Day: November 24, 2020

Personal Finance Daily: 5 golden rules if you end up talking politics with your family this Thanksgiving and how 4 college students spent an unprecedented fall semester

This post was originally published on this site

Here are Tuesday’s top personal finance stories:

Personal Finance
Janet Yellen is poised to become Treasury secretary in a Biden cabinet — and here’s what that means for cash-strapped American families

‘We are in for very, very rough economic times,’ one analyst tells MarketWatch.

Older people, Black and Latinx Americans say they would be hesitant about getting a coronavirus vaccine

Many Americans say they’re hesitant to get a vaccine, even if one was approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

5 golden rules if you end up talking politics with your family this Thanksgiving

‘Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t need two headless chickens fighting over the soul of the nation’

Pope Francis takes aim at anti-mask protestors: ‘They are incapable of moving outside of their own little world’

In his new book, the pontiff asks, ‘What matters more — to take care of people or keep the financial system going?’

Artists want to turn the Sunday after Thanksgiving into Black Friday for art

Thousands of artists and organizations across the country are coming together to encourage people to shop art Nov. 29

Lucky, stressed, and ready to graduate — How 4 college students spent an unprecedented fall semester

One is taking time off, another is racing to graduate, and one took classes while living in a state park on an island.

Dr. Fauci on Cuomo’s decision to review vaccines for New Yorkers after FDA approval: ‘Trust the process’

The veteran immunologist in a Washington Post video interview: ‘The numbers can be stark, sobering and, in many cases, they can be frightening.’

From jobs to child care: How this second surge in COVID-19 can damage your finances — as well as your health

More people were having trouble getting enough food on the table in early November compared to five weeks earlier.

Under Biden, CFPB will play a role in any student-debt cancelation — and help tackle student-loan servicers

Experts expect more aggressive oversight of the student-loan industry come January.

Elsewhere on MarketWatch
Officials plan to distribute 6.4 million COVID-19 vaccine doses in December, aiming for 40 million doses by end of year

The U.S. government plans to initially roll out 6.4 million doses of a Covid-19 vaccine next month, while it is confident in meeting its goal of distributing about 40 million doses by the end of the year, federal officials said Tuesday.

There will be a ‘huge boom’ in the second quarter of 2021 if vaccines are effective, says investment strategist David Rosenberg

Market strategist’s near-term ‘value trade’ taps utilities, consumer staples, health care, Big Tech — plus long-term Treasurys and gold.

Beware of ‘zombie’ companies running rampant in the stock market

A total of 19%, or 571 companies, in the Russell 3000 Index are considered unviable, writes William Barritt.

Janet Yellen is poised to become Treasury Secretary in a Biden cabinet. What that means for cash-strapped American families

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In 2014, three months into her four-year tenure chairing the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen was trying to draw an important link for investors, policy makers and community development leaders.

“Although we work through financial markets, our goal is to help Main Street, not Wall Street. By keeping interest rates low, we are trying to make homes more affordable and revive the housing market. We are trying to make it cheaper for businesses to build, expand, and hire,” Yellen said in remarks at a conference in Chicago.

Six years later, Yellen, 74, is reportedly President-Elect Joe Biden’s pick for Treasury Secretary, first reported by the Wall Street Journal Monday.

If she’s selected and confirmed — becoming the first woman to hold the job — many families will be counting on Yellen to stay focused on the connection between decisions on Capitol Hill and their own financial situation.

The coronavirus has put millions of people out of work; the jobless rate has dropped to 6.9% in October, down from double digits in the spring, but some economists are worried that surging coronavirus infections and more government shutdown orders will rock the recovery. Various financial-relief deadlines, like eviction moratoriums and student-debt payment pauses, will end on Dec. 3, while negotiations on another stimulus are stuck.

Yellen, a labor economist who’s talked about the problems of income inequality, will remember Main Street, said Desmond Lachman, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a right-leaning think tank.

“She’ll be very responsible, but at the same time, she will go out there to bat for people at the lower end of the spectrum. She’ll be very sensitive to their problems,” he said.

