COVID-19 – Washing our hands of the hype

COVID-19 – Washing our hands of the hype

In the past few weeks the world has become awash with all manner and sundry of news, views and interviews with just about anyone from anywhere who has something to report on COVID-19. Governments have declared the virus a global pandemic and people have closed their doors in panic and removed themselves from mainstream traffic through bouts of quarantine and self-isolation. People who would normally gather in the local pub or coffee shop have been heard calling to one another from a distance, “Hi, how are you? Wish I could stop to chat but, sorry, I am practicing social distancing right now.” Sounds depressing doesn’t it?

1980s sci-fi movies prepared us well ahead of time

Taken into perspective, this all sounds like something out of a 1980s end-of-world-scenario apocalyptic sci-fi movie. The 1980s prepared us well ahead of time with the likes of Mad Max, who was found wandering the deserts of a once fertile world and The Terminator, well, whose prime directive was nothing more than to eradicate the human race in favour of a world controlled and populated by machines.

The Nostradamus of Hollywood Phenomenon”

Science fiction has always had a knack for predicting the future. Let’s call this phenomenon “The Nostradamus of Hollywood Phenomenon.” Even Nostradamus himself would be amazed at the amount of effort and creativity that has gone into ensuring that doomsday prophesies bear out in truth. Yet, truth be told, Nostradamus was accurate when he predicted the fall of the Twin Towers.
So, when it comes to the hype around COVID-19 which gurus should we believe? Mainstream media? The Government? Facebook? Let’s go back to our old-school bookshelves and haul out a few prize paperbacks. Dean R Koontz – “The Eyes of Darkness” leaps from the shelf. In this novel, which was first published in 1981 and rereleased in 1989, a character by the name of Dombey tells the story of a Chinese scientist who took a ‘biological weapon’ called “Wuhan-400” to the United States. Interestingly, in the 1981 edition of the book the name of the weapon was “Gorki-400”. It was subsequently renamed for the 1989 edition. While it is true that the current outbreak of the Coronavirus emanated from Wuhan, China, the idea that the virus was created in a lab has been dismissed as social media generated conspiracy theory by scientists both in China and the West.

A pandemic of the economic kind

Nevertheless, as we look around us, we see that global sporting events have come to a grinding halt, schools have been closed and children don’t know what to do with themselves. Theatres, cinemas, restaurants, night clubs; in fact, anywhere people are likely to gather en masse, and in crowds surpassing the 100 permitted maximum number of persons, have all closed their doors. While there is global panic around the spread of the disease, it is even possible that the real truth has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that despite global infection rates, people are dying from COVID-19. In fact, the mortality rate is surprisingly somewhat low. Rather, it has everything to do with a pandemic of the economic kind leaving global stock markets in tatters. One would hate to think that like the story in the Dean Koontz novel, what we are dealing with here is overt biological warfare. Along with their tanks and their bombs, like zombies, World War 1 and World War 2 used guns and ammunition to wipe out the enemy. World War 3 is another story. What if we really are in the throes of the outbreak of World War 3 with its biological and associated psychological weapons? Are we being duped by hype around what could possibly amount to a case of “The Emperor’s New Clothes”? Perhaps, now is the time to speak up. Should we wash our hands of the hype?

…And, on that soya note, spring roll anyone?

So, post the Coronavirus apocalypse, what will the dust look like once it settles? How many people will have lost their lives and by extension how many people will still have their jobs? Every airline worldwide is on the brink of bankruptcy and no one is eating out. Chicken chow mein will never again be able to whet the appetite the way it used to. On that soya note, spring roll anyone? Recovery from any disease takes time. Recovery from a global stock market crash could take a long time. But, is there hope on the horizon?

As far as the disease is concerned there is some good news:

  • China has now closed down its last Coronavirus hospital since there is now simply not enough new cases to justify keeping them open.
  • Doctors in India have successfully treated Coronavirus using a combination of drugs such as Lopinavir, Retonivir, Oseltamivir and Chlorphenamine. These Indian doctors are recommending that the very same drugs be used worldwide.
  • An antibody against the Coronavirus has reportedly been discovered by researchers at the Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands.
  • After being treated for a period of 6 days in Wuhan, China, a 103 year-old Chinese woman has made a full recovery from COVID-19.
  • Apple has reopened 42 of its stores in China.
  • In Israel, scientists are likely to announce the development of a vaccine against Coronavirus.
  • At Safdarjung Hospital in New Delhi, all 7 patients who were being treated for Coronavirus have recovered.
  • Experts say that the reason that Italy has been so hard hit is that it has the oldest population in Europe.
  • In collaboration with Duke University and the National University of Singapore, a COVID-19 vaccine is being developed by a San Diego biotech company.

Global Stock Markets Out of Breath

While people are showing positive signs of recovery in terms of COVID-19 and for all intents and purposes, once the virus abates they will undoubtedly be able to breathe again, in the short term you can bet your bottom dollar, pound or Euro that global markets will take a lot longer to recover. Let’s hope it’s not a sad goodbye to the Nasdaq on the back of a bye bye Miss American Pie.. no lights on at home on the JSE and despite the abundance of crude oil, yes, I know… I drove my Chevy to the levee but the Levy was dry….

Helen Fenton

Senior Analyst

Reference sources: Fin 24,

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