COVID-19 Update, Morning 2-20-2020

There are currently 75,772 confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide, including 2,129 fatalities as of this morning’s time hack. China has changed how they are reporting new cases yet again (two times they admit too) again, so numbers will decrease there. Worldwide less China, there are 1150 infected, with 10 deaths (1 Taiwan, 1 Japan, 1 Philippines, 2 Diamond Princes, 2 Hong Kong, 1 France, 2 Iran). There are both some number crunching and recent coronavirus developments in this update.

First, the number crunching:

Current death to recovery ratio outside Mainland China are:

Deaths 10
Recovered 176

10/(176+8)= 5.38% death rate.

The number of cases above are not large enough yet to draw statistical inferences for medical care outside Mainland China…yet

Inside Mainland China’s state of Hubei, where the medical system has been overwhelmed, things got a lot worse.

Deaths 2,029
Recovered 10,388

2029/(2029+10388) = 16.3% death rate (assuming you accept the numbers from CCP)

As long as high quality medical care is available to those who require intensive care, mortality rates should go down as more is known about successful COVID-19 treatment. Anywhere the system is overwhelmed, as happened is in Wuhan, it will be horrid.



COVID-19 Disease Spread Graph
COVID-19 Disease Spread Graph

Second — Twitter traffic is reporting (50 tonnes of salt warning) the following on Iran and COVID-19:

#BREAKING: Security forces of #Iran‘s Islamic Regime including #IRGC Ground Force are now sending their troops and military equipment including these MRAPs to the city of #Qom in-order to establish military curfew over #CoronaVirus outbreak & death of two people in the city!

— Babak Taghvaee (Backup) (@BabakTaghvaee1)

Third — A recent report on “viral loading” of normal infected versus COVID-19 super spreaders. Short form: The only difference is the lack of symptoms. Longer form below.

SARS-CoV-2 Viral Load in Upper Respiratory Specimens of Infected Patients

We analyzed the viral load in nasal and throat swabs obtained from the 17 symptomatic patients in relation to day of onset of any symptoms (Figure 1C). Higher viral loads (inversely related to Ct value) were detected soon after symptom onset, with higher viral loads detected in the nose than in the throat. Our analysis suggests that the viral nucleic acid shedding pattern of patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 resembles that of patients with influenza4 and appears different from that seen in patients infected with SARS-CoV.3 The viral load that was detected in the asymptomatic patient was similar to that in the symptomatic patients, which suggests the transmission potential of asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic patients. These findings are in concordance with reports that transmission may occur early in the course of infection5 and suggest that case detection and isolation may require strategies different from those required for the control of SARS-CoV. How SARS-CoV-2 viral load correlates with culturable virus needs to be determined. Identification of patients with few or no symptoms and with modest levels of detectable viral RNA in the oropharynx for at least 5 days suggests that we need better data to determine transmission dynamics and inform our screening practices.

Fourth — The ability of local American communities to execute self-quarantine appears doubtful and will only get worse with time. See:

Coronavirus Has U.S. Cities Stretching to Monitor Self-Quarantined Americans
Local efforts to prevent potential spread of Covid-19 have been like ‘one big, long bad day’
By Brianna Abbott
Feb. 19, 2020 5:30 am ET

“Public-health officials in the U.S. are striving to keep tabs on thousands of Americans who have quarantined themselves at home after returning from mainland China to curtail the new coronavirus, adding to an epidemic response that is straining already-stretched local departments.


More than 5,400 people had been asked to self-quarantine in California alone as of Feb. 14, according to the California
Department of Public Health. Hundreds more are self-quarantining in Georgia, Washington state, Illinois, New York and other states.


Public-health officials are following directions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the State Department to supervise these people, but many steps are being developed on the fly. States are using a variety of techniques to track people from calling in volunteers to make phone calls, to sending text messages and using electronic registries”

Fifth — There is more bad news from Hawaii. Maui got slimed. See:

Japanese visitor had symptoms while on Maui
Coronavirus victim originally thought to only be symptomatic during Oahu leg of stay
In critical condition in Japan

Sixth — More fall out from the botched Diamond Princess (which some wags have dubbed “Corona Princess”) quarantine. Including, it seems, the head of the Japanese health ministry getting sick ?!!?

