|Day's range||5.3500 - 5.4500|
On this day, 244 years ago, all but one of the 13 United Colonies officially adopted the Declaration of Independence, thus declaring their collective right to govern without England calling the shots. If you have spare cash that won't be needed to pay bills or cover emergencies, then the following blend of growth and income stocks should be perfect to help you secure your financial freedom. The first top stock that'll put you on the path toward financial independence is e-commerce giant Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN).
One of the places they've found cash returns is in dividend stocks, particularly those that offer a relatively high payout. Fortunately, some high-yield dividend stocks remain well-positioned to sustain their dividends. AbbVie (NYSE: ABBV) spent most of its history as a subsidiary of Abbott Laboratories before becoming an independent company in 2013.
Shares of Spotify (NYSE: SPOT) gained 42.7% in June, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. Spotify stock posted big gains in the middle of last month after the company announced a string of new podcast deals and received favorable ratings coverage from analysts.
Buying dividend stocks comes with a number of advantages. Additionally, dividend income can help to partly hedge the inevitable stock market corrections that crop up from time to time. Dividends can also be reinvested via a dividend reinvestment plan (DRIP) to compound your wealth.
Google's YouTube TV is raising its monthly rate from $50 to $65. The company cited those additional channels, its deal with AT&T (NYSE: T) to offer subscribers HBO Max, as well as some new features in its price increase announcement. YouTube TV had been the lowest-priced virtual multichannel video programming distributor (vMVPD) that offered a full-fledged cable subscription replacement.
Currently, consumers in Miami, Jackson, Austin and Salt Lake City have access to AT&T's (T) 5G network.
Its high yield may make this dividend stock interesting to income investors, but the telecom giant has some troubles it will need to overcome.
Given the volatility in financial markets caused by Covid, it is becoming difficult to assess whether previous dividend forecasts are still useful. Dividend pa...
(Bloomberg) -- One of the most anticipated video games is one whose existence has yet to be acknowledged by its publisher, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. It’s a big-budget Harry Potter game that will let players role-play as wizards and roam a vast, open-world re-creation of Hogwarts and its surrounding areas.The long-rumored project is very real, according to two people currently working on it. The game is in development at a Warner Bros.-owned studio, Avalanche Software in Salt Lake City, Utah, and is scheduled for release late next year for platforms including the upcoming Sony Corp. PlayStation 5 and Microsoft Corp. Xbox Series X, said the people, who requested anonymity over fears they would be fired for speaking publicly about an unannounced game.Harry Potter is among the highest-profile projects within Warner Bros. Interactive, along with a Batman game that is in the works. Footage from a very early version of the untitled game began circulating in 2018. That video was authentic, but most of the rumors that have come out since are not, said one of the people working on it. Despite a series of challenges—a global pandemic, a fierce backlash against the franchise’s creator, a possible sale of the Warner Bros. video game publishing business—the game remains on track for next year, the person said.Within the team, though, some anxiety surrounds the work. The studio’s management has not addressed recent comments from the author J.K. Rowling that were widely viewed as transphobic, the people said. The situation made some members of the team uncomfortable and sparked private discussions among staff over the pandemic water cooler, the workplace communication app Slack.Spokespeople for AT&T Inc.’s Warner Bros. Interactive and Rowling declined to comment.Rowling, 54, is a near-inextricable part of the wizardry franchise she conjured more than two decades ago. She continues to play a role in most projects associated with the Harry Potter brand, and the game is no exception. However, one of the people working on the game stressed that Rowling has very little direct involvement.Rowling has courted controversy on Twitter in the past, but this month, she made her most inflammatory comments yet. On June 6, Rowling tweeted criticism of an article that used the phrase “people who menstruate” to differentiate between those who were born women and those who transitioned. Later, the author expanded on her thoughts in an essay on her website, writing that “the ‘inclusive’ language that calls female people ‘menstruators’ and ‘people with vulvas’ strikes many women as dehumanising and demeaning.”The result was that many transgender people felt demeaned, and the comments were