We are are mere mortals. We are up against the worst of our fears. There is this creepy virus that you can’t, see, smell or hear. The streets become quieter everyday. Days meld into other days without a TGIF or Sunday mass to differentiate. No closing days or opening days. Each one is the same.
I got to thinking of the most insidious part to this whole mess and the best I came up with is uncertainty. If you understand a problem you can outline the obstacles and knock them off one by one. If you are in the midst of a hurricane who know where the eyewall or southeast quadrant is located. It may be 24 or 48 hours but you know when it will end.
Embattled citizenry in the middle of a blitzkrieg in WW II knew somehow, some way the All Clear would sound. 9/11 was horrific but we could look at the carnage and know where and how to rebuild. For the COVID 19 we read anything, anywhere looking for some sign of hope for a cure or at least a respite. There is none right now.
In this age of information I wonder if our cyber connection is a friend or foe? Our phones ping constantly with updates or new revelations. Your governor, senator, president, local guru, or friend has this idea or has heard this rumor and passes it on. Each one has the gravitas of impending doom. No one is really explaining anything but adding to the confusion.
We all run into people who know everything. No matter what you say they are here to do you one better. That’s okay if you are talking sports or gossip but this has gone beyond the pale. “I heard” or “I read” makes everyone a noted specialist. It seems the longer the alphabet soup they have behind their name the more credible they and we think they are. I just don’t know.
There has been a case made for quarantine or at least social distance and we abide by it. But nobody can quite explain how South Korea has foregone this and seems to have matters under control. Ditto Singapore and Taiwan. We have shut down cities and nations on a wing and a prayer. With the billions we have spent on intelligence, pharmaceutical industries, think tanks and public health can’t we expect and even demand something a little more? Are we as a world this inept?
We or at least most of us have been nailed pretty hard on our investments. Buy and hold seems to suck pretty bad right now. Long term investors are defined by forty years instead of the usual ten or more. Not privy to what senators and congressmen or corporate bigwigs knew a while back we have seen losses in a day that might have taken months a few years ago.
Who do you trust? Who has it right? The sheer insanity of quant or machine trading can cost us thousands in minutes of trading. There is some guy in a suit who will tell you that utility adds liquidity to the market.
Somebody has to explain to me where a marketplace that is 85% machine driven with no human intervention is good for my financial health. TTG, you just don’t understand.
If you are following me there seems to be a common thread throughout. How can we seek out facts and come up with some sort of rational game plan? I have heard talks and read research and think I have a small handle on things. But then again a new day brings a new theory and I feel I am back at Ground Zero. Literally.
I like to do my own thinking. That is not an ego thing but a product of my eight years of Jesuit education. Be the questioner and cynic. Look for flaws in facts and thinking. Not a chronic naysayer or doubting Thomas but one who can analyze and draw their own conclusions. I keep coming back to that desire for practical and unemotional information. Don’t sugarcoat it but don’t try to scare the crap out of me either. In sheer insanity we can’t find it in our info heavy world.
Someone said they thought Anthony Fauci who is the head of our Center for Disease Control should run for president. I am pretty sure I would vote for him. He is forthcoming and concise. He has the guts to stand up and say when a politician or corporate bigwig is wrong. He has the brains to say when he does not have an answer. Of course he went to Regis High School in New York and the College of Holy Cross…fine Jesuit institutions. But I digress.
All I can say in this maelstrom is to take a deep breath. Of course not too close to the person next to you. One of us or even most of us might contract this thing. A vaccine barring a miracle is 12-18 months off. But of all those that contract the virus, 80% will be no worse off than the ordinary flu. Many of us may have already had it. The spread is a product of our connected world. We, and I mean all of us have created it and thrived as a result of our globalization.
We find it so hard to accept it. There has got to be some person, machine, chemical compound that can put an end to our misery. Right now there really isn’t and that is beyond disconcerting but it is also life. No, we don’t have all the answers despite our indefatigable hubris. We would love to have someone stand up and say. “I’ve Got This! “ Unfortunately the only one that can, is staring at you in the mirror.
Ted The Great
As of last week the nation of Taiwan(pop 24 million) had recorded 100 cases of Covid-19, a remarkably low number given the island’s proximity to China. Some 2.71 million mainland Chinese visited Taiwan in 2019, and as recently as January there were a dozen round trip flights between Wuhan and Taipei every week. Taiwan has managed, so far, to keep well ahead of the infectious curve through a combination of early response, pervasive screening, contact tracing and comprehensive testing. Hmmm!
Deaths Worldwide Per Year
Suicide over 1 million
Car Accident 1.25 million
Hep C 400,000
Corona Virus 18,000 in three months..this has ramped up considerably and will go much higher
Most infections occur in families where people live in close quarters
The mortality rate seems to be less than 1%
It is difficult for medical personnel to tell the difference between regular flu and COVID 19