MidWeek Commentary

HI Market View Commentary 08-17-2020

HI Market View Commentary 08-17-2020

OK let’s talk options and let’s get the real education on the scary word Options!!


YES there is one option when used by itself has unlimited risk

Short call or sometimes called a Naked Call = The obligation to sell a stock at a certain price for a certain period of time  = UNLIMITED RISK !!!!!



Sept $450 cost $99.15

Risk in the trade = $9,915

Sometimes we have you in a stock replacement strategy of a long call

Long Call = The right to buy a stock at a certain price for a certain period of time


HI collar trades or uses a protective put

Long Put = The right to sell your stock at a certain price for a certain period of time


BTO 100 shares of AAPL  at $459.63 x 100 shares = $45,963

Risk in the trade/investment into AAPL Shares = Every freaking penny

BTO a 360 Strike Long Put for $36.70 that expires in 99 days

New Cost Basis 459.63 + 36.70 = 496.33

New risk in the trade = 460 – 496.33 = -36.33 or you have 7.9% risk of your total invested capital

$45,963 old risk / new risk $3,633


Adding shares to your account through profits from options


Where will our markets end this week?



DJIA – Bullish

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SPX – Bullish

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COMP – Bullish

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Where Will the SPX end August  2020?

08-17-2020            -2.0%

08-10-2020            -2.0%

08-03-2020            -2.0%



Mon:            JD, SINA,

Tues:            AAP, HD, KSS, WMT, CREE

Wed:            LOW, TJX, LB, NVDA, TGT

Thur:           BABA, EL, ROST,        

Fri:              BKE, DE, FL


Econ Reports:

Mon:            Empire Manufacturing, NAHB Housing Market, Net Long Term TIC Flows,

Tues:            Building Permits, Housing Starts

Wed:            MBA, FOMC Minutes

Thur:           Initial Claims, Continuing Claims, Phil Fed, Leading Indicators,  

Fri:               Existing Home Sales, OPTION EXPIRATION




Mon –            

Tues –         

Wed –            

Thursday –     


Sunday –       


How am I looking to trade?

Still letting most thing run but preparing for protection to get us through Oct and then new protection for the election



www.myhurleyinvestment.com = Blogsite

customerservice@hurleyinvestments.com = Email






Joe Biden picks Sen. Kamala Harris to be his vice presidential running mate, making her the first Black woman on a major ticket




  • Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden has chosen Sen. Kamala Harris of California to be his running mate.
  • Widely considered a moderate Democrat, Harris will be the first Black woman nominated as part of a major party ticket.
  • The announcement caps off a months long process that saw nearly a dozen prospective running mates vetted by the Biden campaign.

WASHINGTON — Former Vice President Joe Biden has chosen Sen. Kamala Harris of California to join him on the Democratic ticket, fulfilling his pledge to select a female running mate and making Harris the first Black woman ever to appear on a major party ticket.

His campaign announced the pick Tuesday afternoon through its website.

Biden’s selection of Harris, 55, lends racial diversity, gender parity and generational breadth to his campaign. It also represents a strategic decision by the 77-year-old former vice president to keep his ticket firmly within the more moderate wing of the Democratic Party.

“Back when Kamala was Attorney General, she worked closely with Beau,” tweeted Biden, referring to his late son, Beau Biden. “I watched as they took on the big banks, lifted up working people, and protected women and kids from abuse. I was proud then, and I’m proud now to have her as my partner in this campaign.”

The selection came despite a months long pressure campaign from leftist factions that wanted Biden to pick a progressive star such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and in the final few weeks of the search, concerted lobbying by prominent Democrats on behalf of Rep. Karen Bass of California and former Obama National Security Advisor Susan Rice.

Harris said in her own tweet shortly after Biden’s decision, “Joe Biden can unify the American people because he’s spent his life fighting for us. And as president, he’ll build an America that lives up to our ideals. I’m honored to join him as our party’s nominee for Vice President, and do what it takes to make him our Commander-in-Chief.”

Former President Barack Obama complimented his vice president’s choice. “Joe Biden nailed this decision,” Obama said in a statement. “By choosing Senator Kamala Harris as America’s next vice president, he’s underscored his own judgment and character. Reality shows us that these attributes are not optional in a president. They’re requirements of the job. And now Joe has an ideal partner to help him tackle the very real challenges America faces right now and in the years ahead.”

