NEW YORK (JasonBondPicks) The latest Ebola outbreak is the “most severe acute health emergency in modern times,” warned the World Health Organization (WHO).
“I have never seen a health event threaten the very survival of societies and governments in already very poor countries,” stated WHO director-general Margaret Chan to an audience of health care professionals in the Philippines, as reported by U.K. broadcaster, ITV. “I have never seen an infectious disease contribute so strongly to potential state failure.”
In the United States, it’s become clear that an earlier statement made by Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) chief Thomas Frieden, that the spread of the virus to Texas is “under control,” is apparently not true, leading some experts to suggest that the U.S. (like the aftermath of hurricane Katrina in New Orleans) is not prepared to handle a complex and fast-moving public health crisis.
In response to the second case of infection of a healthcare worker who cared for the nation’s first case of Thomas Eric Duncan at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, Frieden stated, “At some point there was a breach in protocol [and] that breach in protocol resulted in this infection.”
Which, then, begs the question, asked by USA Today, “Of course, what, exactly, was this breach in protocol?”
However, according to ITV, the health care worker in question was wearing “full protective gear.” Unfortunately, the lack of forthcoming detail to the incident, therefore, brings us back to our previous article which suggested that the CDC may be wrong (i.e., the Ebola virus is NOT under control), and what the potential impact from the crisis upon Lakeland Industries’ (LAKE) bottom line could result under this assumption.
In that article, LAKE Potential ‘Jackpot’ Stock; What If CDC Is Mistaken About Ebola?, contrary to statements issued by the CDC, the U.S. Army Center for Aerobiological Sciences has concluded: if the virus can survive in the air, the spread of Ebola may become much easier within the context of drier and cooler climes of North America – in some respects, akin to the spread of Influenza in 1918, which killed between 50 and 100 million people, worldwide.
In its conclusion about the Ebola virus of West Africa, the Army stated:
“Filoviruses, which are classified as Category A Bioterrorism Agents by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Atlanta, GA), have stability in aerosol form comparable to other lipid containing viruses such as influenza A virus, a low infectious dose by the aerosol route (less than 10 PFU) in NHPs, and case fatality rates as high as ~90% .”
“There is no strong evidence of secondary transmission by the aerosol route in African filovirus outbreaks. However, aerosol transmission is thought to be possible and may occur in conditions of lower temperature and humidity which may not have been factors in outbreaks in warmer climates.”
What Does All This Ultimately Mean to LAKE Traders?
Worldwide, three million protective suits will be needed to fight the outbreak of the latest Ebola virus, according to WHO.
This latest forecast follows a “massive increase” in the number of Ebola cases reported this year, WHO spokesman Daniel Epstein told ABC News. In all, WHO anticipates that hospitals, clinics, airports, border crossings and other places where health care professionals come in contact with the public, will need 300,000 suits per month to fight the spread of this deadly virus.
As the virus spreads, with the second Ebola case confirmed in Texas (a health care worker who cared for the first U.S. case, Thomas Eric Duncan) and more infections reported from Boston to Los Angeles recently coming to light, the difficulty of predicting whether the WHO estimate of 300,000 suits per month ultimately turning out to be accurate, or not, is as unclear as the number of avenues the virus can take to infect more hosts.
In other words, no one really knows how pervasive this virus will be during fall and winter conditions of North America.
Another assumption – an assumption we feel confident making at this time – is: WHO’s estimate of the number of protective suits needed to control the Ebola virus was projected based upon the CDC’s assessment of its ability to contain the virus within the United States, an assessment which we postulate could be terribly optimistic (misleading?).
In an ABC News article, Ebola Suit Maker Triples Output, Susanna Kim interviewed Judson Boothe, a senior director of Kimberly-Clarke (KMB), who stated that purchase orders tend “to follow these global outbreaks of some virus[es]. Everybody hits capacity when a crisis like that happens.”
With Lakeland’s revenue of $91.4M and a near-breakeven bottom line (fiscal year ending Jan. 31, 2014), full capacity could literally mean the prospect of a three-shifts production schedule in response to a flood of purchase orders from around the globe. Revenue, gross margin and net income could triple, expand from emergency no-bid contract awards, and soar, respectively, during a full-blown pandemic.
The potential of the Ebola crisis reaching pandemic levels will most assuredly become more clear over the coming weeks and months, which may include an announcement by management of the windfall to Lakeland Industries’ stockholders sometime during the crisis.
Because Lakeland Industries already borders on profitability, is one of only two small-cap pure-play stocks [the other is Alpha Pro Tech, Ltd (APT)] listed on U.S. exchanges, and has only 5.38M shares outstanding, the ‘jackpot’ potential of the stock – by way of hefty dividend payouts from a banner year, or a multi-bagger rise in the share price from several years of expected full-capacity production – ranks among one of our most promising picks of 2014.
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Disclosure: I am long LAKE