The New COVID Variant Investment Thesis For Stocks And Real Estate

The new COVID variant, Omicron (B.1.529) was first detected in South Africa in November 2021. Omicron is now the dominant COVID variant today.

Reports are showing Omicron is less potent, which is leading to less hospitalizations per infected cases. Reported symptoms are generally more mild as the variant doesn't seem to attack the respiratory system as hard. However, it also seems as if Omicron is more contagious than previous variants.

Given we went through the Delta variant without too many hiccups, the investment thesis for this latest variant should hopefully be similar. Let's review this latest COVID variant investment thesis for stocks and real estate.

Overall COVID Variant Investment Thesis: Buy The Dip

Thanks to our experience since 1Q2020 dealing with earlier variants, we now have a decent roadmap for what to expect. Therefore, if there is another sustained surge, we can expect less safety compliance, less fear, and more economic activity.

In other words, things won't get as bad this time around. Therefore, we can rule out another 32% S&P 500 correction like the one we saw in March 2020. Therefore, I'm nibbling on the selloff. COVID will be endemic. We just have to learn to live with it.

However, we could easily see a 10% – 15% S&P 500 correction that would bring the index back down to the 4,000 – 4,100 range. Valuations are expensive and corporations must grow earnings to meet high expectations.

As for real estate, the new variant should be good for real estate as more people spend more time at home again. Interest rates will likely decline as Treasury bonds get bid up. Further, more people will try and convert more paper money profits into hard assets.

Let's get into more detail.

New COVID Variant Investment Thesis: Stocks

Since none of us have future-revealing crystal balls, we must accept our COVID variant investment thesis could be dead wrong. However, if we logically think things through, hopefully, we'll have a greater than a 50% chance our investment thesis will be right.

When it comes to building wealth, our net worth allocation is the biggest determining factor. However, when it comes to active investing, all we need is enough 51% chances to outperform.

Again, expect the S&P 500 to decline by 10% – 15% if the new Omicron variant rages as much as the alpha variant. After the correction, we can assume new booster shots will target the B.1.1.529 variant and things will more quickly get back to normal.

Therefore, if there is a 10%+ correction in the S&P 500 (4,150 – 4,200), I would be aggressively buying the dip. I expect the S&P 500 to recover all its losses within three months of the correction and the market to reach new highs.

Here is my 2022 stock market forecast calling for roughly 5% upside to 5,008 on the S&P 500.

Outperformers In A New COVID Variant Scenario

During the worst of the Omicron variant spread, these sectors/stocks may perform the best.

  • Home media: Netflix, Disney, Hulu, Roku
  • Food delivery: DoorDash, Postmates, HelloFresh
  • Home furnishing/remodeling: Wayfair, Home Depot
  • Home fitness: Peloton
  • REITs, eREITs, real estate ETFs: Vanguard Real Estate, American Homes 4 Rent, Realty Income
  • Social media: Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook
  • Big tech: Apple, Google, Amazon, Microsoft
  • Pharma: Pfizer, Moderna

Underperformers In A New COVID Variant Surge

During the worst of the new COVID variant spread, these sectors/stocks will likely underperform the S&P 500. If there is a omicron variant booster shot or if the variant starts to get under control, there's a greater chance these sectors/stocks will then begin to outperform.

  • Financial (XLF): JP Morgan, Chase, Wells Fargo
  • Materials (XLB): Newmont Corp, Dow Inc, Linde PLC
  • Industrials (XLI): Honeywell, UPS, Union Pacific, Boeing
  • Cruises & Airlines: Delta Airlines, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Carnival Corp
  • Small-Cap Russell 2000: Plug Power, Novanax, Penn National Gaming, Caesars Entertainment

New Omicron COVID Variant Investment Thesis: Real Estate

The new COVID variant makes me bullish on real estate due to a decline in interest rates, an increased desire to own hard assets, and more time spent at home. Whenever you spend more time using something, its intrinsic value goes up.

One of the reasons why I've been seeing more online search traffic tick up about migrating to California and Hawaii is due to higher vaccination rates. The combination of a better lifestyle, more job opportunities, better weather, and higher vaccination rates is alluring to some people.

Therefore, if the omicron variant becomes a beast, there will at least likely be a slowdown of people migrating to the Midwest and South to save money. Here is my 2022 housing market forecast, which calls for 8% – 10% pricing upside.

Below is a map of risk levels by state by Johns Hopkins University back in August 11, 2021, when the Delta variant was spreading rapidly. Today, the COVID risk levels are relatively similar by state.

The New COVID Variant Investment Thesis For Stocks And Real Estate

Related: How To Get Rental Deals And Better Tenants After COVID-19

Underperforming States During A New COVID Variant Surge

  • Arkansas
  • Louisiana
  • Florida
  • Mississippi
  • Alabama
  • Kansas
  • Oklahoma
  • Wyoming
  • Nevada
  • Utah
  • Arizona

Most of these states either have lower vaccination rates, more liberal mask and social distancing mandates, unhealthier people, or a combination of all items.

Therefore, at the margin, these states may be relative underperformers from a real estate investment standpoint as investors avoid these states until things get better. If enough hospitalizations and deaths occur, economic activity will slow down.

On the flip side, more individual liberties may result in more economic activity, which could boost real estate prices further. I'm hypothesizing that enough people have died from the coronavirus that people in the most affected states will take things more seriously this time around.

Unfortunately, I don't see the southeastern states like Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas climbing out of the bottom 10% poorest states in the country any time soon. It takes time to change.

Percentage of Americans fully vaccinated by state
Source: Johns Hopkins University

Outperforming States During A New COVID Variant Surge

Given all of us have already gone through 1.8+ years of a pandemic, at the margin, we should be more comfortable living with this disease. Therefore, I don't see as many people fleeing big cities like San Francisco, New York, and Boston as much this time around. Safety protocols are robust in these cities.

The midwestern and southern states have had their time to outperform during previous variants. As a result, I see a normalization of real estate price increases where the fastest growing cities slow down and the slowest growing cities stay the same or increase.

Check out this Burns Home Value Index chart highlighting May price increases and upcoming supply. If you read my heartland real estate investment thesis piece from 2016 and took action, you are now well in the money owning Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio property.

The most attractive cities to buy real estate based on price and supply with the new COVID variant

It is highly unlikely cities like Austin will see a similar level of price growth under another COVID variant scenario. House price growth cannot outstrip income growth by that much for too long. Further, be aware of rising supply in cities with the highest price appreciation.

Instead, I expect to see the above graph look more uniform around the overall United States real estate price growth figure. In other words, big cities will underperform less. Price growth for 18-hour cities will slow.

Big Cities Should Underperform Less

Due to high cost, I don't think real estate prices in cities like New York and San Francisco will outperform 18-hour cities like Charlotte or Charleston for a while. The “spreading out of America” is a permanent trend. The law of large numbers is also hard to overcome.

