Crude has been the underdog since Covid-19 broke onto the scene in early March of 2020. We have seen historic contango, negative trading, inventories at the verge of 100% capacity. However, we have also seen refineries curtailing production and shutting down, crude breaking technical level after level, OPEC + committing to decreased outputs, a Texas winter weather creating supply concerns, and a slow steady recovery of crude as inventories are drawn down and production resumes. Crude has built a full head of steam and looks to be an unstoppable force and a surefire pick to rise to glory yet again for 2021. March Madness is known for its volatile emotional up and downs and surprise sleeper teams with unimaginable upsets. Will 2021 and a third European lockdown amid vaccine safety concerns be the sleeper to upset the rise of Crude?!
This week the United States passed 500,000 Covid-19 related deaths, a devastating milestone. While we continue our fight against this global pandemic, there are signs that things will get better sooner rather than later. Today the FDA endorsed Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use. This is welcomed news for the fight against Covid-19 and critical step in getting back to a sense of normalcy. With this endorsement this now brings a third vaccine to the U.S. marketplace with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines already being rolled out.
In an effort to help speed up vaccine distribution, Walmart, Starbucks, Amazon, and Microsoft are all working to help get COVID-19 vaccinations out to the public. Working alongside President Biden, their goal is to administer 100 million vaccines in the first 100 days of his administration. Recent results show that even though 39 million doses of the vaccine have been distributed, only 2.8 million people have been fully vaccinated.
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.
This year has proven to be anything but normal, especially within the oil Industry. COVID-19 has certainly dampened oil demand throughout the world since March, but light is showing at the end of the tunnel. In just the past week we have had two highly effective vaccine candidates prove that our brilliant scientists may get us and oil demand back to “normal” by the end of 2021.
News of the Pfizer vaccine is spreading like wildfire around the world today. Covid-19 has killed more than 1.2 million people the world over. Today, Pfizer announced a vaccine that has a 90% effective rate with no serious safety concerns. If these numbers are to hold true, Pfizer’s new vaccine would hold up to the childhood disease vaccines like measles. Additionally, Pfizer says it expects to have 15 to 20 million vaccines ready in the US by year’s end provided the FDA issue emergency authorization later this month. They also predict to have over 100 million doses ready worldwide.
With the global COVID-19 case count reaching 20 million, Russia has approved a vaccine for the disease. There is, however, suspicion around the approval since the trials have yet to conclude the Phase 3 testing. To solidify the vaccine approval, Russian President Vladimir Putin, stated the vaccine is working “effectively enough”- far too vague for most medical professionals throughout the world. What does “effectively enough” constitute? With the vaccination trials being rushed already through the world, how many corners are being cut by the nations at the head of the vaccination development? Like many questions that hint toward political gains and propaganda, we may never truly know the answer to how many corners are being cut on a vaccination approval that could indeed affect the entire globe for better or worse.
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.
As we move into week six of social distancing and stay-at-home orders throughout the country, many states are preparing to lift restrictions beginning this week. CNN recently conducted an interview with Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft. His foundation has studied pandemics for years and is now involved with the fight against COVID-19. Gates told CNN during his interview that the country can begin to lift restrictions safely if they have the capacity to aggressively test for and trace new cases of the virus.
Yesterday afternoon the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine made a new discovery in the fight against the COVID-19 virus with a possible vaccination they hope can be rolled out sometime this year.