It Is Easy to Overreact to the Chinese Coronavirus

Recently, a new coronavirus has been causing many illnesses and deaths. The virus first became active in Wuhan, China, but it has already spread to the rest of China. Scattered cases have been identified around the rest of the world as well.

There are two important questions that are already being encountered:

  • How much of an attempt should be made to limit the spread of the new virus? For example, should businesses close to prevent the spread of the virus?
  • Should this disease be publicized as being far worse than flu viruses that circulate each year and cause many deaths among the elderly and people in poor health? The median age of those dying from the new coronavirus seems to be about 75.

Unfortunately, there aren’t easy answers. We can easily see the likely outcome of under reaction. More people might die of the disease. More people might find themselves out of work for a couple of weeks or more with the illness. We tend to be especially concerned about ourselves and our own relatives.

The thing that is harder to see is that reacting too vigorously can have a hugely detrimental impact on the world economy. The world economy depends on international trade and tourism. China plays a key role in the world economy. Quarantines of whole regions that last for weeks and months can have a very detrimental impact on the wages of people in the area and profits of local companies. Problems with debt can be expected to spike. The greater the reaction to the coronavirus, the more likely the world economy will be pushed toward recession and job loss.

The following are a few of my thoughts regarding possible overreaction:

[1] The Chinese coronavirus seems to be extremely contagious, even before a person who has been exposed shows any symptoms. The only way we can be certain to contain the virus seems to be through quarantines lasting up to 14 days.

China’s National Health Minister, Ma Xiaowei, has provided information that seems quite alarming. With the new virus, a person may become communicable shortly after he/she has been infected, but symptoms may not appear for up to 14 days. This allows the infected person to infect many others without realizing that he/she is a carrier for the disease.

Today, the United States and many other countries screen for the virus by checking passengers arriving on planes from affected areas for fevers. Given the information provided by China’s National Health Minister, this approach seems unlikely to be sufficient to catch all of the people who may eventually come down with the disease. If a country really wants to identify all the potential carriers of the disease, it appears that a 14-day quarantine for all travelers from infected areas may be needed.

Such a quarantine becomes administratively difficult to handle for the huge number of people who are likely to travel from China. Such a quarantine would make it impossible for pilots and other airline workers to make a living, for example. They would be spending too much of their time in quarantine to do the work needed to support themselves and their families.

A related concern is that person-to-person transmission is very easy with the Chinese coronavirus. We don’t know for certain how many people each infected individual infects, but one estimate is that each infected person transmits the disease to an average of 2.5 other people. With this transmission rate, the number of people having the disease can be expected to grow exponentially, perhaps for several months.

Based on these concerns, it seems to me that funds spent on trying to contain the coronavirus are likely to be largely wasted. The new Chinese virus will spread widely, regardless of attempts to contain it. At most, quarantines will slightly slow the transmission of the disease. At the same time, quarantines will be quite disruptive of commerce. They will tend to reduce both total wages and total output of goods and services of the area.

[2] Deaths from pathogens are part of the natural cycle. They help prune back the population of the old and weak.

We know that in ecosystems, one of the functions of naturally occurring fires is to clear out “deadwood,” to allow healthy new growth to occur. In fact, some types of seeds seem to require smoke for germination. When inadequate natural burning takes place, bushfires as seen in Australia and forest fires as seen in California become an increasing problem.

Deaths from pathogens seem to play a similar role in human economies. This is especially the case with pathogens that especially target the weak and old. Most flu viruses have this characteristic. Early reports of deaths from the coronavirus suggest that this same pattern of targeting the old and weak is occurring with this virus as well. As noted above, the median age of those dying from the new coronavirus seems to be about 75 years.

Since the 1940s, modern medicine has been able to develop antibiotics and vaccines to counteract the impact of many pathogens. This, of course, makes citizens happy, but it has the disadvantage of changing the population in a way that leaves the economy with a much higher percentage of elderly people and others in poor health. This higher level of elderly and medically needy people makes it easy for viruses and other pathogens to make their rounds, just as leaving deadwood on the forest floor makes it easier for fires to spread.

With this rising population of people who cannot support themselves, tax rates for the remaining citizens tend to become very high. Young workers may become discouraged because they do not have enough income remaining after paying taxes to raise their own families. In effect, they cannot support both their young families and the many old people.

