An early summer morning at Meek’s Bay on Lake Tahoe
As we come out of the Memorial Day weekend and head into the summer months, we seem to be living in two worlds. Much of the nation remains shuttered, in an effort to combat the novel coronavirus. Schools are still closed. Businesses in many industries are either still shut down or only partially open. Sports and entertainment venues remain closed. At Springwater, we continue to work remotely and have no immediate plans to return to either of our offices (Beaverton, OR and Santa Cruz, CA).
But, like you, we’ve seen images in the news and on social media showing that many Americans have come out of isolation and are attempting to resume a more normal lifestyle. Beaches in the coastal sunshine states were crowded. Bars and restaurants in many states were busy. Barber shops and hair salons began serving patrons in desperate need of haircuts. Retailers began to see some traffic.
America is re-opening. This is happening even though many parts of the country haven’t met the guidelines recommended by leading health policy experts, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. State and local government officials are attempting to balance the health of their citizens with the need to get their economies reopened.
As we’ve shared many times there are certain things that must happen for the country to safely resume normal activities on a broad scale.
Robust, accurate testing for COVID-19. Can you get a test, if you want one? Probably not. Our ability to test is still not at the levels we need, some four months after the virus was first detected in the US.
Contact tracing. Public health officials need the ability to identify everyone whom a positively-diagnosed person had contact. While health care organizations have made progress in developing a force of contact tracers, many areas lack the numbers they need.
Care for those who are infected. There is no treatment. So, we need to provide the best supportive care possible. Fortunately, our health care system seems to have the capacity to handle a controlled resurgence of the virus, should it occur.
Quarantine those who have been in contact with an infected person. This remains a bit of an unknown. What happens with people who are “contacts?” We have yet to learn of a comprehensive plan to quarantine people for 14 days other than asking them to stay home. If the virus rebounds in the fall, we will need a way to quarantine large numbers of identified contacts.
We need a treatment for this virus. We’ve lost nearly one hundred thousand Americans to it, because we can’t treat it.
A vaccine is the ultimate objective. There are several promising vaccines in clinical trials. The President has indicated there will be a vaccine by the end of the year under “Project Warp Speed.”
Vaccine distribution. How do you vaccinate over 330 million people? It will require a logistics system that only the federal government can assemble.
Last Friday the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 9 points, or 0.10%. The S&P 500 Index rose 7 points, or 0.24%. The Dow ended the week up 3.3% and the S&P 500 Index rose 3.2%. The 10-year Treasury Note currently yields 0.66%.
Globally, across 187 countries, there have been over 5.5 million confirmed cases and over 346,000 deaths. In the US, over 1.6 million have been infected and nearly 100,000 have perished.
As we enter the final week of May, we want you to know that we plan to adjust our writing to Mondays and Fridays during June. We will, of course, communicate more frequently if the circumstances warrant. But the nation seems to be entering a period of gradual re-opening. We won’t know the consequences for several weeks, because of the virus’s incubation period, the nature of its transmission, and our evolving ability to test, contract trace and treat.
Memorial Day weekend offers us an opportunity to remember all those who died while serving in the US military. The day was originally called Decoration Day, and it dates back to the years following the American Civil War. It became a federal holiday in 1971.
We believe in expressing gratitude, and today we’re grateful for the following:
- The women and men who wore a military uniform and who were killed or injured while serving the nation. Thank you for your service.
- Gold Star families who have made an awesome sacrifice to the nation. We are indebted to you for sharing your loved one with us.
- The brightest research scientists on the planet who are searching for a vaccine for the novel coronavirus. Thank you for your tireless work.
Keep the faith, be safe and stay healthy.
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