Fallback Friday – US Passes China to Become Most Infected Nation

Why the COVID-19 death rate varies dramatically from country to ...85,996!  

That's how many infections there are in the US as of 6:49 this morning and China has 81,897 so we blew right past them – even though we had 3 more months to prepare than China did and we were certainly not taken by surprise – other than our President, who asked us "Who could have seen this coming?"  

It was way back on January 22nd when we had the first US case of the coronavirus.  I noted it in our Morning Report saying:

One thing that's distracting everybody at the moment is the Chinese virus scare, with 50% more cases today than there were yesterday (now 470) so no, it's not at all under control.   The US case that panicked our markets yesterday was from a guy who was in China recently and it does seem to be contained (so far). 

In drugstores and at airports, and on the online marketplaces increasingly at the heart of Chinese commerce, fear and confusion manifested themselves in shortages or long lines for suddenly scarce products promising protection from the deadly but still largely mysterious respiratory disease.  Surgical masks flew off shelves, travelers canceled plans and rumors flooded social media.   Drug makers are doing well, travel stocks are doing poorly.  

The very next day, we initiated our first virus hedge because that is what you are supposed to do when you come across economic uncertainty and want to protect your portfolios.  What we didn't count on, however, is that two months later, the US would still be totally unprepared for its own viral epidemic or that our President would spend more time in denial than in meetings about controlling the virus.  Rather than lead us through this crisis, Trump made 33 false claims about the virus in the
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