Viewed from this unusual perspective, the operation of the Chinese coronavirus might even be considered a benefit to society as a whole. The world has overcome the impact of measles, typhoid, polio, and many other diseases. In some sense, it “needs” a new disease added to its portfolio, to replace the ones that have been mostly taken care of by modern medicine. In this way, pensions and other payments targeting the old and weak don’t become too great a burden on the young.

[3] If the Chinese coronavirus were simply allowed to run its course, without publicity that it was in any way unusual, somewhat less than 1% of the world’s population might be expected to die. 

To see what would happen if the Chinese coronavirus were to run its course, we might look at what happened with the Spanish Flu, back in 1918. At that time, doctors did not have a way of treating the virus and authorities downplayed concern for the disease. The US Center for Disease Control reports that 500 million people, or one-third of the world’s population, became infected. At least 50 million people (about 10% of those infected) died.

We don’t yet know with accuracy how many of those infected will die from the current virus. A recent estimate is that about 2.3% of those who are infected will die of the disease (based on 107 dying out of 4,600 infected). If we assume that the percentage of the population that will ultimately catch the new virus is 30%, then the share of the world’s population that would be expected to die would be about [(1/3) x 2.3% = 0.76%].

The UN estimates that the world’s population can be expected to grow by about 1.05% in 2020. If this is the case, the effect of the Chinese virus would be to sharply dampen the population increase for the year. Instead of population rising by 1.05%, it would rise by only 0.29% (= 1.05% – 0.76%), assuming all of the deaths associated with the Chinese coronavirus take place within a year. While this would be a change, it would be a fairly small, temporary change.

All of these deaths would be tragic for the families involved but, in a way, they would be less of a problem than the deaths that took place back in 1918. At that time, mortality was high for healthy 20- to 40-year olds, making the flu particularly disruptive for families. The total percentage of the population that died was also much higher, about 3% instead of 0.76%.

[4] A major danger of the virus seems to be one of overreaction.

Today’s world economy is fragile. China, like other countries, has a large amount of debt. Debt defaults related to poor profits of companies closing their operations for a time and workers losing income could easily skyrocket.

Closing down transportation from China would risk pushing the world economy into a very bad recession. In fact, simply having a very large number of people out sick from work would be expected to have an adverse impact on the economy. Spending a large amount of money on hospitalizations and face masks cannot compensate for the loss of productivity of the rest of the economy. Thus, the tendency would be toward recession in China, even if no action toward cutting off travel were taken.

China is a huge supplier of goods to the rest of the world. In fact, in 2016, it used more energy in producing industrial output than the United States, India, Russia and Japan combined.

Figure 1. Chart by the International Energy Agency showing total fuel consumed (TFC) by industry, for the top five fuel consuming nations of the world.

China’s economy has been growing very rapidly since 1990. Figure 2 shows this one way, in GDP comparisons using inflation-adjusted US dollars.

Figure 2. GDP of China and the United States, computed as percentages of World GDP. All amounts in 2010 US dollars, as provided by the World Bank.

Figure 3 is similar to Figure 2, except the growth comparison is made in “2011 Purchasing Power Parity International Dollars.” This adjustment is made because typically the currencies of less developed nations float far below the dollar, in terms of what the local currency will buy. The inflation-adjusted PPP comparison compares output on a basis that is expected to be more consistent with what the local currency will really purchase.

Figure 3. Ratios of the GDP of China and the United States to the World GDP. All amounts in 2011 Purchasing Power Parity International Dollars, as provided by the World Bank.

On this PPP basis, China’s GDP surpassed the US’s GDP in 2014. Figure 3 also shows that the United States has slipped from about 20% of the world’s GDP to about 15% on this basis.

We cannot simply cut off trade with China, regardless of how bad the situation is. China is too big and too important now. The rest of the world desperately needs goods and services produced in China, in spite of what is going wrong from an illness perspective. China plays too key a role in supply chains of many kinds for the country to be left out.

Even cutting off tourism becomes a problem. The share of China’s revenue from tourism amounted to 11% in 2018. While not all of this would drop off, even a dip would lead to lower employment in this part of its economy. Jet fuel use would drop as well.

[5] A particular problem today is low prices for many commodities, including oil and other fossil fuels. These prices are likely to fall further, if China’s economy falters further. 

We used to hear that the world would “run out of” oil and that oil prices would rise very high. In fact, if the people who were concerned about the issue had studied history, they would have figured out that a far more likely outcome would be “collapse.” In such a situation, prices of many commodities might fall too low. Revelation 18:11-13 provides a list of a number of commodities, including humans sold as slaves, for which prices dropped very low at the time of the collapse of ancient Babylon.

