What next!

Never write anything when you are angry. It’s a golden rule. Nobody wants to hear your rant. So this blog is going to just be a 5 minute read at most, just to show you we are still here.


I have just discovered that from next Monday if anyone wants to visit us at our office, they will have to wear a mask. What for!

Masks are most probably totally useless in trying to stop something as small as a virus. Why? Imagine a planet like earth, and on that planet there is a little girl with a balloon. Now that size ratio earth:balloon is exactly the same as balloon:coronavrus. The coronavirus is incredibly tiny, it is free to enter and exit at will around the sides of any loose fitting mask and indeed through the material itself. Completely useless. Rant over. Breathe.

The last 5 months.

I decided it was time to look back at every blog I have written since January, to see if I have been spouting irrelevant, incorrect or plain misleading information. I’m happy to say it’s all as relevant and correct today, as it was when I dared to commit it to the keyboard. It took me an hour and a half to read the lot, so if you have time on your hands now we are all under house arrest once again please feel free.

In July I wrote:

“To these eyes that have studied thousands of charts, they are currently suggesting a flattening out is occurring. A pause for breath is OK, normal even. But soon we will be looking out for a pickup. If it doesn’t become apparent, we may need to be taking action.”

I wrote that about the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250, and indeed we have seen both indices level out. The FTSE 100 has now dropped lower, but that is because it is stuffed with large companies that thankfully we don’t own like the banks and the oil companies to name just two. Thank god I have seen the light and don’t invest our savings in index-trackers. The HSBC got its share price nose bleed moment today, down 6%.

Here’s the FTSE 250 index

The FTSE 250 is still holding its support, the direction it takes next is crucial.

Here’s the FTSE 100 index

The FTSE 100 is showing signs of fatigue (like the rest of us) and the continuation of “up the stairs” has now been broken. If it doesn’t find support at this level it could get messy.

Here’s our moderate portfolio

Thankfully still steady as she goes and typical for this time of year. Down less that 0.01% since my last update in June. That’s almost non-existent, so small even a mask couldn’t catch it. 😷

What next?

I started this blog with What Next! It was a rhetorical question, I wasn’t looking for an answer, I’m just flabbergasted like the rest of the North West. But I will finish it with What Next? I will dare to suggest what comes next if my old crystal ball is still working.

  • The market’s have already priced in a recession so should hold around this point.
  • There will be 10% of the UK working population unemployed by Christmas.
  • Cycling deaths and injuries will spike this month.
  • There will be no second wave anywhere in the world, there will however be localised outbreaks particularly in places where Covid didn’t reach before.
  • Politicians in every nation will claim they saved our lives.
  • Personal taxation will rocket.
  • We will have it confirmed that about 75-80% of the population actually held a natural resistance to this 5th human transmittable Corona Virus.
  • We will have it confirmed that masks were just the “Dumbo’s feather” that was created to get people back out there.
  • My office like all others will have fallen in value by 30% at least.
  • All of the 176 vaccines currently being researched will have limited to no effect.
  • The annual death toll this year will not be much higher than the 5 year average and will be significantly lower next year.

Like Brexit, Covid-19 is a highly emotive topic, please feel free to comment and to help me to correct anything you feel I have got wrong.

15 Replies to “What next!”

  1. Feeling brave there, Howard. Brexit, BLM and masks are so divisive. I actually have a friend with a masters in biology, worked in her field for over 30 years and on top of that chairs a national panel on body fluids. She knows more than me by a long chalk. Her opinion, as many cons as there are pros to masks, so she hasn’t worn one until it became compulsory. Fortunately I can have an exemption🙂.

    The rest of it I find a lot of information so contradictory that I dont have a definite stance, but I do struggle to see that that trashing the economy is going to be worth it. And in addition, I have a friend who was diagnosed with cancer shortly before lockdown and is getting very limited treatment and care and of course he is one of many.

    1. Hi Jane

      Thank you for taking the time to comment. I’m sorry to hear of your friends cancer plight. Like you I too have an exemption due to my asthma. Thank you on behalf of everyone for your information. I couldn’t imagine there is a national panel on body fluids. Keep smiling at your tiller.

