Germany reportedly set to extend lockdown until the end of March

Business Insider reports on the matter

Adding that German authorities are also mulling loosening lockdown measures a little more but general restrictions should still apply through to the end of the month.
For some context, the current restrictions are set to run through to 7 March but the government and state leaders are to meet later this week (on 3 March) to reach a decision on how to proceed next.
Just take note though that some regions are trying to push forward with easing of restrictions as the lockdown since November is growing more weary by the day. As of this week, hair salons, hardware stores and flower shops are able to open in certain states.

Italy reports the most new covid cases since January 9

Uptick in cases?

I wrote earlier about the potential for another wave in cases. Today Italy reported 19,866 new cases, which is up from 16,424 a day ago and is the most since January 9.
Uptick in cases?

The US and a few other countries can seemingly plow through high cases and deaths but much of the developed world will shut down again (or stay shut down) if/when cases rise. The vaccine timeline is also longer.

AstraZeneca tells EU it expects to deliver less than half the COVID-19 vaccines it was contracted to supply in Q2

Via Reuters info, citing an unnamed source, and EU official

  • AstraZeneca to deliver under 90 mln doses in Q2
  • Company had committed to supplying EU with 180 mln doses
  • AstraZeneca says it is working to increase productivity
  • Says it could make up the shortfall in Q3
Adds Reuters:
  • The expected shortfall, which has not previously been reported, follows a big reduction in supplies in the first quarter and could hit the EU’s ability to meet its target of vaccinating 70% of adults by summer. 
If this is correct it’ll be a negative for the EUR as recovery on the continent lags other areas of the globe.

Reports that Pfizer’s vaccine is two thirds less effective against mutant virus variants is not fresh news

Media reporting in past hours that the COVID-19 vaccine stimulated 2/3rds lower levels of neutralising antibodies was reported last week.

Its not fresh news.
This is relevant to the South African variant.

Another grim milestone passed, US COVID-19 deaths climb above half a million

Johns Hopkins data

US President Biden warned weeks ago the toll would eventually rise to 600K
Previous US President Trump outlined other, even worse, scenarios:
Johns Hopkins data 

German health minister says that data shows virus variants are spreading quickly in Germany

Comments by German health minister, Jens Spahn

Germany
  • New UK variant now makes up for more than 20%
  • But infections are still decreasing despite higher proportion of new variants
  • 10 million vaccine doses will be delivered next week
  • More deliveries mean that pace of vaccinations can speed up significantly
Although the virus situation in Germany is taking a turn for the better, lawmakers remain guarded on the spread of virus variants and medical capacity.
For now, the lockdown is extended to March but we’ll see in the coming weeks how the situation develops and if the government feels that enough progress is made to relax restrictions a little ahead of Easter.

People are being re-infected with the new covid variant

WHO chief scientist says

WHO chief scientist Swaminthan says there are now reports of people getting reinfected with new variants of the coronavirus.
Earlier this week, Boris Johnson said we may need to think of covid vaccines as an annual or regular event.
That’s not what anyone wants to hear but the market doesn’t care.

Germany reportedly to extend lockdown until 14 March

Reuters reports on the matter

The report cites a draft resolution for the meeting between the government and state premiers, and that fits into the timeline as cited by the report from Bild here.

 

For some context, the latest lockdown measures are set to run through to 14 February so the extension is essentially for another month.
Merkel will be meeting with state premiers later today to decide on that.

Germany reports 8,072 new coronavirus cases, 813 deaths in latest update today

The death count is still a little worrying but cases continue to level off below 10,000 so that is some good news

Germany
This is the fourth consecutive day that new cases is seen below 10,000 – the first time since October last year – so that is somewhat encouraging. Total active cases across the country eases further to ~164,300 and that is the lowest since 31 October.
Should things continue down this path, hospitalisations and deaths should also eventually trend lower but there will be a bit of a lag time to ease the burden on medical capacity.
As of yesterday, there were 3,846 (-111) virus patients requiring intensive care with there being 4,616 (17%) intensive care beds still available.
Despite the virus situation showing improvement, reports yesterday suggest that the government may only slowly and gradually lift restrictions due to fears of possible virus variants/mutations spreading across the country.

Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines not effective against South African variant – study

Troubling development

Troubling development
There is a small bent towards risk aversion in early trading and I suspect it will worsen on a report that the Oxford/AstraZeneca is not effective against preventing mild to moderate infections of the South African variant of covid-19.
A soon-to-be published study of 2026 mostly healthy and young people showed it did not appear to offer protection (update: it’s now confirmed). None were hospitalized or died but the study says it’s too early to draw any conclusions about severe cases.
Earlier reports from Johnson & Johnson and Novavax also warned their vaccines were less effective against the strain. Studies are ongoing. Another study showed the Moderna vaccine was shown to be significantly less effective against the strain and the company is working on a booster shot and a reformulated vaccine.
In terms of markets, they’ve been able to shrug vaccine setbacks off but we’re coming off the best week for US equities since November so there’s some vulnerability. Commodity currencies are slight lower in (very) early trading.