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Panthers owner received February email that sounded COVID-19 economic alarm

Before the pandemic, some knew or had reason to know that real trouble was coming, specifically for the economy. The New York Times, via Sports Business Daily, reports that Panthers owner David Tepper knew or had reason to know that trouble was coming.

A February email documenting potential concerns about the impact of the outbreak on the stock market made its way to Tepper, per the report.

Written by hedge-fund manager William Callanan, the email addressed “the level of concern among American officials over the spread of the virus domestically.” He wrote that almost every official in the Trump administration described the virus “as a point of concern, totally unprovoked.”

In late February, at the time of the Callanan email, few in positions of relevance and prominence regarded the situation as something that would be so damaging and uncontained. For those who heeded it, the warning provided an opportunity to sell in advance of the crash.

According to the Times, Tepper initially “denied receiving” the email before “acknowledg[ing] in a later interview that he most likely received the email but that it was not memorable.”

Still, others who became aware of the information in the Callanan email sold stocks -- and bought toilet paper.

Will it surprise anyone that the rich and powerful got a head’s up as to what was coming? It’s hard to fault Tepper for any of this, however, since he was making his concerns about the impact of the pandemic public in early February, explaining on CNBC that the virus “may be a game changer,” and that investors need to be “cautious.”

Three weeks later, of course, Tepper and others would become privy to information that “may be” had become “will be.” It was information that wouldn’t be available to those who didn’t have a chance to dump stock or hoard toilet paper until it was too late. For those who had the benefit of the Callanan email, the head’s up came before it was too late.