It is easy to overdo COVID-19 quarantines

We have learned historically that if we can isolate sick people, we can often keep a communicable disease from spreading. Unfortunately, the situation with the new coronavirus causing COVID-19 is different: We can’t reliability determine which people are spreading the disease. Furthermore, the disease seems to transmit in many different ways simultaneously.

Politicians and health organizations like to show that they are “doing something.” Because of the strange nature of COVID-19, however, doing something is mostly a time-shifting exercise: With quarantines and other containment efforts, there will be fewer cases now, but this will be mostly or entirely offset by more cases later. Whether time-shifting reduces deaths and eases hospital care depends upon whether medical advances are sufficiently great during the time gained to improve outcomes.

We tend to lose sight of the fact that an economy cannot simply be shut down for a period and then start up again at close to its former level of production. China seems to have seriously overdone its use of quarantines. It seems likely that its economy can never fully recover. The permanent loss of a significant part of China’s productive output seems likely to send the world economy into a tailspin, regardless of what other economies do.

Before undertaking containment efforts of any kind, decision-makers need to look carefully at several issues:

  • Laying off workers, even for a short time, severely adversely affects the economy.
  • The expected length of delay in cases made possible by quarantines is likely to be very short, sometimes lasting not much longer than the quarantines themselves.
  • We seem to need a very rapid improvement in our ability to treat COVID-19 cases for containment efforts to make sense, if we cannot stamp out the disease completely.

Because of these issues, it is very easy to overdo quarantines and other containment efforts.

In the sections below, I explain some parts of this problem.

[1] The aim of coronavirus quarantines is mostly to slow down the spread of the virus, not to stop its spread.

As a practical matter, it is virtually impossible to stop the spread of the new coronavirus.

In order to completely stop its spread, we would need to separate each person from every other person, as well as from possible animal carriers, for something like a month. In this way, people who are carriers for the disease or actually have the disease would hopefully have time to get over their illnesses. Perhaps airborne viruses would dissipate and viruses on solid surfaces would have time to deteriorate.

This clearly could not work. People would need to be separated from their children and pets. All businesses, including food sales, would have to stop. Electricity would likely stop, especially in areas where storms bring down power lines. No fuel would be available for vehicles of any kind. If a home catches fire, the fire would need to burn until a lack of material to burn stops it. If a baby needs to be delivered, there would be no midwife or hospital services available. If a person happened to have an appendicitis, it would simply need to resolve itself at home, however that worked out.

Bigger groups could in theory be quarantined together, but then the length of time for the quarantine would need to be greatly lengthened, to account for the possibility that one person might catch the disease from someone else in the group. The bigger the group, the longer the chain might continue. A group might be a single family sharing a home; it could also be a group of people in an apartment building that shares a common ventilation system.

[2] An economy is in many ways like a human being or other animal. Its operation cannot be stopped for a month or more, without bringing the economy to an end. 

I sometimes write about the economy being a self-organizing networked system that is powered by energy. In physics terms, the name for such a system is a dissipative structure. Human beings are dissipative structures, as are hurricanes and stars, such as the sun.

Human beings cannot stop eating and breathing for a month. They cannot have sleep apnea for an hour at a time, and function afterward.

Economies cannot stop functioning for a month and afterward resume operations at their previous level. Too many people will have lost their jobs; too many businesses will have failed in the meantime. If the closures continue for two or three months, the problem becomes very serious. We are probably kidding ourselves if we think that China can come back to the same level that it was at before the new coronavirus hit.

In a way, keeping an economy operating is as important as preventing deaths from COVID-19. Without food, water and wage-producing jobs (which allow people to buy necessary goods and services), the deaths from the loss of the economy would be far greater than the direct deaths from the coronavirus.

[3] A reasonable guess is that nearly all of us will face multiple exposures to the new coronavirus. 

Many people are hoping that this wave of the coronavirus will be stopped by warmer weather, perhaps in May or June. We don’t know whether this will happen or not. If the coronavirus does stop, there is a good chance the same virus, or a close variation of it, will be back again this fall. It is likely to come back in waves later, for at least one more year. In fact, if no vaccine is found, it is possible that it could come back, in various variations, indefinitely. There are many things we simply don’t know with certainty at this time.

