Fear plays well in certain media circles. What plays out better in long term investing is science, statistics and facts.
The new strain of corona virus (a broad category of virus that includes the common cold, all strains of influenza, SARS, pneumonia, etc.), according to leading experts, has no greater, and arguably, a lower risk profile to the human body than the traditional influenza A strain that circulates annually across the globe. The media gets hyperbolic on occasion, because the loudest shouts tend to drown out the measured voice. The media is talking up the transmission abilities of the novel corona virus before symptoms are apparent. What is ignored in that pronouncement is the inexplicable omission that ALL viruses within the coronavirus family, including influenza, are transmittable from human to human before symptoms are apparent; influenza, the common cold, etc. can be caught by close contact before the transmitter is aware of their illness. In fact, pre-symptomatic transmission is key for the virus to jump from host to host because once symptoms appear, healthy individuals reduce close contact with the infected.
The media talks up the death rate in China as a percentage of infections recorded and pronounces this to be more deadly than SARS. What the deep dive indicates, to the contrary, is that the average age of those who died was 75 and that most had some sort of underlying condition. Compounding the issues of age in the Chinese samples are the reluctance of those infected to use standard western antiviral medication produced by a reputable company. Acupunture, herbs and poultices might have some placebo effects, but pharmaceutical antivirals have proven potency, particularly when it comes to stopping coronaviruses becoming pneumonic in symptomology. Chinese deaths from influenza are higher than western nations because of a clear Chinese bias towards home and homeopathic remedies. Western medications and modern symptom treatments are quite effective in reducing the health impacts of most corona viruses; they should continue to be effective with this new strain.
Shrill voices in the media and alarmist talk, in the view of this author, have created a bit of a buy opportunity in selected high quality growth stocks. The novel corona virus hardly appears to be SARS, or H1N1, or even the common influenza A; its ability to wreak havoc on the global economy should be seen in the light of day, rather than through the lenses of those with an agenda. Rather than talking up a weak strain of influenza, why not cast light on a greater issue in China, which is antibiotic resistant tuberculosis? China reports more than 1/2 of the 1.5 million global cases of resistant TB annually and this is transmitted via the same close contact, human to human, as are corona viruses. Are we to believe that educated, younger and healthy Chinese are walking around in broad daylight, during virtually every media shot of a major Chinese city, wearing medical facemasks, 365 days a year, due to a worry that they might contract a common cold or a mild flu? No, they are concerned about viral diseases far more deadly than corona viruses, because in China, there is ample reason to be concerned. This author will take a mild coronaviral infection from a Chinese visitor, over tuberculosis, any day of the week.