This pandemic is relentless. It continues to take thousands of lives daily and disrupt the lives of millions more. But we are also relentless in our resistance.
In the face of mounting casualties, we continue to move forward and upwards with our lives as we maneuver to protect our families, our communities and ourselves.
Our nation continues to function as we inexorably proceed with a peaceful transfer of power while juggling to find the right balance between the freedom to make a living, and the struggle to make sure that even the most vulnerable members of our community can continue living.
The greatest vulnerability of this virus is that it cannot live without us. It must have a continuous supply of susceptible hosts (that's us humans) to survive. Without this fuel of susceptible hosts, it dies.
Until now, our greatest weapon has been to put up physical barriers, such as physical distance, shields, and masks to prevent the virus from transferring from an infected person to a susceptible one.
Because the virus in invisible we don't know who is infected. We therefore must assume that everyone around us may be infected and stay apart. This is causing social, economic and psychological pressures to increase exponentially and we are desperate for relief. And it looks like we may get it.
A parallel effort has been under way that is designed to deprive this coronavirus of susceptible hosts. This weapon enables a host to resist infection from the virus, even when exposed.
The first of those vaccines has just been deployed in the U.S. after initial trials have shown it to be overwhelmingly effective. (*The graph below shows infection with (blue) and without (red) vaccine)
While deploying this new class of weapons against this coronavirus rapidly around the world will be a messy logistical challenge, I am enormously optimistic and hopeful that this is the turning point in our battle against the pandemic.
As a doctor and a scientist, I can't begin to tell you how awed I am at the ever-accelerating power and speed of innovation. This vaccine entails a completely novel technology that has enabled our collective effort to cut the time from a laboratory concept to a life-saving product by an order of magnitude, from 10 plus years, to less than a year.
The number of cases and deaths caused by COVID are frightening, and this darkness may get darker before fading to light. But it's coming.
Witness the undaunting resilience of our economy and our markets. This optimism reflects the resilience of all of us as members of our national and global community.
I don't know what the markets are going to do in the next days, weeks, or months. The best day to invest in the market is the day after you get paid. The most potent factor you have as an investor is time. Markets are unpredictable, and those who jump in and out based on emotion or "gut feelings" about tops and bottoms typically do worst of all.
Progress is messy, and there are a lot of people suffering enormous loss. There are skeptics that question the motives of pharmaceutical companies, the media, the Republicans, the Democrats, the established elites, and so forth. The skeptics in our midst and in ourselves keep us all accountable, and the process transparent and inclusive. This is all part of the mess of healthy progress.
"You never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice."
Daniel Ruben, MD, MPH, MBA
Life Strategies Advisors
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*The data on Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine is from FDA Advisory Panel Briefing on 12/10/2020 https://www.fda.gov/media/144245/download