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Coronavirus Impacts the US Market this Week

Who knew that when I wrote last month’s blog on planning your funeral that this month’s topic would be the coronavirus. I wanted to approach this topic as a public service announcement as well as how it is affecting the market. I hope you find the information helpful.

Public Service Announcement

First, for the public service announcement-The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which was originally called the novel coronavirus (2019 -nCoV), is a new type of coronavirus. They are named for the crown-like spikes on the surface of the virus. It causes respiratory illnesses in people. It was first identified in Wuhan, China. It can spread from person to person, when someone with a virus coughs or sneezes and you breathe it in or by close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands.[i]

Guidance from China

I recently received information from someone who has relatives in China that work for a hospital there so please take this paragraph for what it is—third hand information but interesting. He pointed out that the symptoms for the newest coronavirus do not include a runny nose. The new virus symptoms are typically a fever, cough, shortness of breath and a situation that usually turns into pneumonia in both lungs, with a feeling like you are drowning. He also mentioned that the Wuhan virus is not heat resistant and says that the virus can be killed at a temperature of 26-27 degrees Celsius which I translated as 78-80 degrees Fahrenheit. He also suggests drinking warm water as an effective prevention method and also going out under the sun for some states, as a way to kill the virus. He said that the virus could survive on a metal surface for at least 12 hours, so wash your hands often or could remain active on fabric for 6 to 12 hours, normal laundry soap should kill the virus. I thought it was interesting to hear from someone in China.

Epidemic vs. Pandemic

The next question I was pondering is, “What’s the difference between a pandemic and an epidemic?” An epidemic refers to an event in which disease is spreading, often growing in one country or location. A pandemic is an epidemic on a far greater geographic scale that affects a much larger group of people.  The World Health Organization has not deemed this a pandemic yet but there is certainly potential. The virus has spread to over 30 countries and other continents at this point. They are also trying not to cause unnecessary panic which they were criticized for in 2009 with the H1N1 influenza outbreak. The latest concern is the number of cases in Europe, South Korea and the Middle East that are on the rise.[ii]

Decline or Recession

I feel like I have been warning clients about a potential market downturn for the last four years but I don’t think it ever crossed my mind that it would be a virus that started the decline. Honestly, I think it is still too early to know if this is a bump in the road or the beginning of a recession. What we do know is that the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread to more countries and is taking a toll on the global economy. The world markets have been in decline and now the US stock market has joined them this week.[iii]

We are now a very global economy. China having to shut down affects all of us and now with the threat of the virus spreading, more countries will be disrupted. The market does not like uncertainty and at this point we do not know what will happen next.[iiii]

If you are concerned about your investments, please do not hesitate to reach out. If you want to take advantage of the market being “on sale” let’s talk. I am keeping my eyes on your portfolios, but this could be a good time to review and make sure that the investments are doing what they were meant to do. As always, I am here for hand holding.

Until next time, keep washing your hands!  Stay well.