Tag Archives: coronavirus

How To End the Shutdown Before the Vaccine

Everyone is waiting for the vaccine. But this may not come out for 12-24 months.

However, we can still end the shutdown and re-start the economy, to a large extent, before the vaccine. Yes, before the vaccine.

We simply emulate countries such as South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore. Our governments’ refusal to do so is mind-boggling. These Asian economies are not back to 100%, but they are not shutdown nor trapped in their homes. They are going to work, school and restaurants. Albeit, there is a limit to the number of customers allowed in the restaurants, but Taiwan’s streets are bustling as can be seen at 5:33 in this video:

Our schools can be busy like this:

As of today:
DEATHS:
Taiwan: 6
Canada: 1,520
U.S.: 39,095

DEATHS per million people:
Taiwan: 0.3
Canada: 39
U.S.: 118

One of our biggest mistakes was our refusal to wear masks. The WHO, CDC, American and Canadian governments told people to NOT wear masks if they do not have symptoms. This was a catastrophic mistake, because there is asymptomatic transmission and this has been known since January 30th. According to Columbia University, asymptomatic transmission could have been the source of 79 percent of the infections in China. The MOST IMPORTANT reason to wear masks is NOT to protect the wearer. It is to protect others. It is to stop people, who think they are healthy, from spreading the virus.

One by one, institutions, governments and companies are slowly waking up and coming to their senses:

This is the first step in emulating the Asian countries. Eventually, all governments will wake up, come to their senses and mandate that everyone wears a mask in public when within a few meters from others, and enforce it with fines.

Concurrent to this, testing will ramp up, as new technologies are coming out quickly, such as testing kits from Abbott Labs. Then contact tracing will need to be ramped up. How fast contact tracing can be ramped up is questionable because of the privacy laws and concerns.

Governments will eventually wake up and come to the their senses by levying fines or punishment to people who break quarantine.

If people still get infected, treatments will be coming out soon, such as Remdesivir, Ivermectin and maybe even HydroxyChloroquine with Azithromycin. Each of these have shown positive anecdotal results and are going through clinical trials. Each one will do different things and have different side effects. Therefore, they will likely be prescribed to different patients with different underlying conditions. When this happens, they will reduce the death rate.

In addition to the above, companies are working on over 30 different potential treatments and therapeutics. Eventually, the death rate will drop to be closer to the death rate of the flu. However, the infection rate of this virus is still very high, which can still cause more deaths than the flu because it infects more people and there is no vaccine. To reduce the infection rate, we need to wear masks, test, trace contacts and punish quarantine breakers.

Keep in mind that the small Asian countries are able to go to work, school and restaurants without treatments.

The Asian countries restrict travel from hot spots and screen essential travellers, such as business travellers. They put some travellers into quarantine and levy fines for breaking quarantine. We need to do the same. We are still taking in travellers with insufficient screening.

In schools, we should do what Taiwan has done, which is to put up plastic dividers on students’ desks.

Once the above measures are implemented, we can go back to work, school, restaurants, bars and re-start our economy, even without a vaccine.

It’s not that difficult. It’s far easier than putting a man on the moon. Masks and plastic dividers are low tech. Czech Republic got people to make masks at home. Even the most under-developed country in the world can make these. It takes a few days to pass a by-law to impose fines on quarantine breakers. The most difficult part is understanding why the WHO, CDC and our governments are not emulating countries that have controlled the spread and have not shut down their economies.

As Dr. Chris Martenson (PhD in Pathology) said many times: “it didn’t have to be this way”. Now, I say “it doesn’t have to stay this way”. It is truly astounding how we have made, not one, but two huge mistakes.

If you are sick and tired of being stuck at home, tell your politician to emulate these small Asian countries.

Jumped Back In

The stock market does not wait for the economy to bottom before it rebounds. Usually, the market rebounds a few months before the economy does.

