s sell off is just a profit-taking blip, or a genuine trend reversal.

AI equities aside, this week ought to be important for markets because the BTFP program expires today. That means that the Fed will no longer be loaning cash to the banking system in exchange for collateral pledged at-par. The KBW Regional Banking index has so far taken this in its stride and is trading 30% above the lows established during the mini banking crisis of this time last year, but the Fed’s liquidity facility was effectively an exercise in can-kicking that makes regional banks a sector of the market worth paying attention to in the weeks ahead. Even here in Sydney, regulators are warning of external risks posed to the banking sector from scheduled refinancing of commercial real estate loans following sharp falls in valuations.

Markets are sending signals in other sectors, too. Gold closed at a new record-high of $2178/oz on Friday after trading above $2200/oz briefly. Gold has been going ballistic since the Friday before last, posting gains even on days where 2-year Treasury yields have risen. Gold bugs are buying as real yields fall from the October highs and inflation breakevens creep higher. This is particularly interesting as gold ETFs have been recording net outflows; suggesting that price gains aren’t being driven by a retail pile-in. Are gold buyers now betting on a stagflationary outcome where the Fed cuts without inflation being anchored at the 2% target? The price action around the US CPI release tomorrow ought to be illuminating.

Leaving the day-to-day movements to one side, we are also seeing further signs of structural change at the macro level. The UK budget last week included a provision for the creation of a British ISA. That is, an Individual Savings Account that provides tax breaks to savers who invest their money in the stock of British companies. This follows moves last year to encourage pension funds to head up the risk curve by allocating 5% of their capital to unlisted investments.

As a Hail Mary option for a government cruising toward an electoral drubbing it’s a curious choice, but it’s worth highlighting as cash-strapped governments increasingly see private savings pools as a funding solution for their spending priorities.

Of course, the UK is not alone in making creeping moves towards financial repression. In contrast to announcements today of increased trade liberalisation, Australian Treasurer Jim Chalmers has in the recent past flagged his interest in tapping private pension savings to fund state spending priorities, including defence, public housing and renewable energy projects. Both the UK and Australia appear intent on finding ways to open up the lungs of their economies, but government wants more say in directing private capital flows for state goals.

So, how far is the blurring of the lines between free markets and state planning likely to go? Given the immense and varied budgetary (and security) pressures that governments are facing, could we see a re-up of WWII-era Victory bonds, where private investors are encouraged to do their patriotic duty by directly financing government at negative real rates?

That would really light a fire under the gold market.

Tyler Durden Mon, 03/11/2024 - 19:00

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Fauci Deputy Warned Him Against Vaccine Mandates: Email

Fauci Deputy Warned Him Against Vaccine Mandates: Email

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Mandating COVID-19…

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Fauci Deputy Warned Him Against Vaccine Mandates: Email

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Mandating COVID-19 vaccination was a mistake due to ethical and other concerns, a top government doctor warned Dr. Anthony Fauci after Dr. Fauci promoted mass vaccination.

Coercing or forcing people to take a vaccine can have negative consequences from a biological, sociological, psychological, economical, and ethical standpoint and is not worth the cost even if the vaccine is 100% safe,” Dr. Matthew Memoli, director of the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases clinical studies unit at the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), told Dr. Fauci in an email.

“A more prudent approach that considers these issues would be to focus our efforts on those at high risk of severe disease and death, such as the elderly and obese, and do not push vaccination on the young and healthy any further.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, ex-director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID. in Washington on Jan. 8, 2024. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)

Employing that strategy would help prevent loss of public trust and political capital, Dr. Memoli said.

The email was sent on July 30, 2021, after Dr. Fauci, director of the NIAID, claimed that communities would be safer if more people received one of the COVID-19 vaccines and that mass vaccination would lead to the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re on a really good track now to really crush this outbreak, and the more people we get vaccinated, the more assuredness that we’re going to have that we’re going to be able to do that,” Dr. Fauci said on CNN the month prior.

Dr. Memoli, who has studied influenza vaccination for years, disagreed, telling Dr. Fauci that research in the field has indicated yearly shots sometimes drive the evolution of influenza.

Vaccinating people who have not been infected with COVID-19, he said, could potentially impact the evolution of the virus that causes COVID-19 in unexpected ways.

“At best what we are doing with mandated mass vaccination does nothing and the variants emerge evading immunity anyway as they would have without the vaccine,” Dr. Memoli wrote. “At worst it drives evolution of the virus in a way that is different from nature and possibly detrimental, prolonging the pandemic or causing more morbidity and mortality than it should.”

