Corona Diary 16 April 2020

2020-04-15 16.38.40

Snow day today => yesterday was a beauty – see above.

Our principal is chasing if our kids will have access to their online resources across the summer – iReady, RazKids, Newslea, Google Hangouts, Brain Pop…

Friends in my neighborhood, with a video doorbells, are recording thieves trying their doors in daylight and when they are home. Freaking folks out a bit. So far, a lock is all it takes to have them move along to the next door. Police have increased patrols but the thieves look like clean cut, young adults with corona-masks on – near impossible to spot them.

Emirates airline announced rapid pre-flight testing – great idea – could save the long haul flight industry if this proves effective: Emirates Airline Begins Conducting Rapid COVID-19 Tests For Boarding Passengers : Coronavirus Live Updates : NPR

This reminds me that the Federal response (crappy / awesome depending on your political affiliation) will be overridden by the actions of large corporates acting in their self interest.

2020-04-15 14.37.30

I doubt the heartland has the ability to endure another month of lockdown => unemployment is off the charts, think about the people that haven’t been able to apply, who didn’t bother to apply and who rely on those who did apply.

Mind-blowing amount of hardship => 50 million including the dependents? more?

Michigan’s protest – several thousand cars in Lanzing – 25% unemployment, before this week’s additions – calling for a regional approach inside the state – 28,000 cases and 1,900 deaths much worse than Colorado – they have 10 million population vs just under 6 million for us.

Michigan Stay-At-Home Order Prompts Honking, Traffic-Jam Protest : Coronavirus Live Updates : NPR

Once cities, regions, states get themselves settled there will be huge grassroots pressure for isolation. Still not much talk about shutting down interstate travel. Our governor published his game plan yesterday = sounds similar to a video I saw of Merkel in Germany. Focus on keeping transmission ratio under 1.

2020-04-15 14.37.46

Kids LOVED this movie last night: The Adventure of A.R.I. : my robot friend

Parents, if you want an idea of how your son wants to be seen by you then pay attention to “the dog with the red bandana” in The Secret Life of Pets 2. Maybe your husband too… 😉

2020-04-15 14.37.08

Whether you’re an optimist, or a pessimist, your mind will tell you that you saw it coming!

Australia extended lockdown by four weeks, UK by three weeks.

Singapore saw highest day of positives early in it’s second wave lockdown:

NPR had an answer to my question, yesterday, about thinking better:

How To Manage Coronavirus Anxiety: Life Kit : NPR

A friend asked me about Gold. We did a review pre virus:

  • Couldn’t get comfortable with ability to use it in zombie apocalypse – some argue silver coins address this point – silver too heavy for a material holding
  • Felt, absent zombie apocalypse, we’d be better off in other asset classes (cash generative local real estate in prime locations, mixed with Vanguard portfolios)
  • Didn’t feel gold was the best way to meet the benefits we hear associated with holding gold
  • Virus crisis drove the above home to me // specifically, access to CostCo, Walmart and a Home Gym are more useful than a unibomber shack, bag of seeds, shotgun and steel box of gold coins.
  • My opinion is skewed by living in the middle of the American Empire – I might feel differently if I lived somewhere else – in that case, I’d focus on an exit strategy rather than building assets (that are easily taken from me).

22 million unemployed – I wonder what the multiplier is for dependents and people unable to apply?

Interesting insight, the two countries that know China best (HK and Taiwan) ignored the WHO, closed borders early and screened travelers aggressively.

Bezos shareholder letter if you’re interested.

Another snow day here! Good accumulations – kids will be building a snow shelter for PE.

My training program had “a hint of speed” today. Ax-man’s first time on a treadmill and the fastest I’ve moved in about a decade!

2020-04-16 07.56.43

Finally, even our cat has a schedule these days…

2020-04-15 13.46.42

Corona Diary 15 April 2020

2020-04-14 18.46.25

The half birthday party was a great idea. We had a blast.

Stuck at home with a toddler? Buy yourself a wading pool and a bubble machine => these things are going to sell out FAST once the weather warms up.

Florida designated pro wresting as an essential business.

Tour de France postponed – I don’t see how the event happens this year. Time will tell.

Ikon Pass offered an extra $100 for early pass renewals => effectively a price cut. Made it retroactive for anyone that had signed up in advance.

