Easily overlooked issues regarding COVID-19

We read a lot in the news about the new Wuhan coronavirus and the illness it causes (COVID-19), but some important points often get left out.

[1] COVID-19 is incredibly contagious.

COVID-19 transmits extremely easily from person to person. Interpersonal contact doesn’t need to be very long; a taxi driver can get the virus from a passenger, for example. The virus may be transmissible even before an infected person develops symptoms. It may also be transmissible for a few days after a person seems to be over the virus; it is possible to get positive virus tests, even after symptoms disappear. Some people may have the disease, but never show symptoms.

[2] The virus likely remains active on inanimate surfaces such as paper, plastic, or metal for many days.

There haven’t been tests on the COVID-19 virus per se, but studies on similar viruses suggest that human pathogens may remain infectious for up to eight days. Some viruses that only infect animals can survive for more than 28 days. China is reported to be destroying paper currency from the hardest hit area, because people do not want to accept money which may have viruses on it. Clearly, surfaces in airplanes, trains and buses may also harbor viruses, long after a passenger with the virus has left, unless they have been thoroughly wiped down with disinfectant.

[3] Given Issues [1] and [2], about the only way to avoid spreading COVID-19 seems to be geographic isolation. 

With all of today’s travel, geographic isolation doesn’t work very well in practice. People need food and medical supplies. They need to keep basic services such as electricity and garbage collection operating. Suppliers of food and other services need to come and leave the area and that tends to spread COVID-19. Also, the longer a geographic area is isolated, the larger the percentage of the people within the area that is likely to get COVID-19. The problem is that the people need to have contact with others in the area for purposes such as buying food, and that tends to spread the disease.

[4] The real story regarding the number of deaths and illnesses seems to be far worse than the story China is telling its own people and the world.

The real story seems to be that the number of deaths is far greater than the number reported–perhaps 10 times as high as being reported. The number of illnesses is also much higher. At one point, facilities doing cremations in the Wuhan area were reported to be doing four to five times the normal number of cremations. Some of the bodies in the Wuhan area now need to be sent to other areas of China because there is not enough local cremation capacity.

China doesn’t dare tell its people how bad the situation really is, for fear of panic. They want to tell a story of being in control and handling the situation well. The news media in the West repeat the stories that the government-controlled publications of China provide, even though they seem to present a much more favorable situation than really seems to be the case.

[5] Our ability to identify who has the new coronavirus is poor.

While there is a test for the coronavirus, it costs hundreds of dollars to administer. Even with this high cost, the results of the tests aren’t very reliable. The test tends to produce many false negatives. The virus may be present somewhere inside the person being tested, but not in the areas touched by swabs of the throat and nose.

[6] Some people get much more severe symptoms from COVID-19 than others.

Most people, perhaps 80% of people, seem to get a fairly light form of the COVID-19 illness. Groups that seem particularly prone to adverse outcomes include the elderly, smokers, those who are obese, and those with high blood pressure, diabetes, or poor immune systems. Males seem to have worse outcomes than females.

Strangely enough, there is speculation that people with East Asian ancestry (Chinese, Japanese, or Vietnamese) may have a higher risk of adverse outcomes than those of European or African ancestry. One of the things that is targeted by the disease is the ACE2 receptor. The 1000 Genome Project studied expected differences in ACE2 receptors among various groups. Based on this analysis, some researchers (in non-peer-reviewed studies, here and here) predict that those of European or African ancestry will tend to get lighter forms of the disease. These findings are contested in another, non-peer-reviewed study.

Bolstering the view that East Asians are more susceptible to viruses that target the ACE2 receptor is the fact that SARS, which also tends to target the ACE2 receptor, tended to stay primarily in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore. While there were cases elsewhere, they tended to have few deaths.

Observational data with respect to COVID-19 is needed to determine whether there truly is a difference in the severity of the illness among different populations.

[7] China has been using geographical quarantine to try to hold down the number of COVID-19 cases. The danger with such a quarantine is that once the economy is down, it is very difficult to come back to the pre-quarantine state.

Data shows that China’s economy is not reopening quickly after the extended New Year holiday finished.

Figure 2. China daily passenger flows, relative to Chinese New Year. Amounts are now down more than 80% and have not increased, even as some businesses are theoretically reopening. Chart by ANZ, copied by WSJ Daily Shot Feb. 17, 2020.