The vaccination strategy was flawed because it relied on a single antigen, introducing immunity that only lasted for a certain period of time, Dr. Memoli said. When the immunity weakened, the virus was given an opportunity to evolve.

Some other experts, including virologist Geert Vanden Bossche, have offered similar views. Others in the scientific community, such as U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention scientists, say vaccination prevents virus evolution, though the agency has acknowledged it doesn’t have records supporting its position.

Other Messages

Dr. Memoli sent the email to Dr. Fauci and two other top NIAID officials, Drs. Hugh Auchincloss and Clifford Lane. The message was first reported by the Wall Street Journal, though the publication did not publish the message. The Epoch Times obtained the email and 199 other pages of Dr. Memoli’s emails through a Freedom of Information Act request. There were no indications that Dr. Fauci ever responded to Dr. Memoli.

Later in 2021, the NIAID’s parent agency, the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), and all other federal government agencies began requiring COVID-19 vaccination, under direction from President Joe Biden.

In other messages, Dr. Memoli said the mandates were unethical and that he was hopeful legal cases brought against the mandates would ultimately let people “make their own healthcare decisions.”

“I am certainly doing everything in my power to influence that,” he wrote on Nov. 2, 2021, to an unknown recipient. Dr. Memoli also disclosed that both he and his wife had applied for exemptions from the mandates imposed by the NIH and his wife’s employer. While her request had been granted, his had not as of yet, Dr. Memoli said. It’s not clear if it ever was.

According to Dr. Memoli, officials had not gone over the bioethics of the mandates. He wrote to the NIH’s Department of Bioethics, pointing out that the protection from the vaccines waned over time, that the shots can cause serious health issues such as myocarditis, or heart inflammation, and that vaccinated people were just as likely to spread COVID-19 as unvaccinated people.

He cited multiple studies in his emails, including one that found a resurgence of COVID-19 cases in a California health care system despite a high rate of vaccination and another that showed transmission rates were similar among the vaccinated and unvaccinated.

Dr. Memoli said he was “particularly interested in the bioethics of a mandate when the vaccine doesn’t have the ability to stop spread of the disease, which is the purpose of the mandate.”

The message led to Dr. Memoli speaking during an NIH event in December 2021, several weeks after he went public with his concerns about mandating vaccines.

“Vaccine mandates should be rare and considered only with a strong justification,” Dr. Memoli said in the debate. He suggested that the justification was not there for COVID-19 vaccines, given their fleeting effectiveness.

Julie Ledgerwood, another NIAID official who also spoke at the event, said that the vaccines were highly effective and that the side effects that had been detected were not significant. She did acknowledge that vaccinated people needed boosters after a period of time.

The NIH, and many other government agencies, removed their mandates in 2023 with the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

A request for comment from Dr. Fauci was not returned. Dr. Memoli told The Epoch Times in an email he was “happy to answer any questions you have” but that he needed clearance from the NIAID’s media office. That office then refused to give clearance.

Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, a professor of health policy at Stanford University, said that Dr. Memoli showed bravery when he warned Dr. Fauci against mandates.

“Those mandates have done more to demolish public trust in public health than any single action by public health officials in my professional career, including diminishing public trust in all vaccines.” Dr. Bhattacharya, a frequent critic of the U.S. response to COVID-19, told The Epoch Times via email. “It was risky for Dr. Memoli to speak publicly since he works at the NIH, and the culture of the NIH punishes those who cross powerful scientific bureaucrats like Dr. Fauci or his former boss, Dr. Francis Collins.”

Tyler Durden Mon, 03/11/2024 - 17:40

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Trump “Clearly Hasn’t Learned From His COVID-Era Mistakes”, RFK Jr. Says

Trump "Clearly Hasn’t Learned From His COVID-Era Mistakes", RFK Jr. Says

Authored by Jeff Louderback via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

President…

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Trump "Clearly Hasn't Learned From His COVID-Era Mistakes", RFK Jr. Says

Authored by Jeff Louderback via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

President Joe Biden claimed that COVID vaccines are now helping cancer patients during his State of the Union address on March 7, but it was a response on Truth Social from former President Donald Trump that drew the ire of independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. holds a voter rally in Grand Rapids, Mich., on Feb. 10, 2024. (Mitch Ranger for The Epoch Times)

During the address, President Biden said: “The pandemic no longer controls our lives. The vaccines that saved us from COVID are now being used to help beat cancer, turning setback into comeback. That’s what America does.”

