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  • COVID-19 Update Morning 2-14-2020

    Posted by Trent Telenko on February 14th, 2020 (All posts by )

    There are currently 65,213 confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide, including 1,486 fatalities. Of which 4,823 new cases and 116 new deaths were reported in Hubei province, China.
    There are several trends in this update, as well as the headline summary. First Community spreading of COVID-19 is now established in Hong Kong (attached graphic), Japan and Singapore.
    COVID-19 in Hong Kong

    COVID-19 in Hong Kong

    Second, the shut down of China as an economic power seems near complete. See the JP Morgan coal for electricity usage and the Goldman Sachs economic projection charts attached to this post. The JP Morgan chart shows that while traditionally daily coal consumption – the primary commodity used to keep China electrified – rebounds in the days following the Lunar New Year collapse when China hibernates for one week. This is not the case this now. There hasn’t been even a modest increase, indicating that so far there hasn’t been a return to work.
    2020 Chinese Coal/Electrical Consumption

    2020 Chinese Coal/Electrical Consumption

    Short Form — Lack of Chinese coal use/electric power generation indicates the scale of Chinese industries that are shut down…AKA near total.
    And the “Just-In-Time/Sole-Source in China” world-wide, Multi-national corporation, economic shut down virus is gathering a huge economic momentum. Nissan has shut down auto production in addition to South Korea’s Hyundai for lack of Chinese parts. Rumor has it that Ford has the same issue — as their heater coils in their autos are sole sourced in China — and will soon shut down auto production.  Anything cheap or disposable in the world economy is sourced in China, and the Chinese economy is now off-line for the foreseeable future.
    Near Term Economic Projections for China

    Near Term Economic Projections for China

    Third, China is again playing games with COVID-19 numbers and particularly the announced deaths to keep the death rate at 2.1%, saying deaths were “double counted”?!? (See JP Morgan graphic).
    Dodgy Chinese COVID-19 Infection Numbers

    Dodgy Chinese COVID-19 Infection Numbers

     This has been ‘officially noticed’ by the White House.
    White House does not have ‘high confidence’ in China’s coronavirus information, official says
    Fourth, American COVID-19 are now officially 15 with a case in San Antonio, Texas from a Wuhan evacuation flight and no deaths. I say “officially” as there possible COVID-19 death in Boise, ID. See:
    The possible COVID-19 victim was a 71-year-old man found dead on Feb 9 in an advanced state of decomposition. He returned from China Feb 5. The initial testing came up negative, but additional tests are being run. The cause of death has not been released.
    An idea of what “Community spreading” in Singapore means can be seen in the following report:
    “Singapore Casino employee confirmed with COVID-19; symptomatic Feb 5, hospitalized Feb 9
    On February 13, 2020, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) pointed out that the confirmed case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Singapore announced on February 11 is an employee at the casino in Resorts World Sentosa Casino. The employee developed symptoms on February 5 and was hospitalized in isolation on February 9. Travelers who visited the casino during the communicable period (February 4-9) are advised to call 1922, put on a face mask and seek immediate medical attention as instructed if suspected symptoms develop within 2 weeks. Moreover, such travelers should inform the physician of any relevant travel history when seeking medical attention.”


    World Headline Summary:
    o China says 1,716 medical workers have been infected
    o Singapore reports largest daily jump in cases amid increased human-to-human transmission
    o Hong Kong reports 3 new cases
    o Hubei’s new party boss orders quarantine tightened
    o President Xi touts new “biosecurity law”
    o Hong Kong Disney land offers space for quarantine
    o Chinese company says blood plasma of recovered patients useful in combating the virus
    o US mulling new travel restrictions



    59 Responses to “COVID-19 Update Morning 2-14-2020”

    1. Trent Telenko Says:

      Supporting link:

      Coronavirus can be spread by people who don’t show symptoms, CDC warns
      By Jackie SaloFebruary 13, 2020

      “”Coronavirus can be spread through people who aren’t exhibiting symptoms of the illness, the director of the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention said Thursday.

      Dr. Robert Redfield confirmed reports out of China that the virus can spread when the person is still asymptomatic, according to CNN.

      “There’s been good communication with our colleagues to confirm asymptomatic infection, to confirm asymptomatic transmission, to be able to get a better handle on the clinical spectrum of illness in China,” Redfield told the outlet.””

    2. Trent Telenko Says:

      Useful video link:

      Is The Coronavirus Now Unstoppable? New Data Suggests So
      Peak Prosperity

    3. Trent Telenko Says:

      This is a very useful COVID-19 live thread:

      Coronavirus Live Thread 2/13-2/14
      Posted on 2/13/2020,;page=1#1

    4. Trent Telenko Says:

      This is another useful video.

      China: More than 1,700 healthcare workers have been diagnosed so far and six have died.

    5. Trent Telenko Says:

      From the Free Republic thread:

      NEW: Japan reports 4 new cases of coronavirus, including one who came back from Hawaii and another who transferred a patient from the cruise ship – NHK

    6. Trent Telenko Says:

      Also from the Free Republic thread:

      Cold storage warehouses in Tianjin and Shanghai ports — two of the world’s busiest ports — are “full”, according to the Maritime Bureau of China’s Ministry of Transport, and shipping companies are advised to send goods to alternative ports.

      According to a Feb 12 announcement, shipping companies docking at Shanghai port may face congestion fees or be re-routed to other ports in China.

      “Cold storage capacity at Shanghai port is currently full,” said the notice, which was shared with Undercurrent News by an industry source in China. “Valued customers abroad who have not yet sent goods, for the time being, do not send goods to Shanghai port.”

      A separate announcement said cold storage in Tianjin port is also full.
      Shipping companies are advised to send containers to ports in Shekou, Ningbo, Taican or elsewhere. The advice is “effective until, tentatively, Feb. 28”, said the first announcement.

    7. Brian Says:

      Every single thing China has said from day 1 has been a lie. And anyone who wasn’t being deliberately blind has always known it. It’s completely infuriating.

