While there has been substantial progress in terms of battling the coronavirus, it still seems that we are on the verge of another outbreak in the United States due to the Delta variant and people unwilling to be vaccinated. The virus is even infecting people who are vaccinated, however, they tend to have minimal symptoms with extremely low odds of hospitalization or death.

It's leading to increased urgency in terms of reaching unvaccinated people and in distributing vaccines to countries that are dealing with the virus. The Delta variant is said to be even more contagious than the original coronavirus.

According to Scott Gottlieb, former Chair of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. may be undercounting the Delta variant so we don't have a true handle on the numbers. He attributes this to vaccinated people who catch the virus and assume they have a cold or don't realize they are sick. According to Gottlieb: "There's no clear evidence that this is more pathogenic, that it's causing more serious infections. It's clearly more virulent. It's clearly far more contagious."

In recent weeks, the Delta variant strain has become the dominant coronavirus, accounting for 57% of cases. For the U.S., the good news is that 79% of people older than 65 are vaccinated, while 68% of adults have had at least one shot. However, the rate of vaccinations has slowed, and it doesn't seem easy to convince unvaccinated people to get a shot.

In some states, we are seeing the return of mask mandates. The irony is that unvaccinated people are likely most opposed to mask-wearing.

Stock Market Impact

We are certainly seeing an impact on the stock market on this breakout. Travel and tourism stocks have been underperforming. Since early June, the U.S. Global Jets ETF (JETS  ) is down by more than 20%. Hotel stocks have largely been down around 10%, over the past 4 months, while other indices are up more than 10%. Right now, the outbreak is a place where it's accelerating, and there's little idea of how much it can spread. Therefore, investors are in a profit-taking mood in these stocks especially as they have rallied so much over the past year.