I don’t see any way we get a full season in Colorado (2020/2021). Still, I think I’ll get enough skiing to justify a pass. Some bullets on skiing:

  1. Ski passes represent ~5% of my ski season expenditure
  2. The largest line item is our seasonal rental => not going to do that next season
  3. Mentally, I’ve canceled all my out of state travel plans
  4. Will only buy one pass => usually buy at least two
  5. I do not expect to sign my kids up for their ski group
  6. Absent Corona immunity for my wife and me, I do not expect to use a locker room, visit restaurants or ride any gondolas

1-5 is a lot of money for me => roughly equal to my lockdown cost of living.

Calculations like these are happening across the economy.

I am watching the banks release their consumer and small business lending statistics => with only a few weeks of lockdown I’m seeing big increases in deferrals and arrears.

2020-04-14 17.39.00

Howard Marks’ latest => bottom line, nobody knows nothing about the future => you can safely ignore 98% of the media => tailor your feed to a small number of believable individuals => the media companies are filled with noise and constantly contradicting themselves.

A champion athlete did a “lockdown” Ironman (3.8K swim, 180K bike, 42K run) to raise money for health care providers => great idea. Let’s call it “Jan-Strong.” 😉

I’ve asked my school district if my kids will have access to their online resources across the summer. You should find out for your own family. This is an HUGE equity issue for the large number of families that are going to be cash strapped this summer.

My goal is to limit the amount the kids will forget with a FIVE month break from proper school.

Solo? What are you learning? Now is a good time for some online education. I have a buddy studying Hebrew and ukulele! Quite the selection and why not?!

A little bit of daily learning can go a long way, especially with the multi-year time horizons I hear discussed.

I feel like I am getting used to lockdown. I wonder if I’m still lit up cognitively. I wish there was a test I could administer to know if I’m still thinking poorly.

This morning we found out the district will shut down our school for the rest of the year. It is a special situation as we’re using bond funds to rebuild our school over the summer. An extra 4-6 weeks of project time will be very useful in the current environment.

My son was STOKED to hear that home school would continue!

My wife? She was less stoked.

Stay strong!

2020-04-14 18.43.35

Corona Diary 14 April 2020

2020-04-13 13.10.54

We’re celebrating Lexi’s 1/2 Birthday today. The kids are going to bake a cake as an extracurricular activity after PE.

Here’s Bella’s COVID letter to Grade Ones doing home school.

The kids watched a Smithsonian webinar on minerals – that was a hit. Fossil Friday, last week, wasn’t as popular (but I thought it was good). Here’s the link for future online events.

Here’s a list of online events from Wide Open School.

A week’s worth of groceries for five, below.

2020-04-13 10.51.18


This is a wonderful concept taught by Taleb in his many writings.

My post at the end of March about trying to fit 2019 annual run volume into April 2020, was an example of an asymmetry.

Even if you think your chance of ruin is small, whatever you gain isn’t worth running a risk of ruin.

An example from finance => recourse borrowings to buy things, you can’t use in lockdown.

An example from weightlifting => middle aged men seeking new one-rep maximums. I keep this in mind during my early morning strength sessions!

2020-04-14 05.02.32

These things are all over the place – they aren’t always negative. ‘

  • Wearing a mask – near nil cost, huge upside if you don’t end up in ICU.
  • 20 minutes a day of walking – near nil cost, huge upside in health outcomes vs nothing.

A final tip that helps me make better decisions: always assume you will make the choice more than once.

If you can be ruined then you will be ruined, eventually.

2020-04-13 11.17.19

Virus Stuff

1/ Suppression and lift strategy described in HK and Singapore.

2/ Came across a note about parts of Italy extending quarantine to 28-days, household transmission meant 14-days wasn’t being effective.

3/ 32 days into our own quarantine, I can’t see a plateau in positive test results. I’d expected to see it happen 10 days ago. With our soft lockdown, we are ticking along at 6% daily growth in Colorado.

4/ Reached out to a buddy in Hong Kong, their pools have been shut for 11 weeks, and counting. Summer swim league, local swim teams => looking doubtful for a while.

5/ Thank a politician. Yes, do it. The leader of our State House lives a couple blocks away from us. They’re working their butts off, taking heat from all sides, trying to make things better. I feel very fortunate to have good people, working hard, on Colorado’s behalf.

6/ Burglaries way up in Boulder, already. Combine that reality with a program to create more vacancies in our prison system and I expect community backlash.

