Is the Rate of Diseases We’ve Not Seen Before Speeding Up?
There are a few things that science tells us that are true.
Like that the world has always gone through periods of being warmer and colder. Over thousands of years, it’s been the natural cycle of the world.
What is different they say this time around, is the speed of the warming. That the world is getting hotter, faster and peaking higher.
Frankly, I don’t care what they say. And frankly, I don’t care what you think about it. Not to be dismissive of your views. You should have a view either way, if you believe in global warming or not.
I’m not here to tell you what to think, I never would. And anyone that does try to tell you what to think, well, I think you should dismiss them.
Independent thought is a powerful concept
Independent thought is the most powerful concept I believe in, in the modern world.
Not enough people partake in it. Too many are happy to be told what to think and blindly go along with the crowd. This gets them attention, ‘likes’, and makes them feel part of something…no matter how dim-witted it might be.
Again, that’s not saying either side is more dim-witted than the other. Maybe we’re all dim-witted, we all just don’t know it yet.
Still, I have my views, sometimes I’ll write to you about them. And you may often disagree with them. Again, no issues there.
However, I’ll never tell you what to think.
What I will do however, is ask you to consider certain ideas, angles, and opportunities. I’ll do what I can to present you with the research, information, data, and vision to help you make a decision or to form a view.
The actual thinking and final decision…
That’s on you.
But here’s the thing about climate change…
The rate in which it’s happened, and the facts do show it is happening, is increasing. It’s speeding up. And maybe on the other side it cools down faster. I don’t know. But so far, for now, it’s feasible to link the impact of the industrial revolution and globalisation with that speed up.
What we haven’t really discussed however, is whether the rate of diseases we’ve not seen before is also speeding up.
Where to go for more loo roll
Right now, we have the COVID-19 pandemic. Its impact on the world, I don’t think will be a great as people are losing their minds over. But some people, a lot of people, OK I’m going to say it, dim-witted people, are hoarding like it’s the apocalypse.
Seriously, if you’ve just bought 20 packs of dunny roll worried about running out, you need help. Firstly, ever heard of a hose? Works just as well. And as a mate pointed out today:
‘If I run out of dunny paper, or food, I’m popping down to McDonalds. They never run out of stuff and have amazing supply chains.’
It’s a fair point.
And if it’s an accurate point, then maybe McDonald’s Corporation [NYSE:MCD] isn’t a bad bounce-back stock to look at. I mean, a month ago Maccy-D’s was trading at around US$218. They were on track to beat their last 52-week high from August 2019.
Instead, the coronavirus smashed the stock. Now with people running out of loo paper and food, perhaps Macca’s is their last saviour? Or people will just use the drive thru way more when they’re sick of eating rice and want a 20-pack of ‘nugs’.
But McDonald’s is a US$147 billion giant…
Not really our sweet (and sour) spot here at Money Morning.
However, this did get me really thinking. Maybe the coronavirus is part of the acceleration of new disease. After all, we only just got through Zika in 2015–16. There was the Ebola outbreak in 2014. Before that was MERS in 2012. Then H1N1 (swine flu) in 2009. And then there was SARS in 2002 and 2004.
There are more, but they appear to be spaced out before the start of the 21st century…
HIV/AIDS was first identified in 1981, although it’s still around, it’s frequently treatable and the disease has been slowed.
The Hong Kong Flu in 1968 was pretty nasty.
There was the Asian Flu in 1957. Smallpox killed off millions in the 20th century until its eradication in the late ‘70s. There was the Spanish Flu in 1918. Russian Flu in 1889. All seemingly more spread out, but all incredibly more devastating in terms of fatalities.
Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe there’s a doctor or medical researcher out there with more info on this. But I’d love to know if there’s empirical data saying the rate of global disease is speeding up.
And if it is…then the coronavirus is just another in what’s going to be a long, long line of more to come.
Which got me thinking again. If there is more to come, well there’s not much we’re likely going to be able to do about it. What might slow things down though, is changes in our behaviours.
Is this disease-ridden dystopia the new normal?
Now I alluded to this last week, about the rise in stay-at-home workers. Increases in remote working, greater appeal for things like virtual reality and virtual workspaces. Those were all short-term opportunities off the back of the coronavirus.
But if it’s more than that, if it’s a century-long thing, we’re just going to have to get used to it changing things. It means we’re just not going to physically interact as much. It means sports events, concerts, and large gatherings of people (like New Year’s Eve) and such will be virtual.
They’ll be live and real pictures from the events. Just probably filmed by someone in a hazmat suit. And the performers in a medical-grade-clean facility to perform for everyone at home in the VR world.
That should suit Coldplay who don’t want to travel anyway, because of global warming.
If this is the case and we’re doing less stuff out and less stuff at the office, it stands to reason there will be ASX-listed winners from this.
If I believe in the likes of Zoom Video Communications Inc [NASDAQ:ZM], Slack Technologies Inc [NASDAQ:WORK], LogMeIn Inc [NASDAQ:LOGM] (who owns GoTo), and Microsoft Corporation [NASDAQ:MSFT] (who run the increasingly successful Microsoft Teams), then I also believe there will be similar ASX winners.
And I don’t mean the ones making hand sanitisers or loo roll.
Companies like TechnologyOne Ltd [ASX:TNE] operating Software as a Service (SaaS) systems for businesses. As they explain one of their product offerings:
‘TechnologyOne Ci Anywhere represents an evolutionary path for our customers. It’s built on beautiful design, and can be used by any business consumer, anywhere and at any time.’
Or perhaps Whispir Ltd [ASX:WSP]. Again, a company operating SaaS products to help automate workflows and improve how businesses communicate and engage with their digital audiences.
They describe what they do as:
‘Cutting edge technology to bring all your communications channels like email, text messaging and web chatting together in one easily accessible space.
‘We help large corporations to small startups eradicate communication inefficiencies and redundancies so that their staff and clients can connect in new and productive ways.’
Well, the new ‘productive way’ is to let people work from home, where they can’t be all disgusting over each other.
Maybe this is our new normal. Just avoiding each other until the next major disease spreads through.
Or maybe not. As an investor, you should remove the emotion from the decision. Play both sides of the coin. You can buy on the bounce should this all prove to be an overreaction.
And you can buy with the view we’re all going to live in a disease-ridden dystopia.
Don’t mind what you think, but at least you could potentially make money from both…
Editor, Money Morning