What happened

Shares of alcohol manufacturer Pacific Ethanol (NASDAQ:ALTO) were up 13.5% at 11 a.m. Friday. There does not appear to be any news specific to the company behind the rise.

So what

But there is reason to favor Pacific Ethanol as a coronavirus play since it is evolving past its historical role as a provider of ethanol as an additive to gasoline (to fight smog and diminish reliance on imported oil). It is now more focused on producing ethanol that can be used to manufacture disinfectants and hand sanitizer in the fight against COVID-19.


Woman dispenses hand sanitizer from a bottle

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

The Wall Street Journal reports today that the U.S. just logged its highest daily number of new coronavirus infections: 187,833 cases on Thursday, up 6% from a week ago. Moreover, more than 80,000 Americans are currently hospitalized with the disease (up more than 33% from 10 days ago), and coronavirus deaths have passed 250,000.

Despite all the positive news we've seen on coronavirus vaccines these past two weeks, we're still months (probably many months) away from wide distribution of the vaccines. In the meantime, people still need to disinfect frequently to minimize the risk of infection.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.