Following the announcement, Rice complimented Harris in a statement, calling her “a tenacious and trailblazing leader who will make a great partner on the campaign trail.” Bass did the same, saying in a tweet that Harris’ “tenacious pursuit of justice and relentless advocacy for the people is what is needed right now.”

Harris has a uniquely American biography: Her mother was a widely respected breast cancer researcher who immigrated to the United States from India in the 1960s. Her father, Donald Harris, is an eminent economist who spent much of his career at Stanford University. Also an immigrant, Harris moved to the United States from Jamaica around the time his future wife came from India.

A first-term senator who served as California’s attorney general from 2010-16, Harris has drawn on her personal and professional experience to emerge as a leader in the Senate on racial justice issues.

“We’ve all watched her hold the Trump administration accountable for its corruption, stand up to a Justice Department that’s run amok, and be a powerful voice against their extreme nominations,” said Biden in his announcement Tuesday, touting her experience in the Senate.

“She’s been a leader on criminal justice and marriage equality. And she has focused like a laser on the racial disparities as a result of the coronavirus,” Biden said.

A member of the Judiciary Committee, Harris in 2018 co-sponsored the first-ever bill to make lynching a federal crime. The bill passed the Senate and the House overwhelmingly, but a final version was blocked by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.

Harris was also a co-author this spring of Democrats’ broader police reform legislation, drafted in response to the national uprising that followed the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man killed by Minneapolis police in May, and the fatal police shooting of Breonna Taylor, a Black EMT, at her home in Louisville, Kentucky, in March.

Yet Harris, like Biden himself, is considered a moderate Democrat and a pragmatic lawmaker rather than an ideologue. This could complicate incumbent President Donald Trump’s effort to portray Biden as a tool of the “radical left.”

Already on Tuesday there were signs that the Trump campaign has yet to decide how to attack Harris. In a written response to Biden’s announcement, a Trump campaign spokeswoman accused Harris of being both too progressive and not progressive enough, saying Harris attempted to “bury her record as a prosecutor, in order to appease the anti-police extremists” yet also claiming her selection was proof that Biden would pursue “the extreme agenda of the radicals on the left.”

In reality, Harris has repeatedly teamed with Republican colleagues to draft legislation during her three years in the Senate.

This includes working on an election security bill with Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., the anti-lynching bill with Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., and a workplace harassment prevention bill with Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska.

Harris has even won plaudits from Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a staunch Trump ally — albeit one whose personal friendship with Biden goes back some 30 years.

Speaking to radio host Hugh Hewitt about Harris in May, Graham said, “I think she’s the leading candidate [for Biden’s running mate]. I know her. I didn’t like what she did in the Kavanaugh [Supreme Court confirmation] hearings by any stretch of the imagination. But she’s hard-nosed. She’s smart. She’s tough.”

The announcement comes after a four-month selection process that saw at least a dozen prominent women vetted for the position.

The vice presidential selection committee was headed by former Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut, one of Biden’s oldest friends. Other members included Biden campaign co-chair Eric Garcetti, the mayor of Los Angeles; Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, who represents Biden’s home state of Delaware in the House, and Cynthia Hogan, who served as counsel to Biden in the Senate and later in the Obama administration.

Throughout the process, insiders say, Biden’s top priority has always been to select a vice president he can trust, someone with whom Biden can have the same deep personal relationship he had with President Barack Obama during his eight years as vice president.

Biden’s strategy for choosing a running mate has evolved over the past few months as his lead over Trump in national polls and battleground states has increased.

During the late winter and spring, when Biden was still locked in a primary battle against Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., many on his campaign team saw the vice presidential pick primarily as a chance for Biden to name a progressive who could help him unite the establishment arm of the Democratic Party with its left flank.

But as Biden’s lead over Trump grew in the late spring and summer, progressive Democrats coalesced around him.

By early July, instead of needing a vice presidential candidate who could help galvanize support on the left, Biden’s advisors had come to believe he merely needed one who would “do no harm” to his strong standing in the polls.



Here’s what Kamala Harris brings to Joe Biden’s campaign for president




  • Kamala Harris brings more to Joe Biden’s presidential campaign as his running mate than any of the other vice presidential contenders could have done.
  • Harris’ background and biography resonate with huge swaths of the country who might not easily identify with Biden.
  • Harris also has rare experience on big political stages, where she has shown that she can win millions of votes and raise even more millions in campaign donations.