Here’s a look at what experts say a Yellen-led Treasury Department will mean for another round of government stimulus, taxes in a Biden administration and student-debt cancellation.

Another round of government stimulus

Markets closed higher Monday, and the climb continued Tuesday, buoyed in part by the news about vaccines and, some analysts say, Yellen’s appointment. Yellen’s potential selection is a good sign the Biden administration is serious about getting another stimulus bill through Congress, now that the money from the $2.2 trillion CARES act has dried up, they add.

Yellen has been vocal about the need for more financial help. “Spending is absolutely needed for more pain not to be extended throughout the economy and for unemployment to continue moving down,” Yellen, currently at the Brookings Institution, said at a July Congressional hearing.

Ernie Tedeschi, managing director and policy economist for Evercore ISI, an investment banking advisory firm, wrote in a Monday note, that Yellen “believes it is essential to continue fiscal as well as monetary support for the economy and will likely seek to leverage her credibility with Congress over time to promote more fiscal support including for the unemployed and for state and local governments.”

Passing a stimulus bill is a political process that involves consensus, but Josh Bivens, research director at the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning think tank, says Yellen has the gravitas and grasp of the issues to potentially persuade Republicans. Another stimulus is seriously needed Bivens said, because, “we are in for very, very rough economic times.”

If Yellen is selected and confirmed, she’ll have her former colleague, Jerome Powell, over at the Federal Reserve. Powell, who succeeded Yellen as the Fed’s chair, also supports infusing the economy with more stimulus money.

Revisiting tax-code regulations

Biden campaigned on positions including more taxes for the rich and corporations. With the strong chance of a divided Congress, some observers say those tax hike proposals are out the window. But, they add, there are still ways a Biden administration can bring in more tax revenue from the wealthiest Americans, and corporations while tweaking the code for lower-income earners without congressional approval.

With the Internal Revenue Service falling within the Treasury Department, Yellen could have a central role in that attempt.

For example, a Yellen-led Treasury Department and IRS could revisit certain tax-code regulations related to the foreign assets of U.S. multinational companies. It’s an “open question” if Yellen and her Treasury Department have an appetite to unilaterally make regulatory changes, Bivens said.

Another place where the IRS can bring in more money: A larger staff that can launch more audits on affluent taxpayers, Bivens noted.

One not insignificant caveat: A larger IRS staff requires a larger budget — and allocating budget money, like stimulus talks, is a political process, experts add.

Student-loan debt cancellation

Advocates for student-loan borrowers say Biden has the power to cancel student debt, which has grown to $1.6 trillion.

Yellen is well aware of the debt burden and its implications for homebuying and the economy more broadly. For example, in 2016, then-Fed Chair Yellen told Congress, “We have been very attentive to trends in student debt, it really has escalated to an extraordinary degree.”

It’s hard to say how those views might translate into policy impact. The Department of Education is the agency primarily responsible for the student-loan program, but there are opportunities for the Department of Treasury to play a role.

For example, typically the Treasury Department collects on debt owed to the government, but because of an exemption provided by Treasury to the Department of Education, the Department of Education generally manages the process of collecting on defaulted student-loan debt. (The agency hires contractors to do this work).

Theoretically, the Treasury Department could attach some strings to that exemption to push the Department of Education to shift its practices.

In addition, the Secretary of the Treasury technically appoints the Consumer Finance Protection Board’s student-loan ombudsman, one of the nation’s top student-loan officials.

Don’t miss: Under Biden, CFPB will play a role in any student-debt cancelation — and help tackle student-loan servicers

One area where there is potential for Yellen to play a transformative role: The tax treatment of student-loan forgiveness. If Congress discharges some or all of borrowers’ student debt, the lawmakers can specify the tax treatment of that forgiveness. But if the administration moves forward with student-debt cancellation on its own, the tax implications become murkier.

The Treasury Department and the IRS have the authority to exclude student-debt cancellation from a borrower’s income for tax purposes, John Brooks, a Georgetown University Law Center professor, wrote in a paper published by the Student Borrower Protection Center, a borrower advocacy group.

