There are lots of hopeful reports — despite the USA COVID-19 infections being over 1/2 million and the total deaths of over 20,000 people — that the pandemic will soon be “Over.”
This is fantasy thinking at best. SARS-CoV2/COVID-19 won’t be over, until it is over, for YEARS.
“Over” being defined as world wide mass vaccinations to the tune of 70% of humanity or human herd immunity. Assuming such a thing is possible, which it may not be, given this recent report from the UK Daily Mail on post SARS-CoV2/COVID-19 infection immunity —
Blow to Britain’s hopes for coronavirus antibody testing as study finds a THIRD of recovered patients have barely-detectable evidence they have had the virus already
– Nearly third of patients have very low levels of antibodies, Chinese study found
– Antibodies not detected at all in 10 people, raising fears they could be reinfected
– Explains why UK Government repeatedly delayed rolling them out to the public
Wu F et al. Neutralizing antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 in a COVID-19 recovered patient cohort and their implications. medRxiv 2020.03.30.20047365; doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.03.30.20047365
Zhao J et al. Antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 in patients of novel coronavirus disease 2019, Clinical Infectious Diseases, , ciaa344, https://doi.org/10.1093/cid/ciaa344
total by July 1st 51,197
Or this South Korean story on coronavirus “reactivation” —
South Korea reports recovered coronavirus patients testing positive again
APRIL 10, 2020
Josh Smith, Sangmi Cha
The issue with most COVID-19 tests, like the ones mentioned in South Korea, is they detect SARS-CoV2 RNA. They do not detect whether the viral particles are active or not. The issue here is whether these people are shedding active viral particles that can re-infect people. We don’t know if that is the case here from the story text. Given how infectious it is. This coronavirus will tell us in due course.
There are some viral diseases like Herpes that hide inside your body and reactivate to make you infectious. We do not know enough about the SARs-CoV2 virus to say whether that is the case here.
If the SARS-CoV2 virus is like Herpes in that once contracted, it never goes away and flares infectious several times a year.
And there is no herd immunity for some people no matter how often they are infected.
Then we will need multiple, cheap, out-patient style “cure-treatments” as well as multiple vaccines, based on co-morbidities, and possibly to account for racial differences like sickle cell blood mutations, as SARS-CoV2 may well be more a blood disease than a respiratory infection in terms of it’s killing mechanism.
COVID-19: Attacks the 1-Beta Chain of Hemoglobin and Captures the Porphyrin to Inhibit Human Heme Metabolism
There is not enough reliable data, d*mn it!
Until we get to “Over,” our old economic world of Just-In-Time, Sole Source anywhere, but especially in China, is dead without replacement.
The world is in the same position as Germany was from August 1944 – April 1945 or Japan from August 1944 until August 1945 versus the Allied strategic bombing campaign. We have entered the world of “End Run Production“ as world wide supply chains grind to a halt from various fiddly bits of intermediate parts running out without replacement. The on-and-off hotspots world wide of COVID-19 at different times and places in the world economy is no different than WW2 strategic bombing in terms of causing random damage to the economic life support.
See also “End Run Production” here from this one volume WW2 history book The Great Crusade:
Be it automobiles, self propelled construction equipment, jets, power plants or the latest electronic gadget, anything that has thousands of parts sourced world wide with lots of Chinese cheap/disposable sub-component content anywhere in the supply chain simply won’t be produced for the next 18 months to three years.
This “random damage to the economic life support” effect is amplified by the unwillingness of Western private industry to invest in building the capitol equipment to produced those intermediate parts. Because of the threat of China coming back with predatory pricing — using bought politicians to cover for them — means those parts won’t be built without massive cost plus contract government buy out of the investment risk like happened in the USA in the 1942 WW2 mobilization.
The story of one American n95 mask manufacturer’s experience with the Obama Administration in 2009 with the Swine flu is a case in point. The n95 mask is a 50 cent item where China pays 2 cents a mask for labor versus 10 cents a mask for American labor. When the American manufacturer geared up to replace Chinese mask production. China came back on-line and the Obama Administration refused to keep buying the American mask producer’s 8 cents more expensive mask when the Chinese masks were available.
Unlike almost 80 years ago, current Western and particularly American politicians are too corrupt to go too massive cost plus contract government buy out this private investment risk. Mainly because these political elites can’t be bothered to figure out their 10% cut. Instead we are getting more “fiscal stimulus” AKA boondoggles that the elites will saddle the rest of us with high interest payments on huge public debts.
It will take local small to mid-sized business to get the American economy going during the COVID-19 pandemic via making products and services that don’t use the intermediate products China threatens with when the pandemic ends.
My read on what comes next economically is local/distributed production with limited capitol investment that is multi-product capable. The name for that is additive manufacturing, AKA 3D Printing. Here are a couple of examples:
- The idea of 3D Printed Sand Casting Molds For Automobile Production
voxeljet enters alliance to industrialize core tooling production using 3D printing
But, like developing SARS-CoV2/COVID-19 vaccines, this new locally distributed manufacturing economy will take time. The possible opening of the American economy in May 2020 will not bring the old economy of December 2019 back.
That economy is dead. It cannot, will not, come back.
