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Stocks rise amid first US coronavirus vaccinations

Stocks rise amid first US coronavirus vaccinations
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The stock market opened Monday with solid gains as the first approved coronavirus vaccinations were administered in the U.S.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average opened with a gain of more than 200 points, rising roughly 0.8 percent. The S&P 500 index rose 0.5 percent and the Nasdaq composite rose 1.1 percent.

Monday’s solid open came shortly after the first Americans received coronavirus vaccinations outside of clinical trials. The rapid development of a highly effective vaccine for COVID-19 is expected to curb the length of the pandemic and allow for quicker economic recovery from its onset.

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U.S. officials say that roughly 20 million people could be vaccinated in December, with health care workers and people in nursing homes as the top priorities. 

Even so, the U.S. is facing several more months of staggering coronavirus cases, deaths and hospitalizations until enough of the general public is vaccinated, which will likely take until spring.

Anthony FauciAnthony FauciNew data suggest 'long COVID' symptoms last up to 9 months: Fauci The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by The AIDS Institute - Finger-pointing on Capitol riot; GOP balks at Biden relief plan Overnight Health Care: COVID-19 vaccine makers pledge massive supply increase | Biden health nominee faces first Senate test | White House defends reopening of facility for migrant kids MORE, the federal government’s top infectious disease expert, said Monday that the U.S. will still not be able safely gather in large crowds and tight spaces until the second half of next year, if not longer.

“A vaccine, right now, is not a substitute for the normal standard public health measures of wearing a mask, keeping your distance, avoiding congregate crowded sections,” Fauci said during an interview with MSNBC.

Until enough Americans are vaccinated to suppress COVID-19 to a low enough level, experts warn that the economy is unlikely to reach its pre-pandemic pace. 

“From our standpoint, it’s just too soon to assess with any confidence the implications of the news for the path of the economy, especially in the near term,” Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said in November after Pfizer announced its successful vaccine trial.