The Masses Are Overreacting To The Coronavirus


The Crowd Is Overreacting To The Coronavirus

Hysteria has gripped everyone, especially in the US and its feeding on itself and when you add in stupidity and ineptitude by the elected officials, what should have been a mild situation turned into a nightmare type scenario. We are supposedly the most advanced nation on earth, but after the current debacle, one would be hard-pressed to call the US advanced at least when it comes to the medical arena. Had the US taken the same stance as South Korea, the markets would have fared much better and people would have panicked less because they would have felt that the situation was under control? The delay in testing is what turned a nervous crowd into a hysterical mob.

Let’s take the big headlines the press is trying to push out that coronavirus cases have spiked in NY. Off course they have spiked what do you expect if you test more people. That is a false narrative, the press should focus on the facts.

The Masses Are Overreacting To The Coronavirus

If you calculate the death rate, it works out to 1.28%, but instead of focusing on this, they will try to spin the spike in coronavirus is something of a shock. More testing is useful because it will lower the death rate as a larger group of people will be tested instead of just the ones exhibiting the worst symptoms.  However, the press focuses on the negative aspect or tries to make a manageable situation appear to be totally out of control and nowhere else is this more evident than in Italy. We will cover Italy shortly.

Despite the rise in victims  the death rate across all groups has hardly changed.

The table illustrates that those with preexisting conditions are the ones most at risk, and is current as of 2.P.M EST March 23, 2020


What stands out is that the mortality rate across all age groups drops to 0.9% when the individuals have no preexisting conditions. Again, this is something that should be broadcasted instead of being buried.  So age alone is not a factor, age and preexisting conditions are the main factors.

The Crowd Is Overreacting Because Herd Behaviour Has Taken Over

With dismay, we watch the masses in American overreacting and acting in unbecoming ways, instead of adding stability to the situation the range of different orders and commands from various governors, agencies, etc. fostered even more dread instead of a sense of hope. The markets are pulling back not because of underlying economic conditions, but because individuals feel like no one knows what they are doing. Hopefully, the rest of the US gears up like NY and opens up Mass testing centres.

The disinformation campaign is so rampant; I felt that this something I needed to investigate directly to offer Tactical Investors a better look at what is really going. So, I decided to take the risk and fly solo to Asia without announcing it.  I wanted to see for myself if the US and the West, in general, was overreacting and if Asia was doing a better job on the psychological frontier.

So far, I have visited Vietnam, Malaysia, Cambodia, Singapore, and Indonesia and I can honestly state that they are doing a much better job of controlling the panic factor then we are doing in the US. People are not emptying shelves left, right and centre the only thing seems to be selling like hotcakes are face masks.  The contrast in the way the Asians are dealing with this situation from a psychological standpoint of view is humungous.

For example, Jakarta is about to declare a state of emergency, and yet people are not running around in panic. Malaysia is closing down its borders, and the most significant reaction was that Malaysians working in Singapore raced back home to pack up extra supplies and then headed back to Singapore, where they will stay for an extended period. Many Malaysians commute daily from Singapore to Malaysia. If the border is closed, they won’t be able to go back, so they wanted to make sure they had enough clothing etc. for their extended stay in Singapore.

Overreacting for the sake of overreacting or is there something else going on?

If the leaders of the West but in particular, the US could act in the same way to instil calm in the populace, the reaction would be different. Fear increases stress and stress, weakens the immune system. The extensive data listed below clearly indicates that stress can be deadly, especially to the old who in most cases have some sort of preexisting disorder and additional anxiety places an extra load on the already weakened immune system.

During acute stress lasting a matter of minutes, certain kinds of cells are mobilised into the bloodstream, potentially preparing the body for injury or infection during “fight or flight” [1]. Acute stress also increases blood levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines [2]. Chronic stress lasting from days to years, like acute stress, is associated with higher levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, but with potentially different health consequences [3]. Inflammation is a necessary short-term response for eliminating pathogens and initiating healing, but chronic, systemic inflammation represents dysregulation of the immune system and increases risk for chronic diseases, including atherosclerosis and frailty [4]. Another consequence of chronic stress is activation of latent viruses. Latent virus activation can reflect the loss of immunological control over the virus, and frequent activation can cause wear-and-tear on the immune system [5].

In addition, stress decreases the body’s lymphocytes — the white blood cells that help fight off infection. The lower your lymphocyte level, the more at risk you are for viruses, including the common cold and cold sores.

High-stress levels also can cause depression and anxiety, again leading to higher levels of inflammation. In the long-term, sustained, high levels of inflammation point to an overworked, over-tired immune system that can’t properly protect you.

Ongoing stress makes us susceptible to illness and disease because the brain sends defense signals to the endocrine system, which then releases an array of hormones that not only gets us ready for emergency situations but severely depresses our immunity at the same time. Some experts claim that stress is responsible for as much as 90% of all illnesses and diseases, including cancer and heart disease. The way it does this is by triggering chemical reactions and flooding the body with cortisol that, among other things, decreases inflammation, decreases white blood cells and NK cells (special cells that kill cancer), increases tumor development and growth, and increases the rate of infection and tissue damage.