State: Coronavirus evacuees from Lackland transported to state infectious disease hospital in San Antonio
By Lauren Caruba Updated 3:25 pm CST, Wednesday, February 19, 2020


Did the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship “Quarantine” Just Infect More People with Covid-19 and Spread It Further?


 Japanese Epidemiologist Criticizes “Chaotic” Conditions Onboard The “Diamond Princess”
Dan Anders | February 19, 2020 [This link censored by Facebook Community Standards]


“The Japanese professor Kentaro Iwata, an epidemiologist at the University Hospital of Kobe University, spent a day at the
Diamond Princess as a volunteer. In multiple YouTube videos, he strongly criticized government policy. “The cruise ship was
completely inadequate in terms of controlling infections,” he said in one of them. “There was not a single infection control
professional on the ship, nor anyone professionally involved in infection prevention. The bureaucrats were in charge of


“There is no clear distinction between the green (healthy) zones and the red (potentially infected) zones. And the staff is running back and forth,” Iwata reported. Such public criticism of the country’s authorities and leadership is extremely rare in Japan.


Iwata-san said he was shocked by the conditions on the ship. Unlike previous epidemics in which he was involved, such as
outbreaks of SARS, Ebola, and cholera, the ship wasn’t divided into a safe ‘green zone’ and a potentially infected ‘red zone’. “It was even worse than what I’ve seen in Africa.””


Japanese Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare frequently coughs without wearing a mask, approved for worst demonstration [Needs Google Translate]
Source: China Daily2020-02-19

Finally, The Chinese developed COVID-19 medical treatment protocol.  See screen capture below:


Chinese COVID-19 Treatment Protocol

26 thoughts on “COVID-19 Update, Morning 2-20-2020”

  1. A different account purporting to have very bad news from Iran:

    You didn’t mention lots of grim news from South Korea. Go here for a sampling:

    Quarantine has failed. Complete openness by the world is needed. Instead there are plenty of stories of coordination between governments and internet sites to suppress “inflammatory stories”, which is only going to make the situation far worse.

  2. On Monday Iran had officials 0 cases.
    On Tuesday Iran announced 2 cases.
    On Wednesday Iran said those 2 cases had died. But they were old and infirm, so no worries.
    On Thursday Iran said there are 9 dead. And they are effectively shutting Qom off from the world.

    Just the flu.

  3. Between Monday & Thursday, Iran went from 0 to 9 dead from the coronavirus. Over the same 4 days (based on WHO 2016 statistics), Iran probably had about 180 people die in traffic accidents. Twenty times as many.

    Even orderly Japan has about 14 people die in traffic accidents each and every day, versus 1 single death from the virus in Japan over a period of several weeks. Depending on when we want to start the clock for Japan, maybe 100 times as many traffic deaths as virus deaths.

    Worldwide, about 3,700 people die every day in traffic accidents — and most of us don’t give that a second thought. It does not stop us driving, bicycling, walking on roads. Traffic deaths are of course tragic for the affected individuals and their loved ones, but we have collectively decided that the benefits of transportation far outweigh those sad costs.

    Of course we need to do everything reasonable to prevent a disastrous global epidemic. However, what we are seeing so far (outside China, whose reports no-one accepts) is mild. Best guess at the moment is that the economic impacts are going to dwarf the health impacts.

  4. Gavin says it all. The flu season here in Wisconsin has been absolutely awful. Many people die from it every season and it has claimed a bunch this season. But we just shoulder shrug and move on with life. There are a lot of death inducing things in the world and Covid-19, although bad, isn’t exactly topping the charts, at least yet.

  5. Yep, it’s just the flu.

    The governments of China, South Korea, Japan, and Iran will be happy to hear your analysis. Please call them right away to let them know there’s absolutely nothing to worry about. And make sure to keep telling other governments that in the coming days and weeks, when they start locking their own cities down.

    It’s just the flu.

  6. Early stage dismissals of something accelerating exponentially ,to higher but linear current conditions is a poor way to bet.

  7. A diagnosis of “just the flu” would not engender the reaction that the CCP has been having.

    Of course, it could merely be the government in China taking the opportunity to crush dissent and put down potential rebellion, but… I am thinking that they’d prefer steps that didn’t include shutting down enough of their economy to reduce their carbon emissions by 25%.

