Trend watch and what’s new this week
New cases and hospitalizations in the U.S. continue to climb due to the Delta variant (slide 3). However, the new cases remain largely contained within the hotspot states (slide 7). For example, through last week, Florida, Texas, and California accounted for more than 40% of new infections, with Florida alone at 18%. And this week, cases are declining in Texas and California (Florida hasn’t released its weekly data yet).
Importantly, U.S. deaths have barely budged, which is yet another sign that vaccinations help reduce COVID-related deaths (slide 3). Additional drugs and consistent treatment protocols are also assisting.
Still, masking requirements and vaccine mandates are also gathering momentum across the U.S. and will likely increase.
There’s been some softness within travel-related data, though it appears to be caused by typical seasonal weakness rather than the Delta variant. For instance, the typical seasonal pattern for air passengers show counts tend to decline in August, as was the case in 2019 (slide 8).
Lastly, we highlight the continued improvement in apartment rental payments (slide 9). This is a great sign, though it illustrates further repair is needed. Similarly, the trend of mortgage forbearance (slide 10) shows most Americans have weathered the pandemic fairly well.
The COVID-related data has been mixed in recent days. Meanwhile, the softness in travel-related data appears to be seasonal differences rather than the result of the Delta strain. Thus, we remain cautiously optimistic the economic impact due to the Delta variant in the U.S. will be minimal.
Yet, further reopening in the U.S. does appear to have stalled. We’ve heard of many more large companies pushing back their return to office plans. But, those are in the future, not now.
Again, COVID-19 is not fully behind us and, as the Delta variant demonstrated, there will be uneven patches. Yet, the world is getting much better at managing COVID-19. More importantly, it appears that further COVID-19 variants and related outbreaks will not fully shutdown the global economy.
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