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March Banter 2020

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And there goes the NHL season... suspended per sources - https://www.prohockeyrumors.com/2020/03/nhl-cancels-practices-will-issue-update-on-season-status.html

Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post has tweeted that teams around the league have been told the season will be suspended, while Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic has heard that on-ice officials have been told to book flights home.

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14 hours ago, PDIII said:

I just used the money that I had saved to pay my taxes this year to buy shares of Hilton, American Airlines and Disney.   

Maybe a day early.

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20 hours ago, MN Transplant said:

The argument on the other side is that while you can't contain the spread, you can slow it down so that hospitals do not become overwhelmed.  That is the scary scenario for the rest of us that aren't really at a high risk. 

Totally agree with this.  The main reason for all the "social distancing", postponements, cancellations...is perhaps not so much to try and stop the spread at this point (though it may help with that, as well), but to keep emergency facilities from being overwhelmed all at once.  Anyone who's seen that "flatten the curve" graphic should immediately get that.  And even if one isn't necessarily in a high risk group, you cannot be certain that you won't require some form of professional medical care.  This isn't about panic, this is about common sense.

 

18 hours ago, WxWatcher007 said:

I'm pulling my hair out man. We have to look at this from the lenses of individual risk vs. systemic risk, but I'll set that aside to get straight to the point.  

Folks on Capitol Hill recently received a briefing that said current projections are that between 70-150 million Americans will get this eventually. For comparison, an estimated 60.8 million Americans got Swine Flu in one year, with approximately 12,000 deaths.

With this virus, we know that approximately 80% of folks will not need medical attention. That's good. But there's still 20% that will, and even if we're generous with a mortality rate of .5% overall, that's still 5x higher than the flu. All you have to do is run the numbers. 

Using the lower range of both transmission and mortality, that would leave 375,000 Americans at risk of dying from this. Not to mention millions of hospitalizations. 

I'm a young healthy guy. So while my individual risk is of getting really sick is low, there's a good chance I get it and become a carrier. That's where social distancing and all the cancellations that are going to annoy people matters. It's not about me. I'll more than likely be fine. It's about me and millions of others being used as hosts to infect vulnerable populations.

 

The less people that can be infected, especially in a short period of time, the less people in vulnerable populations are at risk. 

We're not just looking at people 80+ dying from this virus. At all. While it is true that the mortality rate jumps dramatically for those 80+, it is very high relative to other viruses for people 60+. This isn't even taking into account those that have underlying health conditions, of which there are tens of millions of Americans. 

 

So once again, run the numbers. Do the math. 

There are some that are going to be fooled by the number of global cases and national cases, because those numbers are low relative to the total population. Only 1,000 cases? This isn't close to the flu! But exponential growth during pandemics tells us why we should be concerned now and take action now. 

Italy might have had 100 cases two weeks ago. Today there are over 10,000 cases. For every one person infected, they can infect 2-3 others. That's how you get one attorney in New Rochelle with coronavirus turning into over 100 in a few days. That's how you get one person at a Biogen conference in Boston turning into 70 in Boston in a few days.

Now replicate that...in just a hand full of towns in every state...and double it every week or two. That's what we're up against. Now is the time to slow the spread. 

 

And that's why taking drastic action now matters. Exponential growth, it occurs to me, can be used in the opposite direction as well. For every one person that doesn't get infected because they don't go to work or a social gathering, that's 2-3 people they can't infect, and so on. 

You can't just isolate one demographic in this instance. VP Pence is 100% right here. It's not just a whole of government approach, it is a whole of America approach. 

Thank you for coming to my TED talk.

Edited to fix the overall transmission projection from 75 million to 70 million.

Thanks for this.  While for a large majority it may be relatively mild (not sure the exact definition of what "mild" constitutes, but I'll take that to mean not needing to be hospitalized), a significant number of people have and will be really adversely affected.  Out of 100+M, that would be a lot of people, and I'm sure we all know someone who might be in the higher risk group (family member, friend, co-worker, etc.).  Like I said above, there's a difference between panic and common sense...this is common sense what the experts are saying and warning about.  I'll take a few weeks or couple of months of "inconvenience"...like not going to some event or travelling...over things getting potentially very dire.  And in the end, if we get lucky and it ends up being not as bad as thought...then great!  I still think hedging on the side of caution is far better.

As for the Swine Flu a decade ago, yeah, I remember that.  Not to get overly political here, but in that case, we actually had some competent leadership listening to experts, etc., which quite possibly kept it from being even worse (plus a vaccine was developed...though I think it was maybe "easier" in that case because it actually was a somewhat familiar flu.  Coronavirus isn't really a flu and is quite different in many ways).

And the exponential growth is something people should pay more attention to (as you mention), rather than saying "oh, there's only a couple thousand, and it's not all that bad".  I'd also wager that the current number of cases is far more than being reported, simply because probably a lot of people may already have it, or had minor symptoms and didn't need to go in for treatment, etc.  Add to that the fact that one could be walking around with no symptoms for nearly 2 weeks, but still be contagious.  That's one of the more sinister things about this virus, as opposed to the "normal" flu or a cold.