denounced by fans and collaborators. Cast members from the Harry Potter series, including Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson, said they disagreed with Rowling’s stance, and Warner Bros. responded by touting its “inclusive culture.”Many fans are attempting to reconcile their love of the fantasy series with its author’s beliefs, which they find repugnant. On Reddit, there’s a 6,000-member community dedicated to the yet-to-be-announced Harry Potter game. The usual exchange of rumors and wish lists that takes place there was derailed this month by debate over Rowling’s statements. The forum’s editors posted a declaration that they “firmly stand in disagreement with the opinions stated in those tweets” and that fans should avoid discussing them.The Rowling controversy is likely to diminish some anticipation for the game, said Felicia Grady, managing editor of the popular Harry Potter fan site MuggleNet. “Based on what I’ve seen from fans, I do believe that Rowling’s comments have had some effect on the level of excitement they have for the Harry Potter RPG or other upcoming content,” Grady wrote in an email. “We’ve seen comments from fans who no longer wish to support Rowling or the brand financially.”The potential sale of Warner Bros. Interactive would have an even greater impact on the game’s future, said Matthew Kanterman, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence. Pricy projects are the most at risk of cancellation in the event of a sale, he said, “especially something like this that has been in the works for years.” CNBC, which reported two weeks ago on talks to sell the AT&T-owned gaming unit, said a deal wasn’t imminent.Warner Bros. had originally planned to announce the Harry Potter game during a news conference at the trade show E3 in June, according to people familiar with the plans. When E3 was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, the publisher’s marketing roadmap shifted.The new plan is to unveil the Batman game in August at a digital event called DC FanDome, and the Harry Potter game will be revealed later, a person with knowledge of the plans said. The person said those plans were made before Rowling’s comments.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- The Federal Reserve bought bonds issued by companies including AT&T Inc., UnitedHealth Group Inc. and Walmart Inc. as part of its emergency lending program set up in response to the pandemic, according to new disclosures.On June 16, the U.S. central bank began purchasing securities of individual issuers as part of a broad index it created to include companies that were eligible for the program.The disclosures, posted Sunday, showed that of the $207 million of purchases made on the first day of buying, about 21% were of debt issued by firms in the consumer non-cyclical sector, while 15% were of consumer cyclical debt and 10% were of technology debt. Issues rated below investment grade comprised 3.6% of the securities acquired.In a separate disclosure, the New York Fed released the composition of the broad index the central bank is using to conduct the purchases. Fed officials have said the goal of the buying is to maintain liquidity in the market for corporate debt, so that issuers are able to access capital despite the deep economic downturn created by the pandemic. The index is comprised of almost 800 issuers.In mid-May, the Fed began buying exchange-traded funds invested in corporate debt as it readied for outright purchases. As of Tuesday, the Fed had amassed $8.71 billion of assets including ETFs and individual securities through the program, known as the Secondary Market Corporate Credit Facility.On June 17, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell told the House Financial Services Committee that the central bank would reallocate purchases of ETFs toward individual debt securities through the index it created.“Buying cash bonds is going to form the primary mode of support over time by which we support market function,” Powell said during the hearing. “Over time, we will gradually move away from ETFs.”The program is set to expire on Sept. 30.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
The board of directors of AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) today declared quarterly dividends on the company’s 5.000% Perpetual Preferred Stock, Series A and the company’s 4.750% Perpetual Preferred Stock, Series C. The Series A dividend is $312.50 per preferred share, or $0.3125 per depositary share. The Series C dividend is $296.875 per preferred share, or $0.296875 per depositary share. The dividends are payable on August 3, 2020, to stockholders of record at the close of business on July 10, 2020.
The board of directors of AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) today declared a quarterly dividend of $0.52 a share on the company’s common shares. The dividend is payable on August 3, 2020, to stockholders of record at the close of business on July 10, 2020.
