The world is changing fast and to keep up you need local knowledge with global context.
As is customary for a Monday, David Shapiro shares his pearls of wisdom on all things topical in the investment world, with the veteran analyst having recently returned from a month-long trip to the US. David emphasises the need for all South African’s to think out-the-box and encourage critical thinking, as he experienced in America. He also mentions the importance of financial literacy, a fundamental skill which is sorely missing in South Africa. The controversial topic of mandatory vaccination, which Adrian Gore’s Discovery is now forcing upon employees, was also spoken to at length. – Justin Rowe-Roberts
David Shapiro on his trip to New York:
Oh, it’s coming back to life. There’s still a lot of concerns there. But, they only 80% to 90% there. What I found is that the tourists were missing. Normally if you go July or August, during the summer months, it is teeming with tourists from all over – from Asia, from Europe, from South America. And that was the one element that’s missing. They are opening up this week – Broadway’s reopening. And I think that’s a big move, but very conscious about vaccinations, very conscious about going back to school. Today is Labor Day and most of the schools go back and they are still worried about the spread of the virus in the younger community and so on. So it’s far from normal. I experienced a lot of normality but I still think the world is far from being where we wanted to be.
On mandatory vaccinations:
Some of the businesses have. I think Goldman Sachs and other businesses have forced it, but I still think there’s a constitutional issue here. Can you force people to have a vaccine? I think the one thing is that when Pfizer was approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and therefore became an approved drug, there was some kind of element where they could force that upon you and force you to have it. There’s still a lot of issues around this. There are a lot of anti-vaxxers. It’s a big, debatable issue. Most of the reluctance is coming from the South, from some of the Southern states and that is where the numbers of vaccinations are still very low and that’s where the concerns are. The one thing I must say is every five minutes on the radio – I listen to the pop radios, the top hits radio – all the time recommending having a vaccination. And whenever you walked in New York, you could have a test or vaccination. You could literally walk across the road, sit there in five minutes and have vaccinations and that. But whether they can get that through to the population is still debatable.
On the potential consequences of mandatory vaccination:
There are plenty of anti-vaxxers. If you want a conference of anti-vaxxers, you’ll find them. I believe in it (the vaccination). It certainly points towards less pressure on the hospitals. There’s another very important lesson I learned there as well – I went up to Boston, which is a big medical area. And I spoke to a lot of doctors. First of all, on the elective, they’re getting very busy. People are coming back for elective surgery. In fact, they have to keep people out of clinics. There’s so many coming back. So the doctors are under a lot of pressure. The big issue they are very concerned about is ICU and finding enough skills. I think those nurses or the nursing staff and medical staff that worked through Covid – through the worst of the period are not going to come back. I think they are so mentally drained, so physically drained that they are very nervous that they won’t have enough people volunteering for those positions and going through what they went through. There’s a big campaign to say, by having vaccines – you reduce the chances of death, you reduce the chances of having been admitted to ICU. But it’s an issue. It’s a big concern. The whole subject of public health is going to be debated and talked about for a long time, because I think when we do the postmortem of of this pandemic, you’ll find that governments and and the public and the public health sector were just not prepared and ready for it in terms of testing, in terms of everything.
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