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. CTG says:

    Supply chain again…. this will impact every country because a bulk of manufacturing (medicine) is in China.

    • Herbie R Ficklestein says:

      We live in a society whose whole policy is to excite every nerve in the human body and keep it at the highest pitch of artificial tension, to strain every human desire to the limit and to create as many new desires and synthetic passions as possible, in order to cater to them with the products of our factories and printing presses and movie studios and all the rest.”
      ― Thomas Merton, The Seven Storey Mountain

      • Quite a few of us choose to turn off television and ignore advertising. Not everyone falls for this “stuff.”

        • Herbie R Ficklestein says:

          When a student back in 1980, had an “business economics” class of some short and remember the Professor reflecting on his experience in a rather “undeveloped” region of Africa.
          Don’t recall the details, but it was some sort of manufacturing factory and the venture had a difficult go in hiring production line workers. Turns out, the locals were pretty much self sufficient in everyday needs and their culture abhored such a 9 to 5 monotonous numb minding, tedious task of repetitive “work”.
          Therir solution….turn to WANTS, by introducing merchandising retail catalogs to the locals for them to advertise.
          It worked….more than enough applicants to man the lines for them to get money to buy those things pictured in those attractive pages with all the happy, smiling faces!😜

          • Xabier says:

            The early capitalist theorists in Britain worked that out: make the rich and middle-classes greedy for luxuries -even though they already have ‘enough’ – and deprive the poor of the ability to save by paying them only just enough to live and denying them any means of self-reliance outside the money economy.

    • India was already doing poorly. Now we read:

      Mohnidroo said if things don’t improve in the next couple of weeks, smartphone factories in India could start running out of “critical components like printed circuit boards, camera modules, semiconductors, resistors, and capacitors.”

  2. chrish618 says:

    HEre’s a perspective from Australia’s long serving health reporter Sophie Scott.

  3. Country Joe says:

    There have been several comments that COVID-19 is a biological weapon experiment that escaped containment. It wouldn’t be the first time.

    Plumb Island is a small island off the east end of Long Island New York. After WWII it was developed as a bio-weapons lab that was alleged to be studying possible animal disease agents that Soviets might use to interrupt our food supply as part of the “Cold War” scenario.

    “LAB 257 proves that scientific fact on Plumb Island can indeed be stranger than science fiction. Mike Carrol has the uncanny ability to transport the reader inside the frightening world of Plumb Island.”
    Lowell P. Weicker, Jr, former U.S. Senator
    and governor of Connecticut

    LAB 257 explains the procedures and infrastructure of the bioweapons lab and it documents the escape of foot-and-mouth disease virus in September, 1978.
    Plumb Island is less than ten miles off the coast of Connecticut directly across from the city of Old Lyme which gave the name to Lyme Disease. Tick borne bioweapons were a major area of research at Plum Island.
    Just a coincidence, I’m sure.

  4. Herbie R Ficklestein says:

    Millennial debt is rising in these U.S. cities
    Adriana BelmonteAssociate Editor
    Yahoo MoneyFebruary 17, 2020, 12:38 PM EST
    Millennials living in certain U.S. metro areas are seeing increases in non-mortgage debt, according to a study by LendingTree, at a time when Americans’ debt is hitting record highs.

    Auto debt and student loans account for the biggest portion of non-housing debt for millennials, the generation born between 1981 and 1996. A 2019 report by the New York Fed found that millennials have the worst delinquency rates when it comes to auto loans, and outstanding student debt currently stands at $1.6 trillion spread across 44 million borrowers
    ,…Nearly half of millennials are reportedly delaying buying a home because of their student loans. And ultimately, the trend is tied to debt in general: The more loans that millennials take on, the more inclined they are to put new expenses on their credit cards

    Nice charts in the link, Gail

    • As the generational shift marches on, debt jubilees will come, eventually, guaranteed.
      And then the economy will roll over to another (poorer) system.

      • David Jackson says:

        But I thought that the U.S economy is very strong and will pull the rest of the world out; just as we have in the past. I think the GDP is running at 3 percent so soon we will pick up even faster when the new tax cuts and infrastructure spending goes in.

  5. Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

    active cases have 11,326 in serious or critical condition which is 19%

    closed cases have 1,776 deaths which is 13%

    if mild cases are under reported, then those % numbers are lower…

    if (in home) deaths are under reported, then those % numbers might be fairly accurate…

  6. Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

    countries, cases, change in one day

    Singapore.. 77 +2
    Japan…….. 66 +7
    Hong Kong 60 +3
    Thailand…. 35 +1
    S. Korea…. 30 +1
    Taiwan……. 22 +2

    Japan up 11%
    HK up 5%
    Taiwan up 10%

    it’s exponential growth, though Singapore has slowed to 3%…


    • squideater says:

      It will be months b4 we can shape a opinion about outcome. The new cases mean nothing in between home care, censorship, false negatives and asymptomatic hosts. The information in the zero hedge article indicates individuals of European ancestry might me less prone to transmission and have less symptoms. It might be that this renders the virus much less dangerous in western countries. It might mean a huge number of asymptomatic carriers with no hope of detection of same. Relax. Its BAU today. Exercise to relieve stress, thats my plan anyway.

      • I ran across this article talking a bit more about the differences among different groups.

        • Chrome Mags says:

          From the interesting article you linked, Gail:

          “East Asians, Japanese, and Han Chinese are the most likely people to become severely sick by the coronavirus with a chance of more than 90% when exposed. Europeans only rank in the 50%, Africans in the 60% range, and considered low to medium.”

          • Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

            so more than a billion Asians will get severely sick…

            Europeans? that would include most Americans who have European ancestry…

            so half of that would be about 250 million getting SEVERELY SICK…

            and ONLY 500 million Africans…

            is the glass half full or half empty?

      • Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

        “It will be months b4 we can shape a opinion about outcome.”

        sure, but meanwhile I can be entertained by the interesting reports out of Asia…

        “Relax. Its BAU today.”

        sure is… I bought some toilet paper earlier, and other groceries, including a few bars of dark chocolate…

        the supply chains are holding!

        around here, there are 0 cases and the death rate is 0%…

        so far, so good…

        • Yep, vacuuming up all those sub micro grade mask from all around the world Jan20/22nd to Jan~26th was swift and easy. They can’t do that on bulky large pack (high shipping cost) toilet paper fortunately enough, lolz.

          • Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

            yes, I surmise that TP is more locally sourced, from Canada and the USA…

            not very high tech… lolz…

  7. Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

    now locust plague reaches China:

    “Pakistan – which borders China – recently declared a national emergency over the locusts.”

  8. Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

    this may be a repeat:

    “The source also said the virus has “outsmarted all of us,” as it can hide symptoms for up to 24 days.”


    Also, the source said that false negative tests for the virus are fairly common. “It can fool the test kit – there were cases that they found, the CT scan shows both lungs are fully infected but the test came back negative four times. The fifth test came back positive.”


    “Notably, one of the ways coronaviruses cripple the immune system is via an HIV-like attachment to white blood cells, which triggers a ‘cytokine storm’ – a term popularized during the avian H5N1 influenza outbreak – in which an uncontrolled release of inflammatory ‘cytokines’ target various organs, often leading to failure and in many cases death.”

    this is not quasi flu…

  9. Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

    it is getting serious in Hong Kong:

    “Toilet rolls have become hot property in the densely packed business hub, despite government assurances that supplies remain unaffected by the virus outbreak.”

    there are many people out there who understand priorities…

    “Supermarkets have found themselves unable to restock quickly enough, leading to sometimes lengthy queues and shelves wiped clean within moments of opening.”

    “shelves wiped clean”…

    that is some clever writing…


  10. Dennis L. says:

    More economics, money velocity that can be measured; it looks like a speed bump.

    This seems to imply a decrease in liquidity as well as an additional cost of money in the form of storage, disinfection and where replaced additional manufacturing cost assuming one can find the workers to move, disinfect, and manufacture new money. Literally, cash money might get locked up.

    So how long until dollars have the same issues?

    Enquiring minds want to know how many times money changes hands:

    This gives an average turnover of about 110 times/year for $1 and $5 notes; this would imply that each such note is used for a payment about twice a week. For $20 notes this is 75 times/yr or once every 5 days, while the $100 notes are used much less: 20 payments a year, or once every 2.5 weeks

    Currency in circulation: “Have a question? Ask Us … of Februay 12, 2020, there was $1.75 trillion worth of Federal Reserve notes in circulation. … Data for Currency and Coin Services” data from Federal Reserve.

