COVID-19: The biggest risk is not the virus

Lots of food for thought here… This article argues that the bigger, if not the biggest threat that COVID-19 infection poses globally is not the virus itself. It is the devastating economic fallout. Contributing factors are broken or terminally ill healthcare systems and “market psychology”.

A perfect viral ‘storm’

Experts define market psychology as “the prevailing sentiment of financial market participants”. The currently prevailing global sentiment is overwhelmingly negative.

It has precipitated a perfect storm in the pandemic’s wake that is engulfing the planet with apocalyptic scenarios. It is sending stock markets into freefall and buffeting economies with demand and supply shocks.

The UN’s trade and development agency, UNCTAD, predicts that COVID-19 will likely cost the global economy $1-trillion in 2020. In the UK, the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) has called COVID-19 “arguably one of the greatest public health challenges of our time”. UK politicians have also dubbed it the “biggest peacetime threat”.

There’s some light amidst the economic doom and gloom. It lies in an intriguing phenomenon that the pandemic has spawned and media have dubbed “the rise of the Coronavirus Influencer”. 

Influencers can be doctors and scientists. One of my favourites is Stanford physician-scientist Prof John Ioannidis. Read his latest on a “fiasco in the making” through bad decisions taken without reliable data.

UK Global forecaster David Murrin is another.  Listen to and read him on “denial swamped by reality” and real threat.

But influencers are also a motley crew of health economists and other assorted lateral thinkers operating outside the constraints of orthodox medical and scientific boxes.

Fighting #COVID-19 hoaxes

These influencers are well-placed to provide a unique perspective into the economic fallout. They help to offset the hoaxes, misinformation and conspiracy theories about deep-state plots, bioweapons and state propaganda swirling around COVID-19 online.  

Many government leaders and public health authorities are clearly floundering in full-blown panic mode. Some countries, such as Spain and France, have followed China and hard-hit Italy by launching stringent “lockdown” suppressive measures. Others, such as Sweden and the Netherlands, have opted for “mitigation” or “containment” methods. 

Mitigation has its fans. It’s a delaying tactic to create “herd immunity” to ameliorate future outbreaks or until a vaccine becomes available. In the short term, this option allows for infection but also deaths.

The US and UK are among those who have flirted with mitigation before staggering into suppression. 

Doing nothing is not an option

But neither side can reliably claim anything close to consensus science backing them up. 

And what is clear is that doing nothing is not an option. Neither is taking too long to respond – even strongly. It may be why Italy’s death toll at 3,405 since February has now surpassed China’s recorded 3,245 deaths since early January. That’s despite Italy’s number of confirmed cases at 35,713 not even half of China’s at 80,928 since the outbreak.

One US influencer worth reading is Tomas Pueyo, a Stanford University graduate and vice-president of Course Hero. It’s an online learning platform of course-specific study resources that he created…. Read the full article

And more valuable insights from Ivor Cummins and others….