Rickards: What Happens When A Biological Virus Turns Into A Financial Virus?

Zero Hedge | 1/28/2020 | Staff
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The world is confronting the effects of the “coronavirus.” It likely originated in Wuhan, China, where it jumped from animals to humans at a local food market. It has since spread to other parts of China and beyond.

As we reported late yesterday, the death toll in China has soared past 100 while the number of confirmed cases doubled overnight. Health officials around the world have confirmed more than 4,500 cases, more than triple the number from Friday - cases have also been found in France, the U.S., Canada, Australia, Japan, South Korea and elsewhere. That list includes the world’s three largest economies (the U.S., China and Japan). All but a few of the deaths recorded so far have been in Wuhan or the surrounding Hubei province, per the SCMP.

SARS - Outbreak - China - People - Parts

For many, it recalls the SARS outbreak of 2003, which also originated in China. It ultimately killed 774 people and infected more than 8,000 in different parts of the world.

Not surprisingly, global markets are on edge over fears of the “coronavirus” contagion spreading. And the U.S. stock market sold off yesterday.

Word - Contagion - Populations - Markets - Ways

But let’s discuss the word “contagion,” because it applies to both human populations and financial markets — and in more ways than you may expect.

There’s a reason why financial experts and risk managers use the word “contagion” to describe a financial panic.

Word - Contagion - Refers - Health - Field

Obviously, the word contagion refers to an epidemic or pandemic. In the public health field, a disease can be transmitted from human to human through coughing, shared needles, shared food or contact involving bodily fluids.

An initial carrier of a disease (“patient zero”) may have many contacts before the disease even appears.

Diseases - Latency - Period - Weeks - Zero

Some diseases have a latency period of weeks or longer, which means patient zero can infect hundreds before health professionals are even aware of the disease. Then those hundreds can infect...
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