I am sure you would agree, the last six months have been like none other. If my commentary below is just to long to read, you might jump down the paragraph that holds the italicized text. Therein lies the big picture.
The Coronavirus changed everything we do. It is still causing havoc in how we conduct our lives and our business. I heard an analyst suggest that it would take 18 months before we would see business activity hit pre-Covid levels. That brings us to the beginning of 2022. Don’t toss your masks anytime soon.
There is encouraging news from several pharmaceutical companies. This past week they announced some very promising results from their Covid vaccine trials. One or more companies anticipate Phase III trials to begin this month. The comments about the public availability of vaccines are somewhat conflicting. One pharma company is stating there could be some vaccine available to the public in January of 2021 if future studies this summer and fall are successful. On the other hand, Dr. Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), estimates it maybe another 18 months before a vaccine is readily available to the public given the fact that it usually takes 10-15 years to develop a vaccine. The truth may be somewhere in between these predictions.
The hunt for treatments for sick Covid patients is also a massive research effort being conducted worldwide by various universities, governments, and private companies. Many studies are attempting to determine if some existing drugs and therapies can be also be used to help Covid patients. Since these drugs and therapies have already been tested for other medical conditions the approval process would be much faster than starting the process of testing brand new drugs which must go through a lengthy period of clinical trials. Tremendous efforts finding new therapies are also being undertaken.
I cannot recall a time where there has been so much worldwide effort to fix a problem. That is encouraging.
Of course, the next six months of uncertainty wouldn’t be complete without this being a Presidential election year. The banter between the parties and candidates will only get more intense over the months ahead. Since most of us will not travel, and the production of many TV shows, movies, concerts and sporting events have been halted, we will have no place to seek refuge. You might consider a plan B to entertain yourselves and your families along with a supply of earplugs.
Don’t expect the financial markets to be predictable over the next months. They never are failsafe predictable in the short run. We have no idea what forces will play upon the markets that will cause both bad or good days or months. Nobody does. There are just too many variables for short run market expectations. Yet, over the long term, US markets have always gone up.
If Covid, Presidential elections, and the stock market volatility isn’t enough, the social unrest we have experienced over the past few months has complicated our conversations, thoughts, lives, business, and governance.
Focusing on the big picture is key. Do you think that we will overcome Covid? Most emphatically say “Yes. Of course and it will happen over the next year or so.”
Will the stock market continue to go up and down? Most will say “Yes, and over the long term it will be higher.”
Will politicians continue to argue and fight and hold opposite opinions? Most would say “Yes. Any other answer is delusional.”
Will we find options to lessen social unrest? Our history says that it is the story of becoming a more perfect union and how we grow as people. Achieving right has never been an easy road. I leave you those unifying words which are our guiding principles which are found in the document that started it all, our Declaration of Independence. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Happy Independence Day!
P.S. While the Crew Dragon astronauts may have left earth during a tumultuous time, there will still be plenty of drama left for them to experience and make them feel right at home, like nothing has changed, when they return to earth perhaps in August.