“The Treasury Department through the IRS has substantial authority to interpret the tax law in a particular way,” Brooks said. He added, “It probably needs to reflect a policy agenda of the administration.” That would mean that guidance on the issue would flow from the Treasury Department and even the Treasury Secretary, he added.

Dispatches from a Pandemic: Pope Francis lambasts anti-mask protests: ‘What matters more — to take care of people or keep the financial system going?’

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ROME, ITALY — Pope Francis does not mince his words.

In his new book, “Let us Dream: The Path to a Better Future,” due to be released on Dec. 1, the head of the Roman Catholic Church lambasts those who protest the health measures aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19: “Some groups protested, refusing to keep their distance, marching against travel restrictions — as if measures that governments must impose for the good of their people constitute some kind of political assault on autonomy or personal freedom,” he writes.

He goes further, and contrasts those who dig in against health measures with anti-mask protests. “You’ll never find such people protesting the death of George Floyd, or joining a demonstration because there are shanty towns where children lack water or education, or because there are whole families who have lost their income,” he adds. “On such matters, they would never protest; they are incapable of moving outside of their own little world of interests.”

The pontiff is pictured on the cover, with a sky-blue background and a dove, but inside he vents his frustration at how some have handled the pandemic. Indeed, the publisher says he offers “a scathing critique of the systems and ideologies that conspired to produce the current crisis, from a global economy obsessed with profit and heedless of the people and environment it harms, to politicians who foment their people’s fear and use it to increase their own power at their people’s expense.”

One month into national restrictions that closed cinemas, pools and gyms, and require restaurants and bars to close at 6 p.m., people took to the streets to show their ire over the impact on their businesses. There have been demonstrations in the northern cities of Turin, Genoa and Milan and smaller cities like Florence, Palermo on the island of Sicily, and in Naples. In one incident of many such incidents, a Gucci luxury-goods store was looted in Turin.

In the book, Pope Francis, 83, also took aim at COVID-19 deniers, and the politicians that encourage them. “Some media have used this crisis to persuade people that foreigners are to blame, that coronavirus is little more than a little bout of flu, that everything will soon return to what it was before, and that restrictions necessary for people’s protections amount to an unjust demand of an interfering state. There are politicians who peddle these narratives for their own gain.”

A nun prays in St. Peter’s Square during Pope Francis’s Sunday Angelus prayer on Nov. 8, 2020, at the Vatican.

AFP via Getty Images

Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte, meanwhile, saw how the 10-week lockdown earlier this year took a toll on people. Italians hoped that the worst was over. He took a mixed approached the second time around. He introduced a three-tier system: red zone for the strictest lockdown, an orange zone with high risks and a moderate-risk yellow zone. Conte and his COVID-19 team appear to have decided against a green zone, in case it gave the impression that people could throw caution to the wind.

People in red zones are in full lockdown, and may not leave their homes unless it’s for an emergency, or they need to do essential shopping or leave for health reasons. In orange zones, bars, restaurants, gelaterie and bakeries must close; people cannot leave their municipality, except for health or emergency reasons. The yellow zones have freedom of movement within those zones, but in Rome all galleries and museums are closed. There is also a national curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

The country is a color-coded patchwork of restrictions. Red zones include Tuscany in central Italy and Campania in the southwest, as well as Lombardy, Piedmont and Valle D’Aosta in the north, and the province of Bolzano and Calabria located on the “toe” of southern Italy. Emilia-Romagna, Friuli, Marche, Abruzzo, Basilicata, Liguria, Puglia, Sicily and Umbria are in orange zones. Lazio, where Rome and the Vatican are located, plus Molise, Sardinia and Veneto, are in the yellow zones.

Walter Ricciardi, the government’s COVID-19 consultant, said the government will rule if another national lockdown is necessary. In Campania, which includes Naples, hospitals risk becoming overwhelmed by the number of coronaivrus patients, health authorities have warned. “The situation in Campania is out of control,” Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio told La Stampa. He called for people to restrict their movements to prevent community transmission. “People are dying,” he said.

