Hoping for the best

Ramz Gates Paul has put out multiple videos over the past month downplaying the virus. These videos have gotten a lot of down-votes relative to his other videos(11% dislike vs. 1-2% for other topics) suggesting considerable disagreement and discussion relative to the typical non-virus video. As discussed earlier, the virus has divided the dissent-right into two camps: those who think the virus is way worse than the flu and necessitates urgent action and that supposed panic is necessary and justified, and those who are more blasé about it. Both sides have valid points. The virus is about 5x more deadly than the flu, yet the morality rate is still very low for young people with no comorbidity. There is also a semantic debate in regard to if people are actually panicking or not. Frenzied people buying years’ worth of toilet paper seems like panic to me.

Despite earlier optimism, in the video, the belief that the virus will just spontaneously extinguish itself in few months or when summer comes, is one of the most naively optimistic things I have heard. In Ramz defense, he is not the only one who has predicted this. I have seen this argument floated about elsewhere. But consider:

1. Even if it does go away in a few months, that tells you nothing about how many deaths and cases in the interim or how much disruption economically.

2. There is no guarantee it will ever spontaneously stop. In theory, it can keep spreading until every human on earth is infected, which will take well over a year.

3. Even if it stops, that does not mean it will not become seasonal, which means that this shit will be repeated every year, with some X number of Americans dying of the virus every year, similar to the flu.

4. HIV has been around for half a century despite efforts to stop it. Viruses seldom just go away, smallpox being just a single exception. They just go into hiding instead.

5. Polio and measles went away in the US because of vaccines, not because they just spontaneously died off. Too bad, no corona vaccine yet. Even if polio didn’t req. vaccines for it to go away, there would probably still be cases every year without mass vaccines, similar to the flu.

6. The market crashed 30% from its highs. This is not indicative of something that will merely be over in a few months, or at least not without way more cases and deaths than we have seen thus far.

7. Odds are, this is not one of those things that is gonna be over in a few months. That stage was crossed 3 weeks ago at least. There was possibly a small window a month and half ago in which total shutdown of travel into the US could have stopped it, plus a lock-down of the vicinity of affected areas and cases, but too late, and even then, no guarantee. I was wrong in being too optimistic, but oh well. I paid by losing money.

Ramz also keeps saying–and I have heard this argument elsewhere by the media and on some conservative blogs–that the virus will cause Trump to lose. Many liberals are definitely hoping for this. The market has already collapsed yet Trump’s approval rating has not fallen much or at all. 538 still shows it at 42.6, which is where it was for much of 2018-2019. The only way his approval falls a lot is if the public perceives his response as overtly and grossly incompetent, provided things get much worse. So things have to get much worse (hundreds of thousands of deaths or another Great Depression) and then Trump has to somehow fumble really badly and in way that is very obvious. His recent speech was panned by the media but his numbers have helped up anyway. The data shows that public sentiment of Trump’s handling of the virus is divided along predictable party lines. There has to be some defining mistake that makes things so bad and is so obvious that even people who support Trump now, suddenly defect.

It is very much possible that everything could clear up in a month or two, but there is no guarantee either. As for myself, I remain in the market and hope to implement my new 3x ETF strategy soon with prices at much lower levels. The FANG stocks will rebound quickly when this is over, as they always do.