The United States has experienced more than 10 million Covid-19 cases since the pandemic started. The country has seen record highs this week in terms of coronavirus hospitalizations and daily infections, with 153,496 cases on Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University.This comes as speculation mounts on whether the U.S. economy will be shut down once again. An advisor to President-elect Joe Biden has said that closing businesses for four to six weeks could help reduce the number of infections and get the economy on track until a vaccine is approved and distributed.With cases surging in Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot asked residents on Thursday to cancel Thanksgiving plans and stay indoors. – Advertisement – LONDON — The latest coronavirus vaccine developments have brightened the outlook for the U.S. economy, with UBS economists boosting their GDP forecasts for the country. Pfizer and BioNTech announced Monday that their Covid-19 vaccine was more than 90% effective in preventing the infectious disease. The announcement fueled optimism that the pandemic could come to an end sooner rather than later, driving up stock markets globally.- Advertisement – UBS had originally estimated that the number of coronavirus infections in the U.S. would approach zero by the end of 2021, but the vaccine news has made the bank bring that forecast forward by six months.“We might get a situation where reported cases of Covid in the United States fall very close to zero in Q2 (second quarter) of next year. That six month difference, that two-quarter difference matters a lot, it means an extra 1 to 1.25 percentage point gain in GDP next year,” Seth Carpenter, chief U.S. economist at UBS, told CNBC’s Joumanna Bercetche on Thursday.He added that the vaccine news “was very encouraging” because the efficacy rate came in much higher than analysts were anticipating.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – Carpenter’s comments differ to the caution portrayed by experts such as White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci. He warned on Thursday that a vaccine may not be enough to help eradicate the disease.“I doubt we are going to eradicate this. I think we need to plan that this is something we may need to maintain control over chronically. It may be something that becomes endemic, that we have to just be careful about,” he said.Fiscal supportThe performance of the U.S. economy in 2021 will also depend on how much fiscal stimulus is approved. Talks between Democrats and Republicans have not yielded a deal, and there’s more uncertainty in the aftermath of the presidential election.Carpenter believes U.S. policymakers will disappoint markets by providing a lower-than-expected support package.“We are actually a little bit pessimistic here relative to where the market is, so we have written down about a $450 billion package that comes in Q1 (first quarter) next year,” he said. In speaking with clients, he said markets are expecting $1 trillion in fiscal stimulus.UBS assumes that Republicans will retain control of the Senate. If the Senate were to be led by Democrats, the bank believes the stimulus could be near $1 trillion.Correction: An earlier version misstated the amount in the first U.S. fiscal stimulus package.
While most Badger fans were glued to their TVs this past weekend, I was busy making an eight-hour trek to North Dakota. At least I think that’s where I was — driving to the city of Grand Forks, I got the feeling I was driving through Eastern Europe.I made the drive because I have wanted to make that road trip ever since I began covering the Badger men’s hockey team. But more specifically, I wanted to see how Wisconsin fared on the road at the palace that is the Ralph Engelstad Arena.I was not disappointed in either of these aspects — if the Badgers can play that well on the road against a tough rival team they are going to be scary, and the Ralph, with its gigantic relic organ and wide array of bubble hockey games, is just one moat short of a castle.But the trip also strengthened my opinion that the Badger hockey faithful are the best college hockey fans in the country.Prior to the weekend, my only hockey road trips had been to Albany, N.Y., and Grand Rapids, Mich., for the NCAA tournaments the past two years. It was the national tournament, of course fans were going to be there.But I didn’t know what to expect at North Dakota, so I didn’t really anticipate a whole lot. Boy was I surprised.Whether it was my wide eyes at seeing the Ralph for the first time, or my strengthened focus due to a tighter deadline, I didn’t really notice it Friday night, but the Badger fan base — relegated to an upper corner of the arena — was both amazing and amusing to me when I took notice Saturday.Thanks to three first-period goals by the Badgers, the Sioux fans were stunned and silent. Take note, however, that North Dakota could have been up 3-0 and its fans might have been half as loud as a Kohl Center crowd with UW trailing 5-0 late in the game.When one of the guys keeping official stats at the game told me that the stadium was great, but that the fans weren’t quite up to speed, that may have been the understatement of the year.Regardless, when the Badger fans started out with a hearty chant of “Lets go red” in the first period, their voices rung out louder than the North Dakota fans.I would compare it to two high school student sections arguing over who has more spirit. You know what I’m talking about. One section starts the chant and the other section doesn’t respond and the first section thinks it’s hilarious. So they do it again, and usually on the third try, the second section responds and yada, yada, yada …But I digress — the Badger fans got at least three “Let’s go red”s in before the Sioux student section realized what was going on and tried to muffle it with “Let’s go Sioux.”That was only the beginning.Other chants, after the fourth goal, included “Robbie Earl,” “1, 2, 3, 4 We want more … ,” and my — and the Badgers’– favorite: “We want ice cream.””We could hear the ice cream [chant] … that was pretty funny,” senior winger Ryan MacMurchy said.In case you don’t know, if the Badgers score five goals in a win at the Kohl Center, all fans in attendance get free Culver’s ice cream.Let’s just say that the small corner section would have made the student section’s father-figure, Phil, quite proud.The fans were loud and they were tasteful — something lacking in student sections such as the one at Badger football games.But while Wisconsin football fans are notorious for being a good traveling fan base, it’s time the hockey fans got some credit.The Kohl Center fans are one thing. Wisconsin continually has not only the largest crowd — numbers aren’t everything, as North Dakota showed — but I would venture to say the largest and most electric crowd in the country.To take that energy on the road and out-yell the hometown crowd is another.The players know how important the fans are.”There’s no doubt about it that Wisconsin Badger fans are the best in the country,” MacMurchy said. “It’s just so great playing at home because you know they’re going to be into it the whole game. It’s never kind of dead like it is [other places] sometimes.”Our fans are the best part about our team, and when you hear them in an away rink it makes us smile inside and keeps us going.”If the Badgers can continue to play like they are, come tournament time teams are going to be in trouble. Not only will this team be a threat on the ice, it will have a threat off of it.If a few dozen cheering fans can ring through on the road more than eight hours away, think about the environment that opposing teams will face if the Badgers go to the Green Bay regional of the NCAA tournament or the Frozen Four at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee.It’s something that teams across the country can only hope they don’t have to think about.