Doctor-turned-investor Michael Burry, who bet against mortgage securities before the 2008 financial crisis, has condemned the coronavirus-related lockdown on social media. This according to a recent Bloomberg article.
In a series of tweets over the past several weeks, Burry has reportedly argued that government-directed shutdowns in the U.S. are not necessary to control the epidemic and have disproportionately hurt low-income families and minorities.
In an email to Bloomberg, Burry wrote, “Universal stay-at-home is the most devastating economic force in modern history. And it is man-made. It very suddenly reverses the gains of underprivileged groups, kills and creates drug addicts, beats and terrorizes women and children in violent now-jobless households, and more. It bleeds deep anguish and suicide.”
Although Burry is not speaking publicly about his current investment decisions, he reportedly told Bloomberg in March that he placed a “significant bearish market bet that is working out for now,” adding that it involved a trade of a “good size” against indexes. The pandemic, he said, could “unwind” the passive investment boom.
“I would lift stay-at-home orders except for known risk groups,” Burry argued, adding, “Especially since young healthy lungs tend to be resistant, I would let the virus circulate in the population that is not likely to get severe disease from it.” Since vaccines are not coming anytime soon, he says, “Every day, every week in the current situation is ruining innumerable lives in a criminally unjust manner.”
Regarding the economic backlash, Burry says, “Economically speaking, we have to realize the policy-driven demand shock will be resolved by 2021,” citing fiscal and monetary stimulus programs that will “bring stock and debt markets back.”