By Michael Brush
Elections have consequences, as they say — especially for investors. Here’s a roundup of the key changes for investors following the presidential election, under the assumption that the Senate remains split after Georgia’s runoff elections.
Now that politicians may be less inclined to posture on COVID-19 policy to win votes, we might see more constructive strategies that’ll be much less devastating than broad economic shutdowns or angling for herd immunity, believes epidemiologist Michael Mina.
One can hope.
He’s got a good strategy in mind, that already seems like it is getting traction among Joe Biden COVID-19 task force members. The cornerstone of Mina’s approach is the distribution of lots of cheap but effective paper-strip rapid tests that people use at home. If infected, they can self-quarantine to prevent the spread.
“We can’t treat everyone like they are positive every day and just ask people not to gather,” says Mina in reference to the upcoming holidays. “We can’t just pause society.”
Likewise, opening up the floodgates to go for herd immunity would cause lots of premature deaths and possible hospital overcrowding, cautions Mina, of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
“One of the best things we could do is empower people to know if they are more likely to transmit the virus so they can make educated decisions. The way you stop an outbreak is to know your status, just like we did with HIV,” he said.
He estimates this would cost $10 billion a year – not much considering that it might save trillions of dollars in lost economic output and stimulus spending.
Mina has been promoting this strategy for months, to no avail. “This is something the current administration could do,” he says. “I know there are people in the administration who want to use rapid testing. We don’t have to wait until the administration changes.”
That said, Mina believes the Biden administration will rely more on science and experts to create a better virus strategy than what we have now – including rapid tests.
The Pfizer /zigman2/quotes/202877789/composite PFE -0.53% vaccine news does not take away the need for rapid testing, since it may be a year before vaccines are available to all risk groups notes Brian Weinstein, a health-care sector analyst at William Blair.
Meanwhile, infection rates will keep ramping up this winter. Plus it’s not clear how many people will use the vaccine, because of safety concerns, says Deutsche Bank market strategist Marion Laboure. “Until a vaccine is ready or herd immunity is achieved cheap, fast tests may be the solution,” says Laboure.
For more information on Mina’s rapid test idea, click here .
Even with Biden in the White House, the risk of drug draconian pricing reform is much lower when the Senate and the House are controlled by different parties. The good news is that Biden will likely preserve and expand the Affordable Care Act which is good for biopharma companies, notes Jefferies analyst Peter Welford.