The problem is a different squeeze than a high-price squeeze. It is more of a growing wage disparity problem, with fewer and fewer of the world’s workers being able to afford the goods and services made by the world economy. This problem feeds back to commodity prices that fall too low for producers of many types. The problem is an affordability issue, rather than one of running out. I have written about this issue many times.

Prices of fossil fuels have been low for a very long time–essentially since late 2014. OPEC has cut back its oil production because of low oil prices. Several US natural gas producers have taken big write offs on natural gas investments. China’s coal production has remained below its 2013 level, because of low prices.

Figure 1. China energy production by fuel, based on 2019 BP Statistical Review of World Energy data. “Other Ren” stands for “Renewables other than hydroelectric.” This category includes wind, solar, and other miscellaneous types, such as sawdust burned for electricity.

If China finds it necessary to cut back on production of goods and services for any reason (excessive sickness within China, visitors aren’t traveling to China, tariffs, customers around the world aren’t buying cars), this reduction in output would be likely to further lower the prices of commodities. More producers would go bankrupt. Countries exporting products as diverse as oil, iron ore, copper and lithium might have economic difficulties.

Lower fossil fuel prices may lead to a cutback in their output, but it is doubtful that this cutback would be offset by an increase in the production of renewables. Falling fossil fuel prices would make the price comparison of renewables to fossil fuels look even worse than it does today. China has cut back on its subsidies for solar panels, and this has led to decreasing Chinese solar installations in both 2018 and 2019.

[6] The best approach might just be to let the Chinese coronavirus run its course. Authorities might also discourage stories about how awful the illness is.

Today, we seem to think that we can fix all problems. Unfortunately, this medical problem doesn’t seem to be fixable in the near-term. We should probably do as governments through the ages have done, which is not very much. We should not publicize the disease as being a whole lot worse than flu viruses in general, for example.

We should certainly look for inexpensive treatments for the disease. For example, there seems to be an effort to examine the possibility of using existing antiviral drugs as a treatment. It seems like an effort could be made to look into ways of treating the disease at home, perhaps using supplemental oxygen for a period. In time, perhaps a vaccine can be developed.

Individuals around the world should be encouraged to get themselves in as good health as possible, so that their own immune systems can fight off pathogens of all types, not just this particular virus. Common sense should be used in washing hands and in avoiding being with sick people. I doubt that it makes sense to encourage the use of masks, goggles and other protective devices.

We, as individuals, cannot live forever on this earth. We also cannot spend an unlimited percentage of GDP on health care: It becomes too high-cost for most citizens. At some point, we need to call a halt to the expectation that we can fix all problems. We live in a world with limited resources. We need to start lowering our expectations, if we don’t want to make our problems worse.

About Gail Tverberg

My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to financial problems for oil producers and for oil exporting countries. We are really dealing with a physics problem that affects many parts of the economy at once, including wages and the financial system. I try to look at the overall problem.
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1,772 Responses to It Is Easy to Overreact to the Chinese Coronavirus

  1. squideater says:

    If the environment trains humans to self quarantine for survival will they just go back to keeping the economy going with activities and purchasing when the threat is over? Interaction with other people is key to the economy and if that interaction is emotionally categorized as unpleasant and threatening it would seem that economic activity must lessen.

    • We will go to the equivalent of texting on the phone for every kind of activity. It is hard to see that this can work.

      I notice that the Chinese memorandum regarding the protocols inside the Chinese CDC in Beijing called for very few meetings. When meetings are called, only those absolutely required should be included. This, no doubt, it to keep down virus-sharing.

  2. Gail, you have written extensively about demand destruction possibly being a very serious problem for us due to affordability. What about this article that touches on demand destruction due to the virus threatening the viability of oil project investment? It does not bode well for our futures, either, it seems to me. https://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/The-Coronavirus-May-Mark-The-End-Of-Russia-OPEC-Cooperation.html#

    • Oil prices will fall even lower than they are now, I expect. This will make new oil projects less viable. Coal and natural gas are having the same low price problems as well.

      I can see that there will be more disagreement between OPEC and Russia regarding who should cut back. Russia will want to go its own way if it can.

      • gpdawson2016 says:


        Missing the point here: how do you convince people to cram into these tower blocks? Don’t mention the word epidemic for God’s Sake. Normal, healthy people will not move in such close proximity on an ongoing basis. This is the elephant in the room, not the virus itself.

