How and when to re-open the US economy is the question, with some pushing for a re-opening to begin as soon as May 1st. The widely respected Murray Model (COVID-19 Projections) does suggest that the US may have passed the peak of anticipated deaths per day but that isn’t to say that the pandemic is winding down. And note that the model assumes that social distancing will remain in place until the end of May. Given that a premature re-opening could trigger a virus resurgence, we trust that the state and local officials making these calls err on the side of caution and start with very low risk workers. Washington Post
The US stock market continues its wild ride. The bear market bottomed at a 34% loss from its high but had recovered 20% of that loss as of early this week. Our view is that stock investors have likely written off what will surely be dismal 2020 GDP and earnings numbers and are already focused on attempting to project where the US will be in 2021 and even 2022. Moreover, they are counting on massive monetary and fiscal stimulus. New York Times Has a stock market “bottom” been made? We don’t know but infer from the rapid bounce back that few investors have given up on stocks.
This is surely going to be a long economic recovery, stretching into 2021 and perhaps 2022 or beyond. COVID-19 disappears as a serious national health risk only when we have all three of the following in place: effective testing; a vaccine and a successful treatment protocol. The need for social distancing will abate in time, but we wonder if our lives may change in that respect at least for the foreseeable future. CNBC
Please read on for more of the following: Black Swans; Maine Medical Joins Remdesivir Trials; Chairman Powell Gets High Marks; A Zoom Tutorial; Courage During Difficult Times; and A Quote to Contemplate.
- Black Swans: The coronavirus is understood in the investment world as a “black swan”. Black swans were so rare in nature as to become a metaphor for an unusual and unpredictable event. By its nature a black swan cannot be anticipated but should we be planning for more frequent “black swans”? Have globalization and technology increased the odds of them occurring? Plan for black swans to occur frequently and we may live narrow, fear driven lives. But perhaps we need to tilt more in our planning at all levels for the possibility of an acceleration in the frequency of “black swans”? Wall Street Journal
- Maine Medical Joins Remdesivir Trials: Maine Medical announced this week that it has joined the clinical testing program for Remdesivir, one of the most promising COVID-19 treatment options. Portland Press Herald Here is more on Remdesivir. fiercebiotech.com
- Chairman Powell Gets High Marks: Kudos to Fed Chairman, Jerome Powell, for his decisiveness and boldness in responding to the pandemic and economic crisis. Has his tenure been perfect? No, raising rates in December of 2018 wasn’t a good decision, but by and large he has been both successful and flexible at a crucial time. See the linked article for more on what prepared him for his historic moment. New York Times
- A Zoom Tutorial: Zoom, the ubiquitous video conferencing software, has suddenly become part of many lives. I Zoom. You Zoom. We all Zoom. Feeling a little Zoom inadequate? SNL graciously put together a Zoom tutorial for us that might be best watched in private. SNL Conference Call Sketch
- Courage During Difficult Times: Ryan Holiday, the popular writer and ardent student of Stoicism, suggests that in such difficult times we must remind ourselves that “the world is a narrow bridge, and the important thing is to not be afraid.” ryanholiday.net
- A Quote to Contemplate: “Man plans. God laughs.” Yiddish proverb
Feel free to send us feedback on any topic or make a request or to forward the notes on to anyone who might be interested.