WASHINGTON — After months of speculation and fierce behind-the-scenes lobbying, the wait is over. Sen. Kamala Harris of California will be the running mate of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

“Her record of accomplishment — fighting tooth and nail for what’s right — is why I’m choosing her,” Biden said in a statement Tuesday announcing Harris’ selection. “There is no door Kamala won’t knock on, no stone she’ll leave unturned, if it means making life better — for the people.”

Harris’ selection wasn’t exactly a surprise. She’s been at or near the top of veepstakes lists ever since Biden essentially locked up the nomination in the spring. During that time, however, several other potential running mates garnered national attention, including Rep. Karen Bass, former Obama National Security Advisor Susan Rice and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

But in the end, every other candidate under consideration lacked attributes that Harris contributes to the ticket. Several contenders carried political baggage with them that threatened to distract from Biden’s own message.

While the first rule of vice presidential selection is “first do no harm,” the second rule is “mobilize and energize key voting blocs.”

For Biden, Harris does both. As a Black and Indian American woman raised by her two immigrant parents west of the Mississippi, Harris’ background and biography resonate with huge swaths of the country — and even bigger swaths of Democratic voters — who don’t easily identify with Biden, the 77-year-old son of working-class Irish Catholics in the Northeast.

By contrast, Harris will be the first Black woman ever to appear on a major party’s general election ballot for president. She is also the first Black person of any gender to be selected as the vice presidential nominee of a major party.

As of Tuesday, Harris is also a standard bearer of the Democratic Party and the face of its future. Overnight, she has been politically transformed, from a prominent senator in a Senate filled with them, into the person who is statistically most likely to be the next Democratic president of the United States, after Biden.

But as much as the selection benefits Harris, the real winner here is Joe Biden.

By tapping the 55-year-old senator from the nation’s most populous state to run alongside him, Biden has chosen a running mate who possesses many of the qualities that, individually, made other vice presidential contenders stand out.

For example, Harris has a stand-out record of drafting and sponsoring major legislation in the Senate, something that two other potential running mates, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Tammy Duckworth, had as well.

She also has the diverse racial heritage that many Democrats, not just those of color, were hoping to see this year in the party ticket. With the nation at a crossroads over racial justice, the desire to see a woman of color on the ticket helped to elevate several other shortlisted candidates, including Bass and Rice, over other women with similar career trajectories.

Further strengthening Harris’ candidate profile during the vice presidential search was her professional experience enforcing the law, first as San Francisco’s district attorney and later as California’s attorney general. This kind of experience is especially relevant today, when many Americans are rethinking how law enforcement should work.

Another prospect vetted by the campaign, Rep. Val Demings of Florida, is also a woman of color who spent her career in law enforcement. But Demings had never run a large national political campaign before, nor did she have experience raising the kind of campaign money that Biden’s running mate will likely be expected to raise.

Then there’s the matter of votes. Over the course of her career in politics at the state and national levels, Harris has won more than 10 million individual votes, a number that far exceeds the votes won by any of the other legislators Biden considered for his running mate.

Harris has also proven her ability to raise enormous sums of money for her own campaign and for other Democrats. Since launching her successful 2016 Senate campaign, Harris’ campaign committee has raised more than $23 million, according to campaign finance data.

Already on Tuesday, Wall Street executives who are active in politics were publicly praising Biden’s pick. “I think it’s great,” Marc Lasry, CEO of investment firm Avenue Capital Group, told CNBC. “She’s going to help Joe immensely. He picked the perfect partner.”

But perhaps the biggest sign of how much Harris contributes to the Biden campaign can be found in a tweet by one of President Donald Trump’s most ardent supporters, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. “Senator Kamala Harris will be a formidable opponent. She is smart, aggressive, and has fully bought in to the Democratic Party’s very liberal agenda.”


Senate adjourns through Labor Day without reaching a stimulus deal. Here’s where things stand now

Published Thu, Aug 13 20205:13 PM EDT


The Senate is officially adjourned through Labor Day despite not coming to an agreement on its next coronavirus stimulus package.

Congress and the White House have spent the past few weeks debating what to include in the package, but have been unable to come to an agreement. One of the biggest sticking points: Jobless benefits. Democrats want a continuation of the enhanced unemployment payment of $600 per week, while Republicans say that amount is too high. Democrats are also pushing for more than $900 billion for state and municipal aid, and $60 billion in food assistance, far higher than what Republicans have proposed.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the two sides would not strike a deal until Republicans added $1 trillion in aid to their bill.