However, don't feel sorry for residents in higher-cost cities. Even a 10% price increase on a $2 million home is equivalent to a 40% increase on a $500,000 home. The main difference may be that big city residents also have higher incomes and a larger public investment portfolios.

If larger public investment portfolios so happen to be concentrated in sectors that outperform, then the wealth gains can be enormous. I know plenty of people who became millionaires and multi-millionaires in the San Francisco Bay Area after the NASDAQ closed up 43% in 2020.

One guy I know joined a San Francisco startup two years ago when it was valued at $500 million. Recently, the company raised a large round that valued the company at $10 billion! He is now a deca-millionaire on paper.

Although big city real estate will underperform less, they will likely still underperform. Therefore, it's up to you to take in all the variables of lifestyle, income, family, and friends to decide where you want to live.

Personally, I've used part of my Buy Utility, Rent Luxury (BURL) strategy to invest. In other words, I have continued to live in an expensive city like San Francisco for lifestyle reasons and invest in less expensive cities like Charleston for capital gains reasons.

My Invest Strategy If Things Get Worse

If the latest COVID variant aggressively spreads, bonds will do well and yields will decline. We already see the 10-year bond yield below 1.4%. Therefore, I'm happy to keep my existing bond positions and will focus on putting new money to work in real estate.

In my post, Why The Housing Market Won't Crash Any Time Soon, one of the bullish housing scenarios I discussed was a bear market in stocks resulting in a bull market in bonds and a decline in rates.

We saw this mini-scenario play out on July 19 when the S&P 500 declined by 1.2% and bond yields declined to 1.18% from 1.3%. We saw this scenario play out for years after the 2000 dotcom bust.

If the new COVID variant doesn't ravage the economy, then strong economic growth will do well for stocks and real estate. Bonds may underperform. However, bonds have done incredibly well in a multi-decade stock bull market. Therefore, don't completely disregard bonds just because interest rates are low.

I'm investing in a build-to-rent fund because I believe rents will continue to go up. I don't currently have enough capital to buy another physical rental property, nor am I sure I want to given time constraints as a father.

My current real estate exposure consists of three rental properties in San Francisco, a rental property in Lake Tahoe, multiple real estate crowdfunding investments, and various real estate public securities. These investments make up roughly 40% of my net worth.

Watching Stock Underperformers

On the stock side, my focus is on the sectors and names in the Underperformers category. The reason why is because I'm already long names in the Outperformers category (tech, media).

JETS, RCL, CCL, and XLB are the main securities on my watch list. Airlines and cruise ships have up to ~30% downside from current levels if the new COVID variant shuts us down. If these stocks do decline by this magnitude, eventually I believe they will recover by 50%+. I also bought health and fitness stocks as a laggard reopening trade.

It's important to develop a watch list because, otherwise, you'll tend to buy what you've always been buying. A great investor is always prepared and trying to connect the dots.

Given I believe there will be booster shots to counteract new variants, I expect the Underperformers to eventually outperform again. In other words, I'm looking for a mean reversion.

Boosting Cash As Well

Finally, I am happily stacking cash in order to take advantage of a potential 10-15% correction in the S&P 500. I only assign a 25% chance there will be a correction of this magnitude. However, I still want to have a decent amount of cash to deploy if it does.

Having a robust investment portfolio and a large cash hoard feels good after a massive rally. I'm currently deploying capital into a venture debt fund, which has a lower risk profile than venture capital funds I'm also investing in.

Let's hope things don't get too bad with the new COVID variant But if they do, now we've got a plan.

Diversify Your Investments Into Real Estate

Stocks are very volatile compared to real estate. Therefore, if you want to dampen volatility and build wealth at the same time, invest in real estate. Real estate is my favorite asset class to build wealth.

The combination of rising rents and rising capital values is a very powerful wealth-builder. By the time I was 30, I had bought two properties in San Francisco and one property in Lake Tahoe. These properties now generate a significant amount of mostly passive income.

In 2016, I started diversifying into heartland real estate to take advantage of lower valuations and higher cap rates. I did so by investing $810,000 with real estate crowdfunding platforms. With interest rates down, the value of cash flow is up. Further, the pandemic has made working from home more common.

Best Real Estate Investment Platforms

Check out my favorite platform, Fundrise. Fundrise enables investors to diversify into real estate through private eREITs. Fundrise has been around since 2012 and has consistently generated steady returns, no matter what the stock market is doing. For most people, investing in a diversified eREIT is the easiest way to gain real estate exposure. 

Another great platform is CrowdStreet, which focuses mainly on individual opportunities in 18-hour cities. 18-hour cities tend to have faster growth, lower valuations, and strong demographic trends. I've met the team before and their platform is excellent if you want to build your own select real estate portfolio.

Readers, what is your new COVID variant investment thesis? What are you waiting to buy if things start getting very bad again? Are you putting more capital to work in real estate or stocks? Or are you buying something else or hoarding cash?

Disclaimer: I've written my investment thesis and what I plan to do with my money. Given you are not me, please write your own investment thesis and follow your own objectives. Invest at your own risk.

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About The Author

102 thoughts on “The New COVID Variant Investment Thesis For Stocks And Real Estate”

  1. Buy now while the market is on sale. I can’t believe people are afraid of Omicron when there are currently 7 deaths out of 183,000 cases in the UK. Common cold folks.

  2. Impersonal Finances

    Fortunately, we have a playbook for this scenario. But that also means there is an opportunity to more confidently maneuver in those market conditions (as you mention, just see it as a short-term sale). My guess would be we can’t go back into a lockdown scenario, so from an economic standpoint I don’t think we’ll get anywhere near the impact of the initial scare. Then again, nobody knows anything at this point.

  3. My investment thesis is on autopilot and doesn’t change with omicron. I make automatic paycheck contributions into my 401k, 529 accounts and brokerage. I plan to invest my EOY bonus into my youngest kid’s 529 plan, which is in all equities. My investment real estate consists of 2 duplexes in a desirable location that has been positively affected by COVID, and I’ve already updated both duplexes and refinanced both to low interest rates. I invest half of the net cash flow into principal paydown and the other half into a brokerage account. 50% of my NW is in real estate; the other 50% is in equities with just a bit of bonds. I used to save cash and look for real estate opportunities, but now with young kids I just want to automation and simplicity. I don’t think any world event is going to change what I’ve got set up, but it’s hard to say until it happen.

  4. Simple Money Man

    Solid advice. Question: from your 40% portfolio exposure in real estate, what is the breakdown in exposure of actual properties VS REITS and crowdfunding investments?

  5. David @ Filled With Money

    I should’ve listened to your post, “how to predict a stock market bottom like Nostradamus”. I would’ve been very rich if so .

    it could be a sign of, “here we go again!” with the Omicron variant!

