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. Tango Oscar says:

    Nice summary. It looks like in your last article you seemed to think people were overreacting to the initial outbreak of this virus. Now it appears as if you’re more concerned and listing off the reasons it could hit harder than folks are expecting. Is that a correct assumption on my part and do you believe that this has the potential to get completely out of hand with what we already know?

    It appears as if China is under-reporting cases/deaths and because their medical systems are clearly overwhelmed; it’s also possible that they can’t help it. If they don’t have enough test kits and kits are inaccurate, how do we expect China to know how bad it is? According to WHO data pulled in from https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/ it appears as if the death rate is 12% of cases in an overwhelmed system. There could be more cases and the real death rate could be quite a bit higher or lower. Obviously you’re not going to have that death rate if cases are isolated and the patient receives great medical care. But if it really spreads so easily perhaps it’s already too late.

    I think this is moving into the realm of a 2007/2008 level of crisis, just from what’s happening with China. Now we have cases in Egypt, Iran, US, Japan, Singapore, S. Korea, Taiwan, and on cruise ships that could very easily infect tens of thousands of other people. They may already be infected and in the incubation period and we won’t find out for another 3 weeks. There’s no way everyone who is presently infected is accounted for, what with all sorts of people randomly disembarking on flight/ships in all directions at all hours of the day. Many other sustained transmission vectors are probably going on right now.

    I see airliners, cruise ship corporations, and all resource/commodities that go in/out of China as being massively impacted from this right now. That’s going to hit big banks in the next few quarters through loans and derivatives as well. More economies than China could collapse here. Iran for example is in bad shape and now they have infected there. How is that going to impact their oil exports, particularly when China is no longer taking their crude? Their economy is in a dangerous situation right now, as is anyone’s that’s overly reliant on China. The supply lines are holding for now in the US but with 25-35% of goods on Walmart/Target’s shelves being from China this could get pretty bad in another few months, especially if the cases keep growing exponentially.

    • I think that the situation is a lot worse than 2008-2009. I think that the situation definitely has a possibility of getting completely out of hand, simply from the damage it is doing to China. The problem is the rest of the world’s dependence on China.

      This is without even considering what the virus does to the rest of the world.

  2. Herbie R Ficklestein says:

    Coronavirus causes 85% plunge in Adidas business in China

    Jill PetzingerJill Petzinger, Germany Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
    Yahoo Finance UKFebruary 19, 2020, 6:06 AM EST

    he coronavirus outbreak has brought Adidas’ (ADS.DE) business activity in China to a near-halt.
    The world’s second largest sporting goods manufacturer said on Wednesday a significant number of its stores and partner stores were still shut down, and those that were open are suffering a big drop in customer traffic.
    As a result, business activity has plunged by around 85% since the Chinese New Year on 25 January from the same time the year before, Adidas said.
    “In view of the daily changing situation, the extent of the overall impact on our 2020 financial year cannot be reliably quantified at this time,” said Adidas.
    The company, headquartered in the Bavarian town of Herzogenaurach in Germany, is also seeing a drop in the numbers of customers visiting its stores in Japan and South Korea, but says it has so far not been able to quantify the impact of the virus outbreak on business activities outside of China.
    Adidas said it will update in more detail on the impact of coronavirus on sales and profit during its annual earnings report in March.
    Its German rival Puma (PUM.DE) said today that the virus outbreak could be expected to hurt sales and profits in the first quarter — half of its shops in China are temporarily closed — but that it was still expecting to hit its overall targets for 2020.
    Adidas and Puma are two on a long list of global brands, including Apple and Starbucks, that have had to shut all or most of their stores as the coronavirus outbreak rapidly spread across China from its epicenter in Wuhan city in Hubei province.
    Nike said last week that in the short term it expected the coronavirus situation “to have a material impact on our operations in Greater China,” but noted that its online business was still strong.
    As of today, the death toll from coronavirus stands at over 2,000. More than 75,000 people have been infected, all but around 1,000 of them in mainland China

    No need to panic just yet, we have it under control…really we do…..

    • Xabier says:

      When ever I feel panic rising, I just turn to those nice soothing ‘What is the coronavirus?’ articles in the MSM.

      They set my mind at rest perfectly,and I’m left wondering how I could ever have been troubled by this for even a moment.

