Full Vaccination By June, But No Stimulus In Sight

No Deal In Sight

It's funny that Congresspeople said they are willing to stay in Washington until after Christmas to get a deal done, but they adjourned on Thursday (until next week). They could easily have worked on Friday if they really cared about getting something done by December 26th which is when pandemic unemployment insurance benefits expire. 

There is an intense amount of bluster, but there still won’t be a deal soon. This is while NYC shut down indoor dining starting on Monday. It would be great if Congress could give grants to small businesses, but that won’t happen soon.

We have already stated the battle lines. There is debate over funding for state and local governments, liability limits for businesses, and unemployment benefits. The main parts both sides agree on are giving out checks to people and funding for vaccine distribution. It would make sense to pass what they agree on and then work on what they don’t agree on later, but what they agree on makes what they don’t agree on possible to pass, so we are at an impasse.   

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As you can see from the charts above, benefits are grinding to a halt. It’s as if the government doesn’t know about the 3rd wave. We are about 2 months from the beginning of a return to normalcy, but people are in trouble in the meantime. This is the perfect time for a stimulus because it would keep the economy in good shape for a recovery when the reopening starts.

The latest data on COVID-19 was bad again. The 7-day average of news cases hit a record high of 206,679. There are 108,044 people in the hospital which is a record high. The rate of increase has slowed, but not enough to call for a peak. The 7 day average of deaths is 2,379 which is scaring people away from dining. Restaurants would be taking a hit even if the restrictions weren’t in place.

Vaccine Timing

Some vaccines have started going out globally, but we are very far from this having an effect on U.S. cases. When cases and hospitalizations start falling because of the vaccines, people will be more confident in leaving the house regularly for social gatherings. The chart below lays out the timeline. 

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