Covid19 and gloves
The Bull Run in the glove sector is fueled by the surge in glove demand caused by the SARS-Cov2 pandemic. Hence the size of the pandemic and to a leaser extend its geographic location is of interest to glove investors. A key source of the information needed to monitor the Covid19 pandemic is the website of the World Health Organization (WHO) https://covid19.who.int/
Figure 1. The six regions of the world by WHO.
WHO subdivides the planet into 6 regions for the purposes of reporting, analysis and administration (Figure 1). These regions are
- Africa. (Nigeria, South Africa, etc) (Population: 1,130 million
- Americans (North and South America) (Population: 1,036 million)
- South East Asia (India, Myanmar, Indonesia) (Population: 2,050 million)
- Europe. (Western and Eastern Europe) (Population: 927 million)
- Eastern Mediterranean (Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Egypt etc) (Population: 719 million)
- Western Pacific (China, South Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Malaysia etc) (Population: 1,943 million)
So how is the Covid19 pandemic doing in each region?
The present situation (most recent data point is 7 September 2020) isn't good.No region has been able to extinguish the Covid19 pandemic since the pandemic began in January. While half the regions were able to control the Covid19 pandemic in summer, they have started to lose control over the virus.
In the South East Asia region, there wasn't even a pause in the covid19 pandemic. Covid19 is particularly bad in India and Indonesia, two highly populated and dense nations. The slope of the graph indicates that the Covid19 pandemic in the region has begun to show exponential growth characteristic 3 weeks ago. This is particularly alarming development because exponential growth allows for very rapid increase of covid19 cases, where a slight delay of weeks can significantly increase the number of people infected. The high population of the South East Asia region (2 billion people), means the absolute number of people infected can grow to very high numbers. Lastly it is also one of the poorest regions and thus lacks the financial strength to threat and control a very large outbreak. The only upside is that the region has one of the youngest population and Covid19 has disproportionately high mortality rate among the elderly.
In Europe, there has been upswing in the growth of the SARS-Cov2 virus for the past 7 weeks. For the most part, growth of the virus has been linear but in the last 2 weeks, growth has become more rapid and has taken on exponential growth characteristics. This is likely due to a combination of economical pressure to return to work, social exhaution and the coming of winter, which will dramatically increase the lifespan of the coronovirus out the human body from hours to 12-14 days. The present 'second wave' is now larger than the first wave and will grow even larger as we enter the flu season in October, reaching a peak in December to February.
The Eastern Mediterranean is also seeing an upswing but has only recently lost control of the virus, 2 weeks ago.
In the Western Pacific region has stopped making progress in the reduction of Covid19 cases. It will be a few weeks before we know if this is a temporary pause or a signal that this region will soon experience an upswing of Covid19 cases.
Only two regions shown any indication that the Covid19 pandemic is under control; Africa and Americas.
However the numbers coming from the Americas, specifically the US is no longer trustworthy. Since mid-July, US president Trump has significantly reduced federal funding for Covid19 testing. On July 14 his White House took control over Covid19 reporting from the CDC which is politically unbiased institution, and in August he instructed the CDC to change its recommendation of Covid19 testing to US hospitals. Now only those who are obviously sick are tested for Covid19. This new policy has intentionally missed all asymptomatic Covid19 carriers and those who are mildly ill with Covid19, two groupings that make up 75-80% of all Covid19 infected people.
Africa is somewhat of a mystery. There is a lack of testing within the region, so the fall in case number could be explained by the exhaustion of test kits and equipment. However it does not explain the fall in mortality rate and the overall lower mortality rate of Covid19 within the region. It is a possible that a combination a very young population, high environmental temperatures, smaller urban population, lower overall population densities and lack of mass transport has stymied the spread of the SARS-Cov2 within the continent.
Figure 2: The last data point on these graphs is the week that begins on 7 September 2020. Each point represents the total number of new Covid19 cases per week.
Pay attentions to South East Asian region, specifically India as it has the very large population and high viral growth rate. Together it means this region will soon become the new center of the Covid19 pandemic. That said,. Europe is already experiencing a second Covid19 wave that it is already larger than the first, even before the start of the flu season.
From the prespective of a glove company, the supernormal demand for glove will continue. THere is no sign tha the pandemic is ending and every sign that it will be picking up the pace soon.