The Masks We Wear

I’m planning to drop some COVID-19 info and updates into some of my posts, hopefully in a way that won’t get people thinking that I’m taking a position in the US election, as it is of vital interest for the economy going forward, and there was a time when that mattered for stock markets too, though that seems less certain at the moment.

I was giving the best guess mortality stats for the virus on Tuesday, and just wanted to break those down a bit further. The bottom line really is that, subject to some variations depending on race, sex and existing co-morbid health conditions, and in the event that anyone is actually infected, as many may well never be infected, then the death rate for those in the 12 to 40 age range is about 0.01%, or one in ten thousand, the death rate for people in the 41 to 60 range rises to about 0.1%, or one in a thousand, and the mortality rate rises sharply for those 60 or over to about 2%, or one in a fifty. That last stat is heavily weighted towards the oldest and least healthy in the population, to the extent that the average age of death from COVID-19 among white people in the Indiana study I was referring to was 78.9, with over half of all COV-19 deaths in Indiana among nursing home residents.

What does this mean? Well it’s actually very good news, with this pandemic being relatively mild and normally distributed compared to a really bad pandemic like the one in 1918-20. With this information the math is pretty simple and it’s obvious that with some masks and social distancing to slow the spread and protect the more vulnerable while a vast and likely to be ultimately successful search goes on to develop a vaccine. I was initially sceptical about that yielding much in any useful timescale but with the vast resources being put into this I suspect that a workable vaccine may well be ready by the middle of 2021, so with those precautions ensuring that infections don’t run away and risk overloading health systems the world should be about ready to get back to work, but …………..

There seems to be a lot of resistance to wearing masks and maintaining sensible distances, and I’ve been seeing a lot of this first hand in the UK. A lot of people just aren’t wearing masks either at all or are wearing them in a way that makes them ineffective. People are aware of what they should do but here many just can’t be bothered to take basic precautions for the general public welfare, or indeed for the welfare of their more vulnerable family members.  That said, this seems to have been taken to a whole new level in parts of the US, with the anti-masker movement apparently seeing masks as a a civil rights rather than public health issue. I have been watching videos like the one below with disbelief. Wow.

What does this mean? Well with both the UK and US considering further partial or full lockdowns to slow the spread of the virus, it seems that lazy and stupid people may have the clout to deliver the further economic damage that the virus, on the merits of the infection curves and mortality stats, do not. Any economic damage from further lockdowns on these stats is an economic self-inflicted gunshot wound. This has really not been a good year for the ongoing search for intelligent life on earth.

On to the markets, where so far the bulls have been slowly winning the battle at this inflection point. SPX closed slightly over the daily middle band yesterday and has traded above it all of today at the time of writing. That is starting to be converted to support and, if that continues, my next targets are in the 3420-50 area.

SPX daily chart:

In terms of the hourly chart there is no current negative divergence on the SPX RSI 14 though bulls need to break up through the 200 hour MA now at 3390 as that has been holding as resistance yesterday and today. A sustained break above should deliver at least 3420-30.

SPX 60min chart:

There is a decent case here for an IHS here that has formed and broken up with a target in the 3520 area. A break back over 3455.5 would invalidate the open H&S target in the 3110 area. If we see SPX test 3520 I’d be looking for the all time high retest, very possibly to make the second high of a larger double top.

SPX 15min chart:

SPX spent the day mainly just consolidating over the daily middle band, and may well be waiting for the non-farm payroll numbers due an hour before the RTH open tomorrow. If those numbers are good then the path may be open for SPX to retest the all time high. If they disappoint then this rally may well just end suddenly, and on a hard rejection I have some H&S patterns forming on tech stocks that suggest that SPX might then head for the 3000 area. We’ll see how that goes.

Stan and I are doing our monthly free public Chart Chat at the at 4pm EST on Sunday (4th Oct). We’ll be looking at the usual very wide range of instruments and markets and if you’d like to attend, then you can do that on our October Free Webinars page. Be there or be unaware. 🙂

Written by:

Richard Chappell

Jack is a 20 year retail trading veteran and co-founder of The Art Of Chart. He started his blog at in 2010 and since has published tens of thousands of charts looking at hundreds of trading instruments across most tradeable markets, doing original work mainly in the areas of trendlines, patterns and divergences. At The Art Of Chart Jack has taught trading skills, technical analysis, and the discipline and trader psychology that allow those to be used effectively in trading.

01st Oct 2020

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