In case you haven’t checked your investment portfolio this morning, you should. The Dow is down 779 points, or 2.7%, as of this writing, and the S&P and Nasdaq aren’t faring much better. So what’s the culprit for the sharp sell-off implicit in these numbers? As in recent weeks, it is once again fears of the dreaded COVID-19 virus, which over the weekend spread to northern Italy and Austria. Yung-Yu Ma, chief investment strategist at BMO Wealth Management, is quoted by MarketWatch as acknowledging that “the [coronavirus spread] definitely injects an element of uncertainty into markets for the near term and for the longer term as well.”
The good (well, better) news is the report of a new study by Chinese researchers that indicates that the coronavirus may not have originated at a seafood market in Wuhan, as long maintained by the Chinese government. Via the Global Times:
The study published on ChinaXiv, a Chinese open repository for scientific researchers, reveals the new coronavirus was introduced to the seafood market from another location, and then spread rapidly from market to market. The findings were the result of analyses of genome-wide data, sources of infection and the route of spread of 93 samples of the novel coronavirus collected from 12 countries across four continents.
This still doesn’t answer the all-important question of where the virus did start. Which brings us back to Square One.
In the meantime, a chilling, dystonian video from China is making the rounds on social media. It follows:
This is a Chinese law enforcement exercise. Welcome to China. The coronavirus is not allowed. pic.twitter.com/m10FX7Tg60
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) February 23, 2020