  6. I’m with you on this one. There’s just to much money on the sidelines not to buy the dip. Thanks for LTH!! 30 percent in a month

  7. COVID has shifted future demand for housing forward. The fed must raise interest rates if inflation turns out to be non-transitory as business hates uncertainty in pricing; A 4% 30-year home loan would “completely halt the housing market” according to Ivy Zelman … the Mortgage Bankers Association is on record predicting median home price declines of 2.5% by the end of 2022. I would steer clear of this sucker rally as US household growth in last decade was lowest ever recorded, and US demographics are getting worse from here, especially if there’s a surge in deaths due to this new COVID variant.

  8. Manuel Campbell

    Hi Sam,

    There is one thing nobody is talking about – and it is – what if the “omicron” variant infection was milder ? Covid could become like a regular flu. Certainly not fun. But if very few people get to the hospital, there may be no need at all for new restrictions.

    This possibility means that we could have a real “natural herd immunity” much quicker that thought AND that anti-vaxxers would have nothing to say about it – after all, the virus doesn’t care about the opinion of their host !

    Best of both world ? Probably. But it’s how nature works. Viruses tend to adapt to their host. They don’t do that willfully. They do that in order to survive. The more infectious they are and the milder they are, the better their chance of survival.

    So, in the end, omicron could end up being a good news, and signaling the end of the pandemic.

    At this point, this is just a guess. There is no way of knowing how the mutations will affect the virus. But we can’t exclude that possibility…

    As for my investment, I don’t change anything. I still think this pandemic will end in a way or another and that we will have a lot of inflation. So I’m still heavy on recovery stocks, consumer goods and commodities.

    1. Yes, good point and I hope so. I think COVID is just going to be part of our daily lives. And more people will just get on with it. As a result, I’m buying the dip. I think we will adapt and science will find a way to combat.

      I do like how the 10-year bond yield fell below 1.5% again. Good for real estate.

  9. Nancy Pelosi doesn’t seem to be to worried about the risk in Florida with her new 25 million dollar beach front mansion. Maybe she sees the risk as a great opportunity to buy on the cheap.

      1. Lol, TRUE. Pelosi sees that Florida per capita number of COVID cases lowest among U.S. states. If you buy into the covid fear porn then why are congress and illegals crossing the border exempt from the “vaccine” mandate?

  10. What a drag this darn virus keeps mutating, but it’s not a huge surprise. I know several people who caught the Delta variant even when they were vaccinated, but fortunately none of them had any severe symptoms. Makes me thankful the vaccines came out when they did and that cases are very low in my area. Hopefully the omicron variant will not spread that far.

  11. Ny Money Hawk

    Interesting thesis!

    I’m pretty much fully invested but if there is a 10-15% dip I’ll definitely try to free up some extra funds to invest.

  12. An outperformer stock to add to your New COVID Variant Scenario is Novavax (NVAX).
    Better efficacy, safety profile and durability than any of the others. Traditional protein-based vaccine type that has been in use for decades. Will soon be the go-to vaccine. Approvals in 2 countries already and filings in dozens of others with more approvals coming in next week(s) from EU, Canada, Australia, WHO, Japan, Singapore, Mexico, India etc..

    You do not hear much about NVAX in the press and it has been kept down in the US due to politics and big pharma/FDA corruption, even though it is a US company headquartered in MD. It has been running this week and is still 100 points below recent highs. Pay no attention to law firms soliciting clients for losses-all bogus and going nowhere.

    NVAX is a second-stage rocket about to blast into orbit. Moderna and Pfizer Covid vaccines will be relegated to history once this baby takes over, and they know it. They were both up today, but will not sustain those gains given the problems with durability, severe side-effects and total lack of sterilizing immunity.

    1. Dunning freaking kruger

      What is your background? The novavax speculationsounds interesting. What scientific experience/education do you possess for such a qualified opinion?

      1. I’m guessing his/her “expertise” is based on the fact he/she already owns a lot of this stock. Notice each claim is more over-the-top than the last with no evidence to support any of them. Maybe they’re a writer for Zero Hedge…

  13. This is a pretty good thesis. During the whole March 2020 crash I just bought more and more with almost all the cash I had left.

    The companies that were hit hardest (big airlines and oil) eventually recovered after a few months and I locked in some sweet short-term cap gains.

    This pattern could definitely happen again for delta variant and so I think it’s a pretty good way to go.

  14. Sam,

    What are your thoughts on selling positions in 401ks and other retirement accounts at a time like this? When we think a large correction is coming, should we sell these positions that wont create any tax impact, then buy again once the correction occurs?

    1. Bay Area Person

      I have this same question—would love to know what others are doing / when you’re selling.

  15. John and Rosemary

    We like your idea of keeping some dry powder so we can pounce if there is a big dip.

    But aren’t going to beat ourselves up too much for lacking the prescience to rotate in and out of sectors during a time of market and medical uncertainty. Buy and hold or HODL serves us just fine. Particularly if those HODL are paying an acceptable dividend until the markets offer some recognizable direction.

  16. Great article and good ideas if the US begins to lock down due to the Delta variant. That said, as other readers have pointed out the death rate is exceedingly low and vaccines are readily available to those that want one. I think that even more so than last year – the decision to re-enact a mask mandate or limit gathering would be even more socially charged than it was in 2020 / early 2021. Select states such as California may move in that direction, but I think the vast majority of states will remain fully open – even those that were late to re-open earlier this year. I’m more concerned about the economic implications of what the Fed is doing than of the Delta variant.

  17. Christopher Stevens

    I bought a property in Las Vegas to get to about 40% of my portfolio for real estate. I’m glad to hear I’m aligned with you on real estate now.

    I’m still very bullish on tech for a long-term investment, along with real estate. Everything else just seems like a waste of money. I did make a slight shift from some tech to Birkshire Hathaway, but it was only about a 3% shift. I’m 52 years old, so I’d like to begin to shift into slightly more conservative stocks that still should generate strong returns over the next 2-4 decades.

      1. If you want to be precise, let’s be fully precise.

        Deaths credited to COVID and deaths credited to flu are counted differently. Also, NATHAN said Delta, not total COVID deaths.

        Regardless, as Rob points out, data and government action don’t seem to correlate with this disease anyway.

      2. Overcounting was and is in effect. Financial incentives for hospitals and covid diagnoses abound. PCR tests were notoriously unreliable. Four comorbidities plus covid might equal a covid death, but c’mon man.

  18. Interesting article. I’m keeping my portfolio boring. I prefer it that way.
    As far as masks. It’s a free country wear one if you want to. I could care less.

  19. Thanks for laying out the strategy and I agree, for those that are willing to be more active, evaluating the historical trends form the Alpha variant and applying that to this time around is not a bad strategy. Those that stay the course and decide not to trade in and out will likely do just fine as well.

    I love that you are getting into BTR as it is a very interesting place to be. Are you able to share where you are investing in your BTR fund? This is one of the few times in history where its actually cheaper to build than to buy a SFR property. Building BTR properties allows you to build at an efficient cost 5.5% to 6% cap rate and at scale, your fund can monetize the portfolio at an attractive cap rate (4-5%), creating a ton of value.