Top Stock Reports for Alphabet, AT&T; & Philip Morris
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- It’s good that big brands like Verizon Communications Inc. and Unilever NV are pulling ads from Facebook Inc.As my colleague Sarah Halzack has written, the way to make the adtech giant change its approach to tackling hate speech and misinformation is to target how it makes money. (A similar effort worked at Google’s YouTube unit.) But Mark Zuckerberg and co. will still make $77 billion this year from advertisers. If brands really believe in this crusade, they should get off Facebook entirely.On Thursday, Verizon became one of the biggest brands to announce it will pull ads from Facebook in July, joining the likes of Patagonia Inc. and Recreational Equipment Inc. in a month-long campaign called Stop Hate For Profit. The movement is being led by groups such as the Anti-Defamation League and Color of Change, and is channeling momentum of the Black Lives Matter movement to realize real change. On Friday, Ben & Jerry’s, Hellman’s and Dove parent Unilever announced it would halt ads on Facebook and Twitter Inc. in the U.S. for the rest of 2020.It’s a commendable effort to force Facebook to remodel its practices, but there’s a business incentive too: An ad appearing alongside a conspiracy theory is not a good look, particularly if a slice of the revenue goes to the maker of the video. A group of brands with a combined advertising budget of $97 billion is already pushing for better controls. More of them should follow Verizon’s lead, not least the handful of other telecoms operators in the U.S.Arguably, the main reason Verizon even needs to advertise on Facebook is because its rivals AT&T Inc. and T-Mobile U.S. Inc. are both doing so too. Since competitive intensity has been significantly reduced by pandemic lockdowns, now seems a particularly good time for mobile operators to cut marketing spend.If firms are serious about upping the pressure on Zuckerberg, however, they should abandon their presence on the social network completely by deleting their Facebook pages. That might seem like a brand cutting off its nose to spite its face, but as long as it has a Facebook page, then the advertising boycott looks like an empty threat.That’s because the ad spend will ultimately return after the boycott. There’s little point in maintaining a corporate Facebook presence without paying to promote content, due to the limitations of what’s known as organic reach, or how many users see a post without a company or individual paying to get it in front of them. Without paid promotion, just 1% of a page’s followers are likely to see a given post, according to digital agency Jellyfish. It wasn’t always this way. In the early days, Facebook lured brands by showing how many customers they could reach by setting up a page. Then the Menlo Park, California-based firm changed its algorithm so that very few people would see a company’s posts if it didn’t pay for promotion. It was the classic Silicon Valley bait-and-switch. UniCredit SpA, Italy’s biggest bank, bit the bullet and ditched its Facebook presence a year ago. It had already stopped paying for Facebook ads, which meant that very few of the 546,000 followers of its UniCredit Italia page actually saw its content — perhaps just 5,500. Its resolve is so far holding: It hasn’t returned to the social network yet.Being on Facebook can also present more of a risk than an opportunity, especially for an incumbent brand like a bank or telecoms giant. UniCredit’s followers probably represented a significant cross-section of its consumer banking customers, which therefore served as a handy list of people for challenger banks like N26 or Revolut to target with ads and try to steal away. Plus, if a company has a Facebook page, it still has to regularly post new content and interact with customers — both of which cost money. If it doesn’t, the page will likely fill up with customer complaints, which would show up at the top of online search results. The business reasons for big-spending incumbents to leave Facebook might be almost as good as the ethical ones.Zuckerberg needs financial incentives to be more proactive about managing content effectively, partially because his lodestar has long been user engagement. And more polarizing content drives more user engagement. The Wall Street Journal reported in May that a report commissioned by Facebook in 2018 found the platform often did aggravate polarization and tribal behavior, yet the firm decided not to tackle the issue.Regulating content directly often means impinging on thorny free speech issues. It’s a troublesome affair. Far better to find market-based, commercial incentives that mean the issue must be taken seriously. Will enough brands use these to make a meaningful difference? Probably not, but they have the opportunity to give Facebook the firmer poke it needs.