COVID-19 Update #4
Since the beginning of the outbreak of COVID-19, Taiwan has been a leader in the response and handling of the virus. Through a rapid ramp-up of safety protocols and the expedited innovation of testing capabilities and procedures, Taiwan was able to keep its overall cases below 500 with only 6 deaths. They have once again shown how they are the leaders in the response through the development of a 1-hour test that has a 90% accuracy. Another amazing aspect of this test is that it can detect the virus in the early stages of the incubation period. They anticipate being able to start mass production by the end of July which we believe will exponentially improve our battle against the virus.
On Thursday evening there was a report of a leaked video regarding a nationwide study of a treatment for COVID-19 that is produced by Gilead Sciences. The initial information from the study appears to be promising in the drugs’ ability to reduce the recovery time of sick individuals. That being said, it is still too early to draw any conclusions from the study which is expected to be finished at the end of May. We look forward to the release of the data from this study along with the data from many other studies that are expected to finalize in the coming months.
The initial wave of unemployment numbers seems to be subsiding and came in line with expectations. We are now 4 weeks into when a lockdown was initiated in many parts of the country, so from this point forward the 4-week trend in unemployment numbers is what will be most telling in our continued development of in the economic progress to recover from the pandemic.
This Thursday it was announced that the SBA Loan program that was initiated through the passing of the CARES Act has officially run out of money. Discussions are on-going regarding another round of funding for the program and an overall stimulus package. If funding is not passed within a few weeks, we will likely see another wave of unemployment due to small businesses not being able to access the finances needed to keep paying their employees. This may also be balanced out by a gradual relaxing of some states’ guidelines.
Earnings season is starting late next week, and the information provided by many of the companies will be telling in what we can expect in the coming quarters. We will continue to keep you updated over the coming weeks on how many of the second quarter expectations are being adjusted.
Continue to be safe and responsible during these exacting times while we help you Traverse these turbulent markets.