President Trump wrote: “The Pandemic no longer controls our lives. The VACCINES that saved us from COVID are now being used to help beat cancer—turning setback into comeback. YOU’RE WELCOME JOE. NINE-MONTH APPROVAL TIME VS. 12 YEARS THAT IT WOULD HAVE TAKEN YOU.”

An outspoken critic of President Trump’s COVID response, and the Operation Warp Speed program that escalated the availability of COVID vaccines, Mr. Kennedy said on X, formerly known as Twitter, that “Donald Trump clearly hasn’t learned from his COVID-era mistakes.”

“He fails to recognize how ineffective his warp speed vaccine is as the ninth shot is being recommended to seniors. Even more troubling is the documented harm being caused by the shot to so many innocent children and adults who are suffering myocarditis, pericarditis, and brain inflammation,” Mr. Kennedy remarked.

“This has been confirmed by a CDC-funded study of 99 million people. Instead of bragging about its speedy approval, we should be honestly and transparently debating the abundant evidence that this vaccine may have caused more harm than good.

“I look forward to debating both Trump and Biden on Sept. 16 in San Marcos, Texas.”

Mr. Kennedy announced in April 2023 that he would challenge President Biden for the 2024 Democratic Party presidential nomination before declaring his run as an independent last October, claiming that the Democrat National Committee was “rigging the primary.”

Since the early stages of his campaign, Mr. Kennedy has generated more support than pundits expected from conservatives, moderates, and independents resulting in speculation that he could take votes away from President Trump.

Many Republicans continue to seek a reckoning over the government-imposed pandemic lockdowns and vaccine mandates.

President Trump’s defense of Operation Warp Speed, the program he rolled out in May 2020 to spur the development and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines amid the pandemic, remains a sticking point for some of his supporters.

Vice President Mike Pence (L) and President Donald Trump deliver an update on Operation Warp Speed in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington on Nov. 13, 2020. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

Operation Warp Speed featured a partnership between the government, the military, and the private sector, with the government paying for millions of vaccine doses to be produced.

President Trump released a statement in March 2021 saying: “I hope everyone remembers when they’re getting the COVID-19 Vaccine, that if I wasn’t President, you wouldn’t be getting that beautiful ‘shot’ for 5 years, at best, and probably wouldn’t be getting it at all. I hope everyone remembers!”

President Trump said about the COVID-19 vaccine in an interview on Fox News in March 2021: “It works incredibly well. Ninety-five percent, maybe even more than that. I would recommend it, and I would recommend it to a lot of people that don’t want to get it and a lot of those people voted for me, frankly.

“But again, we have our freedoms and we have to live by that and I agree with that also. But it’s a great vaccine, it’s a safe vaccine, and it’s something that works.”

On many occasions, President Trump has said that he is not in favor of vaccine mandates.

An environmental attorney, Mr. Kennedy founded Children’s Health Defense, a nonprofit that aims to end childhood health epidemics by promoting vaccine safeguards, among other initiatives.

Last year, Mr. Kennedy told podcaster Joe Rogan that ivermectin was suppressed by the FDA so that the COVID-19 vaccines could be granted emergency use authorization.

He has criticized Big Pharma, vaccine safety, and government mandates for years.

Since launching his presidential campaign, Mr. Kennedy has made his stances on the COVID-19 vaccines, and vaccines in general, a frequent talking point.

“I would argue that the science is very clear right now that they [vaccines] caused a lot more problems than they averted,” Mr. Kennedy said on Piers Morgan Uncensored last April.

“And if you look at the countries that did not vaccinate, they had the lowest death rates, they had the lowest COVID and infection rates.”

Additional data show a “direct correlation” between excess deaths and high vaccination rates in developed countries, he said.

President Trump and Mr. Kennedy have similar views on topics like protecting the U.S.-Mexico border and ending the Russia-Ukraine war.

COVID-19 is the topic where Mr. Kennedy and President Trump seem to differ the most.

Former President Donald Trump intended to “drain the swamp” when he took office in 2017, but he was “intimidated by bureaucrats” at federal agencies and did not accomplish that objective, Mr. Kennedy said on Feb. 5.

Speaking at a voter rally in Tucson, where he collected signatures to get on the Arizona ballot, the independent presidential candidate said President Trump was “earnest” when he vowed to “drain the swamp,” but it was “business as usual” during his term.

John Bolton, who President Trump appointed as a national security adviser, is “the template for a swamp creature,” Mr. Kennedy said.

Scott Gottlieb, who President Trump named to run the FDA, “was Pfizer’s business partner” and eventually returned to Pfizer, Mr. Kennedy said.

Mr. Kennedy said that President Trump had more lobbyists running federal agencies than any president in U.S. history.