As people across the U.S. still debate mask mandates, the perils of not wearing this protection and how such directives may impinge on individual liberty, Italy this month introduced a national mask mandate, and extended a national state of emergency to January 2021. People in Italy must wear a mask outdoors or risk a fine of 1,000 euros ($1,163). Those who sit outside at restaurants are not required to wear masks while eating and drinking. Otherwise, in Rome, it’s rare to see anyone without one.

The Vatican, usually thronged with tourists, lies empty during the coronavirus pandemic.

Quentin Fottrell

Vatican City, the small independent enclave in the center of Rome, also imposed a mask mandate, although a maskless Pope Francis, before the most recent measures, was criticized for holding an indoor general audience on Oct. 7, and for shaking hands with followers. In parts of southern Italy, where people are perhaps regarded as being less conducive to obeying directives from the government, mask wearing appears to be at least slightly less rigorously enforced and adhered to.

Like many other economies around the world, Italy has been plunged into a recession due to the impact of pandemic restrictions. Europe faces the prospect of more lockdowns as the number of COVID-19 infections increases. Italian gross domestic product fell by 12.8% in the second quarter compared with the previous quarter, the national statistics agency reported in August, and the country is expected to lose 16 billion euros ($18.8 billion) in consumer spending this year.

Italy had confirmed 1,431,795 cases of COVID-19 as of Tuesday. That does not, for the most part, include those who are asymptomatic. Italy is ranked sixth in the world for COVID-related deaths (50,453). The U.S. is still No. 1 in both the number of cases (12.4 million) and fatalities (257,991) in the world. In ranking deaths, the U.S. is followed by Brazil, India, Mexico, the U.K. and Italy, according to Johns Hopkins University. Worldwide, the virus has infected 59.3 million and killed 1,399,983.

In the U.S., President Donald Trump is going ahead with a Thanksgiving celebration in the White House on Thursday, despite warnings about community transmission from health experts, as the world waits for a vaccine or vaccines to come to market. Trump has repeatedly warned that efforts to stem the rapid spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, or SARS-CoV-2, risk creating long-term damage to the economy.

That is where Trump and Pope Francis appear to differ. In his book, the pope said leaders who push ahead with opening their economies and businesses, despite a surge in coronavirus cases have “mortgaged their people,” and wrote that women — who are among those most affected by the pandemic — have also proven to be most resilient over the last year. The pontiff presents readers with a choice: “What matters more — to take care of people or keep the financial system going?”

The Dispatches correspondent, in Rome.

Quentin Fottrell

This story is part of a MarketWatch series, ‘Dispatches from a Pandemic’

Mark Hulbert: Here are your odds that stock prices will be higher at the end of 2021

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There’s precisely a 73.1% chance that the stock market will rise next year. But before you get too excited about this apparently good news, you should know that these odds are based on nothing more than the proportion of rising years in U.S. stock market history. So I am not shedding any light on 2021 in particular.

Nonetheless, historical odds and the big picture are important to keep in mind. There is solace in knowing that, across an incredibly wide range of market environments — from a Civil War, two World Wars, a Great Depression, to name a few — the U.S. market’s odds of rising have remained remarkably similar.

The proportion of years since 1793 in which the U.S. stock market rose varies very little. (The data reflect the broad market, as represented by indices such as the S&P SPX, +0.56%   with dividends reinvested.) For example, up to 1900, the proportion of rising years was 75%; it’s been 72% for the years since then. That’s not a statistically significant difference. The same goes when you divide the sample according to how the stock market performed in the immediately preceding year. If it rose, then the odds of it rising again are 74%, versus 70% if the stock market fell in the prior year.

What if stocks are in a strong bull market? I measured that by focusing on periods in which the stock market rose in at least four of the prior five years. In that event the market rose 71% of the time. That contrasts with a 73% chance of rising if the market rose in two or fewer of the preceding five years.