That means a deal could be weeks away. Meanwhile, around 28 million Americans remain unemployed and many of the relief provisions from the first stimulus package have dried up. President Donald Trump has issued four executive orders to address some of the issues, but experts remain unconvinced that they will be efficient in helping vulnerable households.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said that if some kind of deal is reached while the Senate is on recess, members will return to Washington, D.C. for a vote.

As the Senate breaks, here’s where things stand on various stimulus issues.

Eviction moratorium

The federal eviction moratorium expired at the end of July. Without further action, it is up to each state, and sometimes city, to extend their eviction moratoriums or let them expire. New York state just extended its ban through September.

Trump’s executive order aimed at eviction does not actually extend the moratorium. Rather, it instructs certain departments to “consider” whether temporarily banning residential evictions is “reasonably necessary” to prevent further spread of Covid-19.

As many as 40 million Americans could face eviction, according to Emily Benfer, an expert on evictions and health justice lawyer.

Stimulus checks

A second round of stimulus checks seems to be one of the less controversial provisions: Senate Republicans and House Democrats both proposed another round of $1,200 to $2,400 checks in their respective stimulus packages.

But any additional check requires Congressional approval, which means taxpayers wouldn’t receive a payment anytime soon.

Student loans

Trump also ordered the Department of Education to continue deferring federal student loan payments through the end of the year. During that time, no interest will accrue for around 35 million borrowers.

The pause is intended to be automatic, as was the initial deferral put into place by the CARES Act.

Unemployment insurance

One of Trump’s executive orders guarantees $300 per week in additional federal benefits for some workers (and potentially $400 total, depending on how much money states have to give), but UI experts and state governors say it could take weeks for states to update their unemployment systems for the new rules and pay out benefits.

Until that kicks in or Congress comes to a deal, the 28 million people currently collecting jobless benefits will receive their baseline state benefit, which varies depending on where they live.



Here’s how Robinhood is raking in record cash on customer trades — despite making it free


Kate Rooney@KR00NEY

Maggie Fitzgerald@MKMFITZGERALD


  • Robinhood roughly doubled the money it makes from customer trades from the prior quarter, according to a recent SEC regulatory filing. The majority of that total came from options trading.
  • The Silicon Valley start-up attracts the highest rate of any firm for equity trades, and saw the greatest quarter-over-quarter increase in payment for order flow of any e-broker, according to the documents.
  • Options are far more lucrative for these trading firms, leaving some with a “huge conflict of interest,” according to Tim Welsh, founder and CEO of wealth management consulting firm Nexus Strategy.

Robinhood is raking in more money than ever on customer trades as new investors flood the stock market during the pandemic.

Despite not charging customers to trade, the Silicon Valley start-up made $180 million off trades in the second quarter — roughly double from the prior quarter, according to a recent Securities and Exchange Commission regulatory filing. The majority of that total came from options trading.

Robinhood, and the rest of the online brokerage industry, rely on what’s known as payment for order flow as their profit engine in lieu of commissions. The pioneer of “free trading,” Robinhood’s business model hinges on the back end payments, since the other brokers have established other revenue streams and only recently slashed commissions. Thanks to a recent change in SEC rules, these brokers are now required to give more disclosures on how trades are executed, and how much money they bring in for firms.

Payment for order flow is a common practice but it’s often criticized for its lack of transparency. It has become especially vital to companies’ bottom line after commissions went to zero.

Market makers, such as Citadel Securities or Virtu, pay e-brokers like Robinhood for the right to execute customer trades. The broker is then paid a small fee for the shares that are routed, which can add up to millions when customers trade as actively as they have this year.

“All market makers we have relationships with pay us at the same rate. We have relationships with a number of market makers in an effort to optimize speed and execution quality,” a Robinhood spokesperson told CNBC.

This year’s regulatory reports showed a significant rise in payment for order flow in the second quarter, according to company disclosures and analysis by Piper Sandler.

Robinhood attracts the highest rate for equity trades, according to the documents, at 17 cents per hundred shares. Charles Schwab, by comparison, makes 11 cents per hundred shares. For options trading, the disparity is even bigger.

TD Ameritrade and Robinhood make by far the most off of options at 58 cents. Schwab and E-Trade make 37 cents and 46 cents, respectively. According to the disclosures, Robinhood saw the biggest increase quarter over quarter of any brokerage firm, with order flow nearly doubling.