      If I was President, I’d send in some intelligence agents (do we still have those, or are they all harassing random low-level affiliates of the Trump campaign?) to go into Wuhan, into one of the locked-up high rises, and try to find out how many corpses are in there vs. how many living residents. I sure hope something like that has been done.

    8. Gavin Longmuir Says:

      But, but, but, but …. All the really smart people — the ones credentialed from Ivy League schools and their wannabes — assured us that “Free Trade” was the route to human happiness and wealth. There was no downside in offshoring ~60,000 factories to China, because the unemployed workers in the US would be able to buy cheap stuff.

      Epidemics have been part of the human condition since the beginning — just like earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, and droughts. We can sympathize with the poor Chinese who are suffering from this outbreak, but we should be extremely critical of the stupidity & short-sightedness of our Political Class who have left us in a very poor condition to respond to the inevitable. They have blood on their hands.

    9. Gavin Longmuir Says:

      A related thought, while we are getting concerned about the potential for Western production shutting down due to the interruption in components coming from China — what about the interruptions to the food supply within China? The Chinese reduction in energy use also implies that the supply chain which keeps their food stores stocked may also face problems.

      As we all know, China has become increasingly urbanized, with a large proportion of people dependent on “Just In Time” food deliveries from the countryside and imports. An acquaintance in China reports that Walmart and other supermarkets still have food stocks, but range & quality are declining while prices are rising. The street vendors selling “farmers’ market” type produce (normally the best place for price & quality) have mostly disappeared.

    10. Brian Says:

      In a movie these things move so fast, like within 30 minutes half the population of the world is dead.

      We have to live at normal speed.

      But it is so mind-boggling to watch this train wreck unfolding and no one seeming to do anything about it.

    11. Trent Telenko Says:

      Steve Bannon has a number of very good podcasts on the COVID-19 Pandemic here:

    12. Trent Telenko Says:

      CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield

      “We don’t know a lot about this virus,” Redfield told CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta. “This virus is probably with us beyond this season, beyond this year, and I think eventually the virus will find a foothold and we will get community-based transmission.”


      “There’s been good communication with our colleagues to confirm asymptomatic infection, to confirm asymptomatic transmission, to be able to get a better handle on the clinical spectrum of illness in China. What we don’t know though is how much of the asymptomatic cases are driving transmission,” said Redfield.

      “What I’ve learned in the last two weeks is that the spectrum of this illness is much broader than was originally presented. There’s much more asymptomatic illness,” he added. “A number of the confirmed cases that we confirmed actually just presented with a little sore throat.”

    13. Trent Telenko Says:

      This is Singapore’s health update tracing community spread there.

      Two more confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection have been discharged from hospital today (Cases 30 and 45). In all, 17 have fully recovered from the infection and have been discharged from hospital.

      2. As of 14 February 2020, 12pm, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has confirmed and verified nine additional cases of COVID-19 infection in Singapore. Of these, six are linked to the cluster at Grace Assembly of God and one is linked to a previous case. Contact tracing of the other two cases is underway to establish any links to previous cases or travel history to China.

      Links between previous cases found

      3. Further epidemiological investigations and contact tracing have uncovered links between previously announced and new cases. This was made possible with the assistance of the Singapore Police Force.

      Cases 8 and 9, as well as Cases 31, 33 and 38, are linked to The Life Church and Missions Singapore (146B Paya Lebar Road). This is a possible cluster involving five cases (Cases 8, 9, 31, 33 and 38).

      Nine of the confirmed cases (Cases 19, 20, 21, 24, 25, 27, 28, 34 and 40) are linked to the cluster associated with Yong Thai Hang (24 Cavan Road).

      Three of the confirmed cases (Cases 30, 36 and 39) are linked to the private business meeting held at Grand Hyatt Singapore from 20 to 22 January.

      Four of the confirmed cases (Cases 42, 47, 52 and 56) are linked to the Seletar Aerospace Heights construction site.

      Thirteen of the confirmed cases (Cases 48, 49, 51, 53, 54, 57 and 58, 60, 61, 62, 63, 66, 67) are linked to the Grace Assembly of God.
      Investigations on these clusters are ongoing.

      4. Contact tracing is underway for the other nine locally transmitted cases to establish any links to previous cases or travel history to mainland China. Case 44 was a contact of Cases 13 and 26. Case 65 is linked to Cases 50 and 55.

    14. MCS Says:

      I don’t think that there was ever any chance that this wouldn’t get out. An airborne pathogen that originated in a large, dense and mobile population with a short period from exposure to contagion, a much longer period from infection to symptoms and initial symptoms that are mild and difficult to tell from common illnesses; it couldn’t have been designed to spread better. As I said in the other thread, if this is actually a weapon it seems more likely to be one aimed at China then something that escaped.

      Corona viruses are apparently rather fragile outside their host. The response so far may have delayed its emergence into the world at large long enough that it will fizzle out as the weather improves and the environment becomes less friendly to spreading.

      With any information out of China accuracy may occur by accident but the smart person should simply assume it’s a deliberate lie by the government. I’m convinced that the obfuscation of bad news and outrageous exaggeration of good news is so ingrained at all levels that the Beijing government is flying blind. I don’t think it really makes a difference in this case because I don’t think there was ever a chance that the Chinese government could contain this and likely didn’t know the truth soon enough to have delivered an actionable warning to the rest of us if they had wanted to. I know that there are people in China that realize how this cripples their development, you can see hints that there is some progress in odd corners but the country as a whole remains unmoved.

    15. Trent Telenko Says:



      >>Corona viruses are apparently rather fragile outside their host. The response so far may have delayed its emergence into the world at large long enough that it will fizzle out as the weather improves and the environment becomes less friendly to spreading.

      Is not the case with COVID-19.

      It has been surviving on dry surfaces indoors for up to 9 days.

      Any public bathroom in a COVID-19 “Hot Zone” should be considered contaminated unless it has been bleach sprayed and hit with 15 minutes of UV light.

      This, BTW, makes the Chinese quarantine “hospitals” into exposure hospice as everyone who uses the rest rooms in them will be exposed to extremely high COVID-19 viral loading exposure from aerosolized human wastes from flush toilets in good ones or simply the sweat on the seats and door handles.

