On a human level, there are no winners in a global pandemic that has infected nearly 22 million people and killed about 772,000 of them, with nearly a quarter of those fatalities in the United States.

In terms of the financial performance of publicly traded companies, however, there are clear winners. The COVID-19 crisis has lit a fire under demand for the products and services of some companies while deflating demand for the offerings of others. 

This pandemic will eventually end. And when it does, some of these current winners will likely see demand for their products and services revert back to roughly precrisis levels. For other companies, the pandemic-driven boost in demand should prove highly sustainable. 

The latter types, of course, are the ones long-term investors should try to identify and then invest in. Two companies that I think fit the bill are e-commerce and cloud computing giant Amazon.com and telehealth leader Teladoc Health.

You can invest in these companies with just $1,000 (or less), because some online brokerages allow you to buy fractional shares. So the fact that one share of Amazon is priced at nearly $3,200 doesn't matter.

Packages moving on conveyor belts in an Amazon fulfillment center.

Image source: Amazon.com.

2 top coronavirus stocks to buy and hold for the long term


Market Cap

Forward P/E

Projected Annualized Five-Year EPS Growth*

YTD 2020 Return

10-Year Return

Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) $1.6 trillion 100 36% 72.2% 2,370%
Teladoc Health (NYSE:TDOC) $16.7 billion N/A 20%**  145% N/A*** 

S&P 500

--- -- -- 6% 281%

Data sources: Yahoo! Finance and YCharts. Data as of Aug. 17, 2020. P/E = price-to-earnings ratio. EPS = earnings per share. YTD = year to date. *Wall Street's consensus estimate. **Not including pending Livongo acquisition. ***Teladoc held its initial public offering, or IPO, in July 2015.


Amazon is the global leader in e-commerce and cloud computing services. Both of these core businesses still have a long runway for growth. In the first quarter, online sales accounted for only 11.8% of total U.S. retail sales, with the global percentage just a little higher. And many companies and other entities still haven't fully transitioned their computing resources to the cloud.

Amazon also has many other businesses with much growth potential, including smart-home technology, grocery retailing, healthcare, and digital advertising. Moreover, the company continues to expand by acquisition, as well as organically. For instance, in June it announced that it will acquire start-up Zoox, a self-driving vehicle developer, for more than $1.2 billion. 

The pandemic has driven a surge in online shopping, and Amazon's status as the world's largest e-commerce company has made it a top beneficiary of this dynamic.

What's the rationale for thinking that the pandemic-driven increase in online shopping will prove largely sustainable? Once many folks new to online shopping experience how much more convenient, efficient, and pleasant it is relative to shopping in brick-and-mortar stores, it seems unlikely they'll ever go back, at least fully, to their old way of doing things.   

A similar thought pertains to longtime Amazon customers who expanded the type of products they purchased from the company during the pandemic. This would include customers who began using one of the company's grocery delivery services (Amazon Fresh or Prime Now/Whole Foods) only during the crisis. 

There's also the Amazon Prime membership factor. This loyalty program should help the company maintain many of the new members it's gained since the start of the pandemic. Membership gets customers free and speedy delivery, access to the company's grocery delivery services (if available in their location), and other perks, such as streaming movies and music. Many new members are likely to get hooked on one or more of these benefits.

Young man stretched out on sofa using a laptop with a middle-aged male doctor on screen.

Image source: Getty Images.

Teladoc Health

The pandemic has greatly accelerated the adoption of telehealth, or consulting with healthcare providers via videoconferencing or telephone. Indeed, in the second quarter, Teladoc's platform enabled nearly 2.8 million "visits" -- up a whopping 201% from the year-ago period and up 38% from the first quarter. By comparison, in the fourth quarter of 2019 -- before the global crisis started -- visits rose 44% year over year. 

Not everyone who uses Teladoc's services during the pandemic will continue to use them once the crisis ends. However, it seems likely that many will, at least on occasion. Once people get a taste of how much more convenient, efficient, and pleasant it is to virtually consult with a healthcare provider, it seems unlikely they'll ever go back, at least fully, to their former way of obtaining healthcare advice.  

Teladoc is poised to soon get bigger and more diverse. On Aug. 5, the company announced plans to acquire Livongo Health (NASDAQ:LVGO), which provides digital tools to help people with diabetes and other chronic conditions improve their health. The market didn't initially like this news, probably in part due to concerns about synergy. However, investors are warming up to the pairing, as evidenced by shares of Teladoc and Livongo surging 9.3% and 9.4%, respectively, on Monday. 

Lastly, while Teladoc is currently not profitable from an "earnings" (or accounting) standpoint, it did become free-cash-flow positive last year.