Epidemiologists talk about the spread of a virus being stopped at the community immunity level. Harvard epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch originally estimated that 40% to 70% of the world’s population would come down with COVID-19 within the first year. He has revised this and now states that it is plausible that 20% to 60% of the world’s population will catch the disease in that timeframe. He also indicates that if the virus cannot be contained, the only way to get it under control is for 50% of the world’s population to become immune to it.

The big issue with containing the coronavirus is that we cannot really tell who has it and who does not. The tests available for COVID-19 are expensive, so giving the test to everyone, frequently, makes no sense. The tests tend to give a many false negatives, so even when they are given, they don’t necessarily detect people with the disease. There are also many people who seem to spread the disease without symptoms. Without testing everyone, these people will never be found.

We hear limited statements such as “The United States surgeon general said Sunday that he thinks the coronavirus outbreak is being contained in certain areas of the country as cases of the virus rise across the United States.” Unfortunately, containment of the virus in a few parts of the world does not solve the general problem. There are lots and lots of uncontained cases around the world. These uncontained cases will continue to spread, regardless of the steps taken elsewhere.

Furthermore, even when we think the virus is contained, there are likely to be missed cases, especially among people who seem to be well, but who really are carriers. Getting rid of the virus is likely to be a major challenge.

[4] There is an advantage to delaying citizens from catching COVID-19. The delay allows doctors to learn which existing medications can be used to help treat the symptoms of the disease.

There seem to be multiple drugs and multiple therapies that work to some limited extent.

For example, plasma containing antibodies from a person who has already had the illness can be injected into a person with the disease, helping to fight the disease. It is not clear, however, whether such a treatment will protect against future attacks of the virus since the patient is being cured without his own immune system producing adequate antibodies.

Some HIV drugs are being examined to see whether they work well enough for it to make sense to ramp up production of them. The antiviral drug remdesivir by Gilead Sciences also seems to have promise. For these drugs to be useful in fighting COVID-19, production would need to be ramped up greatly.

In theory, there is also a possibility that a vaccine can be brought to market that will get rid of the virus. Our past experience with vaccine-making has not been very good, however. Out of 200+ virus-caused diseases that affect humans, only about 20 have vaccines. These vaccines generally need to be updated frequently, because viruses tend to mutate over time.

With some viruses, such as Dengue Fever, people don’t ever build up adequate immunity to the many disease variations that exist. Instead a person who catches Dengue Fever a second time is likely to be sicker than the first time. Finding a vaccine for such diseases seems to be almost impossible.

Even if we can actually succeed in making a vaccine that works, the expectation seems to be that this will take at least 12 to 18 months. By this time, the world may have experienced multiple waves of COVID-19.

[5] There are multiple questions regarding how well European countries, Japan and the United States will really be able to treat coronavirus.

There are several issues involved:

(a) Even if medicines are identified, can they be ramped up adequately in the short time available?

(b) China’s exports have dropped significantly. Required medical goods that we normally import from China may not be available. The missing items could be as simple as rubbing alcohol, masks and other protective wear. The missing items could also be antibiotics, antidepressants, and blood pressure medications that are needed for both COVID-19 patients and other patients.

(c) Based on my calculations, the number of hospital beds and ICU beds needed will likely exceed those available (without kicking out other patients) by at least a factor of 10, if the size of the epidemic grows. There will also be a need for more medical staff. Medical staff may be fewer, rather than more, because many of them will be out sick with the virus. Because of these issues, the amount of hospital-based care that can actually be provided to COVID-19 patients is likely to be fairly limited.

(d) One reason for time-shifting of illnesses has been to try to better match illnesses with medical care available. The main benefit I can see is the fact that many health care workers will have contracted the illness in the first wave of the disease, so will be more available to give care in later waves of the disease. Apart from this difference, the system will be badly overwhelmed, regardless of when COVID-19 cases occur.

[6] A major issue, both with COVID-19 illnesses and with quarantines arising out of fear of illness, is wage loss

If schools and day care centers are closed because of COVID-19 fears, many of the parents will have to take off time from work to care for the children. These parent will likely lose wages.

