- Lyft CEO Logan Green said the US will reach “critical immunity” faster than many other countries.
- Lyft told investors Tuesday that it will be EBITDA-profitable in 2021 if the recovery continues.
- The US still has one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks, but has higher-than-average vaccine rates.
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The US currently has the worst COVID-19 outbreak globally, with more than 27 million active cases.
But Lyft CEO Logan Green is still optimistic about the country’s road to recovery which, not coincidentally, will have a major impact on his company’s own post-pandemic recovery.
“While we can’t predict the timing or efficacy of vaccine rollouts with certainty,” Green told investors during Lyft’s earnings call Tuesday, he said that, “based on current trends, we believe the US could reach critical immunity levels earlier than many international destinations.”
A spokesperson for Lyft told Insider Green’s comments were based on research from Goldman Sachs and news sources including Bloomberg, which estimates it will take the US nine months to vaccinate 75% of its population — the amount some experts have said is needed to reach herd immunity.
Unlike Uber, its biggest competitor, Lyft has focused primarily on its ride-hailing business and limited its operations to the US and two Canadian provinces.
That has left Lyft particularly vulnerable to failures by the US to slow the spread of the virus, which have caused the economic recovery to lag as well, particularly for the travel and transportation industries.
Lyft reported on Tuesday that, during the fourth quarter of 2020, rides on its platform were still down 51% from the same quarter the previous year, while revenue was down 44%.
Read more: Uber and Lyft driver earnings compared: Data reveals which app pays better in NYC, LA, Chicago, and 13 other major American cities
But Green said “pent-up demand” in the US could lead to a “pop in leisure travel” that Lyft could capitalize on, and the company doubled down on its expectation that it will be profitable on an adjusted EBITDA basis by the end of the year.
However, that trajectory depends on rides bouncing back at a “high single-digit month-over-month growth rate beginning at the start of the second quarter,” CFO Brian Roberts said on the call.
Green said those recovery trends vary across the US, with the West Coast being “the weakest region” while Florida and Texas have fared better.
Most states are seeing improvements, and the US is vaccinating people at a fairly high rate compared to most other countries, but there’s still a long way to go.
Additionally, while the stock market has soared recently on companies’ surprise profits, driven largely by the tech industry, experts have warned the broader economy could take years to recover and individual Americans are still struggling.