The markets are climbing today, a very strong pace. You might think it has something to do with the election finally being called last weekend, but that seemingly large event is relatively unimportant compared to the other big news this morning from Pfizer pharmaceuticals. The early analysis shows that the COVID-19 vaccine being developed by Pfizer seems to be 90% effective. That’s as good as the best and most widespread vaccines we have. That’s good enough to drastically cut the death rates from the disease. Equally important, at 90% efficacy, if a substantial number of a population takes the vaccine, that’s easily enough to create so-called “herd immunity” which could stall future population outbreaks.
There’s still a lot to unpack. These are early analyses, and the initial results assuredly will undergo adjustments as researchers and scientists drill into the details. We don’t know if it’s equally effective for various race and age demographics. We don’t know how much longer it will be until it’s widely distributed. We don’t know how long it will take Americans to feel safe enough to get vaccinated.
Still, there’s no other way to interpret this: this is good news, potentially great news, during a year that often feels starved for positivity. Investors are encouraged that there is real hope that the pandemic could essentially be squashed in 2021, and that’s why the markets are rallying so strongly today.