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23 hours ago, nw baltimore wx said:

NCAA tourneys would be weird with no fans.  Sounds like the direction many are supporting.

Meh...I've been to Cleveland Indians games in the late 70s and 80s.  That was essentially like playing with no fans!! :lol:

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6 hours ago, PrinceFrederickWx said:

Good choice. I have been loading up on the C Fund (S&P 500) in my TSP... if you have ten years or more to sit on it, this is the best buying opportunity since early 2009 IMHO. You want to be buying when everyone is panicking and heading for the exits.

Really don't like giving advice when it comes to other people's money especially when it comes to the Stock market (God knows I have been wrong on occasion). But you might want to reconsider dumping most if not all into the C Fund at this time (maybe 50% into the C if you really want to gamble). Been playing the dips for quite awhile now and have done markedly well over the the normal returns on the S&P. What we are seeing now isn't a typical dip. I think the market stands to lose at least another 10-15% and those are probably optimistic as it wouldn't surprise me if  we may be looking at a 45-50% drop when all is said and done. As we are seeing the country is starting to shut down and this will most likely pick up in the next week or so. This alone would hammer the Stock Market but we are also seeing an oil war in progress which doesn't look to end soon which also would typically drag the market down. Pretty bad combo (There are also a couple of other things I have been keeping an eye on (Global tensions, aggressions, over hyping/sensationalism by the media)) So though we will likely see temporary positive spikes here and there in the market with any good news the underlining issues still remain and probably will so for the next several weeks/month at least. 

I myself right now have our funds safely parked in the G Fund. And though the returns are minimal at least they are returning something and not taking huge chunks away. What I will be looking for is when the market starts stabilizing where we aren't seeing these massive swings. When we can get the swings within roughly a point consistently from day to day trading over a period of time is when I will start considering dumping back into the C fund. I might lose a couple of points on the rebound by waiting for some stability but with the market shedding 24+% at this time there is plenty to work with in that regard. *** The two transfer limit (3 transfers if the last is going back into the G) per month plays into my thinking as well but that gets a little convoluted.

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Anybody who would've fallen into a coma in January and woken up today would have a lot of catching up to do, like geez....

What a decade this year has been

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2 hours ago, Always in Zugzwang said:

As for the Swine Flu a decade ago, yeah, I remember that.  Not to get overly political here, but in that case, we actually had some competent leadership listening to experts, etc., which quite possibly kept it from being even worse (plus a vaccine was developed...though I think it was maybe "easier" in that case because it actually was a somewhat familiar flu.  Coronavirus isn't really a flu and is quite different in many ...

I don’t want this to sound at all political, but around 60,000,000 people got the swine flu in the US alone.  I don’t think excellent leadership had much to do with it.  We were just fortunate that it was not as severe an illness as coronavirus and, as you say, vaccines provided some limited protections.  I think our government and society in general is a mess with these things, no matter who is in charge.  

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52 minutes ago, jaydreb said:

I don’t want this to sound at all political, but around 60,000,000 people got the swine flu in the US alone.  I don’t think excellent leadership had much to do with it.  We were just fortunate that it was not as severe an illness as coronavirus and, as you say, vaccines provided some limited protections.  I think our government and society in general is a mess with these things, no matter who is in charge.  

I agree to an extent. There’s only so much you can do sometimes, but unforced errors are unacceptable. 

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1 minute ago, WxWatcher007 said:

I agree to an extent. There’s only so much you can do sometimes, but unforced errors are unacceptable. 

Absolutely agree.  The response has not been good IMO.  Everyone having a free Corona test showing up at their door is not a realistic expectation, but it would be nice to hear a coherent plan.  Thankfully it seems we are waking up to this and all these closures will make a difference.  It may not be enough to prevent a bad outcome but it should slow the spread somewhat.  Of course I have absolutely no qualifications in any scientific area so I probably don’t know what I’m talking about.   

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10 minutes ago, jaydreb said:

Absolutely agree.  The response has not been good IMO.  Everyone having a free Corona test showing up at their door is not a realistic expectation, but it would be nice to hear a coherent plan.  Thankfully it seems we are waking up to this and all these closures will make a difference.  It may not be enough to prevent a bad outcome but it should slow the spread somewhat.  Of course I have absolutely no qualifications in any scientific area so I probably don’t know what I’m talking about.   

I'm curious as to what you think the response should have been.

There was a swift travel restriction put in place that was heavily criticized by the press (as usual), but certainly slowed the initial spread of this virus.  You cant send a testing kit to everyone in the country when these kits didnt exist.  Our country is faring far better than most.

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3 hours ago, showmethesnow said:

Really don't like giving advice when it comes to other people's money especially when it comes to the Stock market (God knows I have been wrong on occasion). But you might want to reconsider dumping most if not all into the C Fund at this time (maybe 50% into the C if you really want to gamble). Been playing the dips for quite awhile now and have done markedly well over the the normal returns on the S&P. What we are seeing now isn't a typical dip. I think the market stands to lose at least another 10-15% and those are probably optimistic as it wouldn't surprise me if  we may be looking at a 45-50% drop when all is said and done. As we are seeing the country is starting to shut down and this will most likely pick up in the next week or so. This alone would hammer the Stock Market but we are also seeing an oil war in progress which doesn't look to end soon which also would typically drag the market down. Pretty bad combo (There are also a couple of other things I have been keeping an eye on (Global tensions, aggressions, over hyping/sensationalism by the media)) So though we will likely see temporary positive spikes here and there in the market with any good news the underlining issues still remain and probably will so for the next several weeks/month at least. 

