“I believe Americans need to be told the truth,” Dr. Rick Bright testified to the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on health on Thursday.
Dr. Bright was part of President Trump’s COVID-19 team, but says he was fired for pushing back against what he considered a series of bad decisions by the upper levels of the administration. The White House says he’s a disgruntled former employee.
What truth is he talking about?
Dr. Bright says that the administration still hasn’t developed a comprehensive national response plan. And without one, when seasonal flu season rolls around in the fall, Dr. Bright explains, the COVID-19 outbreak could combine with the flu to create “the darkest winter in modern history.”
That’s pretty grim, but it’s also just one of several scenarios. Here’s some “Lord of the Rings” humor to lighten the mood.
Now, back to the problem at hand.
Through default, the White House is following what’s called a “herd immunity” strategy to fight the coronavirus.
Herd immunity is an epidemiology term that describes how people can collectively stave off infections if some percentage of the population has immunity to a disease. You need about 70% of the population to develop immunity for this to work.
Generally, this is how vaccinations work. The theory is that if the majority are inoculated against a disease, then those who are particularly vulnerable will be protected since the disease can’t spread to them.
Sounds like a solid plan, right? And it’s worked for other illnesses in the past, so why shouldn’t it work now?
Well … because we’re nowhere near the level of immunity for this strategy to be effective.
Dr. David Dowdy, an associate professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told NBC News that, in the case of COVID-19, “chances are that 5% or less of the population is immune. So to get to herd immunity, you’d have to take the number of cases and deaths we’ve already experienced and multiply that by about 15.”
Let’s look at the number of fatalities through Friday morning …
So, that means that to get to herd immunity, we hypothetically could experience about 1,303,965 COVID-19 deaths in America. Emphasis on the “hypothetically.” Nobody knows for sure.
Those are just deaths. For some survivors, COVID-19 is a debilitating disease. Effects of COVID-19 could linger for the people that beat it as well. For example, damage to the lungs could linger.
I’ve explained that this pandemic is transforming America. Our transition to a country that no longer shakes hands (some of us germophobes may really appreciate this), works at home and wears comfort-wear all day long is just the tip of the iceberg.
We’ve seen one state after another start to reopen for business. I’m not saying that’s the wrong thing to do. After all, businesses up and down Main Street are struggling.
But I do think it has to be done safely. Already, there is massive anecdotal evidence that many people are ignoring safety guidelines that states have little ability to effectively enforce anyway.
Therefore, we can expect infections and deaths to rise, the real question is by how much?
So, what’s my point, besides depressing the heck out of everybody?
My point is, don’t sell your COVID-19 stocks yet.
Sure, my Supercycle Investor subscribers just saw their Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT) position hit a raised stop, and they exited with a gain. But that’s the fourth potential gain they took on Abbott Labs, racking up 15%, 18.95%, 27.66% and 91.49% on a series of Abbott trades.
I covered Abbott Labs and a whole bunch of other pandemic-leveraged picks in my recent Coronavirus Financial Survival Guide. You can still get a copy for FREE if you don’t have one already.
I believe this pandemic — and its economic effects — will last longer than most people imagine.
To quote another popular fantasy series, “Winter is coming.” And if Dr. Bright is right, it’s going to be a dark winter indeed.
That’s the truth Americans need to hear and prepare for. It’s far better to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
Eventually, scientists will develop a COVID-19 vaccine and we can put a lot of this misery behind us. Until then — be ready. Keep following safety guidelines. Be invested in the right stocks. And you’ll be okay.
All the best,