Covid Journal

By Will Laurance on 03/17/2020



Covid-19 is exponentially growing in the United States. The US is under a national emergency and a few cities like San Francisco have a mandatory shelter-in-place. The Trump administration announces a 850 billion dollar stimulus package. The stock market reacts positivity, but futures are quickly back down.

While I hate it, I stocked up on some $SPX puts, $VIX calls, and various put options on travel industry related stocks. Those should counteract some loses.

I've been inside for a while. These last two days have been the longest.

Food wise we are OK for a couple weeks. But who knows what will happen afterwards.

Overall people are social distancing. I walk around the block each morning and everyone keeps a good distance apart ~50ft.

I worry about my mother who is an ER paramedic. So far two patients have passed away from respiratory failure in her hospital.

It's been difficult to work but I am thankful I am working. My heart is torn for the 4 million restaurant/service works who've been laid off [0]. We are hearing warning that if our government, specifically the senate, doesn't act quickly we could go to 20% unemployment. The last time we surpassed this amount was the Great Depression.

This situation is massive. And it hasn't even unfolded all the way.

[0] 4 million is an estimate from survey data.


Today was a wild ride. The stimulus package passed the house. But the market didn't care. The short positions I have moved in my favor. But not in the direction of a stable economy.

The outlook is pretty grim to be honest.

I read reports that we are still 40 to 50 days away from the curve peaking. I don't think we flattened it very well.

The economic impact is not well understood. Today I watch an expert in awe as he showed charts of the various indices. What we are seeing is unprecedented.

Work was somewhat surreal today. It definitely shows some people experience things in different ways. I felt out of body most of the day. :(


What a long few days. Covid-19 is affecting my 2nd degree networks now. Both in death and in hospitalization. Shit is about to get really real for a lot of people. Personally I'm hanging in alright. But I worry about my family in other parts of the country that only recently started taking this seriously.

The President has many faults and has done some things OK in this crisis. One thing he's really messed up is promoting a drug treatment that showed some decent recents in a study on less than 60 people. The data is not significant yet. I agree it should be tried on the worst cases in hospitals. But our President essentially told the entire country this could work but also not work. Nobody should listen to his medical advice.

The government is still finalizing the stimulus bill. But will any amount of money help with the trajectory of the death toll and unemployment. Never mind the fact we still know little about the novel coronavirus. We don't know if it's seasonal. We do know it's zoonotic, meaning it passes between people and animals. This usually makes it difficult to contain.

My understanding is a lot of scientists and researchers are working around the world to figure this out. So I have confidence we'll know more in the coming months.

We are at best 2 months out from this peaking based on current data. So hold on.


5 days later and the USA is the number one country with COVID-19 infections. Today I heard of many people I know who have a friend or family member affected. Next up will be 1st order. I know I'm fortunate because most of my 1st degree connections are staying home and following protocols. But a few aren't. You know who you are and I love you. But you are putting yourself at risk and those you stay with.

On paper we are out of the shortest bear market. The stimulus bill made progress and likely to pass. The Dow rallied 1350 points despite the largest unemployment numbers on record, 3.28 million. As of 10pm CST the Dow futures are down 320. So who knows what will happen in coming days. To be clear I am bearish. The stimulus money is not projected to reach the pockets of people in a ~month. Rent and mortgages are due April 1st. No fools needed. It's not a joke that many people will not pay those bills in favor of having another few weeks groceries.

A couple days ago Lt. Dan said old people should die for the economy. A meme started "do it for the dow". Which is stupid. But hey at least people roasted this guy. My view is shutting down and containing the novel Coronavirus is our only hope at a stable economy. Unfortunately now the virus has found a new exploit: The American Healthcare System.

Reports show Gov. Cuomo of New York estimates he'll need 30,000 to 40,000 ventilators in the very near future. Because older people are staying on them longer as they fight to survive. The President downplayed the request and we'll see how many they are able to build via GM or "competing bids".

My mother returns to her hospital tonight and they still do not have the PPE required. I'm worried she'll get COVID-19 but I know she's making a difference in her corner of the world.

Today was finally a productive day at work. I'm not sure what changed or what didn't. I felt better about the work and getting more organized. I know this COVID stuff is distracting me. It's "fun" to explore but frightening to realize it's real. The exponential growth is real. I hope people understand logarithmic y-axis. I hope people are washing their hands.

And please, if there is a God, don't let America open for Easter.

Links from today

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