Whitney Tilson’s email to investors discussing GameStop investors who bet big – and lost big; when do people take huge risks?; his latest strategies for getting a COVID vaccination appointment.
GameStop Investors Who Bet Big - and Lost Big
1) This Wall Street Journal article captures precisely what I've been warning about again and again: It's the "little guys" who get sucked in at the top of enormous bubbles like GameStop (GME) (aka, GameStink) and are incinerated... GameStop Investors Who Bet Big – and Lost Big.
When Do People Take Huge Risks?
2) This research perfectly captures what happened on Reddit's WallStreetBets message board: The "courage" to buy GameStop was lauded – and led to a debacle... When Do People Take Huge Risks?
Whitney Tilson's Latest Strategies For Getting A COVID Vaccination Appointment
Since then, I've learned a great deal more, so I wanted to share an e-mail I sent to friends and family that covers the latest strategies for getting one of the coveted shots... (Even if you don't live in New York City, I think a similar approach is likely to work elsewhere.)
I've volunteered twice in the past two weeks at a vaccination center in the South Bronx, so I've been closely following my fellow New Yorkers' efforts to get vaccinated.
I have good news and bad news.
The good news is that, as of Monday, a new category of people now qualify to receive the vaccine: In addition to anyone age 65 or older and people holding particular jobs with high potential for COVID exposure (full list here) – a total of 7 million New Yorkers – now an additional 3 million folks with certain underlying conditions like cancer, heart conditions, and severe obesity (full list here) also qualify.
The bad news is that, even if you qualify, it can be maddeningly difficult to get an appointment for the first shot (once you've done this, it's generally much easier to get the second shot, which is 28 days later for the Moderna vaccine that most New Yorkers are getting). The city says it's working on this problem: NYC finally fixing COVID vaccine sign-up system.
Here are my suggestions:
If you are a resident of the Bronx, you're in luck, as Yankee Stadium has a lot of capacity – and is only open to borough residents. Go to this website to see if there are appointments. When I first started writing this early in the evening of February 17, there were available appointments on February 25, 26, and 27. But two hours later, they were gone, so keep checking. You can also check Yankee Stadium appointments on Somos here, and lastly, you can show up in person to schedule an appointment.
If you are age 65-plus, your best bet may be Walgreens/Duane Reade and CVS (note: they're not vaccinating people with qualifying jobs or comorbidities in NY; here's the info for other states):
- Here's the Walgreens site, where you can enter your zip code (nothing within 25 miles of Manhattan for the next three days)
- Here's the CVS site, which lists locations in 19 states (and shows no available appointments in the entire state of NY right now)
(Rite Aid is also doing vaccinations in five states and two jurisdictions – California, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and New York City – but it doesn't have its own scheduling site.)
If you're not age 65-plus or a Bronx resident, it's going to be more difficult. Sadly, the official city website (https://vaccinefinder.nyc.gov) is worthless – it shows hundreds of vaccination sites, but when you go to each of them, after wasting your time entering all sorts of information, it tells you every appointment is booked. I've also heard the city's phone line at 1-877-VAX-4NYC is worthless as well.
Instead, go to the six sites listed below. None show any appointments right now, but don't despair! Keep the tabs for all of them open in your browser and regularly refresh them (maybe try odd hours like late night and early morning) until something opens up – and then grab it!
Where To Check New Appointments
1) and 2) Here are two unofficial websites, which scan the official sites and show appointments as soon as they're added:
- TurboVax, which also posts new appointments on Twitter here
- NYC Vaccine List. Here are three tips for this site:
- Keep the default as "all available NYC regions" unless you prefer or are willing to drive to Long Island, Westchester, and/or Hudson Valley (none of which show any appointments right now).
- Uncheck the box that says "Include locations that only have appointments for 2nd Doses" – unless you're looking for a second dose.
- Lastly, one reader suggested installing the "Easy Auto Refresh" Chrome extension, which enabled him to get an appointment "during one of its 10-second refreshes."
3) The NYC Heath and Hospitals ("NYCHH") website is here (note that their vaccination centers are open only to NYC residents). After you answer a dozen questions at the bottom of the page, you will likely see this:
Don't give up, and don't refresh the web page or you'll have to answer the questions again... Instead, just uncheck and then re-check the blue box here:
(Don't click the link for "Click here for vaccine sites near you," as it will take you to the worthless city website.)
If you see an appointment, no matter that location/time/day, grab it – even if it's not at a location/time/day when you can make it. Here's why: Once you have an appointment in the system, you can then call the hotline (1-877-VAX-4NYC) and reschedule for a better location/time/day.
4) Somos runs the appointments for many smaller centers – its website is here, and its phone number is 833-SOMOSNY.
5) The official NYC website is here. Similar to the NYCHH website, it can also be refreshed without answering all of the questions again. When you get to Schedule an Appointment, just modify the zip code or date.
6) New York state runs 13 large-scale vaccination centers, and you can quickly check appointment availability here. I've also heard reports that if you repeatedly call the state hotline at 833-697-4829, you might get lucky.
Currently, only the Potsdam one has appointments, but that's a six-hour drive from NYC:
However, appointments regularly open up at the other 12 centers... so fill out your eligibility here, and then it'll show you a page listing each center, sorted by distance from you, and whether each one has availability. Here's what the page looks like right now for my zip code:
(Given that TurboVax and NYC Vaccine List scan the other websites, you may wonder why I recommend also checking the others yourself. The answer: Due to high demand, TurboVax and NYC Vaccine List may only list availability when, say, more than 10 appointments open up, so you might be able to find appointments if you check the other websites yourself.)