    So assuming 10 payments per unit of currency, very conservative, then $17.5 trillion changes hands every year. If we are more adventurous and limit ourselves to $20 notes, we have north of $150 trillion worth of transactions/year – now this is money velocity. It would be interesting to know how far in physical distance physical money travels in its life time and more relevant how far it travels in say 30 days, I can’t find that data, perhaps one of the other posters.

    Percentage cash in circulation: “Dividing this number by the value of M2, we see that actual cash comprises a bit more than 10.2 percent of the total money. This means that almost 89.8 percent of the money in the United States is not in the form of cash.” From whatever that is.

    So let’s assume somewhere between 5% and 10% commerce in the US is delayed two weeks due to currency issues if all is disinfected.

    A $100 bill lasts approx 15 years.

    “In one 1985 study done by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration on the money machines in a U.S. Federal Reserve district bank, random samples of $50 and $100 bills revealed that a third to a half of all the currency tested bore traces of cocaine. Moreover, the machines themselves were often found to test positive, meaning that subsequent batches of cash fed through them would also pick up cocaine residue.”

    Hmm, so worst case, an infected $100 bill is counted by a bank and potentially infects the machine and subsequent batches counted to a greater or lesser degree, some wag can now compute Rzero for bank notes.

    So enquiring minds want to know: a passenger returning from quarantine is released from camp, is at the gates, hails a Uber and at the end of the ride this now certified passenger hands the driver a $100 bill that was with her/him on say a cruise ship. Was it disinfected at the camp? If not and it is infected, what is its R0 which is a function of how long the virus lasts in an inanimate object until it finds a new host, in this case the driver? Or, that dollar goes into circulation and say makes it to a party where it is rolled into a straw and ……. maybe said straw is shared, R0 again. So many interesting questions here.

    This problem is a hell of a mess with many unexpected issues to which we have no real answers and will have good answers only in retrospect.
    Dennis L.

    • It sounds somewhat like India taking back in all of the higher-denomination bills, in an attempt to collect taxes on a larger share of transactions. India’s actions have caused a lot of problems too, according to some sources.

    • squideater says:

      Oh the answers are there. RFID. Looks like they have the right question now.

  11. kevin moore says:

    I think the coronavirus probably originated at the Wuhan Virology lab reportedly situated 300 yards from the wet market u fee scrutiny. Just too much of a coincidence.

    • kevin moore says:

      “…wet market under scrutiny.”

      • Chrome Mags says:

        Now I’m going to post this first then a 2nd post with a link to a video. It was deleted yesterday but maybe today the link will post, but first let posters know what the video was saying; that Chinese scientists are implicating the research lab as they call it, that is only 280 meters from the wet market implicated in the spread of the Corona Virus. That lab they say in the video has 600 infected bats.

        In China it’s likely these scientists would only disclose such information if allowed by the govt. because of possible harsh penalties if they just went rogue and announced it. My thought on this is the govt. instructed them to leak this suggestion as a way of easing into the fact it came from that lab. You be the judge if I can get the video posted in the next posting.

        • Chrome Mags says:

        • Chrome Mags says:

          Ok, so it’s awaiting moderation and may not go live. I understand that video’s take up a lot of compute space, so no worries if that’s why it’s not being posted.

          But you can do a search on YouTube and find it – put in: Chinese scientists says COVID-19/coronavirus could have originated from government …

          • kevin moore says:

            The Wuhan Virus Lab became the first and is still the only lab in all of China with top level bio safety certification (level 4) in 2015. What are the chances that in all of China the coranavirus would originate so close to this location? Will China be liable for costs and suffering resulting from this disease?

            • Are you kidding? Or do you mean like the precedent as WWII polish and other pilots flying (and dying) for RAF had to pay up her majesty afterwards for all their gear incl. shoe laces.. ?

  12. Yoshua says:

    We have something in common with the Flatearthers. They too live in a finite world. They have the rim. We have the Seneca cliff.

  13. Yoshua says:

    “Cruise ship stats:
    Total on board (initially): 3,700
    Positive for coronavirus: 454 (12%)
    Tested so far: 1,723”

    • Most of the number of tests quantities I have seen do not distinguish how many times a particular person has been tested. Thus, I expect that the 1,723 amount is the “number of tests given,” not the number of different people on the cruise ship tested. Some people could be suspected of having the virus, but test negative over and over, for example. Perhaps 1,400 different people were tested, out of the 3,700.

      • Yoshua says:

        I don’t know. But if it’s one test per person then then infection rate is 25% so far.

        • Yoshua says:

          I came down with the flu 15 days ago and still have symptoms. This flu is no killer though.

          I asked my Chinese friend if she has received any packages, letters or postcards from China lately.

          She smiled and said: Don’t worry!

          She has no symptoms.

          • Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

            “The source also said the virus has “outsmarted all of us,” as it can hide symptoms for up to 24 days.”

          • Chrome Mags says:

            “I came down with the flu 15 days ago and still have symptoms.”

            Something my wife and I noticed is when we lived in a more congested area, we got colds and flus much more often. Out in the country where there are about 10,000 people but scattered about, we rarely get sick now. So that’s likely a big factor on a cruise ship for quicker transmissibility.

    • Chrome Mags says:

      Of those tested 454 out of 1723, is actually 26.35%, quite higher than the 12% of 3700. We better hope the % getting this globally, should this become a pandemic in huge numbers, that 26.35% don’t get it, because then it would be a full blown disaster.

      • It really depends on how sick these people get from the flu.

        I plan to put up a post later today that will talk a little about what seem to be differences in genetic groups in how sick they get. It may be that people of European ancestry don’t get as sick with this illness as their Chinese counterparts.

  14. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Global defense spending saw its biggest jump in a decade in 2019, driven by the U.S. and China as rivalries and conflicts stoke military investment.

    “The International Institute for Strategic Studies said the 4% rise, compared to a year earlier, was fueled by competition between major powers, new military technologies and rumbling warfare from Ukraine to Libya.”

    • Both the U.S. and China increased spending by 6.6 percent, the report said, to $684.6 billion and $181.1 billion respectively.

      Lots of employment for young people, I expect. Keeps people’s concerns off of general economic problems.

    • The Orange Jesus clan will collect commission from this one as well, the only question is how much? Say 4% hike out of 684B is 27B, now if you strip it out of inflation, dividends (for fellow bankers and manufs), and kickbacks for low level staffers in various offices, one can reasonably assume Donny’s family is in at at least for $1-5B.

      That’s why and how you climb the ladder from “impoverished almost billionaire class” to proper lesser billionaire rank status.. well and there are at least ~2-3layers above that..

  15. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been warned that he will face a tough battle with the European Union in his efforts to secure a trade deal in the aftermath of Brexit.

    “France’s foreign minister Jean-Yves le Drian gave the prediction during the Munich Security Conference, as both sides prepare to begin negotiations…

    “The UK’s chief negotiator David Frost is set to make it clear that Mr Johnson will walk away from talks with the EU, unless it drops what he calls its “ridiculous and unreasonable” demands.”

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “Pantheon Macro economist Claus Vistesen said the fall of the Eurozone may get worse due to coronavirus spreading… He warned “Germany is on verge of recession again and these numbers are all from before coronavirus”.

      “But Berlin is not alone in dragging the Eurozone down into an economic crisis. The French economy has also ground to a halt, largely due to protests triggered by French President Emmanuel Macron’s crippling pension reforms.”

    • Robert Firth says:

      I doubt it. The Eurozone is in crisis, because the departure of the UK has left an unfillable hole in its budget. The oligarchs in Brussels cannot reduce their exactions, because their sole power base is an enormous army of grossly overpaid bureaucrats busily interfering in anything and everything. But they cannot extort more from the member states, because the latter are already rebelling: the contributors (both of them) cannot pay more, and the spongers (the rest of them) are kept in the game only by open ended subsidies and bribes.

      So create an external enemy to hold the ranks together. Just as France did to the Templars, and Germany to the Jews. It won’t work, because the EU has no means of projecting power against a sovereign state. The pitiful excuse for an EU “army ” was practically run out of Paris when it dared to show its armoured vehicles, and anyway was trained only for internal oppression, not external defence. The EU more and more seems to resemble the Bourbons of France or the Romanovs of Russia, holding on to the illusion of power even as the reality drains away into history.

      • So it sounds like the Eurozone needs to cut back on their staff and the services they provide. Maybe they need to back off on some of the requirements that they are trying to enforce, such as lower CO2 emissions from cars.

  16. Harry McGibbs says:

    “”The sharp drop in output after October’s sales tax hike supports our view that Japan’s economy will shrink this year,” Capital Economics wrote in a note after the data was published. “But after today’s release, our forecast of a 0.2% drop in GDP in 2020 looks optimistic.”