  20. WhatDoYouThink

    Sam, do you believe that the real estate market will eventually revert back to the mean? As you mentioned, income growth does not match home prices in most markets. And most studies show that the global housing market is about 10% overvalued (e.g.

    I understand you feel confident in the real estate market, but do you have any self-doubt regarding your thesis? If it wasn’t for this pandemic, we would have been in a recession. And if it wasn’t for the Fed and government bailouts, the economic fundamentals would be wreaking havoc in every market. Feels difficult to put millions of dollars at risk when the foundation is shaky and the retail investor is always the last to know.

    1. The overall housing market must slow from its current pace for sure. But I believe it will still go up for several more years. 85% confident.

      Here are all the reasons why IMO:

      I don’t think we would have gone in a recession without the pandemic. We were doing well in early 2020 and President Biden would have stilled focused on stimulus spending.

      Another reason why I’m confident with real estate is because it’s easier for me to find deals and negotiate deals.

      Example of latest:

      How is your net worth structured and what are you doing with your cash?

      1. Since 03/20, I’ve been sitting on more cash than ever (over 25 years) – I started increasing cash in 11/2019, anticipating the US administration would pooch something with China and overall trade relations. While that didn’t come to pass, it was beneficial with the pandemic, though I didn’t have the guts to go all in during the dip.

        Currently: 85% Equities, 9% Real Estate, 6% Cash (in 03/20, this was up to 10% the other 4% has gone back into Equities). Currently looking for more real estate options, but the current increases have made most of those less attractive to me. I no longer invest in single unit housing – only multi-tenant (apartments) via managed LLCs, which have provided a reliable 8% dividend plus double digit asset growth for those that have been sold.

        My current goal: 75% equities, 20% real estate, >5% cash. At that point, the dividends will provide an income stream to meet our budgeted spending by 125%.

        1. That’s a lot of cash! And given cash is 25 years expenses and 6% of net worth, are you saying your net worth is over 420X annual expenses now?

          If so, I encourage you to live it up more!

  21. I think your delta variant thesis is spot on when you mention people returning to larger metro areas. I recently accepted a job in Detroit and even though I will be virtual for at least the next 6 months I’m looking to relocate there before the end of the year. Most of my peers who graduated college and accepted a position like mine have either already moved or are planning a move.

    I’m planning on saving to invest in a duplex/condo in the area in the next 6-7 years. Hiring is intense in the area and there is limited housing availability up until December 2021 in popular commuter areas.

    The relatively lower housing prices in the midwest also make investments very attractive like you’ve mentioned in multiple posts. Especially when properties are near major employers or cities with a high quality of life (Ann Arbor).

    All of this could be biased because of my position and experience, but most college grads I know want to be in person and near their coworkers early in their careers.

    1. Early on in your career, it is definitely best to build in person relationships. The people you know will gradually become more connected and gain more power over time. These are the relationships that you need to develop to help you along.

      There of been so many times where I’ve been able to gain access to some thing because I knew someone. It’s just human nature to help people you know. Good luck!

  22. I just found out I have access to an After-Tax 401K and have in-service rollovers, but can only do this once every annually. I’m thinking it might be a good way to deploy a bunch of money into a roth IRA in the case where what you talk about above does end up happening.

    Thanks again so much for your advice. This is an outstanding perspective and as usual you normally hit the nail on the head.

  23. Please keep up the anti Arkansas content! The last thing we want is an influx of people from California or the East Coast. Its vital everyone thinks that we’re all obese and ignorant, like my 66 year old wife who just won the grand masters trophy from her most recent marathon or me who’s playing on an 18 and older tennis team. We can barely get out of our twin naugahyde recliners to get another six pack out of the fridge. You wouldn’t like it here with all the millions of acres of unpopulated wilderness except for a few inbred, banjo playing hillbillies. Stay away, its not safe here. I mean the property tax of nearly $100 per month on my paid for home is killing me. Or the free five years of college tuition and fees provided to anyone who graduates high school from the local school district, surely every place does that. Life is bad, really bad here.

    1. Whoah! I didn’t realize things were so bad in Arkansas. Thanks for your perspective.

      Hang in there you guys! And congrats to your wife for fighting the odds.

      This post just objectively highlights the data from the CDC, Johns Hopkins University, and the US Census Bureau. Sorry that it offended you.

      As investors, the goal is to try and take emotion out of investing and look at the facts before putting capital to work.

      Any thoughts on why Arkansas is one of the top 5 poorest and unhealthiest states? What are some upsides you think could get the state moving again? Thanks


      According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the national poverty rate was 10.5% percent or 34 million Americans in 2019.

      Poorest U.S. States (

      1. Mississippi

      Mississippi is the poorest U.S. state. Mississippi’s median household income is $45,792, the lowest in the country, with a livable wage of $46,000. Additionally, the state has a poverty rate of 19.6%, the highest of any state. Unfortunately, Mississippi also has the highest obesity rate in the country of 40.8% and the lowest life expectancy of 74.5.

      2. West Virginia

      West Virginia is the second-poorest U.S. state, with a $48,850 median household income and a poverty rate of 17.54%. West Virginia’s educational attainment levels are on the low side, with the lowest percentage of adults with a Bachelor’s degree or higher, and has the second-lowest life expectancy of 74.8.

      3. Louisiana

      Lousiana is the third-poorest state. Louisiana’s median household income is $51,073, which is above its livable wage of $48,000. However, its poverty rate is 19.0%, the second-highest in the country. Louisiana public schools are considered to be among the worst in the U.S.

      4. Arkansas

      The fourth-poorest state in the U.S. is Arkansas. Arkansas’s median household income is the third-lowest at $48,952. The state’s poverty rate is 16.2%, the fifth-highest in the U.S. Arkansas’s obesity rate is 37.4%, the third-highest among all states, behind only West Virginia and Mississippi.


      Unhealthiest U.S. States (

      1. Mississippi

      Mississippi has consistently been the country’s most unhealthy state for several years. While Mississippi has a low drug death rate and low prevalence of excessive drinking, it falls behind in many other categories. About 32.0% of Mississippi residents report getting no regular exercise, making it the most physically inactive state in the U.S. The state also has the highest obesity rate in the country of 39.5%.

      2. Louisiana

      Mississippi’s neighbor Louisiana is the second-most unhealthy state in the U.S. Louisiana has a very high rate of obesity as well at 36.8%, the fourth-highest rate in the nation. About 30.8% of Louisiana’s residents report no regular exercise, the fifth-highest giro for that statistic. Louisiana also has the fifth-highest cardiovascular deaths at 323.5 per 100,000 and the fourth-highest rate of diabetes of 14.1%.

      3. Arkansas

      Arkansas has a high prevalence of both obesity and smoking, at 37.1% and 22.7%, both of which are the third-highest rates in the U.S. Additionally, Arkansas has the third-highest rate of physical inactivity, with only 69.0% of residents reporting regular physical exercise. Arkansas also has the third-highest infant mortality rate in the country at 8.1 deaths per 1,000 live births.

