Is the coronavirus the pin that will end the 10 year-long Everything Bubble?
Quite possibly, cautions Sven Henrick, technical analyst and lead market strategist for Northman Trader.
For too many years now, the financial markets have been conditioned that “dips don’t last”. Confident that the Fed will always provide the liquidity needed to push assets higher, investors have come to believe that risk doesn’t matter.
Well, covid-19 is exactly the kind of unexpected exogenous shock that central banks are powerless against. No amount of intervention by the Fed, the ECB or the PBoC will slow the spread of the virus, or force-start factories idle from workers quarantines.
So, what to expect from here? In terms of damage to market prices, we haven’t seen anything yet, predicts Sven.
And today’s failed recovery is a sign that the previously-bulletproof market ‘exuberance’ of the past decade is now losing out to ‘fear’.
Combine further spread of the virus with continued de-celeration of global trade, then “all bets are off” warns Sven.
Click the play button below to listen to Chris’ interview with Sven Henrich (44m:45s)
Here's some 'fake' news for you to decipher - NOTE that 'monitoring' is a word that lets you fill in the obvious conclusion that 8400 people actually HAVE the covid-19 virus.... THAT is where your mind takes it to its logical conclusion...
They do NOT have a virus of any kind... see how they manipulated you into thinking otherwise???
California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday that 33 people have tested positive for COVID-19 and the state is currently monitoring at least 8,400 others —a day after U.S. health officials confirmed the first possible community transmission of the coronavirus in a Solano County resident.
“This is a fluid situation right now and I want to emphaize the risk to the American public remains low,” said Dr. Sonia Y. Angell, California Department of Public Health Director and State Health Officer during a press conference. “There have been a limited number of confirmed cases to date.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention doesn’t know exactly how the new California patient, who’s receiving medical care in Sacramento County, contracted the virus. The patient didn’t have a relevant travel history or exposure to another patient with the virus, the CDC said Wednesday.
California health officials said the patient wasn’t under quarantine before her diagnosis and was out and about in her community.
“We are currently in deep partnership with CDC on one overriding protocol that drives our principle focus right now and that’s testing, and the importance to increase our testing protocols and to have point of contact diagnostic testing as our top priority not just in the state of California but I imagine all across the United States,” Newsom said at a press conference.
Newsom said five of the 33 patients who tested positive for the virus have since left the state. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the 33 positive cases were part of the group of Diamond Princess passengers who were evacuated from the cruise ship that was quarantined off the coast of Japan. The U.S. had 60 cases as of Wednesday night, 42 of which are people who were on the ship, according to the CDC.
California health officials have 200 testing kits on hand and will be receiving more over the next few days, Newsom said.
“We have just a few hundred testing kits and that’s surveillance testing as well as diagnostic testing. That’s simply inadequate to do justice to the kind of testing that is required to address this issue head on,” he said.
Newsom said that the CDC has made “firm commitments” to improve the state’s testing capacity, but did not provide details, such as how many testing kits the agency has agreed to send to the state.
Dr. Drew Pinsky joins the panel to discuss how the media has created hysteria over the coronavirus outbreak. He breaks down the actual facts about the virus that caused the World Health Organization (WHO) to issue an international health emergency.
Scientists, medical professionals, and governments around the world are working to understand how the new respiratory disease ravaging Hubei province spreads—and how bad it could be for the rest of the world. Part of this effort is epidemiology: the study of how infections move through populations and how to control them.
Epidemiology incorporates everything from geography to complex mathematics in its effort to understand the spread of disease. Here are some basic epidemiological concepts that can help you get past the panic, misinformation, and xenophobia that tend to drive conversations around a newly emerging illness.
Spread it out
One quantity scientists use to measure how a disease spreads through a population is the "basic reproduction number," otherwise known as R0 (pronounced "R naught," or, if you hate pirates, "arr not"). This number tells us how many people, on average, each infected person will in turn infect. While it doesn't tell us how deadly an epidemic is, R0 is a measure of how infectious a new disease is, and helps guide epidemic control strategies implemented by governments and health organizations.
If R0 is less than 1, the disease will typically die out: Each infected person has a low chance of passing the infection along to even one additional individual. An R0 larger than 1 means each sick person infects at least one other person on average, who then could infect others, until the disease spreads through the population. For instance, a typical seasonal flu strain has an R0 of around 1.2, which means for every five infected people, the disease will spread to six new people on average, who pass it along to others.
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R0 values for well-known diseases.Sara Chodosh
Measles is a champion disease in this respect. Its R0 is usually cited between 12 and 18, meaning each person with measles infects between 12 and 18 new people in an unvaccinated population. In the era before widespread vaccination, measles could easily sicken an entire school’s worth of children. Vaccinate your kids!