    “Other economists warned the longer the virus continues to infect people, the more the risks to Japan’s economy will grow.”

  17. Harry McGibbs says:

    “The novel coronavirus is spreading silently and invisibly through its human carriers, inflicting fear and sickness. Likewise, malaise can spread through the “carriers” of the global economy: the supply chains that link myriad manufacturing and service-sector firms around the world.

    “These supply chains are the circulatory or nervous systems of the global economy and, like their equivalents in the human body, receive little or no attention until things go wrong. Once they do – which is increasingly often – our extreme vulnerability to these hidden links is exposed.”


    Always kind of funny when topics debated years on the internet finally appear on the msm as self evident truths.. Like on this Gulfies msm “.. destabilization period (almost prewar)..”

    For the gist of it, you can rewind for the last ~third..

  19. Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:


    “All passengers who have already disembarked from a cruise ship docked in Cambodia are now being tracked, after an American passenger tested positive, according to a Reuters report.

    Holland America Line said it is working with governments and health authorities to track the other 1,454 passengers, who had been given the go-ahead to travel by Cambodian authorities after health checks were done. Many have left the country as of Sunday, the report said. The ship has 802 crew.”

    “Many have left the country…”

    good to go “by Cambodian authorities after health checks were done”…

    whew… that’s okay then… they did “health checks”…

    wouldn’t want the virus to spread further…

    • Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

      An American woman who disembarked from a cruise ship in Cambodia last week has tested positive twice for the coronavirus since flying on to Malaysia, officials in that country said on Sunday.

      Cambodia allowed the ship, the Westerdam, to dock after five other ports turned it away over concerns about the coronavirus.

      Officials said more than 140 passengers from the ship had flown from Cambodia to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital. All but the American woman and her husband had been allowed to continue to their destinations, including airports in the United States, the Netherlands and Australia.

      The woman, who is 83, and her husband, who is 85 and also an American citizen, were both hospitalized and placed in isolation. The husband tested negative for the virus, but he has pneumonia, which is often a sign of the virus.

      Dr. Eyal Leshem, director of the Center for Travel Medicine and Tropical Diseases at the Sheba Medical Center in Israel, called the disclosures “extremely concerning” and said, “We may end up with three or four countries with sustained transmission of the virus.”
      The Westerdam, carrying 2,257 passengers and crew, departed from Hong Kong on Feb. 1 and was at sea for nearly 14 days.

    • The cruising line company (+embassies & bankers) clearly pushed and bribed the easiest target around, Cambodian govs to open the proverbial gates. Giving what we have learned meantime about the ship in Japan this is outrageous, yet reflective of the state of the world and or human nature.

      • Xabier says:

        The dispersal of those passengers after probably no more than the ineffective temperature test is a scandal.

        Even worse, perhaps, the persistent acceptance of unrestricted Chinese flights by the Ethiopians, serving as the entry point to Africa.

        I wouldn’t care to be a Chinese worker in Africa once they are seen as the source of a fatal infection – do the Chinese have troops there one wonders?

        • Well. it could be “all of the above” – keeping the Chinese investments in Africa humming, taking their African biz partners (and workforce) es expendable, as well as now most likely knowing the virus has got racial bias for Chinese/Asians anyway..

        • Country Joe says:

          “McAuliffe argues that our dread of contamination is an evolved defense against parasites. The horror and revulsion we are programed to feel when we come in contact with people who appear diseased or dirty helped pave the way for civilization, but may also be the basis for major divisions in societies that persist to this day.”

          THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON PARASITES ( is a somewhat light hearted title for a well-researched book on parasitic behavioral influence and on our increased conservatism and prejudice to avoid contact when contagion is perceived.

          From the information in these studies it would appear that the current publicity around COVID-19 should add strength to our current political trajectory.

  20. Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

    taxi driver dies from virus:

    “Taiwan reports first death from virus:
    The first death due to COVID-19 has been reported in Taiwan, its health minister said.
    The deceased was a taxi driver in his 60s and was hospitalised on February 3 due to shortness of breath, which led to a diagnosis of pneumonia. He died late on Saturday, Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung told a televised news conference.

    According to Chen, one of the man’s family members also contracted the virus. While the man had not travelled abroad, he had previously transported people from China, Hong Kong and Macau.”

    “Taiwan reported the first death from coronavirus on Sunday, and added two more confirmed cases, bringing the total to 20…”

    so a 10% increase in one day…

    these numbers seem small, but…

  21. Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

    ha ha… “thinks the worst is over”…

    “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.

  22. Chrome Mags says:


    “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.

  23. 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…

  24. 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.

  25. 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

    • 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”)…


    • 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.

  26. 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.

    • 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. ( 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.”

  27. Chrome Mags says:

    “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.

  28. Davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

    well, Singapore is trying hard:

    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…

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

  31. squideater says:

    Is the true mask of the decade not a clown but a particle?

  32. BS says:

    Gail you are cold and miscalculating.

    • squideater says:

      Honest people are often called cold and attacked with other names too. Once a preference is shown for a certain emotional state that is based on a outcome Objective analysis can not be performed. Basing analysis on feelings is very immature IMO.

      Not that every doomster isnt indulging their own set of feelings. Its tricky.

      • Robert Firth says:

        squideater, is it better to be cold and miscalculating, or cold and calculating? Or warm and miscalculating? Life is full of hard choices! There are many reasons I come here, but a big one is that most people on OFW tell the truth as they see it. So shines a good deed in a naughty world.

  33. China to Destroy Paper Currency from Hardest Hit Corona Virus Region

    China doesn’t have coins. I certainly hope people have some other way of making transactions. If cell phones die, there may be a real problem.

    • Davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

      maybe China to Destroy Paper Currency because the epidemic is actually 10x bigger than they are reporting…

      • squideater says:

        Never let a good crisis go to waste. This is a GREAT crisis not just a good one. 🙂

      • Dennis L. says:

        Interesting thought, that would be a way to force people out of cash, effective interest rate on holding cash would be -100% plus storage costs. It would be possible to issue new currency, but upon circulation, that currency becomes a vector for the disease. Or, it might not be possible to print currency due to insufficient able labor to do the printing, supply paper, ink, deliver notes, etc.

        This makes the current negative interest rates on bonds look like a bargain, while I am not a gold bug, makes gold interesting. Even if gold is covered in active viruses, smelt it and the virus is a bit of slag in the form of carbon, very effective sterilization.

        Thought experiment on the velocity of money. If existing money cannot be spent for say 30 days after every transaction to allow virus to die, how much does this slow the velocity of money in the form of cash? Supposedly in the US drug transactions are an important part of the banking system – I have no way of knowing that is hearsay to me. If multiple million dollar bags of money need to sit for 30 days, with banking optimized to the fraction of a second, what does that 30 day delay do to the banking system?

        Source of virus? There was a laboratory not far from both the market and the hospital where research was done on bats. It apparently was not the high level type of laboratory frequently mentioned. A dead bat, or maybe several were discarded in the trash, the trash was scavenged by animals, crows for example and these animals spread the virus or collection the personal were themselves infected secondary to handling the trash; they then went to the market, the disease spread from there, we know the incubation period varies. The first person could have been a trash collector. I can’t believe this was deliberate, to my mind it was an unforeseen chain of events.

        I don’t have time to dig out the reference, the possible travel paths were worked out by a Chinese scientist and it is on the internet, shouldn’t be hard to find, there is an accompanying map.

        Dennis L.

        • Duncan Idaho says:

          The first person could have been a trash collector.
          The first person, on December 1st, had no contact with “the market” (actually a wet market where a portion of first responders were located), nor any other connection.
          Reality is not hard to access.

        • squideater says:

          Well Dennis theres all sorts of flavor of money. Since the US dollar is seen as a store of value there is billions of dollars of it around the world under peoples mattresses. Thats just fine for the trasury as the privledge of physical possesion of those notes is depreciated by inflation. They dont want those notes to come home so cash has not been banned but maybe the time has come.

          Active black and grey market money is a diferent animal. If it gets parked it may well effect the economy.

          Digital ones and zeroes are different yet…

          Discretionary money regardless of form seems to be shrinking regardless of how much money is created.

        • Dennis L. says:

          Okay, the paper is now on Zerohedge, map is here.

          Most likely a dumb mistake, someone goofed, things like this happen. There are references in the ZeroHedge article(the original is on the internet) regarding manipulation of the RNA, that is beyond my competence and I cannot follow the reasoning in the paper, perhaps someone here.

          Whatever, this thing is out, it has been in Hawaii via a Japanese tourist. It is small world.

          Dennis L.