Wage loss will also be a problem if quarantines are required for people returning from an area that might be affected. For example, immigrant workers in China wanting to return to work in major cities after the New Year’s holiday have been quarantined for 14 days after they return.

Clearly, expenses (such as rent, food and auto payments) will continue, both for the mother of the child who is at home because a child’s school is closed and for the migrant worker who wants to return to a job in the city. Their lack of wages will mean that these people will make fewer discretionary purchases, such as visiting restaurants and making trips to visit relatives. In fact, migrant workers, when faced with a 14 day quarantine, may decide to stay in the countryside. If they don’t earn very much in the best of times, and they are required to go 14 days without pay after they return, there may not be much incentive to return to work.

If I am correct that the illness COVID-19 will strike in several waves, these same people participating in quarantines will have another “opportunity” for wage loss when they actually contract the disease, during one of these later rounds. Unless there is a real reduction in the number of people who ultimately get COVID-19 because of quarantines, a person would expect that the total wage loss would be greater with quarantines than without, because the wage loss occurs twice instead of once.

Furthermore, businesses will suffer financially when their workers are out. With fewer working employees, businesses will likely be able to produce fewer finished goods and services than in the past. At the same time, their fixed expenses (such as mortgage payments, insurance payments, and the cost of heating buildings) will continue. This mismatch is likely to lead to lower profits at two different times: (a) when workers are out because of quarantines and (b) when they are out because they are ill.

[7] We likely can expect a great deal more COVID-19 around the world, including in China and in Italy, in the next two years.

The number of reported COVID-19 cases to date is tiny, compared to the number that is expected based on estimates by epidemiologists. China reports about 81,000 COVID-19 cases to date, while its population is roughly 1.4 billion. If epidemiologists tell us to expect 20% to 60% of a country’s population to be affected by the end of the first year of the epidemic, this would correspond to a range of 280 million to 840 million cases. The difference between reported cases and expected cases is huge. Reported cases to date are less than 0.01% of the population.

We know that China’s reported number of cases is an optimistically low number, but we don’t know how low. Many, many more cases are expected in the year ahead if workers go back to work. In fact, there have been recent reports of a COVID-19 outbreak in Shenzhen and Guangzhou, near Hong Kong. Such an outbreak would adversely affect China’s manufactured exports.

Italy has a similar situation. It is currently reported to have somewhat more than 10,000 cases. Its total population is about 60 million. Thus, its number of cases amounts to about 0.02% of the population. If Epidemiologist Lipsitch is correct regarding the percentage of the population that is ultimately likely to be affected, the number of cases in Italy, too, can be expected to be much higher within the next year. Twenty percent of a population of 60 million would amount to 12 million cases; 60% of the population would amount to 36 million cases.

[8] When decisions about quarantines are made, the expected wage loss when workers lose their jobs needs to be considered as well. 

Let’s calculate the amount of wage loss from actually having COVID-19. If workers generally work for 50 weeks a year and are out sick for an average of 2 weeks because of COVID-19, the average worker would lose 4% (=2/50) of his annual wages. If workers are out sick for an average of three weeks, this would increase the loss to 6% (3/50) of the worker’s annual wages.

Of course, not all workers will be affected by the new coronavirus. If we are expecting 20% to 60% of the workers to be out sick during the first year that the epidemic cycles through the economy, the expected overall wage loss for the population as a whole would amount to 0.8% (=20% times 4%) to 3.6% (=60% times 6%) of total wages.

Let’s now calculate the wage loss from a quarantine. A week of wage loss during a quarantine of the entire population, while nearly everyone is well, would lead to a wage loss equal to 2% of the population’s total wages. Two weeks of wage loss during quarantine would lead to wage loss equal to 4% of the population’s total wages.

Is it possible to reduce overall wage loss and deaths by using quarantines? This approach works for diseases which can actually be stopped through isolating sick members, but I don’t think it works well at all for COVID-19. Mostly, it provides a time-shifting feature. There are fewer illnesses earlier, but to a very significant extent, this is offset by more illnesses later.  This time-shifting feature might be helpful if there really is a substantial improvement in prevention or treatment that is quickly available. For example, if a vaccine that really works can be found quickly, such a vaccine might help prevent some of the illnesses and deaths in 2021 and following years.

