This blog post began with a mistake in the spelling of Quarantine. Apparently there’s an “a” and not two “e”s, you know where.
It’s been some time I have’t written here. The last time was when I was drunk, thought myself to be on BAC (not Bank of America, of course), and had some idea on measuring return of a trend against the EMH. A lot has changed since then. For example, I never programmed my trend against EMH. Honestly, I don’t even know how to do it. BAC, The Bank of America this time, saw an almost 40% drop in its stock price and the entire stock market shed more than 30% in a matter of a week in what was the biggest drop ever in the market’s history.
The last time I wrote a blog post, university was open, Coronavirus had just entered America and COVID-19 wasn’t yet a household name. Since then, more than 100,00 people have died, more than 1.5 million are infected and the entire world seems to be in a halt. Catastrophe does really come in different forms and this one, I believe, is the worst humanity has ever seen. Can you imagine countries being locked down and billions of people not being able to move wherever they want. Now, of course, I don’t want to see people moving around at these trying times, but could you imagine this happening in regular times? Of course not. This is the magnitude shown only in the movies. Just imagine if COVID-19 had an 25-30% mortality rate like in the movie “contagion”, or even worse, a 50% average mortality rate like Ebola had.
Q1 2020 is officially a lost quarter and it seems likely the year 2020 will be seen as a lost year in history books. Maybe something similar to the dark ages. Maybe someday when I will become a history/ economics/economic history professor, I will be sharing an anecdotal insight about 2020 to make the course material interesting. That’s a maybe if I come out of this pandemic unscathed, physically, economically, and psychologically. The United States had almost 30% of all COVID-19 cases in the world, and that happened in a matter of less than a month. Do you know how long it takes for 500,000 people to get infected? Take a guess. It’s less than 40 days. Do you know how easy it is for tens of thousands of people to die prematurely, even if they are in their 70s or 80s? It’s very easy. We saw how easy it is with this virus. All you need to do is first, deny there’s anything to worry about, and once shit hits the fan, try to save the stock market rather than utilizing the power yielded at these times to prepare better facilities so that when shit hits the fan again, in some years from now, you become well-equipped to tackle it. America handled it the worst. Things could have been much better here. What we called underdeveloped countries in terms of economy and other metric did better. Just look at Nepal. Not a single death, which I hope will remain constant until the virus woes end.
There are of-course countries that did an excellent job even at overwhelming times like these. Germany is the best example. The country has more than 120,000 people infected and there’s less than 2% mortality rate with 40,000+ people recovered already. That’s what happens when you prepare your country for the worst. I vividly remember Chancellor Merkel saying more than 50% of the population will likely be infected with the virus. When you describe an a pandemic as a pandemic even before it’s declared a pandemic, people will listen. Everybody wants to live. Everybody deserves to live.
Now there are countries like Italy who I feel sorry for, from the bottom of my heart. When a country has to decide who to be saved and who to be left to die, nothing can go worse than that. A dear fried of mine is in Italy and says it’s still not returned to normal. She says it probably will not for at least some months.
Then again, there are also the likes of The United Kingdom who were so confident that their models were the best and could not be faulted, until they did. The UK, just like the US, could have prevented this chaos. The trajectory of new cases is the UK is alarming and it’s still got some time to peak. On top of that, the Prime Minister is in critical condition because he got infected with the virus. He’s finally able to do “short walks” after coming out of the ICU.
While each day feels like it will become the peak and things will start winding up from here, there’s news of death and new infections breaking the records set past the previous day. I remember when 100 new infections in China looked alarming. Today, seeing 10,000 new cases and 1000 new deaths does not surprise me. It’s the stats of just one of the many infected countries, after all. Death tolls reached 2000 per day in the US alone. On top that that, Florida is yet to be hit hard. So is Texas.
In the midst of this Chaos, there’s some hope as well. People coming out in their balconies to sing with their neighbors, inspiring works of health professionals, Dr. Fauci’s warm words, Tik-Toks, and even seeing people in the nearby grocery stores not trying to hoard food, water, and sanitary products has me thinking that we can come out of this being better. God bless all the health workers who have been tirelessly working risking their lives so that others’ can be saved. God bless grocery stores that decided to stay open, not jack up prices and provide food, even to those who couldn’t afford it. God bless everybody who helped in any way possible in these trying times.
Next comes what am I doing. I have been in Quarantine for a month now, have a 4 hour-a-week shift at the university and did almost nothing, I rephrase, nothing productive, till yesterday. The first 2 days of Quarantine were okay, the next 7 unbearable, and then it slowly became adjustable. I have acquired a credit card, just in case my cash reserves finish and this thing doesn’t wind up in 2 months or so. It took me a month of doing absolutely nothing, drinking, eating pizza and other junk, and losing money playing cards to realize that if I don’t come out of this Quarantine learning a few skills, brushing up my writing abilities, reading books and being prepared to apply for my Masters, it’ll mean that I absolutely lack any discipline at all, and time economy really is not the thing preventing me to learn something new. At this point, I don’t regret that I lost a month; I rejoice that I came back to my senses.
I started working on ” Machine Learning in Finance” in Coursera this morning and am halfway through the first week of the series. I plan on finishing 4 months worth of learning by the time my $1.99 trial expires.
I also began doing Calisthenic exercises. Pushups, Pull-ups, Sit-ups, Hand Stands and a few more. It was difficult 4 days ago but today I really enjoyed it. I’ll be pushing my limits every day and try getting that summer body I always wanted.
Writing exercises begin with this blog post. It took me 2 hours to write 1200 words and I wrote after a long time. I won’t write everyday, but I will try maintaining a routine- maybe once a week?
There are a few pieces of literature in economics, agriculture, medicine and politics that I want to finish reading. After completion of each of them, I will write a blog post. Currently, I am reading “Never Out of Season” by Rob Dunn. Tomorrow, I will begin reading Marx’s “The Communist Manifesto”.
Since formal education is the goal of utmost importance in my life, I will begin delving deeper into college textbooks and assignment, and start reasoning and understanding as much material as I can. This Quarantine gives me the opportunity to nag my professors- who are very helpful by the way- as much as I want. I will begin working on some unfinished college essays and assignment and re-read all coursework material.
I will start looking for universities and scholarships to apply for my Masters’ education. I am undecided on whether I will study Economics, Finance, Economic History or maybe even Law, but I know it will be one of the four. The lowest possibility is with Law and the highest is with Finance. But I really want to study Economic History and there’s only a few university that offer it. I’ll start looking more towards this.
Finally, I will writing essays for scholarships to finish the last year of my Bachelors’ degree at Caldwell University. I am certain I won’t be able to pay for the tuition myself and I don’t want to talk loan at high interest or ask money from my parents, unless I really have to. The best way would be to apply for tens or maybe even hundreds of available scholarships and see if I can get a few. Every dollar helps at this point, especially if it is a thousand.
So there it is. Everything I wanted to write. Everything I had in my mind. I wrote so much that my palms hurt. My hand hurts as well. My body is still active and so is my mind. Maybe it’s the Calisthenics at work. Regardless, it’s time to sleep. It’s not everyday that I get to sleep 10 hours a day. Oh wait, it is!