Figure 3. China property transactions, before and after Chinese New Year. Chart by Goldman Sachs. Reprinted by WSJ Daily Shot, Feb. 17, 2020.

All businesses will be adversely affected by a lack of sales if they need to continue to pay overhead expenses. Small and medium-sized businesses will be especially adversely affected. Bloomberg reports that if a shutdown lasts for three months, there is a substantial chance that these businesses will run through their savings and fail. Thus, these businesses may be permanently lost if the economy is down for several months.

Also, restarting after a shut-down is more difficult than it might appear. Take, for example, a mother who wants to go back to work. She will likely need:

  • Public transportation to be operating, so she has a way to get to work;
  • School to be open, so she doesn’t need to worry about her child while she is at work;
  • Masks to be available, so that she and her child can comply with requirements to wear them;
  • Stores providing necessities such as food to be open, or she may be too hungry to work

If anything is missing, the mother is likely not to go back to work. Required masks seem to be a problem right now, but other pieces could be missing as well.

Businesses, too, need a full range of workers to restart their operations. If the inspector doing the final inspection is not available, the business may not really be able to ship finished products, even if most of the workers are back.

[8] A shutdown of as little as three months is likely to be damaging to the world economy.

Multiple things are likely to go wrong:

(a) Commodity prices are likely to fall steeply, because of low demand from China. Oil prices, in particular, are likely to fall steeply, perhaps to $30 to $35 per barrel. Besides cutbacks in oil demand from China, there is the issue of a general reduction in long distance travel, because of fear of traveling with other passengers with COVID-19.

(b) US businesses, such as Apple, will find their supply chains broken. They won’t know when, and if, they can ship products.

(c) Debt defaults are likely to become more common, especially in China. The longer the slowdown/shutdown lasts, the greater the extent to which debt defaults are likely to spread around the world.

(d) The world economy is likely to be pushed into recession, without an easy way to get out again.

[9] The longer the shutdown lasts, the more likely there is to be a major collapse of the Chinese economy. 

In the event of a long-term shutdown, it would seem likely that, at a minimum, a new leader would take over. In fact, there would seem to be a significant chance of major changes within the economy. For example, the provinces of China that are able to restart might attempt to restart, leaving the more damaged areas behind. In such a case, instead of having a single Chinese government to deal with, there might be multiple governmental units to deal with.

Each governmental unit might consist of a few provinces trying to provide services such as they are able, without the benefit of the parts of the economy that are still shut down. Each governmental unit might have its own currency. If this should happen, China will be able to provide far fewer goods and services than it has in the recent past.

[10] Planners everywhere have been guilty of “putting too many eggs in one basket.”

Planners today look for efficiency. For example, placing a large share of the world’s industry in China looks like it is an efficient approach. Unfortunately, we are asking for trouble if the Chinese economy hits a bump in the road. Using just-in-time supply lines looks like a good idea as well, but if a major supplier cannot provide parts for a while, then having inventory on hand would have been a better approach.

If we want systems to be sustainable, they really need a lot of redundancy. Redundant systems are not as efficient, but they are much more likely to be sustainable through difficult times. There is a recent article in Nature that talks about this issue. One of the things it says is,

A system with a single cycle is the most unstable because the deletion of any cycle-node or link breaks the sustaining feedback mechanism.

“A system with a single cycle” is basically similar to “putting all of our eggs in one basket.” “Deletion of any cycle-node or link” is something like China running into coronavirus problems. We probably need a world economy that consists of many nearly separate local economies to be certain of long-term world economy stability. Alternatively, we need a great deal of redundancy built into our systems. For example, we need large inventories to work around the possibility of missing contributions from one country, in the case of a problem such as a major epidemic.

Conclusion

The world economy may become very different, simply because of COVID-19. The new virus doesn’t even need to directly affect the rest of the world very much to create a problem. The United States, Europe, and the rest of the world are very much dependent on the continued operation of China. The world economy has effectively put way too many eggs in one basket, and this basket is now not functioning as expected.

If China is barely producing anything for world markets, the rest of the world will suddenly discover that long supply chains weren’t such a good idea. There will be a big scramble to try to fill in the missing pieces of supply chains, but many goods are likely to be less available. We may discover quickly how much we depend upon China for everything from shoes to automobiles to furniture to electronics. World carbon dioxide emissions are likely to fall dramatically because of China’s problems, but will the accompanying issues be ones that the world economy can tolerate?