As with many other investors, I have been waiting for a treatment, cure or vaccine before I would jump back in.

First, there was anecdotal evidence of positive results from HydroxyChloroquine with Azithromycin. However, there were also reports that it has negative side effects or that it may not work as well as first thought.

Then these came out:

68% of patients showed clinical improvement using Gilead’s Remdesivir in ‘compassionate use’

Gilead drug produced ‘rapid’ recovery in coronavirus patients, report says

Remdesivir: ‘Very potent inhibitor’ of SARS-CoV-2?

In addition to the above, there are over 30 treatments and therapeutics being worked on.

I do not have 100% certainty that there will be a home-run treatment. However, there are likely going to be a number of treatments that will treat different patients with different situations or pre-conditions.

Therefore, I think that the death rate will decline. The pandemic will likely slowly improve from this point on. It will not go back to normal anytime soon. It likely will take one to two years. But if you wait for everything to go normal, then you might miss out on opportunities to buy stocks cheaply.

Also, there are many companies working on a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2. Therefore, the probability of a vaccine coming out is greater than one coming out for MERS or SARS. There is even this:

Coronavirus vaccine could be ready by September with an 80% likelihood it will work, says Oxford University expert leading research team

The majority of these companies working on treatments and vaccines will fail. But because there are so many, there is a better probability of a company coming out with something for SARS-CoV-2 than for other viruses.

Therefore, I jumped back into stocks today.

Of course, I could be wrong with any or all of the above. There could be collateral damage that surfaces later on, that I cannot foresee, such as a credit crisis because so many consumers might stop paying their mortgages or credit cards. Corporations are heavily indebted as well and might start a domino of defaults. The chances of this happening is low, due to the trillions of dollars that the Federal Reserve and the U.S. federal government are pumping into companies and individuals. But there is still a chance of this or other collateral damages.

But there is never certainty when investing in anything.

Do Not Listen To WHO or Governments About Masks

The WHO does not recommend masks. Its website states:

WHO: “ONLY WEAR A MASK IF YOU ARE ILL WITH COVID-19 SYMPTOMS…OR LOOKING AFTER SOMEONE WHO MAY HAVE COVID-19.”

The Canadian government probably follows WHO and does not recommend masks either. Their recommendations about masks are flawed:

Canada: “IF YOU ARE A HEALTHY INDIVIDUAL, THE USE OF A MASK IS NOT RECOMMENDED FOR PREVENTING THE SPREAD OF COVID-19.”

But, just because you feel “healthy”, you can still be infected and spreading the virus. There are several cases of asymptomatic transmission. That is, people without symptoms have been spreading the virus to others.

Asymptomatic Carriers May Still Transmit Coronavirus, Says New Research

You could be spreading the coronavirus without realising you’ve got it

“…375 Chinese cities…86 per cent of cases were “undocumented” – that is, asymptomatic or had only very mild symptoms…they were the source of 79 per cent of further infections.”

In a mass-testing experiment of the 3,400 residents of an Italian town last month, it was found that 75 per cent of participants infected with COVID-19 were completely asymptomatic.

Canada: “WEARING A MASK WHEN YOU ARE NOT ILL MAY GIVE A FALSE SENSE OF SECURITY. THERE IS A POTENTIAL RISK OF INFECTION WITH IMPROPER USE AND DISPOSAL. THEY ALSO NEED TO BE CHANGED FREQUENTLY.”

Even if there “is a potential risk of infection with improper mask use and disposal”, masks reduce the chance of getting infected.  Even if the mask fails at stopping infection, it reduces the inoculum, which enables the wearer to be less sick.  Read: Everyone Should Wear Masks.

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN COUNTRIES

Several Asian countries have low levels of cases. Their people are going to work and school. What do they have in common? Their governments told everyone to wear masks.

But most other countries around the world will not wear masks, due to vanity or other beliefs.