      • Xabier says:

        What really, really worries me is Fake News: do you know how many minds it troubles and misinforms each year? Shocking! Wake me up when the coronavirus is as bad as that!

        • Dany says:

          ” Fake News” or regrettable error such as The WHO site cites 2 available vaccines that do not exist according to Pr Didier Raoult.

      • Harry McGibbs says:

        And don’t forget the stockmarkets, Xabier – they’re doing grrreat!

        “FTSE 100 index closed higher midweek as US stocks also headed north amid optimism over China and the coronavirus.”

        https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/913195/ftse-100-closes-firmly-in-green-as-potential-chinese-economic-moves-boost-sentiment-913195.html

        • Ano737 says:

          Yeah – financial markets appear to have completely decoupled from economic reality. It’s all about bailout expectations, stoked by CBs. The crazy thing is that it’s not irrational. As I recall, the JCB long ago started buying a Nikki ETF, so why wouldn’t other CBs? Plus, as you know, stocks are priced at the margin, so they wouldn’t even have to buy much. Of course, if they needed to they can create infinite fiat. So we can realistically have a true, honest to goodness, economic collapse while any asset markets CBs want to support can continue to reach record highs.

          What can I say, while the human frontal cortex is an amazing thing, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

          • Ano737 says:

            I should hasten to add that if panic selling ever ensues for whatever reason, CBs may not be able to buy fast enough to prevent a crash, especially considering that computers would be doing most of the selling automatically. So, buying in these times truly is like playing at a casino – just as Keynes lamented in the 1930s.

          • Chrome Mags says:

            “Yeah – financial markets appear to have completely decoupled from economic reality. It’s all about bailout expectations, stoked by CBs.”

            That’s it for sure. When a virus like this one has the opposite effect on Wall Street you know the CB’s are juicing it.

    • Robert Firth says:

      Herbie, please regard this message as in no way critical of your most informative post. But, even as I try to live with the possibility of a major pandemic, I am repeatedly shaken, alarmed, and demoralised by the many, many news articles that talk about supply chains, production, money, and, in sum, material things. Where moth and rust doth corrupt.

      No man’s bankruptcy diminishes my wallet, but every man’s death diminishes me. This crisis transcends our selfishness, our exploitative society, our global economy, our desire for wealth. I fear it will become a refiner’s fire; no, I trust it will become one, and purify us with the chastisement of Nature, or, if you will, of Nature’s God.

      Here on my Island, in retirement, with much time to reflect, this question remains: how, then, are we to live? And the same answer asserts itself: in fear and trembling, but yet in hope. If not for me, for those whom I love; for as the sundial in that English plague village reminded me: Ut umbra, sic vita.

      • Herbie R Ficklestein says:

        Robbie, thanks for your concern about my feelings. It’s OK, I’m gonna celebrate by BIRTHDAY in a couple of days reaching early retirement age of 62! How about them apples?

        Considering an early out and chill like yourself, even dropping doom sites like our
        past mascot here, Fast Eddie, and ignore the show.
        Found a nice spot here in Florida, which is ideal for an old man to putz around, play golf, fish, hike, camp and enjoy BAU until it falls off the cliff.
        Have a few items on my plate 😁 and really don’t expect much at my age.
        If I DON’T have a retirement….so what! Lived better than 99% of those ever did on the Earth.
        Like a Greek God…
        OK wishing myself a Happy Birthday!

        • Robert Firth says:

          Herbie, Happy Birthday. May you have many more, and may you enjoy them in good health and happiness.

          In just two months, I shall be 75; but, God willing, still healthy and happy. Let us enjoy whatever He gives us, and be thankful.

          In six short days, it will be Ash Wednesday, and a time for reflection, penitence, and renewal. Dominus tecum.

          • Herbie R Ficklestein says:

            Thank you! And you and I made it past the finish line and now for some Victory laps!

            Hope he kicks the can for a few more years!

  3. Herbie R Ficklestein says:

    Deutsche Bank: coronavirus may drag Germany into recession
    Jill PetzingerJill Petzinger, Germany Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
    Yahoo Finance UK12 February 2020, 07:23 GMT-5

    The coronavirus outbreak could cause the German economy to fall into recession this year, according to a study published by Deutsche Bank Research.