The thing that is ironic is that it is possible that the West’s fear of the new coronavirus may be overblown–we really won’t know what the impact will be with respect to people of European or of African descent until we have had a better chance to examine how the virus affects different populations. The next few weeks and months are likely to be quite instructive. For example, how will the Americans and Australians who caught COVID-19 on the cruise ships fare? What will the health outcomes be of non-Asians being brought back from Wuhan to their native countries on special planes?

 

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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2,589 Responses to Easily overlooked issues regarding COVID-19

  1. Chrome Mags says:

    https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/23/europe/italy-novel-coronavirus-spike-intl/index.html

    This is an article from today; Coronavirus cases soar in Italy as authorities scramble to find patient zero

    “Italy’s confirmed cases surged from three on Friday morning to more than 130 by Sunday morning.

    The majority of coronavirus infections are concentrated in mainland China (with more than 78,800 cases), followed by Japan (738) and South Korea (602). Italy’s spike now marks the biggest outbreak outside of Asia.”

    “We are asking basically that everyone who has come from areas stricken by the epidemic to remain under a mandatory house stay,” Speranza said at a Saturday press conference.”

    • Chrome Mags says:

      In Italy from 3 Friday to 130 this morning, Sunday. Going like wildfire. One problem with Italy is in Rome, Florence and Venice the millions of tourists that pass through them each year are two fold. One, if he virus takes hold how can the spread of it be stopped with so many tourists. Thousands of people wait in line for St. Peters Basilica, the Vatican Museum, Borghese Gallery, the Colloseum, Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, Victor Emanuel Monument, Medici Treasure, Uffizi Gallery, Ponte Vechio, The Duomo, museum Acadamia, Boboli Gardens, Bargello, Pitti Palace, St. Marks Square, Rialto Bridge, Doge’s Palace, St. Marks Basilica, Correr Museum and travel on the Grand Canal in Venice via Vaparetto’s.

      Take away the tourist influx of money from Italy and since it’s already having economic trouble, it will surely falter, which could be a harbinger for the rest of Europe.

      • Dennis L. says:

        Nice call, this is the first time I have seen an explanation of why Italy; what an awful problem. Stop accepting tourists and the economy collapses, Venice mostly lives on tourism.

        There are so many facets of this problem, the virus causes issues in so many of our systems, manufacturing, tourism, health care, education.

        Mankind at one point went through a bottleneck of several thousands of mating pairs, would something like this been perhaps a cause?

        We know how to model epidemics, epidemics that burn out, but what if this one does not burn out, it will spread ever slower once over 50%, but it will still spread until herd immunity is reached, the question is then what size the herd?

        If one hides until herd immunity has been reached and the virus is endemic, that does not help as at that point, you are it.

        Dennis L.

        • Chrome Mags says:

          “If one hides until herd immunity has been reached and the virus is endemic, that does not help as at that point, you are it.”

          Good point. Might as well take your punishment with everyone else, hope to build some immunity and make it through the bottleneck. There have been other close calls with viruses, flus, etc., but this one is more likely becoming a pandemic because it has such a long incubation period and is so easily transmitted. This is the one people worried could come along and cause havoc as all strategies so far have failed. Essentially the only strategy is to ask people not to go outside and hope the virus dies out, but it’s slowing in some places like Wuhan supposedly, but proliferating in many other places around the world.

          Got to see this one, Dennis, because at 5:30 in the video, a German Dr. who seems quite shaken says they have an example of a 70 year old man that incubated the virus for 27 days! Also, he says the number of cases in Iran must be much higher based on number of deaths.

        • What happens is that the virus is likely to evolve, and come back in another year or two.

          Immunity may or may not do any good. In fact, it might make it worse, based on some information Chris Martenson shared in a recent video. If immunity has reduced over time and the virus has mutated a bit, the person make get the new illness harder that he did the first time the virus came around. Dengue Fever is an example of a virus that behaves this way.

          • which might apply to the 1890 flu epidemic—(killed 1 million), then the 1918 epidemic–killed 50 m

          • Chrome Mags says:

            “If immunity has reduced over time and the virus has mutated a bit, the person make get the new illness harder that he did the first time the virus came around.”