Payment for order flow is typically paid on a per share basis. Robinhood, however, receives a fixed rate per spread which is higher than the average rate the other major brokers receive.

Its rivals also reported an uptick in order flow income this year.

At E-Trade, order flow revenue jumped to $110 million in the second quarter, up from $80 million in the comparable quarter last year, according to its quarterly filing. TD Ameritrade reported $324 million in order flow revenue, up from roughly $200 million last year. TD Ameritrade’s order flow revenue contributed about 20% to its total second quarter revenue of $1.59 billion.

The boom in order flow coincided with record retail trading activity and new customer accounts across the industry. Robinhood surged in popularity, adding 3 million customers this year alone, according to the company.

“Its been a perfect storm for retail trading with the volatility that we saw early in the pandemic, the work from home environment that drove many people to the market as overall online usage has moved up substantially,” JMP Securities Devin Ryan said.

‘Conflict of interest’

Trading options is far more lucrative for these companies than a simple equity trade.

Because options are traded less frequently, there’s a larger spread between the bid, or the price buyers are willing to pay, and the ask, or the price sellers want, said Tim Welsh, founder and CEO of wealth management consulting firm Nexus Strategy. Welsh said retail brokers “without a doubt” steer customers to options trades since those provide the bigger payday.

“It’s a huge conflict of interest for these free trading platforms,” Welsh said. “The Citadels, the active traders of the world, know that Robinhood has much more unsophisticated traders, so they can make money on them.”

These complicated trades give clients the option to buy or sell securities at predetermined prices. The process is typically used by professional traders, such as hedge funds. The technique tends to be more speculative — it gives clients more ability to use leverage, and therefore more upside. But it can also provide more downside losses.

Robinhood made more than $111 million, of its $180 million total, from options trades in the second quarter but recently made it more difficult for customers to access its options offering, in the wake of a customer’s death this summer. Alex Kearns, a 20-year-old Robinhood customer, died by suicide and in a note to his family cited what he incorrectly thought were $730,000 losses from trading options on the trading platform.

“I think they should put a cigarette warning label on Robinhood, because it could be hazardous to your financial health the more you trade. Every study on planet Earth has shown day traders that are not sophisticated do not make money. They game-ify it, they throw confetti after each trade, the make it ‘free’ but ultimately it’s a losers game,” Welsh said.

Robinhood said the majority of its customers are not “day traders.”

The company is outpacing its rivals by at least one other metric. The start-up said it had 4.3 million daily average revenue trades in June, or trades that generated commissions or fees, more than rival E-Trade and Charles Schwab combined. Because it’s a private company, Robinhood isn’t required to disclose quarterly totals, but said trading in the second quarter more than doubled compared to the prior three months. All three of its top days, based on trading volume, happened in June 2020

The zero-commissions pioneer announced the close of a funding round that pushed its valuation to $8.6 billion earlier this year. Robinhood also earns revenue off of its gold subscription service; however, the company declined to comment whether it is yet profitable.

Best execution?

Another little-known aspect of zero-commission trading pertains to the execution of a given trade.

Before, when brokers charged commissions for each trade, they often were promising a best possible execution, meaning they prioritized time and therefore share price of a security. As zero commissions became industry standard, brokers now go for the cheapest option to execute a trade.

Steve Sanders, Interactive Brokers’ executive vice president of marketing and product development, said its zero-commission option — known as IBKR Lite — may not get best price execution, compared to paying IBKR Pro customers.

“If it’s IBKR Lite with zero commissions we do what the other brokers do, we send them off to a market maker just like everybody else and there’s payment for order flow that comes back and you may not get as good of an execution,” Sanders said. “If its IBKR Pro you’ll get better execution.”

Robinhood said its routing system automatically sends orders to the market maker that’s most likely to give the best execution, based on historical performance.

— with reporting from CNBC’s Nate Rattner. 


China may never catch up with its commitments to the U.S. in ‘phase one’ deal, expert says




  • China may never catch up to buying the agreed amounts of U.S. goods and services under the “phase one” trade deal, said Scott Kennedy of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
  • The trade deal, signed in January, committed China to buying, over two years, at least $200 billion more U.S. goods and services in addition to its 2017 purchases.
  • Kennedy said the White House would not want to “junk” the deal because “it’s the only reason the Chinese are buying agricultural goods from farmers in red states that the president needs for reelection.”