    “We expect the coronavirus to dampen gross domestic product by 0.2 percentage points in the first quarter, making a technical recession highly possible in the winter half-year,” the study says.

    The economists said that the coronavirus “poses a risk to the global recovery, as hopes rest on a recovery in the Chinese economy.”

    Germany’s export-driven economy is heavily reliant on China, its most important trading partner. Germany’s exporters already felt the effects of the cooling Chinese economy in 2019, and its car manufacturing industry is particularly vulnerable to any weakening demand from the enormous Chinese automotive market.

    Everything is a technicality…

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      Tbh Germany should already be in recession even without the novel coronavirus, given what’s been happening to their manufacturing and exports. Their 0.2% and 0% GDP growth figures for Q3 and Q4 2019 respectively are highly suspect.

      At least the virus gives them a rationale and a cover story for further bad news.

    • Coronavirus “May” drive Germany into recession. How about, “certainly will, if it isn’t there already.”

      • Chrome Mags says:

        Recession seems likely to begin just about everywhere. I’m wondering just how nuts CB’s are going to get trying to counter it. Powell already said they will aggressively combat any sign of recession, so it would seem the gloves will come off to do just about anything at all, but the dangers of doing that as the cliff edge comes into focus – oh my!

  4. Herbie R Ficklestein says:

    China is now cracking down on dirty money as it works to contain the coronavirus outbreak.
    On Friday, the Chinese government announced in a press release that banks can only release money back into the public after undergoing a disinfectant treatment intended to eliminate the coronavirus.
    The initiative specifies that cash withdrawn from hospitals and other high-risk areas be “specially treated and sealed separately.” Treatment may include high temperatures or an ultraviolet light to disinfect the currency, which must then be stored for no less than 14 days before going back on the market.
    According to the World Health Organization, it is unknown how long the coronavirus can survive on surfaces, though “preliminary information suggests the virus may survive a few hours or more.”
    “Simple disinfectants can kill the virus making it no longer possible to infect people,” says WHO, also noting the importance of thorough hand-washing

    https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/china-begins-disinfecting-cash-attempt-203232682.html

    Wash your money honey

    • Chrome Mags says:

      “On Friday, the Chinese government announced in a press release that banks can only release money back into the public after undergoing a disinfectant treatment intended to eliminate the coronavirus.”

      That’s good, but the trouble is once it’s changed hands a few times the chances of the virus getting on the money again makes it a risk to handle. My suggestion to the Chinese is wear disposable plastic gloves and put the paper money in a plastic bag. They’re wearing masks, so might as well go with gloves too.

      Just as an aside, for those that have worn masks before, a lot of moisture is exhaled from the lungs and they get wet on the inside. The trouble with that is moisture makes for a perfect breeding ground for bacteria and viruses. Unless it’s the type of mask that’s sealed on all sides, air will enter via the path of least resistance, which isn’t through the filter but along the edges. It’s even possible that unsealed masks present a greater risk than no mask.

      • Also, if they did work, people might have to spend months with the masks, gloves and other apparatus.

        In fact, I expect that they would need to look like the doctors in the intensive care facilities, with head to toe coverings.

        • Chrome Mags says:

          “In fact, I expect that they would need to look like the doctors in the intensive care facilities, with head to toe coverings.”

          I agree, but what a sight that would be, something out of a futuristic dystopian sci-fi movie. “Now we need everybody to learn the protocol of putting on your suits so they are hermetically sealed.”

  5. Ed says:

    My son, 36, spent six years in China. He has been back in the US fur years. He is still hacking his lungs up. Basically damaged for life.

    • Herbie R Ficklestein says:

      Beijing Cough!

      China did the West a big favor by importing our very polluting industries and being our work house….thank you!

    • doomphd says:

      i suspect that anyone exposed to diesel fuel fumes, burnt or unburnt, for prolonged periods has permanently damaged lungs. that includes a lot of work boats and research ships. i don’t go near them unless considered necessary. the smell is sickening. i think that’s your body sending a message to stay away.

      i’ve washed my clothes in the ship’s laundry after a cruise. after unpacking them at home, they still reek of diesel. back to the washer, and then airing out the suitcase. the fumes saturate everything.