            Ok, so avoidance is likely a better strategy, but for how long can that be done? Even in Wuhan one family member is allowed to go out to get groceries every other day. And people are wearing masks that are not sealed on the edges, so it seems likely that if the virus becomes a pandemic, as it appears to be in the process of, most people sooner or later will get exposed to it.

            As the virus spreads around the world more areas are going into shutdown mode, but that puts the brakes on the world economy and eventually it won’t work, unless caution is reduced enough for people to go about the business of BAU again.

            We’ve all seen how the CB’s around the world have been doing all sorts of strategies to keep the world economy chugging along, so with this virus surely that complicates that situation to the extreme of what is possible, right?

            • Yes, avoidance strategy for the win.
              The best case to emulate is probably that kind of avoidance exercised by count Dracula, apart from his secluded estates, reportedly he had no entourage or employees, all doing by himself (butler, servant, cook, driving the horse carriage etc).

              Nowadays, the problem is being as good as count Dracula.

            • peatmoss says:

              The Dr John Cambell videos gave examples of this in laymans terms. The antibodies are effective against the first virus strain. The mutated virus strain is recognized antibodies are produced but they dont kill the mutated virus and but they latch on to them and provide a entry path for the virus.

              This would explain the second time around the heart gets attacked cases.

              In terms of behavior this is a sticky wicket. The bold plan of just going about daily business with not isolating and the hope of developing immunity no longer has the hope of immunity. You and your significant other isolate best you can? FOREVER?

              Some one tell me the good plan because those both suck.

      • Right! Economies need all kinds of businesses, including tourism. Closing off tourists doesn’t work.

        Iran is having the same problem. The place the virus seemed to especially spread in the holy city of Qom. According to Reuters:
        https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-health-iran-13/iran-says-coronavirus-has-spread-to-several-cities-reports-two-new-deaths-idUSKBN20F1GU

        “Based on existing reports, the spread of coronavirus started in Qom and with attention to people’s travels has now reached several cities in the country including Tehran, Babol, Arak, Isfahan, Rasht and other cities,” health ministry official Minou Mohrez said, according to the official IRNA news agency.

        “It’s possible that it exists in all cities in Iran,” she said.

        • Chrome Mags says:

          “It’s possible that it exists in all cities in Iran,” she said.

          It seems like the virus is spreading in bursts, for a lack of a better way to put it, as the number of cases in SK, Italy and Iran have suddenly jumped quite fast in certain pockets. And to already be all over Iran is really shocking.

          • BahamasEd says:

            It’s may seem to be in bursts and is happening faster then past events, but we, today, look at this daily, and sometime hourly.
            When we look at past events it’s broken down into months and years, the spanish flu lasted for about 35 months and we’re barely 35 days into this one (from it becoming public)

            • Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

              bursts and pockets are absolutely what we are seeing…

              “bursts” of course will be more intense than ever because of highest population ever and most air travel ever…

              “pockets” because of course all it takes is one infected but asymptomatic traveler to infect some locals…

              from a health standpoint, most of us are very safe from the virus unless close to a pocket… I bet getting hit by a car or lightning is a better chance if a person is far from a pocket…

              but from an economic standpoint, by Summer it will probably not matter how close we are to pockets, since the effects of supply chain disruptions will reach equally to the healthy and unhealthy…

    • The thing I see wrong with this theory is the location were the virus seems to have started spreading. It is described as the “economic heartland” of Italy, far from the coast.

      I found this chart in a Guardian article linked in another post. I can’t imagine many tourists to a small, inland town in Italy.

      • Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

        I wonder if the virus could hitchhike to a country via products from China…

        no… that is totally reediculous…

  2. Dennis L. says:

    As Nature wrote in 2015:

    “The findings reinforce suspicions that bat coronaviruses capable of directly infecting humans (rather than first needing to evolve in an intermediate animal host) may be more common than previously thought, the researchers say.

    But other virologists question whether the information gleaned from the experiment justifies the potential risk. Although the extent of any risk is difficult to assess, Simon Wain-Hobson, a virologist at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, points out that the researchers have created a novel virus that “grows remarkably well” in human cells. “If the virus escaped, nobody could predict the trajectory,” he says. ”

    This is excerpted from the ZeroHedge article referenced above. The metaphor might be, “It’s not nice to fool mother nature.”