2020-04-13 10.25.41

Lockdown Life

Here’s a question for your lockdown life: what’s lacking?

Really drill down on your answers.

For me, lockdown is similar to the process I went through to become a better father.

Parenthood involves a feeling of having a lot taken away from me.

How do you deal with those feelings? My lockdown tactics include a written schedule, getting my mind focused on home school and starting a challenging training plan.

In our day-to-day lives, we are often drawn towards novelty or distraction. Vacations, new restaurants, new experiences, new bike routes, new deals… lots of ways to distract ourselves.

Here’s something you might want to consider, authentic connection.

It need not be with another person.

Nature is a source for me => “bad” weather, oceans, mountain vistas, forests. All of these leave me feeling with an expanded feeling.

Books are another source => learning from the best minds of the past.

Others like to challenge themselves with mathematics or coding.

If you’re locked down..

  • cut off from novelty
  • cut off from whatever you’ve been using to distract yourself
  • cut off from authentic connection

then you may have an opportunity to see if your focus needs to change.

Happiness is the space between cravings.

Living in Close Quarters

2020-04-13 08.00.46

If you’re new to spending a lot of time with your spouse and kids then this may help.

De-escalation: your #1 priority is to constantly deescalate yourself.

  • Spread the energy – as best you can, separate the kids
  • Use headphones when they are on electronics
  • Tag-team when home schooling and preparing meals – support your spouse by offering them time alone, not working alongside
  • Feeling wound up? Channel your energy into a little bit of housework, in an empty part of the house. 8-12 minutes sessions, throughout the week, chill me out AND help the family.

Young kids? Go to sleep when they do. Wake up before them and do something positive for yourself.

Talk to my eyes: put another way, never, ever, offer advice from the couch

  • If it’s not worth getting up and moving to where the “problem” is, then let it slide. This is a great filter because… when you are tired (not at your best, likely to make things worse) then you will tend to let it slide.

When someone offers assistance, acknowledge they will do things differently than you. Pause before you get involved! Their way is likely good enough.

Why? Because when you are spending 24/7 with someone, constantly helping will not be helping!

2020-04-13 07.18.05


  1. I will do what needs to be done
  2. We will be maintaining our standards


2020-04-12 09.04.12


Taking Stock on Day 28

2020-04-09 10.40.28

Virus Spread in Colorado – Colorado appears to have flattened the curve. However, even at a declining daily rate of change, positives are growing at a nominal rate that’s too fast for us to lift social distancing. Hopefully, we will see a meaningful decline in Month 2 of lockdown.

Colorado Hospitalizations – My home state hospitalizations have fallen far short of my expectations. I got this completely wrong. All across the US, predictions are being revised downwards, materially, daily. Personally, I have no problem with this => NYC shows us what happens when community spread gets rolling. However, human nature shows me that this will likely have implications going forward.

Unemployment – the numbers are so large they are impossible to process. More than double the total population of Colorado lost jobs since we have been locked down. The first wave of infection, and shutdown, is going to deplete most of the population’s financial reserves. Communities are going to be hit much harder on the subsequent waves of infection.

The Fed – the actions taken by the Fed make sense in the context of: (#1) spread the wave of (inevitable) bankruptcies; and (#2) they are aware of far worse information than the general public. Many businesses are non-viable, for years, at present. Go bust, more slowly.

Market Valuations – I got market directions completely wrong. My strategy means I paid no price for this error. Market valuations make sense if buying is being driven by other people’s money (OPM). Anyhow, I can’t figure it out so I’m going to wait and see. I noticed a material sale of airline shares by Buffett.

American Governance – The system is working. We have many different experiments happening across the country, and around the world. I’m grateful we have a governor, independently wealthy, not facing re-election in November, with executive experience. Our state’s system has worked well for the people.

Blessings => companionship, marriage, home school (for something to do), my kids (for relentless positivity) and crunchy salads. Everything I wanted my family to achieve in 2020, they have achieved during lockdown. They’re impressive.

2020-04-09 08.05.46.jpg

Are you aware of the concept of negative knowledge?

Certain media sources, and people, make me more stupid.

I first heard this concept many years ago via Taleb. I’ll link a twitter thread below with his latest reminder.

You can give yourself a material, sustainable advantage by rooting out people, publications and habits that make you stupid.

Taking the weekend off from my devices.

Back Monday with some tips for living in close quarters.