    16. Brian Says:

      “I don’t think that there was ever any chance that this wouldn’t get out.”
      Probably not, this being 2020, and a globalized world, but certainly far more needed to have been done in the last 3 weeks to prepare people, and to prepare the health care system. I don’t think world governments trust their people not to panic, though. And now we have the inevitable breakout and nothing has been done, and it’s going to be awful, as anyone with a fever in a big city is going to rush to the hospital, and everyone else is going to treat them like lepers. (To say nothing of the likelihood that the death rate is far, far higher than they’ve been telling us.)

      “I don’t think there was ever a chance that the Chinese government could contain this and likely didn’t know the truth soon enough to have delivered an actionable warning to the rest of us if they had wanted to”
      BS. Their reactions from Day 1 showed that either the outbreak was far, far worse than they were saying, OR they knew it was going to be. Hopefully it’s “only” the former, because the obvious implication of the latter is that the escaped engineered/weaponized virus theory is true.

      “the Chinese quarantine “hospitals” into exposure hospice”
      Yes, those things aren’t hospitals. Hospice is the nice way to say it. They’re just death camps.

      The media has started to wake up these last few days:
      “Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health professor Marc Lipsitch told the Wall Street Journal this week that “it is likely we’ll see a global pandemic” of the coronavirus with up to 70 percent of people infected worldwide. “I think it is likely we’ll see a global pandemic,” Lipsitch claimed, adding that “If a pandemic happens, 40% to 70% of people world-wide are likely to be infected in the coming year.””
      7.7 billion people * 55% infected * 2% death rate = 85 million dead
      And I don’t think there’s any reason at all to believe that 2% number.

    17. Brian Says:

      A thread from the Harvard prof guy quoted above:
      He says that formula isn’t right because the 2% death rate is for those who become symptomatic, which is only a small fraction of those infected. That being said, all we can do now is see what happens. People have been saying for a month that this is “not as bad as the flu” and sounding convincing while China responds as if it’s the end of the world.

    18. Kirk Says:

      Chinese reaction to this was always out of proportion to what they were saying publicly. This, in itself, is a clue as to the severity of it all.

      It is also another marker showing what bad information and secrecy can do to you and your civilization. China is never going to attain its ambitions so long as information does not flow freely and truthfully throughout their system. The elites of China opted for control and coercion; reality does not tolerate or reward that. Had they allowed free circulation of information and correct reaction to that information, instead of trying to conceal and hide things, China and the world would be much better off. Instead, we’re about to experience a practical lesson in why you don’t lie and why you don’t try to stamp out the transmission of information. The entirety of mainland China is an excellent lesson which will demonstrate all of this, as this disaster unfolds. The COVID-19 issue is merely a prelude, a trigger–What follows after all the other lies necessarily become exposed because of it will dwarf this early precursor. The bad bank loans, the ghost cities, the fraudulent industrial supply chains, and all the rest? That’s going to come unraveled, and where it ends is probably the utter wreckage of the Potemkin Village we know as modern mainland China.

      When your system is based on lying, it cannot stand. Chinese information flow is inherently inaccurate, inherently fraudulent, and you simply cannot manage a modern economy like that. It’s going to wreck everything, and even if the lethality rate of COVID-19 is lower than worst-case, all the dislocation and other things flowing out of the quarantine are going to wreak havoc on the Chinese.

      I don’t wish any of them ill, but they’ve been writing checks on Hubris, and Nemesis is here to collect the bills.

    19. momnotmom Says:

      I guess the best we can hope for now is to keep outbreaks in the US strictly localized thru aggressive vetting of existing patients and of people returning to the US (and all of the hassles associated with that), and in the meantime we get a vaccine developed and distributed in the next 18-24 months. Given that timeframe I’m not sure how feasible this scenario is; seems like a looonnng time to stay on top of things without any major slip-ups.

      Just reading now first confirmed case in Africa- Egypt, to be exact.

    20. Tom Holsinger Says:

      Brian, a 2% fatality rate of those exposed, when 80% of those exposed aren’t counted, is really a 0.4% death rate.

      Also note this point in a Washington Post article on differences between Xi’s Disease in the US and China, especially the last paragraph:

      “It could be that some people have an immune response that results in severe illness and some people don’t,” Nuzzo said. “It is common . . . in coronaviruses that there is a spectrum of illness.”

      At a presentation on the disease hosted Tuesday by the Aspen Institute in Washington, Nancy Messonnier, an official with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, noted that only a few of the 14 U.S. patients required oxygen during convalescence.

      “All the patients in the U.S. haven’t required tons of excessive care and actually, right now, they’re actually all improving,” said Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. “Based on the U.S. experience, and based on the experience of other countries outside China, a lot of these patients seem to be doing okay.”

      But Messonnier and others are less confident about what that might signify. She noted that U.S. officials set a very low threshold for illness as they began their search for people with the disease among returnees from central China.

      “If we hadn’t been looking so hard,” she suggested, “we might not have found them.”

      Another possibility, said William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine and health policy at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, is that the U.S. patients were a self-selected sample of fairly healthy people — hardy enough, at least, to travel to Wuhan and back. Twelve of the U.S. patients were such travelers, while two others were spouses who came in contact with them after they returned.

      Schaffner also noted that in China, where the vast majority of deaths and illnesses from the “covid-19” disease have occurred, air pollution and a higher smoking prevalence may contribute to the severity of the disease.”

    21. Brian Says:

      Right, so the idea is there’s an extra factor of ~0.2 maybe, that is 20% of infected become symptomatic. Unfortunately the uncertainties on every value in that equation are ~100%…

    22. Jonathan Says:

      The financial markets seem to be saying that 1) the Coronavirus outbreak is unlikely to be anything near a worst case and 2) Trump is increasingly likely to be reelected.

    23. Brian Says:

      I don’t see how “the financial markets” have any sort of general knowledge regarding this situation that would make their aggregate judgments informative.

    24. Trent Telenko Says:

      The WHO’s Chief infection spread expert sees 60% of the world’s population being infected.

      That is 5 billion people.

      Multiple 5 billion by 0.01% (flu class lethality) and you get 5,000,000 extra deaths.