      1. It is common in political narrative-building to conflate cause and effect. One of the consequences of this is that regions that are most hospitable to the poor, the unintelligent, etc are maligned as having caused poverty and ignorance.

        For example, it is far easier for a person of average intelligence to live well in Houston than in San Francisco, and as a result, such people flee San Francisco and migrate to Houston. But we can frame this as a narrative of Houston’s population being poorer and less educated than San Francisco’s, which would imply that San Francisco does better things for its people than Houston does. This is backwards – it is Houston that is better serving the needs of the everyman!

        1. Not to mention things like an older than average population in Florida probably account for the large number of “unhealthy”.

      2. MS, Lousiana, and AK all have high black populations, who have a VERY high rate of obesity and smoking. So they raise the average for the state.

        1. Yup – adjust for race and cost of living, and those states poverty rates and low income largely to entirely disappear and states like CA look horrible looking at Median to get a good idea of the “average” person since CA has a very wealthy upper class.

          1. So you are saying these states are doing fine so long as we exclude Black people?

            Next thing you’re going to tell us is that you’re a racist, white, male, Republican who only speaks one language and isn’t vaccinated.

            Black people account for 28% of Alabama’s population. You just can’t wipe them out, even though you want to.

            1. How on earth is that what you got out of what I posted? I swear some of you people are insane.

              All I said was NORMALIZE incomes for race – in other words compare Black’s median household spending power in Alabama vs California and then compare white’s median household spending power, then compare hispanic, etc. In other words, adjust for cost living and demographics and the income / poverty is gone.

              Put another way, a black and hispanic person in California is more likely to be poor than in Alabama once you adjust for cost of living. The black family in Alabama may only make $35k vs the $50k in California, but after you adjust for 2x cost of living, whom is better off?

            2. Does analyzing data, absent emotion, really equal genocide? Or just in your mind? I think we know the answer.

      3. 1) Unless you adjust for cost of living, any measurement on economic wealth is pointless. (also – only use median, not mean)
        2) Once you do #1, adjust for the same thing per household by race – once you do that, the poverty rates in the south largely go poof (and the ones still low in ranking are barely off from the average at that point)
        3) The CDC /JH assume the vaccine is 90% efficacy against the Delta. Early data shows its only 39%, some of which will include folks that had the disease already and also vaccinated so its hard to say how effective the vaccines are – indeed – the surge is occuring in all 50 states among the vaccinated and unvaccinated

        1. Got it. Good to hear you think the data is wrong and that these states are much wealthier and healthier than reported.

          I do like the hypothesis that we are all middle-class people no matter how much we make or have.

          What is your real estate investment thesis around the delta variant given your beliefs? Thx

          1. The data is not wrong per se, it’s just in nominal terms rather than in real (spending ability). You yourself talk about cost of living and real estate all the time and why you are investing in 18 hour cities – I’m surprised you push back on it at macro level in general.

            A family making $35,000 a year in Alabama can still find 3 bedrooms homes near its major cities for $200k while the same family doing the same work making $50,000 a year in California will cost you $1 million. So while the Alabama family makes 30% less nominal USD than in California, his housing cost 80% less, his utilities cost 70% less, etc. The #s you cite are all in nominal terms, not real spending terms.

            Secondly, no matter which state you look at, the lowest income is Blacks and the highest are Asians. The south has 5-10x the amount of black families as most super liberal areas – once you adjust for cost living and the same race – most of the south is actually better off at the median level.

            I think the delta variant is going to be short of a blip (Look at the UK’s data and Israel – which saw it explode first) to have long term implications – I think the real question is on other variants and how we react in general to them. I believe Covid will effectively be another flu – lots and lots of variants and never able to iradicate them – but 99.8+% of people live (just like the data on Delta variant). In general, I’m also bullish on 18 hour cities but more specifically 18 hour cities in red or purple states. I’ve bought 4 rentals in the last 6 weeks in the Carolinas (3 different cities)

          2. And for further clarification, I am not suggesting we are all middle class. I’m suggesting CA and NY/NE have far more lower and middle class folks than data suggests and SE states have far more middle and upper class folks than data suggests due to Income / Cost of living – which you know is the entire definition of middle class – ie how much your money can buy. No surprise CA has the third highest homeless rate in the US too, behind only NY and DC.

            1. If this is true, then wouldn’t it be better if one invests in states like California, Connecticut, and New York for more upside since you are saying residents there are relatively poorer, and therefore have more upside? Conversely, we should sell real estate in states like Miss., Arkansas, and Alabama since they are relatively richer?

              In the same line of thought, perhaps more people from the south should migrate to California and take advantage of relative value.

              I definitely have seen a large uptick in people searching for terms about migrating to California and to Hawaii lately.

              See this post:

              Honestly, I have never thought about the poorest states actually being richer than the richest states once you exclude various factors. So this is an interesting thought dialogue. It’s traditionally been people moving out of the coastal states to the south of the Midwest as a way for Geo arbitrage to save money.

              1. That is not at all what I’m saying. I’m saying the real spending power (nominal $ / COL = real household income) is the same or better in the South/southeast. I’m really am surprised you are pushing back on this. Are you suggesting $15/hr will buy the same in SF as in Mobile or Huntsville? If not, then why post stats that say someone making $10k less in Huntsville than in SF is poor and the SF person is middle class?

                As far as investments, cap rates are better in the South/southeast than anywhere but the midwest, so I definitely wouldn’t invest in CA/NYC except for tech although I think long term RDU, Austin and a few other areas may be a better investment. Plus, owner rights are much stronger in those states as well.

                1. The link and comments you posted above about southern states are not adjusted for cost of living, nor are national poverty rates. Do some homework, you’ll be surprised

              2. “It’s traditionally been people moving out of the coastal states to the south of the Midwest as a way for Geo arbitrage to save money.”

                That’s exactly the point – they realize their $ and income goes much further in the south and are moving there. When you make $80k/yr in NJ and are considered middle class but spend $15k in property taxes and another $20k on the mortgage on a 1500 sq ft place, while you make $50k in SC but spend $1.5k in property taxes and $10k on a mortgage with $60k in income, you are far richer in SC than in NJ. (This doesn’t even count the federal tax hit from higher income)

                1. OK, I’m glad my thesis is correct. Or at least that you agree with it.

                  I would argue the absolute buying power is more important then comparing relative buying power by race when it comes to investing in real estate nationally.

                  If you have a specific way of capitalizing on your view, I’d love to hear it.

                2. I don’t think race impacts investing decisions/thesis – I was simply responding to your comment above on

                  “Any thoughts on why Arkansas [and then list other southern states after] is one of the top 5 poorest…” when that measurement of poor does not adjust for purchasing power whatsoever nor adjust for race.

