Welcome to Bespoke Brunch Reads — a linkfest of the favorite things we read over the past week. The links are mostly market related, but there are some other interesting subjects covered as well. We hope you enjoy the food for thought as a supplement to the research we provide you during the week.

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Coronavirus: The Hammer and the Dance by Tomas Pueyo (Medium)

After the initial surge in cases, society will have to work hard to prevent new surges of cases as the virus continues to circulate at a much slower rate within the broad population. [Link]

99% of Those Who Died From Virus Had Other Illness, Italy Says by Tommaso Ebhardt, Chiara Remondini, and Marco Bertacche (Bloomberg)

As a share of total deaths in Italy, only 0.8% came to patients who had no other major illness, pathology, or comorbidity like heart disease, diabetes, a history of cancer, or asthma. Roughly half of deaths came from individuals with three or more such complications, suggesting only specific populations are at mortal risk from the virus. [Link; auto-playing video]

What if there already is a large latent-immune population? by Brett Winton (Medium)

The author proposes that existing immunities to the coronavirus that causes common colds exist in the population and may serve to cap the spread of COVID-19. [Link]

Coronavirus Is Hiding in Plain Sight by Benedict Carey (NYT)

Some studies suggest that so many people are so lightly impacted by COVID-19 that there are five to ten undetected infections for every one person that tests positive. [Link; soft paywall]

A human monoclonal antibody blocking SARS-CoV-2 infection by Chunyan Wang, Wentao Li, Dubravka Drabek, Nisreen M.A. Okba, Rien van Haperen, Albert D.M.E. Osterhaus, Frank J.M. van Kuppeveld, Bart L. Haagmans, Frank Grosveld, and Berend-Jan Bosch (bioxRxiv)

The authors claim to have identified an antibody which would neutralize the virus as a possible mean for both prevention and treatment of the disease. [Link]

Corona Controversies

To Track Virus, Governments Weigh Surveillance Tools That Push Privacy Limits by Kirsten Grind, Robert McMillan and Anna Wilde Mathews (WSJ)

A variety of technological solutions for the COVID-19 outbreak are likely to bring the government and technology companies into direct conflict with civil rights and advocacy groups. [Link]

A Generational War Is Brewing Over Coronavirus by Bojan Pancevsk, Stacy Meichtry, and Xavier Fontdegloria (WSJ)

Social gatherings of young people are a potent source for the spread of the coronavirus, but that group of the population doesn’t see much risk from COVID-19 and may create major risks for groups that face a higher death rate or partiers themselves. [Link]

A Costco Corporate Employee Died From COVID-19, But Staff Still Need Approval To Work From Home by Brianna Sacks (BuzzFeed)

A company policy designed to show solidarity with front-line retail workers meant no working from home for corporate employees of Costco in Seattle, even after an employee at the office died from the disease. [Link]

Viral Solutions

IBM Supercomputer Summit Attacks Coronavirus… by Anders Quitzau (IBM)

The Oak Ridge National Lab is using an IBM supercomputer that uses 27,000 NVIDIA GPUs and 9,216 CPUs to identify molecules which may serve as a potential method of defeating the virus. [Link]

The Surprising Way Durham Distillery is Helping Fight Coronavirus by Caroline Sanders (Garden & Gun)

A North Carolina distillery had flipped production from potent potables to stronger stuff which can serve as a sanitizing product; demand has surged amidst shortages across the country. [Link]

Firm ‘refuses to give blueprint’ for coronavirus equipment that could save lives by Faye Brown (Metro)

A hospital in Brescia ran out of a small oxygen valve that served as a key component in a ventilator; a local with a 3-D printer reverse-engineered the part and was producing it at home within hours. [Link]


NASCAR is taking advantage of esports after postponing live events due to the coronavirus pandemic by Mariel Soto Reyes (Business Insider)

Stock car drivers are heading to a virtual race track after all races have been postponed through May 3rd. Drivers will compete online instead of in-person. [Link]

AP sources: MLB could skip draft; service time big issue by Ronald Blum (AP)

As leagues reel from cancelled games and lost revenue, baseball is considering skipping its draft as players demand credit for a season of service even if a full slate is never played. [Link]

Investor Impact

Hedge Funds Hit by Losses in ‘Basis Trade’ by Juliet Chung (WSJ)

Fixed income relative value has been wrecked by the volatility brought on by COVID-19, and the relationship between cash bonds and futures has been a special source of pain across various chunks of the fund universe. [Link; paywall]

Brace for earnings numbers like you’ve never seen before by Sam Ro (Yahoo! Finance)

Earnings season is just around the corner and it is set to be absolutely horrific thanks to the widespread declines in economic activity brought on by COVID-19. [Link; auto-playing video]

Rich People Are Raising Cash From Their Art Collections by Katya Kazakina and Tom Mecalf (MSN/Bloomberg)

Cash is cash, and with all cash fungible you find liquidity where you can. These days, for the wealthiest, that place is in fine art, with a $10mm Basquiat, $30mm in rare contemporary art, and financing trades on existing purchases all going through. [Link]

Corona Malfeasance

Weeks Before Virus Panic, Intelligence Chairman Privately Raised Alarm, Sold Stocks by Tim Mak (NPR)

The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina, warned a private group of donors and liquidated an equity portfolio after receiving a private briefing on the COVID-19 outbreak in February, contrary to public advice from the administration. [Link]

Timeline: The early days of China’s coronavirus outbreak and cover-up by Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian (Axios)

The spread and severity of COVID-19 around the world has been amplified by numerous policy mistakes, but its original spread in China was farther and faster than necessary thanks to mistakes made inside that country. [Link]

Gaia’s Revenge

‘Nature is taking back Venice’: wildlife returns to tourist-free city by John Brunton (The Guardian)

Venetian lagoons are clearing up as COVID-19 keeps tourists, cruise ships, and speed boats at bay. [Link]

This Boeing 787 Just Set a Record for the Longest-Ever Passenger Flight, Thanks to Virus by Rob Stumpf (The Drive)

Unable to land in Los Angeles, the Tahiti-Charles de Gaulle 787 Dreamliner flight spent just fewer than 10,000 miles in the air thanks to just under 16 hours of steady flying. [Link]


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