      Multiple 5 billion by 2% (current COVID-19 class official Chinese lethality data) and you get 100,000,000 (100 million) extra deaths.

      That 100 million number is equal to 1/3 of the USA’s current population.

      No, if you apply a 60% infection rate to the USA’s 300 million, you get 180 million citizens infected.

      Multiply 180 million by 0.01% flu lethality and you get 180,000 extra US deaths. This is more than three times the deaths of a normal flu season.

      Multiply 180 million by 2% COVID-19 lethality and you get 3.6 million extra US deaths.

      And what is going to overwhelm the medical is we are looking at an exponential growth function. Half of all infections will happen in the last doubling.

      If the doubling interval for COVID-19 three days. Half those 3.6 million who die will be infected in the last 3-day doubling.

      Given a 50 day from infection to resolution period, we are looking at 1.8 million bed ridden for 12 to 24 days of that 53 day “infection doubling to death period.

      That is over…what…over four times the total number of available hospital beds** in the USA, which are over 50% filled with every other medical condition right now.

      There will be a great deal of “additional mortality” from the crowding out of the medical system and the subsequent exhaustion of every medical supply imaginable without replacement from China for the next nine months to a year.

      **Trends indicate that the overall number of hospital beds in the U.S. is decreasing. In 1975, there were about 1.5 million hospital beds in the U.S., but until 2017 the number dropped to just about 931 thousand.Aug 9, 2019

    25. Kirk Says:

      Soooo… From what Trent writes, the apparent smart takeaway is that you should seek out early infection, and beat the rush before the hospitals are overwhelmed.

      Interesting. This could well be one of those Black Swan events that Taleb is always going on about. We’ll have to wait and see how it eventuates.

      From the over-the-top Chinese response to the situation, I’ve sort of been expecting something like this. I just hope that all of us and our loved ones are not part of that “minuscule fraction” who die. Those numbers are scary, when you think about it.

      Interesting times, interesting times…

    26. Jonathan Says:

      I don’t see how “the financial markets” have any sort of general knowledge regarding this situation that would make their aggregate judgments informative.

      People in large groups, anonymously betting their own money, have a good predictive record as compared to individual prognosticators aka experts. For example, during the big Ebola outbreak, stocks initially sold off, then recovered before the public consensus shifted from fear and uncertainty to widespread understanding that the epidemic wasn’t going to happen in most countries.

      Current US equity markets at record highs seems inconsistent with an epidemic that would inevitably have a big negative effect on worldwide GDP.

      The market highs also seem inconsistent with the election of a left-wing Democrat. One of the simplest explanations for the current rally is that market participants increasingly think that Trump’s policies are generating high economic growth.

    27. Mike-SMO Says:

      There are lots of pieces to this puzzle.

      Pollution in China has been mentioned already, but perhaps medical practices are a problem. Misc “lung mung” is always dangerous. Perhaps the Chinese wait too long before using antibiotics that would be useful against secondary infections. Or expectorants, etc. The Corona virus might be only the trigger for some other opportunistic bug that is common in Asia but rare elsewhere. You have to wonder what is in/on the products and the packaging that we have been importing.

      As for UV, was that UV-B, UV-C or wide spectrum? I suspect that UV “party lights” will not do too much.

      Or just there are racial differences in vulnerability to this particular virus. Watch Chinese immigrant communities and children of immigrants.

      A vaccine is going to be critical to taming this creature.

      As for the economics, diversification of sources and markets is always a good idea.

    28. MCS Says:

      An infection rate of 60-70% seems extraordinarily high, and I can’t help thinking that the head of the WHO is probably not chosen for expertise in anything but kissing ass of various dictators.

      There are a fair number of cases outside of China. Enough that a 2% mortality rate would show up by now and hasn’t. If the outbreak started as early as November, there should be many more cases in the West, since there should have been many exposed individuals that scattered before there was any alarm.

      The Chinese government suffered extreme criticism from their handling of SARS. Trying to guess why they do anything is probably a waste of time. It doesn’t seem to make much sense to wait three months to try to control this if they had some sort of advanced knowledge. The jailing of the doctor that made the first warning is exactly the reflex we’ve come to expect from any sort of public criticism.

      It hardly seems necessary to point out how many time the financial markets have gotten it disastrously wrong. They may outperform so called experts from time to time but this mostly appears in retrospect. I’m sure that somewhere there is someone who’s take on this is exactly right, I just don’t know how you’d tell right now.

    29. Anonymous Says:

      From National Public Radio:

      “… Yet according to the World Health Organization, the disease is relatively mild in about 80% of cases, based on preliminary data from China.

      What does mild mean?

      And how does this disease turn fatal?

      The first symptoms of COVID-19 are pretty common with respiratory illnesses — fever, a dry cough and shortness of breath, says Dr. Carlos del Rio, a professor of medicine and global health at Emory University who has consulted with colleagues treating coronavirus patients in China and Germany. “Some people also get a headache, sore throat,” he says. Fatigue has also been reported — and less commonly, diarrhea. It may feel as if you have a cold. Or you may feel that flu-like feeling of being hit by a train.

      Doctors say these patients with milder symptoms should check in with their physician to make sure their symptoms don’t progress to something more serious, but they don’t require major medical intervention.

      But the new coronavirus attacks the lungs, and in about 20% of patients, infections can get more serious. As the virus enters lung cells, it starts to replicate, destroying the cells, explains Dr. Yoko Furuya, an infectious disease specialist at Columbia University Irving Medical Center.

      “Because our body senses all of those viruses as basically foreign invaders, that triggers our immune system to sweep in and try to contain and control the virus and stop it from making more and more copies of itself,” she says.

      But Furuya says that this immune system response to this invader can also destroy lung tissue and cause inflammation. The end result can be pneumonia. That means the air sacs in the lungs become inflamed and filled with fluid, making it harder to breathe.

      Del Rio says that these symptoms can also make it harder for the lungs to get oxygen to your blood, potentially triggering a cascade of problems. “The lack of oxygen leads to more inflammation, more problems in the body. Organs need oxygen to function, right? So when you don’t have oxygen there, then your liver dies and your kidney dies,” he says.

