China struggles to contain coronavirus outbreak

(27 January 2020) As it rings in the Lunar New Year, China is reeling under the effects of a deadly new coronavirus that is spreading rapidly through country.   The virus outbreak began in the city of Wuhan in December and cases have now appeared in many countries around the world.  While the city of Wuhan is now under quarantine, it is uncertain if the virus can be quickly contained given that it is more contagious than previous coronaviruses such as SARS.

There is growing alarm over the the future impact of this epidemic.  Already Chinese authorities have ordered an extension of the Lunar New Year holiday for a second week with businesses and schools now due to re-open on February 9.  Travel restrictions inside and outside China are now in place in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus.

This coronavirus outbreak appears to fulfill my New Year's prediction of a potential global disease or health-related problem emerging in 2020.   The horoscope for January 1, 2020 featured an alignment of the Moon (population), Neptune (illness) and Saturn (suffering) which suggested the elevated risk of a this sort of viral outbreak.  On December 30, 2019 I wrote:

I would also suggest that the affliction of Moon-Neptune by Saturn could signify   some kind of disease or health-related problems in 2020.  Neptune is the planet that is frequently connected with illness so its connection with Saturn and the Moon is noteworthy.  Saturn rules the 6th house of health so its association with Neptune and the Moon also raises this as a possible scenario.  By way of comparison, the SARS outbreak in 2003 saw Neptune closely aspected by Rahu in the New Year's chart, while the Moon was closely opposed by Saturn.

We can see how the fallout from this virus is manifesting in the horoscope of China (October 1, 1949).  The Saturn-Pluto conjunction is hitting the natal Jupiter (29 Sagittarius) and is now entering the 1st house.  Saturn-Pluto is a very negative influence which has nullified Jupiter's hope and inherent optimism.  As Saturn now moves into Capricorn and the 1st house, hope for the future is in short supply as China focuses its energies on the here and now.

The negative influence of Saturn and Pluto reflect the overall national mood and the damage to the economy.   We can also see how the health of the nation is represented through transit effects of Neptune and Rahu (North Lunar Node).  When in hard aspect (0,90,180 degrees), Neptune is a planet that can bring weakness and sickness, whether to an individual or a nation.  We can see that Neptune is opposite (180 degrees) natal Saturn (20 Leo).  Since China has Capricorn rising in the 1st house, its sign ruler, Saturn, is the ruler of the whole chart.  Therefore, Saturn's affliction by Neptune is a key element of this current epidemic. 

Transiting Rahu at 12 Gemini is closely conjunct Uranus in the 6th house of national health.  This Rahu-Uranus conjunction is another clearly negative transit influence that aptly describes the current coronavirus outbreak.  Rahu is a natural malefic that operates through disruption of the status quo while Uranus is a planet of sudden and rapid developments.  The fact that this conjunction is taking place in the 6th house is a fairly impressive coincidence given the potential gravity of the medical situation in China.  We can also note that the current Uranus square to the natal Moon underlines the level of disruption of daily life and routine to the Chinese people. 

Underneath these very difficult transit influences is a very telling dasha picture.  In September 2019, China started its Mercury dasha period.  While Mercury has a somewhat positive quality by nature, it is in a very awkward place in the natal horoscope conjunct Neptune and Ketu and the Sun in Virgo.  Mercury is exalted in Virgo, but the tight conjunctions with Neptune and Ketu are huge negatives for this dasha period.  As we know, Neptune symbolizes weakness and illness, while Ketu is associated with more abstract notions of erasing, dilution, and transcendence.  This Mercury-Mercury dasha period is therefore a significant factor in the timing of this viral outbreak as the inherent natal weakness of Mercury is laid bare.

Looking ahead

So what happens next?  While I am reluctant to predict how serious things could get, I would say the planets do not point to any quick return to normal.  The Mercury-Mercury period lasts until 2022 so there is not much reason for optimism as far as that's concerned.  However, we should note that Neptune will slowing move away from its aspect with Saturn so that could represent a possible lessening of intensity of the virus over the coming months.  Rahu will remain in conjunction with the 6th house Uranus over the next few weeks so a solution to the health crisis may be more forthcoming after this period, such as in March.  That said, Rahu will remain in close conjunction with the 6th house cusp (8 Gemini) into spring and therefore health matters may be a source of ongoing concern.   

More worrying, however, is that Saturn will approach a close conjunction with the 1st house Moon (10 Capricorn) in April-May.  With Saturn due to station retrograde at 7 Capricorn in May, it is possible China could be feeling the negative effects of the flu epidemic until that date at least.  One possible way to read these influences is that the immediate medical emergency could pass by March as the Neptune-Saturn and Rahu-Uranus transits begin to separate and lose strength.  But the ongoing Saturn affliction to the Moon in the 1st house could represent serious damage to the economy and national mood for a significantly longer period.

I will update this post as the situation develops.

Weekly Market Forecast

Financial markets reacted to the coronavirus last week as stocks sold off and continued lower on Monday.  This was not unexpected as I thought we were more likely to see some turbulence here with the entry of Saturn into sidereal Capricorn on Jan 23 and the ongoing Saturn-Pluto conjunction this month.  Friday's decline in US markets closely correlated with the Sun-Moon-Saturn alignment that I noted in last week's post.  Today's decline also reflected a clearly bearish planetary signature as Mars closely aspected the Venus-Neptune conjunction.

While we could easily see some upside as we head into this Wednesday's Fed meeting, the late week again looks vulnerable to more selling on the rare parallel alignment (y-axis) of the Earth, the Sun, Mars and Saturn.  Longitudinally (x-axis), Mercury is due to align with Saturn and Pluto on Thursday and Friday so that is another possible indication for some downside.  Overall, it looks like volatility is here for a while.  

For more details and possible timing scenarios, check out my weekly subscriber newsletter which is published every Saturday afternoon (EST).   I outline the key technical and planetary influences for US and Indian stocks for the short and medium term, as well as currencies, gold and oil.

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