We will have to dance with both the sickness from SARS-CoV2/COVID-19 and the widening “End Run Production“ product shortages that the death of the globalist just-in-time, sole source in China economic model causes for years.
And this is a hard reality, not a fantasy, we must all face.
64 thoughts on “SARS-CoV2/COVID-19 Update, Easter 2020 edition”
It has been a while since I’ve done a full update, as the media has been actually covering things like infections nation wide.
And, frankly, the “ionization layer” of “COVID-19 re-entry” has filled the bandwidth with such static of local versus national versus international stories I didn’t know where to begin.
This update is aimed mainly at the “Flubro’s’ and political fantasy thinkers about the hard health and economic realities we all face going forward.
Glad to see that you are paying attention to the economic impacts of government over-reaction — which are going to far outweigh the unfortunate accelerated deaths of some mainly old sick people.
The need to bring production back to the US is very well stated. The big obstacle will be our own Political Class, who have piled up such high regulatory burdens and litigation risks. Long before this C-19 scare, an entrepreneur in my area set about re-opening a closed-down restaurant — it took nearly two years to accomplish because of all the regulatory hoops he had to jump through. Our politicians could knock down those barriers, of course … but don’t hold your breath.
Here’s another possible outcome: when the economy is in a shambles due to the government over-reaction, with bankrupt businesses all over the place and massive unemployment, cash-rich Chinese businesses will step in and buy up what is left of US manufacturing capacity and offshore it to China — with the full support of our Political Class.
Gavin, the days of China being cash-rich are fading hourly. Their government is fast running through its several trillion dollar assets abroad buying essential imports while Chinese exports remain in the tank. Note Trent’s comments about the collapse of manufacturing which requires made-in-China components. The latter simply aren’t available because China isn’t producing them.
Worse for China, foreign companies are abandoning their factories in China while trying to set up replacement plants anywhere but China. Basically foreign demand for Chinese products is declining rapidly so China faces a future of reduced exports even when it is able to resume exports on a large scale.
“Peak China” was reached when the CV19 pandemic started. It’s all downhill from there until the pandemic is over in several years and world manufacturing/trade reaches a new equillibrium several years after that. At which point the 3D manufacturing revolution will be in full swing and local manufacturing will be cheaper than buying the same products from China due to the shipping and inventory expenses of the latter.
Here’s another possible outcome: when the economy is in a shambles due to the government over-reaction, with bankrupt businesses all over the place and massive unemployment, cash-rich Chinese businesses will step in and buy up what is left of US manufacturing capacity and offshore it to China — with the full support of our Political Class.
Yes. I don’t know how much of a threat this is. It is a concern.
On the vaccine issue, the cruise ship and the recent German study have both shown only about 15% infection rate. You could argue that this means low antibody and the patients are still infectious but that is not what is being reported.
The Guardian has its usual leftist bias. The Reason article is better.
Over the last two weeks, German virologists tested nearly 80 percent of the population of Gangelt for antibodies that indicate whether they’d been infected by the coronavirus. Around 15 percent had been infected, allowing them to calculate a COVID-19 infection fatality rate of about 0.37 percent. The researchers also concluded that people who recover from the infection are immune to reinfection, at least for a while.
I think the solution is going to be opening up many businesses , especially in areas of low incidence. Those at most risk can self sequester since most of us are retired and not threatened with bankruptcy.
There are going to be examples where that does not work well. Airlines and movie theaters come to mind. Summer is coming and many restaurants have outdoor seating.
It has always been silly to close parks and golf courses. That was political.
I appreciate this article’s argument.
The corollary of a 15% infection rate is about 99% exposure rate. There is a probability that the great majority of those that are going to get this already have.
MCS: I think you are assuming that only a small fraction of those exposed get infected, but I don’t know of any evidence that would suggest that, certainly not for the population as a whole. My guess is you’ll point to thd Diamond Princess? I don’t think that would make any sense though, nor would it explain if that’s true why there aren’t outbreaks everywhere. Epidemiological estimates I’ve seen suggest overall exposure rates of a couple percent at most for the overall population, very heavily clustered, thanks to social distancing and related responses.
One question I have for advocates of “opening the economy”, besides what exactly they mean, is how they plan to deal with things like the terrible outbreak at the South Dakota meat packing plant. And what they expect to happen–people aren’t going to start acting “normal” again until there is a vaccine, or the virus somehow goes away.
This article is amazing more for who is saying this about China than it’s content.
If China has lost Andrew Sullivan, it has lost everyone in America save the vampire-squids at Goldeman-Sachs.
“The Chinese dictatorship is, in fact, through recklessness and cover-up, responsible for a global plague and tipping the entire world into a deep depression. It has also corrupted the World Health Organization, which was so desperate for China’s cooperation it swallowed Xi’s coronavirus lies and regurgutated them. At the most critical juncture — mid-January — the WHO actually tweeted out Communist Party propaganda: “Preliminary investigations by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel Coronavirus.” On the same day, another WHO official was telling the world that there was “limited spread” of COVID-19 by human-to-human transmission, and alerted hospitals about the risk of super-spreading the virus. And so the virus has forced us to accept another discomforting reality: Integrating a communist dictatorship into a democratic world economy is a mug’s game. From now on, conscious decoupling is the order of the day.”
