Health care workers move a patient into the Covid-19 department of the United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, Texas, Thursday, July 2, 2020.
Mark Felix | Getty Images
According to Matthew Harrison, Morgan Stanley's biotechnology analyst, the spread of coronavirus could increase to as many as 150,000 cases per day in the US this fall.
"We are updating our scenarios to reflect the higher persistent infection rate," said Harrison in a note on Thursday. "Our [most optimistic] bull case reflects virus control similar to that of Europe, while our [most likely] base case requires a short-term plateau followed by an increased spread in autumn. [Approximately] 150,000 new cases a day are possible without better virus control. "
Earlier in the fall, Harrison had forecast a "second wave" with new cases between 40,000 and 50,000 across the country every day. However, the recent emergence of hot spots – Arizona, Texas, Florida, and California – reflects a high infection rate, which has prompted analysts to adjust to a more pessimistic view of the pandemic.
The analyst has gained a large following on Wall Street for his success in predicting the course of the pandemic and government responses. For example, Harrison warned in April that the reopening of the US economy would be a slow and lengthy process.
"Our assumption of an increasing number of reproductions and consequently an increase in daily cases over the rest of the year is based on the fact that the spread of viruses in autumn is traditionally increased compared to summer, mainly due to more people in closed rooms," said Harrison .
The recent resurgence of new cases has forced a number of states to withdraw their reopening plans, which weighed on the stock market, which recovered massively in the second quarter in hopes of a rapid economic recovery.
Texas and Florida posted grim records for daily coronavirus deaths earlier this week, based on a seven-day moving average. The virus has infected an average of 66,805 people per day in the US for the past seven days, an increase of more than 7% compared to a A week ago, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
On Wednesday, California reported a record surge in daily infections and passed New York as the state with the most confirmed infections since the pandemic started.
To be sure, Harrison said that his projection does not take into account pharmacological interventions such as vaccines or strict blocking measures that could potentially dampen the infection rate.
There have been a number of positive messages on the vaccine front this week. The United States has agreed to pay nearly $ 2 billion to drug maker Pfizer and German partner BioNTech for 100 million coronavirus vaccines if their candidate proves safe and effective.
Another vaccine candidate from Oxford University and AstraZeneca showed a positive immune response in an early study. Earlier this week, British pharmaceutical company Synairgen announced that its new respiratory coronavirus treatment has reduced the number of hospitalized Covid 19 patients who need intensive care in a clinical trial.
Salveen Richter, a biotech analyst at Goldman Sachs, said the market for Covid-19 vaccines will be similar to the flu vaccine market, which requires annual or regular vaccinations. The analyst also cited data that shows that the global vaccine market will grow from $ 35 billion in 2018 to at least $ 40 billion in 2023.
– Michael Bloom from CNBC contributed to the reporting.
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