  2. Thanks, Howard. Very wise words again – which have helped to bring me back down to ground after today’s potential proposal that over-50s might be told to shield if they are deemed to be at risk by some dodgy Government metrics! Grrr! The concept of understanding real Risk Management seems to have disappeared in favour of believing that only zero risk is acceptable!!

  3. Thanks Howard! Pam is still isolating but we are getting along. I imagine that the no deal brexit will hardly be felt by the economy as so much else is in turmoil? We are using masks because of Pam and the law We paid dearly for good ones with filters so as we have to wear them we hope quality will help!

  4. I’m happy that I agree so often with you but feel I disagree so much here that I am spurred to comment.
    I know that wearing most masks won’t help me but I do believe it may help others.
    As I understand it the wearing of a mask lessens the projection of my expelled air. Were I to be infected with Covid 19 I would be expelling the virus in that breath, I may be symptom free and unaware of my condition. So I am happy to wear a mask (indoors and in close proximity) in the belief that I am lessening, not eradicating, the chance of infecting others, who may then suffer badly or transfer it to A.N.Other who suffers.
    I wished I lived in a country where the majority of people cared enough about their fellow man to accept a small personal inconvenience because they wanted to help / protect others.
    Personal views and guesses will always differ but wonder what the 75-80% natural resistance figure is based on. As for ALL the vaccines being no use, I could imagine Trump saying that!
    I do agree that our government is not having its finest hour by a long, long way.

    1. Hi Ian

      Thanks for taking the time out to comment and thank you for not just agreeing. Wearing masks is certainly to help protect others and certainly won’t protect the wearer, other than the benefit of two masks being better than just one. But at just 1/300th of the thickness of a human hair, even natural breathing within a mask won’t keep a virus trapped inside. The mask is more likely just to concentrate the particles which will get on to hands and surfaces in greater concentrations when the masks are removed by hand.

      The 75-80% natural resistance figure has been based on research into contained infection areas such as outbreaks on cruise ships and US Navy ships. Even after 6 weeks within the confines of what are perfect germ incubators, less than 20% of individuals tested positive. The same is being found in hospitals too. Only time and research will tell on that one for sure, but herd immunity probably won’t take anything like the 60% infection rate that was initially assumed.

      Finally the vaccines. We have seen many Covid-19 mutations already. Each year scientists look at the Australian’s current flu strain, before electing to create the vaccine that will be used each year in the UK. Sometimes, like the year before last, it was completely non-effective as the UK strain was different from the preceding Australian one. Covid-19 is likely to exhibit the same properties. I will take your comment on ALL the vaccines being of no use as a good point. It only takes one to be the magic bullet. And yes we could imagine Trump would say that, but he is busily trying to ensure every vaccine in existence will get shipped to the US first.

      Finally poor Boris. I’m sorry to say that all his decisions are made based on political considerations. Every politician would have to do the same. The initial lockdown was to save the NHS. We all agreed to that but since then there has been mission creep. If there is to be a second wave surely it needs to be now before the flu season arrives? Trying to save large sections of our economy and the lives of many other individuals who require urgent preventative hospital treatment now, can’t wait until into next year.

      1. As someone else here has said, you’ve picked a nicely devisive subject with masks, Howard LOL!

        I’m viewing the whole mask thing as an excercise in risk management. Hand washing, distancing and masks all have a cumulative effect. Everything I’ve read indicates that masks are worn for the protection of others not for one’s self. Touch is a big factor in the so ease spread and stopping your breath settling on bags of crisps in the supermarket can’t be a bad thing.

        It is also true that surgical masks and home made face coverings present variable levels of protection for things coming in however it is worth pointing out that an N95 (or KN95) will filter out over 95% of particles down the to 0.3 micron level. But a little googling tells us that that CV19 particles are smaller than this at 0.125 microns so of course it will whizz right through an N95. Not quite so, CV particles are always attached to larger particles, such as the aerosol we breathe out. An N95 will physically capture these very efficiently, in fact due to Brownian motion and the electrostatic nature of the mask it greatly increases the the chance they will be snared. The next commenter also refers to the excellent, made in Manchester Virustatic Shield mask which has equally impressive performance. 100%? of course not but a mitigation of risk Nonetheless. These masks are what hospitals use but before anyone worries about taking supplies away from our Carers, they are commercially available to one and all being they are common for DIY and working in a host of industrial situations. They are also much comfier than a cloth mask over a period of time.