Here’s a note on early evidence of infection in California:
Remember that by the time anyone dies or ends up in the hospital, it has probably been a week or two since they were actually exposed. The Chinese timeline with the first patient on 7 Dec. means that the lockdown didn’t occur for two months or more after the virus was circulating. With the population highly mobile, thanks high speed rail, both nationally and internationally, containment was never remotely plausible.
Here’s another on the follow on with China:
By someone I assume is not planing on visiting China in the foreseeable future.
All of this calls into serious question whether the present ruinously expensive lockdown is actually changing anything. If the future shows high antibody prevalence, it will be used as evidence that we dodged a bullet. It will actually be evidence that the reaction was too slow to change the course of the outbreak and we were lucky that a large proportion of the population was already immune. Making the distinction will determine how often we go through this again versus working to make surveillance effective.
MCS: That MSN link to an LA Times article talking about “early infection” is a mess. It in general is talking about February and March, with one throwaway (grossly irresponsible, imho) comment claiming, with zero support, and in a suspiciously truncated quote, that it could have been in CA in December. We know that until very recently testing was a mess, and completely under done, and was so limited in who they would test as to be completely useless.
It’s simple: if 15% of the population has been infected as shown by the presence of antibodies, they exposed everyone they came in contact with for however many weeks they were infectious. This means that the 85% that weren’t a hermit came into contact with one or more, probably more, infectious individuals without becoming infected. This is also borne out by the experience on the cruise ships where the important number wasn’t how many became infected as much as how many didn’t, given that the exposure rate must have been close to 100%. Probably much more since many must have been exposed to many more than one infected individual.
What this illustrates is how big a waste of time all the testing to date has been. Once a person is in the ICU or dead, the exact reason has little relevance to what’s happening to the population. What would have been vital is knowing how prevalent the infection was in the population and still is. It makes no sense to ruin the economy to isolate people that have already been proven resistant by being exposed without infection or have already developed resistance.
We didn’t know this and probably won’t because all of the authorities were more concerned with scorekeeping than finding out what was actually happening.
Tom Holsinger: “Worse for China, foreign companies are abandoning their factories in China while trying to set up replacement plants anywhere but China.”
One of the reasons we are in this mess is because our Best & Brightest got so enamored with the Financial economy they forgot about the Real economy — the one where actual goods & services are produced. Example: Apple is a great stock! Just look at its financial returns — and forget that iPhones are actually made in China. Of course, accountants will wave their magic wands and assert that Apple actually generates most of the value of an iPhone outside China. But if China does not assemble the iPhone, Apple has nothing to sell.
Now, Apple can certainly abandon its factories, contractors, and suppliers in China — but those Real assets will still be in China. Good luck with Apple exporting any of their manufacturing equipment from China! China will still have the machines and the trained staff and the physical capability to make an iPhone — Apple will not. Apple could try to set up a plant in some other country (assuming none of the required critical manufacturing equipment comes from China) and train up a whole new workforce. And then Apple will have to compete with a new Chinese brand that looks startlingly similar to an iPhone. Leaving China is not going to be fast or easy. And from the perspective of US citizens, would we be any better off if the US runs a massive balance of payment deficit with Vietnam instead of with China?
The best analogy for the current US situation is probably with Japan or Germany at the end of WWII. The US industrial base has been massively damaged — not by bombing, but by financially-driven offshoring; we did it to ourselves. Just like Japan & Germany after WWII, we can rebuild — but it is going to take a generation, two decades. And we are going to have to do this without the benefit of a generous Marshall Plan. Plus while we are rebuilding, China will continue to move ahead.
Can we summon the leadership & unity for many years of hard slog? Ask Nancy Pelosi.
MCS: I don’t agree w all of your logic re: exposure, especially when trying to apply it to an entire country, but we agree the testing strategy, even once some number were available, was stupid and counter-productive.
As for strategies, to me it is clear that the cost of immediately shutting down international travel on Jan 26 would have been far less than what we’ve done so far, which would have been far less than doing nothing.
The silver lining is that globalism, JIT supply, China/CCP and debt based financialism are being destroyed, exposed for the fraudulent nature and the existential threat they pose to nations and their people. If all of that happens, the future has a chance. God Speed All.
I’ve put off getting into 3D printing (high tech makes my eyes glaze over/T prefer the old ways) but it now seems to be the right time for a trial.
Death to globalism its minions and familiars.
About the early infection idea, I keep having people tell me they’re sure they’ve already had it, thanks to a bad flu-like illness that went through my workplace and family this last January. I keep responding that if so, surely someone we know would died then. But no one did, unlike lately.
In any case, I used to argue with people online about the merits of “free trade.” I was always assured it was pure awesome because it saved us so much money to have (for example) China make things for us instead of making them ourselves. I have to wonder if- after counting up the trillions of dollars worth of damage done to our economy by the present pandemic- those folks would still say the exchange was worth it.
Probably, because they always struck as not interesting in anything more real than defending their beloved economic theories. So at best I’d suppose they’d tolerate the suggestion that business should depart China, to an extent- but not relocate to the US because of cost. Thus, they might simply leave us similarly dependent upon India.
What could go wrong?