Corona Diary 9 April 2020

2020-04-08 12.32.28

We have a new joke in the house… “This is my best lockdown, ever!”


Attitude is everything

Last year, I could barely make it a week on vacation with my kids. Tomorrow is the end of Week Four and we’re doing ok.

A desire to set a good example can be a powerful motivator.


Corona Bod

Replacing uphill skiing (~1 hour a day on average) with walking around my neighborhood (14,300 steps per day in lockdown) has me feeling soft. I often feel like I’m coming off a meat-loading phase for the Crossfit Games.

  • Twice a week, Monica makes a giant mixing bowl of salad. I eat most of it over two days.
  • We buy, and I eat, a lot of apples, carrots, frozen broccoli, cauliflower and green beans.
  • I remind myself, a lot, that I’ve always lost the weight.
  • Make fresh choices easier, spend effort with preparing huge salads/veggies.

Binary is better for me. My wife can handle portion control. I do better with abstinence.

My home gym helps. I’m a lot stronger than four weeks ago. However, I’ve been managing a constant stream of niggles => calves, upper back, groin, hip. All are weak points, hopefully, being addressed by my program.

Getting strong trumps self-starvation because you’ve “lost” your cardio.

2020-04-08 16.13.01

Media Funnel

  1. How are you staying informed?
  2. What are your sources of reliable information?
  3. Do you have access to believable people, who disagree with you in a way that breaks through your biases?
  4. Do you have a system for reducing noise?

I want to make it easier to read books therefore I don’t have any media/email subscriptions.

I’m always tempted to subscribe to make myself “better informed” but read Taleb about the negative impact of additional information, especially from career journalists.

Read Mauboussin, Think Twice, about better thinking.

Good books, especially older ones, have more believable information than current media. See Fooled By Randomness => NNT has an excellent section on the impact of noise.

Very little video => too sensational => I prefer written stuff as I get to read in my own voice

No cable news => it’s an entertainment business model.

I struggle to stop making predictions. So tailor my feed towards people that focus on lessons of history and reminders of human misjudgment.


How do I play the markets? Three people asked me this week.

The best answer I’ve come across…

If you are changing strategy more than once a decade then you don’t have a strategy.

In case you missed it, #2 in my March 12th article is my market strategy – in the last big decline, I slid towards equities (72%/28% from 60%/40%).

This is not a recommendation for you. I have a lot of optionality in my life – see Cash Holdings in Context.


Asset Allocation

An excerpt from my family strategy document…

  • Simple
  • Low cost to hold
  • Focused on long term capital gain
  • Liquidity in event of capital being required
  • Tax effective
  • If it won’t make a difference then wait

The larger document tracks lessons over time. We have found our family’s “mistakes” tend to repeat, often at similar life cycle points. One of my jobs is to pass this knowledge through to future adults.

Humans are remarkably similar with how we react to life.

2020-04-08 07.03.12

Climate Change

Think about how fast Corona hit us.

Think about how wrong the experts were in the early stages.

Think about the massive economic costs from many different reaction paths.

Speed of change, potential for error, massive costs from different response paths => points to the benefits of the Precautionary Principle (link is to Taleb and others, 2014).

Most important to me => I don’t need to believe in Corona, or climate change, for it to impact me.

My opinion, the media’s treatment, my politics… have no impact on the large potential harm and disruption to my life, your life.

This whole experience is an on-going lesson in humility.


Core Cost of Living

This is a number you should know.

  • Four weeks of lockdown.
  • Total cash out the door.
  • Multiply by 13.

That’s your lockdown core cost of living.

I compare to Net Assets and track in “years.”

To see the impact of leverage in your life:

  • Mark your assets down by 35%
  • Subtract your liabilities from this marked down figure to get “New Net Assets”
  • Change your cost of living calculation to [January + February] times 6
  • Divide “New Net Assets” by “Pre Corona Cost of Living”

See how the “years” change.

2020-04-08 13.35.40

Home School

Here’s a PDF of the writing template I use for my Primary School kids.

Disgusting Science was making blood and scabs. Hot water, agar powder and red food coloring. We watched a Brain Pop on Blood and did the quiz together.

2020-04-08 19.10.54

Medical Representatives

I asked myself if I would want to be placed on a ventilator.

This is similar to the pacemaker discussion I wrote about in 2016.

Here’s an article on COVID-19 survivorship – I discussed with my wife last night at dinner.

