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What To Watch This Week As Covid Rages

“Our region’s hospitals are maxed out with patients and we need to do what we can to avoid overwhelming the healthcare system,” said Supervisor Greg Cox at a media briefing

This via the Times of San Diego.

“It is the worst we have seen, and it’s continuing to worsen,” said Dr. Ahmad Kamal of Santa Clara County.

This after several hospitals in California report 100% full ICU’s.

These stats via the LA Times

Dr. Cleavon Gilman served in the Iraq War, but he said that doesn’t compare to the battle he’s fighting as an emergency room physician in Arizona.

“This pandemic is a lot worse than being in Iraq just because when you’re in a war zone, you can leave that war zone. You can fly out of Iraq; you’re OK here in the United States,” the Yuma doctor said.

Via CNN

The facilities are in an area of Wisconsin with some of the highest and most sustained rates of COVID-19 infections. The Marshfield Clinic system, which oversees the facilities receiving help, has been utilizing volunteers from a state emergency assistance program, “but the need for more staff to meet patient demand remains a challenge,” Marshfield Clinic Health System CEO Susan Turney said.

The 45 medical workers are being deployed by the U.S. Department of Defense.

“Because of the prolonged and intense nature of this crisis, many hospitals are near full capacity and medical staff is exhausted,” Turney said Wednesday in a statement. 

At the peak of the fall wave of COVID-19 infections that turned Wisconsin into one of the riskiest areas of the country, nurses at the Marshfield Medical Center were working 16-hour days, eight days in a row.

The US Army is deploying 45 personnel members to Wisconsin to help the states doctors and nurses that are overwhelmed and exhausted from working 16 hour shifts for eight days in a row to deal with the influx of Covid patients.  This from The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Amid the resurgence, states have begun reopening field hospitals to handle an influx of patients that is pushing health care systems — and their workers — to the breaking point. Hospitals are bringing in mobile morgues. And funerals are being livestreamed or performed as drive-by affairs.

Via Fox News

No matter whether you look at liberal, conservative, or independent news sources they’re all saying much the same thing in specific areas of the United States.

Covid cases are continuing to rise rapidly, hospitals are filling up, and deaths are exploding.

On January 7th, 2021, the world hit a new record high of 833,860 new cases in a day.  And the world broke a single day record with 14,812 deaths.

The US alone broke its own records for new cases and deaths in a single day at 279,154 new cases and 4,207 deaths respectively.

Even worse, health officials expect this trend to continue for months.

This is horrific on the health front of course…

But it’s also bad for your investments.

Here’s what I said last week about the economic situation before we get to today’s update on what you should watch this week…

When the pandemic began in March 2020, we saw job losses at a historically unprecedented level.

In total 22 million jobs were cut in the first two months of the pandemic alone.

And an estimated 51 million jobs were lost in total.

This led to massive unemployment… Which led to bankruptcies, pay cuts, trouble paying mortgages and bills, and led to an almost complete stop of the world economy.

Things were so bad in the early stages of this pandemic that 4 in 10 US adults said either they or someone in their household lost a job or had to take lower pay at their job due to the pandemic.

And this led almost half of US adults in the “lower income” bracket to “having trouble paying their bills.”

A full third of American adults said they had to use money from savings or a retirement account just to pay their bills during the pandemic… Which puts people into an even tougher spot.

This led food bank usage to be at its highest level since The Great Depression.

We then began to slowly recover in the late Summer to early Fall…  But then coronavirus cases began exploding… And are still exploding as of this writing.

I’ve talked about this in recent weeks as you can read in the following articles…

Fortunately, the stimulus checks have begun arriving in American’s bank accounts. And this brings much needed relief for many of us.

But our lords and ladies in Congress deemed fit to only give each American $600… While better than nothing its peanuts compared to the hardships many faced due to the pandemic.

An amount that will barely cover half of someone’s normal monthly expenses…  If they don’t have kids.

To make things worse, economists and analysts are now projecting that on Thursday January 7th and Friday January 8th when the latest unemployment and job loss data is released that the US could see its first monthly job losses in 7 months.

Combine this with Covid cases still exploding, deaths still in the thousands per day, and more lock downs, business closures, and job losses enacted by our cities and states, and things are getting worse economically.

This is what I’m watching this week.

On January 7th and 8th – the unemployment and job loss data.

Because if this continues to get worse…  The $600 in “peanuts” our overlords gave us won’t help for long if the economy keeps crumbling.

Unfortunately, the US did lose jobs in December for the first time since April 2020.  But it was even worse than analysts expected.

Analysts expected a potential small job gain of 50,000 or a small job loss of 50,000 in December.

Instead, we lost 140,000 jobs.

This is a horrific sign for the economy going forward…  And it’s a reinforcing cycle.

As Covid cases and deaths rise, more lockdowns are instituted.

As more lockdowns are instituted, more jobs are lost.

And as more jobs are lost, the economy gets worse.

This could pop the extreme bubble that’s building in the markets right now with the likes of Tesla gaining $60 billion in market value in one day.  Or about the same size as GM.

As I said months ago, this will continue until we can figure out a real long-term solution to this problem.

The vaccines will help some… But how long will that take?

Cities and states are far behind the 10 million estimated to have been vaccinated due to the mammoth logistical problems of producing, manufacturing, distributing, and giving the vaccines.

An estimated 50% of people don’t want the vaccine.

And even if they do get the vaccine, the new “highly infectious strain” of the virus making its way around Europe and the US – according to some experts the vaccine may not protect against this new and more deadly strain.

I don’t know what the solution is on a macro level.

But you do what you need to do to protect yourself, your family, and your retirement.

You already know how to protect yourself… Here’s how I recommend you protect your retirement portfolio.

If you’re looking for the best way to protect your portfolio and the economy hangs in the balance…

Make sure you’re in great stocks that have the following traits…

  • They’re cheap
  • They have little to no debt compared to a lot of cash
  • They produce large profits and cash flows.
  • And make sure they aren’t in industries that could be hammered by more closures.

That’s what I’m watching this week… The continued rise of Covid cases and deaths… Combined with the continued economic deterioration.  So, I can better inform you going forward about how to protect yourself and those you care about in terms of your investment decisions.

Until then, use the following links to some of our recent articles to learn other ways to protect yourself and your investments in these uncertain times. 

Disclosure – Jason Rivera is a 13+ year veteran value investor who now spends much of his time helping other investors earn higher than average investment returns safely. He does not have any holdings in any securities mentioned above and the article expresses his own opinions. He has no business relationship with any company mentioned above

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