Sep. 18, 2020

COVID-19 VACCINES ….WHERE ARE WE NOW?

  • Vaccine leaders are making their trial plans public to increase transparency and generate trust:
    • Moderna: will take a preliminary look at the efficacy results after 53 participants have contracted COVID-19 and then again after 106, and finally after 151 cases.
      • Considered highly effective if cases are reduced by 74%
      • If the vaccine is 60% effective, they would continue the trial to produce more conclusive results
      • Results not likely until November, however it is ‘technically possible’ to have results in October
      • CEO Stephane Bancel says it will likely be the 2nd half of 2021 before enough vaccine is available for every American who wants a shot.
    • Pfizer: is using a 32 case benchmark with additional analysis at 62 and 92 cases
      • 29,012 participants around the world
      • Conclusive efficacy results are likely by the end of October
      • This study has been deemed “aggressive” and engineered to end too early by Eric Topol, professor of molecular medicine at Scripps Research Institute
    • CDC says they need $6 billion to distribute the vaccine across the US.
  • Ontario is capping outdoor gatherings at 25 (vs 100) and indoor gatherings at 10 (vs 50).
  • UK is imposing further lockdown restrictions in large parts of England and have not ruled out a full lock down to control the virus.
  • More than 25% of Canadians from diverse ethnic groups have reported discrimination during the pandemic.

ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT

  • The federally owned Trans Mountain pipeline carried a record 350,000 bpd of crude and refined products in August, bringing in revenue of $31.5 million. 
  • International Energy Agency says oil demand is set to slow to 91.7 million bpd (vs 91.9 million previously) for the rest of 2020.
  • For the first time, 6 ‘megapack’ batteries from Tesla helped balance supply and demand in Britain’s electricity market this week. 
  • Google has set a goal to use only renewable power by 2030.
  • Circle K owner, Alimentation Couche-Tard, is adding charging stations in Quebec plus the west coast of the US and Canada. They are also developing at-home vehicle charging.
  • On September 16th, Portland had the worst air quality in the world due to the wildfires.

TIDBITS

  • Nearly 25% of Canadian ‘major’ credit card holders were unable to make monthly payments in May and June.
  • BC unveiled a $2 billion economic plan focused on jobs. Speculation is that this could be a precursor to a provincial election.
  • Federal Reserve is indicating rates will be near 0 through 2023 to boost jobs and inflation. Also said more fiscal stimulus is likely required.
  • Amazon is hiring 100,000 employees in the US and Canada plus opening 1,000 warehouses across the US in suburban neighbourhoods to better facilitate same day delivery.
  • Red Deer RCMP stopped a Tesla driving 150 km/hr with the driver and passenger reclined and napping. (the police sirens woke them up)
  • A battery powered version of the Ford F-150 goes on sale in 2022.
  • GM is exploring the market for ‘flying cars’, including whether to build them.