A timeline to normality, stock market exuberance, and a C-Suite reading list

People are seen at the beach on April 17, 2020 in Jacksonville Beach, Florida.


The White House this week released a plan to open up the country, and just yesterday hundreds crowded newly reopened beaches in Florida. In Europe, six countries are starting to lift restrictions, including Spain and Italy. 

But, as Insider global editor-in-chief Nich Carlson writes here, a return to any sense of normality is likely a long way off, as the world awaits immunity testing, an effective treatment, and a vaccine. Here’s the latest:

Immunity testing

  • Blake Dodge reported that US medical-supply companies are struggling to get coronavirus tests thanks to roadblocks in China. Authorities there are instructing at least one major manufacturer of approved coronavirus antibody tests to fulfill orders in certain countries before those in the US, the startup Scanwell Health told Blake. 
  • Blake also reported on the challenges Scanwell Health has faced in trying to make the first at-home test that can tell if you’ve had the coronavirus. It reveals a crucial roadblock to reopening the US, she reported. 
  • Meanwhile, Hugh Langley reported that Alphabet’s Verily told five US senators that it has run more than 7,000 tests for COVID-19 and plans to keep the mandatory Google sign-in. You can read his story and letter Verily sent here.
  • And Martin Coulter reported that the US government is in talks with AI startup Onfido to roll out immunity passports for those recovered from COVID-19. The UK government meanwhile is in talks with facial recognition firms including Yoti and IDNow to develop its own COVID-19 immunity passports.

An effective treatment

The stock market popped on Friday after it was reported that remdesivir, an antiviral drug from Gilead, had seen promising results. Andrew Dunn reported:

The reporters Adam Feuerstein and Matthew Herper wrote Thursday for STAT that a leaked video recording showed University of Chicago doctors describing positive outcomes for the vast majority of a small group of COVID-19 patients who took the antiviral drug, called remdesivir.

But as Andrew explained, biotech analysts are urging caution on the latest data. From Andrew’s story:

The UBS analyst Navin Jacob cautioned that the University of Chicago trial represented about 3% of Gilead’s clinical-trial program. While Jacob said he was “encouraged” by the report, he also noted “many caveats” given the lack of a control group and no detailed data on how healthy or sick the patients were.

You can read the story in full here:

Not ‘a zero’ or ‘a silver bullet’: Biotech analysts are urging caution on the latest data on Gilead’s coronavirus drug as stocks surge

A vaccine

As for a vaccine, lots of folks have been talking about an 18-month timeline.  But Andrew reported that SVB Leerink analyst Geoffrey Porges thinks there’s a less than 20% chance that we will have a widely available vaccine that is proven effective in 2021.

“No one’s done all those pieces and then said 18 months,” Porges said. “They’ve just effectively taken Tony Fauci’s ‘not for 18 months,’ and that’s become gospel.”

You can read the story here:

A top Wall Street analyst is ‘deeply skeptical’ of Anthony Fauci’s 18-month timeline for a coronavirus vaccine. He told us there’s only a 50% chance we’ll have one by 2023.

Lastly, Morgan Stanley researchers this week released their own timeline for how they think all of the above will come together. You can read more on that here:

Morgan Stanley just released a comprehensive timeline of the coronavirus outbreak. Here’s when analysts think the US will increase testing, get a vaccine, and finally return to work.

And in related news, Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman, who had coronavirus, this week explained how he’s thinking about getting people back into the office safely.

stock market

Stock market exuberance

The Dow surged on Friday, locking in the second straight week of stock market gains. That’s even as US weekly jobless claims hit 5.2 million, wiping out all jobs created since the Great Recession in just four weeks. That dichotomy has some questioning whether the stock market has gotten ahead of reality. For example:

  • A 47-year market vet explains why he sees the economy’s ‘super-cycle’ hurtling towards depression — and lays out his case for an 80% stock plunge later this year
  • “Keep some powder dry”: A Wall Street chief strategist explains why stocks could repeat an ugly crash that’s only occurred once since World War II
  • ‘Don’t be stupid right now’: The legendary author of ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’ breaks down why a coronavirus-led depression is inevitable — and shares the 3 investments he’s making to stay safe
  • ‘I’ve gone to cash’: Mark Cuban outlines his coronavirus investing strategy ahead of another ‘leg down’ in markets — and says now is the time to buy real estate
  • ‘The great meltdown’: A prominent bear says investors are dismissing a rare drop in consumer prices — and warns it could be more damaging to markets than the pending recession


C-Suite reading list

Martin Coulter reports: 

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced businesses all around the world to shut down their offices and tell employees to work from home. 

Amazon, Facebook, and Google are just a few of the biggest companies to close down their offices all around the world, forcing senior executives to strategize the future of their firms while relying on video-calls and text messages. 

Perlego – an online library startup dubbed the “Spotify of textbooks”– has analyzed the most popular books ordered by more than 600 C-suite executives using its platform. 

Titles include bestsellers by the likes of Nike cofounder Phil Knight, Nobel Prize-winning economist Jean Tirole and Ben Horowitz, one of the best-known investors in Silicon Valley. 

You can read his story here: 

Here are the 20 economics, self-help, and strategy books C-suite execs are reading right now to get their firms through COVID-19

Below are headlines on some of the stories you might have missed from the past week. Stay safe, everyone.

— Matt

  • Inside a 38,000-person remote work rollout at Goldman Sachs: sleepless nights, assembly lines, and an Amazon-like hub on a Manhattan trading floor
  • WeWork members are getting fed up paying rent while the coworking giant tries to catch a break on its own leases. Here’s how 4 entrepreneurs are trying to get out.
  • These 15 companies could be acquisition targets for Amazon, Microsoft, and Google as the coronavirus crisis ratchets up the cloud wars and crushes tech valuations
  • Former employees of Quip, a $170 million electric toothbrush startup that cut 10% of staffers weeks before the coronavirus hit, say a range of issues could frustrate its ability to ride out the pandemic
  • The top 19 talent managers and agents for TikTok influencers who are helping build the careers of a new generation of digital stars
  • Layoffs and furloughs hit holding companies WPP, Omnicom, and MDC Partners as advertisers slash spending
  • Batteries, fusion, and hydropower: Meet the 24 clean-energy startups that Bill Gates is backing
  • The next stimulus plan could include more checks for Americans. Here’s what else DC power players want to cram into the bill — and who would benefit most.






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