        • Stephen says:

          Much of the world is now the polar opposite of isolated hunter gather tribes. Worldwide profit maximized huge economy of scale cruise ships, airliners, apartments etc also maximize transmission of pathogens.

  3. Davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

    well, Singapore is trying hard:

    https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/health/coronavirus-three-new-cases-confirmed-in-singapore-two-linked-to-grace-assembly

    3 new cases, now up to 75, “only” a 4% increase today, but:

    “Of the suspected Covid-19 cases, 871 have tested negative and test results for the remaining 119 cases are pending.”

    so most are testing negative, but 119 cases are pending, and obviously there could be many more…

    “As of noon on Sunday, MOH has identified 2,179 close contacts, with 1,781 of the 2,045 still in Singapore quarantined or isolated. Efforts to contact the remaining 264 are ongoing.”

    so 264 “close contacts” are still moving about and doing their regular daily activities…

  4. Chrome Mags says:

    https://www.politico.com/news/2020/02/16/americans-cruise-ship-coronavirus-115586

    “A top National Institutes of Health official said Sunday that at least 40 Americans on a quarantined cruise ship in Japan have been infected with the deadly coronavirus. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in an interview with host Margaret Brennan on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that infected Americans aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship would be treated at hospitals in Japan. Fauci gave the number as 40, though other reports indicated that the number might be higher. The CDC confirmed on Saturday that 400 Americans were set to be evacuated from the cruise ship and flown back to the United States where, Fauci said, they would be subjected to a 14-day quarantine on military bases in California and Texas. “The reason for that is that the degree of transmissibility on that cruise ship is essentially akin to being in a hot spot,” Fauci added. “A lot of transmissibility on that cruise ship.”

    I’m wondering if two weeks quarantine is enough time.

  5. Yoshua says:

    Xi Jinping is calling for internet censorship and more police patrols in the streets to ensure social stability.

    Xi Jinping took control of the response to the virus epidemic in January 7th, but it looks as if they are losing control of the situation.

    https://news.yahoo.com/amphtml/chinas-xi-urges-more-policing-virus-toll-rises-115750208.html?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly90LmNvLzdVdVk4VklFUFc_YW1wPTE&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAFxrttcyNLw9dcCUDrUircxzGAKs3qqPHWZxGJw0dwAbw09PGCWPTB2G1Pk9J6n0rXFtV_VWoTaA7G_W6Akhf9or-blHQA2Bedp03KuRlnsYc6WsbwYZJksWebqXwqcL6b8E-W-Mp9tZieyoirsup_i1HXWtfBC60WacDnh7mccQ

    • I can believe that China is losing control of the situation.

      China has already doing a whole lot of censoring the internet. US major newspapers (WSJ, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, etc) are not available online in China. Neither are blogs, if they include wordpress or other popular sites in their name. (OurFiniteWorld.com is available, however, as far as I know.)

      After a point, people decide, “This is enough,” and decide to take matters into their own hands. China has always rated poorly on “happiness” scores. This situation would push people beyond their limit.

      • squideater says:

        How would they take matters into their own hands? Burn their facemasks? Break quarantine and spread it to the rest of china?

        “this is enough” A virus is not like a bully that can be made to stop through the use of physical force. Its a terrible situation. People are suffering. Sure the governments continuous drone that everything is just fine must be infuriating. Critism can come after. Burning Hubei down will be somewhat counterproductive IMO.

        Would you expect anything less than martial law anywhere in the world?

      • Ed says:

        Gail, is reserved. This is a strong statement for Gail. With her on the ground experience in China I trust her judgement. Oh boy.

      • Stephen says:

        Yes ironically it was China’s ironfisted control of unfavorable “fake” news that allowed covid 19 to spread out if control initially.

        • I am not sure if anything could have done, after the first human got the disease and started walking around among others. The disease is simply too easily transmitted to others.

    • Tim Groves says:

      I expect Xi is working to the rule that if you can’t control the situation, control the narrative.

    • Robert Firth says:

      “Xi Jinping is calling for internet censorship and more police patrols in the streets to ensure social stability.”

      So the way to foster social stability is to create even more mistrust between the people and the government? I doubt such an attitude would have won the Battle of Marathon. Indeed, it lost the Battle of Shanhai Pass (山海關), if memory serves. “Control is never the means to any useful end. It is a means only to more control.”

