Editor’s Note: When it comes to identifying disruptive technology, Silicon Valley insider Jeff Brown is one of the best analysts we know of. With decades of experience in the field, he has an inside track on the biggest moneymaking opportunities in the space – before they hit front pages.
Jeff’s also an expert in the biotech space. So he’s been keeping a tab on the coronavirus pandemic.
In today’s essay, Jeff lays some myths about the coronavirus to rest – and tells us what to expect ahead…
By Jeff Brown, editor, Exponential Tech Investor
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) caught the world by surprise…
From the earliest case (November 2002 in Foshan, a city in the Guangdong province of China), the infection spread to 8,096 people in 29 countries. The likelihood of death for those infected was a frightening 9.5%.
But the risk of death was not consistent among the population that contracted the disease. Children younger than 12 years of age experienced much milder symptoms. But at age 60 and above, the death rate exceeded 50%.
The world got lucky with SARS. I say that because, for the first two months of the outbreak, China’s local and national government would not share information concerning the outbreak.
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Only after concerned citizens began sending text messages and spreading the word about a “deadly flu” on internet sites did health officials in Guangdong finally respond in mid-February.
After all, this was 2002–2003. The world’s first iPhone hadn’t been invented yet, and social media applications like Facebook and Twitter didn’t exist. In other words, the news just didn’t spread that fast.
I was there at the time. I traveled to Hong Kong in March 2003, right in the middle of the outbreak. Hong Kong is just downstream from Guangdong, on the Pearl River as it feeds into the South China Sea. It was severely affected by the outbreak.
I remember arriving at the airport and taking the Airport Express to Hong Kong Station. The train was practically empty, as was the station. It didn’t dawn on me until I reached my hotel in the city how serious it was. It was practically empty.
No one was in the café, and only a few people were lingering in the lobby. I knew then that I had made a stupid mistake coming to Hong Kong.
I stayed one night, never left the hotel, and fortunately didn’t get sick. The impact of SARS was most prevalently felt in Asia.
While many people have long forgotten about SARS, we’ve all now heard about COVID-19, the new coronavirus initially discovered in China. I’ve been carefully monitoring the development of COVID-19 since the start of the year.
Many of us are correctly following the reputable data and advice published by the CDC. But I’ve also been keeping tabs on some unhelpful rumors – or “myths” – that are circulating online.
Today, I’d like to set the record straight…
Myth #1: A Mask Will Protect Us From COVID-19
Masks like the one that I’m wearing in the picture below provide very little protection from COVID-19. I’ll be generous by saying that they are better than nothing, but unless a mask provides an airtight seal around the mouth and nose (and we wear protective eyewear that also provides a seal), we are still exposed.
Hoarding or purchasing large numbers of these masks also creates major issues for those who need these masks the most – mainly caregivers in the health care community.
And while this might seem counterintuitive, the other category of people who should be wearing these masks includes those infected by COVID-19. The masks help keep infected respiratory droplets out of the air, as they are caught in the mask.
Myth #2: You Can Only Get COVID-19 From Physical Contact With an Infected Person
COVID-19 is spread through respiratory droplets. It’s airborne. Generally, you must be within six feet of someone who is contagious to come in contact with these droplets. These droplets can infiltrate our bodies through our eyes, nose, mouth, or even an open wound.
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Myth #3: Coronavirus Is Containable
Since symptoms may not appear for up to 14 days, the reality is that community spread of COVID-19 has been going on for many weeks now. Because the WHO (World Health Organization) did not recognize the situation as a public health emergency in the U.S. until January 31, the world was actively, if unknowingly, spreading COVID-19.
Harvard University epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch recently estimated that as much as 20–60% of the world could become infected with COVID-19. It’s “almost inevitable.”
Now, we must understand that does not mean that 20–60% of the world will have a severe illness. Many cases will likely be mild or even asymptomatic.
Myth #4: All Stocks Will Perform Poorly in the Age of COVID-19
Right now, we’re seeing an unprecedented level of fear-based selling. As of this writing, the S&P 500 is down over 20% from its peak last month.
The common assumption is that all stocks will perform poorly as the world gets COVID-19 under control in the months ahead. But my analysis is showing something different.
Nokia just released data saying that most wireless networks around the world see 30–45% growth in traffic over a year. But peak usage has jumped 20–40% over just the past several weeks.
These are beyond crazy numbers. And it’s all because people are staying home. Videoconferencing – for both work and socializing – has spiked 300%. Gaming has exploded 400%… probably because the kids are staying home from school.
To put this growth in context, network data traffic would more than double every 12 months if this persists. We are talking about the definition of exponential growth. And it will overwhelm networks all over the world.
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What does this mean for investors?
Any company providing wireless services has seen a massive spike in demand. And any company producing the products that go into data centers, wireless networks, and 5G infrastructure is getting slammed with new orders as we speak.
For these companies, sales are going up, not down. Yet their stocks have pulled back. That’s a massive opportunity for savvy tech investors.
Several companies like airlines, hotel chains, and restaurants are indeed suffering right now. But for key technology companies, business is booming.
At times like these, it’s important to rely on data, not conjecture. By staying rational, the world will weather this pandemic. And we can look forward to a brighter future once the dust has settled.
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Investors have an unprecedented opportunity due to the increased data traffic and volatility caused by COVID-19…
Over the past several years, I’ve told my readers that nothing can stop 5G networks. Wireless network providers are spending billions to build out these networks. The technology has the full backing of the U.S. government. And hundreds of millions of 5G-enabled smartphones will be hitting shelves this year.
These networks are more necessary than ever with so many people working remotely… And because of the recent volatility caused by COVID-19, the best 5G stocks are now trading at “bargain” valuations.
At these levels, I conservatively expect investors will 10x their money with the right 5G plays… perhaps even more. That’s why I’m hosting an urgent 5G investing summit on April 8, at 8 p.m. ET. I’m calling it “The State of 5G.”
I’ll reveal which 5G stocks you’ll want to own today.