        All that said I think belief and perception is the biggest factor in our approach to the covid measures we’ve all had to endure.

        I also liked your point on death rates returning to normal and in fact falling lower nest year. I think you may well be right, one popular theory is that all those who were going to die this year anyway have died already. I’d put that into the “cold comfort” bracket though.

        I’ll leave you with a tweet from the ever delightful Sarah Vine (spouse to the equally delightful Micheal Gove) who exclaimed that “if I get Covid and cop it, so be it, my time has come” she doesn’t expect the nation to bankrupt itself “to save my sorry ass.”

        A valid sentiment I’m sure we can all agree but nicely contextualised by a reply which read, “there are other people to consider in all of this, like for example those whose marital choices haven’t made them ambivalent about their own demise.”

        However you do it, stay safe everyone.

        1. Hi Chris

          Excellent comment. Bags of facts, bags of common sense and humorous too. Thank you, keep them coming please.

      2. Hello again, I’m not sure if two comments are allowed on a single subject but I’ll leave you to censor me if not Howard 😊

        Like Ian Wallwork I couldn’t let a couple of your points go without a counter point of view. You suggest that as CV is mutating (which it is) a vaccine could be rendered less effective because of the comparable nature of flu mutations. From my research I think that is like comparing apples and oranges. CV is proven to mutate much more slowly than flu and has been described in by a virologist I read as “a relatively slow moving target.” Added to that the flu vaccines use inactivated versions of the flu viruses whereas two of the Uk front runners, the Oxford and Imperial viruses work at a generic level, no virus live or dead is used. The methodology behind these vaccines should (maybe a imagine a capital S there) therefore make them more able to be tailored to suit a specific genetic code, in fact that’s how Oxford got here quick, they already had the system in place and had effectively treated other . That said this is cutting edge stuff and these and many other vaccines could fail but the cost to the world economy of not having one is so great both in terms of finance and putting them in the unenviable position of having to choose between lives, money and the almost incomprehensible unknowns surrounding education, mental health and other illnesses going untreated, not to mention a high proportion of our elderly loved ones dying Before their time. All this leads me at least to believe that an effective will be found because it has to be found.

        I also wish Brexit was the only thing we had to get animated about – LOL

  5. A very interesting point of view. First Boris; what ever the Gov does will be wrong in the view of 48% of the population, but never the same 48% ! What ever mistakes have been made by NGOs, including NHS England, will be blamed on the Gov by 48%. Spike in London after BLM march, Gov fault for not breaking up the demonstrations. All froth and not worth reading the papers or listening to BBC especially J Vine, Esq..

    Face masks; I use a ‘Virustatic Shield’ mask. It is treated with Viruferrin that is proven to inhibit Covid-19. It is reusable and can be washed up to 20 times before loosing effectiveness. I agree fully that Chinese manufactured paper masks are as good as a fig leaf is in preventing conception.

    I do not share your despair regarding vaccination. I have followed the Oxford trial results along with the underlying science and am sure it will be a game changer. We need to think how the market will change when the Oxford vac or one of the other 2 leading candidates is pronounced effective.

    Lastly: a new and easy test of CoVid. Pour a ‘wee dram’ and see if you can smell it. If you can drink it to see if you can taste it. If you can you are reasonable sure you are currently virus free. I tested myself 9 times last night and was virus free, thank goodness. I will have to test myself again today as I have a headache, which can also be one of the symptoms.

    1. Finally a test I can get behind, will try with wine tonight🙂

    2. Hi Dick

      That is an excellent test, much better than sticking a lolly stick down your throat and up your nose. Cheers

  6. Hi Howard, I said to the other half after I read your blog that I reckon you were just looking for a reaction? If thats the case it worked!

    1. Hi Val

      You are correct. It’s a thankless task sometimes when I write these blogs and nobody comments. You are both well placed to comment, let me have it both barrels please, I need to know how my clients feel. Bad time to write a blog when Charlie’s wedding just got postponed for the second time. 😭

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