Overall – current thinking
While the situation in Europe is still serious, we see more rays of light. Many countries now see a turnaround in new infections and this week France joined the club with a big decline in new cases. In the Nordics, Finland has also achieved stabilisation, while new cases keep rising in Norway and Sweden. Italy is finally showing signs of stabilisation but the level of new cases is still high and pressure on hospitals significant. Looking ahead, we believe restrictions will be with us for a long time. Especially as we head into the winter and the Christmas season, there is a clear risk that the virus will spread faster again. The virus survives better in cold temperatures, we are more indoors and we see more people around Christmas. Hence, the need for vigilance will be with us through the whole winter.
In the US, the situation is worsening fast with an acceleration in new infections and record-high hospitalisation rates. As we have argued for some time, more and more states are tightening restrictions and more are still likely to follow suit. The economy will thus face renewed headwinds over the coming months.
We have received plenty of good vaccine news over the last couple of weeks. Both Pfizer and Moderna have showed an efficacy around 95% and both will soon seek an Emergency Use Authorisation. AstraZeneca is expected to release its late stage phase 3 results very soon and Johnson & Johnson is expected to have results ready no later than February. While a vaccine will not alter the fact that it will be a long winter with many restrictions, a vaccine rolled out early next year should limit the need for restrictions next autumn.