The COVID-19 coronavirus is causing widespread fear and panic around the world as it spreads. There is a lot of concern about the nature of the virus itself, but the greater concern is public perception of the virus, for this is even more dangerous as the perception of a serious danger could cause instability in the stock markets, economies, and businesses, leading to turmoil and even a crash. While most of this is in China, whose economy has virtually stopped, it is penetrating throughout East Asia and into Europe.
If it were to hit the US in a serious way, it could cause widespread panic, as Americans are well-trained to react and do so irrationally when small crises happen. One only needs to look at when the power goes out in a major city. Indeed, it would not be a surprise to see not only mob violence, but anti-Chinese violence or attacks in the name of “stopping the virus” just as how after 9/11, there were a series of lynchings, beatings, and robberies of Middle Eastern and Indian people in the US because they ‘looked like terrorists.’
President Trump attempted to allay fears, saying that the situation in “under control” and that the stock markets “look very good” according to a report from TheHill.com.
President Trump asserted Monday that the coronavirus is “very much under control” in the United States, even as stock markets plunged amid concerns about the spread of the virus.
“The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA. We are in contact with everyone and all relevant countries,” Trump, who is traveling on official business in India, tweeted. “CDC & World Health have been working hard and very smart. Stock Market starting to look very good to me!”. (source)
The reality is obvious. Things are not getting better. This will become obvious when the supply chain disruptions start.
As I have said before, and I will say again, buy your tools now because they will get hard to acquire, especially “expendable” bits (drill bits, saw blades, nails, etc.). If anything, expect plastics and biomedical stocks and mutual funds to rise, since plastics are made in the US, and they are also used in biomedical, which is going to increase because of the need for medical supplies to examine for the presence of the virus. Those two fields will likely emerge as the biggest economic winners.