If there really isn’t an improvement in preventing the disease, then we get back to the situation where the virus needs to be stopped based on community immunity. According to Lipsitch, to stop the virus based on community immunity, at least 50% of the population would need to become immune. This implies that somewhat more than 50% of the population would need to catch the new coronavirus, because some people would catch the new virus and die, either of COVID-19 or of another disease.

Let’s suppose that 55% would need to catch COVID-19 to allow the population immunity to rise to 50%. The virus would likely need to keep cycling around until at least this percentage of the population has caught the disease. This is not much of a decrease from the upper limit of 60% during the first year. This suggests that moving illnesses to a later year may not help much at all with respect to the expected number of illnesses and deaths. Hospitals will be practically equally overwhelmed regardless, unless we can somehow change the typical seasonality of viruses and move some of the winter illnesses to summertime.

If there is no improvement in COVID-19 prevention/treatment during the time-shift of cases created by the quarantine, any quarantine wage loss can be thought of as being simply in addition to wage loss from having the virus itself. Thus, a country that opts for a two week quarantine of all workers (costing 4% of workers’ wages) may be more than doubling the direct wage loss from COVID-19 (equivalent to 0.8% to 3.6% of workers’ wages).

[9] China’s shutdown in response to COVID-19 doesn’t seem to make much rational sense.

It is hard to understand exactly how much China has shut down, but the shutdown has gone on for about six weeks. At this point, it is not clear that China can ever come back to the level it was at previously. Clearly, the combination of wage loss for individuals and profit loss for companies is very high. The long shutdown is likely to lead to widespread debt defaults. With less wages, there is likely to be less demand for goods such as cars and cell phones during 2020.

China was having difficulty before the new coronavirus was discovered to be a problem. Its energy production has slowed greatly, starting about 2012-2013, making it necessary for China to start shifting from a goods-producing nation to a country that is more of a services-producer (Figure 1).

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.

 

For example, China’s workers now put together iPhones using parts made in other countries, rather than making iPhones from start to finish. This part of the production chain requires relatively little fuel, so it is in some sense more like a service than the manufacturing of parts for the phone.

The rest of the world has been depending upon China to be a major supplier within its supply lines. Perhaps many of these supply lines will be broken indefinitely. Instead of China helping pull the world economy along faster, we may be faced with a situation in which China’s reduced output leads to worldwide economic contraction rather than economic growth.

Without medicines from China, our ability to fight COVID-19 may get worse over time, rather than better. In such a case, it would be better to get the illness now, rather than later.

[10] We need to be examining proposed solutions closely, in the light of the particulars of the new coronavirus, rather than simply assuming that fighting COVID-19 to the death is appropriate.

The instructions we hear today seem to suggest using disinfectants everywhere, to try to prevent COVID-19. This is yet another way to try to push off infections caused by the coronavirus into the future. We know, however, that there are good microbes as well as bad ones. The ecosystem requires a balance of microbes. Dumping disinfectants everywhere has its downside, as well as the possibility of an upside of killing the current round of coronaviruses. In fact, to the extent that the virus is airborne, the disinfectants may not really be very helpful in wiping out COVID-19.

It is very easy to believe that if some diseases can be subdued by quarantines, the same approach will work everywhere. This really isn’t true. We need to be examining the current situation closely, based on whatever information is available, before decisions are made regarding how to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak. Perhaps any quarantines used need to be small and targeted.

We also need to be looking for new approaches for fighting COVID-19. One approach that is not being used significantly to date is trying to strengthen people’s own immune systems. Such an approach might help people’s own immune system to fight off the disease, thereby lowering death rates. Nutrition experts recommend supplementing diets with Vitamins A, C, E, antioxidants and selenium. Other experts say zinc, Vitamin D and elderberry may be helpful. Staying away from cold temperatures also seems to be important. Drinking plenty of water after coming down with the disease may be beneficial as well. If we can help people’s own bodies fight the disease, the burden on the medical system will be lower.

