• Coronavirus: Bad But Not The Apocalypse

    There’s a lot of sky is falling talk about the coronavirus.  Traffic counts are down 30-60% in Washington State.  Transit ridership is down by an average of 64% according Transit to app.  Insider is concerned and sheltering in place.  He lives 2 miles from the Kirkland Life Care Center where there were lots of early cases and deaths.  But Insider prefers to look at the data and make up his own mind. Here are two charts and some emerging research which suggest the apocalyptic scenarios are not true and that the virus will be a 1-2 month event.

    Chart 1

    Look at this chart of Washington State’s experience with coronavirus.  Washington was one of the early hotspots of the virus.  The important lines are the blue line (new coronavirus cases) and the orange line (deaths).  The grey line is new tests which is increasing rapidly as testing capacity improves.  You can make the argument that deaths is probably more important than cases because the number of cases will go up as access to testing becomes greater.  Cases and deaths are not growing exponentially in Washington as the dire models predict.  Social distancing works.  We’ve included the data below the chart so you can see we’re not making this up.

    Coronavirus Cases, Deaths and Tests in Washington State

    Source:  Washington State Department of Health

    Chart 2

    The second chart is the New York times chart of new Chinese Coronavirus cases.  The chart is a 7 day moving average to smooth out daily variation.  It took a little more than a month for China to work coronavirus out of the system.  For two days last week China had no new local coronavirus cases.  That’s why the Chinese government is urging people to go back to work.

    Source: New York Times, Which Country Has Flattened the Curve for Coronavirus

    Research Suggests the Virus will abate in hot humid weather.

    Here are links to medical studies from Spain and China which suggest that the coronavirus prefers cool and dry conditions and will abate as we enter the hot and humid summer months just like the flu does.  The Chinese study predicts that coronavirus will likely be extinct in Japan by the July 2020 Summer Olympics.

    Insider’s take:  Yes, it will be a bumpy ride for the next 30-60 days, but this too shall pass.  Shelter in place. Practice social distancing. Wash your hands.  Offer distressed clients a 30-60 day payment holiday if you must.  Preserve your company’s liquidity for the next 30-60 days.  But the world hasn’t come to an end.  Insider notes that the IBOUSA hasn’t yet cancelled the May 13-15 conference.  Insider’s not cancelling his plane ticket.

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