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Alex Webb is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Europe's technology, media and communications industries. He previously covered Apple and other technology companies for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- As Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp. unloads about 200 million shares of T-Mobile US Inc., more investors get a chance to own a top-performing stock that had been hogged by insiders. SoftBank’s fire sale isn’t a knock on T-Mobile, but rather a reluctant move by billionaire Masayoshi Son to shore up his own troubled conglomerate. Indeed, his loss will be someone else’s gain. Son took control of Sprint Corp. in 2013 and then spent years pursuing a merger between the beleaguered wireless carrier and its stronger rival, T-Mobile. He finally got his way thanks to the Trump administration’s lax regulators at the Justice Department and Federal Communications Commission. Their focus on America’s standing in the so-called race to 5G, the next generation of wireless connectivity, overshadowed the antitrust concerns. Sprint officially became part of T-Mobile in April, handing SoftBank ownership of about 25% of the combined company; another 44% is owned by Deutsche Telekom AG. Until this week, that left only a small public float for a stock that’s long been the envy of its industry — and will likely continue to be.After the implosion of office-space rental company WeWork Cos. and the Covid-19 pandemic, SoftBank suffered record losses from its investments and is in need of cash. In turn, the company is undertaking a series of complex transactions to exit most of its T-Mobile stake, generating about $20 billion in proceeds. The deal involves a public equity offering, a rights offering to existing shareholders, a private trust vehicle and a call option for Deutsche Telekom to increase its ownership of T-Mobile down the road when its own balance sheet is in better shape. The transactions are structured so that even though more T-Mobile shares will be available to the public, the total number of shares outstanding won’t change. T-Mobile also gets $300 million for playing banker. T-Mobile’s stock price closed at an all-time high of $107.16 on Tuesday. After the market closed, the shares SoftBank is selling priced at $103 apiece, according to a CNBC report.T-Mobile’s subscriber base, revenue and stock price are all expected to continue growing for the foreseeable future at a faster clip than that of its two larger rivals, Verizon Communications Inc. and AT&T Inc. Its consumer appeal comes from offering cheaper data plans on a network that has improved tremendously over the years, as well as a friendlier customer-service experience. Led by a larger-than-life CEO whose magenta wardrobe made him a walking T-Mobile billboard, the company was able to distinguish itself over time as a fun brand in an otherwise drab industry. That CEO, John Legere, left after sealing the Sprint deal and was replaced by Mike Sievert. The SoftBank share sale is also a farewell performance for Braxton Carter, T-Mobile’s pink cowboy hat-wearing chief financial officer, who retires next week. The Sprint merger fundamentally changed the industry by eliminating a low-cost rival that T-Mobile competed with most. T-Mobile’s own porting ratios, a measure of how many customers one carrier steals from another, showed that it was consistently taking a bigger bite out of Sprint’s subscriber base than either Verizon or AT&T’s. Now that the deal is done, T-Mobile would seem to have two options: 1) Given that there’s so much extra capacity on its network to handle more subscribers, it could cut prices even more. That would supercharge its own growth while putting pressure on AT&T and Verizon. 2) Instead, T-Mobile could keep prices flat or even raise them to improve profit margins more immediately, leaving competition more stagnant. The latter option is the less innovative, less consumer-friendly route that was feared by opponents of the Sprint takeover. (T-Mobile’s 13-hour outage on its network last week also doesn’t help to quell the fear that the industry is insufficiently regulated.) Here’s how different T-Mobile’s profitability might look if it were to adopt AT&T’s pricing:In either case, it may be a win-win for investors. T-Mobile executives predict that it will save more than $40 billion in costs due to the Sprint deal, much of which will come from job cuts and shutting stores in overlapping locations (another reason the transaction was criticized). Wireless carriers also rely on costly ad campaigns to promote their networks. The combined T-Mobile-Sprint will now be able to save about $700 million a year just from lower advertising expenses, according to a report earlier this month by Jonathan Chaplin, an analyst for New Street Research.Chaplin expects T-Mobile to pursue the less aggressive avenue of growth, but even then he sees its stock price doubling over the next three to five years. Analysts are generally less optimistic about AT&T and Verizon, as one undergoes a difficult transformation into a communications and entertainment colossus, while the other remains almost singularly focused on 5G with a less-than-ideal set of wireless spectrum. After buying Sprint, T-Mobile’s future looks to be either grow fast or grow faster. Still, this week’s news shows that for a merger pumped up on American 5G zeal and patriotism, the biggest beneficiary just might be a Japanese billionaire short on cash.(Adds pricing information in the fourth paragraph.)This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tara Lachapelle is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering the business of entertainment and telecommunications, as well as broader deals. She previously wrote an M&A column for Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