          • Commenters are right. The Wuhan CDC is close enough to the Wuhan wild food market that the choice of the epicenter could be wrong. I was thinking the reference was to something that happened at the Beijing CDC.

            Usually, I think of mistakes at the Atlanta CDC (or similar institutions) as only causing an illness in the person making the mistake. But if the disease were very easily transmitted, the slip up could cause very widespread illness. The person initially infected could pass the disease along and cause a huge problem.

    • Chrome Mags says:

      “China to Destroy Paper Currency from Hardest Hit Corona Virus Region”

      In one of those videos I posted there was a person in a high-rise with money folded into planes, he was setting sail to out his window, and the caption was, “money has no value in Wuhan” or words that effect. I wondered if that was true or not, but apparently it is. That’s an odd idea – that a national currency would lose value in a particular region to due knock on effects from a virus.

      • Chrome Mags says:

        I found a clue in the article you linked, Gail, as to why the currency has lost value in Wuhan:

        “They have been directed to keep the cash under quarantine for 14 days and disinfect it at high temperatures and with ultraviolet light before returning it to the public.”

        People are less willing to handle other people’s bills for fear of getting the virus, and since vendors wouldn’t take them the currency lost value. Hard to think of everything during a situation like that, but good to know if the virus spreads to the US. Maybe 1oz silver coins would be better, because they’re easy to clean.

  34. Chrome Mags says:

    I tried to post this video but it’s not showing, I’m trying again. Same thing happened yesterday. The latter 1/2 of the video is best and it is discussing a prevailing idea the number of people with the virus in China is about 10 times what is reported. Also, later in the video a worker at a crematorium says about 60% of the deaths are people at home. The rest from hospitals.

    • Chrome Mags says:

      Now it shows the other posting, lol. Sorry Gail. Delete one if you can.

    • People don’t understand that what China puts out is propaganda, not correct numbers.

      • Xabier says:

        The governmental idea of virus management is the management of public perceptions, more than the contagion itself.

        And there is some sense in that, as panic would do no one any good; but the CCP are showing us that a totalitarian system accustomed to imposing its narrative without opposition will lie in the crudest fashion, without regard to credibility or probability.

        • Ed says:

          Yes Xabier and Washington DC also show the crudest lies. We will not let facts get in the way of truth [the ruling elites truth].

          • Xabier says:

            I agree totally: the propaganda in the West has been a feature of our lives for decades now, intensifying in recent years.

            So crude it has been embarrassing: Iraq, Libya, Putin, etc.

      • squideater says:

        It may not be entirely designed. Id rather stay in my own home than be in a government dormitory. No im no going to get a blood transfusion at home, so if it gets bad then i would have to check in. If Its true people are choosing to weather the disease at home rather than go to the medical facilities there is no way real counts can be known. If we look at the infection rate is on the cruise ship we can guess at what infection rate would be in a home with a carrier. The distinction between quarantine and isolation is one of the bases of containment but it falls apart with a virus that transmit asymptotically.

        We just dont know. It could be Hubei has been abandoned with the assumption most if not all residents will get cv19. If so it might be better that it happens sooner than later. It also accents the large problems that virus mutation represents. Its inevitable with a outbreak of this size that the majority of the cases will not be treated in medical facilities IMO.

        • On the staying home dilemma, as hinted before, most people will have some sort of acute pneumonia and or severe inflammation, which is still sort of [treatable] also in home care situation. However, often times multiple organ malfunction kicks in, so then you need kidney, liver, heart, .. assistance and that’s beyond home scale care level unless you are a fat cat with private tiny hospital.

          Hopefully, there will be more statistics available how much cases are strictly lungs weakness-failure without further cascading organs problems. If that’s ~75% the risk to stay home would be worth considering.

          Besides if I’m not mistaken it seems first preliminary papers are showing up this disease is indeed showing Asian race bias at least during this first outbrake wave. Nevertheless next winter after running across the world it could be otherwise..

  35. Chrome Mags says:

    That’s a link to a video asking: “the Coronavirus Outbreak in China 10 Times Worse Than Reported?”

    It’s a long video and the latter 1/2 is much more informative. Simone Gao is a serious reporter that does a good job of seeking out important information.

    • Thanks very much! This was interesting. I fast forwarded through a couple of places that had somewhat too long videos. Simone Gao does bring together several important issues in one place.

  36. Davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

    Singapore slows down… a little:

    “There are now 72 cases of Covid-19 infections in Singapore, with five new cases confirmed on Saturday.”

    only 5 new, down from 9 yesterday…

    that’s still about a 7% increase in one day…

    “As of noon Saturday, MOH had identified 2,093 close contacts. Of the 1,959 who are still in Singapore, 1,697 have been contacted and are in quarantine or isolation.”

    they are trying to do “contact tracing” but are admitting that they are only about 85% successful…

    the other 15% are moving about freely in their normal daily activities…

    • Robert Firth says:

      The problem with “vector control”, as it is called, is that only one vector need escape to continue the spread of the disease. The problem with quarantine, “geographical control” is that you condemn everyone within the perimeter to exposure and probably infection.

      I suspect that both will fail, and the final perimeter of control will be the entire surface of the Earth. Unless the Greys evacuate their citizens.

  37. Davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

    Hawaii on the fast track:

    “Hawaii health officials were working swiftly over the weekend to find anyone who might have had contact with the Japanese couple, who had also visited the island of Maui. Health authorities said the couple, both in their 60s, was not diagnosed until they returned to Japan, but the husband began showing symptoms while still staying in one of Hawaii’s most popular tourist neighborhoods.

    Health officials said that there was little chance that the infection had spread, but that they would continue to search for anyone who had prolonged contact with the couple.”

    WOW: “Health officials said that there was little chance that the infection had spread…”

    no surprise that this would be the first response…

    “… but that they would continue to search for anyone who had prolonged contact with the couple.”


    there only needs to be a brief contact with an infected person for the virus to be transmitted in an airborne manner…

    but no need to panic!

    Hawaiian health officials got this one covered…

    • squideater says:

      I was just wondering if the endless positive media regurgitated by the chinese state media apparatus would dare to be demonstrated stateside. Tourists do touristy things. If other tourists doing touristy things got infected and return to the states prior to symptoms on that virussphere thing called a airplane stuff gets real now not in a month or summer. no one wants to “overeact”. Everybody on a plane should be wearing masks an safety goggles. Touristy things off my list. Brooks range in Alaska for a couple months looking good.

      • If the solar minimum thesis is correct you can get now (future) vineyards/orchard acreage for pennies in Alaska (anomaly region as there it will get hotter).. On the other hand they predict only ~short one, so why bother with so much labor for meager three decades+ lolz..

        • Xabier says:

          For most of history, 3 decades has been quite a good life: if you are 30 or so today and likely to die at the latest 55-65 – we will be reverting to the old norm – it might be worth it.

          Aren’t the Alaskan roads crumbling due to the heat?

          • Yes, but you have to be a bit younger say ~25-35yrs, and if older only expect to function as mentor/helper for others in the family/community, simply might not be around to see the final or advanced results.. Btw I noticed interesting trend, well, it’s a trickle but increasing number of youngish people moving into poor “southern” parts of the US, where land is very cheap (especially decrepit rural regions). As there is still time to utilize the existing leverage of IC to turn it around as fast as possible into some level of abundance. But one could speculate the inrush of unfortunate misplaced people would be smaller (not all heading) towards Alaska.

      • Xabier says:

        I’m going to be hanging out in my local wood: have to watch out for ticks from May though…… 🙂

        • Robert Firth says:

          Ah, the song we used to sing in Africa (after rather more Star Beer than was prudent):

          “Why should I have tick fever,
          When it isn’t even Spring?”

          • Xabier says:

            An African love song of the ‘I’ve got you under my skin’ variety?

            I can think of one or two girlfriends who were a bit like ticks……

    • squideater says:

      Pretty good bet wife is infected too. This will be a good test of how infectious cv19 is. I say 6 infected minimum from from the two. I better check that on the corona virus prediction tool. 🙂

      • I only looked at a bit of this. There is a “Workforce disruption simulator” that is based on the number sick (I believe). But that is not the right metric. The workforce can be disrupted for many reasons: lack of resources, lack of workers, too low price for commodities so it doesn’t make economic sense to extract; supply chain disruption.

  38. Stephen says:

    Dilemma £€¥$ Whether we overreact or underreport covid 19 will probably burst the huge debt bubble everything has been built on in the years since we passed peak surplus energy.

  39. CTG says:

    The supply chain seems to be cracking.

    As I have always said in many years of my presence in OFW, the disruption of supply chain is that one that will kill the most people. I guess what we have feared already started with many companies shutting down due to “no parts”.