                  Someone a family of 4 in alabama making $40k/yr will be considered poor but a family of 4 in SF making $65k/yr will be considered middle class by the data you gave, even though the family in Alabama will actually have a much higher standard of living. Once you adjust for standard/cost of living, then look at a black family in Alabama vs SF, etc and the data just gets worse for wanting to stay in CA.

                  Again, as far as investing, I think Delta will be too short lived to make long term investing decisions on – but how we handle variants in the future – especially ones that seem to spread just as much among the vaccinated with similar virale loads could have implications. Not clear what those are.

              3. Don’t know about California, but here in South FLA we have New Yorkers moving in by the thousands. Florida has a much larger population than N.Y. and it keeps growing and N.Y. is shrinking.

    2. When you are middle class and above, any southern state will do. It’s the poor, the black and Latinos who are dying but hey, as long as you are doing well…‍♀️

      1. If you’re poor in this economy, it’s your own fault. And actually latinos die at a lower rate than whites (from covid and in general), and the reason blacks are dying from covid at such a high rate is that 84% of them are overweight and 45% are obese.

      2. You are better off being poor in a southern state – lower cost of living, easier to qualify for benefits, lower taxes and more ethnic minorities!

        Yes, the virus is hitting obese people harder – which unfortunately tend to be poorer and black. I am all for starting a campaign to encourage everyone to lose weight (which would save millions more lives than masks ever will!)

    3. This is a great, emotionally-charged example for why most investors should invest possibly, not actively.

      Sam stating objective facts and Steve getting all fired up and defensive.

      The truth really does hurt much more sometimes.

    4. John and Rosemary

      Ditto from our vacation home in New Mexico. It’s terrible here. For your own safety don’t come. Wild Indians everywhere!

    5. Steve that was hilarious…JL would be proud of your post. Congrats on “surviving” such an obese, inbred wasteland. Semper FI!

  24. Your such a gifted writer and have a gift of how to zero in on timely topics. Thank you! One observation is that why are we not considering the use of drug therapies like Ivermectin and others. From what I am reading people don’t get as sick and do not end up in hospitals if they go on drug therapies right away.
    So many are positive and grateful for the vaccines and I wonder if they are sure about the counts. There are people who have very valid reasons not to get the new mrna vaccines but they are called anti-vaxx for simply making an informed decision with their doctors about the risks.

    1. The reason Ivermectin is no longer being considered for general use is that it has failed to prove efficacy in treating Covid 19 in higher quality studies. As a physician who has cared for many, many Covid patients in the hospital I can assure you that the one thing that (almost always) keeps patients out of the hospital is the vaccine.

      Are there risks to any vaccine? Sure, just like there are risks to driving our car, or walking down the street. But the risk/benefit ratio overwhelmingly favors getting the vaccine. Just like the vaccines for polio and smallpox contributed greatly to controlling these terrible diseases, the Covid vaccines are the key to controlling this epidemic.

      1. There have been hundreds of studies showing Invermectim to be effective when used before or early stages of covid. The only studies it failed when it was used with very advanced people. The lesson there is not to not use Invermectim, it’s to use it at the right time. The main reason the government didn’t want to use it was because based on our laws, none of the vaccines would have been able to have been accelerated if there was an effective existing treatment and would have taken the normal 5-10 years for approval (Plus, you know, Trump)

        1. Sounds like you have read those articles–congratulations. If so, then you know the majority of the articles are of exceedingly poor quality. Even so, a few are of reasonable quality, and some of those even demonstrate some mild protection against some Covid symptoms.

          The catch, as you point out, is that it must be used as a preventative agent, or early in Covid to achieve even those extremely modest improvements. In that regard, it is similar to Tamiflu, used for treatment of influenza. We use it, but it is not a substitute for vaccination, which provides far better protection.

          Interesting theory as to why Ivermectin was not used early in Covid–because it would have prevented vaccine development from being accelerated. Makes no sense, of course, given the literature, but I can see its appeal to some.

  25. I agree with your thesis on RE as the Delta variant becomes more prevalent. However, I am curious to see how index REIT funds hold up this time around, as they have underperformed since the corona crash, but finally have made some headway. How have your returns on the crowdsourced REIT investments fared compared to broad based index funds, such as FREL, over the past several years Sam?

  26. Yes, we too look at real estate investment through a Covid lens. Not just current status of vaccination, but more of the (heavily correlated) “what states have been making decisions based on sound science, have an educated populace that gets it, and thus are going to be best positioned to react to future variant complexity”.

    Layer that together with climate resiliency factors and the map of the U.S. gets surprisingly small with respect to long term investment interest. At least as far as we are concerned.

  27. If you are poor, that’s one thing. If you are poor and misinformed, that’s another thing. If you are poor, misinformed, and obese, that is a really bad combination.

    And this may be what’s happening in the southern states like Alabama, Mississippi, and so forth.

    From an article today:

    Alabama doctor says this about her Covid patients, some of whom are dying: “One of the last things they do before they’re intubated is beg me for the vaccine. I hold their hand and tell them that I’m sorry, but it’s too late.”

    1. That image gives chills. The same can likely be said for almost all other health issues. You can’t wait till the failure line to start your preparation. As they say, “failing to prepare is preparing to fail”. Those situations must be tough for healthcare providers.

    2. Strange that NY, NJ, Connecticut and other states, despite significantly fewer AA which have higher death rates due to more overweight folks, have higher death rates per capita than the states you mentioned.

  28. It’s frustrating that the delta variant cases are rising. But it was an inevitability. I’ve stayed conservative with my social distancing and masking. But there are definitely places where people have totally stopped all safety measures.

    It wigs me out to see pictures online of huge crowds at concerts where strangers are inches away from each other and none of them are wearing masks.

    Hopefully more people will vaccinate and the delta variant doesn’t get out of control. But I will be prepared to keep my family safe. And will try to buy the dip if another one comes. Thanks for the great investment thesis!

    1. Fascinating how people view the world through such a different prospective. I cringe when I see someone wearing a mask now. No person at this stage of the pandemic wearing a mask is unvaccinated with the possible exception of the .00001 percent that want the vaccine, but medically cannot take it.

      So the person wearing a mask in 99.9999% of cases is fully vaccinated. Unvaccinated people at this stage don’t care so they aren’t going to wear a mask. Accordingly, a fully vaccinated person is wearing a mask in a world where there is no chance of ever reaching herd immunity through vaccines (the people have spoken, and we are never hitting 75% vaccinated). So…what’s the plan…wear the mask forever? Make kids wear it forever?

      Again, we aren’t hitting herd immunity through vaccines (there is no math where this can happen if you study the trend lines). Period. Ironically, the only chance of actually hitting herd immunity is if those unwilling to get the vaccine get COVID and develop natural antibodies. Wearing masks slows down that process and prolongs the suffering taking place in the U.S. and around the world for business owners, kids, folks with mental health problems, etc. You want “forced vaccination” in the U.S.? Take off the mask and let nature do what we couldn’t do as a broken society where everything is political (on both sides).