Regardless, I suspect- and hope- that the reaction to the present crisis will remove these sort of folks from their positions of power and influence. Things work until they don’t- and should be incandescently obvious even to the most oblivious that our present policies have led to some problems. Most notably, our hapless political class has been instrumental in creating the 21st century equivalent of the menace of Nazi Germany, only worse.
It does not make me think better of them to know they got paid very well for that.
China will still have the machines and the trained staff and the physical capability to make an iPhone — Apple will not.
Brief comment- I recently happened to read a blogpost by someone claiming that the only thing China got from making an iPhone was eight dollars.
No, really. That person was actually stupid enough to say that, online, where other people could read it, and remember.
I’m not sure if I remember exactly where I read that, because for obvious reasons I don’t usually waste my time reading such idiocy.
But I think it was a rather well-known and long-lasting libertarian blog.
I won’t name it because- well, I want this to be brief, and I don’t want to feel obligated to check.
I don’t think that would make any sense though, nor would it explain if that’s true why there aren’t outbreaks everywhere.
I think you miss the point, The cruise ship was an example of MAXIMUM exposure. Everybody was aboard for weeks. The aircraft carrier is also a near max exposure situation. That captain should have set up an isolation section. He has a healthy population to start with.
This is also borne out by the experience on the cruise ships where the important number wasn’t how many became infected as much as how many didn’t, given that the exposure rate must have been close to 100%.
I agree with this, too. Taiwan has had no closing of the economy and 6 deaths. They have been using masks and other precautions.
Crowds are not healthy for reasons other than the WuFlu. A vaccine will probably be available by fall. We cannot wait for it to resume economic activity.
Movie theaters and airlines will still have issues.
The other question is why in hell is the antibody testing taking so long to get going ?
CDC and FDA have a lot to answer for when this is over.
“I think you miss the point, The cruise ship was an example of MAXIMUM exposure. ”
I don’t know enough about the conditions on board to agree with this. I am on record here of attacking keeping people on board, as it was going on, but I think they were trying to keep people apart. Maximum exposure is stuff like the Kirkland senior center, etc.
Gavin, Apple is an outlier in terms of company exposure to China, and fully deserves its fate. You keep picking on outliers as your examples. This affects your credibility.
As far as we know now, the virus is spread through droplets. Maximum exposure would require a lot of sneezing, coughing, spitting, or intimate contact like kissing, hugging, hand shaking etc. all in enclosed spaces. Would you see all that on a tropical cruise? Maybe, I’m not so sure. Do they still have singles cruises?
I’ve never been on an aircraft carrier, so I can’t say how much or how little space they have. Do they let the crew below deck come up and soak in some of those sunny skies and breath in some of that warm ocean breeze? That could be a factor.
I would think family gatherings are more likely riskier, as what happened here or here shows.
The cruise ship was a closed system with 3500 people. They were aboard for weeks. Half were crew and probably younger than the passengers. The passengers were healthier than nursing home residents who rarely go on cruises.
I suppose you could come up with an example of hundreds of people locked in a small room but that is unrealistic.
I am on record here of attacking keeping people on board, as it was going on, but I think they were trying to keep people apart.
OK again how do you measure this. I think there was a lot of concern about keeping them aboard but it happened.
There is actually some uncertainty about sneezing, etc. The distribution of asymptomatic cases is the subject.
Tom H: “Apple is an outlier in terms of company exposure to China, and fully deserves its fate.”
Let’s hope it is an outlier. It is ok to use an outlier for demonstration purposes, since Chicago Boyz is a blog, not an academic journal where quantification & footnotes are in order. But you know that, Tom.
Go back to Trent’s pithy summary of the Real Economy issue: “We have entered the world of “End Run Production“ as world wide supply chains grind to a halt from various fiddly bits of intermediate parts running out without replacement.”
The nuts, bolts, nails in my local hardware store mostly say “Made in China”. It is those absolutely essential but cheap little “fiddly bits” that may shut down what is left of US production. As the old children’s rhyme says, the King can lose his Kingdom “for want of a horse shoe nail”. In the aftermath of the 2011 Japanese tsunami, a number of Western companies were stunned to find out that, even though they had been careful to have two competing suppliers for critical sub-assemblies, in some cases both of those suppliers were themselves dependent for a key component on the same factory in that part of Japan.
We really do need to re-shore a lot of manufacturing (not switch it to another country which may be even less reliable than China). All I am trying to say is that the process of re-shoring is going to be longer and more difficult than some seem to think. On the other hand, re-shoring could spark an investment boom in the US, creating jobs and needed tax revenues. First we need a Congress that will stop being the heart of the problem and transform itself into part of the solution.
What WE need to do is gear up. Set up the factories, heavy manufacturing facilities, Large power plants producing reliable energy.Foundries, steel mills and refineries. Get rid of the EPA, DOT, DHS, and on and on. The United States needs to get back to basics. HARD work, satisfying work. Make cars that WE the people can work on and take care of. Take care of in our drive ways without having to bring it to some electronic specialist who charges you $120.00 just to hook up his diagnostic device to find out what’s wrong with your car. Simple cars. To hell with gas mileage. Make them simple. As far as minorities and women Res Ipsa Loquitur. No more AA, no more woman’s rights, no more NOTHING favoring the minority and mentally handicapped. No more reducing our society to the lowest common denominator. No more. Whoever you are you exceed according to your abilities. No more minority pass through, no more grading on curves, no more bullshit about social status or race. YOU exceed…..according to YOUR abilities.YOUR abilities nothing more. Finally, bring back what it really means to be an AMERICAN. ONE FLAG. ONE ALLEGIANCE! Come to this country without hand outs. Without disease. Come to this country as an AMERICAN, not some hyphenated bullshit artist looking for government cheese!