    Have a great weekend.

    • Tankers everywhere! The Chinese economy does look to be collapsing.

      And China is important in all kinds of supply chains. Causing “recession” is an understatement.

      • Harry McGibbs says:

        “China’s slowdown in response to the deadly coronavirus has sent the global shipping industry veering off course, with transit rates falling to record lows as ships are turned away from ports.

        “All shipping segments from oil tankers to container lines have been hit by the economic impact from factory shutdowns and travel restrictions put in place across China to control the spread of the virus. The Capesize Index, which tracks freight costs for the largest carriers of dry bulk commodities such as iron ore, coal and grain, fell into negative territory last week for the first time since its creation in 1999, indicating that shipping companies are running at a loss on certain routes.

        “Brokers and analysts say the slump in demand for the transportation of goods in and out China — the world’s largest consumer of many commodities — will leave its mark on the shipping industry and commodity trading for months to come.

        ““It’s a mess really,” said Eirik Haavaldsen, head of research at Pareto Securities, an Oslo-based investment bank. “China is so important for everything shipping-related.””

        “…Capacity utilisation at major Chinese ports has been 20 to 50 per cent lower than normal and more than a third of ports said storage facilities were beyond 90 per cent full, according to a survey conducted last week by the Shanghai International Shipping Institute, a Beijing-backed think-tank.

        “The effects on the shipping industry are likely to prove lasting.”

        • That last paragraph really explains how bad the situation is:

          “…Capacity utilisation at major Chinese ports has been 20 to 50 per cent lower than normal and more than a third of ports said storage facilities were beyond 90 per cent full, according to a survey conducted last week by the Shanghai International Shipping Institute, a Beijing-backed think-tank.

          Also, a reason why the problem doesn’t go away:

          “The effects on the shipping industry are likely to prove lasting.”

    • Denial says:

      People I talk to you think that China going down will be a good thing for the United States attend to disagree I think they will bring United States down with them.

      • Xabier says:

        They don’t get global interconnectedness and supply chain contagion. Well, that must help them sleep at night.

        • Robert Firth says:

          Exactly. When the chain breaks, everything it was holding up will fall. It used to be called the Domino Effect, after the children’s game.

          An instructive lesson can be found in an episode of Mythbusters Jr, when a bunch of kids build a chain of dominoes, each 50% larger than the previous one, When the biggest domino falls, it crushes a car. An apt metaphor for the global economy:

    • Xabier says:

      Yes, you nailed it CTG, when you wrote from direct experience of the effects SARS, etc: and good luck to you and your family.

  40. Ed says:

    A disease that kills 20% in poor nations and 5% in rich. That preferentially kills the old, yes I am 61, sounds greats let’s make it an annual event. No cannibals, no nuclear pools boiling, just a really bad flu.

    • Malcopian says:

      “yes I am 61”

      I suspect most of OFW’s readers and commenters are older rather than younger. Maybe the coronavirus will also put an end to OFW. 🙁

      Incidentally, I’m of a similar age, but young people scoff when I identify as old. Most tell me that you’re not old until you’re 70.

  41. squideater says:

    From wikipedia
    “On 6 February, the Chinese National Health Commission started to change how cases were reported – asymptomatic carriers, who tested positive for the virus but did not show clinical symptoms, would no longer be included in the number of confirmed cases. This had the effect of reducing the total number of cases reported, but also meant that potentially contagious individuals were ignored in reports.[61][62]”

    Apparently the population of asymptomatic carriers of the virus is significant enough to change reporting practices. Why would you ignore ” potentially contagious individuals ” especially if they were the ones most likely to carry on with their usual activities putting others at risk? Are not asymptomatic carriers the worst case scenario?

  42. Xabier says:

    Interesting to see -in so far as we will be permitted! – the outcome of the Chinese containment strategy in Beijing.

    They clearly hope to be able to identify and extinguish the infection as it appears , in a pro-active way after the gross mismanagement of the outbreak in Wuhan.

    • Chrome Mags says:

      Here’s something not talked about in the news, and that is on the linked site that has official virus count, 15% of all Closed Cases are deaths. Closed Cases total: 10,127 of which 8,600 (85%) recovered & 1,527 (15%) dead. The other numbers it provides are for Active Cases with 57,067 of which 45,985 (81%) are deemed mild symptoms and 11,082 (19%) are in serious or critical condition.

      Now I realize those are official numbers which is only part of the total, as many remain in their homes without testing and so on, however even based on those stats, of active cases 19% in critical and of closed cases 15% dead. Those stats do not bode well should this virus go completely pandemic. Sure it’s in several countries so far, but it would need to do what it’s doing in Wuhan for it to be a full blown pandemic. That said, if it did go full on pandemic, and let’s say 20% of the worlds population got the virus and 15% of those pass away, that’s 225 million. That’s so substantial it suggests the world economy would likely fold due to reduced commerce and travel, with reduced currency velocity. Currency has to change hands at a certain pace or the economy caves in.

      • There are so many things that go wrong in a networked economy. Think about all the debt that cannot be paid back. And all of the companies that are no longer making more products each year. They scaling back, because they have fewer workers and customers. They likely cannot get needed raw materials, either.

        • Interestingly, in recent years both Gates and Soros funded think-tanks/NGOs ran dry run scenarios of corona virus outbreak or food shortage collapse for the ~2020 horizon. The US army is now authorized on domestic soil for performing and assisting with quarantine and mortuary situations. So, I guess our worries about the elevated risk as in “collapse of networked global economy” could be merely naive and just observed from the wrong vantage point. Perhaps the key focal point is not to have such type of the economy anymore.. What specifically should come next is beyond my pay grade, although drastically lower consumption pattern per capita would be one of the likely vectors..

          • David Korowicz has a paper from 2013 called, Catastrophic Shocks Through Complex Socio-Economic Systems: A Pandemic Perspective

            The summary says


            The globalised economy has become more complex (connectivity, interdependence, and speed), de-localized, with increasing concentration within critical systems. This has made us all more vulnerable to systemic shocks. This paper provides an overview of the effect of a major pandemic on the operation of complex socio-economic systems using some simple models. It discusses the links between initial pandemic absenteeism and supply-chain contagion, and the evolution and rate of shock propagation. It discusses systemic collapse and the difficulties of re-booting socio-economic systems.

            Notice the part about the difficulty of rebooting.

    • Identifying and extinguishing each infection as it appeared clearly did not work on the cruise ship docked off of Japan. The one person known to have the infection was on the ship from January 20 until January 22. The quarantine began February 5, after the fact that the one passenger had tested positive became known. 10 passengers tested positive for the virus at that time. Now (Saturday, Feb 15) there are at least 285 with the virus, up 67 from the previous report of 218.

      One of the issues is how long a virus can retain the ability to be infectious while on a surface. A new study indicates that germs on a inanimate surface can retain their ability to infect people for over a week.

      Reviewing the literature on all available human and veterinary viruses within this [coronavirus] family, encompassing 22 studies, researchers have found that the human pathogens can persist on surfaces and remain infectious at room temperature for up to nine days. (To put that in perspective, the measles virus can live on contaminated surfaces for up to two hours.)

      Granted, that’s the upper end of a coronavirus lifespan, but on average, researchers say this family of viruses can survive between four and five days on various materials like aluminium, wood, paper, plastic and glass.

      Some of the veterinary coronaviruses – the ones that can only infect animals – could even persist for longer than 28 days.

  43. Xabier says:

    Estimated reserves of parts in the automobile industry seem to be 12 weeks maximum.

    One wonders how other industries compare?

    Supply chain-wise, the biggest problem is sole-source parts.

    This is really the ‘Phoney War’ phase, as in Europe late 1939 -early 1940: it doesn’t seem at all likely that Chinese industry will get going anytime soon, so we can anticipate severe impacts.

  44. Xabier says:

    The interview with the expert Lipsitch at Harvard is very good and balanced.

    The surprising absence of cases internationally is due to inadequate testing and silent asymptomatic spread of the virus – countries which should have a lot of cases by now, based on intensive travel links with China, have few or none and that really makes no sense at all.

    Lack of testing programmes, problems with the reliability of the tests, etc rather than deliberate concealment play their part in this.

    Singapore is testing efficiently and therefore coming up with more cases.

    He is doubtful about warmer weather having much beneficial effect -thinks SARS was contained and did not go away with rise in temperatures.

    Most important conclusion: this is uncontrollable and ‘uncontainable’, and the main aim should be to prepare so that hospitals are not overwhelmed by a tidal wave of serious cases and chaos.

    It can only be managed, and one should not place any great faith in the development of a vaccine.

