Why the market is ripping higher; The light at the end of the tunnel; A summary of the good news; One of the most important charts; An incredible day yesterday; Sign up to volunteer with me in NYC

By Whitney Tilson

Tuesday, April 7, 2020
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1) Folks who are on this e-mail list (as well as my coronavirus one – which you can join by sending a blank e-mail to: [email protected]) shouldn’t be surprised that the market is ripping higher.

In my March 30 e-mail, I wrote:

I’m betting on humanity – in particular, I think we’ll be surprised by: a) the world’s scientists… and b) how people behave and treat each other during this time of crisis.

To be clear, however, I’m not sure I see the end of this crisis with any clarity whatsoever. What I do think I see, though, is the beginning of the end… the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel (which, fair warning, is sometimes an oncoming train instead!).

My increased optimism about our country and the world has important investment implications.

Then, in Wednesday’s e-mail, I added:

THE CORONAVIRIS IS A SOLVABLE PROBLEM!…

I’m now even more confident than ever that the gloom-and-doomers who think this virus is going to send us back to the Dark Ages are totally wrong.

Have they studied no history whatsoever?

We Americans can be slow to awaken – and we were indeed disgracefully complacent and asleep at the switch in this case, one of the greatest failures in our history – but when we finally get serious, look out!

You want to bet against America (and all of humanity)?

Be my guest.

But I’ll bet against you all day long, and we’ll see who’s proven right a year from now…

And I’m putting my money where my mouth is… Over the past month, I’ve shifted my family’s total net worth (excluding the value of our only non-liquid asset, our apartment) from 15% stocks to 63% by the end of last week, 67% on Monday, and 70% this morning.

2) Other investors are finally coming around to my point of view… CNBC’s Carl Quintanilla tweeted a summary of the good news this morning:

3) Of the dozens of charts I’ve created to track the coronavirus pandemic, which my analyst updates every day, this is one of the most important – and it’s showing good news: a flattening of the curve in terms of deaths per capita:

4) Yesterday was an incredible day (on the heels of an incredible week)!

As you know, since last Sunday I’ve been volunteering for roughly 12 hours a day to help Samaritan’s Purse set up an emergency field hospital across the street from my building to care for my fellow New Yorkers who are stricken with the coronavirus.

But now that the hospital is set up, they don’t need volunteers anymore… so they put me in touch with Tom Ahn, head of real estate for the Mt. Sinai Hospital System – one of the largest in the country.

I told him that I could organize a dozen or so folks to show up and work hard.

He was gracious, and asked if I could put together a team to assemble beds – starting at 8:00 a.m. the next morning (yesterday) – at an old Beth Israel hospital on 16th St. and First Avenue that they’d mothballed but are now reopening due to the coronavirus crisis.

I promised to try, and sent out an e-mail – and 14 friends and friends of friends showed up. You all are rock stars and heroes to me!

We assembled 87 heavy, new-but-old-style metal beds in roughly 40 rooms across three floors by the time we finished 11 hours later.

The two pictures on the left show what we found, and the two on the right show what we left:

Each bed was spread out among four boxes (plus a mattress, wrapped in heavy blue plastic). Simply unpacking the heavy, bulky pieces was hard work (plus, for some reason, the heating was cranked up – it was 100 degrees in some rooms!).

Then, assembling them was tiring and tricky: connecting the two base pieces, then adding the two headboards, attaching the springs, connecting the crank rod, putting up the side rails and, finally, capping it with the mattress.

I’ve posted pictures and two videos on my Facebook page here.

At the end of the day, we felt great about a job well done, and have gotten a lot of appreciation…

Jeremy Boal, the Chief Medical Officer of the Mt. Sinai Health System, heard about our work and came by in person to thank us. He followed up in an e-mail, writing:

We are blown away by your selflessness and commitment. You and your friends are making a huge difference. We don’t even have the words to express how grateful we are. Absolutely amazing! You have given us such an emotional lift as well as critically needed help.

And Tom Ahn called me at the end of the day and said he’d never seen anything like it. He’d expected the job to take us five days, not 11 hours! He e-mailed: “Totally awesome!!!! The A team!!!!”

In fact, we were so fast that the organization doesn’t have anything for any volunteers to do today, so I’m taking a day off (which simply means working like a maniac at my computer, trying to catch up on hundreds of unread e-mails, writing my next missive to my coronavirus e-mail list, etc.)…

However, Tom told me that starting tomorrow there will be a ton of work for the next week or two, as Mt. Sinai opens many new floors and facilities – including a partnership with Samaritan’s Purse to open a 200-bed location. Here’s a New York Times article about it: Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Including Crypt, Will Become a Hospital.

This means I’ll need a lot more than 14 volunteers, so if you want to roll up your sleeves and help our hospitals quickly ramp up the fight against the coronavirus, please sign up (and encourage your friends to sign up) for my “interested-in-volunteering” e-mail list by entering your (or their) information here.

Thank you!

Best regards,

Whitney

Whitney Tilson

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About Whitney Tilson

Prior to creating Empire Financial Research, Whitney Tilson founded and ran Kase Capital Management, which managed three value-oriented hedge funds and two mutual funds. Starting out of his bedroom with only $1 million, Tilson grew assets under management to nearly $200 million.

Tilson graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College with a bachelor’s degree in government in 1989. After college, he helped Wendy Kopp launch Teach for America and then spent two years as a consultant at the Boston Consulting Group. He earned his MBA from Harvard Business School in 1994, where he graduated in the top 5% of his class and was named a Baker Scholar.

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