“You can’t reform them when you’ve got the swamp creatures running them, and I’m not going to do that. I’m going to do something different,” Mr. Kennedy said.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, President Trump “did not ask the questions that he should have,” he believes.

President Trump “knew that lockdowns were wrong” and then “agreed to lockdowns,” Mr. Kennedy said.

He also “knew that hydroxychloroquine worked, he said it,” Mr. Kennedy explained, adding that he was eventually “rolled over” by Dr. Anthony Fauci and his advisers.

President Donald Trump greets the crowd before he leaves at the Operation Warp Speed Vaccine Summit in Washington on Dec. 8, 2020. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

MaryJo Perry, a longtime advocate for vaccine choice and a Trump supporter, thinks votes will be at a premium come Election Day, particularly because the independent and third-party field is becoming more competitive.

Ms. Perry, president of Mississippi Parents for Vaccine Rights, believes advocates for medical freedom could determine who is ultimately president.

She believes that Mr. Kennedy is “pulling votes from Trump” because of the former president’s stance on the vaccines.

“People care about medical freedom. It’s an important issue here in Mississippi, and across the country,” Ms. Perry told The Epoch Times.

“Trump should admit he was wrong about Operation Warp Speed and that COVID vaccines have been dangerous. That would make a difference among people he has offended.”

President Trump won’t lose enough votes to Mr. Kennedy about Operation Warp Speed and COVID vaccines to have a significant impact on the election, Ohio Republican strategist Wes Farno told The Epoch Times.

President Trump won in Ohio by eight percentage points in both 2016 and 2020. The Ohio Republican Party endorsed President Trump for the nomination in 2024.

“The positives of a Trump presidency far outweigh the negatives,” Mr. Farno said. “People are more concerned about their wallet and the economy.

“They are asking themselves if they were better off during President Trump’s term compared to since President Biden took office. The answer to that question is obvious because many Americans are struggling to afford groceries, gas, mortgages, and rent payments.

“America needs President Trump.”

Multiple national polls back Mr. Farno’s view.

As of March 6, the RealClearPolitics average of polls indicates that President Trump has 41.8 percent support in a five-way race that includes President Biden (38.4 percent), Mr. Kennedy (12.7 percent), independent Cornel West (2.6 percent), and Green Party nominee Jill Stein (1.7 percent).

A Pew Research Center study conducted among 10,133 U.S. adults from Feb. 7 to Feb. 11 showed that Democrats and Democrat-leaning independents (42 percent) are more likely than Republicans and GOP-leaning independents (15 percent) to say they have received an updated COVID vaccine.

The poll also reported that just 28 percent of adults say they have received the updated COVID inoculation.

The peer-reviewed multinational study of more than 99 million vaccinated people that Mr. Kennedy referenced in his X post on March 7 was published in the Vaccine journal on Feb. 12.

It aimed to evaluate the risk of 13 adverse events of special interest (AESI) following COVID-19 vaccination. The AESIs spanned three categories—neurological, hematologic (blood), and cardiovascular.

The study reviewed data collected from more than 99 million vaccinated people from eight nations—Argentina, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, New Zealand, and Scotland—looking at risks up to 42 days after getting the shots.

Three vaccines—Pfizer and Moderna’s mRNA vaccines as well as AstraZeneca’s viral vector jab—were examined in the study.

Researchers found higher-than-expected cases that they deemed met the threshold to be potential safety signals for multiple AESIs, including for Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS), cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST), myocarditis, and pericarditis.

A safety signal refers to information that could suggest a potential risk or harm that may be associated with a medical product.

The study identified higher incidences of neurological, cardiovascular, and blood disorder complications than what the researchers expected.

President Trump’s role in Operation Warp Speed, and his continued praise of the COVID vaccine, remains a concern for some voters, including those who still support him.

Krista Cobb is a 40-year-old mother in western Ohio. She voted for President Trump in 2020 and said she would cast her vote for him this November, but she was stunned when she saw his response to President Biden about the COVID-19 vaccine during the State of the Union address.

I love President Trump and support his policies, but at this point, he has to know they [advisers and health officials] lied about the shot,” Ms. Cobb told The Epoch Times.

“If he continues to promote it, especially after all of the hearings they’ve had about it in Congress, the side effects, and cover-ups on Capitol Hill, at what point does he become the same as the people who have lied?” Ms. Cobb added.

“I think he should distance himself from talk about Operation Warp Speed and even admit that he was wrong—that the vaccines have not had the impact he was told they would have. If he did that, people would respect him even more.”

Tyler Durden Mon, 03/11/2024 - 17:00

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