There is no question that viruses are deadly and scary. According to the CDC, the regular, annual seasonal flu quietly kills somewhere between 291,000 and 646,000 people per year worldwide. Viruses are one of the most primitive living organisms on the planet. So primitive, their genetic structure cannot support itself and must attach to a host cell in order to survive. One of their favorite hosts happens to be the most advanced living organism on the planet….you and me. Despite their primitive nature, viruses continue to stay a few steps ahead of us through continual DNA mutations so complex they stump the greatest minds and computers of our age. We should take viruses very seriously.
Yet it’s interesting to me. The seasonal flu, obviously as shown from the statistics above, can kill any of us just as dead as a novel (new) virus strain like the coronavirus. But we barely give the seasonal flu more than a cursory thought. Less than half (45.3% according to the CDC) of all adults in the U.S. received a flu virus vaccination last year.
I suspect many of those who never even bother with a flu shot are stocking up on provisions and wringing their hands in worry and fear as they anticipate a pandemic apocalypse. This makes no sense, and would be comical if these actions were not so self-fulfilling.
The consequences of fear and panic can be substantial. The large initial drops in the market we saw created record trading volume that subsequently created massive volatility that now continues as a beast unto itself. If you are an options trader or media outlet, you’re having your best year ever. For the rest of us, this beast of volatility and media speculation shrouds what’s really going on and makes it difficult to see the big picture.
The big picture for me today includes job data for February that blew away expectations. Employers added 273,000 jobs last month, wages increased by 3%, and unemployment held at 3.5%. These are indications of a very strong economy clicking along on all cylinders.
Here at Schulz Wealth, we believe the fear and panic others exhibit will be to their detriment, and possibly provide opportunity for our clients who remain calm and opportunistic.
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– Rob Schulz