AT&T Inc.* (NYSE:T) announced today that the company’s second-quarter 2020 results will be released before 7 a.m. ET on Thursday, July 23, 2020. At 8:30 a.m. ET the same day, AT&T will host a conference call to discuss the results. The company’s earnings release, Investor Briefing and related materials will be available at AT&T Investor Relations.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- America is on the road. But is it on the road to economic recovery or a pandemic relapse?Fans of “On the Road” — Jack Kerouac’s 1957 classic of beatnik literature — will recall that its giddy, low-punctuation style is sometimes a little hard to follow. The same might be said of the data Americans are currently generating, some of which undoubtedly points to a rapid (if not quite V-shaped) recovery, and some of which seems to indicate either a second wave of Covid-19 infections or simply the continuation of the first wave.The two are not separate stories, but rather a single, intertwined narrative. The best title for this tale was devised by my Hoover Institution colleague, the economist John Cochrane. He called it “The Dumb Reopening.” A smart reopening is the sort that has been possible in countries such as Taiwan and South Korea, which were so quick to ramp up testing and contact tracing that they didn’t need to do lockdowns in the first place. Among European countries, Germany and Greece have also successfully adopted these methods, which ensure that any new outbreaks of Covid-19 can quickly be detected, so-called super-spreaders isolated, their recent contacts swiftly traced and tested, and the outbreaks snuffed out.Other signs of smartness are the persistence of behavioral adaptations by ordinary people, such as social distancing and wearing masks. We know that these practices, which can be adopted by citizens without any government decree, are effective in restricting the spread of the virus SARS-CoV-2.Less widely appreciated is that social distancing is more effective as policy than lockdowns, as a forthcoming paper in the journal Nature shows. This is also the implication of work by researchers at Oxford’s Blavatnik School who show that there is no correlation between the stringency of government measures and containment of Covid-19. Measures designed to protect groups that are especially susceptible and vulnerable to Covid-19 -- notably the elderly, especially those with pre-existing conditions –- are also smart.A dumb reopening eschews all such precautionary measures. So is that really what the U.S. is doing? The answer is pretty much yes. Testing has improved, but contact tracing is primitive. And social distancing and mask-wearing are least prevalent where reopening is happening fastest.The economists I like best prefer data to fancy models. These days they are in clover because the age of the Internet and the smartphone is already a golden era of high-frequency data about economic behavior. When I say, “America is on the road,” I can say it with conviction because mobility data generated by Google, Apple and less well-known tech players such as SafeGraph show it.Recent official statistics on unemployment and retail sales surprised economists, but they shouldn’t have: The mobility data were already pointing to rapid recovery some weeks ago. In the trough of pandemic panic, between mid-March and mid-April, Apple’s Mobility Trends (which track changes in routing requests to Apple Maps since Jan. 13) pointed to declines in driving and walking of around 60%. (For public transport the decline was 89%.) But since late April, the trend for foot and road traffic has been steadily upward. Requests are now up 12% and 33%, respectively, relative to January. (Transit requests are still down 54%.)SafeGraph offers a more granular view of foot traffic, based on aggregated and anonymized smartphone location data. Relative to Jan. 2-3, Americans were walking between 60% and 70% less by the beginning of April. But in Dallas and Houston, foot traffic is now just a quarter below the start of the year. General merchandise stores, counter-service restaurants and supermarkets are almost back to where they were.But perhaps the most useful mobility data for economists come from Google’s Community Mobility reports, which show how visits and length of stay at different places have changed relative to a Jan. 3-Feb. 6 baseline. By subdividing destinations into six categories — retail and recreation, grocery and pharmacy, parks, transit stations, workplaces and residential — the Google data help us zero in on what matters economically.No recovery was ever driven by visits to parks (up 53% since January, not surprising given the improved weather in most places). Grocery and pharmacy visits weren’t much impacted the pandemic, as they were essential. The big story is retail and recreation: down 49% nationwide at the trough (April 5), but now down just 16%.Mobility data predicted the recent positive statistics on retail sales. In May, the monthly jump in sales reported by the Commerce Department was 17.7%; the monthly jump in Google’s data for retail and recreation visits was 24.4%.New and old data alike are voraciously devoured by Wall Street analysts. Combined with the