SWC’s Fast Five

The news could be good, also complicated, for vaccines. It is good about business startups. And then there’s the budget deficit, yikes. Let’s all go eat out of a glass box.

So, here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1 Pfizer says vaccine looking 90 percent effective

Still, Monday’s announcement doesn’t mean for certain that a vaccine is imminent: This interim analysis, from an independent data monitoring board, looked at 94 infections recorded so far in a study that has enrolled nearly 44,000 people in the U.S. and five other countries.

2 More U.S. startups. More unemployment.

Economists have a term for this. They call it “creative destruction.” The U.S., with a more hands-off approach to the economy than Europe, has long been a shining beacon of creative destruction. It’s why, many economists argue, America has a dynamic economy that gives the world all sorts of new inventions, products and technologies. The U.S. is now ahead of other rich countries in new business creation during the pandemic.

3 Ramping up for the biggest vaccination effort in U.S. history. It’s complicated.

The monumental undertaking must distribute hundreds of millions of doses, prioritize who’s first in line and ensure that people who get the initial shot return for the necessary second one. More than one vaccine could also become available, and doses cannot be mixed and matched.

4 The budget deficit. It’s still bad.

Over the 12 months ending in October, the U.S. continued to run a deficit about three times as large as it was over the previous year as it continues to combat the coronavirus pandemic. The 12-month budget gap totaled $3.3 trillion last month, about 15.5 percent of gross domestic product. Automatic spending on health care, food assistance and jobless benefits have also pushed up outlays, while tax revenues have declined amid widespread layoffs and weaker consumer demand.

5 You know what’s back? The automat.

While it fell out of vogue in the 1970s, after failing to keep up with fast-food chains and advancing technology, some now consider the automat perfect for an era of social distancing.