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Variant Strains Become The Most Difficult Problem in Economic Recovery

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On June 16, the Federal Reserve concluded its two-day monetary policy meeting. It was announced after the meeting that while announcing that the interest rate level will remain unchanged, it will significantly raise the inflation rate forecast for this year in the United States to 3.4%. Economic forecasts released after the meeting showed that Fed officials’ forecast for the median federal funds rate by the end of 2023 rose to 0.6%, a significant increase from the March level. All kinds of "hawkish" signals intensified market concerns about policy tightening faster than expected. The three major stock indexes of the New York stock market all closed down on the 16th.

   It is worth noting that the Fed reiterated that the economic outlook will largely depend on the development of the epidemic, but also stated that “progress in vaccination may continue to reduce the impact of the public health crisis on the economy”. The analysis believes that the Fed understands the impact of the epidemic on the economy, but is a little optimistic about the country's vaccination situation. The rate of vaccination in the United States has been slowing down recently, and the goal of "providing 70% of American adults with at least one dose of the new crown vaccine by July 4" may be difficult to achieve. From a global perspective, the negative impact of mutant strains on economic recovery is increasing. The final direction of the epidemic in the United States and its impact on economic recovery remain unclear.

     On June 18, World Health Organization Chief Scientist Sumia Swaminathan stated that the transmission capacity of the Delta variant of the new coronavirus, which was first discovered in India, has increased significantly and has spread to more than 80 countries around the world. This strain is becoming the main pathogenic variant causing the current global new crown pneumonia epidemic, and it is still mutating. In the United States, the proportion of new cases infected with the delta mutant strain rose from 6% to 10% within a week; in the United Kingdom, the number of infections with the mutant strain rose sharply, accounting for more than 60% of new cases in the United Kingdom. From the 17th to the 19th, there were more than 10,000 confirmed cases for 3 consecutive days. This is true in developed countries, let alone the vast number of developing countries that lack medical care and medicine.

   The rapid spread of mutated strains is a wake-up call from at least two aspects.

  On the one hand, simply treating vaccination as a "magic bullet" is not conducive to the fight against the epidemic. From the perspective of defense control in the United States, the West, and even in India, some places too much emphasis on the importance of vaccination, but the actual situation shows that only by adopting strict epidemic control measures and speeding up vaccination can the spread of the virus be truly and effectively curbed. For example, more than half of adults in the United Kingdom have completed two doses of vaccination, but due to inadequate control, there are already signs of a third wave of epidemics.

   On the other hand, a complete victory over the epidemic cannot be achieved in individual countries or regions alone. Since the outbreak of the epidemic, the United States has not been very concerned about global cooperation in the fight against the epidemic. It is especially selfish in the production, acquisition and distribution of vaccines, and even obsessed with politicizing the origin of the epidemic. All of these are manifestations of extremely short-sightedness, which not only does not help the imminent global anti-epidemic cooperation, but also makes the United States ignore the impact and harm that the mutant strain may bring, thereby threatening the fragile world economic recovery process. After all, no country can survive the epidemic alone. (Source of this article: Economic Daily, Author: Lian Jun)

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