"Herd immunity" also depends on R0. The more people immune to a disease in a population, the fewer are available to be infected. If immunity reaches a critical level through vaccination or just naturally running out of new people to infect, the disease is starved out. Herd immunity is easier to achieve for lower R0 values because the disease doesn't spread as readily.
But it’s important to remember that R0 is a statistical estimate of how a disease spreads in a particular population if it's left unchecked. SARS and MERS both have higher R0 values (between 2 and 5) than the seasonal flu, but never spread widely enough to become worldwide epidemics. Flu, on the other hand, is always widespread despite having a relatively small basic reproduction number: the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimate between 3 and 11 percent of the US population gets sick with the flu every year.
That brings us back to the coronavirus now known as COVID-19. Because the disease is fairly new to medicine, researchers are still tabulating the data required to calculate R0 more or less in real time. As of February 19, 2020, estimates placed R0 above 1.4 but below 4, well within the range for other coronaviruses like SARS. (See this excellent Lifehacker article for more about the issues surrounding COVID-19 and R0.)
Another important number for understanding diseases is the "case fatality rate" or CFR: What percentage of people who have a disease die from it? On one extreme, we have rabies, which has a 99 percent fatality rate if untreated. On the other is the common cold, which has a relatively high R0 but is almost never fatal (the exceptions being mostly immunocompromised people). The seasonal flu has a low CFR, but enough people get it every year that the CDC estimates as many as 30,000 Americans may have died from it between October 2019 and February 2020.
Similarly, measles is extremely infectious, but rarely fatal (though its spooky effect on the immune system can make victims susceptible to other life-threatening diseases). Smallpox was less infectious with an R0 of 5 to 7, but its CFR of roughly 30 percent made it devastating. Measles, though less serious, has such a high infection rate that it needs a much larger vaccinated population for proper herd immunity; smallpox vaccines achieved herd immunity at much lower rates, and wiped the illness out entirely by 1980.
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The CFR for an emerging disease like COVID-19 is remarkably hard to estimate accurately, simply because all the numbers involved are relatively small. A preliminary calculation from February 8, 2020 estimates CFR of about 1.4 percent—meaning out of 1,000 infected people, around 14 will die—but that’s based only on cases from outside China, since the data from that nation’s government has been unreliable. The numbers will likely shift over the next weeks and months, but the CFR for COVID-19 seems to be lower than for SARS and MERS. However, the high concentration of cases in one region of China is putting a huge stress on the healthcare infrastructure, which is a concern for any major epidemic.
Knowing what we don’t know
Epidemiology is a game of "ifs" and approximations. Case fatality rates, basic reproduction numbers, and other quantities are derived from real-world data using mathematical models of disease. Because infections depend on a complex set of conditions, including things like weather and holiday travel, two outbreaks of the same virus might result in different-looking epidemics. That's why R0 is usually given as a range of numbers and we hedge our language: not because our models are bad, but because reality itself is messy.
At the same time, epidemiology demystifies disease and guides how we deal with it. It both models how diseases jump from nation to nation in our interconnected age, and shows that citywide quarantines and travel bansdon’t curtail the spread of an infection very much—while seriously disrupting the lives of the people who aren’t infected, along with their respective economies. And finally, epidemiology lets us compare COVID-19 to other epidemics, to inform us how bad it currently is and how widespread it might become if governments don’t handle it properly. We might not know everything about COVID-19 yet, but the knowledge from epidemiology helps us understand what it will take to beat it.
An intriguing connection related to one of America's top health officials at the center of the national discussion over the potential severity of the coronavirus in America has some wondering about a conspiracy, while others find only a coincidence.
Fears that the coronavirus will have devastating impacts beyond those already being registered around the globe have triggered a major Wall Street selloff. President Donald Trump has pushed back against the culture of panic.
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But is there a political tinge to the pronouncements? Speculation that there could be rose after it was discovered that the health official making dire pronouncements about the impact of the coronavirus contrary to those offered by Trump is connected to another high-profile individual who was often at odds with the president -- former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Rosenstein, who played a role in the firing of former FBI Director James Comey, had a checkered relationship with Trump. In 2018, The New York Times linked Rosenstein to an internal administration plot to record Trump in secret and then invoke the 25th Amendment, under which a president can be removed for being unfit to perform his duties. Although Rosenstein denied the claim, the accusation cast a shadow over his final months as deputy attorney general.
During a hearing to be confirmed to that post, Rosenstein submitted written testimony saying that his sister was "Dr. Nancy Messonnier and that "she is the Director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."
This week, while the president was trying to reassure Americans that health officials were working to protect Americans, Messonnier was taking a different approach.