Gavin, Apple is an outlier in terms of company exposure to China, and fully deserves its fate. You keep picking on outliers as your examples. This affects your credibility.
How about General Motors? Or Ford?
I’ve continually seen stories over the years about how those vehicle companies lament how little they have invested in China and how little they source from China and how eager they are to correct those lapses.
Are those companies also outliers in the sense Apple is?
I note also the recent notice that the US cannot produce almost any of the medicine we require because almost all precursor chemicals are produced in China. Most of the rest are apparently produced in India. Hence I conclude Apple, GM, and Ford are in no way outliers compared to the actual practices of a vast portion of corporate America.
Hence, I have a different evaluation of whose credibility is affected- and it ain’t Gavin Longmuirs.
Mike K: So you don’t actually know anything about how cruise ships work, then. It’s not like they were all in the same room, at all. There was an attempt, however flawed, to keep people isolated from each other. If the ship was representative we wouldn’t have seen things like 30 people dead in rural Georgia because of an outbreak that was sparked by a single funeral.
At any rate, this is silly, I confess I was ticked off by your “I think you miss the point” condescension, but this isn’t really worth the pixels to bicker over.
Here’s a way to reach agreement–your nemesis Penny isn’t going to be saying much positive about Russia for a while, since they are clearly seeing a serious outbreak that they can’t ignore and/or cover up anymore.
Remember the norovirus outbreaks on cruise ships a few years back? That’s spread strictly by fecal contact. Shows everything you need about conditions on cruise ships. They are a very small area with mostly common areas with a lot of people. They are guaranteed breeding grounds for all sorts of things. The crews expend considerable effort to keep it under control.
While the ships were drifting off shore, the crews were circulating, delivering meals to the passengers and performing other necessary chores. They had to be exposed to the infected passengers, they also occupied much more crowded quarters. I can’t believe that every single person on those ships wasn’t exposed many times to many different infected people.
In the aftermath of the 2011 Japanese tsunami, a number of Western companies were stunned to find out that, even though they had been careful to have two competing suppliers for critical sub-assemblies, in some cases both of those suppliers were themselves dependent for a key component on the same factory in that part of Japan
Or so they claimed. The Detroit Big Three had been squeezing their suppliers for years, extending payment terms out to ridiculous durations such as 60 to 120 days and demanding suppliers operate on the slimmest margins possible, and then demanding they operate on slimmer margins than were possible. A lot of suppliers used the tsunami as an excuse to not walk but run to the foreign automakers in the South and Southeast.
I agree that some things are just not every going to come back. I still don’t believe smart phones will ever be profitably made in the USA. But with durable goods all it will take is a nice attitude adjustment to reshore most of it.
The public data is crap. I want to know, who gets it, who dies, how old they were and what other co-morbidity they had. Saying State x or gathering x had this or that numbers of infections and deaths means NOTHING.
The anecdotal stories are horrific. But the data is “meh”.
Specifically- Kirkland nursing home- how many of the staff and the first responders died? We know lots of the residents, old and sick died, and we know lots of the staff and first responders got infected- exactly how bad off are they?
Next-the Diamond Princess- cruises tend to be filled with older folks- how many of the crew were infected, and how many died? The crew have to be the most widely exposed of all on the ship, by nature of their duties.
Counterpoint- The CVN Roosevelt- how many of the crew, presumably young and fit got infected, and what are their outcomes?
We know this is rampaging through nursing homes and elderly populations- how bad is it really, among the younger and fit sectors of the population? The stats from Italy say it is minuscule.
I don’t know what is going on, but committing economic seppuku because people are getting sick does not help us at all.
“Remember the norovirus outbreaks on cruise ships a few years back? That’s spread strictly by fecal contact. Shows everything you need about conditions on cruise ships. They are a very small area with mostly common areas with a lot of people. They are guaranteed breeding grounds for all sorts of things. The crews expend considerable effort to keep it under control.
While the ships were drifting off shore, the crews were circulating, delivering meals to the passengers and performing other necessary chores. They had to be exposed to the infected passengers, they also occupied much more crowded quarters. I can’t believe that every single person on those ships wasn’t exposed many times to many different infected people.”
The common thing all those people on the Diamond Princess have in common is exposure to third world sanitary conditions. How? Third world employees working for the cruise lines.
Who do you think it is that prepares the food onboard? Cleans the galleys? Washes the dishes? Cleans the carts used to deliver food to cabins? Third world employees who do not wash their hands.
Aboard Navy ships the sanitary conditions are not third world, but they are very close quarters. I am retired USN, 1994-2014, and I did seven deployments on four separate aircraft carriers. Every deployment a gastro virus broke out and made a rapid tour through the crew. I got it once, it is no fun spewing out of both ends simultaneously.
COVID-19 breaks out on such a ship and it will sweep through in less than a week, as we can see with the Roosevelt.