Managing Our Bubbles

2020-04-07 07.56.17

Axel getting creative to keep his BJJ skills up during lockdown


Our stay-at-home order has been extended to April 26th (end of Week Six for us). Social distancing appears to be working and we are bending the curve.

I’m locked down with my family => it’s never boring and we are a good mix of personalities. Aside from the lack of cardio, I’m having a pretty good time and getting stuff done.

Some of the quarantine-exit discussion, centers around locking down at-risk populations. I understand the rationale but it doesn’t feel right to me.

Here’s why.

My grandparents were pretty much done living by ~85 years old.

If I was 80 and you were trying to “help” me by asking me to self-isolate until a vaccine was deployed then you would be taking the rest of my life away from me.

Here’s another thought… You don’t need to be 80 for this one… my family tree has addiction and mental illness running through it => both conditions are made more difficult by self-isolation.

I spent decades making my addictions positive and creating a mental health team around me. My mental health team is called my wife and kids. 🙂

Solitary confinement is a tactic used to break people down.

I imagine there is tremendous silent suffering happening in all of our communities => seniors, confined to their rooms, for their own “protection”.

They deserve better.

How about something like this…

2020-04-07 16.16.55

Small-group isolation => five people with a single person supporting, while maintaining social distancing. Seems tighter than (top left) single nodes trying to figure it out on their own.

In the Bill Gates interview with CBS, he mentioned people he didn’t see dropping food.

That comment got me thinking about a small group, working together to limit the risk of infection entering their bubble. Using precautions inside their bubble, while maintaining their humanity with each other.

Seems much more viable, and healthy, than 18-months (best case?) self-imposed solitary confinement.

We need a viable strategies until the vaccine is deployed.


One other thought was to avoid places that are burning with new infections.

I track my home county (325,000 peeps) as well as my state (5,800,000). Our neighbor has an app that lets her see data on positives by postal code.

We are going to have widely available testing at some stage. With that information, we can make informed choices about where we go, and where we shop.

Home School Ideas & National Tracking Link

2020-04-03 14.32.32My key recommendations for home school:

declare victory

tell your kids they are promoted to their next grade

focus on minimizing what they are going to forget

It’s highly risky for us to have ANY activity go past 5pm. My emotional control is tapped! I can barely watch a Disney movie without tearing up. Kids are in a similar place, especially at the end of the day.

We enjoyed these two zucchini bread recipes => ONE and TWO

Here’s the week two link from our district’s Home School Bingo

Big picture from our home => I’ve let go of my academic goals. Mornings are school-focused and afternoons are specials. In my mind, school is “done” by lunch. We do a light day Saturday to catch up, if required on anything (the kids feel they) missed during the week.

Specials include: PE, music, art, cooking, science, training with parents, walks, lego and games.

With the science, we’ve been growing mold for a week. Kids love checking each day after school.

Our kids’ BJJ coach lives two blocks away so he runs PE. We drop the kids at a huge field near us (Chautauqua) and he does the session (with social distancing). Kids walk home afterwards and it ends up being ~90 minutes alone in an empty house. Heaven!

We used to use the school playing fields but the superintendent asked everyone to stop during April.

Our youngest does two or three short reading sessions each day. In terms of stuff that matters, getting our seven-year old to read is probably the only thing we need to achieve this year!

Just like regular school, our Grade Three (8) and Grade Five (11) kids read to self for 20-30 minutes each morning. This reading habit is a huge help for getting the day going, fixing breakfast and interacting with our youngest.

If the home school schedule gets tight, or the kids feel stressed, I drop their “in-school” reading assignments to free-up time.

Our district has been great. We have triple the content we need to run home school. Early last week, I tried to track/schedule everything and made everyone miserable! The family is doing better by doing less.

The last two summers, I have run home school across the summer. We are 19 weeks out from the start of the 2020/2021 academic year.

As I wrote yesterday, I have no idea if we are going to have any activities open across the summer. I figure my little-bit-a-day strategy has more staying power than trying to do “full” school for the six weeks left in the 2019/2020 academic year.

Remember you can hire favorite teachers for online tutoring. We’ve been using district teachers for tutoring for years. They will shortly be experts in online education and could use our support.

Virtual playdates. As I type this, our carefree seven-year old is happily chatting away with a buddy on FaceTime. They are planning a sleepover for when “this settles down.”