Federal Reserve’s multiple liquidity and credit facilities, which are designed to shore up the prices of pretty much all financial assets, they explain why U.S. stocks are back where they were in early March, before the pandemic panic. Mr. Market is acting as if Covid-19 is over. The trend you can infer from the Google data points to July 10 as the date when consumption will be back to normal.The problem is that Covid-19 isn’t over. As some of us have been warning for some time, the failure to contain the spread of the virus in the U.S. has made a second wave inevitable in many of those places where case numbers had fallen significantly, and a continuation of the first wave inevitable in those places where they had not. The national data for new cases and deaths don’t show this, as they are dominated by improvements in the Northeast (New York and its neighbors).Eyeballing the latest data on confirmed cases, I see second waves in Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming, as well as second ripples in Hawaii, Kansas and Montana. First waves continue in California, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah. Trends in case numbers, positive tests and hospitalizations look especially worrisome in Arizona, Florida and Texas.As Americans hit the road in increasing numbers, including longer-range trips to vacation destinations, we can also expect rising numbers of cases in states with hitherto low numbers of Covid-19 infections, such as Montana.So what’s going to happen next? One possibility is that Americans will recoil from reopening when they see worse data on cases, hospitalizations and mortality in their states — or, more likely, if they see worse cable news reports or Internet clickbait about those things. (Watch for breaking news on Arizona’s intensive care unit capacity.) Any actions by state or municipal authorities to slow down the rush back to normality (mandatory masks in Raleigh, North Carolina, for example) may add to public anxiety.Polling by Civiqs shows that many Americans — Democrats much more than Republicans — are still “extremely concerned” or “moderately concerned” about Covid-19. Eminent economists — notably Michael Spence, who has sought to match mobility and infection data — look at the dumb reopening and conclude that it will end badly. Spence and his co-author Chen Long warn that “the U.S. is heading for a situation comparable to the Great Depression.” They are in good company: Hardly any leading academic economist believes in the V-shaped recovery story, where output snaps back as far and as fast as it has fallen.The alternative, and I suspect more likely, scenario is that Americans carry on getting back to normal and tacitly accept further excess mortality as just a cost of doing business until a vaccine is available. That would be bad news for the significant number of Americans who, because of their age and/or pre-existing health problems such as obesity, hypertension or kidney disease, are potentially at serious risk from Covid-19. But it would not be without precedent.Although many commentators and scholars have looked back to the 1918-19 influenza pandemic for insights into our current predicament, it seems clear by now that SARS-CoV-2 is not as deadly a virus as H1N1 was just over a century ago. Estimates of the infection fatality rate of Covid-19 still range widely, from 0.02% to 0.86%, according to one recent survey (though some recent European serological studies imply higher rates), but the fatality rate of the so-called “Spanish Flu” was probably between 1.8% and 2.2%. Put differently, 675,000 deaths in the U.S. were attributed to influenza and pneumonic complications in 1918-19 of which around 550,000 were “excess deaths.” An equivalent excess death toll in 2020 would be greater than 1.7 million, compared with a figure to date of around 100,000.Closer in terms of likely mortality is the less well-known “Asian Flu” pandemic of 1957-58. That caused up to 116,000 deaths in the U.S. (the estimates for excess morality vary widely), which would translate into 215,000 deaths in 2020, roughly what I expect the final U.S. Covid-19 death toll to be.It is quite probable you have never heard of that pandemic, even though its worldwide death toll was between 700,000 and 1.5 million. This is all the more surprising as, unlike SARS-CoV-2, the H2N2 virus of 1957-58 killed young people. As in most influenza pandemics, significant numbers not only of the very old (over 65) but also of the very young (under 5) died. In terms of excess mortality relative to baseline expected mortality rates, however, it was teenagers who suffered the heaviest losses.The biggest difference between 1957 and 2020, however, lies in the government and public response to the new pathogen. President Dwight D. Eisenhower did not declare a state of emergency in the fall of 1957. There were no state lockdowns and no school closures. Sick students simply stayed at home, as usual. Work continued more or less uninterrupted; AT&T reported peak absenteeism of 8%. Nor did the Eisenhower administration borrow to the hilt to fund transfers and loans to citizens and businesses. The president asked Congress for a mere $2.5 million (around 0.0005% of 1957 GDP) to support the Public Health Service in case of an epidemic.True, there was a recession that year, but