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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

COVID-19 isn't as big of a concern for U.S. investors as it was a year ago. But market experts tell Axios it's still a risk to watch as investors look to the second half of the year.

Why it matters: Many Americans remain unvaccinated. The spread of the more infectious "Delta" variant could prove disruptive to economic activity, and in turn, could spark volatility in markets.

What they’re saying: According to BofA’s June Global Fund Manager Survey, 10% of investors continued to identify COVID-19 as the biggest risk.

  • "As we head toward the end of the year, there will undoubtedly be a COVID scare — an outbreak somewhere — that could rile the market for a bit," RBA strategist Richard Bernstein tells Axios.
  • "COVID — vaccines, variants — remains an important issue to monitor," says RBC’s Calvasina. But investors "almost universally are baking in an optimistic virus backdrop."
  • "I would not declare victory yet," Fed chair Jerome Powell said on Wednesday. "I just would encourage people to continue to get vaccinated."

Threat level: The degree to which an event will rattle markets is inversely related to how much people are already thinking about it.

  • As Calvasina tells Axios: "I worry more about the things that aren’t on investors’ horizons at all."

The bottom line: For now, the pandemic's direct impact on business is nearly gone — but not forgotten.

Go deeper

Sep 25, 2021 - Health

A second flu

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Whatever living with the virus looks like, Delta-level surges aren't considered to be sustainable for the public or the hospitals that will treat the seriously infected.

Why it matters: A major determinant of how seriously we'll take the coronavirus in the future is how many hospitalizations and deaths it's causing — and whether our health system can handle the load.

Updated 8 hours ago - World

UK government: Kremlin has plan "to install pro-Russian leadership" in Ukraine

British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss. Photo: Gints Ivuskans / AFP via Getty Images

The United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary on Saturday night said the government has "information that indicates the Russian Government is looking to install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine."

Driving the news: U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne called the intelligence "deeply concerning" in a statement to Axios. The Biden administration has said Russia is actively manufacturing a pretext for invasion and warned that Putin could use joint military exercises in Belarus as cover to invade from the north.

Updated 10 hours ago - Science

This powerful new accelerator looks for keys to the center of atoms

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Nuclear physicists trying to piece together how atoms are built are about to get a powerful new tool.

Why it matters: When the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams begins experiments later this spring, physicists from around the world will use the particle accelerator to better understand the inner workings of atoms that make up all the matter that can be seen in the universe.

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