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China Last Week – Four Facts To Know About The Spread of Coronavirus

Hello, I’m Henry Greene. Welcome to our China Last Week video update.

Today, I’d like to discuss with you what is probably the number one topic on investors’ minds: the coronavirus.

Markets had a difficult week last week with the S&P 500 lost nearly 11% and the Shanghai Composite lost about 5%. It became clear last week that the coronavirus is a global phenomenon and no longer just a China problem. There is an old saying in the media: “If it bleeds, it leads.” That is to say that the media has preferred to push sensational stories rather than consult with medical experts and also ignore the fact that most cases of coronavirus result in nothing more than the symptoms of a common cold. The most affected countries are South Korea, Iran, Japan, and Italy.

With this in mind, we would like to share a few facts that we know to be true and we believe will help investors better understand the coronavirus outbreak and put some minds at ease.

The first fact we would like to share is that less than 10% of China cases occurred among those who are under 29. This shows that the virus has largely spared children and young people.

The second fact we’d like to share is that only approximately 2% of total cases actually lead to death.

The third fact that we’d like to share is that those 80 years and older are 7 times as likely to die from the coronavirus as the average. Evidently, the virus is disproportionately affecting the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions. 

The fourth and final fact we’d like to share is that within China, men are twice as likely to contract the disease as women. This is due to nearly 50% of China’s male population being smokers, whereas only 2% of women smoke.

Economic activity in China is beginning to return to normal. Reuters surveyed over 200 businesses in the services sector all across China and 400,000 employees. According to the survey, 80% of these businesses have resumed normal operations. Businesses in the services sector in China have benefitted from the availability of remote working and conferencing platforms that have allowed operations to continue as normal even under quarantine conditions.

For China Last Night, I’m henry Greene. Thank you very much and tune in next time for updates on China’s capital markets.