I myself right now have our funds safely parked in the G Fund. And though the returns are minimal at least they are returning something and not taking huge chunks away. What I will be looking for is when the market starts stabilizing where we aren't seeing these massive swings. When we can get the swings within roughly a point consistently from day to day trading over a period of time is when I will start considering dumping back into the C fund. I might lose a couple of points on the rebound by waiting for some stability but with the market shedding 24+% at this time there is plenty to work with in that regard. *** The two transfer limit (3 transfers if the last is going back into the G) per month plays into my thinking as well but that gets a little convoluted.

Who's shorting? lol

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I have been sick as a dog. Dry cough, fever 101, sore throat, malaise, weakness, etc. For 8 days. I went to the doc yesterday who swabbed for strep and flu. Negative on both. Asked about covid, testing isn’t there unless you have a known contact or went out of the country. I do have a lot of contact in my job with international people.

 

Who knows. It’s been ugh though. Hope everyone is well and stays healthy through this.

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3 minutes ago, supernovasky said:

I have been sick as a dog. Dry cough, fever 101, sore throat, malaise, weakness, etc. For 8 days. I went to the doc yesterday who swabbed for strep and flu. Negative on both. Asked about covid, testing isn’t there unless you have a known contact or went out of the country. I do have a lot of contact in my job with international people.

 

Who knows. It’s been ugh though. Hope everyone is well and stays healthy through this.

I hope you feel better soon.  Are you self quarantined?

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3 minutes ago, supernovasky said:

I have been sick as a dog. Dry cough, fever 101, sore throat, malaise, weakness, etc. For 8 days. I went to the doc yesterday who swabbed for strep and flu. Negative on both. Asked about covid, testing isn’t there unless you have a known contact or went out of the country. I do have a lot of contact in my job with international people.

 

Who knows. It’s been ugh though. Hope everyone is well and stays healthy through this.

Uh...yeah, you should get tested for covid. There is community transmission in MD now.

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Just now, EastCoast NPZ said:

I hope you feel better soon.  Are you self quarantined?

I am not but I’ve tried to have as little contact with the public as possible. I’m a deacon at my church and skipped last week and we are likely cancelling this week.

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17 minutes ago, EastCoast NPZ said:

I'm curious as to what you think the response should have been.

There was a swift travel restriction put in place that was heavily criticized by the press (as usual), but certainly slowed the initial spread of this virus.  You cant send a testing kit to everyone in the country when these kits didnt exist.  Our country is faring far better than most.

See answer below. It’s an egregious failure and national disgrace that we couldn’t get ahead of the most basic of elements to fight a pandemic—testing.

1 minute ago, supernovasky said:

I have been sick as a dog. Dry cough, fever 101, sore throat, malaise, weakness, etc. For 8 days. I went to the doc yesterday who swabbed for strep and flu. Negative on both. Asked about covid, testing isn’t there unless you have a known contact or went out of the country. I do have a lot of contact in my job with international people.

 

Who knows. It’s been ugh though. Hope everyone is well and stays healthy through this.

Hopefully you can get tested soon. Have you called a hospital (if you need it)?

Either way, hang in there. 

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All four of us are going to be in re house together for at least 2 weeks. Send me booze please. @Scraff I might need your help urgently :wacko:

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Just now, WxUSAF said:

Uh...yeah, you should get tested for covid. There is community transmission in MD now.

I don’t know what to say except that I was told I wouldn’t get tested.

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Just now, WxWatcher007 said:

See answer below. It’s an egregious failure and national disgrace that we couldn’t get ahead of the most basic of elements to fight a pandemic—testing.

Hopefully you can get tested soon. Have you called a hospital (if you need it)?

Either way, hang in there. 

As bad as it’s been, it hasn’t been hospital bad. I actually think today I may be turning a corner thank god.

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11 minutes ago, supernovasky said:

I have been sick as a dog. Dry cough, fever 101, sore throat, malaise, weakness, etc. For 8 days. I went to the doc yesterday who swabbed for strep and flu. Negative on both. Asked about covid, testing isn’t there unless you have a known contact or went out of the country. I do have a lot of contact in my job with international people.

 

Who knows. It’s been ugh though. Hope everyone is well and stays healthy through this.

There has been a massive failure here wrt to testing capability. Not suggesting everyone who has a cough or a sniffle should be tested, but there was a major eff up with the initial test kits, and other countries did not have that problem. Test availability is still very limited here by comparison. In the greatest nation on earth, it's not acceptable. I will leave it to others to ponder/debate the reason(s).

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2 minutes ago, supernovasky said:

As bad as it’s been, it hasn’t been hospital bad. I actually think today I may be turning a corner thank god.

That’s good to hear. Get well soon.

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