      • Robert Firth says:

        doomphd, I sympathise. At one time, my job involved a lot of air travel, at a time when the back third of the cabin was filled with smokers. On arriving home, I would undress just outside our front door and pack my clothes into a big plastic bag, where they stayed until taken to the dry cleaners. A long shower got most of the pollution out of my hair, happily. One of the best things that happened to my generation is that smoking in public became unacceptable. Maybe the next generation will wage the same war against the public use of cellphones. And no, I would never set foot on a cruise ship, even if it had “Segeln Macht Frei” over the entrance.

  6. Yoshua says:

    The yuan is breaking down. The yen is breaking down. The euro is on the verge of breaking down.

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/ERJhivAXkAAONXh?format=jpg&name=large

  7. Country Joe says:

    The video in this post has a segment that addresses the problem of handling the bodies of the dead. It brought to mind the Chicago heat wave of 1995 when over 700 people died in Chicago. It was reported at the time that the coroner had to bring in nine refrigerated semi-vans to provide storage for the influx of bodies. This all stuck in my mind as I was driving truck at that time and went through Chicago on that July weekend at the peak of the heat and I was pulling a reefer-van.

    From the phone call segment with the operator of the crematorium, it appears that, whatever the true numbers of the dead are, it was overtaxing their system.

    In the book, THE GREAT INFLUENZA by John M. Barry, it states that “In 1918, the world population was 1.8 billion and the pandemic probably killed 50 to 100 million people, with the lowest credible modern estimate at 35 million. Today the world population is 7.6 billion. A comparable death toll today would range roughly 150 to 425 million.” https://www.amazon.com/Great-Influenza-Deadliest-Pandemic-History/dp/0143036491 Mr. Barry further states that “Although the influenza pandemic stretched over two years, perhaps two-thirds of the deaths occurred in a period of twenty-four weeks, and more than half of those deaths occurred in even less time, from mid-September to early December 1918.”

    In a previous post, Mr. Firth put forth 700,000-800,000 deaths as an estimate for Covid-19.
    If we round that to a million deaths and use one year as the period, we would see 2,739 deaths per day. If we estimate that the average weight of a body is 125 pounds then we have 342,465 pounds of cadavers per day. If we say that 45,000 pounds is a maximum load for a refrigerated semi-van, then we would have 7.6 semi-truckloads per day….. for a year.

    If we use a mid-range of Mr. Barry’s estimated 1918 death toll and use one year for the period, we would have 2,283 semi-truck loads of bodies per day.

    Just another aspect of our dilemma.

  8. Duncan Idaho says:

    1976 — US: Four recruits die at Fort Dix of a new flu virus which is a hybrid of Asian flu with one that causes flu-like illness in pigs (“swine flu”). Worries about an epidemic similar to the 1918-19 swine flu epidemic which affected 500,000 Americans. Big vaccination campaign started.

  9. Pingback: Corona virus gives us a chance to introduce basic income/service guarantee and more – Stephen Hinton Consulting

  10. We now have an update on the cruise ship coronavirus cases:
    https://www.cbsnews.com/live-updates/coronavirus-china-outbreak-death-toll-infections-latest-updates-2020-02-19/

    Japanese officials said another 79 cases were confirmed on the Diamond Princess cruise ship Wednesday, bringing the new total to 621. Wednesday marked the end of the two-week quarantine imposed on the vessel when it docked in Japan, and about 500 passengers who tested negative for the virus were allowed off the ship.

    I wonder how many of those 500 getting off the ship would text positive within two or three days.

    • Chrome Mags says:

      When I heard today about the 500 being allowed of the cruise ship I was dismayed. An arbitrary time period of two weeks for this virus is wishful thinking. I’m convinced now the virus is ‘out there’ to jump from one person to another, hop scotching across the planet like the flu or a cold. I don’t see it being contained, not even in Wuhan where they’ve tried hard. I think it’s because at some point people get worn down and have to go back to their lives to work or whatever, even if it means the virus makes the rounds. In other words people tried to stop it, but it ended up being too difficult.

    • Xabier says:

      Dr Iwata says that there was NO proper infection control on the ship, as it was run entirely by non-expert bureaucrats – and he fears that the medical staff may carry infection back to their communities and hospitals.

      • President Xi’s face mask looked very insubstantial to me in this photo of him visiting a hospital about February 9 or 10.

        This is not a P95 mask, for example. Some device is being used to clean his hands, it looks like. No gloves.

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