How COVID-19 is Affecting Lifestyle in Italy (w/ Raoul Pal & Giovanni Pozzi)
RAOUL PAL: So, just wrapping up, how long do you think you're all going to be semi-quarantined or self-quarantined, the social distancing? How long does this go on for now for you? Because it's fine you've been home for a few weeks now, but your beard is getting longer. You don't get to see people. How does that go on? GIOVANNI POZZI: Well, I think it will expand at least until my birthday, which is the 9th of February. And then there's Easter. So, I expect my friends to set up some video conference also for that, like the one we're going to have tonight for another friend. Yeah, I know. But apart from this, it make sense to look at the Hubei example. They're getting out of their quarantine now, and we're 30 days behind. RAOUL PAL: Right. OK, so— GIOVANNI POZZI: So, that's the only data point we really have and we can take as an example and as a guide. RAOUL PAL: Now, just a last question that I wanted to ask on this. What is it like going shopping? So, you go and buy groceries. Are people not fearful? Does any cough-- is everyone keeping away from everybody? Because the human behavioral thing is obviously humans over extrapolate everything. So, what's it like when you just go out and do a normal chore? GIOVANNI POZZI: In the first few days, there was a run on the supermarkets, and people just emptied everything and bought everything they could, imagining the war coming. Now, it's got a lot better. People are getting used to it. Of course, you're allowed to go out and move around your place and certainly for shopping for food and medicines. When you get to a small food store, you wait outside. RAOUL PAL: Really? GIOVANNI POZZI: You just wait for one person to get in and out at a time. It's not so difficult. It's not freezing cold. We're not at minus 20 here, and we're not at plus 40. So, it's fine. It's weird, though. Let me tell you, it's very weird. RAOUL PAL: Yeah, it's not Russia in the 1980s, but it feels like it. It's like rationing almost. GIOVANNI POZZI: It does feel of rationing, but it's not. There's food available, whatever you need in whatever quantity you need. RAOUL PAL: Amazing. Who'd have thought this, Giovanni, right? We all knew— GIOVANNI POZZI: Nobody. RAOUL PAL: --a pandemic was it was one of the black swans. Right? We all talked about it. But to live it is a really bizarre thing. GIOVANNI POZZI: It's true. Although at the beginning of the year for the outlook 2020, I wrote in a note for my colleagues, don't forget that a natural disaster-- which a pandemic is a natural disaster, in a way-- is always the biggest reason for market shock. But that's not because I was waiting for it. I do it every year. And it's wise to-- no, nobody was thinking about it. Maybe Bill Gates was, and he is an outstanding brain, of course, and someone else. I was really impressed by the doctors and how early they saw this coming. So, let's listen to them. Let's trust them when they talk. It's their job. RAOUL PAL: Yeah. It's a good proof of science over hubris. The science is what you need to follow here and not the message from random people on Facebook. GIOVANNI POZZI: True. True. RAOUL PAL: It's a really interesting thing. And I think that behaviorists are also important in this, because it is human behavior, after all, that will actually drive both the spread of the virus and the economic impact. GIOVANNI POZZI: The psychological impact, yes, and the behavior, as you say, is very important as well. I'm a natural optimist, and I want to be an optimist also in this case, despite the damage and the lives that have been lost. It will be a wasted opportunity if we as people and as a population don't grow better out of this in terms of focusing on what's more important and taking care of ourselves and, again, doing the right things and understanding that some things are really a plus. RAOUL PAL: Giovanni, that's a perfect note to end it on. Listen, thank you so much for your time. And it's super interesting to hear, because you're ahead of the curve for the rest of us. And I think your messaging about people understanding what it is, I think it's really important. So, thank you for that, and thank you for everything. And don't get too bored in isolation. Have a few video conference calls with glasses of wine. You'll be fine. GIOVANNI POZZI: I'll certainly do that. Thank you, Raoul. RAOUL PAL: OK, my friend. GIOVANNI POZZI: Bye, bye. RAOUL PAL: Cheers.