“It's not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but more really a question of when it will happen,” she said, according to NPR, adding that a "significant disruption" to Americans' daily lives is possible.
"We are asking the American public to work with us to prepare with the expectation that this could be bad."
The combination of her recent comments and her family connection has led some commentators to voice a concern that Messonnier might be pushing the panic button harder than necessary for motives that had nothing to do with health.
"Rod Rosenstein as we all know definitely worked to undermine the Trump administration, which is oddly exactly what his sister is doing by undermining the more logical and calm message the president’s team has issued on the virus," an article on commentator Wayne Dupree's website read.
The article contrasted the more dire comments voiced by Messonnier and Republican Sen. Mitt Romey of Utah with others from Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.
"It’s interesting to see the contrast in statements from those that are clearly aligned with the president to those who are not," the article went on. "Looks like this is yet another instance of D.C. swamp creatures using any opportunity to undermine President Trump."
Talk show host Rush Limbaugh has said that overhyped predictions about the virus are driven by politics and not medicine.
"It looks like the coronavirus is being weaponized as yet another element to bring down Donald Trump," he said on a recent broadcast.
Others have defended Messonnier.
"I've heard people jumping on Nancy Messonnier because she told us the truth: that it's not a matter of if but when," Republican Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma said, according to Politico. "Isn't that what you want to hear instead of some pie in the sky?"
Some took the approach that if conservative commentators were citing the connection, there must be nothing to it.
Rush Limbaugh and right-wing fringe sites are attacking Dr. Nancy Messonnier, a top CDC official handling the coronavirus response, because she is Rod Rosenstein's sister. They're spreading the lie that she's part of the deep state and trying to tank the markets to weaken Trump.
Many people hear the word "Cytokine Storm" and think it is a weather prediction.
However, this storm is one that can kill you. It is a "body weather prediction".
A cytokine storm can kill you. It occurs when a very severe viral infection (such as Swine Flu H1N1 or Bird Flu H5N1) takes control of your immune system and causes immune confusion in your body. Basically your body starts to work on overdrive and becomes really confused. This reaction called "Cytokine Storm" over activates your body to where normal feedback loops designed to calm things down fail to operate. (See the Medical Dictionary definition here.)
Your immune system becomes a runaway freight train where high fever, massive inflammation, extreme fatigue, vomiting and diarrhea dominate every minute of your existence. Did you know that MOST of the 25 million people that died in the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic died from a cytokine storm? Wow... that's good information to know. You don’t want to be caught in a cytokine storm.
So what does this have to do with you and your family?
I know what you are thinking... "that's great and all, but what does it have to do with me?"
It actually has A LOT to do with you, especially if you are the caretaker of your family, especially if you are using alternative medicine on a consistent basis. Educating yourself about this is EXTREMELY important.
You see, when someone in your house gets "the sniffles" there are so many wonderful ways of treating the illness through a natural route. Elderberry Syrup, First Defense, essential oils, diffusing, baths, glycerides, tinctures... In essence there are a lot of resources to use in order to combat the illness before it gets worse.
However, if someone in your care (including yourself of course) gets ill and it keeps getting worse, and worse, and worse and worse... you could be FEEDING the problem by what herbs you are using.
There are some herbs that COMBAT the Cytokine Storm and aid your body in fighting it, and there are other herbs that actually make it worse.
Here is a list of herbs that help to COMBAT Cytokine Storm (and if you keep getting more and more sick, these are the herbs to INCREASE), basically the good guys:
-St. Johns Wort
-Tea Tree Oil
-Vitamin C (lots of it!)
Now... here is a list of herbs to STOP taking if an illness is starting to escalate to a BAD stage, basically the bad guys:
-Honey (any sugar of any kind makes it worse)
So... How do I recognize a Cytokine Storm?
Once again, if you or anyone in your care is just starting to get sick, the risk of cytokine storm is NOT real. It's okay to use Elderberry Syrup and First Defense, honey syrups, echinacea and all the other things on that list.
However, if these signs show up and the illness keeps escalating, then be aware that a Cytokine Storm could be upon you:
-High Fever for extended period of time (102*+ for 2 full days without breaking) - See this article about the basics of fevers, gives excellent information and medical guidelines.
-Swelling and redness on the body
-Nausea and diarrhea consistent for 2 full days
-Rapid resting heart rate (over 100 beats per minute)
Remember, please seek medical attention in the case of an emergency. Don't avoid medical help when a Cytokine Storm could be upon you or anyone in your care - because it can be fatal!
NMM Suggestions During Illness
As always, the key to staying healthy is PREVENTION. Eat healthy, wash your hands, take daily herbs (like children's multivitamin) to keep your body healthy.
