All Eyes on OPEC+

Now that the Ever Given has been dislodged from the Suez Canal, the oil market can look forward to the OPEC+ meeting on Thursday and the outlook for possible resurgences of COVID-19 to determine future price direction.

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United States Begins to Issue COVID-19 Vaccines to High-Risk Health Care Workers

On December 14, 2020 the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines were administered across the United States after months of hearing positive trial results. Sandra Lindsay, a nurse in the intensive care unit at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, was the first person to receive the vaccine outside the trial phase. Lindsay’s vaccination was televised in an effort to instill faith in the vaccine and its legitimacy. Lindsay stated, “I think also as a leader in the organization that I lead by example. I don’t ask people to do anything that I would not do myself”. New York felt the force of this virus heavily as it left over 35,000 people dead and dampened the economy quite a bit. With the COVID-19 related death count exceeding 300,000 nationwide, this vaccine has been highly anticipated.

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Update: COVID-19 Restrictions

The latest update on COVID-19 cases shows a trend of cases increasing in all states except for six. Question is, what are these states doing differently? Restrictions are rapidly changing by the day in many states and major cities, however that’s not the case in all states. Some states have not made any new restrictions and remain unchanged, some have eased and even have been lifted. To find the most updated restrictions for your state visit, https://www.usatoday.com/storytelling/coronavirus-reopening-america-map/.

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Shopping for the Holidays

The holiday shopping season is kicking off earlier than ever amid the pandemic, and retailers are shifting their approach to seasonal hiring in order to keep up with changing demand. Companies are looking for more warehouse and call center workers to meet their growing demands from online shoppers, opting for home delivery or curbside pick-up. New rules for in-store shopping are in place making employees and shoppers safe by sanitizing shelves and checking temperatures at the door. Some retailers are even boosting pay and offering perks like flexible hours and childcare to attract workers.

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Mid-week highlights

Last night marked the first presidential debate of 2020, and it was interesting to say the least. 69% of people in a CBS poll said they were “annoyed with the event”. During the debate both candidates threw insults and repeatedly interrupted each other while Chris Wallace tried to control the conversation.

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One Step Closer

Johnson & Johnson has made one more step closer towards a vaccine to fight off the coronavirus. Even though they may be a couple months behind the other companies that have already made it to phase 3 trials, their new vaccine has possibly more advantages over the others.

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Virus Uptick

After 5000 Universities and Colleges recently reopened across the U.S., new hotspots of coronavirus cases are emerging. States such as South Dakota and Iowa are beginning to see an uptick in confirmed cases resulting in uncertainty when we might see progress made with offsetting the virus.

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Mask Mandate Reaches Truck Stops

One week from today another industry will take part in the efforts to contain the coronavirus. Yesterday, Love’s Travel Stops announced starting July 29th all 520 of their locations are requiring customers to wear face masks before entering their stores. Love’s joins the growing list of other retailers who have implemented a mask policy. Love’s President Shane Wharton states, “We are joining other retailers by implementing a face-covering policy for customers, and will continue to follow the guidance of health officials and adjust our practices to help keep our customers and team members safe.”

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COVID-19 vaccine trials

To combat COVID-19, Moderna launched a Phase 1 study consisting of 45 participants in an effort to create a vaccine on an expedited timeline. March 16th was the start of the Phase 1 testing. The initial group of 45 people were divided into groups of 15 individuals.   Each grouping received 2 doses of treatment, but each group received a different dosage of the proposed vaccine (25, 100, or 250 microgram dosages). The subjects who received both doses, showed higher levels of virus-defeating antibodies when compared to individuals who had recovered from the coronavirus. The majority of participants who received both dosages did report adverse reactions, as to be expected during the trials.

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