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Americans Jam Beaches and Dow Opens Big as Another Vaccine Emerges

05-26-2020
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People gather on the beach for the Memorial Day weekend in Port Aransas, Texas, Saturday, May 23, 2020. Beachgoers are being urged to practice social distancing to guard against COVID-19. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
People gather on the beach for the Memorial Day weekend in Port Aransas, Texas, Saturday, May 23, 2020. Beachgoers are being urged to practice social distancing to guard against COVID-19. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Many Americans did something over the weekend they haven't done in a long time – they went outdoors, enjoying beaches and parks for Memorial Day. Optimism is building in the fight against COVID-19 with more and more signs of hope, both on the medical front and on the economy.  

A US biotech company has begun coronavirus vaccine trials with volunteers in Australia with hopes of releasing a proven vaccine this year. And markets are reacting.

Dr. Greg Glenn, chief scientific officer at Novavax, said, "What we're bringing to the table is a very strong immunogenic vaccine. It gives you functional responses."

US stock futures indicated big gains on Wall Street today on news of the vaccine and amid signs that global economies are coming back from the dead after the pandemic shutdown.

Product shipments are growing again. Air travel and hotel bookings are up. Mortgage applications are rising. And more people are applying to open new businesses.
 
Oil is also rebounding. After West Texas intermediate plunged into negative territory for the first time on record, May is shaping up to be its best month ever, but still volatile.

But the nation's food supply chain is still reeling from the effects of COVID-19. The CDC says nearly 5,000 meat-packing workers at 115 facilities in 19 states have been infected, forcing closures. 

Nick Vyas at the Center for Global Supply Chain Management at the University of Southern California says, "The facility itself did not really have the proper method in place to really protect the frontline workers. And we started to see one plant after the other really got exposed."

And with the supply chain disrupted, prices are rising. This month fresh beef rose almost 12 percent and chicken is up 7 and half percent.

But this past weekend, many Americans were determined to celebrate. Sick of quarantine and tempted by gorgeous weather in many parts of the country, crowds ignored social distancing and jammed parks and beaches for Memorial Day.

That has health and state officials concerned about a resurgence, but most seem willing to take that chance.

One pool partier told a reporter, "If you're worried about it, stay home. If you don't want to catch it, stay home." 

President Trump and Vice President Pence visited Arlington National Cemetery to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. 

Joe Biden also made his first public appearance in two months at a Veterans Memorial in Delaware.

And it was an extra special Memorial Day for 99-year-old Max DeWeese. The former Marine First Sergeant is not only part of the greatest generation of World War Two heroes, but he is also a COVID-19 survivor.  

"I've gone through Hell more than once. And this came almost as close," DeWeese said. 

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