AS SOON as a sniffle is heard in your household, get out the Elderberry Syrup and/or First Defense Cold and Flu Formulas. These formulas are wonderful as a FIRST attack on an illness. Diffuse essential oils and put Tea Tree Oil on the bottom of your feet. Sleep and douse yourself in water, drink water like crazy!
Let me just add - when I JUMP on a "flu bug" as soon as I recognize the symptoms 90% of the time it goes away within 24-48 hours. Literally.
If the flu bug escalates and gets worse within 48 hours, then decrease the herbs on the "bad guys" list above and increase the herbs on the "good guys" list instead. Watch the fevers and stay hydrated. 95% of the time when a flu bug escalates, if you are smart about watching it a cytokine storm won't appear. Just stay aware and educated.
But remember, please don't shy away from medical help if a major problem arises.
You've got this! You can take care of your family!
Globalists Look To Exploit Coronavirus In Push For Global Government
BY BRANDON SMITH/ACTIVIST POST FEBRUARY 24, 2020
Once you understand the globalist mindset, almost everything they do becomes rather robotic and predictable. It should not be surprising that the World Health Organization (WHO), a branch of the United Nations, has been so aggressive in cheerleading for the Chinese government and its response to the coronavirus outbreak.
After all, China's communist surveillance state model is a beta test for the type of centralization that the UN wants for the entire planet. They certainly aren't going to point out that it was China's totalitarian system that allowed the outbreak to spread from the very beginning.
Even now Xi Jinping is trying to rewrite history, claiming that he had been swift in responding to the crisis more than a month before he actually did. The lie that the coronavirus mutated naturally in a food and animal market in Wuhan continues to be peddled by the mainstream media even though no evidence supporting this claim exists.
And China is still releasing rigged death and infection numbers while they have over 600 million people under martial law lockdown and their crematoriums continue pumping out the fumes of the dead 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
Brave health workers like Li Wenliang, who was punished by the government for warning about the virus in December, have died in the process of trying to fight against the centralized behemoth just to get vital information to the world, but that never happened, right?
It was actually president Xi and the CPC that saved the day. The WHO and the CPC say so. You'll never hear the UN praise the efforts of Li Wenliang; they want his name to disappear down the memory hole as much as the Chinese government does.
The developing narrative is a familiar one - Local officials "stifled" the response to the outbreak while the centralized national leadership put things back on track with extreme control measures that have turned the Hubei province into a veritable internment camp.
Whatever you do, don't point out that it was the national government's habit of imprisoning health officials that release "false information" that led to the delayed reaction on the coronavirus.
Also, don't point out that ground zero for the outbreak is just down the road from the largest Level 4 Biohazard Lab in Asia, because that would make you a "conspiracy theorist".
The message being pounded into the public consciousness is clear: "Shut up and accept that Centralization works". Even when it fails miserably, it is still the answer to all our problems. All we have to do is "adjust" the historical record a little bit every time the system breaks and then institute even MORE centralization in response.
In other words, if the interdependent and draconian top-down structure of the globalist state leads to crisis, then it is because it was not centralized ENOUGH. Centralization always begets more centralization.
The financial fascist system of central banking and corporate oligarchy leads to the socialist welfare state, and the socialist welfare state leads to the surveillance state, the surveillance state leads to the martial law state, and the martial law state leads to full-on global governance; an endless elitist empire.
The failings of centralization have caused numerous problems long before it led to a potential pandemic. The pandemic simply clarifies the issue. For example, the breakdown in the global supply chain is becoming a bigger threat by the day. The Baltic Dry Index a measure of shipping rates as well as global demand for goods, has essentially collapsed.
This should have been the first warning sign that the supply chain was in trouble, but the mainstream doesn't pay attention to the fundamentals, only stock markets. Enter Apple, one of the largest companies in the world, which has now abandoned its projections for 2020 and finally admitted that the shutdown of Chinese factories may just be a problem.
Some mentally challenged people out there are scoffing sarcastically at this issue, saying "Oh no, whatever will we do without iPhones...?". They don't grasp the wider implications. If Apple's production is going down because of the supply chain disruption then this is a signal that multiple companies and most of the economy are also going down because of supply chain disruptions. It's not about iPhones, it's about the bigger picture.
Globalism has led to interdependent economies and nation states that no longer have redundancies in production. We have been forced to rely on production centers on the other side of the world for a vast majority of our goods.
When China shuts down, the US economy loses almost 20% of its supply chain. When Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Vietnam shut down from the virus, you can add another 10% to 15% on top of that. Retailers in the US represent around 70% of GDP. Cut off the supply chain in Asia and retailers lose a vast array of goods to sell. The US economy eventually shuts down also, even if the virus never spreads here.
