Bitcoin’s price action after markets close has recently been a good indicator of what stocks might do when they open.
Bitcoin’s price and that of stocks has been very volatile as you might expect as markets try to price in what might happen in regards to the economy.
Initially “experts” were saying we should expect months of this in an on and off, but people are more and more questioning the vast discrepancy in statistics across the globe.
In particular Europe has three times the reported numbers of China with the new flu, when China’s population is far more than Europe.
Italy and Spain alone, for example, have five times the reported deaths of China, when Italy and Spain is just 10% of the population.
They all had curfews, but somehow Europe is getting it far worse than China even though it started in China.
South Korea has had no curfews, and their deaths are just 1% of Italy despite having a similar sized population.
“South Korea is a democratic republic, we feel a lockdown is not a reasonable choice,” says Kim Woo-Joo, an infectious disease specialist at Korea University.
Well thank god someone still remembers we’re a democracy, but how did this end so quickly in China and why did it never take off in South Korea?
“We should change our end goal strategy to lower death rates. So other countries like Italy, that see huge numbers in patients, should also change their strategies as well,” Dr Kim Yeon-Jae, an infectious disease specialist from the Korea National Medical Centre, said.
We’ve all heard of South Korea’s TRUST strategy, standing for transparency, robust screening and quarantine, unique but universally-applicable testing, strict control and treatment.
Everyone talks about the testing part which has now been copied by other countries, but there’s almost no talk about what treatment they using, when and how.
Testing of course only tells you something, it’s data, and data is useless unless you do something with it. That acting on data part is obviously treatment.
“In the early days in Wuhan, hospitals in Daegu were overwhelmed, resulting in high mortality because of delayed treatment, local epidemiologists said” according to Caixin Global, a well known regional paper.
While in South Korea they implemented “effective isolation and timely treatment to reduce mortality,” they add.
This early treatment part keeps popping up in regards to South Korea, with it unclear whether health officials in the west learned from that experience too, or just the testing part.
That’s because in Italy and Spain apparently they haven’t given treatment, so explaining the great discrepancy in stats despite the similar curfews and the testings and all the rest.
Now in both Europe and US trials are being undertaken in hospitals, but the key seems to be treating people at home so that they don’t even need the hospital to begin with or in not huge numbers.
“We can’t quarantine and treat all patients. Those who have mild symptoms should stay home and get treated,” Dr Kim Yeon-Jae says.
France has now become the first western country of size to recommend treatment as they say:
“Hydroxychloroquine and the combination of lopinavir / ritonavir may be prescribed, dispensed and administered under the responsibility of a doctor to patients affected by Covid-19, in the healthcare establishments which take charge of them, as well as for the continuation of their treatment if their condition allows it and with the authorization of the initial prescriber, at home.”
Chinese health officials have recommended a treatment since mid February, coinciding with an end to the outbreak there.
Interestingly the World Health Organization (WHO) is potentially making the situation worse because they’re saying “WHO does not recommend against the use of of ibuprofen,” a double negative that implies they recommend its use.
On the other hand French officials are saying NSAIDs should be banned, with ibuprofen containing NSAID, as does aspirin, but paracetamol doesn’t which they say can be used instead to contain fever at home.
So on the one hand they’re saying trust the “experts” and “officials” and on the other hand these “experts” are completely contradicting each other.
WHO however said there is no human to human transmission as late as in mid-January, so we’ll take the word of the accountable French who have taxpayers and citizens they have to answer to, rather than this WHO.
In addition in a study that names Dr Anthony Fauci as an author, he now says “overall clinical consequences of Covid-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza (which has a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%).”
So the just a flu crowd may well be proven right in the end, but doctors tend to treat the common flu. If they don’t treat this new flu then obviously it would be worse because we practice medicine for a very good reason: it tends to save lives.
So hopefully they’ll change strategy now and follow South Korea’s real strategy of focusing on saving lives with early treatment if possible.
As long as they do that, they can also do the tests and ventilators and masks and whatever else they want which doesn’t quite treat patients and therefore is… not useless but useless if they don’t act, but once they start treating we should expect a significant drop as in China and as in South Korea and other places in Asia.
Obviously this has affected a lot of markets and early information on a change of policy, focus, strategy, or on ‘anecdotal’ data from trials that shows some treatment works – and based on the experience and statements from South Korea it seems there definitely is a treatment both in hospital in regards to plasma and other treatments, as well as at home – so once this is “proven” to the standard of these “experts,” then we should probably know before official statements because there probably will be some insider trading.
Other media have reported on insider trading in regards to the decisions to crash markets, and of course there’s no consequences for them. So likewise maybe some weeks after we might hear of insider trading before they decide to do their jobs and save lives by treating people.
So the question then is whether this would really be a V, or more of a U, or a W. A very big question because it would depend on how quickly people would get back to normal.
There were riots apparently in Wuhan because the neighboring district would not let people cross the bridge even though they’re told this is over now and they can work.
That’s despite the situation ending there more than a month ago. So it might take a bit of time before people start going to concerts and all the rest, with the media keen to terrorize them as much as possible even though their ad rates are plunging and journalists are being fired.
Madness hopefully won’t be the way this is dismissed, or the classic ‘no one knew we could just treat people so we had to terrorize everybody.’
Instead hopefully there will be proper investigation and even a law in regards to platform media, like Reddit or Twitter, to ban political censorship.
Twitter, to much astonishment, has deleted a tweet by a fairly prominent US politician, leading plenty to wonder why don’t we just have twitter running the country instead of bothering with elections.
In addition as we’re not aware of restrictions on foreign nationals or even governments buying stocks in US markets, we don’t even quite know who influenced this censorship decision.
So we have to ensure this madness does not happen again, because if South Korea could instantly get a handle on this thing without imposing curfews or in Milan even martial laws, then what on earth has gone wrong in Europe or America where decree after decree has been written as if we are in absolute monarchies.
Or indeed where our new media platforms now apply mass censorship as if we are in authoritarian communist China.
So economically the situation might not necessarily end in a nice V, but more gradually to begin with, although people might see this more as a paid holiday at home so initially they might not mind but now they’re probably getting bored and thus for once might like going back to work, or indeed the pub, or on a plane, but travel restrictions might take a couple of weeks to be lifted after everyone is free to go outdoors.
Markets will probably know before hand when they’ll be free, with a good question currently being whether they have bottomed after the shock of Milan’s curfew which made everyone, even the staunchest of skeptics, basically panic and ‘accept’ this is bit more than just the flu.
Since then however it has been in everyone’s interest to look at this thing and considering markets have recovered somewhat, they’re now being told by Fauci himself that it might actually be just the flu.
A complete joke some of our bureaucrats and some of the elected have become. But markets don’t play around either with politics or jokes, so we’re all waiting to see what they might say as London goes through the first weekend under what is probably the first curfew for the entire country.