by David Chapman
“Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water…” along came coronavirus! With all due respect to the tagline from Jaws 2 (1978), coronavirus is not a great white shark. So, just what is coronavirus? Well, it is a virus, a member of the same family as the common cold, only deadlier. Earlier examples of the coronavirus family included both SARS and MERS. Maybe they’ll come up with an acronym for the current virus. And, like earlier viruses, it does have the potential to become a pandemic.
So, do investors have anything to worry about? As can be expected, the record is sketchy and it depends on how bad it gets. The current coronavirus is not yet a pandemic but it is threatening to become one. There have been very few pandemics over the past century. The worst was the Spanish flu of 1918–1920 that killed an estimated 50 million worldwide.