Federal Reserve chair says he isn't concerned by Delta surge

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One of the country's most influential economic officials doesn't anticipate that surging coronavirus cases will knock the reopening recovery off course.

What he's saying: "There has tended to be less economic implications from each [coronavirus] wave. We'll see if that's the case for the Delta variety," Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told reporters today.

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Why it matters: The Fed's early link between the economy's fate and the virus appears to be weakening.

  • "Many people are vaccinated and going on with their lives," Powell said, saying the economy is learning to live with the virus.

Yes, but: Powell did hedge, noting that "it's easy to imagine" that some people hold off returning to work because of the virus.

  • And the latest Fed statement (which investors obsess over) still reads: "The path of the economy continues to depend on the course of the virus" — although it no longer includes the word "significantly" as a qualifier.

The backdrop: CEOs have been using the "u" word — uncertainty — in response to questions about rising case counts.

  • But those worries aren't enough to pare back how much money they plan to make this year. It's a familiar theme playing out across much of corporate America.

The latest example ... McDonald's.

  • "There is still some uncertainty as we continue to see pandemic-related stops and starts in markets around the world, especially now with the Delta variant," McDonald's CEO Chris Kempczinski said Wednesday.

  • Still, McDonald's has bigger expectations for 2021 sales now than it did three months ago.

What to watch: Some employers are already reconsidering office reopening plans.

Go deeper: Fed acknowledges economic progress, maintains supportive policy

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