Some governments are telling their people to not wear masks, because they and the hospitals are in competition with the public in buying masks. They did not plan, prepare and stock up on masks.

In fact, some countries did worse than this. Canada sent 16 tonnes of masks, gloves, face screens and other equipment to China on February 9. Then Canada let hoarders send more equipment to China. Australia let hoarders send 90 tonnes of medical supplies to China.

(By January 30th, Taiwan started making 4 million masks per day. By March 10th, Taiwan was making 9.2 million masks per day. Yet, bigger countries, such as Canada, cannot.)

Their governments, such as Canada’s, should say: “We are sorry. We screwed up. We should not have sent our supplies to China. We should not have let hoarders send supplies to China. We should have made sure that there was enough for Canadians. We should have planned, prepared, ordered and manufactured masks since January.” Instead, they are trying to stop their people from competing (and protecting themselves) by shaming them.

Here is Canada’s Health Official, who would not ban travel from China in January (when Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore did), still telling us to not wear masks (21:30 in the video):

HHS Secretary Alex Azar said:

“Our advice remains as it has been that the average American does not need a N95 mask. These are really more for health care providers.”

The N95 respirator is the best, but any type of mask helps, even construction, painter’s, homemade or Halloween masks. Even a scarf or bandana is better than nothing.

Leading COVID-19 Expert From South Korea says that masks are effective and everyone should wear them

Interviewer:  “Then can we say that, because everyone in Korea wears a mask, there is less infection in general?”

Expert:  “Absolutely…masks have been proven to prevent infection…Just look at China, Hong Kong, Japan and Korea.  In Asian countries, people wear masks.  In the meantime, if you look at many European countries and the US, the virus is spreading rapidly.  One of the reasons Korea has a relatively low rate of infection is because everyone is wearing a mask and washing their hands regularly.”

Usage of masks “flattened” growth of coronavirus cases in Czech Republic

“one of the key reasons for the decrease in the growth of the cases is a massive country-wide community initiative to create and wear home-made masks”.  In just 10 days, the country went from no mask usage to nearly 100 per cent usage, with nearly all the masks made at home with easily accessible materials, like old t-shirts.”

I do not know if masks will stop the spread completely. But based on how the virus spreads, masks will reduce the spread significantly.

According to the CDC:

“The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

* Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).

* Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.”

“It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.”

If everyone is required to wear a mask, then this means that infected people are wearing masks as well.  This means that “respiratory droplets” are mostly or completely stopped when the infected person “coughs”, “sneezes” or breathes. They are not spraying the virus into the air or onto surfaces for others to breathe in or touch.

Even the CDC is not necessarily correct. If you are “6 feet” away from someone, you might still get infected.

‘Two metres not enough’ when social distancing
Original source

“viral droplets expelled in coughs and sneezes can travel in a moist, warm atmosphere at speeds of 10-30 metres (33ft-100ft) per second, creating a cloud that can span approximately 7-8 metres (23ft-27ft).”

“3ft to 6ft (1-2 metres) may underestimate the distance, timescale, and persistence over which the cloud and its pathogenic payload travel”

There are two types of countries in the world:

  1. Virus not growing exponentially.
  2. Virus growing exponentially.

Countries of the first type include several Asian countries. Their governments tell their people to wear masks. It is not a coincidence that those countries have tiny or manageable numbers of cases. In some of these countries, people are going to work, attending school, going to restaurants and not worried about flattening the curve.

Countries of the second type are freaking out about flattening the curve, trapped in their homes, missing work and school, and not enjoying life such as going to restaurants. They refuse to wear masks. Even worse, their governments are telling their people to not wear masks. Consequently, many people who would be willing to wear masks, do not, because they feel self-conscious, do not want to stand out and do not want others to think that they are infected. So, these countries need to maintain strict lock downs, social distancing, self-isolation and quarantines. If the virus stops growing exponentially and if they want to restart their economies, even partially, their governments need to tell their people to wear masks and impose fines or punishment for not doing so.