 

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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4,403 Responses to It is easy to overdo COVID-19 quarantines

  1. 09876 says:

    2 Trillion stimulus would cut every adult a check for $1000 for ten months (USA) but every state city and corp has to get their cut so it is spent in one huge chunk. DC creatures fighting over the food in the trough what they do best. And next month? And the next? And the next?

    Change is coming.

  2. JMS says:

    At last, the definite proof the earth is flat! Brasilian genius demonstrates it with a simple technique of his own devise. Everyone can try it at home, as long you live by the sea of course.

    (sorry, I couldn’t resist. Too funny)

    • Bei Dawei says:

      3 proofs the earth is flat:

      1. Well it looks flat
      2. 4 out of 5 religions agree (depending on how you interpret their ancient holy books)
      3, Research it for yourself on YouTube!

  3. Yoshua says:

    “Italy: fines up to 3000€ for anyone found outside their home without valid reason, up to 6 years of prison if caught lying, 5 years if positive and breaking quarantine.”

    Police and military are patroling the streets. Soon coming to a town near you.

    • Dennis L. says:

      Three thoughts:
      1. Aren’t the Italians releasing prisoners?
      2. If the person doesn’t have a job, how do they collect?
      3. If they are positive and are placed in prison, see point 1.

      There are so many people who have been doing policy for so long that they assume a piece of paper is the same as reality. It’s not going to work anymore.

      Dennis L.

  4. Versling says:

    Thank goodness I’m seeing recent comments here from you, Gail.

    Hope you’re doing well.

    • I am doing fine. I am a Baby Boomer, so am not young. But otherwise, I can’t see that I have any of the risk factors for a severe case of COVID-19. I am not overweight; I don’t have high blood pressure (and I don’t take meds to keep it down), I don’t have heart disease, I have never smoked or worked in an occupation that would damage my lungs. Needless to say, I am female, as well.

  5. 09876 says:

    Critical retail shops that are allowed to stay open in Colorado are gun shops and retail recreational marijuana. USA USA USA

  6. Herbie R Ficklestein says:

    these CEOs are all stepping down simultaneously, and right around the time of this “pandemic” This list is amazing….

    Dennis Muilenburg — Boeing
    Kraft Heinz — Bernardo Hees
    Warner Bros. — Kevin Tsujihara
    WeWork- Adam Neumann
    Nike — Mark Parker
    Disney- Bob Iger
    Alphabet (Google)— Larry Page
    HP — Dion Weisler
    eBay — Devin Wenig
    New York Post — Jesse Angelo
    Colgate-Palmolive — Ian Cook
    Juul — Kevin Burns
    MetLife — Steven Kandarian
    Guess — Victor Herrero
    Rite Aid — John Standley
    Steph Korey — Away
    UnitedHealthcare — Steve Nelson
    PG&E — Geisha Williams
    Best Buy — Hubert Joly
    Burlington Stores — Tom Kingsbury
    Mozilla — Chris Beard
    Mattress Firm — Steve Stagner
    Bed, Bath & Beyond — Steven Temares
    Boingo Wireless — Dave Hagan
    Susan Desmond-Hellmann — Gates Foundation
    REI — Jerry Stritzke
    United Airlines — Oscar Munoz

    • Wow! Let someone else take care of this mess!

    • Sven Røgeberg says:

      Interesting! Do you have a link?

    • Fast Eddy says:

      … and rushing to their doomsday bunkers.

      • Tim Groves says:

        This Other Eden, the 1993 novel by by Ben Elton, is another book to consider reading while self-isolating during the lockdown. It has lots of laughs and I think it captures the mood of these times.

        The novel is set in the reasonably near future. Earth is being devastated by mankind’s continued exploitation, and it seems obvious that the environment will collapse sometime in the near future. Rather than adopt a more eco-friendly approach to life, most people have instead invested in a “claustrosphere”, a dome-shaped habitat in which all water, food and air is endlessly recycled in a completely closed environment. A person can therefore survive indefinitely within a claustrosphere no matter what ecological horrors may happen outside.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/This_Other_Eden_(novel)

        • Chloroquineinamonthorayearoradecade says:

          “… endlessly recycled in a completely closed environment. A person can therefore survive indefinitely…”

          sure, it also never needs repair or maintenance…

          and of course, energy will always be available to power such a system…

          I’m sure you already thought of that…

    • This is still pretty low resumption:

      The deputy minister of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, Zhang Kejian, said on Wednesday that only 30 per cent of China’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) had resumed work – a rate much lower than for state enterprises.