      That’s what seems to be happening in the most severe cases. About 3% to 5% of patients end up in intensive care, according to the WHO. And many hospitalized patients require supplemental oxygen. In extreme cases, they need mechanical ventilation — including the use of a sophisticated technology known as ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation), which basically acts as the patient’s lungs, adding oxygen to their blood and removing carbon dioxide. The technology “allows us to save more severe patients,” Dr. Sylvie Briand, director of the WHO’s pandemic and epidemic diseases department, said at a press conference Monday.

      Many of the more serious cases have been in people who are middle-aged and elderly — Furuya notes that our immune system gets weaker as we age. She says for long-term smokers, it could be even worse because their airways and lungs are more vulnerable. People with other underlying medical conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes or chronic lung disease, have also proved most vulnerable. Furuya says those kinds of conditions can make it harder for the body to recover from infections.

      “Of course, you have outliers — people who are young and otherwise previously healthy who are dying,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, recently told NPR’s 1A show. “But if you look at the vast majority of the people who have serious disease and who will ultimately die, they are in that group that are either elderly and/or have underlying conditions.”

      The WHO has said most deaths so far appear to be from multi-organ failure and has calculated the case fatality rate at about 2% or less, based on earlier data from China. However, infectious disease experts note that it’s hard to know the true numbers at this point in the epidemic …”

    30. Tom Holsinger Says:

      Oops, the post above was from me.

    31. Gavin Longmuir Says:

      “Multiple 5 billion by 0.01% (flu class lethality) and you get 5,000,000 extra deaths.”

      On the other hand, if the global population is 7.8 Billion people and we generously assume an average 80-year life span, we would expect about 100,000,000 people to die each year naturally. (Back of the envelope, ignoring age distribution of population). So even 5 Million extra deaths would be only a non-repeated 5% increase in one year. If we were to believe Al Gore and Saint Greta, Anthropogenic Global Warming is going to be much worse than that.

      Important question — Who dies? Since we all die eventually, those extra deaths might better be described as premature deaths. If the bulk of those 5 Million premature deaths are the sick and the elderly (as seems likely), it may actually help rescue unsustainable budgets around the world.

      It might sound cold — but set that postulated 5 Million against the 50 Million killed by Stalin and the 100 Million killed by Mao. Humanity survived both of them, albeit with a lot of pain. Humanity survived the Black Death. Humanity will survive this.

    32. Brian Says:

      Jonathan: Yes, I’m familiar with the concept. But there’s no precedent or even any information here, so there’s no “wisdom of crowds” effect. So all we’re seeing in the markets is a tendency to stick with the status quo, which is a reasonable bet, but the tail probability of catastrophe is impossible to quantify. The only party who might actually know something is the CCP, and we know they’ve been absolutely freaking out since day one.

    33. Tom Holsinger Says:

      The latest from Trent – a preliminary Yale study showing a very high infectious rate for Xi’s Disease – RO of 4.7 – 6.6.

    34. OBloodyHell Says:

      Gavin Longmuir Says:
      February 14th, 2020 at 11:04 am
      But, but, but, but …. All the really smart people — the ones credentialed from Ivy League schools and their wannabes — assured us that “Free Trade” was the route to human happiness and wealth. There was no downside in offshoring ~60,000 factories to China, because the unemployed workers in the US would be able to buy cheap stuff.

      Epidemics have been part of the human condition since the beginning — just like earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, and droughts. We can sympathize with the poor Chinese who are suffering from this outbreak, but we should be extremely critical of the stupidity & short-sightedness of our Political Class who have left us in a very poor condition to respond to the inevitable. They have blood on their hands.

      Oh, please. This says it was stupid to allow stuff to be single-sourced from China. It has zero to do with “Free Trade”.

      It says second source stuff from India, Singapore, Malaysia, Mexico.

      Lord save us from ridiculously unjustified connections like yours.

    35. Trent Telenko Says:

      Hawaii has been slimed with COVID-19. The following is a Japanese translated article Via Yahoo —

      “Nagoya City announced on February 15 that it has been confirmed that a woman in her 60s in the city has been infected with the new coronavirus . According to the city, the wife of a 60-year-old man who was confirmed infected on Wednesday.

       According to the announcement, the woman went to Hawaii in the U.S. with her husband at the end of January, and returned home this month. He had a fever of 37.6 degrees on the 14th and consulted a medical institution in the city. He was diagnosed as positive by a genetic test on March 15, and was hospitalized at another medical institution in the city.”

    36. Trent Telenko Says:

      World Headline Summary Morning 2-15-2020:

      o Toll of infected passengers and crew aboard ‘the Diamond Princess’ climbs to 285; The US arranges a charter plane for Americans aboard ship.

      o First fatality in Europe as Chinese tourist died in France.

      o China has sent 217 medical rescue groups totaling 25,633 personnel to Hubei province to fight the outbreak.

      o First case reported in Africa after the Egyptian Health Ministry confirms non-Egyptian patient who recently traveled to China

      o Hubei health officials report 2,420 new cases and 139 new deaths for Feb. 14

      o NHC officials report an additional 4 deaths and 2,641 cases.

      o China warns of incoming case surge

      o China says 1,716 medical workers have been infected

      o WHO demands to know more about sick doctors, insists group of 12 virus experts will reach Beijing over the weekend

      o Singapore reports largest daily jump in cases amid increased human-to-human transmission

      o Egypt confirms first case; virus now present in 29 countries/territories

      o Hong Kong reports 3 new cases

      o New quarantine measures take effect in Wuhan

      o Hong Kong Disney land offers space for quarantine

      o Chinese company says blood plasma of recovered patients useful in combating the virus

      o US mulling new travel restrictions

      o Japan reports 4 new cases; one patient recently returned from Hawaii.

      o CDC Director: Virus is “Coming” to the US.

      o 5 presumptive cases reported in British Columbia

    37. Brian Says:

      So to sum up:
      – The disease is well established and spreading in multiple countries
      – Most countries, including the US, conceding it’s going to spread widely across the globe
      – Deaths starting to ramp up outside China, but the stats seem to say the mortality rates are quite low.
      – China is increasing the severity of its response, basically implementing martial law in Wuhan and continuing to “lock down” new cities.