    That alone speaks volumes. My guess is that this is pretty damn serious in China, and may or may not be pretty damn serious outside China, as well. The long periods of apparent asymptomatic tranmissivity is something that gives me pause, whenever I think of dismissing the entire problem. Add in what the Chinese are doing, and I’m afraid I have to come down on the side of “This is some serious sh*t…”.

  8. Via one of the Free Republic Forum coronavirus threads —

    The primary victims of this virus will be those that took the SARS vaccine, which was a major blunder.

    Which BTW the CDC tried to distribute in the US which was stopped by the National Institutes of Health. Hundreds of millions where vaccinated according to the CDC in China with this major blunder of a Vaccine.

    2005 SARS vaccine suggested by the CDC to distribute

    2007 report. SARS vaccine change the persons lungs making them far more at risk from new strains of the virus (CoronaVirus)

    2012 report with more details on how the SARS vaccine makes the person at far more risk of new strains of the virus

  9. COVID-19 Rumor Via the Freerepublic —

    Rumor from S. Korea 维尼熊大帝国 – Winnie Dynasty @Sun_Zhenlong Replying to @STSLPO and @BNODesk
    They’re already beginning locking down the bases in Korea.
    My buddy in a CBRN battalion says they’re preparing to evac dependents

    The rumor is consistent with the United States Military Daegu garrison composition.

    United States Army Garrison Daegu

  10. Via ARFCOM:

    “Whelp, I think we have the real reason the CDC has clammed up: Discord.

    Turns out the CDC objected to the 14 late diagnosis Americans traveling with the rest of the Diamond Princess evacuees… and given the existence of this article, the press knows and has been asking questions. SO no press conferences where further uncomfortable questions could arise.

    The revelation of all this is that no one has a plan. Its all seat of the pants, audible after audible.

    Black swan events are like that.”

  11. Kirk: “A diagnosis of “just the flu” would not engender the reaction that the CCP has been having.”

    Completely agree! Something is driving this, but what?

    Since no-one accepts Chinese numbers, let’s look at the infamous cruise ship. And keep in mind that the passengers on the ship were disproportionately old & infirm, and that arguably the Japanese completely mishandled the situation and transformed the ship into a virus incubator.

    Numbers via Wall Street Journal:
    3,063 passengers & crew tested
    634 tested positive for virus (4 out of 5 people exposed did not contract the infection).
    28 infected people had serious health problems (96% of infected people had no symptoms or only mild symptoms)
    2 died — both people in their 80s, one with a pre-existing condition.

    Death rate among those exposed — 0.1%. Less than one person in 1,000. And that among a particularly susceptible population given an unusually high exposure to the disease.

    If we accept the Japanese numbers from the cruise ship, the Chinese reaction seems completely disproportionate. What is the reason for the over-reaction?

  12. This number:

    >>634 tested positive for virus (4 out of 5 people exposed did not contract the infection).

    …is increasing hourly. Two more popped positive in Darwin Australia in the last couple of hours.

  13. The issue with the COVID-19 coronavirus infection is that it takes a very low SARS-Cov2 viral load for the initial infection…

    …and that low viral load initial infection takes a very, very, very, long time to manifest as either positive test result or as “symptoms.”

    And four of five people that test positive for COVID-19 have either no or very minor symptoms while being infection spreaders.

    The infection rate right now is over 20% for the souls aboard Diamond Princess and it will take at least 24 days from their last exposure to be detectable in new cases.

    The chaos and ineffectivness of the Japanese quarantine was such that every passenger, crewman or Japanese health ministry body on the Diamond Princess were likely exposed to infection causing viral loads right up to and through the flights back to their home countries.

    The thing we need to watch is what total percentage we finally see of the souls aboard Diamond Princess get the COVID-19 infection.

    The WHO’s chief immunologist thinks world wide will be a 60% total because it is a “virgin fields infection” (medical term of art alert).

    I’m thinking it will be closer to 80% than 60% for Diamond Princess because of the repeated SARS-Cov2 viral exposures through fomite contamination in food, crew rest rooms and ship’a ventilation

  14. This is not correct, I don’t believe:
    “Numbers via Wall Street Journal:
    3,063 passengers & crew tested
    634 tested positive for virus (4 out of 5 people exposed did not contract the infection)”

    They’ve always said that nowhere near all the people aboard that floating petri dish were tested.

    Also they say that quite a few of them are in critical condition currently.

  15. Thank you for what you have done. One suggestion though- use semi-log paper to graph the progression of this illness.That will show when there is a genuine change in status.

