Covid update: India confronts surge; US sees uptick in cases

(15 April 2021) Despite the rollout of several effective vaccines across the world, there has been a troubling rise in Covid infections in recent weeks.  New, more contagious variants are being blamed for these second and third waves of the virus which has forced new lockdowns in Europe, Brazil, Canada and now India.  India's recent surge in cases to over 200,000 a day greatly exceeds the size of its first wave in 2020, as it now holds the distinction of recording the highest number of daily new cases of any country.

The US has also seen a modest rise in total cases in recent weeks, even though 37% of the population have received at least one dose of the vaccine.  The more transmissible variants from the UK, Brazil, South Africa and now India may well be driving the new infections as states such as Michigan, Florida and Pennsylvania may soon be faced with the prospect of locking down yet again. 

If this is a race between the virus and the vaccines, it seems very possible that the virus will hold the upper hand for some time to come as only a handful of countries like Israel, the UK and the US are anywhere close to reaching herd immunity.  Therefore, it is more likely that Covid will continue to dominate public policy for the rest of the year.

India faces a second wave

On the India situation, we can see that current afflictions to the national horoscope (Aug 15, 1947, 00.00) could explain the recent rise in Covid cases.  The main source of the problem is the transiting opposition aspect from Saturn (18 Capricorn) to the five-planet conjunction of Mercury, Saturn, Pluto, Venus, and the Sun. 

This would be a very difficult transit influence for several areas of national welfare in any event, but especially for matters of well-being.  That is chiefly because of the close aspect between Saturn and Venus (22 Cancer), which rules the 1st house of the national "body" (Taurus) as well as the 6th house of health (Libra).  The current diminution of the national vitality may also be seen through Saturn's wider opposition to the Sun (28 Cancer). 

Matters of national health are therefore more likely to be a concern for the duration of this Saturn opposition aspect.   The Saturn influence seems likely to extend at least until its retrograde station on May 23, although it will remain within fairly close range of Venus for several weeks after that date.  With the Saturn station still five weeks away, it is quite likely that India's outbreak won't be brought under control in the short term and it could even worsen.

We can also see that Mars (0 Gemini) is fast approaching a conjunction with its natal position in the coming days.  Since Mars tends to reflect intense or fast-paced events, it is possible that the surge will reach a near-crisis level around the time of its exact conjunction, on April 26.  Of course, the Mars-Mars conjunction could also represent some other serious life-threatening or violent situation at that time, but we should be mindful of the possibilities given the circumstances of the current virus surge. 

US sees rise in Covid cases

The recent rise in cases in the US suggests that the pandemic isn't over just yet.  The horoscope of President Joe Biden offers one window on this question.  As the head of the US government, Biden's chart is a proxy for the US as a whole.  As I have noted in previous posts, Biden's horoscope is coming under major affliction by the upcoming Saturn station in May.  Saturn is due to station in a near-exact square aspect to his natal Mars which also rules the 1st house of the self/body and the 6th house of health.  The presence of an opposition aspect from Uranus to Biden's Mars intensifies this affliction.

I have previously speculated that this affliction could either represent a major setback involving the Covid pandemic or perhaps a personal health problem for Biden that could see him  leave office.  We may start to see which scenario is more likely when Mars conjoins his equal 8th house cusp and squares his Neptune around April 24-30.  This is a difficult placement as the 8th house implies obstacles and life-threatening situations while Mars-Neptune aspects may symbolize health issues more specifically.  Interestingly, the Mars transit impacts the horoscopes of India and Biden at approximately the same time. 

Weekly Market Forecast

Stocks continue to melt-up here in April as investors are betting heavily on a strong US recovery funded by the Biden administration's infrastructure program.  I thought we might have seen more of a mix of influences, as the entry of Mars into Gemini earlier this week suggested a possible counterbalance to the late week bullish alignment of the Sun with Jupiter and Pluto. 

The exact alignment of Jupiter and Pluto occurs early next week (April 20) and should be seen as a potential turning point.  Typically, Jupiter alignments with slow-moving, outer planets like Pluto are bullish in the days leading up to their exact aspect but begin to fade in the days afterwards.  It is therefore possible we could see a weakening in the bullish sentiment as we approach the end of April. 

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