Some people will argue that we don't need all the "cheap plastic crap" from Asia anyway, and this situation is a "good thing". Sorry to break it to you, but America's economy is built on the selling of cheap plastic crap (along with the selling of the fiat dollar as the world reserve currency).
Walmart (Chinamart if you discount agricultural products) is the largest employer in the US and the world, after all. Right or wrong, our economic system is so globalized that the fall of the Chinese dominoes will eventually knock down our own dominoes.
But when this disaster occurs and numerous national economies suffer from enforced globalist integration, guess what will happen next? The globalists will ride to our "rescue" with even greater centralization. This was their agenda all along.
Many people in the liberty movement are now aware of the Event 201 simulation, a war game run by globalists in the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Economic Forum on a "theoretical" coronavirus pandemic that kills 65 million people.
This simulation took place only a couple of months before the real thing exploded in China in December. But hey, maybe that's all just amazing coincidence.
What concerns me even more is the solution that was presented at the end of Event 201 - the creation of a centralized global financial body that would manage the international response to the outbreak.
Isn't it amazing how every major catastrophe caused by globalism seems to lead to more globalism? One might start to wonder if some of these events were triggered by incompetence, or if they were deliberately engineered.
At the very least, crisis events have been allowed to fester unchecked by organizations like the WHO as they continue to write off the coronavirus as a non-issue that is "well under control" by a Chinese government that caused it to spread in the first place.
So here is what is going to happen next:
Best case scenario is that the Western world is mostly unscathed by the virus itself but the economic supply chain suffers major setbacks. The global economy, which was already crashing over the past year due to historic levels of corporate and consumer debt, not to mention faltering exports and freight, is finally tipped over the edge.
The massive Everything Bubble, fueled by a decade of inflationary central bank stimulus, implodes. Governments respond with totalitarian measures in the name of "protecting the public".
Globalist institutions like the IMF step in and suggest that frail national monetary systems come under the management of their Special Drawing Rights basket in order to mitigate the debt crisis. Essentially, this is the first step to global governance.
Worst case scenario, the virus spreads throughout the US and Europe and governments respond the same way China's government has; martial law and full-blown concentration camp culture. This would lead to civil war in the US because we are armed and many people will shoot anyone trying to put us into quarantine camps. Europe is mostly screwed.
The establishment then suggests that paper money be removed from the system because it is a viral spreader. China is already pushing this solution now. Magically, we find ourselves in a cashless society in a matter of a year or two; which is what the globalists have been demanding for years. Everything goes digital, and thus even local economies become completely centralized as private trade dies.
Again, this might be an engineered event, or it might simply be that the globalists are exploiting a natural outbreak. Either way, they are not going to let a good crisis go to waste. Whether or not they succeed is dependent on several factors, but mostly, its dependent on us.
How many people will buy into the notion that centralization is the answer to out problems? How many people will realize that centralization is the CAUSE of all our problems? And how many people will fight to prevent ultimate centralization under a psychopathic globalist cult?
A viral outbreak is a significant danger to us all, but an even greater threat is the supposed cure. Trading our economic and social freedom in the name of stopping the coronavirus? No matter how deadly the bug, it's just not worth it.
Originally published at Activist Post - reposted with permission.
South Korean officials said that a number of members of Shincheongji Church, causing over 1,500 COVID-19 cases in S. Korea, visited Wuhan in January. The authorities will try to find out how many had been to the central Chinese city, epicenter of the virus.
7:36 pm Mar 1
Iran has reported 385 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, making the Middle East country's total infected cases to 978. Among them, 54 died.
7:12 pm Mar 1
The first imported case of coronavirus infection was detected in Shenzhen. Media reported the patient came from London and went back to Shenzhen via Hong Kong. Before the case, the city had reported zero infections for 8 consecutive days.
6:30 pm Mar 1
No evidence to diagnose Pope Francis with anything other than being slightly unwell, Vatican spokesperson told the Global Times on Sunday, refuting rumors that he has contracted COVID-19
6:03 pm Mar 1
As of Saturday or February 29, 806 prison inmates in Wuhan were confirmed ill with the novel coronavirus.
5:54 pm Mar 1
COVID-19 Update, March 1:
- Iran: 43 dead, partial lockdown of Qom region
- USA: 1st death; state of emergency declared in Washington state
- Ireland, Qatar, Luxembourg, Armenia report 1st case
- WHO: global risk raised to 'very high'
5:42 pm Mar 1
A makeshift hospital in Qiaokou district, Wuhan city, closed on March 1 after the last 34 patients were cured and discharged. It is the first makeshift hospital to close in the coronavirus-stricken city as the situation gradually improves.
4:08 pm Mar 1
China's National Immigration Administration said on Sunday that it is readjusting its work focus, by preventing overseas COVID-19 virus from importing into China, because coronavirus risks outside China have incrementally increased.
