WHY THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION WILL WANT TO DELAY REVEALING A PANDEMIC HAS BEGUN
By DP Maaon
Good God, no wonder the World Health Organisation was reluctant to shift the Global Pandemic Alertl from Level 3 to Level 4 during the human bird flu cluster outbreak in Indonesia in late-May/early-June.
As a columnist for Forbes.com explains : "The moment the WHO shifts the alert level to Phase 4, expect a literal overnight collapse of the Asian markets similar to the currency crisis of 1997. That crisis started in July 1997 in Thailand, but it caused a global financial domino effect. That is what we are looking at with a Phase 4 warning."
Ahhh, thanks for the heads up.
Obviously once the World Health Organisation comes clean and ups the Alert Level to 4, or 5, or even 6, and the media catch wind that a human bird flu pandemic is about to begin, or has already begun, there will be a massive demand for the much-lauded anti-virals which are already in worldwide short supply.
This would, of course, mean that the stock price of biotech companies that manufacture anti-virals, and might by then have a human vaccine against the virus, would skyrocket in value.
But apparently there are plenty of other ways to turn a big fat profit off a human avian influenza pandmeic, during which more than 100 million could die within months.
Forbes.com : "The vast majority of stocks would decline, which is why we have suggested a December put option on the Standard & Poor's 500 index as a hedge...with respect to hedges, it is best to get in early."
December? Do Forbes.com columnists know something the rest of us don't?
Forbes explains that while biotech and pharmauetical companies' stocks may soar after the WHO announces a Level 4 warning, "Most other stocks are likely to plummet due to media shock."
After the initial selling wave has passed, however, bargain hunters will arrive, and we expect there will be a group of companies that quickly rebound once investors realize that their businesses will thrive in a national bio-emergency, assuming the companies can maintain manpower services. That is a big assumption, but it is worth sketching out a shopping list.
That would be all YOUR stocks : those who don't know what is coming or when.
Health care is a goer, apparently, if you want to turn a pleasing pandemic profit.
And companies that supply such essentials as oxygen cylinders will also do well - the infected will have great trouble breathing, and even those who aren't infected, and can afford round the clock oxygen, may decide to suck it instead of risking the air most others will have to share.
There's video-conferencing, "emergency communications" and online shopping networks, such as EBay. That's providing there's enough drivers to get the goods ordered online to the homes of the quarantined, infected or dying.
It's also nice to see that Forbes.com gives us the straight info about how and why the beginnings of a human pandemic might be covered up by our ever-reliable governments and agencies :
"What are the chances of a pandemic? How lethal might the mutated strain be? How easily passed? How effective would the current anti-virals be? We honestly don't know, but we assume that government and WHO health officials will always downplay the seriousness of the situation to avoid sparking pandemonium on top of pandemic."
Yes, the WHO wouldn't want to terrify people by telling them the truth.
Best to not let the punters know that they might be getting infected with a deadly virus simply by standing too close to an infected somebody who has just arrived home from Indonesia.
Of course, if people were told the truth (presuming a pandemic does actually begin) they might calmly and simply head to the shops to stock up on essentials, then head home and get stuck into that pile of books they've been waiting to read for years while they wait out the six to eight week passage of a pandemic wave.
Forbes.com emphasises it's best to get in early with those put options, with the buying up of stock that might skyrocket, should a pandemic begin, and also with the self-preservation :
It's refreshing to know that even while a few million, or a hundred million, people are burning up with a monstrous fever and drowning on their own mucus as their confused immune systems struggle to fight off an avian influenza infection, there will also be a storm of stock market speculators already in the know who will keep themselves busy turning some neat, fast profits off the whole of human misery.
We therefore believe it is prudent for individuals to acquire anti-viral medication at this time. Given supply shortages and the long lead times for manufacturing, it will probably not be available during a pandemic in the 2006 to 2007 time frame.
More Updates From Our Bird Flu Blog Here.