it had little if anything to do with the pandemic. Eisenhower’s job approval rating deteriorated, declining from about 80% to 50% between January 1957 and March 1958, and his Republican Party sustained severe losses in the 1958 midterms, but no serious historian of the period would attribute these setbacks to the pandemic.The national mood of insouciance in the face of a new and contagious disease might be summed up in the phrase coined the year before by Mad magazine’s second editor, Al Feldstein: “What, Me Worry?” Huey “Piano” Smith and His Clowns even had a minor hit with “Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu.”Whereas public health officials reached a consensus in March of this year that only full “lockdowns” could avert disaster, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officers declared on Aug. 27, 1957, that there would be “no practical advantage in the closing of schools or the curtailment of public gatherings as it relates to the spread of this disease.” As a Centers for Disease Control official later recalled, “ASTHO encouraged home care for uncomplicated influenza cases to reduce the hospital burden and recommended limitations on hospital admissions to the sickest patients … most were advised simply to stay home, rest, and drink plenty of water and fruit juices.”As today, there was a race to find a vaccine. Unlike today, however, the U.S. had a head start, thanks to the acumen of one exceptionally talented and prescient scientist, Maurice Hilleman, who was chief of the Department of Respiratory Diseases at the Army Medical Center (now the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research) from 1948 to 1957. The first New York Times report of the outbreak in Hong Kong — three paragraphs on page 3 — was on April 17. The Army Medical Center received its first influenza specimens from Hong Kong on May 13. Nine days later, Hilleman had identified the new strain. As early as July 26, doctors at Fort Ord in California began to inoculate military recruits. Approximately 4 million one-milliliter doses were released in August, 9 million in September, and 17 million in October.It was a different America, no question. For one thing, many Americans today would appear to have a much lower tolerance of risk than their grandparents and great-grandparents six decades ago. As Clark Whelton has recalled:For those who grew up in the 1930s and 1940s, there was nothing unusual about finding yourself threatened by contagious disease. Mumps, measles, chicken pox, and German measles swept through entire schools and towns; I had all four. Polio took a heavy annual toll, leaving thousands of people (mostly children) paralyzed or dead. There were no vaccines. Growing up meant running an unavoidable gauntlet of infectious disease. For college students in 1957, the Asian flu was a familiar hurdle on the road to adulthood … We took the Asian flu in stride. We said our prayers and took our chances.But the really striking contrast is how much more competently the Eisenhower administration responded to the pandemic of 1957 than its counterpart today, which lurched from insouciance in January and February to panic in mid-March. This is not to suggest that the threats posed by the two pandemics were identical, nor to suggest that we should simply have dusted down the “What, Me Worry?” playbook. The smart playbook for Covid-19, as we have seen, used early, widespread testing and contact tracing to stamp out super-spreader events, while at the same time protecting the vulnerable.Rather, having inflicted an immense economic shock on ourselves with lockdowns, we have now tacitly decided to act as if the pandemic is over by returning to normal behavior, largely eschewing the social distancing and mask-wearing that could limit further contagion at a minimal cost. We are, in short, hitting the road as if it was 1957 again, implicitly heading for herd immunity — and substantially more excess deaths — until a vaccine turns up.As it happens, Kerouac’s “On the Road” was first published in 1957. The book’s second line is: “I had just gotten over a serious illness that I won’t bother to talk about.” By the end of this year, the way things are going, several million Americans will be able to say those same words about Covid-19. Sadly, roughly 200,000 won’t be able to.(Updates estimates of the infection fatality rate of Covid-19 in 20th paragraph of article published June 21.)This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Niall Ferguson is the Milbank Family Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He was previously a professor of history at Harvard, New York University and Oxford. He is the founder and managing director of Greenmantle LLC, a New York-based advisory firm.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Nokia (NOK) and AT&T will continue to collaborate to advance the development of the Radio Access Network Intelligent Controller and help build an open ecosystem of applications.
With so many streaming services available, picking the right one can be tough. That's why I'm giving you my recommendation on this week's Tech Support.
AT&T's (T) 5G network currently covers more than 160 million people in 327 markets. The company is still evaluating the near- and long-term impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.