Hedge fund manager Bill Ackman exhorted social media users to stop living in “fear of COVID.”
Ackman — who leads the firm Pershing Square Capital Management — responded to a tweet from American Enterprise Institute senior fellow Scott Gottlieb, who noted that there is a “striking decoupling” between deaths and cases due to the advent of the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
“We have reached the stage in the Covid crisis where our attention needs to focus on severity and protecting those who are vulnerable rather than case counts,” Ackman said. “While unvaccinated Americans are still at risk, the vax decision is a personal one. We need to give the healthcare system the resources it needs, and we need to start living again.”
We have reached the stage in the Covid crisis where our attention needs to focus on severity and protecting those who are vulnerable rather than case counts. While unvaccinated Americans are still at risk, the vax decision is a personal one. We need to give the healthcare system https://t.co/uzRZImuLja
— Bill Ackman (@BillAckman) December 19, 2021
“It appears that Omicron will ‘vaccinate’ everyone who isn’t already vaccinated. Let’s protect the vulnerable and continue to live our lives. The beginning of the end of living in fear of Covid is near,” Ackman added in a follow-up tweet.
Other financial professionals also have not been incredibly concerned about the Omicron variant. For instance, Morgan Stanley analysts warned that the Federal Reserve’s forthcoming withdrawal of monetary stimulus is more concerning than the variant.
During recent testimony to the Senate Banking Committee, Jerome Powell acknowledged that the inflation rate is running “well above” the central bank’s 2% long-run target.
“Most forecasters, including at the Fed, continue to expect that inflation will move down significantly over the next year as supply and demand imbalances abate,” he explained. “It is difficult to predict the persistence and effects of supply constraints, but it now appears that factors pushing inflation upward will linger well into next year. In addition, with the rapid improvement in the labor market, slack is diminishing, and wages are rising at a brisk pace.”
“We understand that high inflation imposes significant burdens, especially on those less able to meet the higher costs of essentials like food, housing, and transportation,” he added. “We are committed to our price-stability goal. We will use our tools both to support the economy and a strong labor market and to prevent higher inflation from becoming entrenched.”
In late October, Ackman issued a rebuke against the Federal Reserve for its aggressive monetary stimulus, saying that the central bank “should taper immediately and begin raising rates as soon as possible.”
“We are continuing to dance while the music is playing, and it is time to turn down the music and settle down,” he explained. “As we have previously disclosed, we have put our money where our mouth is in hedging our exposure to an upward move in rates, as we believe that a rise in rates could negatively impact our long-only equity portfolio.”
Last week, central bankers said that they will pursue a more rapid conclusion to their quantitative easing program — namely, by accelerating the slowdown of asset purchases and promising three rate hikes next year.
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