Saturday, February 22, 2020

Thoughts #20: More on Coronavirus

Coronavirus has been around and when kids get viruses, 1/3 are thought to be from the coronavirus family. Hence kids tend to develop some immunity to coronavirus and are less susceptible to this new type from Wuhan. Thankfully.

Coronavirus death rate may not be as high as 2%. As it goes round more humans, it should tend towards normal influenza rate of 0.1% to 0.2%. It is high now partly because it is concentrated in 1-2 Chinese cities whereby the healthcare system is tremendously strained. 

Masks are less effective than handwashing and maintain 1m from others (since the virus is not airborne, only aerosol). According to the WHO website, proper handwashing, avoiding contact of our own hands (unclean) to our eyes. nose and mouth would be more important.

On investment implications, the virus is likely to bring down economic growth with impact on global tourism and supply chain disruption. The US stock market has not fully factored in this risk. But looking at past experiences (SARS, ERS), the virus is very likely to die down in summer and we can move on with our lives.

So, very short term wise, there could be buy opportunities as stocks correct on negativism and fear. Things are likely to get better from here. But we must bear in mind that we are in a decade long bull market and valuations, especially in the US, are stretched.

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