  6. Dennis L. says:

    Okay, back to economics and what we think we know:
    1. Three apparent factors in China’s economic miracle;
    a. Cheap labor
    b. Willingness to use air, waterways, soil as a large waste dump.
    c. Access to cheap coal

    2. What this meant for the west:
    a. Imported goods without the pollution and waste disposal issues, indeed
    when many of the imported goods were turned to waste, that waste was returned to China.
    b. The west imported cheap coal mined with cheap labor, maintaining the per capita energy ratio
    c. The decimation of the middle class in the US and the financialization of their lives to the 1%
    and increasingly the .1%.
    d. The only good jobs go to the incredibly intelligent and hard working and government workers,
    government workers with a defined, steady work week and defined benefits – read pensions,
    health care. When the governments can no longer collect taxes, corruption will increase – look
    failed American Cities – Baltimore is the latest example, they become essentially free fire
    zones to boot.
    e. Increase in drug use, depression and suicide, the latter especially among men but increasingly
    among teenage girls.
    3. Where we are:
    a. China and its population can no longer absorb the pollution, they are literally dying and
    exportable production appears to have stopped. Pollution is a liability, it will be paid
    prior to restarting significant production inorder for the workforce to heal – this will take time, a
    number out of the air 10-20 years. There are similarities to Japan in that many in Japan were
    said to work themselves to death.
    b. Cheap coal is gone so per capita energy in imported goods is history, West per capita energy
    continues to decline, at a faster rate.
    c. Nuclear is non polluting until it isn’t, then the costs are so large as to be unaccountable, Japan
    is looking to further pollute the Pacific, things are dying in the Pacific Ocean, either no one
    knows why, or no one wants to say.
    d. Politically, who in China is going to enforce the rules? How large a percentage of a societies’
    police/armed forces can be sick and still have a functioning unit?
    e. This is a heck of a social experiment.

    It is going to change, change became visible from the first recognition of the virus issue about 12/1/2019, 75 days later entire cities are shut down, ports are stopped, oil tankers are at anchorage, etc. Change does not seem to come immediately, but it comes very quickly. We are living through it. We need to begin looking forward, ironically those of us here looking forward are getting very old, weird, don’t you think? The most thoughtful are the oldest with the least to lose.

    Maybe discussion going forward on what can work, there have to be some things that do work.

    Dennis L.

    • Regarding the factors in China’s economic miracle, I would add the Kyoto Protocol of 1997 and the desire to end local carbon emission. European countries and others were more than willing to send their heavy industry to China, once it was added to the World Trade Organization in 2001. (Also, India earlier, but they were not as capable as China.) The interest in keeping local emissions down pretty much guaranteed that China would get no competition from anyone else. Countries could brag about how successful they had been in keeping emissions down.

      China also played into the game with taking in a great deal of recycling. This industry went bust after oil prices dropped. This is part of what is pulling China’s economy down since January 2018.

      • maybe this sums up the virus thing

        The sideswipe of disaster
        Was bound to come one day
        We thought it would be warfare
        Or a strike from outer space

        Instead the smallest of us
        Those we cannot see
        Know that we have done enough
        To bring Earth to her knees

        So they’re rising up to save her
        (it’s their home too you see)
        To reassert their power
        And cull us with disease

        They’ve been around since life began
        While we but late arrived
        They know the way survival works
        As we still stumble blind

        They’ve decided we’re too many
        And numbers must reduce
        Our skill at procreation
        Must now end our lease

        The microscopic creatures
        For whom we shed no tear
        Are cutting down our evil ways
        And reducing us to fear

        Suddenly our world is slowed
        By unseen policing hands
        Our destruction of the planet
        Must cease by their command

        Now we dare not touch each other
        Or follow travel’s tide
        We cannot strike our enemy
        Only use a mask to hide

        The things that made us wealthy
        Our ships and aeroplanes
        Are now being used against us
        To spread disease’s bane

        So our commerce of pollution
        Must be put on hold
        For fear the bugs will find us
        And leave our bodies cold

        Thinking of ourselves as gods
        That never was our due
        To take their world as property
        we had no right to do.

        Norman Pagett (on Medium.com)

    • Davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

      “… ironically those of us here looking forward are getting very old, weird, don’t you think?”

      yes, some of us are getting very old and weird… 😉

    • GBV says:

      “The most thoughtful are the oldest with the least to lose”

      But seriously, I’m only in my 30s and I’m way more thoughtful than most of you punks (well, replace “thoughtful” with “selfish” or perhaps “self-absorbed”)…

      Cheers,
      -GBV

    • Robert Firth says:

      Thank you, Dennis; in my opinion an excellent summary. For the record, I am 74, so my main worry is for the next two generations of my family.