3:37 pm Mar 1
Nationwide recovery rates for COVID-19 patients reached 52.1 percent in the past week, indicating improving epidemic situation in Wuhan, Hubei and the whole country and relieving pressure on medical system.
3:06 pm Mar 1
Expats in Shanghai are included in a color-based QR code system designed to track people's health. Used as a permit for entering public venues, it catalogues a person's risk exposion level for COVID-19 as red, yellow or green colors, based on big data tech.
1:42 pm Mar 1
As of Feb 24, at least nine medics have reportedly passed away during the epidemic with COVID-19 infection, all aged between 29-63 years. Another 11 have died from other causes including overwork and heart failure.
1:36 pm Mar 1
Thailand reports first coronavirus death on Sunday, according to health official
12:25 pm Mar 1
Australia recorded it's first COVID-19 fatality after a man from Perth, Western Australia died in hospital overnight.
11:11 am Mar 1
Beijing reported two imported cases of COVID-19 infection from abroad on Sunday, taking total cases in the capital to 413 with eight fatalities.
The 2 new confirmed cases in Beijing on Sat were both imported cases. They were close contacts with a COVID-19 patient from Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region when they all stayed in Iran.
11:09 am Mar 1
A Chinese medical team led by Chen Jingyu in Jiangsu Province successfully performed on Saturday the world's first double lung transplant for a 59-year-old COVID-19 patient. The pair of lungs were donated by a brain-dead patient in another province.
10:52 am Mar 1
There are in total 79,968 confirmed COVID-19 infected patients by March 1, 2020, of whom 2,873 have died in the Chinese mainland. The lethality of the diease, or the fatality rate of the novel coronavirus has risen to 3.59%.
10:48 am Mar 1
Zhong Jinxing, 32, a doctor in South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, passed away on Friday after having worked consecutively for 33 days on the frontline against the COVID-19 epidemic. He died from overwork.
9:44 am Mar 1
South Korea reported 376 new cases of coronavirus Sunday, bringing the total number of infections to 3,526.
9:40 am Mar 1
RIP. Jiang Xueqing, 55, doctor at the Wuhan Central Hospital, died of COVID-19 on Sunday.
8:43 am Mar 1
More than 1,000 people infected with COVID-19 were cured and discharged from hospital for 18 consecutive days.
7:40 am Mar 1
Hubei Province reported 570 new cases of novel coronavirus pneumonia on Feb 29, with 34 new deaths and 2,292 cases of recovery. The total number of infections in the province climbed to 66,907 with 31,187 recovered and 2,761 dead.
573 new coronavirus infections, 35 new deaths were reported on Feb 29 in the Chinese mainland. The total infection number soared to 79,824 with 2,870 deaths.
Published on Feb 28, 2020
China. Coronavirus outbreak. All you wanted to know about China virus or coronavirus in project "How People Live" My friends, I am Lyadov, and I am in China doing my vlog. Right now, I intend to go to the Hubei Province, which as many of you already know is described as the source of the coronavirus. This is where the city of Wuhan is, where the coronavirus story started. I want to see how the people there are living.
An adviser to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has died from the new coronavirus, as other top officials in the country are confirmed to be infected, according to multiple reports on Monday.
The Iranian Health Ministry recorded 523 new cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the country's known total to 1,501. They mark a 53 percent increase since the day before.
Mohammad Mirmohammadi, 71, was an Expediency Council member who advised Khamenei and settled disputes between him and parliament. COVID-19 has already infected Iran's vice president and deputy health minister.
His death comes after the government on Monday rejected help from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who announced last week the U.S. was concerned Iran may have covered up details on the spread of the virus.
Scott Burke, CEO of crypto-related firm Groundhog, unleashed what we feel may be the most complete timelines of facts to help understand the controversial links between COVID-19 and HIV, and COVID-19 and Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Want to go down a (strictly fact-based) rabbit hole?
Here is the full slightly-edited-for-formatting twitter thread...
A disclaimer: I am not a virologist. This is me synthesizing what we have learned since the outbreak began and reviewing public scientific papers. I believe each of the following statements is a solid fact, backed up by a citation.
I also want to say that I understand some people are worried about blame being cast for this outbreak. Obviously we are all in this together, and my intention here is not to cast blame. These links overwhelmingly compel further scrutiny, but are not conclusive.
I do think however that information is being downplayed and suppressed by some scientists and media outlets and it’s our duty to find out the facts about this virus, do what we can to mitigate the outbreak, and prevent it from happening again.
Ready?... So there’s original SARS, which is a type of coronavirus. SARS infects cells through the ACE2 receptor in hosts.
