We may get a Covid vaccine soon. But will we take it?

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Today's Agenda

Rage Against the CDC

We've often described this pandemic as a long car ride we want over as quickly as possible. Seven months into it, the kids are threatening to grab the wheel and drive the car off the road.

In California's Shasta County, Michael Lewis reports, citizens are in open revolt against not only pandemic restrictions but also the very idea of the pandemic's existence. This makes controlling the disease much harder, just at the beginning of what could be new waves in the fall and winter.

Some of this is sheer fatigue after months of avoiding strangers. Some is people becoming inured to the unthinkable toll; 3,000 deaths on 9/11 were a national trauma, but 71 9/11s over seven months is hey, did you catch the NBA Finals? 

But maybe the biggest problem is that the people driving the car often don't seem to know where they're going. The CDC has offered months of inconsistent, hard-to-understand pandemic guidance, writes Scott Duke Kominers. Messaging will have to get much better if we're to get the full benefit of vaccines when they arrive. 

And depending on your definition of the word, something like a "vaccine" may be ready for use by Election Day, as President Donald Trump has claimed, writes Sam Fazeli. A couple of antibody treatments in the works aren't like regular vaccines, but they have shown promise in treating sick patients and preventing illness in others. It's possible these could be rushed to market within the next month or so. But uptake could be spotty if we don't want to listen to the people offering them.

Further Pandemic Reading:

What Is Manipulation Anyway?

Just as there's a fine line between stupid and clever, it can be hard to differentiate between market manipulation and regular market stuff.

JPMorgan Chase is paying a record fine for some spoofing done by a bunch of its traders for several years after Congress outlawed the practice, which involves placing and canceling orders to move prices in your preferred direction. One big hurdle to policing this, write Elisa Martinuzzi and Marcus Ashworth, is that spoofing looks so much like regular market activity it can be hard to tell the difference. You often need traders to do dumb things like write "HEY BRO I AM SPOOFING LOL" in messages in order to catch them. And the fines for this behavior may sound large to normal humans, but they're apparently not big enough to make banks care all that much about spoofing.

Then there's Switzerland. It has been frantically trying to squash the value of its currency for several months, a practice the U.S. government frowns upon and may soon label currency manipulation. But Switzerland is just desperately trying to keep its export-driven economy from getting crushed by a soaring franc, writes Marcus Ashworth. Why should Switzerland, a key U.S. trading partner, be punished for having a safe-haven currency?

You Say You Want a Revolution?

A few times in the word slurry of Tuesday's presidential debate, Trump yelled "socialist" at Joe Biden, part of a campaign strategy to paint the centrist former vice president as Karl Marx's heir. And certainly some of the Democratic base is at least socialism-curious. But then there's another, much larger part of the party that still wants little to do with it, and this happens to be the part with most of the money, writes Francis Wilkinson. The well-off professionals helping Biden and the Dems raise heaps of campaign funds seem partial to capitalism and could eventually clash with other factions that see the system as broken. But that clash may come well into, or long after, a hypothetical Biden administration.  

Further Politics Reading: We shouldn't change debate rules just to work around Trump's misbehavior. — Jonathan Bernstein

Telltale Charts

Contrary to what you may have heard, there's still plenty of gold waiting to be dug up from the ground, writes David Fickling.

Bed Bath & Beyond isn't just thriving in the pandemic, as we all spend more time in our own beds and baths and beyonds. It's enjoying a massive and possibly lasting turnaround, writes Sarah Halzack

Further Reading

The U.S. should step back and let Russia handle the Armenia-Azerbaijan dispute. — Bloomberg's editorial board 

Companies don't always disclose the biggest part of their carbon footprints. So we've taken a stab. — David Fickling and Elaine He 

Undocumented immigrants pay taxes and help the economy and need government stimulus, too. — Lorena Gonzalez and Raul Hinojosa-Ojeda 

Low energy prices help the Fed and workers by keeping inflation under control even when growth is strong. — Conor Sen 

Target-dated funds have an outsize impact on markets, which could eventually be trouble. — John Authers 

You may feel tempted to buy a car right now. Resist. It's not worth it, especially if you live in a city. — Teresa Ghilarducci 


Trump said he won't allow changes to debate rules.

There's still no stimulus deal.

Manhattan office space is flooding the market.


Subway sandwich bread does not meet the legal definition of "bread" in Ireland. (h/t Ellen Kominers)

We learn faster when we aren't told what choices to make.

Scientists find evidence of a long-ago supernova near Earth.

The last iPod Nano model is officially obsolete.

Note: Please send bread and complaints to Mark Gongloff at mgongloff1@bloomberg.net.

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