People look to me and say
Is the end near, when is the final day?
What’s the future of mankind
How do I know, I got left behind
Everyone goes through changes
Looking to find the truth
Don’t look at me for answers
Don’t ask me, I don’t know
– Osbourne, Rhoads, Daisley (Ozzy Osbourne) – 1980
Caution, Not Panic?
Friday’s half day of trading certainly felt like panic. Since then, more travel has been restricted. More cases of the Omicron variant of the SARS-Cov-2 coronavirus have been discovered in more nations. Nations such as Israel and Japan have closed their borders to all foreign travelers. People ask “Is it here?” The little voice inside the head replies “Of course it is”… without really knowing.
However, there is some hope that perhaps this variant, even if more transmissible than prior variants of the virus that leads to COVID-19, might not be quite as lethal. That hope has developed into moderately higher equity prices across Europe, higher commodity prices, elevated prices for cryptocurrencies, and of course… an overnight rebound in U.S. equity index futures. Isn’t anything trading lower? Sure. Safe haven sovereign debt took an overnight breather. The US 10 Year Note has been yielding close to 1.54% all morning after going to sleep below 1.48% on Friday night.
Nothing close, so far to clawing back’s Friday’s losses, but the ball at least through Sunday night into Monday morning was moving in the right direction. As the WHO (World Health Organization) was classifying Omicron as a “variant of concern” the UK newspaper “The Telegraph” was reporting that Dr. Angelique Coetzee, who was the first doctor to sound the alarm in South Africa over this new variant, discussed the difference in the symptoms that she has been seeing in newly infected patients. “Their symptoms were so different and so mild from those I had treated before.” Of course, we are talking about a small sample size, but Dr. Coetzee did not mention what many thought to be “common symptoms” of COVID-19, but said that many of the new patients were healthy young men of various backgrounds and ethnicities who presented as “feeling so tired.”
Wouldn’t a milder version of the virus be nice? I don’t think nice is the correct word. I think that if there were to be a first variant that might easily evade the available and widely used COVID vaccines, that if that variant were to cause less severe illness, if true, that would be an incredibly lucky break… for humankind. Not to …….