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Love in the Time of COVID-19

Summary:
To receive a free full-text email of The Zeitgeist whenever we publish to the website, please sign up here. You’ll get two or three of these emails every week, and your email will not be shared with anyone. Ever. A professional baseball game during the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918 The problem in public life is learning to overcome terror.Gabriel Garcia Marquez, “Love in the Time of Cholera” Within a few months, the reality of COVID-19 will overtake the propaganda of the CCP and their toadies at the World Health Organization, as real-world companies begin making real-world economic decisions to maintain their enterprises in the face of a real-world threat. Those decisions will be led by sports franchises. I realize this sounds pretty out-there to most people.

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Love in the Time of COVID-19
A professional baseball game during the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918

The problem in public life is learning to overcome terror.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez, “Love in the Time of Cholera”

Within a few months, the reality of COVID-19 will overtake the propaganda of the CCP and their toadies at the World Health Organization, as real-world companies begin making real-world economic decisions to maintain their enterprises in the face of a real-world threat.

Those decisions will be led by sports franchises.

I realize this sounds pretty out-there to most people. As my father used to tell me, “Ben, being two steps ahead is like being one step behind.”

And I get it. We’re still playing the “Confirmed Cases!” game, where countries like Indonesia claim that COVID-19 doesn’t exist within their borders because they’ve tested … checks notes … 64 people. Where more people apparently caught COVID-19 on a cruise ship yesterday than in Africa and the Southeast Asian sub-continent combined. Where the World Health Organization parrots the (literally) party line from China even though WHO-sponsored doctors have published study after study showing that the China data is a crock.

Barf.

But it hit me like a ton of bricks this morning that the “Confirmed Cases!” game is now giving way to the reality of living with a global pandemic when I saw this announcement from the organizers of the Tokyo marathon.


Love in the Time of COVID-19

Tokyo marathon organizers have decided to cancel entries from the general public for the event scheduled on March 1 due to the coronavirus outbreak, Tokyo Shimbun newspaper reported on Monday.

About 38,000 people from the general public were scheduled to run in the event, Japan’s biggest marathon, the paper said.



So I’ll just say this as simply as I can. Three things:

First, this is absolutely the right decision.

Second, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics are finished as a spectator event. Not happening.

Third, if you’re a professional sports league and you’re not making contingency plans to shut down your stadiums and run next season in front of TV cameras only, you’re just not paying attention.


About Ben Hunt
Ben Hunt
He is the chief investment strategist at Salient, a $14 billion asset manager based in Houston and San Francisco, and the author of Epsilon Theory, a newsletter and website that examines markets through the lenses of game theory and history. Over 100,000 professional investors and allocators read Epsilon Theory for its fresh perspective into market dynamics.

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