  7. Another worrying report from Zerohedge:
    Beijing Crashes The Party: Chinese Media Warns Austerity Is Coming After FinMin Says “Proactive Fiscal Policy” No Longer Feasible

    Bloomberg has been reporting that China will stimulate the economy, but the Global Times says the opposite.

    Crushing the “unlimited fiscal support” argument pushed by Bloomberg, and which is propping up the entire market, the Global Times warns that while it is generally expected that fiscal stimulus and monetary easing will undoubtedly be the two main tools of central authorities for alleviating downward pressure on the economy and for maintaining macroeconomic stability, “given the past experience and the financial risks currently facing China, a flood of spending programs seems no longer on the financial regulators’ list of choices for stimulating the economy.”

    And here is why one can no longer even trust Bloomberg for objective and accurate, reporting of news: according to the Global Times’ report of what the Chinese finance minister said, instead of “vowing more fiscal support”, China’s top financier actually urged local government to brace for “belt-tightening”, to wit:

    “China will face decreased fiscal revenues and increased expenditures for some time to come, and the fiscal operation will maintain a state of ‘tight balance.’, Chinese Finance Minister Liu Kun wrote in an article published on Qiushi, a magazine affiliated with the Communist Party of China Central Committee. In this situation, it won’t be feasible to adopt a proactive fiscal policy by expanding the fiscal expenditure scale. I, and instead, policies and capital must be used in a more effective, precise and targeted way,” Liu said. Chinese Finance Minister Liu Kun wrote in an article published on Qiushi, a magazine affiliated with the Communist Party of China Central Committee.

    Much to the chagrin of anyone betting that Beijing will do anything to offset the economic decline about to slam the economy, the Global Times said that “Liu’s article sent a clear signal that China would not stimulate the economy by rolling out another massive monetary stimulus.”

    • Davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

      “… the economic decline about to slam the economy…”

      the big story of 2020…

    • Yoshua says:

      How can they stimulate the economy when 2/3 of the economy is shutdown?

      Monetary stimulus would only lead to hyperinflation and a breakdown of the yuan?

      I doubt they will use their dollar reserves to import massive amounts of commodities.

  8. Ed says:

    If the US and China are at war wouldn’t this be the time to strike?

    • Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

      the tariff war looks like kids with squirt guns compared to the “war” against COVID-19…

  9. Chrome Mags says:

    NEWS FLASH:

    “Chinese scientists says COVID-19/coronavirus could have originated from government (lab)…”

    According to this report the weapons lab is only 280 meters from the wet market. They say in the video the disease research lab near the market had 600 (diseased) bats. It sounds like it’s being leaked by Chinese scientists, because obviously they wouldn’t let them do that unless they had permission or were instructed to do so.

    I think the jig us up that it was the lab. Why? Because the virus itself is tuned so well to be just about as bad as it could possibly be, and for that to occur naturally is much less likely. It has a human fingerprint so to speak. The transmissibility, the long incubation, the ability of the virus to attach to human cells which are different than a bat, the attack on vital organs and it’s deadly for about 15% of all closed cases.

    • Given how easy it is for a worker in the lab to accidentally get infected, without knowing he/she is infected, it would seem like an error at some point would almost be a certainty.

      I also posted links to some articles earlier about the number of accidents at the US CDC lab in Atlanta. The likely impact of these accidents would be to increase the possibility that a worker could accidentally be infected. With this virus, it would be quickly passed on.

  10. Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

    ha ha… “thinks the worst is over”…

    https://www.cnbc.com/2020/02/14/stocks-expected-to-rise-even-as-virus-creates-volatility-the-market-thinks-the-worst-is-over.html

    “Economists have been reducing China’s growth outlook for the quarter, with some seeing little or no growth and then a bounce back in the high single digits next quarter.”

    “little or no growth” will be “huge decrease” in Q1…

    “bounce back” in Q2 is just wishful thinking…

    “… the disruption to the supply chain should not be nearly as bad as it was when Japan was hit by a tsunami and earthquake in 2011.”

    he’s in for the proverbial rude awakening…

    • Robert Firth says:

      What would be the disruption to the supply chain caused by a tsunami that lasted for three months without abating? Welcome to the new world of the coronavirus. Or, if you prefer, the old world of the Red Death.

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