      I posted a link elsewhere to a WSJ article commenting on the restart of China’s business. China Is Open for Business, but the Postcoronavirus Reboot Looks Slow and Rocky Factories are back, stores are opening, but demand has crashed as buyers wait for the pandemic to end

      People’s finances are in such bad shape that spending (a.k.a “demand”) is way down.

  7. Harry McGibbs says:

    “On Wednesday the Dallas branch of the Federal Reserve released its survey of conditions in the oil and gas sector, and included anonymous quotes from industry execs.

    ““We are now expecting an almost total stop in business,” wrote one. “My outlook on the domestic oil and gas industry has never been bleaker,” from another. The expectation is for a “bloodbath at most firms.””

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.forbes.com/sites/christopherhelman/2020/03/26/oil-headed-to-10-a-barrel-as-virus-lockdown-eradicates-fuel-demand/amp/

    • Tango Oscar says:

      Looks like the beginning of the end for oil. They’re gonna seal off wells, drop production, and lay everybody off. If the economy ever does pickup and we get past the Coronavirus, which seems unlikely as of the moment, there won’t be enough oil to juice the economy back up to where it was a couple of months ago. Seems war is likely as well involving any number of players like SA, the US, Russia, and China.

    • That will be interesting to observe as I stated any possible further drop in oil price will be resisted by ETFs, which have been fully pumped up for that reason now by CBs..
      The sequencing of past events tells us somehow – someone – somewhere wrongly discounted the OPEC+ oddball scenario of total war in the overall econ CB support model, hence they are now much more refocused on providing a floor for the the oil price.

      I could be wrong though, however I guess I’m not, it’s not going to be as hard vertical crash as the first leg of the downward slope so far.. Perhaps to mid upper teens for a brief moment if ever. Btw, yes my hat is tasty – I’m already looking for some mayonnaise.

      • John Doyle says:

        Yes, that’s another black swan. In 1974 the first oil crisis led [In Italy and elsewhere] to cars only able to drive on alternative days. This unexpectedly led to a glut of gasoline, and storage facilities couldn’t cope So they had to abandon the strategy. Petroleum was still needed to provide the other fractions for industry, so they couldn’t just stop production of gasoline.
        Today at least the industry requirements are down as well and stores and refineries can cut back production [that will have its own issues] One would think reserves could be filled in the meantime.

        Australia is really close to a big problem with only 23 days worth of reserves. Yet I’ve seen no mention of remedying it. If Shipping stopped, we would be cactus, a whole continent adrift without power. [We area also closing down coal fired power stations, just to make the point even sharper.}

    • “Perhaps worst of all—shutting in oil wells can cause permanent damage to reservoir rock and make it impossible to regain previous output levels later, leading to significant capital impairment. As a result, when the world returns to normal we may find there’s not enough oil ready to come back on line.”

      Wow, did not know that.

  8. Herbie R Ficklestein says:

    Oil’s 60% Crash Is the Tip of an Iceberg. The Reality Is Worse
    Alex Longley and Javier Blas
    BloombergMarch 25, 2020, 8:31 AM EDT
    https://finance.yahoo.com/news/oil-60-crash-tip-iceberg-060000437.html
    (Bloomberg) — As oil crashes due to the impact of the coronavirus, it’s easy to overlook an even more dismal reality for producers: the real prices they’re getting for their barrels are worse still.
    Having collapsed by about 60% this year, Brent and West Texas Intermediate crude have stabilized at around $25 a barrel, but the price rout is far deeper for actual cargoes, which are changing hands at large and widening discounts to the global benchmarks. The discounts mean that in the physical market, some crude streams are trading at $15, $10 and even as little as $8 a barrel.
    “The physical market is in pain, and there is more pain to come,” said Torbjorn Tornqvist, the co-founder of Gunvor Group Ltd., a large trading house. “We will see the full weight of the oversupply in a couple of weeks
    ….“Up to now the sharp market imbalances have mostly existed as a spreadsheet exercise,” Roger Diwan, an oil analyst at consultant IHS Markit Ltd. told clients in a note. “In the next two to three weeks, we will see those physical imbalances manifest in physical markets
    “Up to now the sharp market imbalances have mostly existed as a spreadsheet exercise,” Roger Diwan, an oil analyst at consultant IHS Markit Ltd. told clients in a note. “In the next two to three weeks, we will see those physical imbalances manifest in physical markets