    What a mess.

    Dennis L.

    • That is a very disturbing paragraph.

      But other virologists question whether the information gleaned from the experiment justifies the potential risk. Although the extent of any risk is difficult to assess, Simon Wain-Hobson, a virologist at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, points out that the researchers have created a novel virus that “grows remarkably well” in human cells. “If the virus escaped, nobody could predict the trajectory,” he says. ”

      If it is really true that Wuhan was really allowing experiments with 600 bats, right in the middle of a city of at least 11 million people, someone was using very poor judgment. It is way too easy for some worker to accidentally get infected and transmit the virus to the rest of the world.

      • Chrome Mags says:

        “If it is really true that Wuhan was really allowing experiments with 600 bats, right in the middle of a city of at least 11 million people, someone was using very poor judgment.”

        Yeah, the lab should have been a few hundred feet under an unpopulated part of the Gobi Desert. Interesting that if it was indeed created in a lab by scientists, like many of us suspect, it getting out fits with a scientific principle; The Law of Unintended Consequences.

    • I think that the Zerohedge article you lined to earlier is key to understanding the likely unintended escape of the virus. It can be found here:

      https://www.zerohedge.com/health/chinese-scientists-find-coronavirus-did-not-originate-wuhan-seafood-market

      The Nature article from which the excerpted above is found here:

      https://www.nature.com/articles/nm.3985

      There is also a link to an article from an official Chinese newspaper, practically admitting to a problem.
      https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1180429.shtml

      There is also a link to the academic article quoted in the Zerohedge article.

      • Chrome Mags says:

        “There is also a link to an article from an official Chinese newspaper, practically admitting to a problem.”

        I think that seals it, because they wouldn’t do that unless they were allowed and directed to.

    • Robert Firth says:

      “But other virologists question whether the information gleaned from the experiment justifies the potential risk.”

      But the information will be of direct benefit to the experimenters (publications! research grants! fame!), whereas the risk will be borne by everyone else. So of course the experiment will continue; it is a classic example o risk transference.

      Yes, Dennis, indeed a fine mess.

  3. mch says:

    https://virologydownunder.com/past-time-to-tell-the-public-it-will-probably-go-pandemic-and-we-should-all-prepare-now/

    Here is a link to an article written by the expert risk communication team Dr. Jody Lanard and Dr. Peter M. Sandman just released on the blog Virology Down Under. The blog is run by Australian virologist Dr. Ian Mackay. The article covers many of the issues with nCovid being discussed here and has lots of good ideas and information.

    • That is a very good article, in my opinion. I am sure, as we know more, it might be refined a bit, but it definitely goes in the right direction, especially when it talks about planning for the virus to come everywhere, because it is becoming more and more clear that we cannot “contain” the virus. Things like having more of current prescription medications on hand and cross training some workers if others are out sick. These things make sense to me.

      He also talks about things that sound to me like trying not to get the virus, if it is in the area. Things like cancelling big group activities, for a some time period. He talks about practicing not touching faces and using elbow bumps instead of handshakes.

      I am wondering how much of difference each of these changes will make. If people are getting on busses and trains every day, they will be sharing viruses through the air. Maybe the virus can be slowed down for a few days, so that it is a bit more possible to provide medical care for all who need it. But if there are only 1% as many intensive care beds as are needed, and practically no drugs, then a few days or a months difference won’t make much difference.

      • Artleads says:

        It ought to be doable to make more beds using same-size cardboard boxes. You turn them upside down and “saran”-wrap them. Then they can be flattened and assembled somewhere else if needed. In somer ways, easier than the current system, and just about cost free. BTW, could paper-bag-adapted masks function in any way like commercial masks?

      • Dennis L. says:

        I am not an epidemiologist, I am not a virologist, I was a practicing dentist for 41 years and my knowledge is limited to hepatitis virus for the most part.

        The OOO Journal published an article in the seventies regarding OS getting hep B comparing use of gloves and non use. The chance of infection was time related and independent of use of gloves – gloves develop holes with use. It was customary to double glove on some cases, steady use is a good way to ruin one’s hands with carpal tunnel. The vaccine finally conquered hep B and I was one of the early adapters. In my last years hep C and hep A were an issue, not sure where vaccines are there but with hep C when we knew we had a case we double gloved, wore face shields, masks, and wrap around safety glasses being very careful to dispose of everything and not touching the underlying clothing. That is tougher than it looks.

