Like many people my age (and up), I’ve been fully vaccinated for weeks.
My calendar is rapidly filling up.
I already have plans over the next few months to visit Texas, Colorado, South Dakota, New York, Amsterdam, Paris, Florence and Rome.
Yet I still speak with vaccinated friends and neighbors who won’t even go out to dinner.
They are heavy consumers of media scare stories. And they are afraid.
“Haven’t you seen the news?” one man asked me. “The pandemic is worse than ever. And you can still get COVID, even if you’ve been vaccinated.”
His first statement is true from a global standpoint, but false from a national one.
His second is technically true but statistically irrelevant.
Let’s start with the pandemic…
Yes, it’s still raging worldwide because the majority of those vaccinated are in the developed world, while approximately 85% of the world’s population is in the developing world.
(Although vaccines are on their way to emerging markets too.)
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a quarter of Americans are fully vaccinated. More than 130 million are partially vaccinated. And tens of millions more have natural immunity because they’ve already had COVID.
Despite some community flare-ups and local hot spots, the pandemic is in retreat in the United States.
Yet you wouldn’t know that by listening to the national media.
“Virus Roars Across U.S.,” The Washington Post proclaimed on its front page Friday morning.
Yes, there are places like the Midwest and Michigan where things have gotten worse lately.
Numbers – and pictures – speak louder than words.
Here is what has actually happened with new cases, hospitalizations and deaths since the pandemic peaked during the holidays…
In an endless attempt to attract eyeballs (and advertising dollars), the media twists events out of context and distorts perspectives.
Like me, you’ve probably seen a boatload of stories about all the new coronavirus variants cropping up, some of them more transmissible than the original.
(More transmissible, not more deadly.)
It’s only revealed near the end of these pieces – and sometimes not at all – that current vaccines are highly effective against these variants.
How about vaccinated individuals getting the disease themselves?
There have been a statistically small number of cases where vaccinated men and women have gotten COVID-19.
But here’s the good news. If you’ve been vaccinated, you are far less likely to be hospitalized… or to die of the disease.
Few things in life offer perfect safety. No doubt you realized that before the pandemic.
Any one of us could get a bad case of the flu and die, for instance. Thousands do every year.
But that fact didn’t stop us from living a normal life.
And it shouldn’t stop you from living one now if you’re vaccinated.
I get letters from angry readers saying we should do something to reform the media.
That’s not easy in a country where everyone has a First Amendment right to speak their minds.
And we shouldn’t want to, even if we could.
We live in a world where people compete for jobs, promotions, mates, scarce resources and… investment returns.
If millions of people want to believe the media’s unremittingly negative assessment of our admittedly flawed world – and hide out in cash and bonds – it sure makes things easier for the rest of us.
After all, over the last week we’ve learned that…
- Employment gains last month were the strongest since August.
- Jobless claims fell to their lowest level of the pandemic.
- Retail sales in March blew past expectations, soaring nearly 10%.
- Restaurants and bars reported a record 13% increase in sales.
- U.S. factories had the biggest production increase in eight months.
- First quarter corporate profits are beating expectations.
- Airlines forecast that summer sales will top 2019’s.
- A record 3.5 million Americans a day are getting vaccinated.
The S&P 500 just hit an all-time high, and the Dow has crossed the 34,000 mark for the first time.
Why? Because the American economic recovery is gathering steam.
Morgan Stanley expects the economy to grow 8.1% this year. That would be the strongest calendar-year growth since 1951.
Last year, we experienced the deepest, swiftest recession ever. And this is turning out to be the fastest recovery.
That’s good news, indeed.
But only if you know it, believe it… and act on it.
Click here to watch Alex’s latest video update.