Here’s what you need to know about the impact of Covid-19 to navigate the markets today.
• House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) said Wednesday afternoon that she is “pretty happy” about the state of negotiations over another round of coronavirus stimulus. “I think we have a prospect for an agreement,” she said in an interview with MSNBC. “Mitch McConnell says we don’t want to do it before the election,” she added, referring to the Senate majority leader, but Democrats “want it before.” The speaker said that she hopes that President Trump “has some sway” with Republican senators and is able to push the GOP to support a deal if one is struck. Pelosi’s comments come ahead of talks with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and after White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said Wednesday morning that negotiators have made progress on another round of coronavirus stimulus in the last 24 hours. Meadows said the goal is to reach a deal in about the next 48 hours. Meadows told reporters that “we’re down now to looking at some of the language in some of the provisions to make sure they’re not poison pills there,” adding that “if we can get that right, then hopefully the numbers we’ll get right.” White House economics advisor Larry Kudlow echoed the thrust of Meadows comments on CNBC, saying stimulus talks were “moving in a favorable direction.”
• Drug giant Pfizer (ticker: PFE) has set up what it is calling its “biggest ever” logistics operation to distribute its Covid-19 vaccine once it receives emergency authorization from regulators, The Wall Street Journal reports. The pharmaceutical company has plans to deliver up to 100 million doses this year and another 1.3 billion next year.
logistics preparation reflects its desire to move as quickly as possible to get vaccine doses into the population once it gets the nod from the Food and Drug Administration. Pfizer’s possible vaccine is being developed in partnership with German-based
(BNTX) and is currently in Phase 3 trials. Data showing whether it is safe and effective might be available as early as the end of this month, setting the company up to apply for an emergency-use authorization by late November.
• The mortality rate among hospitalized Covid-19 patients has fallen significantly since the start of the pandemic, according to two peer-reviewed studies. The declining death rate was found across all demographic groups and indicates that doctors are getting better at treating the virus and that a growing range of pharmaceutical treatments are helping patients. One of the studies, conducted by Leora Horwitz of New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine, found that mortality of hospitalized patients fell from 25.6% in March to 7.6% in August. That 18 percentage point improvement is dramatic, but Covid-19’s death rate remains “higher than many infectious diseases, including the flu,” Horwitz told NPR. Additionally, while a smaller percentage of people who contract Covid-19 and become seriously ill are dying, the overall number of deaths in the U.S. from the disease has remained stubbornly high, because the overall case count has remained relatively elevated and has been climbing significantly in recent weeks.
Write to Ben Walsh at [email protected]