The most pronounced pattern that emerged was when I focused on the first year of the presidential term. In such years, the odds of rising are 82%, versus 70% in the other three years of the term. But even this difference is not significant at the 95% confidence level that statisticians typically use to determine if a pattern is genuine.

Why are the odds reported bunched in a narrow range? It’s not because of some law of the universe that the stock market must rise in close to three out of four years. Instead, these odds are a function of the stock market’s riskiness, its volatility and investors’ risk aversion. Given these factors, the only way to make equities attractive to more than just a few thrill seekers is to offer these odds.

So long as these factors don’t change, we shouldn’t expect any major change in these odds. And it’s doubtful that they will change, or change much when they do.

Therefore, if the stock market were to become so undervalued that the odds of rising were much greater than three out of four, investors would rush in, bidding prices up sufficiently so as to bring those odds back into line. The reverse would be true if the odds of rising fell significantly below three out of four.

Note carefully that these odds don’t guarantee that the stock market will rise in three of the next four years. The odds reflect an average across a period of many years. There in fact were two occasions since 1793 in which the stock market fell for four straight years — once during the Great Depression and another in the 1840s. But there were many other occasions in which the stock market rose for four straight years — 65, in fact, since 1793.

The bottom line? Success next year is likely but not guaranteed.

Mark Hulbert is a regular contributor to MarketWatch. His Hulbert Ratings tracks investment newsletters that pay a flat fee to be audited. He can be reached at

More: There will be a ‘huge boom’ in the second quarter of 2021 if vaccines are effective, says investment strategist David Rosenberg

Plus: ‘She can start repairing the damage in economic diplomacy’ — analysts react to Yellen as Biden’s Treasury secretary

The Moneyist: I gave my daughter $20K to start a company with her husband. They divorced and he got the business. Can I ask for it back?

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Dear Moneyist,

In 2012, my daughter and her husband (at the time) wanted to start a business. She asked for a loan of $20,000 to start the business, but I decided to make that part of her inheritance. So I gave them $20,000. Now they are divorced, and he got the business. Can I ask him for the $20,000 back given that the money was meant for my daughter as her inheritance?

Any advice would be appreciated. They both live in Michigan.


The Father in Naples, Fla.

Dear Father,

You gave the money to your daughter as an advance on her inheritance. That was your gift to her, and she used it to start a business with her husband, which makes that $20,000 and the business marital or community property. It was, in legal parlance, commingled.

You can ask for it back, and appeal to your brother-in-law’s generosity of spirit, but whether or not he agrees is another issue. He is under no legal obligation to return the money. There is no money per se to return. Would it be nice? Yes. Good etiquette? Maybe. Good ethics? Depends.

Your former son-in-law, I assume, received certain assets in his divorce from your daughter in exchange for others. Perhaps she received a lump sum, alimony, or a property. I don’t know the details, but they signed a divorce agreement to divide their assets in a fair and equitable manner.

The Moneyist:‘I lost my mom 2 months ago and I’m still in a fog’: My brother and his family moved into her home. They want more than half

I understand why this might stick in your craw, and you feel that the return of that money would be the right and proper course of action. I don’t, in theory, agree or disagree with that. Do have any residual feelings about this man’s character, and/or how he behaved during their marriage?

If so, this could be easier to solve than the $20,000 question. Perhaps you saw him as a son and feel personally betrayed. If you examine your feelings about your former son-in-law, and put them to rest, you may be able to vanquish your unhappiness over the money that you gave your daughter.

Quentin Fottrell is MarketWatch’s Moneyist columnist. You can email The Moneyist with any financial and ethical questions at Want to read more?Follow Quentin Fottrell on Twitterand read more of his columns here.

Hello there, MarketWatchers. Check out the Moneyist private Facebook FB, -0.47%  group where we look for answers to life’s thorniest money issues. Readers write in to me with all sorts of dilemmas. Post your questions, tell me what you want to know more about, or weigh in on the latest Moneyist columns.

The Moneyist: ‘Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t need two headless chickens fighting over the soul of the nation’: If you must talk politics, read these rules of engagement first

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There is a golden rule for dealing with difficult, emotive issues.