Regarding manufacturing, I have also been wondering how much longer things can go on as they are. Food manufacturers like Kraft don’t make the cardboard boxes their mac and cheese comes in, they get them from somewhere. How is Kraft’s supply of packaging doing? How are vegetable growers doing on their cardboard boxes they put their pickings in? How are electrical utilities doing for spare parts to keep the power grid up?
There are lots of 3rd order effects that are going to gut manufacturing that have not been felt yet.
Don’t construe my comments as criticism of the crews. On the contrary, they have performed admirably through what could only be described as harrowing conditions. As your experience shows, thousands of people on a ship is guaranteed to allow this sort of thing to spread, even with precautions.
I think it is shameful that even now there are around 80,000 cruise ship crew persons drifting off the coast of Florida with no apparent plan to repatriate them. Florida was perfectly willing to profit off the cruise ship industry and completely unwilling to deal with the consequences.
We should not raise the lockdowns until:
o Hand Sanitizer is readily available.
o Medicinal Alcohol is readily available.
o Latex/Nitrile gloves are readily available
o N95 Masks/Respirators are readily available
o Surgical Masks are readily available
o Reliable antibody/Corona tests are available, and don’t require endless bulls–t hoops to get.
These are not hard problems. They are regulatory and special interest political problems for the most part.
Taking alcohol out of gasoline and letting distillers make sanitizer are two of that list.
Cost plus federal contracts for new PPE production capability and a year’s maximum production would do the rest.
My expectation is we will raise lockdown regardless in a few weeks.
“Reliable antibody/Corona tests are available”
I actually have no idea if this is a hard problem or not, but it’s absolutely essential. I have no idea who to trust either, the CDC/FDA have been terrible, there are lots of companies putting out press releases about how they have treatments/tests/vaccine potential, etc., but who knows what’s true? And the inaccuracy of all the tests so far is pretty horrifying.
“My expectation is we will raise lockdown regardless in a few weeks.”
I don’t know what “raise lockdown” even means at this time. Restaurants aren’t going to reopen, and so there’s a LOT of jobs that ain’t coming back until a vaccine. Ditto every job that has to do with conferences, concerts, sports events, etc. Schools aren’t going to reopen until fall, and even then, absent a miracle vaccine, I see a *lot* of people homeschooling.
Brian, one nice thing about this blog is that there is little of the snarking and attacking I see on other blogs.
Mike K: So you don’t actually know anything about how cruise ships work, then.
I have been on a couple of cruise ships, so I do know something about how they work. I have not been an employee so my knowledge of the details of operation are limited. I do know that everyone eats in the same dining room and spends days in the casino or other attractions,. The crew is usually filipino or other third world citizen.
So let’s stipulate that none of us know more detail unless you have been an officer of a cruise ship.
Can we agree that antibody testing is important ? I don’t know why the rollout has been so slow. My understanding is that CDC and FDA have been obstacles.
As far as lockdown is concerned, summer is almost here and many restaurants have outdoor seating which could be used. It’s difficult to eat with a mask on so I expect that will be a concern.
Movie theaters and airlines will be another matter.
In a way, all these lockdowns remind me of the TSA. Instead of concentrating on likely vectors, everyone gets the same investigation. With a huge proportion of deaths and infections in nursing homes, seems like that would be one good place to start-are all those nurses on lockdown? Or do we allow them to be in the hotspot, then go shopping?
The thing that really concerns me is supply chain dismemberment. Expecting a bunch of politicians and bureaucrats to have ANY idea of what is “essential” is insane.
They tried that for 75 odd years in the USSR and could not figure it out.
Anyone doubting this should go back and watch Milton Friedman’s “Pencil”.
Having 2% of the people produce all our food relies on a vast and interconnected network of resources- we do not have a backstop or plan B here- if the supply chain here gets fubar , we starve. Starving people get edgy.
I have never seen a more likely scenario for “lack of a nail…..”
I don’t think the servers and support staff are more likely to be major vectors of ChiCom virus infection. Stomach flu makes the leap from passengers to staff because fecal matter is sticky, robust, easily passed along from touch to touch. Sneezes, coughs, breath aerosols are shorter-lived. I’m not saying it won’t happen, but that for respiratory infections the crew will be further downstream in the whole process.
I will concede that worries about spreading from boxes and packaging are probably overblown.
One thing I do know for sure is that food packaging is an essential business. They are running full speed on production as much as humanly possible.
I live in suburban Philadelphia – Montgomery County, one of the earliest outbreaks in the state was near me. The first institutions to react were the nursing homes – one of our HS teams biggest fans is a resident, and he stopped asking for a ride to a state playoff game because “the wardens have taken away my hall pass”. This was a week before the State response started. Not universal I’m sure, but the well run facilities were certainly in front of this.
I would be interested in a study of the facilities that did have outbreaks, and what the breakdowns were. I suspect a big reason for NYC’s high death rate is that it got into a higher portion of them than elsewhere.