It has become well accepted in recent decades that psychological stress can adversely affect many aspects of immune function (Glaser and Kiecolt-Glaser, 2005). The full health impact of stress, however, may not be fully revealed until the effects of aging are more widely appreciated. Chronic stress may speed the rate of normal age-related immune dysregulation (Kiecolt-Glaser and Glaser, 2001Sapolsky et al., 1986). Moreover, age-related disease and impairment may augment the effects of stress or result in more significant clinical impairment for older individuals (Hawkley and Cacioppo, 2004Kiecolt-Glaser and Glaser, 2001).

Aging is associated with a natural decline in immune functioning. Immunosenescence is observed in many facets of both innate and adaptive immunity. For example, older individuals have a poorer natural killer cell (NK) response to stimulatory cytokines than younger individuals [1]. Aging is also associated with impaired activation and proliferation of T- and B-lymphocytes [2]. Furthermore, the B-lymphocytes of elderly individuals produce less antibody than those of younger individuals [3]. In addition, increased production of certain inflammatory mediators is observed during aging [4]. These immunological changes render older individuals more susceptible to a host of age-related diseases. However, immunosenescence appears to place older individuals at greater risk when combined with accumulating chronic illnesses, repeated infections, or other external factors [5]. Chronic stress may be one of the factors leaving elderly individuals more vulnerable to age-related diseases [6,7].

In the early 1980s, psychologist Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, PhD, and immunologist Ronald Glaser, PhD, of the Ohio State University College of Medicine, were intrigued by animal studies that linked stress and infection. From 1982 through 1992, these pioneer researchers studied medical students. Among other things, they found that the students’ immunity went down every year under the simple stress of the three-day exam period. Test takers had fewer natural killer cells, which fight tumors and viral infections. They almost stopped producing immunity-boosting gamma interferon and infection-fighting T-cells responded only weakly to test-tube stimulation.

Those findings opened the floodgates of research. By 2004, Suzanne Segerstrom, PhD, of the University of Kentucky, and Gregory Miller, PhD, of the University of British Columbia, had nearly 300 studies on stress and health to review. Their meta-analysis discerned intriguing patterns. Lab studies that stressed people for a few minutes found a burst of one type of “first responder” activity mixed with other signs of weakening. For stress of any significant duration – from a few days to a few months or years, as happens in real life – all aspects of immunity went downhill. Thus long-term or chronic stress, through too much wear and tear, can ravage the immune system.

Now if stress suppresses the immune systems of healthy individuals, then the effects on the elderly who tend to panic more and many of which have some underlying condition (especially if they are on a modern-day diet) should be even more pronounced. And possibly deadly in the event they have to deal with a virus or bacteria that is stronger than usual.

The meta-analysis also revealed that people who are older or already sick are more prone to stress-related immune changes. For example, a 2002 study by Lyanne McGuire, PhD, of John Hopkins School of Medicine with Kiecolt-Glaser and Glaser reported that even chronic, sub-clinical mild depression may suppress an older person’s immune system. Participants in the study were in their early 70s and caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease. Those with chronic mild depression had weaker lymphocyte-T cell responses to two mitogens, which model how the body responds to viruses and bacteria. The immune response was down even 18 months later, and immunity declined with age. In line with the 2004 meta-analysis, it appeared that the key immune factor was duration, not severity, of depression. And in the case of the older caregivers, their depression and age meant a double-whammy for immunity.

And viola that seems to be the case, so instead of trying to calm the population, the governments in the West are doing their best to stress out the older individuals that are already facing other stressful issues. For example, pensions that don’t cover the cost of living or inadequate medical help, etc.

Social Distancing Could Create Social Isolation

The researchers noted that lack of social support has been reported in the research as a risk factor for depression, an insight amplified in a 2005 study of college students. Health psychologists Sarah Pressman, PhD, Sheldon Cohen, PhD, and fellow researchers at Carnegie Mellon University’s Laboratory for the Study of Stress, Immunity and Disease, found that social isolation and feelings of loneliness each independently weakened first-year students’ immunity.

To top it, all experts have come up with this term social distancing that is confusing many, and so they have decided to come up another term called Physical distancing.

According to Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove of the World Health Organization, speaking at a virtual press conference on Friday, the move to use “physical distancing” comes from a desire to highlight “keeping the physical distance from people so that we can prevent the virus from transferring to one another.”

Why invent all these phrases? Why not just say, hey you know for a little time it would be better if you don’t get too close to your older relatives as they are the most vulnerable and this is just a temporary measure. This new term adds more stress to an already stressed out-group (the elderly). The most susceptible become even more vulnerable as their immune systems are further weakened as stress has been shown to reduce immunity.

