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Today's Topics

Today we explore:

  • Fatalities for coronavirus are low for younger patients, but hospitalisations are more common than you might think.
  • Which of the tech giants looks set to thrive in an era of lockdown?
  • Finland is officially the world's happiest country, would more money make them even happier?
The widely discussed fact that younger people are less at risk from coronavirus is 100% true. This data from the Centre For Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) is one of the best estimates we have for how this disease affects those who become infected. Hopefully it confirms what you already know; that fatality rates for confirmed cases in the 20-44 age group are extremely low: around 0.1-0.2%.

However, low fatality rates can lull people into a false sense of security. The CDC also estimates that the proportion of 20-44 age group confirmed cases that have required hospitalisation is somewhere between 14% & 21% so far.

Given that you're reading a newsletter about data we're aware that we're probably preaching to the converted, but these hospitalisation rates really do emphasise the importance of flattening the curve.

If millions of 20-44 year olds get Covid-19, the vast majority will be end up being totally fine. But if almost one-fifth of them need hospital treatment in order to be fine, then hospitals will get overwhelmed extremely quickly.

Data is messy

The speed and ferocity of the Covid-19 outbreak, which has gone from a non-story to arguably the biggest of the 21st century, has challenged every facet of our society -- including statisticians.

We've deliberately highlighted the range of outcomes from the CDC to give a sense of just how much uncertainty remains about coronavirus and its impact. Even the age groups are arguably too wide, ideally the 20-44 age group would be split up further, but this is as detailed as we get from the CDC.

These numbers will change, they might be too low, they are probably too high (let's hope).
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The stock market is experiencing volatility not seen for more than a decade. We've been tracking the technology giants like Google (-15%), Apple (-16%) and Microsoft (-6%) and all have taken a hit from the economic turmoil caused by coronavirus.

Well -- all except one -- Amazon. The e-commerce giant has seen its share price actually slightly rise this year, as investors anticipate increased demand for e-commerce.

It's not too hard to work out why Amazon may do well in the current environment, as everything moves online, but for many companies it's not always that easy. In fact it's often really not obvious why stocks are doing what they're doing.

That's where a tool like Atom+, Atom Finance’s premium content offering, comes in useful. Atom+ gives you content not available to other investors including:

  • Explanations of why stocks are doing what they're doing.
  • Key excerpts and professional commentary from company earnings calls.
  • In-depth analysis of corporate actions and strategic announcements.
  • Key highlights of research reports from major banks and research firms.

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Last Friday the World Happiness Report 2020 was published, the latest edition of a series of reports that survey the global state of happiness across more than 150 different countries. According to the survey, the happiest country is Finland, followed closely by its Nordic cousins Denmark, which came 2nd, Norway (5th) and Sweden (7th).

The UK came 13th and US 18th. Hong Kong was arguably the most notable underperformer relative to its wealth, likely due to the ongoing political unrest there.

Does money make you happy?

We've taken the happiness data and plotted it against income levels for each of the 153 countries. It reveals something pretty interesting that many of us probably feel quite intuitively without needing to look at any data: that more money makes you happier, but only up to a point.

That conclusion is based on some pretty back-of-the-envelope analysis at a country level, but it's one that's been replicated by more rigorous studies done at the individual level as well. Studies such as this one from Princeton University found that once people make above $75k a year their happiness doesn't increase with more income.

That finding throws up one big question. Should governments of developed countries focus on maxing out our happiness more explicitly? There's a pretty decent argument that they should, although that's a tough sell for something relatively hard to define like happiness. 

At the individual level, the great quote from American motivational speaker Zig Ziglar says all that needs to be said: "Money won't make you happy... but everybody wants to find that out for themselves" (Zig Ziglar).

Data Snacks

1) Celebrities and actual racing drivers took part in a 14-lap virtual Formula 1 race last weekend. Highlights here.

2) New York is now the epicentre of the US coronavirus outbreak, accounting for almost half of all US cases, with more than 25,000 confirmed.

3) Russia has named the 800 McDonald's restaurants in the country as "systemically important", adding them to the list of businesses deemed crucial to the economy.

4) Why did Netflix shares jump almost 10% on Monday? Atom+ can tell you that, and much more. Join the waitlist today.**

5) Almost 12,000 retired medical professionals have come out of retirement in the UK to help aid the coronavirus response.

6) The US Senate and White House have agreed upon a $2 trillion stimulus package to aid the struggling economy.

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Thanks for coming by - see you Friday.
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