Everyone Should Wear Masks

Everyone should wear masks.  The main reason that people don’t is vanity.

According to CDC, face masks work in protecting yourself from virus infection. Note that a face mask is not necessarily the same as respirators.  An N95 mask is a respirator.

A mask does these things:

  1. It reduces the chance that you get infected, even though it is not perfect
  2. It reduces inoculum (viral load), which reduces how sick you get, even if you get infected.  Watch:  https://youtu.be/efaDuE-XEi4?t=1193    Summary:  At time of infection, if you get hit with 100 virus particles, versus 100,000 virus particles, you will be less sick.
  3. It reduces the number of people that you will infect, because you don’t know for the first few days that you are contagious, after getting infected.  The mask reduces the inoculum that you spray into the air.

All of the above benefits help “flatten the curve”.

It can be a construction, painter’s or homemade mask.  It doesn’t have to be surgical mask.  Any mask, even a scarf, is better than nothing. It may sound funny, but a Halloween mask is better than nothing.

It is no coincidence that everyone in the Asian countries, which have tiny numbers of infected, wear masks.  Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea and Singapore knew that it was important that everyone in public wear masks.  You cannot “flatten the curve” if the public has a high R (infectious rate) or get very sick (from getting hit with high inoculum levels), both of which masks reduce.  Hence, their governments made masks available and told everyone to wear them.

Note the woman shopper in the photo of this article about Taiwan.  

Notice that her mask is not a medical ask.  Any mask helps, as it limits the inoulum that she is spraying into the air, if she is infected.

In Taiwan, people are still going to work and school.  They can go to restaurants.  They aren’t worried about “flattening the curve”.  Meanwhile, we are freaked out, trapped in our homes and our economy is cratering.

As Chris Martenson said: “Why is face mask use – proven effective at stopping disease – not being promoted for general use? Because the government failed to stockpile and had no plan for how to ramp up production, and chose to shame the public into not buying masks instead of being honest.”

Countries Need to Stop Listening to WHO

The WHO did not and will not tell countries to ban travel. In fact, they told countries to not ban travel when they found out about the problem in China. WHO’s director general, Dr. Tedros, is incredibly incompetent or corrupt.

Luckily, Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong did not listen and banned travel immediately as soon as they found out about the virus. They did several other things as well, that we are still not doing. Taiwan and Hong Kong should have the most cases outside of China, yet Taiwan has fewer than Slovenia.

China locked down Wuhan when it had 300 official cases. Canada has 247 cases, is growing exponentially and yet, Canada is still taking thousands of flights from many hot spot countries.

Spain had 228 cases on March 4. Ten days later, stores are closed (except groceries and pharmacies).

If Canada continues growing exponentially, stores can be closed in 10 days.

France had 212 cases on March 3. Eleven days later, stores are closed.

Italy had 229 cases on Feb 24. Two weeks later, the country is locked down. 19 days later, 175 people die in one day.

Politicians should stop listening to WHO and read:

Coronavirus: Why You Must Act Now


Coronavirus Will Go Exponential in More Countries

Countries are having different results with the virus. The growth is linear in some and exponential in others. See the following graph:

To prevent exponential growth, countries must do what South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan are doing:

  • Containment (Hong Kong closed its border with China.  Travel from all hot spots, such as China, South Korea, Japan, Iran and Italy should have been banned since January.  We are still taking thousands of flights from them.)
  • Banning social gatherings.
  • Masks.  Most people in Hong Kong wear masks when they go out.  This not only reduces the chances of catching the virus, but more importantly, it reduces the number of people that you will infect if you have the virus.  During the incubation period before you develop symptoms, you can be infecting others and not know it.
  • Aggressive testing.
  • Contact Tracing  (In addition, South Korea has an app that tells you the locations that all infected people have visited.)
  • Quarantine  (China is the most aggressive with this, by limiting the times that people can leave their homes.)
  • Removal of deterrent of quarantine, such as paying for lost wages, so that people will not break quarantine.