      Anyway, this article is actually quite good. I would love to hear Sam’s thoughts a little further in the future when people accept COVID is never going away. What are the stocks (or sectors maybe) we would want in a new world where we never come out of COVID–and the media makes sure it remains a hot topic. Trump, for example, essentially has said absolutely nothing in the last six months of any newsworthy value. Yet, MSNBC, FOX, and CNN talk about him non-stop. They aren’t going to let COVID go. It is too divisive (which boosts ratings).

      What is the play when the thesis is we never go “back to normal”? My gut says real estate and tech. I think travel is going to die a slow and painful death and never return to “normal.” It is a liberal badge of honor to wear a mask and avoid crowds. Liberal companies (basically all of them) are going to use that as an excuse to not pay for business travel. Without business travel the travel industry collapses.

      Leisure travel cannot support the current infrastructure (not by a long shot). In the short run there is tons of money to be made in travel while everyone assumes it will “go back to normal,” but it never will in my view. COVID has drawn battle lines in the sand. That isn’t getting erased. The same lines have been drawn around race. We are in tribes now. And the tribe that previously loved to travel is afraid to watch a concert! If not afraid, then pissed that those at the concert will not comply. Either way, a huge portion of them are not going “back to normal” because they don’t want to. They have zero plan for getting back to normal and they are okay with that.

      I would be interested in thoughts on what to invest in if things don’t get better–ever. I think travel is great for day trading, but a terrible idea for the long haul. Same goes for oil (and for the same reasons). Tech seems obvious. Real estate seems obvious (although commercial could be an issue). Nothing else, to me anyway, seems “obvious.” Bonds aren’t going to be making a real return for a decade I think (if ever).

      I heard an interesting strategy on using an annuity to solve some of this. Same with dreaded whole life policies. Basically, turn the assumptions that make them stupid to invest in on their heads because they haven’t “adjusted” yet to the new reality and are going to get burned by their old assumptions about the future. But, I’m still solidly skeptical about an annuity or whole life policy (to the point I would likely never do it).

      1. Very interesting article and a well thought out comment. I do disagree things will never get back to normal. It might take longer than we think but things always revert to their means.

        My thesis, The same as always. Stocks, business income, real estate, cash and a few bonds or equivalents.

        1. Sadly (or not) I have your exact portfolio. Boring of course, but very sensible. Seems like we are in a very dynamic period though. Of course, I’m sure every generation says the same thing at some point. I just don’t remember shifts of this magnitude in the 90s, for example. Of course, as I type this, I forget that is when the Internet came of age. So….yeah….probably stocks, business income, real estate and a few bonds. :).

        2. Maybe we get back to normal? Maybe not. Evidence so far – is it won’t. First it was 15 days to bend the curve. Then a month to slow the spread. Then it was just if we all worse masks (btw we had 90% compliance on masks when cases went up 300% last summer) then not till there is a vaccine. Then not till most are vaccinated. Now – put the mask on, continue to social distance, consider shutting down agani and we think we may need boosters in general or for these variants, or both. It’s just the slow boil.

      2. Am I weird to not cringe at someone wearing a mask and someone not wearing a mask? I’m not bothered by what people decide to do. I just adjust my actions accordingly.

        At the end of the day, think everything is rational. We take action based on our interests and risk tolerance. Therefore, we should be satisfied with the outcome. If not, we change.

        I’m always gonna invest in technology, real estate, and myself. No matter what the environment.

        1. I don’t know if “weird” is fair. But, wearing a mask is harmful to kids in my view. Both physically and mentally. It is not “normal” and should be reserved for extreme situations. Adults should be able to do whatever they want in a free country. I try not to judge folks. But, if you walked around without pants on outside, it would be very easy to say your behavior is inappropriate. To adults? Not really. We’ve seen it all before and likely don’t care. To a kid? For sure. They don’t get it. They don’t have the mental capacity to process it.

          Kids trust us adults absolutely and without question in most cases. If we tell them they have to wear a mask because there is an “emergency,” they believe it because they unconditionally love those telling them. They worry just like adults. They worry FOR adults. Now put that kid in that mental state for 18 months during the most impressionable time in their lives. Tell them they have to wear a mask because people are getting sick and dying and they need to do their part. It is just wrong in my view and I have seen the damage firsthand. It is fine in an extreme situation, but we are not in an extreme situation statistically. We cannot use “people are dying” as an excuse for everything. People are always dying—it is a very real part of existence.

          Grandma and Grandpa are now protected. Mom and Dad were never at that big of a risk to start with (statistically speaking). Their brothers and sisters were at nearly zero risk if you look at the data (like hit by lightning level safe). Same with all of their friends at school, church, etc.

          You say at the end of the day “everything is rational.” I don’t think child abuse is rational—even if your intentions are pure. You wouldn’t be okay with your neighbor walking around naked in front of your kids—or screaming racial slurs at you while you wait for the bus with your kids. Everything is certainly not rational. You should be bothered by what people do if it affects your children. You should be bothered the moment a politician puts your family at risk for political gain. Those Texas democrats flew on a plane without masks to DC and infected other people—all while telling you it was an absolute necessity that kids wear masks in school (and they are still saying it!). They didn’t believe a word they were saying—obviously from their behavior on the plane and bus. Republicans are just as bad on the other end of the spectrum.

          Agreed, people should do what they want to do. Right up until their behavior or decisions affect those I care about. People in our society indefinitely wearing masks to signify what “tribe” they belong to is damaging to the world your children are going to inherit. Luckily, it’s still a free country and you and I can agree to disagree. But, I hope folks are at least telling their kids this is not “normal.”

          1. Right now, I’ve been spending the past two hours outside in the park without a mask with my daughter and it’s fine. Some people are wearing masks and that’s cool too. Never thought about tribes.

            Maybe I’m just really flexible in thought and more easy going? From
            An investor’s perspective, I try to forecast human behavior and invest accordingly.

            If you go to Asia, mask wearing is normal for those who are sick.

            It is great that you care so much for our children to feel so strongly about how masks may damage them. How old are your children now and what did They do?

            1. I appreciate the question—and it is relevant—but I don’t talk about specifics like that on the internet. Probably just being paranoid, but …

              I know there are different points of view on this. There is no right or wrong answer. I’ll leave you with how my evening went in a very liberal city.

              I get in the elevator in my building and head to the ground floor. Elevator stops a few floors below to take on more passengers. Mom and Dad get on the elevator with a little girl. Mom and Dad have no mask on, but the little girl does. She struggled to put it on quickly when entering the elevator because she saw me. I told the little girl I was fully vaccinated so she didn’t have to worry about me. I could tell she was panicked to get her mask on as quickly as she could. Dad interrupts and says she “most certainly does need to worry because she isn’t vaccinated.”

              Process that for a minute. Mom and Dad don’t need a mask. Strange man in the elevator has no mask. But the little girl needs a mask because there is something wrong with her. I would bet my last dollar that little girl doesn’t feel so good about herself tonight (and hasn’t for a long time). She is now alone in the fight against COVID. She is both figuratively and literally being isolated. You think a seven-year-old can process that situation?

