I had an interesting thought today as I was heading off to my local Wal-Mart to pick up a few items. As I’m sure all of you are experiencing, most businesses are closed, however stores like Wal-Mart, Target, Costco, and other large grocery chains are open. Understandably, these stores have been seeing record traffic as people stock up on items. The CEOs of these companies have even stated that traffic is 5x higher than during the holiday shopping season in Decmember.
But you guys all know about this already as I’m sure you’ve seen it first hand. But here’s the interesting part. When I went to my Wal-Mart, I saw the same handful of employees I always see. About half are well over 50, as the cashiers are almost all senior citizens. But then it dawned on me, these workers have been exposed to at least 10K people, if not more, every week since this whole thing started. The government is telling us to not even be around groups of 10 people or more or we will get infected. Now they are saying to not be around any group of any size. But if that’s the case, shouldn’t every grocery store employee have been infected over the last few weeks as they spend 8 hours a day around thousands of people in the same building?
Think about it, grocery store workers at the moment are overworked, tired, and they are in exactly the environment the government is telling us leads to guaranteed infection. Yet here we are, stores are running with the same staff and no widespread infections. If the coronavirus was that infectious, these stores would be experiencing weekly turnover as one set of employees become sick, and then needs to be replaced by another group.
Not only that, we have the same situation with drive-through workers at fast food restaurants. As I’m sure you have all seen, the drive-through lines are long almost everywhere, and most are doing record business. These workers at the window are handling cash and credit cards with thousands of other people every week, if not everyday. Clearly the virus would spread fastest with drive-through workers first and leave restaurants with no staff. But yet here we are, and that doesn’t seem to be happening.
Now of course, maybe Wal-Mart and McDonald’s drive-through workers already are all infected and we just don’t know it yet, I suppose that’s possible. But we are quickly approaching a point where that no longer makes sense. We are weeks into this already and symptoms don’t take that long to show up.
So maybe I’m wrong on all of this as I admit I’m not an expert on viral outbreaks. However, as a former trader, I did spend a lifetime looking for trends and data. I often look for the things other people have overlooked, and this is one of those things that struck me as incredibly strange.
If the people who spend 8 hours a day in exactly the environment the government tells us not to, and they aren’t infected, does it mean we may have this thing all wrong? Or at the very least, should we should consider the fact that maybe we’re overreacting.
Note: If you enjoyed this article, please make sure to share it!