When dealing with perceived slights, actual insults, misbehavior and ill-gotten gains, between friends, frenemies, in-laws or relatives, resist telling that person exactly what you think of them or their cherished political affiliation. Don’t text. Don’t email. Don’t send Facebook messages. Don’t Slack WORK, +2.36% for the love of God, please don’t tweet TWTR, +0.58%  your views.

Whatever your feelings on President Donald Trump’s refusal to concede the election as more state certify the results, President-elect Joe Biden’s policy and cabinet choices or how Christopher Columbus, the merits of mask mandates — or how Columbus managed to “discover” a country that was already populated by indigenous peoples — avoid them at Thanksgiving dinner.

Related:COVID-19 spread when 5 million people left Wuhan for Chinese New Year, yet 50 million Americans will still travel for Thanksgiving

That’s what every self-satisfied article on Thanksgiving etiquette suggests. But with a couple of glasses of wine and some simmering resentments from Thanksgivings of yore, that annoyingly obvious rule of thumb is likely to last as long as a turkey on Thanksgiving — or a small chicken, who may be feeling nervous at the reduced size of Thanksgiving dinners this year due to COVID-19.

If things get heated, remember the good things about the person. You can always find something. He loves his wife. She is a good mother. Or try putting yourself in their shoes, which is almost always a compassionate act. He had a poor childhood, and didn’t have the same opportunities. She had a privileged upbringing, which has shielded her from many of life’s trials and tribulations.

MarketWatch illustration

So what happens if/when the conversation rolls around to the election? “Why do you say that?” is better than “You liberals/conservatives are all the same. I knew I shouldn’t have come here today!” A question is better than a statement. Opting for the latter risks offending your host or guest. But avoid questions starting with “Do you not think that…?” Nobody likes to be told what to think.

Tell them how you feel, not what they are. Avoid: “You’re a no-good Democratic… Or: “You’re a GOP-loving…” If your sibling or in-laws say you can’t take a joke or deflects by saying she meant X or Y, say it again: “It hurt my feelings.” If they do it again? Say, “Remember I asked you not to make value judgements about me over soup? Well, we’re now only on our turkey and it’s happened again.”

The Moneyist:‘I’m nobody’s ATM’: I’m 27, successful, and always pay for my friends. How do I stop without making them angry?

If your mother-in-law says, “I wanted Daisy to marry a Republican like her father? Or I wanted Jack to marry a Democrat like his first wife, Laurie. I miss Laurie.” Don’t react, or lie either. Smiling politely (or sarcastically) at such an unflattering comment can feel like you’re taking the moral high ground, but seldom does it make us feel better, or help.Try, “Daisy has good taste.” Or, “Jack knows best.”

Thanksgiving dinner will already have a turkey, it doesn’t need two headless chickens fighting over the soul of the nation. If your diehard conservative mother or bleeding-heart liberal father want to exorcise their own demons by trying to awaken yours, don’t play along. Say, “Enough is enough,” take out the playing cards, and suggest a game of gin rummy. And if that fails to keep the peace?

Take a deep breath — and think of your inheritance.

Quentin Fottrell is the Moneyist columnist for MarketWatch. You can email The Moneyist with any financial and ethical questions at Want to read more?Follow Quentin Fottrell on Twitterand read more of his columns here.

Hello there, MarketWatchers. Check out the Moneyist private Facebook FB, -0.47%  group where we look for answers to life’s thorniest money issues. Readers write in to me with all sorts of dilemmas. Post your questions, tell me what you want to know more about, or weigh in on the latest Moneyist columns.

Key Words: Dr. Fauci on Cuomo’s decision to review vaccines for New Yorkers: ‘Trust the process because it is a sound process’

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Dr. Anthony Fauci has some advice for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and the four other states that have vowed to independently review the efficacy and safety of a vaccine before making it available to their states. “Trust the process because it is a sound process,” he said.

Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the Washington Post in a video interview Monday. “I myself will get vaccinated and I will recommend that my family gets vaccinated.” Nevada, Oregon and Washington and California will also hold their own reviews.