Everyone is screwing up the response to the virus. In BC we are very lucky to have Dr Bonnie Henry as our chief medical officer. She coordinated the response to SARS in Toronto in 2004. Even here with all the knowledge, a compliment population of aging hippies, and a high standard of living, we have made many mistakes in dealing with this. We still are not testing enough although that is starting to change. We are doing fairly well, especially on Vancouver Island. We are talking about shutting down the ferries now, although that’s not gonna happen. ;)
The rest of the world with a couple of exceptions is doing far worse, and populations are paying for many many mistakes made, in handling this pandemic.
What the antibody tests will show is that 80%+ of the population was never at risk. We may never know what made the difference and even if we do figure it out, it won’t probably be the same next time. There will be a next time. China isn’t the only place with wet markets, a lot of the countries that we are talking about as alternatives in Asia do as well. Then there’s Africa which has already given us HIV, Ebola and Marburg not to mention South America.
The 70% infection rates were never plausible from the beginning. The rate for the Spanish flu was around 30%. This was from when most were swallowing the Chinese spin whole. Anything with an infection rate that high would have been impossible to hide from very early even in China.
Disengaging from China will be a long, painful and expensive process. A great many big brands will find themselves competing against their former suppliers who will be using their own designs. They have some recourse here in the U.S. to block import of stolen IP, don’t expect the EU to do the same.
MCS: I believe the models showing 70% infection rates were assuming that society basically didn’t react at all, and just went about normal business, which is of course a moronic assumption for something that isn’t “just the flu.”
“N95 Masks/Respirators are readily available”
I think that even the homemade masks are going to be sufficient to allow things to “reopen” (whatever that means). Requiring N95s for everyone would be a major blocker and drag things out almost indefinitely.
There has not been much discussion so far on collateral health damage from the over-reaction to C-19 — as opposed to discussion of the growing collateral economic damage. Here is an interesting snippet from the UK Health Service Journal:
“National NHS leaders are to take action over growing fears that the “unintended consequences” of focusing so heavily on tackling covid-19 could do more harm than the virus, HSJ has learned. …
Public Health England data published last week showed ED [Emergency Department] attendances had plummeted to around half of the normal level in the three weeks to Sunday 29 March – an unprecedented shift in demand. …
Attendances relating to myocardial infarction at emergency departments have dropped right down, whereas ambulance calls in relation to chest pain have gone right [up]. “It’s possible that people are therefore staying away from hospital then getting even sicker as a result, but there is not the data available yet to prove this hypothesis.” …”
Never plausible means not plausible now, not plausible then, not plausible period. A 70% infection rate with a high mortality rate could not have been hidden and this was what we were told was the case.
We now know that it had been circulating for months in China and the world before it came to attention and should have known then whether the Chinese admitted it or not. There was never any evidence that I know of to make such an extraordinary claim and plenty to contradict it.
This is simply another example of what happens when a “model” is based on bad information. You can say that there wasn’t enough time to test it before it was spread far and wide. The bill for it is coming due and it will be a whopper.
As this fizzles as I expect and hope it is, the narrative will switch from Trump hesitated, people died to Trump overreacted, people died so fast it will make you dizzy. Trump is not exaggerating when he says the decision to end this is the most important he’s ever made. He has to make it without knowing what the actual situation is, especially how many people are still at risk.
If he only succeeded in flattening the curve, which was all he claimed, it will mean a continuance of disease and death for some time into the future. Not something he’s likely to get credit for.
Something else to keep an eye out for: If ah high proportion of the population is already resistant as the low infection rate implies, any candidate vaccine may have a hard time producing antibodies in a lot of people.
The notion that Trump overreacted is a stupid BS narrative that I personally will never, ever subscribe to, because I’ve lived through the last several months…:)
Where I live the worry is how to expand the number of ICU beds at the hospital to care for the the massive overflow. 16 at the beginning of the year, expanded to 72 at the beginning of April. Now that those are all full the entire ER is being converted with 30 more beds. So I guess we’re at a different stage in this than some of you other guys.
Again, we’re all making some assumptions that I find may leave us still in the dark. No one wants to mention toilet habits for instance even though some early reports indicated that this spreads more easily through fecal matter, which is a good reason to emphasize hand washing. There may be a reason that the Iowa meat plant had trouble — there are specific rules for using a bathroom for the most devout Muslims that involve copying Mohammed that I’m going to leave out for now, but you can check with shariah laws.
This plant had an enormous crew of former Somalis who are extremely devout. We’ve seen great numbers of the Iranis die and most of the House of Saudi Arabia is infected. Is this a vector? I suspect yes, but our cdc is not checking for that as it would offend some. Frankly, I’d think they’d want to do more to protect these people, but then, I think health care should be to get more info on this virus rather than worrying about offending people. It’s not a polite subject, but there are some real differences in cultures about toilet habits.
It’s one of the things I’ve been wondering might have influenced the death rates in China— between spitting and toilet use, there are real differences. Maybe it would allow a better policy rather than destroying the country.
I’m really afraid that we may face a real famine if farmers continue to lose sales because we closed down restaurants. So far, it’s looking worse and worse where that’s concerned. I don’t want to see us become the Ukraine under the Soviets….
“This plant had an enormous crew of former Somalis who are extremely devout. We’ve seen great numbers of the Iranis die and most of the House of Saudi Arabia is infected. Is this a vector? I suspect yes, but our cdc is not checking for that as it would offend some.”
