572: Coronavirus update - for investors - 1 May
We are updating some Coronavirus learnings building from our Special Report sent a few weeks ago.
Virus Likes It Cold And Dry: We mentioned that the hotter and more humid the climate the less the Coronavirus survives and generates. Normally because the summer is more humid than the winter, then cases should drop. This is exactly what is happening in Europe as we pass from April to May. The virus also does not like the heat - on 3 May parts of Spain reached temperatures of 37 deg C - the virus seems to like 4 deg C to 20 deg C, so we expect the cases is Spain to drop rapidly henceforth and UK should follow shortly afterward.
Virus Likes Stagnant Air: Another interesting observation is that in the windy areas, there are far less coronavirus cases for instance West Wales, SW England, Western Scotland. Of course these are also the more rural and less populated areas granted, but the areas with the highest concentration of cases have been places like Milan (Lombardy), London, Paris, New York, Madrid and Wuhan all cities with very little wind. Okay, urban areas are often in flat lying areas where the wind is less in any case often on the protected lee side of a country (historic origins in ports-harbours etc), but we think the fresh ventilated areas wind and lack of pollution is important. The virus probably transmits far easier in populated urban areas which have very poor ventilation and more particulate pollution. The virus will pass on droplets of moisture in the air (sneezes and coughs, plus some heavy breathing) and probably attaches to particulate pollution from factories and cars then finds its way to the next human being - airborne and via hands to mouth.
Hand Rails Particularly Risky: In addition, the virus can harbour itself for longer in areas where there is no direct sunlight and areas that have more stagnant air - along with inside of buildings that have poorer ventilation and cold air conditioning. Of course one of the main ways to transmit the virus is via touching something with the virus on it. You can imagine at a railway station for instance hand rails have thousands of hands passing over them every day. If you want the virus to take hold in your body, then pass your hand over one of these metal or plastic coated railings then touch your nose or lips-mouth and the chance of ingestion will be extremely high - a high dose of virus just for example. The high dose will mean your immune system will be rapidly overloaded and you will get the Coronavirus illness rather than immediately fighting it off.
Materials and the Virus: Its also worth mentioning that the virus can last around a day on metal, 2 days on plastic, but only ½ a day or less on cardboard and paper it gets absorbed easily on porous paper and fabric. So be particularly careful touching plastic and metal since anyone who has touched these same materials in the last 1-2 days may pass the virus to yourself or vice versa. However, if the virus is on metal in the hot sunshine, it might only last an hour or so because of the sunlight and heat will kill it rapidly.
Virus Does Not Like The Sun: Also consider that the virus does not like the sun the sun bleaches and kills any virus outside it wont last long in the sun. For example, June London sun directly hitting a metal surface would heat the metal to 40 deg C - so the virus would likely be killed within a hour at those temperatures. The virus has a core of protein surrounded by a coating of fatty material thats why when you wash your hands with soap it's so effective because it simply washes away the fat, exposes the delicate protein beneath then kills the virus. You should always thoroughly wash your hands with soap and hot or cold water for at least 30 seconds at time and properly rinse the soap/foam off your hands since these suds contain the virus that needs rinsing off and away.
Masks Might Not Help: It's also worth mentioning that when a person gets Coronavirus, they give off about 1 billion viruses each day thats 1 million of them every breath. Wearing a face mask is probably not going to help much and may even lull you into a false sense of security. You are less likely to wash your hands more likely to pass close to others if you were a mask. You might also touch the mask and infect it with the virus - the mask needs to stay very clean - this is a real challenge.
Cyclists Create Airline Trail of Viruses It's also worth considering that if a cyclist is puffing and panting you are behind that cyclist two metres away and they have the virus there will be a stream like an "airline trail" behind them. So when you run or cycle 2m is far too close. Make sure you hold your breath when cyclists and runner or even walkers pass you especially if they are coughing, spitting or sneezing. It's just best to try and avoid as many people as you can not in your immediate social family household-group. Even being 10m behind a cyclist is probably not enough - as we have tried to show below in this pictorial.
So to minimise the risk of getting the virus, its best to:
- Regularly wash your hands
- Stay at least 3 metres away from anyone not in your household or you are not sure if that person may be infected - and ten metres from cyclists (avoid being in their slip-stream)
- Avoid polluted areas
- Avoid touching any hand rails or other things that others might have touched - but be careful going up and down stairs since not holding a hand-rail is an accident risk
- Quarantine your mail/post and try and do this with food deliveries - for at least a day
- Avoid air conditioned rooms particularly those that are very cool
- Make sure your home is well ventilated
- Avoid other people keep your distance - and no physical contact!
Lockdown Benefits Not Proven: Also consider the following. There is no proof that closing down businesses and social distancing actually works with reducing the spread of the virus it probably does, but it has huge economic, social and health ramifications. Many people will fall into social deprivation as a result of the economic fall-out unemployment etc and knock on impacts. Sweden for example has not had a lockdown but their deaths and cases are far lower than most other European countries. Yes, people need to be careful but draconian measures have no firm proof of working. The thing is that there is no good baseline because all countries have instituted Lockdown measures so its difficult to quantity and compare.
