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When Trust Evaporates

When Trust Evaporates

I thought I’d compare the current Wuhan zombie apocalypse bat virus to that of SARS and see what is similar this time around…and what is not.

Now, I’m not going to get into which virus wins the “I killed more faster”, (thus far, it was SARS with a fatality rate of 9.6% vs 2.8%). Or which is more infectious (SARS again, though Coronavirus can spread while still incubating). Or join the silly debate of whether we should eat bats (they carry the disease, so ummm…NO). Rather, I’m going to focus on what’s been different in terms of the reaction globally…and why this is important. Because let’s face it, statistically, you’re still far more likely to be killed by some dolt crossing the centerline while watching his Insta feed…and nobody is running around like headless chickens screaming…don’t drive, don’t drive.

The Difference This Time

When SARS arrived on our doorsteps, the world’s response was one of cooperation, collaboration and a concerted effort to help our fellow man.

This time, the geopolitical world is completely different. We’re going into this at a time when trade wars have been ignited, Europe is fragmenting (Brexit, EU disharmony) US political polarisation is really something to behold. That’s bad enough, but there is an accelerating sense of distrust between countries at a political level and of institutions by the public at a private level.

All of these factors combined explain why it is that amongst other things…

Russia, Mongolia and North Korea have closed their land borders with China, and even HK has restricted their border. Flights in and out of mainland China have been cancelled indefinitely, with planes arriving from China landing in many countries only to be told…no way buddy back you go.

Who’s To Blame?

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“SARS” Versus “Wuhan”: The Difference Between “Now & Then”

“SARS” Versus “Wuhan”: The Difference Between “Now & Then”

A week dominated by headlines of a spreading respiratory virus has had investors recalling pandemics past, from SARS in 2003 to the Ebola scare six years ago. While the “Wuhan” virus, or known scientifically as “nCoV,” is still in its infancy, it is closely tracking both the infection and, unfortunately, death rates of the SARS virus.

However, the question everyone wants an answer to is: “what does the virus mean for the markets?”

Will it derail the longest bull market in U.S. history? Or, is it nothing to worry about?

If you read the mainstream media, the answer seems to be the latter. To wit:

“However, gauged by the market’s performance during the onset of other infectious diseases, including SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, Ebola and avian flu, Wall Street investors may have little to fear that this disease will sicken a U.S. stock market that finished 2019 with the best annual return in years and has kicked off 2020 at or near all-time highs.” – MarketWatch

With the stock market perched near all-time highs, it is understandable investors are quick to dismiss the potential ramifications of the virus very quickly. There is also plenty of anecdotal evidence to support the bullish claims as well. The chart below is the S&P 500 index versus its exponential growth trend with a history of the more important viral outbreaks notated.

Throughout history, markets have always seemed to bounce back from deadly viral outbreaks. However, long-term charts tend to obfuscate the damage done to investors who have a much shorter investment time horizon.

Currently, the more prominent comparison is how the market performed following the “SARS” outbreak in 2003, as it also was a member of the “corona virus” family.

Clearly, if you just remained invested, there was a quick recovery from the market impact, and the bull market resumed.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

China Is Already Blaming A Slowdown In 2020 On The Coronavirus Epidemic

China Is Already Blaming A Slowdown In 2020 On The Coronavirus Epidemic

So much can change in just 24 hours.

It was just yesterday that China’s top twitter troll and Beijing propaganda voice to the west, Global Time Editor in Chief Hu Xijin was downplaying the risk from the coronavirus outbreak, comparing it to the SARS epidemic in 2003, and saying that “during SARS epidemic, even many medical staff contracted virus and died of it. It doesn’t look the same this time.”

Chinese society is mobilizing to deal with the new coronavirus. But its risks of human-to-human transmission and fatality rate appear lower than SARS. During SARS epidemic, even many medical staff contracted virus and died of it. It doesn’t look the same this time. https://twitter.com/globaltimesnews/status/1219218357792075777 …

Oops, because just a few hours later, we got confirmation that at least 15 medical staff had in fact contracted the virus which now appears to be spreading human-to-human, as six people have died among 291 confirmed cases in China, eliminating any attempts to further downplay the significance of the coronavirus epidemic which has reportedly infected hundreds of people across China.