    Man, Trump and Company will manage it as he did in other financial shortcomings.. bankruptcy

    • Chloroquineinamonthorayearoradecade says:

      plenty of oil to fill the SPR…

      it may never be needed, but it will be full to the brim…

  9. Jarle says:

    Norway, our second biggest hospital, intensive care unit:

    Number of people with influenza: 4.
    Number of people with Covid-19: 4.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Are you suggesting the Wuhan Virus Crisis is fake?

      • Jarle says:

        I don’t know, the numbers above is just facts from a doctor at the unit and a colleague of my wife.

        • Jarle says:

          *doctor at the unit/colleague of my wife*

        • Fast Eddy says:

          Since he seems to not be busy, he might volunteer at an ICU in Italy.

          • Jarle says:

            I presented facts. Do you *know* what’s going on in Italy?

            • Chloroquineinamonthorayearoradecade says:

              surely cases in Norway are doubling every week, as they are almost everywhere else…

              do you *know* what’s going on in Norway?

              the real spread is always higher in cases and farther in distance than the reported numbers… and that is a fact…

            • Chloroquineinamonthorayearoradecade says:

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

              Norway 3,346 cases, up 262 in one day…

              only about 10% up daily… no worries…

              14 deaths and 6 recovered…

              isn’t that just like the flu… only 70% die? (sarc)…

              and 70 more cases in the serious/critical category…

              is that fact or fiction?

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Well… I have not been to Italy lately… but I picked up this message which was monitored out of the Death Zone…. it’s nearly 3 weeks old… it could be fake… just like your mate’s wife’s report could be fake…. who knows….

              This could be taking place on a Hollywood set…

              But somehow I do believe these are real…. otherwise why shut down the entire country?

          • I would think that the problem is at least partly the poor condition of people’s lungs in Northern Italy. This was part of the problem in Wuhan, I expect, also.

          • Tim Groves says:

            I learned from Ugo that Northern Italy between the Alps and the Apennines has the worst air pollution in Europe. That was new to me.

            Other possible cofactors include a high percentage of smokers, an aging population, lots of immigrants from Africa and the Middle East infected with TB, lots of immigrants from Wuhan working in the dark satanic mills, chronically low levels of vitamin D.

            Even without the novel coronavirus, Italy has plenty of deaths from pneumonia and other lung-related maladies every year. As for flu, one study estimated about 6 million cases each year and more than 68,000 deaths attributable to flu epidemics over the 4-year study period, and that Italy showed a higher influenza attributable excess mortality compared to other European countries. especially in the elderly.

            We estimated excess deaths of 7,027, 20,259, 15,801 and 24,981 attributable to influenza epidemics in the 2013/14, 2014/15, 2015/16 and 2016/17, respectively, using the Goldstein index. The average annual mortality excess rate per 100,000 ranged from 11.6 to 41.2 with most of the influenza-associated deaths per year registered among the elderly.

            Over 68,000 deaths were attributable to influenza epidemics in the study period. The observed excess of deaths is not completely unexpected, given the high number of fragile very old subjects living in Italy. In conclusion, the unpredictability of the influenza virus continues to present a major challenge to health professionals and policy makers.

            The authors end their conclusion with a plug for vaccination. Nonetheless, vaccination remains the most effective means for reducing the burden of influenza, and efforts to increase vaccine coverage and the introduction of new vaccine strategies (such as vaccinating healthy children) should be considered to reduce the influenza attributable excess mortality experienced in Italy and in Europe in the last seasons.

            https://www.ijidonline.com/article/S1201-9712(19)30328-5/fulltext

            • Robert Firth says:

              Perhaps the authors should have written that the best way to reduce the deaths from influenza was to stop polluting the environment. But that would have put at risk their grant renewal, I suppose.

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