    • Yes, if the incubation period is ~month and also the virus could “be dormant” inside some organs for weeks the current testing apparatus is obviously ill equipped to be of help, actually it could be even contra productive – helping to spread the virus through int transport hubs.

      Sorry, there is logical error in the other part. Singapore is a city state with large (predominant?) ethnic Chinese pop, so if there is for whatever reason racial bias in this thing it will eventually pop up in the Singapore case statistics soonish as well.

    • Yoshua says:

      “I talked to Clemens Wendtner, who has been treating some of the German patients. He told me Monday evening that of four #COVID19 patients he had been treating for two weeks, three were still PCR-positive even though based on symptoms they would have been sent home by now.”

      One medical staff in China was infected by a patient that was supposed to have been cured.

      A tricky bug.

      • I can see this would be a problem. Still being able to infect others, even after a person looks to be cured. Given the expense of the tests, and the fact that they tend to produce a lot of false negatives, I can imagine a lot of people being sent back into the community who still seem to be capable to give the illness to others.

    • Artleads says:

      So if every “solution” is full of holes, all the sensible (modest) ones in combination is better than nothing. A works program to keep hospitals Zen clean could be helpful perhaps. So could staying home, washing hands, etc.. So would be anything to help the immune system…

      • Xabier says:

        Yes, everything is flawed, but everything has to be tried.

        All that can be done is to try to stagger and break the – ultimately unstoppable – flow of contagion, buying time.

        Good hygiene routines will certainly help, as they did in the days of TB and typhus; but it needs only a few people to disregard them or become careless for the efforts of everyone else to be rendered useless, given the highly contagious nature of this virus and the way it persists on surfaces.

        When hospital visiting in 2018 in London I was appalled by how few people used the hand-wash placed at the entrances to wards, young men being by far the worst. Everyone using public toilets will know how few wash their hands.

        On more than one occasion people only stopped to use the dispenser at the hospital because they saw me doing it. The nurses who opened the doors remotely didn’t make people wash their hands as a condition of entry, which they should be able to monitor – really very slack.

        • Artleads says:

          It seems that the virus forces a very broad cultural change that we would have needed anyhow. If we hope to hang on with very little fossil energy, we may need to be cleaner–all we’ll have are folk remedies, and so can’t afford the illnesses abundant energy seems able to handle now. It’s going to take very active government, and fiendish creativity to get people to was their damn hands, though.

  45. Xabier says:

    We should keep in mind, in the face of these rather unnerving stats, that 80% or so of cases are mild and not dangerous at all (even just a mild sore throat): even if reinfected – as seems to be possible- these people will probably not have damaged hearts and will have good prospects of survival.

    Anyway, that’s what I’m keeping in mind: and the mind has much to do with prospects of survival in all illnesses. Gosh, never thought I’d be the resident site optimist…. 🙂

    Supply chain disruption, even destruction, and severe generalised economic damage are perhaps the real existential threat.

    • Xabier, I hear you, but it is still very early, and the potential for further mutation, post recovery (delayed) severe organ damage, or reinfection are on the table..

      Hopefully, we will get in few weeks time better picture how (and if at all) it spreads with similar impact-consequences among other races and climates. In preliminary scenarios discussion with my extended family (incl. doc and medical staffers) should the case evolve into similar situation and true global pandemics scaling: meaning post panic phase w. over crowded hospital & ICUs, heavy handed quarantines (+enforced gathering centers), etc. it would be rather desirable to avoid/skip this entire nonsense completely and “treat it” in home setting instead. There are still many options how to prepare for it from respiratory drugs, antibiotics and imunosuppression medicament angle, also having small scale oxidization concentration unit at hand (still available for purchase now – for how long?) and so on.

      In short, if infected staying put home, and the goal being just to alleviate the pain-stress from (e.g. acute lack of oxygen at least in the “basic” inhaling form) – there is no point spending last moments alone among strangers in a hell hole hospital environment of self infecting pandemonium cycle of personal and patients. Currently I gave it ~1-5% chance, when situation worsens say to ~15-25% probability lets give it a go.. Call it selfish or insane at this point – premature worry, but in worst case scenario it seem as sensible approach.

      • Xabier says:

        Oh yes, I agree, the possibility of a more lethal second infection, the mutation to something more deadly is there and not at all negligible: but, after some severe illnesses, my mental attitude is to face straight into the storm with confidence. If you are proved wrong, you just die: but if not, you will have been less fearful in facing it. The danger in being forewarned is to be more terrified……


      • Christopher says:

        Elderberries have some antiviral properties. Some studies confirm this, a recent one:

        May be better than nothing, especially accompanied by the placebo effect.

        • Xabier says:

          Folk remedies are never to be despised, and it makes a delicious tea, with honey. Quite widely available, too.

      • Curt Kurschus says:

        Having the infected stay at home rather than in a hospital sounds like a bad idea. If the infected are in a hospital, it is a central location to which to deliver food and medical supplies and from which to stop people leaving. If they are at home then they are likely to be widely dispersed making for greater difficulty in supplying food and medicines and in preventing so many people from going out and spreading the virus.

        • The context of the suggestion to stay home was in situation of pandemic and clearly over loaded hospitals – medical system like in Wuhan, the epicenter so far. We don’t know if this kind of sheer intensity will be replicated around the world eventually, that’s why the probabilities. And if it comes to it, well it’s also up to you if you want to like “good little pupil” perish in some over crowded ward waiting with only token help provided anyway..

    • Artleads says:

      Great points. Looks like we’d be well served by doing all the hopeless fixes in combination, including immune system strengthening and Zen-level cleaning of hospitals, turning them into a lifestyle, while simultaneously putting the VIRUS out of mind. Doing two opposite things at once.

  46. Davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

    Singapore is reporting data which probably would be equivalent to how things started to progress in Wuhan in December…


    “Singapore on Friday reported nine more cases of the deadly coronavirus, bringing its total number of cases to 67.
    This is the largest one-day surge so far after the city state recorded eight cases on Thursday.”

    these may seem like tiny numbers, but the Wuhan numbers must have been tiny also at the onset in December…

    Singapore reported 22 total cases in travelers from China which became 25 MORE local cases then 28 then 36 and now 45…

    “If you look at H1N1 and the flu pandemic in 2009, 10 per cent to 20 per cent of the global population contracted the illness. In Singapore alone, more than 400,000 people got ill from H1N1 in less than a year.
    “But because the transmission patterns are similar to H1N1, we should be prepared for a scenario where you get wider transmission [of Covid-19] around the world,”

    it’s almost hard to imagine 67 cases becoming 400,000 but that is what happens with an exponential increase in infections, which is happening NOW…

  47. Stephen says:

    Covid19 is initiating a trend of converting much of our world’s interconnected systems and infrastructure ( jit supply chains, cruise ships, airliners etc ) into stranded assets.

    This virus is quite unlikely to abate in spring as one leader has suggested.

    • Chrome Mags says:

      “This virus is quite unlikely to abate in spring as one leader has suggested.”

      That’s a video by Martenson, which is long winded, so I’ll paraphrase the key parts. He’s saying there’s early evidence now that people recovering from the virus are susceptible to re-infection, and the 2nd time they have it there is a danger of heart failure because the first time they had it, it weakened the heart.

      He also mentioned that the Spanish flu killed the most people the 2nd time it went around the world, as an analogy to what may be happening with Corona virus.

      Also, certain groups of people are more susceptible, such as smokers and the obese. In Wuhan they may all in a sense be heavy smokers because of industrial air pollution, as one poster pointed out.

      • Interesting. One thing I hadn’t realized was that the reason the attempted SARS vaccine failed was because after it was given, it tended to make a second exposure worse, not better. The body tends to over-react to the virus the second time, and it is the over-reaction that kills.

        This reminds a person of the economic challenges. Over-reacting to the virus cuts off commerce. This can kill the economy as a whole. Ultimately, the failing economy can kill from lack of food, fresh water, and other essentials.

        • Xabier says:

          Over-reacting can kill the global economy: true even of the more localised economies affected by earlier plagues, and more so now we have made China the workshop of the world and become so inter-connected.

          Under-reacting, allowing it to spread unimpeded (as it seems it must anyway) may lead to the loss of too many key and irreplaceable workers -and hence their products and services – exacerbated by our hyper-specialisation.

          Quite a conundrum…..

          • A no-win situation! If it is possible to put off the worst of the attack, there is the hope that there will be some sort of antiviral drug available, or that the peak of the problem can be spread over a longer period, reducing the overloaded hospital problem.

            • Xabier says:

              If we consult the observations of the US CDC, it is clear that is what they are hinting at – above all attempting to avoid the over-loading of hospital systems through tele-working and diagnosis, etc, among other things, closure of schools and so on.