The veteran immunologist said a COVID-19 vaccine that makes it to market will be “independently” and “transparently” reviewed by a team of experts, himself included, and urged people to take it. “If we want to protect the individual and all of society, we should take the vaccine,” Fauci said.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat, said last September that he would review any vaccine approved by the federal government, to ensure they are safe for residents of New York State. “Frankly, I’m not going to trust the federal government’s opinion,” he said.

Even if a vaccine receives approval from the Food and Drug Administration, Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, took a similar stance, telling a news conference last month, “We don’t take anyone’s word for it. We will do our own, independently reviewed process with our world-class experts.”

Fauci said that was an unnecessary approach. “I can understand, but I don’t agree with their doing that,” he said. “They have heard mixed messages from Washington. I don’t fault them.” However, the doctor urged those five states not to delay a vaccine by repeating the work of the FDA.

During the first surge of the pandemic, President Donald Trump and Cuomo sparred over the supply of personal-protective equipment and the availability of ventilators for coronavirus patients. For his part, the president appeared to retaliate against Cuomo’s vaccine-review stance.

“These are coming from the greatest companies anywhere in the world, greatest labs in the world,” Trump said. “But he doesn’t trust the fact that it’s this White House, this administration, so we won’t be delivering it to New York until we have authorization to do so, and that pains me to say that.”

Related:COVID-19 spread when 5 million people left Wuhan for Chinese New Year, yet 50 million Americans will still travel for Thanksgiving

A mural of Dr. Anthony Fauci by the artist SacSix in the East Village of New York City. Fauci, who grew up in Brooklyn, said he disagrees with New York and decisions by four other states to independently review a vaccine that makes it to market.

Getty Images

On Monday, AstraZeneca AZN, -1.08%  and the University of Oxford said their coronavirus vaccine is up to 90% effective when administered as a half dose, and then a full dose one month later. Effectiveness falls to 62% when two full doses are given one month apart.

Earlier this month, BioNTech SE BNTX, +2.33% and Pfizer PFE, -0.49% announced progress in a vaccine and, on Wednesday, said a final analysis showed 95% rather than 90% efficacy. On Monday, Moderna MRNA, +3.50%  said its vaccine candidate was 94.5% effective.  

Johnson & Johnson JNJ, -1.01% ; Merck & Co. MERK, -0.61% ; GlaxoSmithKline GSK, -0.78% ; and Sanofi SAN, +0.36% are also working on fast-track coronavirus vaccines. Moderna, Sanofi and AztraZeneca’s vaccines do not need to be kept ultra-low temperatures.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +1.12%, the S&P 500 Index SPX, +0.56%  and the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +0.21%  were up slightly Monday on the back of the AstraZeneca–Oxford vaccine news, but investors remain worried about the recent surge in cases.

As of Tuesday, 59 million people worldwide had contracted COVID-19, with almost 1.4 million deaths, with 12.4 million cases in the U.S. and 257,560 fatalities, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University. Reported cases do not, for the most part, include asymptomatic cases.

The U.S. daily tally of coronavirus infections hit 142,732 on Sunday, down from 200,000 on Friday, a daily record. Hospitals in the Midwest and southern states including Texas and Florida continued to feel the strain. Hospitalizations are at their highest level since the pandemic began.

During his Washington Post interview, Fauci also reiterated his warning to Americans about Thanksgiving, and urged people to stay home and not travel to see relatives who may be vulnerable. Nearing 200,000 new cases a day and 1 million new cases over 6 days is concerning, he said.

However, he said that the American people have the power to change that trajectory. “The numbers can be stark, sobering and, in many cases, they can be frightening,” the doctor said. “I don’t want this to be a Doomsday statement. But you don’t have to accept these numbers as inevitable.”

Gatherings such as Thanksgiving, Fauci said, lead to transmission. “If you have people in your home that are not members of the immediate household, and you’re not really sure of their level of exposure, you should wear a mask indoors with the obvious exception of eating and drinking.”

“Better to be careful now,” he added, “and look forward to many more in the future.”