China may never catch up to buying the agreed amounts of U.S. goods and services under the “phase one” trade deal, an expert said on Friday.

Both countries signed the agreement in January, which brought to a pause the trade war between them that saw retaliatory tariffs being slapped on goods worth hundreds of billions of dollars. Among other things, China committed to buying, over two years, at least $200 billion more U.S. goods and services in addition to its 2017 purchases.

But China has fallen short so far, noted Scott Kennedy, senior advisor and Trustee Chair in Chinese Business and Economics at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“If it’s really based on the genuine commitments that they inked in January, they’re far behind and they’re never gonna catch up,” he told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia.”

Data compiled by Peterson Institute for International Economics found that in the first half of 2020, China bought less than a quarter of the targeted full-year amount of U.S. goods under the trade deal. The data doesn’t include U.S. services purchased by China because those are not reported on a monthly basis, said PIIE.

Top trade negotiators from both countries will reportedly meet via video conference this week to review the progress of implementing the phase one agreement.

The meeting comes as relations between the U.S. and China have worsened in recent months. Their disagreement now covers a wider range of issues, including the origin of the coronavirus, Hong Kong’s autonomy and national security concerns around Chinese tech companies.

U.S. President Donald Trump alluded to the broader issues surrounding his country’s relationship with China, saying earlier this week that the phase one trade deal “means very little in the overall import of things.”

Kennedy said the U.S.-China dispute has morphed from one about trade imbalances into a “fundamental strategic competition” in which both countries are “portraying the other as an existential threat.”

Still, he said the White House would not want to “junk” the deal because “it’s the only reason the Chinese are buying agricultural goods from farmers in red states that the president needs for reelection.”


Forty percent of U.S. Covid-19 tests come back too late to be clinically meaningful, data show



Nick Wells



  • CNBC and Dynata ran a survey of more than 9,400 Americans in all 50 states to get a sense of testing turnaround times for Covid-19.
  • Experts say results need to be returned in less than three days, optimally two, to be clinically meaningful.
  • The results showed almost 40% of tests take longer than that.

In early July, Shannon Mayer started to feel a sudden tightness in her chest.

“The next day it was really hard to breathe,” the 31-year-old Chicago resident told CNBC. “I got scared.”

Mayer has asthma, but says she hadn’t had an issue with it for years. So she decided to get a test for Covid-19. The results, she was told, would take five to 10 days, and she was instructed to quarantine while she waited. After a week, the results still hadn’t been returned. And Mayer already felt better and suspected she wasn’t infected, so she stopped quarantining.

“Had I stuck with it, I would have been in my house for three weeks,” she said. She was tested July 1, and her results didn’t come back until July 24. Luckily, she was negative. Mayer’s not alone. Bethany Silva, who lives in New York City, reported a 13-day wait for her results. For Lisa Miller, in New Jersey, it was a week.

Health experts say two days or less is optimal for returning Covid-19 test results to make them useful for stopping transmission. If test results take more than three days, people are unlikely to self-quarantine and getting in touch with the people they interact with during that time — potentially spreading virus — can be difficult.

“It’s really clear that if tests take more than 48 hours, you’ve lost the window for contact tracing,” Dr. Ashish Jha, professor of global health at Harvard University, said in an interview. “I think, basically, beyond 72 hours, the test is close to useless.”

A survey run by CNBC in partnership with Dynata, a global data and survey firm, suggests almost 40% of Americans had to wait more than three days for their results, rendering them — by Jha’s definition — useless.

That’s certainly the way Mayer felt.

“The whole purpose is to find out if I have it before it’s over,” Mayer said. “So that just completely defeated the purpose.”

The results varied state by state. Some, like Massachusetts and South Dakota, had average turnaround times of just over two days. Others, like Arizona and West Virginia, were closer to four and a half days, on average. Indiana’s average test turnaround time was more than five days.

Jha said the variation is evidence of a fragmented testing strategy in the U.S.

“It would take a national testing strategy to make sure that, if there’s excess capacity in Massachusetts, but long lines in Florida, that Massachusetts could help Florida out,” Jha said. “Largely we have not had a national testing strategy. The strategy out of the White House has been for every state to figure this out on their own.”

