It’s always darkest before the dawn, the saying goes. We are watching for signs the contagion is turning and we are seeing signs that this may be happening.
- The Chinese province of Hubei, where the pandemic began, lifted travel restrictions on most of its 60 million residents today, ending a nearly two-month lockdown. If authorities outside of China are deploying lessons learned, then, perhaps, the rest of the world may be able to recover in under two months. A big if, it’s true.
- People are generally following the rules: wash hands, stay home, maintain social distance. This is slowing down infection rates. “R is the critical number – the transmission rate, the number of people an infected person infects. We’ve assumed that is between 2 and 3 is a normal economy. The Chinese imposed draconian controls right at the start of the virus, and made a massive effort on hygiene – hand washing and masks (ineffective though they be). They got the R number down to 0.32. That is very strict indeed – and it effectively slowed the infection curve.“
- This Oxford Study is interesting. “The bottom line is that if the infection rate is much higher, then we will still need lockdown now to protect the health service from crashing due to a wave of very ill patients. But subsequently, we can worry less about subsequent Fat Tail waves of infection. The sensitivity of the assumptions are very important, but will become apparent in coming days as the infection peaks and testing becomes more prevalent.“
- Air cargo is a bright spot (also here) which is why several airlines are deploying passenger aircraft as freighters.
- Governments will stop at nothing to give markets confidence. WSJ, FT, BBC
We are not out of the woods yet. But there are distinct signs that a recovery is coming. US Government stability plans are designed to calm markets, keep people employed/spending and under medical insurance cover. As long as consumers keep consuming!
There are still hard blows to suffer. But everyone with the power to do so appears to be focused on softening those blows. Staying home and staying clean seems to be the best for everyone, while the medical professionals perform like Trojans. Also worthy of salute and recognition are those who are at work keeping the economy going as best they can. Kudos to all.