        As a healthcare worker, the longer one is around the corona virus the more certain infection becomes. In our clinic we were fortunate to have a staff that valued each other as people, we were careful not only for ourselves, but each other and we followed the rules, I had no empathy for opinions the slightest bit different than protocol. Sharps are a nightmare, everyone must be focused. With corona every patient is like this, there are more patients than staff, it has to be exhausting, sooner or later you make a mistake.

        I do not get flu shots, my feeling is to let the body fight it out and either the bug or the body wins, so far the body has held its own. I am pretty much resolved to handle this virus the same way, I am older and have arranged my affairs. If I run, the next time it comes around I am even older, time to tell the immune system to “Suck it up buttercup,” and let life run its
        course.

        Dennis L.

        • Tim Groves says:

          I have noticed how disciplined the dentists and dental assistants are at the hospital I visit regularly in my town. They are young, professional, well-disciplined and follow the safety protocols scrupulously. Your post makes it clear why they are wise to do this. They are on the frontline every day, and mistakes that allow infection to spread can be devastating to them and to their patients.

          • Jason says:

            Modern medicine uses tons and tons of disposable plastic waste, so ya, good for us humans, not good for the planet. Lets see infection control measures after China can’t send us our stuff. Surgery with no gloves, no drapes, no antibiotics, back to civil war scenes. It will happen now or when we run out of fossil fuels. Nurse, hand me that bottle of Jack, on swig for me, one for the patient, and one to disinfect the wound.

            • Hm, hot water, stainless steel, vodka sterilization, properly washed blankets etc..
              Voila you are still enjoying xy% of decreased mortality in comparison previous ages.
              In other words, good enough vs present time.

  4. Herbie R Ficklestein says:

    China’s Xi says epidemic ‘grim,’ calls for action on economy
    JOE McDONALD
    Associated PressFebruary 23, 2020, 10:55 AM EST
    BEIJING (AP) — Warning that China’s virus epidemic is “still grim and complex,” President Xi Jinping called Sunday for more efforts to stop the outbreak, revive industry and prevent the disease from disrupting spring planting of crops.

    Xi defended the ruling Communist Party’s response as “timely and effective” in a video conference with officials in charge of anti-disease work, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

    Xi sounded a note of caution in the face of hopes abroad that the disease that has killed more than 2,400 people since December might be under control. He said the situation is at a “critical stage” and called on officials to “resolutely curb the spread of the epidemic.”

    “The current epidemic situation is still grim and complex,” Xinhua cited Xi as saying. “Prevention and control are at the most critical stage.”

    The ruling party is trying to strike a difficult balance between stopping the virus and reviving China’s vast manufacturing and other industries. Most of the world’s second-largest economy has been shut down since late January in the most sweeping anti-disease measures ever imposed and are only gradually reopening.

    Forecasters say China might rebound quickly if the outbreak can be controlled by the end of March. But they say this quarter’s economic output will shrink by as much as 1% from the quarter ending in December after Beijing extended the Lunar New Year holiday to keep factories and offices closed and told the public to avoid traveling.

    Concern is growing that the disease might be spreading in South Korea and other countries, instead of only affecting people who visited China and others who had close contact with them.

    Xi said the epidemic is a health emergency with the “fastest spread” and “most difficult prevention and control” in China since the Communist Party came to power in 1949, according to Xinhua.

    “For us, this is a crisis and a big test,” Xi was cited as saying.

    https://news.yahoo.com/chinas-xi-says-epidemic-grim-151814311.html

    • Well, at least Xi is somewhat admitting the problem and figuring out that crop planting must go on. Also, other industry, at least outside of hardest hit areas. But virus may very well get to other areas in the next couple of weeks.

      • Xabier says:

        Candour like that from Xi is perhaps more worrying than anything else.

        Vital parts for agricultural machinery are the question. But who in cities ever thinks that the crops might not get sown? It’s all just magic….

        • It truly must be bad for Xi to be talking this way. I think the people in China are a little closer to the land than people in the US are. Often, they lived on farms as children or before they became migrant workers.

          • Chrome Mags says:

            What a revelation with XI coming clean with the sheen. The Chinese govt. usually so carefully scripting their message, but now the situation is apparently so grave he is being openly honest. That’s good and quite alarming.