Even national labs struggled to keep up with demand when cases were surging across the Sunbelt, with Quest Diagnostics saying in mid-July that its turnaround times were more than a week for non-priority patients. It has since said it’s increased capacity and that results now take an average of two to three days.

Admiral Brett Giroir, the Trump administration’s Covid-19 testing czar, told NBC’s Andrea Mitchell this week that results that take seven to 14 days are outliers.

“In general, if you do need a test — you fall in the categories of needing a test, even for public health tracing — you’re going to get that result within 48 to 36 hours,” he said. Not everyone needs tests, Giroir said, and the national testing approach is “strategic testing, not shotgun testing,” which he said has reversed the outbreaks in that region.

Indeed, new daily cases declined by 44% in Florida from a mid-July peak, while they’re down 73% in Arizona, both on a seven-day average, according to the Covid Tracking Project, a data source run by journalists at the Atlantic.

Testing in both states is also down, by 42% in Florida and 41% in Arizona. The net result in Florida is that the positivity rate — the percentage of all tests that turn out to be positive — has remained around 18% since early July. That could mean that while reported cases have declined, the actual prevalence of the virus has not. In Texas, testing is down by half, prompting questions about whether cases are truly declining as much as the numbers would indicate, or if the decreased testing is obscuring the true picture.

“It makes examining case declines much harder to interpret,” Jha said. “If cases are down by 30% but testing is down by 30%, what’s happening with cases? Is it more, is it less, is it about the same? And we’re all doing guesswork.”

Overall, the Dynata data show that testing turnaround times have declined in the U.S. since March, from more than four days, on average, to now just less than three and a half.

That timing is still longer than Jha and others say is useful.

“The fact that six, seven months into a pandemic, we can’t do a simple diagnostic test is unbelievable,” he said. “The rest of the world is mostly looking at us with a state of disbelief that America can’t run simple lab tests on an infectious disease that we’ve known about for seven months.”

The survey was conducted in collaboration with Dynata, a global data and survey firm through a first-party online panel from July 30 to Aug. 10. The sample included 9,444 adults in the U.S., with approximately 200 respondents drawn from each state, plus the District of Columbia, although some of the smaller states had fewer respondents. The data were weighted to correct for known demographic discrepancies. The weighted margin of error is plus or minus 1% at the national level.


Warren Buffett Says 3 Decisions in Life Separate High Achievers From Mere Dreamers

If the third-richest man in the universe says it, who’s to argue?


Warren Buffett is smarter than me. Much smarter. But, outside of his complete mastery of all things related to investment, is the earthly wisdom Buffett imparts on us mind-boggling?

Probably not. It’s the fact Warren Buffett is saying it. He is articulating, in the simplest of terms, things our eighth-grade teacher could have told us, but their coming from Buffett is what makes all the difference.

Nearing the age of 90, the Oracle of Omaha is a success juggernaut whose common sense resonates deep within our souls.

Some of his advice just might transform you, but you need to apply it. Here are three inspiring Buffett lessons to move you from dreamer to high achiever.

1. Don’t risk what you have to get something you don’t need.

Buffett once advised graduating students at the University of Florida that he has witnessed both businesses and individuals put themselves at risk to chase after bigger things, usually out of greed when they should have held back.

Buffett said, “If you risk something that is important to you for something that is unimportant to you, it just doesn’t make sense. I don’t care if the odds you succeed are 99 to 1 or 1,000 to 1.”

2. Invest in relationships with honest and ethical people.

He also asked University of Florida students to think of a classmate they felt had the makings of success long term, such that they would want to get 10 percent of that person’s earnings for the rest of their lives.

“You would probably pick the one you responded the best to, the one who has the leadership qualities, the one who is able to get other people to carry out their interests,” said Buffett. “That would be the person who is generous, honest, and who gave credit to other people for their own ideas.”

3. Measure your life’s success through one word: love.

In the Buffett biography, The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life, Buffett explains that the highest measure of success in life comes “by how many of the people you want to have love you actually do love you.”

Some people die filthy rich and get buildings named after them but “the truth is that nobody in the world loves them,” says Buffett. In the end, the ultimate test of how you’ve lived your life comes down to love.

“The trouble with love is that you can’t buy it. You can buy sex. You can buy testimonial dinners. But the only way to get love is to be lovable. You’d like to think you could write a check: I’ll buy a million dollars’ worth of love. But it doesn’t work that way. The more you give love away, the more you get,” asserts Buffett.

FEB 19, 2019

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The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

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