So in a dramatic 180-degree reversal, the same twitter troll now had an entirely different message to the word: not only is “the epidemic expanding” and “concerns are mounting”, but more importantly, “It is inevitable that people will cut their trips during Spring Festival and holiday consumption will be hit.

Coronavirus cases have been found in other places out of Wuhan, Hubei Province, indicating the epidemic is expanding. Concerns are mounting. It is inevitable that people will cut their trips during Spring Festival and holiday consumption will be hit.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Global Health Officials On High Alert As Wuhan Virus Makes US Landfall

Global Health Officials On High Alert As Wuhan Virus Makes US Landfall

Update (1600ET): Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Zhejiang, Henan, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Seoul, Tokyo, Brisbane, Taipei – and now Washington State. 

The viral pneumonia-like lung illness first discovered late last year in Wuhan, a mid-sized Chinese city in the center of the country, has Beijing’s leadership – who are already grappling with slowing economic growth and continuing trade pressure from the US – very much on edge.

It’s clear now that Beijing’s initial response to reports of a new SARS-like virus was to dissemble. After initially insisting that there was no evidence that the virus could be spread by humans, health officials have now admitted that they were “wrong”, and that human-to-human transmission is possible, meaning that there’s no telling yet just how contagious this thing really is.

It’s already spread rapidly: In just a few weeks, it’s gone from a few isolated cases in Wuhan to nearly 300 confirmed cases, not just in Greater China, but also across the Asia-Pacific region, and now in the US. The fact that the CDC has already identified the first case in Washington State suggests that this is an aggressive pathogen, and health officials are duly concerned.

It has already confounded expectations. The fact that 139 cases – roughly half the total number reported – were only just identified over the weekend is especially unnerving, because now infected hosts have had time to scatter back to wherever they’re from, potentially spreading the virus across the planet.

According to Bloombergthe US case has been revealed to be a man in his 30s who returned to the US last week, but not before visiting a public market in Wuhan…

The sudden spike in cases has prompted airports in the US, Australia and elsewhere to tighte illnesses has prompted tightened borders and a rapid attempt to trace contacts of those who have become ill.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Mystery SARS-Like Virus Spreads To Japan

Mystery SARS-Like Virus Spreads To Japan

A new mystery disease which has sickened dozens in Wuhan, China has made its way into Japan, after a Chinese national traveled from the eastern Chinese city to his home in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan, according to the Japan Times.

The man, in his 30s, returned from Wuhan on January 6, and was hospitalized four days later where he recovered and was discharged on Wednesday, according to a hospital official.

On Monday, the World Health Organization announced that the new coronavirus with SARS-like pneumonia symptoms had struck a woman traveling from China to Thailand – after she was hospitalized January 8th.

Chinese officials said on Wednesday that human-to-human infection cannot be ruled out after forty-one people received a preliminary diagnosis of the new coronavirus, after a 61-year-old man died of the disease on Saturday.

While preliminary investigations indicate that most of the patients had worked at or visited a particular seafood wholesale market, one woman may have contracted the virus from her husband, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said in a public notice.

The commission said the husband, who fell ill first, worked at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market. Meanwhile, the wife said she hasn’t had any exposure to the market.

It’s possible that the husband brought home food from the market that then infected his wife, Hong Kong health official Chuang Shuk-kwan said at a news briefing. But because the wife did not exhibit symptoms until days after her husband, it’s also possible that he infected her. –CBS News

That said, authorities believe the risk of human-to-human transmission remains low. Still, the US Embassy in Beijing issued an alert to Americans traveling in China last week, warning anyone who has been to Wuhan to avoid contact with all animals and sick people, and to wash their hands frequently.

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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