      I don’t see how to reconcile all this. Either China is implementing its largest social crackdown since the Cultural Revolution, with no explanation, and willing to completely destroy its economy to do it, or their facing apocalyptic conditions that they’re desperately trying to stop. “It’s just the flu” continues to not be a viable explanation for their actions.

    38. Gavin Longmuir Says:

      OBloodyHell expostulated: “Oh, please. This says it was stupid to allow stuff to be single-sourced from China. It has zero to do with “Free Trade”.”

      Have you ever noticed the parallel between the “Climate Change” scam and “Free Trade”? The believers really believe! They ignore any real-world evidence that their theory may not be a complete & perfect description of reality.

      The offshoring of production to China was most certainly an example of the near-unilateral “Free Trade” the US granted to a China which had no intention of ever reciprocating. It brought near-term benefits to some in the US at the expense of near-term costs to others (such as the economic devastation Democrats ignored in the Rust Belt), and now in the longer term it is bringing additional costs to us all. That is the real world.

      Multiple sourcing from a number of foreign countries would have reduced production runs in each location and increased the complexity of the supply chains — driving up the lower delivered prices which “Free Traders” tout as the reason for offshoring. And it would have done nothing to help their fellow citizens left unemployed by the destruction of the US industrial base.

      When the facts don’t fit the theory, maybe it is time to reconsider the theory.

    39. MCS Says:

      The arithmetic on off-shoring to China has been changing in the last couple of years. It had been based on China being a stable, reliable place to do business. After all, the prisons and executions were kept far from the eyes of foreigners.

      Instead it has been found that they are very good at falsifying compliance with everything from convict labor use to processes. More than willing to steal anything that they can.

      Now we are seeing that the stability is an illusion as well, that the whole country may be poised on the precipice of another convulsion on the order of the Cultural Revolution. The heavy handed response may very well be intended to maintain social control much more than disease control.

      This also should point to the fact that all of the supposed alternative countries have their own problems and risks, usually with a far less developed infrastructure.

      I’m sure every American that can’t get their Chinese supplier to answer the phone or return an email is calculating the cost of bringing it back home. Some may, but the time frame is probably years. So will the fall out, even if COVID-19 disappears tomorrow.

      The ghost ship in Japan is costing Carnival millions and will probably end up costing the cruise industry billions. It has punctured the illusion that you can sail around the world, dipping your toe into exotic places without fear that any of the reality will stick. What will Carnival do to convince people that their ship is safe, changing the name won’t work.

    40. Anonymous Says:

      Quoted by Tom Holsinger: “But Furuya says that this immune system response to this invader can also destroy lung tissue and cause inflammation. The end result can be pneumonia.”

      And pneumonia kills the patient. Shades of HIV, which did not directly kill anyone but left patients exposed to other opportunistic infections. As later became clear, the apparent explosion in AIDS cases was driven by continually expanding the range of infections which were considered to be AIDS-related. When it finally became possible to test for the AIDS virus, many presumed AIDS cases were shown not to be AIDS related.

      Relation to the current coronavirus scare — the death rate in China last year was around 7.3 per 1,000 population — meaning about 28,000 Chinese people die every day. How many of those deaths should be ascribed to the coronavirus, as opposed to the natural process of old & sick people getting pneumonia and other infections? Who decides which deaths to ascribe to the coronavirus?

      Now remember that China’s rulers deliberately implement long-range plans, whereas too many politicians & businesswomen in the US look no further than the end of the week. And also remember that China’s history is replete with tales of successful aggressors using misdirection and subterfuge to defeat stronger opponents. And note that China is already well down the road to reducing the US to a de-industrialized provider of food and raw materials, by the simple expedient of buying US politicians, academics, and media types. Everything was going according to China’s plan — until Trump unexpectedly got elected President and tried to call a halt to the one-sided trade. From China’s perspective, Trump has to go.

      Tinfoil hat time. China deliberately uses the coronavirus scare to shut down their own production for a period of time in February/March. (The rulers can also use this crisis to tidy up nests of potential dissidents). Over the coming months, the consequent disruption of the supply chain will have knock on effects in the West as the ships which were never loaded with Chinese exports do not arrive, which will drive down the already unstable over-priced stock market. This will send the US into recession in nice time for the November Presidential election, and contribute to replacing Trump with at best an outright fellow-traveler or at worst an easily bought-off Democrat. And then China can continue its long term program of removing the US as a player on the world stage.

    41. Gavin Longmuir Says:

      Sorry — above Anonymous was me.

    42. Brian Says:

      That would be a terrible conspiracy. The one thing that could harm Trump would be a serious economic slowdown, BUT if it happened because of some horrible global Chinese pandemic no one is going to blame it on Trump.

      I have no idea if this via zerohedge is at all legit, but it perhaps could tie in to the numerous videos posted online a couple of weeks ago of people dropping dead in the street, which was among the first solid pieces of evidence that “it’s just the flu” was complete BS.
      “It’s possible to get infected by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) a second time, according to doctors on the frontline in China’s city of Wuhan, leading to death from heart failure in some cases”

      This whole no-acquired-immunity thing that they’ve been saying for a while is perhaps the most terrifying part of all this…

    43. Xennady Says:

      “It says second source stuff from India, Singapore, Malaysia, Mexico.

      What happens if those countries also stop allowing those hypothetical medications to leave their countries as well, perhaps for the same reason China has?

      That is, they are suffering from a terrible pandemic that renders them unable to produce them? Or, perhaps, renders their customers unwilling to accept their exports due to potential infection?

      Now maybe this will end quickly, before the supply chain disruptions prove disastrous, maybe not.

      But, yes, free trade believers really believe- and not even a looming pandemic will cause them to lose faith in their precious.

      Not even a bit.

    44. MCS Says:

      Simply ignore any “information” coming from China. There is simply no way that you or I can tell if any part of it is true.