We know fecal/oral is a factor, whether the CDC has studied it or not:
“In a paper posted Tuesday to the preprint server medRxiv, researchers collected samples in late March from a wastewater treatment plant serving a large metropolitan area in Massachusetts and found that the amount of SARS-CoV-2 particles in the sewage samples indicated a far higher number of people likely infected with Covid-19 than the reported cases in that area.”
Consider the sanitary conditions in nursing homes, where fecal contamination is a gigantic factor in disease transmission, and for the same exact reasons: Staff from third world countries who don’t wash their hands. Washing of hands is a huge problem even among US born staff at nursing homes.
South Korea and Singapore contained their outbreaks through rigid hand washing procedures. Hands are scrubbed before and after any contact with patients, and before and after contacting any potentially contaminated surfaces. The latter is applied for ALL hospital staff, even the cleaning crew.
Interesting explanation of the meat packing plant cases.
Taiwan tried to warn the WHO in December about the virus and got a zero response.
Taiwanese health officials alerted WHO of the infectivity of coronavirus in late December 2019, but the organization failed to report the claims to other countries, according to a Financial Times report.
Weeks after receiving Taiwan’s warning, on Jan. 14, WHO repeated China’s claim that coronavirus was not contagious among humans.
Is there any confirmation of the Somali factoid? I’m not doubting it, and I think the MSM would absolutely refuse to cover it, I’d just like to see a source.
Food sanitation is definitely going to be an issue. Don’t they say that things like e coli outbreaks on lettuce are because farm workers often crap in the fields? What’s going to happen if that’s a coronavirus spreading vector?
All good points about sanitation.
The next discussion should be about why some young people die from the virus. It might be cytokine storm, a phenomenon that occurs in other conditions like chemotherapy.
There is even speculation about different strains of the virus with different reactions.
Human coronaviruses (hCoVs) can be divided into low pathogenic and highly pathogenic coronaviruses. The low pathogenic CoVs infect the upper respiratory tract and cause mild, cold-like respiratory illness. In contrast, highly pathogenic hCoVs such as severe acute respiratory syndrome CoV (SARS-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome CoV (MERS-CoV) predominantly infect lower airways and cause fatal pneumonia.Severe pneumonia caused by pathogenic hCoVs is often associated with rapid virus replication, massive inflammatory cell infiltration and elevated pro-inflammatory cytokine/chemokine responses resulting in acute lung injury (ALI), and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).
We have heard about an “S” strain and an “L” strain already.
I do not like this, given the known terrible results in at least a few nursing homes:
“The state Health Department says coronavirus has infected residents of more than half of New York’s nursing homes, but it refuses to identify the facilities.”
News from the front. It appears that over half of all infected are asymptotic. Perhaps even more. This explains both the very wide spread and the great difficulty in preventing that spread.
In other words. Its much worse than you think it is.
Tiresome troll PenGun.
Hear say, but a resident of Sweden, commenting on another forum, indicated the Somali population there was disproportionately affected by the wu-flu.
“Tiresome troll PenGun.” Supplying you with information is my hobby Mike. You don’t seem to have much these days. ;)
The Somali’s will be black people and they are affected quite a bit more than white people. Its probably because white people make Vitamin D better. Keeping your D level high is good idea for general immunity and certainly for this virus.
Supplying misinformation seems to be PenGun’s thing.
How about your “million beds?” Go away and pester someone else.
Yes, PenGun is usually irritating but he has tempered his rudeness over the years – a little.
Our irritation is that we have to do back to think through how he is wrong – 95+% of the time.
Pengun: “News from the front. It appears that over half of all infected are asymptotic.”
Hardly news. That has been well-known since early days. Go back and look at the Diamond Princess case.
In case there was another piece of “news” that anyone missed, the At Risk population is those who are old and/or sick. Very few working age people die from C-19.
There is lots of good “news”. That is why the Powers That Be are ignoring it.
“How about your “million beds?” Go away and pester someone else.” Here ya go:https://www.aha.org/statistics/fast-facts-us-hospitals
For what it’s worth:
Read it, but the thesis seems to be that the epidemic follows a fixed course, peaking at six weeks and starting to subside by eight.
The doctor making the observation is too smart to offer an explanation but that won’t stop me from pointing out that it would be consistent with a highly contagious, easily spread pathogen that quickly infects nearly everyone in a population that’s susceptible and then peters out.
If there’s a single factor that is protecting most of the population, it will be hard to find and there’s no guarantee that there’s only one, or that any one thing is common to all the resistant population. The wide variance between locations would seem to argue that resistance is more complex than one single antibody.
We’ll know in a few weeks if infection rates stay high as the lockdown ends. Even if the epidemic has mostly burned out, some new infections are bound to occur, it will all come down to the rate.
Make no mistake, the lockdown will end and soon. The country, and the world for that matter, is in as dire a predicament as the person living from paycheck to paycheck with all credit cards maxed out and nothing in the bank. We could live off savings if we hadn’t spent them decades ago.
“Hardly news. That has been well-known since early days.” We certainly knew, from the Chinese data, that the infection was at its most infectious for the first 3 or 4 days, before symptoms appeared. We also knew that a certain percentage showed no symptoms.
What we have just found out, is that somewhere between 50% and 80% show no symptoms.
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