We got our first shipment from NetBricks.Biz. Worked great. Plus the kids have to spend time taking each project apart when they are done.

I received the Boy Scout Handbook and managed to get the kids to sit still for a short civics class over the weekend.

2020-04-03 13.00.22

Virus Tracker

A friend sent along a national tracker for COVID-19 data. You can see the break down by state and forecast peak by state.



I’m very bearish but if I sold out of equities then I’d have to figure out when to buy.

I don’t back myself to make timing calls.

Due to recent appreciation, this morning I sold a bit of equities to rebalance.

Chalk that up to another thing I would not have expected.

The Year Ahead on 6 April 2020

2020-04-03 16.10.39How did you use your weekend?

Late Friday afternoon, I watched the Bill Gates interview with Trevor Noah. I noticed:

What to expect? If we get it right then… one month to plateau, one month to decline.

When back to normal? When a vaccine has been successfully deployed across the nation, the Developed World and the Globe. I had missed “deployed.”

Where to focus? Rapid test results for front-line workers and sick people. Don’t get tested if you’re simply worried. We need that capacity for others.

Chinese Data? The exact numbers don’t matter. What matters is we saw them close their field hospitals.

Balkanize the USA? Bill G says it doesn’t make sense because we are so interconnected. I’m not sure about this for non-essential services/travel. However, I am sure that Bill G is more believable than me. So I’ll defer to his point of view and watch Western Europe’s internal border control.

What to open? Gatherings with large social benefits. Bill G cited education. Naval tweeted about unmixed daycare.

International Borders & Travel? Bill G said something that fits with the agenda of Trump’s Base. The developing world is likely to have the virus run through their countries. Which implies the “West” (and China/East Asia) will close borders or put strict quarantine measures in place.

Made me realize that I should… forget about international travel for a year => relates back to “deploy the vaccine”. Note Bill G used “years” when talking about this issue.

I doubt Olympics happening in 2021 => Japanese won’t tolerate global, non-vaccinated arrivals. Write it off and get your economy working again. Corona is a very bad deal (slide down on link).

2020-04-06 08.01.52

Late Saturday, I borrowed my son’s iPad (my devices, keyboard and mouse were in a drawer!) to watch the extended Bill G interview on CBS.

Businesses with international guests and customers. How do you run an international business, which draws heavily from countries that may be burning with Corona? I have no idea. I don’t need to have an idea. What I need to do is manage, and likely reduce, financial commitments in these areas.

I have friends in Eagle County and with Vail Resorts. Does your life still work if the US seals its border for next winter season? What if there’s a month-long lockdown mid-season? What if you can only receive guests from in-state, or in-country? Lots of scenarios to consider. I would want back-up employment to cover my core cost of living.

Our success with stopping the current surge of infection, leaves us vulnerable to reinfection. Bill G talks about a very low infection rate in the Developed World’s population. He talks about how to address => testing, contact tracing.

I am hearing about secondary lockdowns in Singapore (pop 5.7 million) and Taiwan (pop 24 Million), already.

Trade-off between health and business => Bill G thinks its a false choice. He used one of my favorite phrases => There Is No Alternative (T.I.N.A.).

Here in the US, we are getting a case study of different approaches (by State). Europe can watch something similar (Denmark compared to Sweden).

Colorado’s “early” lockdown approach might have us at a plateau by the end of this week (Day 28). Time will tell.

2020-04-06 07.01.07

Rest of the week topics:

  1. Our new goals for home school, gearing up to teach through August.
  2. How would I define cheap, today? For asset values.
  3. Body image in lockdown.
  4. Managing your bubble. At-risk people and those in the developing world should expect much longer lockdowns than the rest of us. Your brain will present two options: (a) screw it, I gotta live, if I die then I die; and (b) holy crap, I gotta lock down tight! I’ll consider the middle way.
  5. Friday update on our local situation. Is soft lockdown working?

2020-04-05 16.05.35

Schedule your 48-hour unplug this week. It was a huge help to me.

Why? Because I need to be thinking clearly about the next year, not tracking the 24-hour news cycle.

Secret Life of Pets 2 had me laughing hard. Good medicine!

What Seems Likely on 3 April 2020

2020-04-02 11.14.29

Day 21 for our lockdown.

Lots of ups and downs this week. Two good days of workouts has me feeling like I’m making progress.

Home School – I’m going to keep what’s useful (a daily schedule) and let go of the rest.