The Word is Overreacting To The Situation In Italy

“The age of our patients in hospitals is substantially older – the median is 67, while in China it was 46,” Prof Ricciardi says. “So essentially the age distribution of our patients is squeezed to an older age and this is substantial in increasing the lethality.”  A study in JAMA this week found that almost 40 per cent of infections and 87 per cent of deaths in the country have been in patients over 70 years old. And according to modelling the majority of this age group are likely to need critical hospital care – including 80 per cent of 80-somethings – putting immense pressure on the health system.

The manner in which the deaths are recorded in Italy leaves a lot to be desired. Anyone entering the hospital with a coronavirus diagnosis is deemed to have died as a result of the coronavirus. Preexisting conditions are not taken into consideration. Remember an already weakened immune system now has to deal with two or three issues and so to assume the death was due to the coronavirus is once again nothing short of voodoo science

“On re-evaluation by the National Institute of Health, only 12 per cent of death certificates have shown a direct causality from coronavirus, while 88 per cent of patients who have died have at least one pre-morbidity – many had two or three,” he says. But there are other factors that may have contributed to Italy’s fatality rates, experts say. This includes a high rate of smoking and pollution – the majority of deaths have been in the northern region Lombardy region, which is notorious for poor air quality.

 “Doctors in Italy haven’t been dealing with one or two patients in care… but up to 1,200,” says Dr Mike Ryan, health emergencies programme executive director at the World Health Organization. “The fact they’re saving so many is a small miracle in itself.”

 The data above clearly highlights why Italy has such an abnormally high death rate and this article (clearly) confirms what all studies have already confirmed that those with already compromised immune systems are the most at risk.

More than 99% of Italy’s coronavirus fatalities were people who suffered from previous medical conditions, according to a study by the country’s national health authority.

 After deaths from the virus reached more than 2,500, with a 150% increase in the past week, health authorities have been combing through data to provide clues to help combat the spread of the disease.

 Once again, one catches a glimpse of how the media goes out of its way to scare the populace into thinking the world is about to end. 99% of those that died already had an existing condition, and also most of the deaths are taking place in one of the most polluted areas of Italy.  If you factor those that have no preexisting disorders/conditions, the death rate drops to 0.8%.  Why is the press not highlighting this issue, why do they insist in panicking the old, the most vulnerable individuals in the population?  Are they trying to hide something or are the Dr’s just too overworked to do the extra work? Time will tell.

Things you can do to boost your immune system

Before we continue, I want to make it clear; we are not advocating or stating that you should take any of these supplements listed below.  We are providing data for you to analyse as we always do; our stance will forever remain the same. We don’t tell people what to do, we provide data, and then you decide how you are going to use that data. If you disagree with some or all of the information listed below, that is your right, and we are not going to argue with you.

  • Listen to calming music
  • If you have to practice social distancing, you can always pick up the phone or use skype or WhatsApp to talk to a loved one or friend. Don’t sit alone and panic; talking about an issue helps relieve stress.
  • Supplements that are helpful and that we are ourselves are taking
  • Vit A, Vit D, and Zinc: All three are good for boosting the immune system. A bit of Vit C can also be helpful.
  • Olive leaf extract: Natural antiviral agent
  • B complex: has many benefits, one of which is to help one cope with stress.

How Do Play the Coronavirus Pandemic in Terms of the Stock Market

This hysteria based sell-off is producing one of the most significant buying opportunities in decades, more on that later. In the short-term technical analysis cannot identify support levels because we are dealing with madness, and that is the reason, we added the new standard in the anxiety index.  What exacerbates the situation is that there is very little liquidity, look at the bid and ask price on some options they are unreal, for example, a bid of 1.40 and ask of 5.00.  This provides a few big players with the opportunity to move the markets in whatever direction they see fit.

There is one massive indicator validating the outlook that this current makes for a great opportunity. It’s insider activity, and the readings on this indicator are off the charts.

Insiders have been using this massive pullback to purchase shares, and one way to measure the intensity of their buying is to check the sell to buy ratio. Any reading  2.00 is considered normal, and below 0.90 is considered as exceptionally bullish. So what do you think the current ratio is; well, it’s at a mind-numbing 0.35, which means these guys are backing up the truck and purchasing shares.

So what are the readings today? Based on very heavy transaction volume, Vickers’ benchmark NYSE/ASE One-Week Sell/Buy Ratio is 0.33, and the Total one-week reading is 0.35. Insiders are not just buying shares, they are devouring shares. Insiders behaved in a similar fashion in late-December 2018, after stocks crashed on Christmas Eve; in early 2016, when stocks also corrected; and in late 2008/early 2009, at the depths of the Great Recession correction. Those were spectacular times to buy stocks. Insiders seem to be telling us that today offers a similar opportunity.

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Coronavirus Update: A Whole lot of noise about nothing (Feb 29)

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Negative Thinking: How It Influences The Masses  (Nov 15)

Leading Economic Indicators: Finally in Syn With The Stock Market?   (Oct 28)

Dow Stock Market Outlook: Time To Dance or Collapse (Oct 25)

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