Reasons to Be Positive About the US Coronavirus Fight

Less than a month ago markets were at a record high, as healthy data on the US economy signaled continued growth on the horizon. Then, as Coronavirus made its way to continental Europe and the United States, markets went into a tailspin, suffering one of the fastest declines on record. The last several weeks have been characterized by extreme volatility as investors try to make heads or tails of the situation. Coverage around the virus has been almost exclusively negative, as experts extrapolate worst case scenarios to spur action. It should come as little surprise then, that fear of a recession has moved to the forefront of many minds. At times like these, we think it's crucial to look at the data and note some positive developments that aren't getting as much media coverage.

Testing Capacity is About to Rise Substantially: The initial government response to Coronavirus has been extremely disappointing. The first round of test kits sent out by the CDC were faulty, requiring a recall and costing precious time in the fight to find/quarantine those infected. Further slowing action, only the CDC was allowed to do tests at its own facilities, limiting testing capacity. Now, things are beginning to change. Many private labs have now been approved to conduct tests, and the FDA has announced that not only will high-volume testing be allowed, but that emergency approval has been given for an automated Coronavirus test that is estimated to speed up the testing process 10-fold. So not only are tests becoming more available, results will come quicker as well. Identify and contain, the proven method to-date, can be rolled out at the national level.

A Wave of Recoveries on the Horizon: The number of official infections in the United States has continued to rise at an accelerated pace over recent weeks. Meanwhile, our preferred measure of active cases (total cases minus deaths and recoveries, which gives a better picture of the number of people who are able to spread the virus further) has continued to rise consistently as well. As so often occurs during virus outbreaks, fears arise that the early pace of spread will continue, unabated, at an exponential rate. History – including the experiences of both China and South Korea with Coronavirus – shows identification and treatment leads to a slowdown in the pace of new cases, and a pickup in recoveries. Typically, it takes roughly two weeks for otherwise healthy individuals who test positive to get better and be officially moved from the "active" to the "recovered" counts. Now that we are about two weeks out from the initial surge in US cases, recoveries should begin to rise consistently. The world recovery rate currently sits at 93% right now, while in the US it is only 43%. We expect the US to move toward and then exceed the world recovery rate in the weeks ahead.