Our seven-year LOVES seeing daily videos from her friends on Flipgrid. If you’re isolated then create a group and share short daily videos. It will make you happy.

All our kids love their morning meeting on Zoom. You could create something similar with your pals. A quick check in.

People are writing our kids back => so great. Thank you for your letters.

I’m going to pull the plug for the weekend, again. How often are you reseting your mind?

2020-04-02 19.33.47

Thanks to the friends who reached out in the last 24 hours. Lots of good ideas were shared. Here’s a mash-up of the best stuff I came across.

Consider a three-stage progression:

Phase One / Current – we’ll move towards widespread lockdown to get the first wave under control. This is going to create a massive economic contraction, far worse than anyone is expecting.

We will see contractions in counterintuitive ways. It is going to be surprising.

For example, my medical mentor is seeing layoffs in his field. To me, this is really surprising.

Isn’t there a shortage? Yes, in hotspots but…

…think what happens when a local government mandates every medical facility cease elective and non-urgent surgeries in advance of an outbreak. Your state’s “success” with the virus punches a huge hole in the finances of your hospitals. Hospitals are huge fixed cost businesses, with a lot of operational leverage.

Go the next step, what happens when the highest paid people in your community see their peers getting laid off? Massive contraction in luxury and discretionary spending.

I think high-end real estate, hotels and services are toast, for a while.

“Don’t fire me” => I’ll take a pay cut.

The protected class are going to be asking for massive paycuts, rather than getting fired (and losing their family’s health insurance). The American healthcare system works great for the elite, until it doesn’t.

Phase Two / Transition – Frontline clinicians develop effective, rapid treatment protocols.

Combine with widespread testing and contact tracing (made easier by the global unemployed being ready for government work, and health insurance coverage).

Testing focuses on those in contact with risk-populations and those with potential to be super-spreaders.

Who are potential super-spreaders and where are the super-spreading events?

  1. People who interact with at-risk populations
  2. Kids => school is not coming back any time soon
  3. Team sports, particularly those with contact
  4. Large gatherings => religious services, sports events, concerts, schools, universities
  5. Politicians => Colorado’s mail in ballot system goes nationwide
  6. First responders
  7. The jet-set and any entity with a private jet
  8. What am I missing? Share back to me.

We are seeing states establishing in-bound quarantine rules => 14-days right now.

This is going to spread because the economic harm from a handful of positives arriving (in this period) far outweighs the benefits from freedom of movement.

What seemed like an unreasonable constraint on liberty in March, will be demanded by many in the near future => even radical libertarians will want to get their factories open.

In this phase we will learn about reinfection, if antibodies convey immunity, if gradual herd immunity is a viable strategy, what COVID-19 infection does to the body/organs/brain.

To selectively quarantine, we will need to break into smaller entities. The US is set up for this with county/state government and health authorities.

I think this period will be a lousy time to be living in a mega-city => maybe that’s why smart pals immediately left NYC?

Inter-state commerce already has a port-of-entry system for the highways. Most of the US has the ability to self-quarantine into 5-10 million population city-states.

Smart local authorities will set circuit breakers for future lockdowns. See what Singapore is doing in April. Singapore’s follow-on lockdown implies a circuit breaker at 1 daily infection per 100,000 citizens. Yesterday, Colorado was ~7x that rate and locked down.

If the above happens then we will have wasted the financial support to the airline corporations. The corporations are toast because we are going to need to put them out of business for a while. We will need to support, then redirect, their employees (and many other employees). Note, the planes will get going, with different owners, in Phase Three.

Open borders are toast in this phase.

At-risk populations are probably going to want some sort of lockdown for the duration of Phase One & Two. Individual 12-18 month hard lockdown is misery.

What’s the optimal size of the bubble? What’s the optimal strength of the lockdown?

Becoming robust for Phase Two:

  1. Expect you will be unemployed at least once
  2. Create a plan for cash flow through Christmas 2021
  3. Have supplies on hand for a surprise 28-day hard quarantine
  4. What am I missing? Share back to me

Phase Three / Exit – vaccine, herd immunity or some other development gets us back to an unknowable new-normal.

There’s going to be a strong argument for getting rid of many aspect of globalization going forward. Here’s John Gray on a post-COVID world.

2020-04-03 09.36.20

Let’s end with some good news => The Brits built a 4,000 bed hospital in 9 days, Nightingale. Truly impressive.