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Leaders Worry About Recovery as COVID Variant Spreads

The stock market plunged as biz leaders worried about the Delta variant and any possible impact on closures, federal bans and even a renewed hesitancy among home sellers.

WASHINGTON – The stock market dropped more than 900 points yesterday – more than 2.7% – as investors and business leaders focused on the Delta variant of COVID-19 and its potential to slow a booming recovery.

While doctors have focused primarily on the health of unvaccinated Americans who appear to be the primary risk category for the Delta variant, business leaders and investors seem wary of the unknown economic impact – a return to earlier shutdowns, for example, or programs created to keep people in homes by banning foreclosures and evictions.

In real estate, a new wave of infections likely won’t slow down homebuyers’ demand, which proved resilient during 2020, but some sellers could again pull back for months if they believe the pandemic danger of selling overrides their desire to move.

This time around, most experts think any economic impact will be uneven: Areas of the country with a high percentage of unvaccinated residents will likely see a stronger impact than areas where a high percentage of residents are fully vaccinated.

Vaccines remain widely available and free to Americans. A government website – vacines.gov – provides the location of nearby vaccination sites. 

In a June 25-28 Axios/Ipsos poll, 48% of respondents were at least somewhat familiar with the Delta variant, and 36% had “heard of it.” Of that 48%, three out of four (72%) were either “very” or “somewhat” concerned.

However, even if the Delta variant caused a spike in local infections, many people in the poll had no plans to start taking precautions again, though 43% said they would self-quarantine, and 57% would stop getting together with family and friends.

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