              Also, not for nothing, but absolutely zero people in the elevator are at any serious risk of COVID. If you think that situation is okay because you are “flexible in thought and more easy going” then I envy you. My heart breaks for the little girl and every little girl (and boy) in her position. The little girl didn’t grow up in Asia where it is socially acceptable to wear masks. She grew up in the U.S. and never in her life saw a person wearing a mask in public until 18 months ago.

              Sam, you seem like a genuinely good person. I’ve read nearly everything you’ve ever written on this blog. I find it inconceivable that you would allow that little girl you took to the park today to wear a mask in an elevator while you, Mom, and a bunch of strangers didn’t. It is not okay to watch child abuse in my view. Maybe I’m the odd one though. I suppose history will be the judge.

              1. Rational Consumer

                Lol what a skewed view of the mask issue. You and the parents may be vaccinated but can still be carriers so the little girl should wear her mask. The issue is her parents are idiots because you can be a carrier, give it to the parents, and the parents can pass it in the “safety” of their home.

                1. We may be on opposite ends of the political spectrum (or not), but I think we can both agree no matter what the little girl wasn’t protected from the mask. And there of course is the problem. Maybe the mask is doing damage to the little girl, maybe I’m being too sensitive. Why find out if no protection is being offered? Also, are the parents idiots? If they watch FOX or MSNBC, for sure. FOX would say no masks at all. MSNBC would say everyone needed a mask. Technically the parents were following the CDC guidance to the letter! I guess you and I just don’t believe in science since we both think the parents were idiots for following CDC guidance. :)

              2. I don’t understand how wearing a mask is child abuse. I have only heard this in right-wing media as a conclusory statement. Is there any research on this? Or is it simply a feeling?

                1. I have heard this and seen it occasionally from social media posts in my circle.

                  Americans need some perspective!

                  Hundreds of millions of children (including White, expat kids) wear masks across Asia without incident and all this overwrought commentary and contrived controversy.

                  And before people say it was “part of the culture” — it wasn’t. It mostly became the norm after SARS in 2003, including during winter flu season, to wear masks. A whole generation of kids grew up with as standard practice and they are not scarred, traumatized, etc. The young 20-somethings on my team that I led in my last job in Hong Kong were kids during SARS and did not develop psychological problems, blame themselves, etc etc. But they didn’t have the toxic, divisive culture of adults to learn from like they do in US/Europe. I moved back to Asia in 2017 and at first wasn’t used to masks and only started to wear them when COVID started.

                2. How could there be “research” on this when the NIH refuses to fund the study? Outside the NIH we have right-wing studies and left-wing studies. That gives both sides the ability to just ignore the findings. You can find whatever answer you like online—all from doctors with fancy medical credentials. I would argue basic common sense should come into play. Biden said last night the CDC is going to mandate that kids wear masks in school if they are under 12 (since they cannot be vaccinated). But, no mandate for kids over 12 that are vaccinated. So, how does that work in 6th grade when half the kids are under 12. I guess nobody remembers what being a kid was like?

                  Here is a fun project though. Do some research on whether it is cruel to have a dog in a muzzle. In fact, go to a very liberal city with your dog and put a (non-basket) snug fitting muzzle on your dog on a hot summer day and have yourself a nice stroll outside. Let me know if you make it 20 minutes without someone stopping you. When you consult the most lenient of literature on muzzles it will say “remember every animal is a unique individual.” The harm to one dog wearing a muzzle may not be the same to other dogs. Or a “more limiting [muzzle] should only be worn for short periods of time.” Check out the backlash online when states tried to pass laws saying all Pitbulls had to be muzzled in public. It’s a legit threat, right? They attack at a much higher rate and the results are far more deadly when compared to other dogs. I mean come on, people could die, right?

                  Again, just for kicks, put a snug muzzle on your dog and take a walk in a California park. Let me know how it goes. Bring a seven-year-old little kid with you in a mask. I would love to see the results. I would try myself, but, alas it is universally considered cruel to put a dog in a snug muzzle on a hot day. I certainly wouldn’t want to be associated with people that are okay with animal cruelty.

        2. I don’t get the raised blood pressure over someone still wearing a mask. It’s not a “tribe”. It’s called simple risk mitigation. I’m vaccinated, I still wear a mask in public when indoors. But, I also train religiously, eat my vitamins like a good Hulkamaniac, and focus on ample sleep. Wearing a mask in certain situations is basically free risk mitigation.

          Getting an adverse reaction from the vaccine has proven to basically be a lottery winning level event as far as probability. Getting COVID isn’t a digital you die or your clean and free event. There’s alot more in between that’s more likely than vaccine adverse reactions.

          From an investing point of view it should be a relatively moot point. But, we’ve proven incapable as a society of doing the simple things to mitigate risk. So, by thumbing our noses at “the man”, people end up opening the door to more heavy handed and harmful solutions like lockdowns. Hence we have these discussions of what the variant can do to different asset classes when the answer can easily be “nothing”.

          People cry about freedom and harp about “control”. But, yet we all sit here on our phones and gladly let ourselves be tracked and catalogued like cattle anyhow while we harp about COVID measures.

          It’s the height of irony.

          1. Joe, you are a spot of sanity in this thread. The fact that so many have given up on privacy already w/phones yet yammer on about the “gummint this” and the “gov’t that” is quite sad. Not to mention all the people that have trusted their DNA to private companies. That’s about as far as one can go in giving up their privacy.

      3. A lot of people think that it’s strange that the vaccinated are more cautious than the unvaccinated (data: But actually, it makes perfect sense. There is such a massive disparity in what different echo chambers are reading about the virus that we should expect one camp to think a vaccine isn’t nearly enough protection while the other thinks it’s more than they need.

        The biggest real annoyance, though, is that the vaccine zealots insist that everyone be described as “vaccinated” or “unvaccinated”, when there’s actually a big group three out there: “acquired immunity”. Evidence is pretty solid that this point that acquired immunity is as strong as vaccine immunity, yet the zealots want policy to treat them as “unvaccinated”.

        Even vaccines with very low rates of severe side effects are foolish for people who derive no benefit from them.

        1. I would bucket even more than that. I’d bucket the three you did also by age group – when you look at those at reasonable risk of dying (55+ or those with 3+ comorbidities under 55) that aren’t vaccinated or already have acquired immunity – its a pretty small list. Which is one reason why deaths have not increased in the last month in any material way and is still down 93% from the peak even with the surge in the last month in cases. This is largely due to the fact that most of the folks getting covid are young folks and vaccinated folks

    2. If your family is not obese, immunocompromised, or hideously old, they are already safe. Delta only kills 0.13% (lower than the flu), and 99.75% of those who died are unvaccinated. If you got your shot you are 99.99% safe already, nothing you do after that will have any significant effect on your safety.

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