Another Day, Another 1,000 US Virus Deaths

The following is Friday’s status check of developments in the US that can influence economic, health and political outcomes from Mace News::

  • Hours of testimony by the nation’s pandemic experts before the House virus oversight committee Friday should have updated the nation with a factual treasure trove of information but instead was mostly a politicised blame fest. The same dreary back and forth produced no “gotcha” video clips for any campaign videos but it did illustrate the future holds little more than more virus deaths with the nation’s chips place on development of a vaccine, not on efforts to coordinate control. The Mace News twitter feed, @macenewsmacro, captured every tick of the hearing should anyone want to replay the largely futile exercise. The NIH’s Fauci withstood the goading by Republican pit bulls like Rep. Jim Jordan and didn’t give Democrats much to work with either. He did repeat his optimism about the progress of vaccine development. The virus killed more than 1,000 Americans again in 24 hours. The total topped 152,000 at a pace that could make August a very bad month. In fact, the CDC said the month could bring at least another 20,000 fatalities. President Trump, visiting Tampa in a state with another daily record of deaths, claimed, “We’re getting very high marks” for handling the disease.
  • Meanwhile on Capitol Hill, a lot of nothing as the Senate chose not to remain in session even for appearances sake, nor did the House stick around. No one had expected any last-minute agreement among the White House, Democrats and Republicans because no one actually considered the expiration of the $600 enhancement to unemployment benefits nor that of a federal eviction moratorium to be at their last minutes. Any deal reached in the next week will be retroactive and it’s likely few will notice the expirations – if a deal happens soon. The Senate days ago set August 8 as its last day in town, when members will be itchy to get going on their vacations. Talks on what can be agreed to will continue Saturday while all involved try to squeeze some political points by shifting blame.
  • In Major League Baseball three games among six teams didn’t happen Friday and won’t on Saturday either for various pandemic-related reasons. Whether new positive tests threaten the entire season may be revealed in the next week.
  • Before House members left the building, they approved 217-107 the bill to pay for the Defence Department and nine other departments that President Trump threatens to veto because the DoD plans to rename bases named for Confederates. Democrat Alexandria Ocasio Cortez was among the dozen Democrats who voted no with Republicans as she has on about 50 other bills, arguing they don’t go far enough.
  • The key coronavirus event of the day seemed to be the release of a CDC study of on Georgia summer camp that comes as school systems are trying to figure out whether to bring students back inside. With a median age of 12, the 597 campers had only a week to enjoy the experience before 260 of them became infected.
  • The cable channel talking heads were led into another rut by President Trump with his comments and tweets on one of his favourite bogeyman topics, mail-in voting. For connoisseurs of rhetorical sideshows it wasn’t much of an improvement over Thursday’s related chapter over his suggestions Election Day might need to be delayed.
  • In more substantial news the formally named hurricane (Isaias) advancing toward Florida wobbled toward the Atlantic side, to hit Saturday afternoon and then travel up the East Coast. Virginia declared a weather emergency in advance Friday afternoon. The storm is moving fast, sometimes a blessing by lessening the danger of extended torrential flooding. It could delay the return to Earth of two NASA astronauts aboard the Space X Dragon capsule.
  • A sideshow in the media business, notable because of the surprise factor, saw James Murdock resign from the Murdoch empire’s Fox Corporation, leaving his two brothers behind to run the operation. He had previously expressed disgust with what he saw as the peculiar editorial stance of Fox News.
  • In stocks, a VIX improved by 1.21% to 24.46 accompanied across-the-board gains except for the small-cap Russell, that finished down nearly 1%. The DJIA rose 0.44% or 114.67 points to 26428.32 and the S&P was up 0.77% or 24.80. Most notable was the increasing divergence between the blue chip Dow, down 0.16% for the week, and the Nasdaq which gained 7.37%. Apple’s standout earnings report lifted its share 10.47%. Amazon was up 3.7%. If there was a larger message, it seemed to be that pandemic winners are pulling away from the losers. Bitcoin hit a year’s high at $11,377.75.
  • In upcoming economic data, the monthly jobs report Friday is the main event. Kevin Kastner’s in-depth preview of all the incoming data is at macenews.com. The euro zone’s GDP report was nearly as bad as Thursday’s for the U,, falling 12.1% for the second quarter vs the US’s 9.5%.

Colin Lambert

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