For countries that have not done the above, such as Italy and Iran, the number of cases have grown exponentially.

Many other countries, including the U.S., Canada and many European countries, are not doing the above. The virus will grow exponentially in these countries.

The WHO and CDC have really dropped the ball.  WHO downplayed it for far too long and tried to be politically correct instead of being honest. The WHO and CDC have documentation from prior years that explain what should be done. This first thing that should be done is: CONTAINMENT.

“If the Containment Zone encompasses major air, land, and sea transit points, it is possible that screening procedures could be used but the preferable alternative is to close that entry point.”

From WHO Interim Protocol: Rapid operations to contain the initial emergence of pandemic influenza

In January, WHO should have told every country to practise containment, which includes banning travel from China.  Instead of doing this, WHO downplayed the situation and praised China’s efforts.  In February, WHO issued a statement saying that they are not calling it a pandemic but some dishonest, politically correct phrase.

We have no containment.

This virus is many times worse than SARS or the flu.  According to WHO’s website, a pandemic is when a virus spreads around the world.  Yet, WHO would not call this a pandemic until today, after the virus has spread to 109 countries:

World Health Organization declares the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic

CDC should have enabled testing of thousands of Americans since weeks ago.  There are likely many thousands of Americans (and Canadians) who are infected but we don’t know yet.  China and Iran likely have many multiples more infected than they are reporting. Watch the interview of this doctor’s frustration in the CDC and his inability to test:

The other challenge is that governments are caught between a rock and a hard place:  saves lives or save their economies.  To save lives, they will need to clamp down their people, but this will clamp down their economies.  The right thing to do is to save lives, but when they do this, their economies will crater.  Many people will lose their lives or many people will lose their jobs and income. It is not a easy choice.

“Up to 150 million Americans are expected to contract the coronavirus, congressional doctor says”

Please practise social distancing.  Work at home if you can.  Do not shake hands.  Avoid social gatherings. There are going to be many long, boring months until they come up with a vaccine.

Went to Cash Because of COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

I’ve been following the reports on this virus for the past 3 weeks. Since early February, I felt that this would cause a correction but was surprised that the market was ignoring it.

Then I got busy getting ready for my vacation to Hawaii and flying there when the correction started.

Yesterday, I got some time here in Hawaii to research this more. Today I sold my stocks.

It looks like the WHO (World Health Organization) and several countries have been lying about the severity of this virus. China, Thailand, Vietnam, Iran and the U.S. likely have multiple times more cases than they are reporting.

The U.S. has only reported 50-60 cases, all of which came from travellers from the Diamond Princess cruise ship or China. Yet, California has thousands in quarantine. Today, the first case is reported where the source of the infection is unknown. This implies that it is spreading within the U.S. and many more will be reported in the future.

Iran and Thailand likely have tens of thousands of cases.

This virus is much more infectious, easily spread and deadly than either SARS or the flu. People are succumbing and falling on the ground in some countries. Victims can get sick more than once. Contagious period can be up to 27 days without symptoms. Another difference is the size of the Chinese economy compared to when SARS broke out. This means that the impact to the world economy will be much more significant.

China has been shutting down almost entire cities. This will disrupt supply chains that the world depends on, which in turn will slow the world’s economy.

CDC has said that a pandemic is essentially assured. Germany said that they will have an epidemic. Europe is not doing enough to contain it. The U.S. is not doing enough testing. Italy is using the military to quarantine victims. There are long lineups at the grocery stores in South Korea and the shelves are empty in stores near the cluster in Italy. The number of cases worldwide are doubling every 4-5 days. Vaccine is one to one and a half years away. It looks like it is going to get worse before it gets better.

There is a possibility that this might be the start of the next bear market or recession. Hopefully, I’m wrong.