Corporate DispatchPro

Biden’s vaccine pledge looks too modest


President Joe Biden wants all Americans to be eligible for a shot by May 1 and for the country to be on a path closer to normal by the July Fourth holiday. He may be too modest. Vaccine production rates and real-time data show things are moving more quickly.

Over 19 percent of Americans, and over 62 percent of those over 65, have already received at least one dose of a vaccine according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The effect of that, combined with falling numbers of Covid-19 cases, is already percolatin­g through the economy, reviving activity in areas hard hit by fearful consumers.

Take air travel. The U.S. Transporta­tion Security Administra­tion tracks passengers going through airport security. Last April, volume was less than 5 percent that of the same date in 2019. In March it had recovered to about 45 percent. This is 10 percentage points higher than it was a month ago.

Crowded restaurant­s tell a similar story. Opentable’s data shows that seated diners were down 46 percent in the U.S. compared to the same date in 2019. A month ago, the figure was down 59 percent. And Tomtom traffic reports show rising congestion in the past few weeks in American cities ranging from New York to Los Angeles.

Now consider that Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson estimate they will deliver enough additional shots between them, according to Breakingvi­ews calculatio­ns, to vaccinate 100 percent of the U.S. population before the end of June. Biden may be setting goals that aren’t too hard to beat – a departure from his predecesso­r, who predicted the country could be back to normal by last April.

While bond investors have caught on to the revving economy, as 10-year Treasury yields at a 52-week high imply growing inflationa­ry

pressures, some Wall Street analysts may also be behind the curve. Despite the pent-up demand for flights and vacations, analysts think revenue at Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines and Jetblue Airways won’t recover to 2019 levels until the latter half of 2022, according to Refinitiv, and 2023 for cruise company Carnival, and hotelier Hilton Worldwide. They may be in for a happy surprise.

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