A new headline-grabbingreport from the White House claims that swine flu could plausibly infect up to 50% of Americans, causing flu symptoms among some 60 to 120 million of them, and leading to as many as 1.8 million hospitalizations and 30,000 -90,000 deaths.
Where, exactly, do numbers like these come from? The new report was put together by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. It turns out the predictions are based on just a couple key facts:
The virus seems to be transmitted from person to person at the same rate as in previous flu pandemics — a rate that’s much higher than that of the regular seasonal flu. Rapid transmission suggests that the total number of infections could be very high.
The death rate for people who catch H1N1 seems about the same as that for seasonal flu. The White House advisors estimate that, so far, between 1 in 1,000 and 3 in 1,000 people who have needed medical help then end up dying. Assuming that this normal death rate continues during flu season, the total number of deaths is projected to be much higher than normal because of the higher number of infections.
And that’s basically it. The Council’s report notes prominently and often that, even though the up-to-50%-infected scenario is plausible, it is by no means certain. That’s because both of the basic facts above — the infection rate and the case fatality rate — are still a little fuzzy. They’re hard to measure in the first place, and it’s not totally clear whether they’ll change as the pandemic progresses.
So why all the fuss if the estimates are still murky? As Homeland Security head Janet Napolitano put it yesterday in a statement: "It is not possible to predict how the 2009-H1N1 influenza virus or the upcoming influenza season will play out, but it is best that we plan and prepare for a resurgence of H1N1 flu." Things may not develop the way the White House advisors suggest, in other words, but given available evidence it’s still a fine idea to brace ourselves.
There’s one other very good reason that this year’s flu pandemic has experts unnerved. Seasonal flu typically kills only the elderly, with 90%…
Back on February 7, 2009, one month before the Fed unveiled its massive (for its time) first episode of Quantitative Easing, the Federal Reserve was flailing. And, as revealed today by the latest annual batch of Fed transcript releases, precisely one month before the Fed commenced monetizing tens of billions in government debt and MBS, Bernanke held perhaps the longest conference call in the Fed's history (the transcript alone is 65 pages) in which he revealed that he was working on something entirely different: an "aggregator bank" concept, which would have been essentially a quasi-nationalization of the US banks whereby Fed funds is commingled with the bank's capital in order to avert public atte...
Senator Elizabeth Warren Questions Panel Members at the March 3, 2015 Hearing on Fed Accountability and Reform
Yesterday, the Senate Banking Committee held the first of its hearings on widespread demands to reform the Federal Reserve to make it more transparent and accountable.
Senator Elizabeth Warren put her finger on the pulse of the growing public outrage over how the Federal Reserve conducts much of its operations in secret and appears to frequently succumb to the desires of Wall Street to the detriment of the public interest. Warren addressed the secret loans that the Fed made to Wall Street during the financial crisis as follows:
Today the Institute for Supply Management published its latest Non-Manufacturing Report. The headline NMI Composite Index is at 56.9 percent, up fractionally from last month's 56.7 percent. Today's number came in above the Investing.com forecast of 56.5.
Here is the report summary:
"The NMI® registered 56.9 percent in February, 0.2 percentage point higher than the January reading of 56.7 percent. This represents continued growth in the non-manufacturing sector. The Non-Manufacturing Business Activity Index decreased to 59.4 percent, which is 2.1 percentage points lower than the January reading of 61.5 percent, reflecting growth for the 67th consecutive month at a slower rate. The New Orders Index reg...
Despite low trading volume, a strong dollar, mixed economic and earnings reports, paralyzing weather conditions throughout much of the U.S., and ominous global news events, stocks continue to march ever higher. The world remains on edge about potential Black Swan events from the likes of Russia, Greece, or ISIS (or lone wolf extremists). Moreover, the economic recovery of the U.S. may be feeling the pull of the proverbial ball-and-chain from the rest of the world’s economies. Nevertheless, awash in investable cash, global investors see few choices better than U.S. equities.
In this weekly update, I give my view of the current market environment, offer a technical analysis of the S&P 500 chart, review our weekly fundamentals-based SectorCast rankings of the ten U.S. business sectors, and then ...
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Chris Kimble's chart for KOL shows a recently beaten down ETF struggling to pull itself up from the ashes. As the chart shows, KOL has recently drifted down to levels not seen since the financial crisis of 2008-9.
Bouncing or recovering with energy in general, coal prices appear to have stabilized in the short-term. Reflecting coal prices, KOL has traded between $13.45 and $19.75 during the past year. Bouncing from lows, KOL traded around 2% higher yesterday from $14.26 to $14.48 on high volume. It traded another 3.6% higher in after hours to $15, possibly related to ...
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PSW Members - well, what a year for biotechs! The Biotech Index (IBB) is up a whopping 40%, beating the S&P hands down! The healthcare sector has had a number of high flying IPOs, and beat the Tech Sector in total nubmer of IPOs in the past 12 months. What could go wrong?
Phil has given his Secret Santa Inflation Hedges for 2015, and since I have been trying to keep my head above water between work, PSW, and baseball with my boys...it is time that something is put together for PSW on biotechs in 2015.
Cancer and fibrosis remain two of the hottest areas for VC backed biotechs to invest their monies. A number of companies have gone IPO which have drugs/technologies that fight cancer, includin...
Stocks got off to a rocky start on the first trading day in December, with the S&P 500 Index slipping just below 2050 on Monday. Based on one large bullish SPX options trade executed on Wednesday, however, such price action is not likely to break the trend of strong gains observed in the benchmark index since mid-October. It looks like one options market participant purchased 25,000 of the 31Dec’14 2105/2115 call spreads at a net premium of $2.70 each. The trade cost $6.75mm to put on, and represents the maximum potential loss on the position should the 2105 calls expire worthless at the end of December. The call spread could reap profits of as much as $7.30 per spread, or $18.25mm, in the event that the SPX ends the year above 2115. The index would need to rally 2.0% over the current level...
This is a non-trading topic, but I wanted to post it during trading hours so as many eyes can see it as possible. Feel free to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Last fall there was some discussion on the PSW board regarding setting up a YouCaring donation page for a PSW member, Shadowfax. Since then, we have been looking into ways to help get him additional medical services and to pay down his medical debts. After following those leads, we are ready to move ahead with the YouCaring site. (Link is posted below.) Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated; not only to help aid in his medical bill debt, but to also show what a great community this group is.
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