        • peatmoss says:

          Im sorry. Ive seen farmers 13 year olds put up a pole barn. I ve seen a shop design and install turbochargers on farm diesal engines that wernt designed for them and have them work so well people from 3 states were using them. With not one degree in the shop. Farmers have these funny things called machine shops with these funny things called mills and lathes. Farmers get their job done with blood sweat and tears and a whole lot of smarts. Then they build hotrods and all sorts of technical s*** in the winter- FOR FUN. What they do need is fuel and electricity. Besides that they will take care of the rest in their sleep. No they cant mill up semiconductors besides that they will get it done- without even breaking a sweat. THEY WILL FIGURE A WAY. Its what they do.

  5. Pingback: 2020/02/23 – Robert Morningstar – Is China’s Spiraling “Coronavirus” Epidemic, in fact, an Escaped Bio-Weapon!?: and mystery guest – The Other Side of Midnight

  6. Herbie R Ficklestein says:

    OMG! G20 conference … globalization comes under fire….
    https://finance.yahoo.com/news/globalization-comes-under-fire-amid-223948175.html
    As finance ministers and central bank governors kicked off their Group of 20 meeting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Saturday, representatives from the world’s second-largest economy, China, were notably absent. Chinese authorities are instead focusing on containing an outbreak that’s so far killed more than 2,300 people, infected nearly 80,000, disrupted global supply chains and led to downgrades in global growth forecasts.
    How far the virus will spread and how deep its economic impact will be remain unknown. But already in the Saudi capital, questions were being raised about the downsides to the dependencies that globalization brings.
    “Do we want to still depend at the level of 90% or 95% on the supply chain of China for the automobile industry, for the drug industry, for the aeronautical industry, or do we draw the consequences of that situation to build new factories, new productions, and to be more independent and sovereign?” France’s Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire asked on Saturday. “That’s not protectionism, that’s just the necessity of being sovereign and independent from an industrial point of view.”
    The disruption comes at a fraught time for economic policy makers, who are struggling to find new ways to boost growth when many of them are already operating with record-low interest rates, limiting their ability to provide stimulus through monetary policy. Attention is now is turning to fiscal policy, with more than half of the G-20 economies easing budgets to allow more spending.
    The coronavirus outbreak “is a stress test for the world and China,” Douglas Flint, chairman of Standard Life Aberdeen, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV in Riyadh. “We are going to see more fiscal stimulus.”
    Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said he’d be advocating for that to happen.
    “To overcome downside risks we are facing together, I told the G-20 that I expect nations with big fiscal space will make a bold policy decision,” he said. “It’s becoming clear that the virus spread is a risk that could inflict a severe impact on the global economy.”…
    The coronavirus outbreak also makes it more likely the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development will cut its economic forecasts next month, Jose Angel Gurria, the organization’s secretary-general, said in an interview in Riyadh.
    “Look at what is going on: already we are in a slowdown, already we have the trade tensions, already investment was suffering, and now we have the coronavirus,” Gurria said.
    Still, adding fiscal firepower may not be the solution to the supply difficulties that virus has created for the global economy. Even if governments fueled demand via spending, it wouldn’t address the issue of factory shutdowns in China.
    “How do you substitute a global value chain?” Gurria asked. “If you have a supplier that is limited at this stage, that cannot export, how do you organize so the global balance sheet doesn’t stop? That is quite crucial.
    Yada. Yada Yada…..

    • Chrome Mags says:

      “Do we want to still depend at the level of 90% or 95% on the supply chain of China for the automobile industry, for the drug industry, for the aeronautical industry, or do we draw the consequences of that situation to build new factories, new productions, and to be more independent and sovereign?”

      Or do we wait 2-3 months to find out if we’re in the same boat with manuf. anywhere else being in the same situation?

    • The WSJ, in its online version, is showing as its top story, World Economy Shudders as Coronavirus Threatens Global Supply Chains
      Manufacturers’ increased reliance on more interconnected China sees shortages ripple around the globe

      China now accounts for nearly a third of world GDP growth, up from around 3% in 2000. Between 2000 and 2017, the world’s economic exposure to China tripled, according to estimates by the McKinsey Global Institute.

      That rising dependence weighs most heavily on Asia. In 2000, China accounted for just 1.2% of global trade, said the World Bank. Its share was one-third in 2018. In Asia, that measure went from 16% to 41% during the period.