              The MSM is so very quiet about all of this that I suspect some very feverish work is going on behind the scenes and they have been ordered not to panic their readers.

              I am somewhat convinced that cases, and even deaths, are being hidden, while their contacts are being hunted down in an attempt to contain, and also find infected subjects to study and experiment upon before it all explodes too obviously.

    • Xabier says:

      The idea that it will abate in the Spring is largely a political notion with no foundation in medical likelihood: the CCP would like it to do so, meaning only a temporary first quarter hiccup in China’s growth. Nothing more than a fairy tale from the East. No one has a clue at this stage.

      • squideater says:

        Well we dont know. SARS peaked and abated. MERS peaked and abated. Yes CV19 seems to have characteristics that make it less likely to do so. Transmission seems higher. Transmission with no symptoms for longer. A virus that hides. If we could see a peak of under 250k without worldwide exposure that would be a victory IMO. A peak could happen in the next three months. This thing will be with us for a while IMO. Right now we dont know.

        CV19 seems to tax isolation procedures to their limits because of its transmission when there are no symptoms. A virus that transmitted long enough without symptoms would seem to negate vector isolation containment because it could be transmitted one two three four times with none of those infected showing symptoms and thus no ability to determine vector and contain. From the numbers presented there seems to be a possibility of small overlap where someone could be transmitting CV19 while the person that infected them is still not showing symptoms.

        SARS and MERS had pretty straightforward transmission vector containment. The fact that geographic rather than vector containment is being resorted to in China is very concerning. Geographic containment is basically a admission of the failure of the primary method vector containment IMO. Already we see Vietnam resort to geographic containment. We dont know how well geographic containment will work. Even Vegas isnt giving odds on any of this yet.

        Outside of China and Vietnam vector containment seems to still be functional. There seems to be widespread belief that CV19 can be contained via vector procedures and geographic containment in china is due to not knowing that a new virus existed while it spread. We will just have to wait and see. Until we see a peak and decline in cases in China the belief that it can be geographically contained is just a theory. Let us hope.

        The disturbing part is every country has to be on the ball and have the resources to be on the ball or fall back on geographic containment. Even geographic containment takes significant resources. Every concession to geographic containment guarantees many many people will be infected. Its really quite unthinkable. The psychological effects alone are significant. Unity is broken. Can it be easily reformed? As we see in china the line has to be drawn somewhere. If family is on the other side there are problems. People will break quarantine. A geographic containment is akin to enemy occupied territory in wartime in my mind. If quarantine is broke there has to be a fall back and new lines formed. Without even a shot fired. And people are supposed to just go back to b4 after its over tralalala?

        Geographic containment means trade comes to a end. As mentioned ships and planes get parked. Crickets chirp and moss grows. Entropy. How basic resources that sustain human life are distributed and quarantine kept is unclear. Truck drivers getting quickly schooled in HAZMAT? As previously mentioned can the food even be produced in order to distribute with geographic containment in place in networked economies?

        There seems to be significant risk to networked and complex just posed from a few extra days of transmission without symptoms. That alone seems to have the possibility of cv19 becoming something the likes we have not seen in our lifetimes. The unknown is how well the virus hides in a host without symptoms. If cv19 can hide…

        Time will tell. Doomster paranoia or accurate analysis.

        • Great points, thanks. Few days ago the French news channel invited over an american epidemiologist who stressed interesting thing that from certain threshold the Chinese govs gave order for implementing full defense against SARS like outbreak for which there is after two decades not much antidote anyway, apart from hard hitting quarantines (and perhaps digital trail hunting of super spreaders etc). And as we learned recently this is more virulent strain able to jump through it (also thanks to long and asymptomatic incubation period and other features).

        • Xabier says:

          Trade and associated movement will simply have to continue, and it will be necessary to live with the inevitable losses in life, perhaps on an annual basis.

          Brutal certainly, and perhaps rapid financial collapse and bankruptcy of key companies and the loss of essential skilled workers in a short time-frame will undermine even this approach, which accepts huge loss of life as a fact to which we can only bow. .

  48. Herbie R Ficklestein says:

    Partners in misery Renault and Nissan
    A no-taboos commitment to cut costs by 2 billion euros ($2.2 billion) over the next three years from the carmaker on Friday, as it tries to put the Carlos Ghosn affair behind it.
    As ex-Volkswagen brand manager Luca de Meo prepares to take over as chief executive of the French automaker, which has been rocked by the Ghosn scandal, it did not exclude job cuts in a promised review of its performance across all factories.
    Like many auto industry rivals, including its alliance partner Nissan, Renault is grappling with tumbling demand in key markets like China, and said it expects the sector to be hit further this year, including in Europe.
    In a reflection of this sobering assessment of the market outlook, Renault set a lower operating margin target of between 3% and 4% for 2020, down from 4.8% in 2019, and cut its proposed dividend against 2019 by almost 70% from a year earlier.
    While Renault faces high investment costs to produce cleaner car models and supply chain problems due to China’s coronavirus outbreak, a major challenge remains moving on from the scandal involving former boss-turned fugitive Ghosn, which strained its relations with Nissan and paralysed joint projects.
    “It has been a tough year for Groupe Renault and the alliance,” acting Chief Executive Clotilde Delbos said on a conference call, adding that the broader autos downturn had hit the company “right when we were facing internal difficulties.”
    Renault could not afford to wait for De Meo’s arrival in July to attack costs, Delbos said, adding that nothing would be “taboo” as it reviews its business.

    What Bloomberg Intelligence Says:
    ‘Nissan’s worse than expected 3Q result and dividend will clearly have a knock on effect on Renault’s own pre-tax result and dividend payout, but the key task going forward for the two new CEOs is to provide an update of their 5-year plans and put in place a recovery strategy for Nissan.’

    — Michael Dean, senior European auto analyst

  49. So, I heard a private study showed 90% SARS and 10%bat flu and HIV.
    If this was just a case of pneumonia why would it cause organ failure. Sounds like HIV

    • Duncan Idaho says:

      96% similar to a bat virus from 2013.
      A double stranded positive RNA virus, with an original bat origin.
      Could have a host between us and the bat.
      We don’t know yet. if ever.
      Not remotely related to HIV, but not far from SARS, which disappeared in 2014.

      • Duncan Idaho says:

        The other two coronavirus (other than some minor cold type viruses) are SARS and MERS. MERS is still with us, with camels the host, but a bat origin also.
        So campers, all three human coronavirus have a bat origin.
        All attempted vaccines have failed.

        • squideater says:

          Thanks Duncan. Why has cv19 spread so much faster than SARS? Do you think CV 19 has a better chance of a vaccine being developed? Do you think it will peak and be gone like SARS or escape containment and be a significant pandemic. You seem informed and have throughout the posts about this so would like to know your opinion/guess. SARS plus or uncontainable economy killer?

          • There seems to be a big difference in the extent to which the diseases are transmissible among humans, among other things.

          • Duncan Idaho says:

            A vaccine is at least 18 months away, and that is if everything goes right.
            As far as spread, it seems there is a 4-7 day period where the patient has no symptoms, but is contagious (this still needs to be verified).
            SARS was only contagious during fever, so isolation was possible.

      • There was a study released in India, published by drs and then retracted as the WHO joined up with china. Conveniently it’s been overlooked now. I’ll try to find the screen shot of the study. It certainly has some HIV

  50. Ed says:

    CV19 still no honest numbers of the ill rate nor the number infected. I a bad flu year 60,000 die in the US. With China having 4x the population that would be 240,000 dead from just the flu.

    I am waiting for 250,000 dead in China and no end in sight and/or a kill rate of 5% or more. So far just smoke (no pun intended).

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      We don’t know for sure yet but COVID-19 appears to have a higher mortality rate than flu plus it is *novel* and verging on pandemic, not endemic like flu. This means that there is no heard immunity, no vaccine and it is totally overwhelming health systems in China in a way that flu does not, and as it may well do in other nations. It could also mutate.

      Gail is making the point that the economic knock-on effects are potentially dire and not just for China, which is an impossible bind, as continuing to pursue a policy of aggressive containment will come at an economic cost it cannot afford.

      • Harry McGibbs says:

        “Herd immunity” not “heard”, lol.

        • Chrome Mags says:

          Speaking of which, ‘More than 1700 medical workers infected’

          That’s bad news, because if medical workers go down there isn’t necessarily many qualified to take their place, but also because there will be fewer to help while numbers of infected/critical rise.

          • Hopefully, once health care workers have had the disease, they will be immune, at least for a while.

          • Davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

            “Covid-19 affects the respiratory system and can put people at risk of bacterial infections there, further raising the risk of deadly complications.”

            • Davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

              “Singapore announced nine new coronavirus cases Friday, including that of a 61-year-old general anesthesiologist. The doctor is case 59 out of 67 total infections and the first health-care professional known to have contracted the coronavirus.

              In an interview with Singapore’s Straits Times newspaper, the unnamed doctor said Friday that as recently as Feb. 6, he was well and working in the operating theater. After coming down with a fever, he went to a hospital on Sunday and was told he had coronavirus Thursday morning.

              He told the newspaper that he had not traveled to China for more than a year and that he had no known interactions with cases of coronavirus.

              “I am just unlucky. That’s all I can say,” he told the Straits Times.

              Asked how he could have come into contact with the coronavirus, he said: “I don’t know. No idea at all.”

              wow… NO IDEA AT ALL…

              how quaint that they are (still) numbering the cases…

              that won’t continue for long…

              soon the cases will be in the thousands and then tens of thousands…

            • Quite a few people in China (800,000 according to a US CDC article) have tuberculosis. When you put that together with all of the pollution they have been breathing, people in China have lungs that are very stressed. When Covid-19 and bacterial infections are added to the mix, there is a real problem.

        • Hubbs says:

          Well, I haven’t “heard” about any immunity to it yet, so you are still correct.

          • Chrome Mags says:


            How about this footage from Wuhan! Remember the family they pulled from their apartment, the guy that needed several men to haul him out, well amongst other stuff is the continuation of that battle at the van. The guy somehow pulls himself under the van, then they have to pull him out, but what a big struggle.

            Another part there’s a woman that’s lost it for some reason and is pulling down barricades but no one will get near to try and stop her – is that a mask she’s wearing? There’s also footage of a teen girl being pulled from a car – it takes 3-4 people to get her out then she passes out.

            But the most combative scenes are when they take two women and a man out of their apartment on to the street and the battle that first woman puts up is relentless. She absolutely refuses to be subdued. She’s yelling the whole time. Must see Wuhan misery.

            Oh, there’s also two middle aged men that are trying to stop someone in a van from driving off and you don’t see what happens for a moment, but then they are laid out on the ground and can’t get up. I don’t know if the van drove over them or what.

            • Chrome Mags says:


              In this one some woman is not allowed into a certain district so she jumps off a bridge. It’s not too high, so she was likely ok. Then some scene where a guy has folded money into planes and is flying them out his apartment window, with the caption money loses value in Wuhan.

    • JesseJames says:

      This thing appears to be very communicable while undetected. I anticipate it will therefore, sooner or later, be everywhere. The real danger is that the present death rate being communicated are those that receive diagnosis and then intensive treatment. The non-treated death rate is what I want to know. Because all hospitals will be overwhelmed, and there will not be drugs available, therefore it will be you and your immune system fighting it and no more. That is the death rate you need to be concerned about.

      • I am afraid you may be right. It will be too expensive to treat everyone and the system will be overwhelmed in most places.

        We can cross our fingers that a few antiviral drugs can be ramped up quickly. These won’t completely solve the problem, but they might make the illness more bearable for quite a few people.

    • This disease is scary in many ways:
      1. It spreads rapidly from one person to another.
      2. It appears as though a person who catches the disease can at least some of the time start spreading the disease before he shows symptoms.
      3. We don’t really know how long the incubation period is, before a person comes down with the disease. The new Los Alamos paper says the average of the cases they looked at was 4.2 days. The outside limit people have been assuming is 14 days, but it could be longer than this. It is often difficult to know when exposure took place.
      4. The average time from onset of symptoms to hospitalization 5.5 days, based on the Los Alamos study. After January 18, it shortened to 1.5 days, when the issue was publicized.
      5. The average time from hospitalization to discharge was 11.5 days; the time from hospitalization to death was 11.2 days, according to the Los Alamos paper.

      We are talking about a lag between exposure and death of something like three to five weeks. By the time that lag occurs, the new exposures and hospitalizations have skyrocketed. Cases will be skyrocketing.

      We need to be looking at the ratio of people discharged from the hospital well to the total discharged from the hospital (dead or alive), and then adjusting that for people who never were sick enough to go to the hospital. Or we need to be “grossing up” the death rate by a factor to reflect the expected rapid rise in the count of hospitalized cases. The death rate could very well be 5% or more, especially if not much treatment can be given in the hospital. The death rate may be fairly variable, depending upon the type of medical facilities available, and whether any antiviral drugs can be used.

      We are looking at the tip of the iceberg. The problem is figuring out how to interpret what the whole iceberg looks like. And even if it is a lot of people, China and other countries can’t just close up shop to fight the virus, or people will die from lack of food and other necessities.

      • Chrome Mags says:

        “The death rate could very well be 5% or more, especially if not much treatment can be given in the hospital.”

        I think you’re right about that, because if you see the post I did further down the thread, Martenson is saying evidence is coming in it’s possible to become re-infected after surviving an initial bout, and then die from heart failure, because the heart is so damaged from the first time the person had the virus.

        And one video I posted higher up was of a man they found laying down motionless, that they tried to get his heart going again. That footage seems to suggest that the use of a refibrilater is being used because the reason people are going down is heart failure, not the lungs.

        A virus that spreads in a multitude of ways, shows no symptoms for days while it can spread wildly, then once the person has it, it damages the heart, then re-infects and kills via heart failure. Isn’t that the absolute worst case scenario for a pandemic? We can all take a lot of abuse physically and survive, but if something goes after the heart, then that’s really hard to overcome.

        I’m starting to smell a rat so to speak, meaning if someone or a group of people wanted to develop the worst case scenario pandemic virus, wouldn’t this be it? I can’t even imagine tweaking it to be worse. Keep in mind if a virus kills too fast it’s much easier to quarantine like with ebola, so it has to sneak up on people in a way they can’t do much about it.

        • Xabier says:

          True, but Mother Nature herself is sneaky like that, we needn’t suppose that it has been engineered simply because it is so deadly – although it may well have been, or even a vaccine experiment gone horribly wrong.

          Good hygiene and make one’s will and testament, that’s all that there is to be done now.

        • Tim Groves says:

          If I were to team up with Prince Philip to develop the worst case scenario pandemic virus, I would suggest opting to modify the myxoma virus to infect H. sapiens. Then we would have the mother of all pandemics on our hands.

          Mmyxomatosis is the name of the severe and often fatal disease in European rabbits caused by the myxoma virus. Different strains exist which vary in their virulence. The Californian strain, which is endemic to the west coast of the United States and Baja in Mexico, is the most virulent, with reported case fatality rates of 100%. The South American strain, present in South America and Central America, is slightly less virulent, with reported case fatality rates of 99.8%. Strains present in Europe and Australia have become attenuated, with reported case fatality rates of 50%-95%. While wild rabbits in Europe and Australia have developed some immunity to the virus, this is not generally true of pet rabbits.

      • Robert Firth says:

        Gail, this is the result of a single afternoon’s work, so don’t take it too seriously. It is based on the data publicly available, but pays most heed to the data from Singapore, because in my opinion (as a former member of their Smart Health initiative) it is trustworthy.

        First, the official death rate is approaching 15%, but that is an overestimate, because while it counts the dead correctly, it undercounts those infected, many of whom are asymptomatic. Factoring in the incubation time, my best guess is 3% to 4%.

        However, that is in a small first world city state with excellent healthcare and a paternalistic government not afraid to intervene. The situation does not look as good elsewhere, and in the poorer, overpopulated countries of the world, many of which are heavily polluted and plagued with food scarcity, degenerative disease and the like, things will be much worse.

        Enough rambling. My bottom line (today at least) is this: the virus will infect about 65% of the world population, and the death rate will vary from 5% to 6% in countries better prepared, and 15% to 20% elsewhere. Since the latter comprise the bulk of our species, my tentative guess is that we stand to lose about 900 million.

        • You may very well be correct.

          Once we factor in the disruption to the economy at the same time, there will be indirect impacts that are hard to measure. The financial system will be badly disrupted. Debt defaults will be a major problem.

          I would not be surprised if the government of China collapses. I don’t know whether the individual provinces would each go their own way. In the case of the Soviet Union, that is what happened. I understand that the provinces have quite a bit of autonomy now. How about a new system in which each province has its own currency, for example? That would make life interesting.

          All of the wind and solar put in up in the Northwest was for the benefit of the folks in Beijing and others toward the coast. I wonder how it, together with all of the transmission lines, would be handled if separate governments were involved. New additions have been way down, even before the current crisis.

        • Artleads says:

          Thanks! Very helpful that somebody can figure this out.

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