Bloomberg Businessweek May 10, 2021

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2 min
in brief

Global coronavirus cases topped 154 million, and deaths have exceeded 3.2m Meanwhile, more than 1.2 billion vaccine doses have been given worldwide. Although infection rates are falling in the U.K. and the U.S., India is experiencing a sharp surge of more than 300,000 cases daily, bringing its total to more than 20 million. Warren Buffett named his successor on May 3. America’s most renowned investor thus answered one of the biggest questions in the finance community: Who will take over at Berkshire Hathaway? His choice is Vice Chairman Greg Abel, who’s spent more than two decades at the company. At least 24 people were killed in Mexico City on May 3 when a metro overpass collapsed under a crossing train into the street below. The accident is one of the worst on the…

3 min
waiving vaccine patents isn’t a fast covid fix for nations in need

With patients in India dying in the streets and crematoriums melting down from overuse, pressure is building on the U.S. and other rich nations to waive patents so that anyone, anywhere can produce coronavirus vaccines. There’s no question that boosting global manufacturing and distribution of shots should be an overriding priority, but the focus on intellectual property misses a crucial point. IP waivers, by themselves, won’t get the job done. India, South Africa, and more than 50 other countries have asked the World Trade Organization for a temporary waiver of intellectual-property rights for vaccines and Covid-19 therapeutics. They say rich countries have cornered the market, inoculating their populations 25 times faster than poor countries, and have delayed sharing stockpiles until their own needs have been met. Meanwhile, India, which has fully…

1 min
the queen’s speech

Chinese online retail giant Alibaba reports fiscal fourth-quarter earnings on May 13. The company has come under increased scrutiny by the government over its market dominance. China unveils key April economic data on May 17, including industrial production and retail sales figures. The economy has led a global rebound from the pandemic. Mexico’s central bank decides on interest rates on May 13. Economists expect the borrowing rate to stay at 4%, even though the economy is expanding more quickly than predicted. Hedge funds and money managers must disclose their holdings to U.S. regulators by May 17, providing an insight into their investments in a bumper year for trading. BioNTech reports earnings on May 10. The pandemic has propelled the German company out of obscurity; with its partner Pfizer it’s now one of the main…

9 min
loopholes? comeon, man

You’d expect taking money from the 1 Percent to be child’s play in a democracy. The 99 Percent have less money than the rich, but they have way more votes. In practice, Robin Hoodism isn’t so simple. Rich people can rightly make the case that they’re already picking up a big share of the nation’s tab for defense, social spending, and everything else. They can argue, more controversially, that raising their taxes will discourage them from working, inventing, and investing, to everyone’s detriment. And if all else fails, they can hire lawyers and accountants to minimize what they owe the Internal Revenue Service. President Joe Biden is determined nonetheless to raise taxes on the rich, whose share of the national wealth has soared since the 1970s, and he has a strategy…

5 min
laggard doesn’t (always) mean loser

The Covid-19 vaccine rollout has given drugmakers the kind of brand-name shorthand usually reserved for more mundane consumer products: People talk about getting Pfizer, Moderna, J&J, or Astra much as they might reach for a Kleenex or a Popsicle. And those companies have contracts to provide billions of doses, appearing to leave little room for other entrants. So why are dozens of hopefuls still working on shots? The answer is that while early leaders stand to book immense profits, the problem is big enough—and the continuing challenges daunting enough—to leave room for at least a few more companies. The offerings of two that got to the market quickly, AstraZeneca Plc and Johnson & Johnson, have been linked to rare blood clots, slowing their rollout. The handling requirements and high cost of…

5 min
yes, streaming ads are on repeat

Ben Chappell was binge-watching The X-Files on Hulu recently when he kept seeing the same ads for sports betting apps again and again. He says that over three hours he watched the same commercials many times. Hulu says it caps the frequency a user can see the same commercial at two times per hour, four times per day, or 25 times per week. Customers can exceed those limits when additional ads for the same product are sold by third parties, however. “It’s complete overkill,” says Chappell, 37, who lives in Lakewood, Colo., where sports betting is legal and such ads are flooding the zone. “Maybe I’d watch them if it wasn’t the same commercial over and over.” Instead, he just hits the mute button. One reason for the repeated commercial déjà vu…