A man wears a protective mask in Wuhan, China on February 10 2020. Picture: GETTY IMAGES
A man wears a protective mask in Wuhan, China on February 10 2020. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

It didn’t come as much of a surprise that the real April fool was Tuesday’s stonking market rally – an opportunity for asset managers everywhere to goose up their performances after a truly dreadful three months. Not that it helped much: the JSE is down almost 25% over those three months.

At this point, it might be equally foolish to attach much credence to the comparatively low number of Covid-19 cases in SA in recent days, which are reported, in terrifying minutiae, on every news channel, at almost every minute. It feels like there’s an onslaught waiting to happen.

As you’ll read below, Katharine Child, who has covered this outbreak since the beginning, looks deeper into those numbers.

It ties into yesterday’s unsettling report from US intelligence sources that China (surprise!) concealed the true extent of Covid-19 cases and deaths. This is a rather critical revelation because China’s reports on the virus influenced assumptions everywhere else about the nature of the virus, according to Dr Deborah Birx, the US state department immunologist advising the White House. You can read about that here

As much as the Covid-19 disaster is a human tragedy, it’s an economic one too, which is indivisible from the stock market. Some would argue that the obsession with the market is a tasteless and shouty sideshow on the fringes of a global human tragedy. But the fact is, the market’s decline this year, in the wake of the pandemic, is also a sucker punch to every person’s pension – and not just to the discretionary portfolios of indifferent market dabblers. 

So, in that vein, here’s an interesting take for the anxious investor. Barry Ritholtz is the co-founder and chief investment officer of Ritholtz Wealth Management. He’s an engaging writer and you can read his view here on whether the coronavirus is simply an interregnum in a still intact bull market, or whether it’s something far more.

And then finally, John Authers, a former columnist for the Financial Times, has written this superb piece on how the coronavirus is putting profound philosophical questions to the test: of human existence, of what we can expect from society and what society can expect from us. 

You’ll find his column here.

And, after you’re done there, perhaps it’s time to look for a copy of Albert Camus’ The Plague … 

Happy reading, and stay safe.

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