Social Group: As a new addition, in the UK it is becoming far clearer now that people in lower social groups are more likely die of Coronavirus and the ethnic minority group being worse effected. This is mostly likely cause by multiple things:
- People in lower social groups are more likely to have chronic illnesses, more likely to drink, smoke and eat poorer quality food
- There housing and mental health are likely to be less good that does not help
Men More At Risk: 70% of people in hospital critical care are men whether this is because their immune systems are weaker or they are more likely to be obese, drink and smoke and eat unhealthily, or have chronic health conditions is open for debate.
Most Vulnerable: So clearly the most vulnerable to death caused by Coronavirus are - obese elderly men that smoke and have an underlying chronic-serious health condition already. And living in a polluted cold urban area mixing with lots of people will increase your chances of getting the virus in the first place.
Past The Peak in UK: Clearly the total number of UK Coronavirus deaths has dropped to around 50% of the peak back 9th April - so things are definitely improving now thankfully.
Virus May Last 70 days: There is a more radical view and it has some merit that the virus hits a country or region with cases peaking around 30 days after it hits, and deaths around 40 days later then the virus dies away to very little after about 70 days. This has been the case in China, then Italy, Spain, France and now looks likely in UK. The degree by which Lockdown helps is certainly open to question. A few people think that the virus just will not last in a city with any virulence more than 70 days period regardless of Lockdown measures.
Likely Second Wave: Where a second wave occurs as a seasonal thing starting in Oct-Nov is also uncertain, lets hope not of course but its between possible and probable.
Update Mid-May: Our mid May Newsletter will describe more on the economic impact of Coronavirus. For now, it looks like there will be a phased release of Lockdown measures as people start to return to work mid May with social distancing measures. Unemployment will skyrocket many companies will go bust and the days of the normal UK retain high street are over as are pubs, clubs and many restaurants-cafes. Very sad period with internet shopping making further big advances and the death of the small shop owners. Commercial and residential landlords are suffering hugely and this will of course impact house prices and commercial property prices across the board. More on this in a few weeks time.
We hope this Newsletter has given you some good health tips during the Coronavirus pandemic and we have to stress we are not health professionals so our advice is for guidance and interest only though we hope is helps you remain safe and the economic ramifications in the next year will not be too bad for all. If you have any queries, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
For the record with previous mentioned the following mid April:
Health Statistics: A few statistics that are still developing that might help you it seems that in general terms:
- 80% of people that get the Coronavirus dont show any symptoms
- Of the 20% that show symptoms, 80% of people only show mild manageable symptoms and 20% show severe symptoms
- Of the 20% that get severe symptom may be half go to hospital and about 20% of the 20% severe cases end up in intensive care. Those worst affected will end up on a ventilator using mechanical assisted breathing. If one ends up on a ventilator, there is only a 25% chance of several.
- Men seem to be almost double the risk of fatality from Coronavirus compared with women whether this is because their immune systems are weaker (less developed) or they take less care of themselves eating/drinking/smoking/weight - is up for debate.
- If you smoke significant numbers of cigarettes are day (say 20 a day), then you are 14 times more likely to die of the Coronavirus studies from China suggest.
- If you have an underlying health issue you are probably five times more likely to die from the Coronavirus than if you dont have one
- If you are obese or significantly overweight your chances of contracting severe coronavirus symptoms increase significantly as does death this might be because its more difficult breathing if you are overweight
- People in the age group 65-90 are ten times more likely to die of Coronavirus than people 50-65 years old the older you get, the higher the risks since you will generally be weaker and will have a weaker immune system than a young person
- Average weekly UK deaths in the week 20-27 March at 11,600 per day is the same is late March 2019 no increase however by mid April (week 14) daily death rates have shot up to around 16,800 a day with say 2/3rd of these being recorded as Coronavirus related (around 800 a day for the week to 17 April), but may be 3500 extra deaths probably attributed to peoples reluctance to go to hospital and less proactive medical stances from both patients and medical services.
- City areas have a far higher incidence of Coronavirus this could be related to a number of factors:
- Younger populations that mingle, interact (for instance on busy transport systems) and socialise more more tactility
- Airports are where the Coronavirus have travelled in from China international-global travel makes cities the first to be affected
African-Americans in the USA:
- 32% of people in Louisiana are African-American however, over 70% of Coronavirus deaths are in African-Americans - why this is, is probably a combination of the following:
- African-American often have front line service jobs that puts then in higher risk bracket
- Assess to health insurance is lower
- Possibly more underlying health issues
- Coronavirus testing proportionally likely have in white people
- African-American might be less likely to wear face masks - and its been described by a prominent African-American as because of the fear of being mistaken for a dangerous criminal