      If this super virulent virus had been in circulation since the first part of November, there would already be numerous cases all over, five or six times removed from anyone with a Chinese connection. I haven’t heard of any. This leaves me with a choice of two possible conclusions.

      First: Until the beginning of February, The outbreak was confined to a small number of people in a small area with little or no contact with outsiders.

      Second: The virus has been around for a while but in a mild form that was easily lumped in with all of the other viral miseries around. Something may have caused it to change and rise from the background. If this is the case, I’d expect that as the tests get better, we will find a large number of people that show evidence of exposure without memorable symptoms.

      Before I believe that this can evade the immune system, I would want to hear what the mechanism is rather than a third hand rumor. If it changed enough to evade the immune system of a survivor, it would probably be undetectable with the present tests since they are based on anti-body response like the immune system.

      As far as some sort of anti-Trump Chinese conspiracy; cutting off their nose to spite their face doesn’t come close to the likely fall-out in China. If they wanted to mess up our black Friday sales, all they needed to do was keep fighting the trade war not commit suicide.

      The cases outside of China are the only ones where we have even half-way credible information. So far, they have been limited to people with a recent Chinese connection and people with close contact, such as spouses or in confined quarters. Keep reminding yourself that hysteria is worth hundreds of times more clicks than reasoned sense.

    45. Brian Says:

      MCS: Neither of your cases can explain China’s actions starting a month ago.

      Some of us aren’t medical professionals but were saying this was obvious ages ago:
      Quarantine efforts on a coronavirus-stricken cruise ship may have actually helped the virus spread, some experts say.

      The main problem, several experts have said, has been the decision to keep passengers onboard the ship, especially those who have tested negative for the new coronavirus.

      “From a virologist’s perspective, a cruise ship with a large number of persons on board is more an incubator for viruses rather than a good place for quarantine,” Dr. Anne Gatignol, a microbiologist who studies viruses at McGill University, told the Montreal Gazette.

    46. MCS Says:

      I didn’t intend to explain the Chinese response and don’t have much faith that even they can. With travel cut off from there, it is mostly irrelevant.

      On the cruise ship, the surviving crew, bless them, are still presumably cooking and cleaning and circulating among the passengers. They also occupy much less opulent and more crowded quarters. Without proper protective equipment, they are almost guaranteed to contract the virus sooner or later and will transmit it inevitably to the passengers. I didn’t call it a ghost ship lightly. As I said, the cruise industry may never recover, they have already pulled out of Asia and may never return. They will still have to address places like Haiti and North Africa in this hemisphere that are probably at least as likely to originate something like this.

    47. Jonathan Says:

      Jonathan: Yes, I’m familiar with the concept. But there’s no precedent or even any information here, so there’s no “wisdom of crowds” effect. So all we’re seeing in the markets is a tendency to stick with the status quo, which is a reasonable bet, but the tail probability of catastrophe is impossible to quantify. The only party who might actually know something is the CCP, and we know they’ve been absolutely freaking out since day one. [emphasis added]

      An alternative hypothesis is that the markets have discounted the available information and are not predicting catastrophe. “Fat tails” is merely a metaphor used to describe actual market behavior. To put it differently, the fact that the distribution of market price movements isn’t Gaussian doesn’t mean market prices don’t accurately discount the available information. Markets don’t always make sense but equity markets that repeatedly sell off after bad news and then quickly recover to new highs are saying something. So are markets in heavily affected sectors such as the cruise industry that have sold off but not catastrophically. An epidemic of the magnitude some people predict would retard growth in large parts of the world economy. It would kill corporate earnings forecasts and therefore stock prices. That hasn’t happened so far.

    48. Gavin Longmuir Says:

      Jonathon: “An alternative hypothesis is that the markets have discounted the available information …”

      That hypothesis implicitly assumes the market of buyers & sellers is composed of a very large number of individual human beings making personal decisions based on the information they have, their personal risk tolerances, and their own guesses at where opportunities lie. It seems that financial markets today don’t conform to that model. Much trading is by algorithms seeking correlations with other financial movements which have already happened — not using information or guesses about the future. And much of the investment is through mutual fund-type pools, where only a small number of wealthy big city residents make the decisions.

      As to what information is available to that relatively small number of significant market participants, we can probably all agree that the information is incomplete and unreliable.

      Net effect is that financial markets today probably have even poorer predictive ability than they had on the eve of the Great Depression.

      To argue the other side of the case, the limited information available today suggests that while the coronavirus will be tragic for some, the vast majority of people will either not get infected or will suffer symptoms little worse than the common cold. In which case, the “wisdom of crowds” is making a good bet that this outbreak will turn out to be much ado about little, from a health perspective.

      And on the third hand, the impact of the virus on the economy through disrupted supply chains could be something else altogether. Whether market algorithms (or politicians) are able to predict that remains to be seen.

    49. MCS Says:


      Not intending to pile on, but is this the same market that really nailed the housing collapse in 2008 or the tech bubble in 2000? Sure, there were a few traders that did; this market resolutely ignored them.

      This is a market where traders pay millions of dollars to site their trading platforms a few micro-seconds closer to the market clearing computers, not a market of reasoned judgement by people like Warren Buffet or even you or me.

      Nobody knows whether we are at the beginning of a slow motion apocalypse or something that will rate a mention on the year-end round-ups somewhere after the latest antics of Megan/Harry. We won’t for some time.

      Better questions to ask are: How many respirators are there in my immediate area and, assuming I can get within a 100 yards of a hospital, will I rate high enough on the triage list to get one if I need it? How many intubation kits are on hand and how many are on order from China? There are supposed to be respirators in government storage, (who knew FEMA could do more than tote bottled water from place to place?) how will they be allocated? I’m betting more per capita in D.C. than Beatrice, Nebraska. Have they been properly maintained? They have a lot of moving parts, some of which deteriorate just from age. Will there be enough trained people to use them? Enough oxygen delivered? Enough beds?

      None of this depends on what’s happening in China, whether the numbers we are seeing are accurate or fantasy. None of it depends on the market, it’s a little late to go long on respirator companies.