The S spike protein plays a key role in how the virus infects cells. Each of the little spikes that surround the coronavirus is a spike protein (or S protein). That’s what gives the coronavirus it’s name - it’s “crown” of these spikes.
The S protein binds to the targeted cell through the ACE2 receptor, and boom, your cell is infected and becomes a virus replication factory.
After the first SARS outbreak, there was a “land rush” to find other coronaviruses. A collection of SARS-*like* coronaviruses was isolated in several horseshoe bat species over 10 years ago, called SARS-like CoVs, or SL-CoVs. Not SARS exactly, but coronaviruses similar to SARS.
In 2007, a team of researchers based in Wuhan, in conjunction with an Australian laboratory, conducted a study with SARS, a SARS-like coronavirus, and HIV-1.
The researchers noted that if small changes were made to the S protein, it broke how SARS-CoV worked - it could no longer go in via ACE2. So they inferred the S protein was critical to the SARS attack vector.
They also predicted based on the S-ACE2 binding structure, that SARS-like CoVs were not able to use this same attack method (ACE2 mediation).
They decided to create a pseudovirus where they essentially put a SARS-like CoV in a HIV envelope.
Using an HIV envelope, they replaced the RBD (receptor binding domain) of SL-CoV with that of SARS-CoV, and used it to successfully infect bats through ACE2 mediation.
12 years goes by... A SARS-like CoV begins sweeping the globe that is far more infectious than previous outbreaks.
Ground Zero for this outbreak (not first human patient, but first spreading event) is considered to be Wuhan Seafood Market.
Wuhan Seafood Market is 20 miles from the National Biosafety Laboratory at Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Amidst the outbreak, a team of Indian bioinformatics specialists at Delhi University released a paper pre-print...
COVID-19 has a unique sequence about 1,378 nucleotide base pairs long that is not found in related coronaviruses. They claimed to identify genetic similarities in this unique material between COVID-19 and HIV-1.
Specifically, they isolated 4 short genetic sequences in key protein structures (the receptor binding domain, or RBD).
Two of the sequences were perfect matches (albeit, short), and two of the sequences were matched but each with an additional string of non-matching material appearing in the middle of the sequence.
The paper was criticized and numerous attempts have been made to debunk it. After the criticism, the authors voluntarily withdrew it, intending to revise it based on comments made about their technical approach and conclusions.
One key debunking attempt claims this:
The same sequences are found in a variant called BetaCoV/bat/Yunnan/RaTG13/2013, which had been found “in the wild” in bats.
This is an attempt to prove that it was not engineered, but mutated naturally in the wild.
But there’s a problem...
This strain was only known by and studied at the Wuhan Virology Institute, and although they claim it was discovered in 2013, it wasn’t published or shared with the scientific community until immediately after the Indian paper, on January 27, 2020.
The RatG13 strain publication and the HIV research paper from 2008 share an author.
I discovered this on my own by comparing the two papers and then quickly realized this scientist’s contact information was the information that ZeroHedge was suspended from Twitter for sharing.
Their article identifies this author in question including some contact information from the Wuhan Virology Institute web site. You can read the public comments and discussion of the original paper here:
There is a line of inquiry about how the sequences are remarkably stable in between the “bat” CoV and the nCoV, where in nature they would likely have mutated in between their shared evolution. Also a call for greater scientific evidence that the strain was collected in the wild.
A researcher works in a laboratory developing testing for the coronavirus. Photo: Kena Betancur/Getty Images
A top federal scientist sounded the alarm about what he feared was contamination in an Atlanta lab where the government made test kits for the coronavirus, according to sources familiar with the situation in Atlanta.
Driving the news: The Trump administration has ordered an independent investigation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lab, and manufacturing of the virus test kits has been moved, the sources said.
Why it matters: At the time the administration is under scrutiny for its early preparations for the virus, the potential problems at the lab became a top internal priority for some officials. But the Trump administration did not talk publicly about the Food and Drug Administration’s specific concerns about the Atlanta lab.
Senior officials are still not saying exactly what the FDA regulator found at the Atlanta lab.
The CDC lab in Atlanta developed the testing formula for the coronavirus test — which the government says works — and was manufacturing relatively small amounts of testing kits for laboratories around the country. This is where the lab ran into problems, per sources familiar with the situation.
FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahnsaid, in a statement to Axios, that government agencies have already worked together to resolve the problems with the coronavirus tests.
“Upon learning about the test issue from CDC, FDA worked with CDC to determine that problems with certain test components were due to a manufacturing issue,” he said.
“We worked hand in hand with CDC to resolve the issues with manufacturing. FDA has confidence in the design and current manufacturing of the test that already have and are continuing to be distributed. These tests have passed extensive quality control procedures and will provide the high-level of diagnostic accuracy we need during this coronavirus outbreak.”
