UK covid cases at 7393 today

UK covid cases at 7393 today

The latest UK covid case numbers are out and they aren't painting a great picture. The 7393 cases are the highest since February 27.

Thursday numbers tend to be on the high side because of weekly effects but this rise is part of a steady acceleration since the final week of May.

To be sure, this is a long ways off from the +60K cases in January but it's worrisome and here's why:

  1. The UK isn't seeing rising hospitalization (at least not yet) and that's a sign that vaccines dampen the severity of the virus. At the same time, 35% of Britons are still unvaccinated and it's not going to help them. So as it spreads, there will be more and more unvaccinated people getting sick
  2. There is talk about delaying full reopening plans by 4 weeks. This might be the nail in the coffin
  3. The AZ vaccine doesn't look as good and that likely means the same for J&J and some other candidates. That will drive an increasing preference for Pfizer/Moderna but those companies will run into capacity constraints and that will slow down global vaccination, or at least effective vaccination
  4. UK cases are increasingly the Delta variant and the rising cases speak to its transmisibility. As it spread globally to places where vaccine uptake is very low, the risk of severe outbreaks rises

Overall, the market has been ignoring covid for 8 months and I certainly don't think this is a gamechanger but it dims the outlook for commodities, particularly in the near term.