Love in the Time of COVID-19

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A professional baseball game during the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918

The problem in public life is learning to overcome terror.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez, “Love in the Time of Cholera”

Within a few months, the reality of COVID-19 will overtake the propaganda of the CCP and their toadies at the World Health Organization, as real-world companies begin making real-world economic decisions to maintain their enterprises in the face of a real-world threat.

Those decisions will be led by sports franchises.

I realize this sounds pretty out-there to most people. As my father used to tell me, “Ben, being two steps ahead is like being one step behind.”

And I get it. We’re still playing the “Confirmed Cases!” game, where countries like Indonesia claim that COVID-19 doesn’t exist within their borders because they’ve tested … checks notes … 64 people. Where more people apparently caught COVID-19 on a cruise ship yesterday than in Africa and the Southeast Asian sub-continent combined. Where the World Health Organization parrots the (literally) party line from China even though WHO-sponsored doctors have published study after study showing that the China data is a crock.


But it hit me like a ton of bricks this morning that the “Confirmed Cases!” game is now giving way to the reality of living with a global pandemic when I saw this announcement from the organizers of the Tokyo marathon.

Tokyo marathon to cancel entries from general public (Reuters)

Tokyo marathon organizers have decided to cancel entries from the general public for the event scheduled on March 1 due to the coronavirus outbreak, Tokyo Shimbun newspaper reported on Monday.

About 38,000 people from the general public were scheduled to run in the event, Japan’s biggest marathon, the paper said.

So I’ll just say this as simply as I can. Three things:

First, this is absolutely the right decision.

Second, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics are finished as a spectator event. Not happening.

Third, if you’re a professional sports league and you’re not making contingency plans to shut down your stadiums and run next season in front of TV cameras only, you’re just not paying attention.


  1. The Hong Kong Jockey Club is already there. (FYI: More money is bet on the two horse tracks in HK than in all the tracks in North America.) I believe they have shut down there telephone centers that will take your bet. I believe they have shut down about 100 off-track betting centers in HK. Attendance at their tracks is limited to 300-400. You can still watch them on TV, bet online or on your phone… and if you’re in the United States you can watch the live stream and bet on TVG or xpressbet.

  2. It’s a side note, but it makes me wonder about the acceleration effect this will have on virtual reality technology.

  3. When are central bankers going to do something to stop COVID-19?

  4. Ben, to your points…went to DC on business, came down with something (thank you airplane/airport) sooo, bad that hit me sooo hard, I couldn’t help but wonder if it were/is corona (all same listed symptoms). I had to make my meetings telephone calls, bc I didn’t want to spread it. One call was with a pulmonologist client. The meeting focused less on investment and more on Corona. He told me that he has absolutely no faith in the quality of the testing…that it misses too many cases. Ok, not sure about that, but here’s the killer thought, Ben. He said that we know the mortality rates in China, but people to people, region to region, people have DIFFERENT IMMUNE SYSTEMS/RESPONSES. We can have no idea if the virus will be more or less deadly in other parts of the world. This was a jaw-dropper for me.

  5. Avatar for fvc fvc says:

    Hi Ben, please can you check that link to the Lancet article. Its going to your local link bit their website. Thanks and lets hope these new virus hotspots get contained. This 14 day comfort seems to have some long tails. M

  6. Avatar for Kevin Kevin says:

    Ben, I thought of this note as soon as I saw the news tonight about the NBA decision to suspend the season. I heard it here first!

Continue the discussion at the Epsilon Theory Forum


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