    50. Brian Says:

      Come on:
      “Japan’s health minister on Sunday urged the public to avoid crowds and “non-essential gatherings”, including notoriously packed commuter trains, to prevent the new coronavirus from spreading in the country”

      But it’s ok, the markets say it’s all good…

    51. raven Says:

      What is the first line in the chart “total suspected”? Total suspected what? It is disconnected from the rest of the data.

      Even with the suspect PRC numbers, the confirmed cases and deaths have doubled every two days , except for the last week.

    52. Jonathan Says:

      You guys sound like the host and commenters at Coyote Blog. Their initial response to the big runup in Tesla’s share price was to say that the market was wrong rather than to reconsider their theory in light of events that seemed inconsistent with that theory’s predictions. If Coronavirus is on track to be devastating why haven’t equity markets resumed their initial downward price moves as more information about the spread of the disease has become available? The markets could be wrong, but as time passes with no catastrophe it becomes increasingly likely that the situation is less bad than many people fear.

    53. Trent Telenko Says:

      >>If Coronavirus is on track to be devastating why haven’t equity markets resumed their initial downward price moves as more information about the spread of the disease has become available?

      There has been a coordinated intervention in the markets by the national banks of the world and in particular by the American Federal Reserve System and the Chinese Communist Party blowing through it’s 3 trillion dollars in foreign currency reserves..

      The tools used in 2007-2008 are working over time right now.

    54. Brian Says:

      It does seem like response to government stimulus is a major factor:
      “European stocks rose on Monday, Chinese shares surged, recovering all their post-coronavirus losses and S&P and Nasdaq futures jumped to new all time highs as investors took encouragement from the Asian country’s monetary (if not fiscal) pledges to support the world’s second-biggest economy in the face of the coronavirus outbreak.”

      All I’ve been saying is that “potential pandemic developing in China, with the CCP reacting as if it’s an existential threat to their existence” isn’t something that there’s a previous comp for, so the market has no idea how to react, so it’s just kind of ignoring it until it gets more input that it might know how to deal with. I’m not saying we’re in some end-of-the-world type situation (though again, the ChiComs have been acting like it since Day 1), what I am saying is “the market isn’t reacting” tells us NOTHING about what’s going on in this case.

    55. MCS Says:

      When I see the price of a never profitable company like Tesla going up and up beyond what I consider reasonable levels and then buy gas for $1.98, it doesn’t convince me. So far the market and I seem to be reaching the same conclusion on this. At any point, the wisdom of the crowd may turn into the stampede of the mob. As always, the question is what is happening now. If various government entities are intervening, is that any different from any other Monday or Tuesday…

      I seem to have given the Chinese credit for far too much sense:
      A class 4 bio-containment lab in the middle of a large city, what could go wrong? And so convenient to get research animals. I’ll bet it cost a fraction of what an American facility would cost.

      While I see that the extra-Chinese cases are contained and can believe the reports, I will stay optimistic that this is controllable. The present evidence is the either it was caught and travel restrictions imposed quickly enough after it broke out or it has been circulating in the West for some time without raising alarm. Now that tests are available, we will learn which.

    56. Brian Says:

      The simplest explanation has always been that a “research project” was inadvertently released from the Wuhan biolab. They’ve had numerous security failures in the past. It wasn’t some sort of superweapon, because Commies are incompetent in general (hence the accidental release), and (hopefully) they’d be a lot more careful with something that was actually developed to the level of a weapon. They tried to stop it as best they could, with massive response, but it was hopeless given the size of Wuhan. They couldn’t admit it openly, both due to their nature as authoritarian commies, but also due to the fallout that would happen if they did so. It appears likely they told at least some other governments enough for them to figure out the situation. The “research” probably involved Chinese DNA samples as test cases which would explain why it appears to be so much more deadly to Asian populations.

      There are more conspiratorial aspects that could be brought in, but these basics seem to most easily explain everything. Anything positing a purely natural origin has a serious problem in being able to explain their massive reaction from the very start, and requires bringing in CCP-internal politics, which are of course possible, but are additional variables that the above model doesn’t require.

    57. Gavin Longmuir Says:

      “Commies are incompetent in general”

      Probably true — though perhaps that statement could be broadened to human beings in general.

      It is worth dipping into Sun Tzu or reading about the Warring States period in Chinese history. The recurrent theme is the use of disinformation and subterfuge — making the opponent “misunderestimate” the protagonist.

      Notice what is happening in Boris’s post-Brexit Britain. Boris has committed to use Chinese 5G technology, even though this will probably have a severe negative impact on the prospective trade deal with the US that Brexiteers pointed to as an alternative to the EU. The important point is that Mother England, once the Workshop of the World, does not have the capability to build a 5G system — but the incompetent Commies do.

      Then there is strange story of HS2 — the short high speed rail line between London and Birmingham, which Boris is proceeding with even though it is already far over budget and everyone acknowledges the final cost will be 2 -3 times the current budget. China’s rail company recently sent an unsolicited proposal to Boris to build the HS2 line for a fraction of the cost, based on their proven track record over the last ~15 years building over 15,000 miles of genuine High Speed Rail in China. Commies may be incompetent, but the Chinese people are not.

      ‘Never ascribe to malice that which can be explained by incompetence’ is a good general guideline, but I continue to wonder if there is something else behind the apparently excessive Chinese government response to what seems to be equivalent to an outbreak of the flu.

    58. MCS Says:

      If you’re right, there will be fall-out far beyond the present. I think that the Chinese population is no longer willing to simply wait for the next screw-up.

      The Sichuan earthquake passed off quietly, even though there was overwhelming evidence that the government incompetence and corruption greatly increased the loss of life.
      Outsiders will never know how many critics simply disappeared.

      When the Crispr scandal broke, most people fixated on the ethics of human genetic engineering which was certainly important. A lot missed that the whole thing was carried out in an unbelievably incompetent manner. There hasn’t been nearly enough accountability from the Western collaborators.

      This is too wide spread and has affected too may people to go away and if this is the truth, it’s loose. Even if it’s not true, no one will believe the denials. If you are dependent on China, and most of us are whether we realize it or not, you should start worrying about more than getting sick.

    59. Trent Telenko Says:

      New COVID-19 update posted.

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