Your Evening Briefing: Covid-19 Mask Prices Hit the Roof

Thursday 01 13, 22
Your Evening Briefing: Covid-19 Mask Prices Hit the Roof

Article from Bloomberg

By: David Rovella

Chancellor Olaf Scholz issued a strong appeal for Germans to get vaccinated against Covid-19, saying failing to do so puts others at risk as his nation grapples with the fast-spreading omicron variant. Infection rates are falling in London, raising hopes the outbreak there is in retreat. And in the U.S., the potential for a new government recommendation on mask usage unleashed a scramble for the N95 version, sending prices skyrocketing. Here’s the latest on the pandemic

Bloomberg is tracking the coronavirus pandemic and the progress of global vaccination efforts.

Here are today’s top stories

The U.S. economy grew at a modest pace in the final weeks of 2021, but business expectations cooled in some places as omicron spread. While a government report Wednesday showed inflation jumped to 7% last year—a number that’s in line with Wall Street expectations—economists expect it to drop back to 3% over the course of 2022. When consumers start to see that decline is the big question. Here’s your markets wrap.

Mask price graph

Cliff Asness is fighting the urge to say “I told you so.” As Wall Street prepares for a new era of tighter monetary policy, the co-founder of AQR Capital Management is riding a historic comeback in his beloved value trade. The firm’s $1 billion Absolute Return fund just posted the best five days in its 23-year history with a 10% gain. Still, Asness says, “it’s too early to gloat.”

British fund manager Terry Smith meanwhile is steering clear of value stocks and companies that will benefit from economic reopenings. The head of the giant Fundsmith Equity fund said the market may have already priced in those coming upswings for airlines and hotels. 

A gauge of Chinese technology shares rallied by the most in three months as investors took advantage of attractive valuations in the battered sector and the prospect of looser monetary policy conditions.

Brazilians’ worries about unemployment and the latest Covid-19 surge continue to chip away at far-right President Jair Bolsonaro’s popularity, a poll found, leaving left wing ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on track to win this year’s election.

The balance of power between human and coronavirus is shifting, Therese Raphael and Sam Fazeli write in Bloomberg Opinion. Better armed than in the past, our species no longer needs to hide in a bunker waiting for a viral wave to pass, they contend, saying it’s time for the response to change.

Behind the fading precautions against Covid-19 is a sense the surge is plateauing and deaths have decoupled thanks to vaccines and treatments, Lionel Laurent writes in Bloomberg Opinion. While pandemic fatigue has taken hold of the public, literal fatigue is crushing healthcare workers. Hospitals are buckling as record infections push up admissions, colliding with a depleted workforce. We used to clap for nurses—now we let them burn out.