In the last few days - really since the BIden inauguration - we have seen declarations of victory over covid across the board, from the likes of Dr. Fauci who yesterday said that coronavirus infections may be about to hit a "plateau", to Wall Street, where Bank of America yesterday declared "The Beginning Of The End Of The COVID Crisis."
In its chart of the day, BofA showed that the US is now clearly over the hump, with 142,000 COVID cases in the US on Monday, down 32% from the prior Monday with the seven day average also dropping to 209,000, down 16% from the peak on January 8th."
In another good sign, the bank said that "testing is increasing and the share of tests that come back positive is falling" and cheerfully adds that "It seems clear that an end to the holiday season, a modest increase in restrictions and a small increase in herd immunity is bending the COVID curve."
So is the beginning of covid's end truly nigh (coincidentally, just as Joe Biden walked into the White House)?
It would appear that the answer is yes: as Goldman predicted last month, now that the US has administered 17.5 million vaccines and the pace has picked up to 6.4 million per week (19 per every 1000 people and almost 1million per day), Bloomberg today announced that Covid-19 hospitalizations in the U.S. fell by the most ever on Thursday, the latest sign that not only "relief may be coming to a health-care system that’s been fighting the virus for almost a year", but that the pandemic appears to finally be under control.
Bloomberg cites the latest Covid Tracking Project data according to which, the number of people currently hospitalized with Covid dropped by 2,773 in a single day to 119,927, while the one-week drop of 9,020 was also a record, the data show. More importantly, the decrease is accelerating on a percentage basis.
To be sure, the absolute number of people with Covid-19 in hospitals is still extraordinarily high, and while the virus remains prevalent in much of the country, it is now following the hospitalization scenario laid out by Goldman...
... which said that "as vaccinations ramp with the targeted population we see the potential for significant further declines in US hospitalizations in the coming weeks" and in fact predicts no more covid-related hospitalizations in just a few months. The data also corroborates what we published in mid-December when we used Goldman's analysis when we explained "Why Covid Hospitalizations And Deaths Are About To Plunge."
Meanwhile, as Bloomberg notes "the U.S. is also entering the second month of its vaccination push, with 18 million doses of the vaccine administered, or 5.62 people per 100, according to the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker. Fauci has estimated that the U.S. needs to vaccinate more than 70% of its people to return to a degree of normalcy."
Which means that between those Americans who already have natural immunity to covid (from having survived it) and those who will get the vaccine in the next several months, herd immunity should be a fact of life by the late spring (unless, of course, Fauci moves the goalposts again, or a new mutant strain with immunity to all vaccines mysteriously emerges in the next few weeks).