If you’re one of the many millions of Americans who have money in stocks through a 401K, IRA or small day-trading account (No, AOC, all market investors aren’t greedy capitalist billionaires), then you might be panicking over the recent plunge in the market. I can’t give you financial advice or assure you that all will be well, but I can safely say that over time, a diversified portfolio of stocks tends to grow, despite periodic drops. And I can explain why this current plummet is due almost entirely to the incompetence of the current occupants of the White House.
The Biden Administration has been all over the map with its chaotic messaging about COVID, stoking fear of the Delta variant to try to goose lagging vaccination numbers. This fear and confusion have spooked the market due to worries that the government might impose another pointless economic lockdown. I have to assume that at some point, the truth will prevail and the market will rebound (if Biden doesn’t K.O. it with inflation, which is another story.) Here are some facts about the current situation to help calm the artificial panic.
Contrary to what President Biden claimed, the Delta variant is NOT “deadlier” than the original virus. Just as with most viruses, it’s mutated to a form that spreads easier, since it’s trying to stay alive as there are fewer and fewer potential hosts, thanks to vaccines and natural immunity in those who’ve recovered. But it’s actually less dangerous than the original virus.
As the Wall Street Journal reports, the recent spike in cases in the UK has not resulted in hospitalizations or deaths anywhere near those of the original pandemic. The previous peak in the UK came in January with a seven-day average of 50,000 cases, out of which 40,000 required hospitalization and there were 1,000 deaths. The latest surge was 25,000, with 2,000 hospitalized and an average daily death rate of less than 20.
Bottom line: the Delta variant can kill and must be taken seriously, but it is not deadlier than the original. While no vaccine is 100% effective, the new cases are mostly among the unvaccinated and those without natural immunity. The vaccinated who do catch it are more likely to have mild symptoms. A case could be made that shutting down the economy again, with the attendant bankruptcies, suicides, depression, drug abuse and postponed medical care for other problems, would be deadlier than the virus.
I won’t tell someone else that they have to get vaccinated, but know that these are the risks you’re taking, and they’re serious. But it’s not the apocalypse. The spike is caused by the virus itself fighting against dying out. The worst thing the Administration could do is exactly what they’re doing: shredding their own credibility by trying to incite a needless panic.
To paraphrase FDR, the virus may be scary, but we can only make it worse if our leaders gin up fear of fear itself. I miss the days when Democrat Presidents occasionally said things that made sense.