  16. Brian — What are we going to do? People don’t believe numbers reported by the Chinese. People don’t believe numbers reported by the Japanese. People don’t believe numbers reported in the Wall Street Journal.

    It is good to be skeptical. I just wish human beings were as skeptical about the outrageous unsupported unscientific claims made by Saint Greta, AlGore, and the rest of the Climate Change Scam gang.

    One point on which there seems to be factual support — A large number of people exposed to the virus do not get infected. Maybe it is 80%, maybe it is less. But it does not seem to be a highly infectious disease.

    A second point on which there seems to be support — most of the people who do get infected do not develop any kind of life-threatening condition. That is good for that big majority of people whose lives are not put in danger, or really even inconvenienced by the disease. Maybe not so good for other people who might be infected by those unwitting carriers.

    One could certainly hypothesize that the disease is much worse than it currently seems. Maybe many of the people who do not appear to be infected now will get sick later. Maybe the people who had no or mild symptoms will suddenly relapse weeks in the future. But there is not data to support that yet. Which brings us back to the question — What would make Chinese authorities think that those hypotheses might be correct, and therefore the response to this virus needs to be so aggressive?

  17. “What would make Chinese authorities think that those hypotheses might be correct, and therefore the response to this virus needs to be so aggressive?”

    Yes, I’ve posted that question here repeatedly since this started. I saw two possibilities:
    1. Things in Wuhan were much, much worse than they were admitting.
    2. They had firm reason to believe things were going to get much, much worse.
    Or both, of course.

    You can remove “Chinese” from your question–other countries with outbreaks are reacting like this ain’t the flu. Your numbers about cases, deaths, etc, all make sense–China sees 100k flu deaths every year, and doesn’t shut down because of it, so why are they doing this?

    I’m not knowledgeable about this stuff, so I don’t have an answer (I made my ignorant speculation on another thread this morning–there is no acquired immunity, so once the virus gets established in a community, you’re screwed), but it behooves us to act like the Chinese might just have reason to act like this is an existential crisis.

    One thing I also really don’t like–there are lots of stories of doctors and nurses dying, which doesn’t seem to be consistent with the claims that most of the dead are old and/or sick.

    Most of us can only go about our business and hope for the best, but as I’ve also said repeatedly, the world wasted several weeks that should have been used to prepare people for what looks like it could be pretty bad, and I fear panic and distrust of the government is going to make it worse than it needs to otherwise be.

  18. The late breaking news from South Korea involved a “Super spreader” in a “Cult” in Daegu.

    This decodes out as a church-lady at a Christian mega-church in Daegu was one of the communion helpers as well as an asymptomatic and heavily infected COVID-19 carrier.

    The church-lady has infected at least 42 and rising individuals in the 1,000 person service with secondary infections from the service communion already hitting the ROK military in Seoul. One of the young women the church-lady gave communion too had a soldier boy-friend stationed in the ROK capitol who did a week end visit.

    The Mayor of Seoul shut down the branch of the mega-church in his city and forbid public meetings or prayer groups.

  19. And Iran is clearly seriously impacted. And at least one case from Iran has spread to Canada. Which means who knows how many people going who knows where are infected. Containment has failed. Educating people, limiting exposure to badly impacted areas, and desperately trying to find a vaccine, and above all else doing whatever necessary to prevent panic, which includes not blowing smoke up all our behinds, is what is needed now.

  20. It’s always nice to see people who can’t do math and basic projections insisting on their opinion being sensible and well considered.

    Wuhan started with just a couple of dozen infected and 2 dead. Not looking so great now though.

  21. Brian: “… and above all else doing whatever necessary to prevent panic …”

    The way to prevent panic is to focus on what has already been established:
    1. Most people exposed to the virus will not catch the disease.
    2. Most of the minority who do catch the disease will suffer very little ill-effects.

    Old people and people with existing medical conditions need to be extra-careful. Just like normal. No need to panic.

  22. This doesn’t match your talking points:

    (ANSA) – Rome, February 21 – The first six people have been infected with the coronavirus in Italy, all in Lombardy, regional health councillor Giulio Gallera said Friday.
    They are all about 40.
    Gallera urged people to stay at home and avoid social contact.
    He said some 250 people had been placed in isolation and would be tested for the deadly virus.
    All six are in serious condition, Lombardy Governor Attilio Fontana said.

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