    • Robert Firth says:

      So more “fiscal firepower” may not keep the supply chains open. A blinding glimpse of the obvious. How much helicopter money would have kept the Mary Celeste on course? How much will get a container ship to sail when the carefully trained and well disciplined crew are all in intensive care? Dear parasite, please infect the world’s economists and bankers.

    • Interesting, given the open knowledge-understanding that the current French gov is a mere branch of the Rothschild house, does this proclamation of finmin imply that at least one of the factions owning the global CB cartel is now openly discussing aborting (deleveraging) of globalization?

  7. Herbie R Ficklestein says:

    Next..coming to a Supermarket near YOUl

    Grocery Store Shelves Emptied in Milan During Coronavirus Quarantine
    StoryfulFebruary 23, 2020, 3:10 PM EST
    Residents stockpiled grocercies ahead of a government-imposed quarantine to contain the spread of Covid-19, or the coronavirus, Euro News reported.
    Over 150 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and three deaths have been recorded in Italy as the country stepped up efforts to contain the spread, local media reported.
    Italy has imposed strict quarantine restrictions in two northern regions close to Milan and Venice.
    Angelo Borrelli, the head of the country’s civil protection service, said on February 23 that “patient zero” had not yet been identified. He said the Italian army was making emergency beds available and 500 police officers were being deployed to guard quarantined areas.
    In this video, rows of empty grocery store shelves in Milan can be seen on February 23. Credit: @barny_milano via Storyful
    https://news.yahoo.com/grocery-store-shelves-emptied-milan-201017237.html

    If this but hits South Florida, which I think probably is already here, forget about it!
    If this strikes and a massive hurricane follows it….this place will be a ghost of town…
    No tourists and a bunch of diverse people …what possibly can go wrong?

    • Dennis L. says:

      I am thinking of the villages, more than 100,000 people, almost all of them over 55, constant large groups doing drumming, gathering in squares, dancing. I guess there are worse ways to go.

      My guess is the economic effects will be far more devastating to life than the virus itself, if we lose the support structure no matter how many cans of beans, unless of course it truly is beans all the way down, sooner or later they run out. There will be enough people to work, it is the loss of pieces of the chain that will cause everything to stop. Loss or critical people which take time to train will be a great problem.

      Interesting how much time we spend focusing on the virus(yes, I did that initially) and so little time focusing on what comes next. If the economy falls apart, it is going to be tough in ways we do not understand or foresee.

      One can sell the stock market to get Federal Reserve Notes which are an obligation by an entity that is running a trillion dollar per year deficit. I think you only get to spend precious metals once, after that you have a bulls-eye on your back.

      A guess for the individual, the closer one is to primary economics as opposed to tertiary economics and the more skilled one is at that position the better the survival rate. I suspect derivatives are a means to hide reality and take a skim not add value.

      Dennis L.

      • Very insightful post, thanks.

      • Xabier says:

        Very true: I was running over the possible economic ramifications this morning over coffee – horrifying.

        Like the German army at the end of WW2: they still had magnificent tanks, but ran out of ammunition and fuel rendering them nothing more than useless heaps of scrap metal. It could be same story with our agricultural machinery, etc.

        Still, no reason not to get those beans in. Jump ahead too many stages ahead and one will lose hope and fail t act appropriately on today’s task.

  8. Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

    https://www.cnbc.com/2020/02/24/coronavirus-live-updates-china-south-korea-cases.html

    “South Korea’s government raised the COVID-19 alert to its highest level after a recent implosion of confirmed infection cases, which took the country’s tally from 31 on Feb. 18 to 763 on Monday morning.”

    “implosion” is the wrong word…

    once upon a time, Hubei had only 31 cases…

    • Jason says:

      Finally starting to get accurate numbers. Look here and at Italy to see whats coming soon to a neighborhood near you.

  9. Covidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

    https://www.cnbc.com/2020/02/24/us-futures-coronavirus-outbreak.html

    “Dow set to drop more than 400 points at the open as coronavirus cases outside China surge”…

    perhaps it never will hit 30,000…

  10. Chrome Mags says:

    https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

    Get this! The official death number for today in China went up a whopping 989. More than twice as much as their official new cases number. No explanation so far for the dramatic one day increase.

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