The big picture: The FDA says it now has full confidence in the coronavirus diagnostic kit, but a slew of new cases announced over the weekend suggest the virus has spread throughout the country while the U.S. government tested only a narrow subset of the population for it.
The U.S. government had admitted to problems with its diagnostic tests — which have put the U.S. well behind China and South Korea in doing large-scale testing of the American public for the coronavirus.
But the U.S. has now tested more than 3,600 people for the virus, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
The big question: It was not immediately clear if or how possible contamination in the Atlanta lab played a role in delays or problems with testing. Nor was it clear how significant or systemic the contamination concerns may be; whether it was a one-time issue that’s easily resolved, or a broader concern involving protocols, safeguards or leadership.
Behind the scenes: The FDA official who visited the Atlanta lab, Timothy Stenzel, is the director of the Office of In Vitro Diagnostics and Radiological Health.
About a week ago, when the Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar was under extreme pressure over the delays in getting coronavirus testing kits to market, Stenzel traveled to Atlanta to help troubleshoot whatever technical problems might have been occurring with the tests.
Stenzel was alarmed by the procedures he witnessed in the Atlanta laboratory and raised concerns with multiple CDC officials, per a source familiar with the situation in Atlanta.
Stenzel is a highly-regarded scientist and diagnostics expert. He was on the ground in Atlanta to deal with technical issues and happened to stumble upon the inappropriate procedures and possible contaminants. He is not a laboratory inspector and thus was not charged with producing an inspection report on the lab conditions.
But he raised the concerns and they have been taken seriously and risen to the highest levels of the U.S. government.
On Thursday afternoon, the concerns about the Atlanta laboratory were raised in a conference call that included senior government officials from multiple agencies including the Department of Health and Human Services, the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Institutes of Health.
The call’s purpose was to figure out ways to mass produce the testing kits and get them to market quickly.
The Trump administration says it’s now figured out how to get over those hurdles. An HHS spokesperson promised that by the end of this week, “we will have the capacity to test up to 75,000 individuals” for the coronavirus
What's next: The FDA’s manufacturing concerns — which include the possible contamination of testing kits — have also resulted in the Trump administration ordering an independent investigation of the CDC’s Atlanta laboratory, according to senior officials.
“HHS has launched an investigation and is assembling a team of non-CDC scientists to better understand the nature and source of the manufacturing defect in the first batch of COVID-19 test kits that were distributed to state health departments and others,” said an HHS spokesperson.
“HHS/CDC have been transparent with the American people regarding the issue with the manufacturing of the diagnostic and will be transparent with the findings of this investigation.” (But the administration was not transparent about the senior FDA official's concerns about the conditions and procedures in the Atlanta laboratory.)
A senior administration official added that the government also moved the manufacturing of the coronavirus tests out of the Atlanta laboratory of CDC.
The official said that the CDC engaged with a third party contractor on Feb. 20 to help manufacture the testing kits. The official added that the FDA regulator, Stenzel, visited the Atlanta laboratory on Feb. 22.
Between the lines: Until Thursday, the CDC’s guidance was to only test Americans for the coronavirus if they’d recently traveled to China — or had close contact with someone known to have the virus — and were symptomatic.
Under this policy, the CDC initially refused to test a California patient who didn’t fit this criteria but had the coronavirus, although the CDC disputes that it denied doctors’ testing request.
As of Friday, South Korea had tested 65,000 people for the coronavirus; the U.S. had tested only 459, per Science Magazine. China can reportedly conduct up to 1.6 million tests a week.
Although the World Health Organization has sent testing kits to 57 other countries, the U.S. decided to make its own.
There have also been problems with the tests themselves. On Feb. 12, the FDA announced that health labs across the country were having problems validating the CDC's diagnostic test, Science reports in an in-depth account of what went wrong with the tests.
The FDA announced yesterday that public health labs can create their own diagnostic test. Scott Becker, the CEO of the Association of Public Health Laboratories, told Science that he expects that public health labs will be able to do 10,000 tests a day by the end of the week.
Editor's note: This story has been updated with new details about how many people in the U.S. have been tested for the virus.
Folks, I gotta pass along some info from MySonTheDoctor:
There have now been THREE cases of coronavirus detected in Palm Beach County.
That is here. That is now. The Sneakydicker Fambly has gone to Phase II.
Phase I was just pre-shopping preps for ordinary stuff that might be difficult to find with trade falloff. BTDT.
Phase II (and I want all of you reading this to just go along with it and implement it also):
When you go to fill up your car... Have disposable sanitary gloves on. Easy, cheap, for a big box of them. The rubbery handle of the gas pump is a perfect "storage" facility for holding the virus handy for you.
When you go shopping. Did you wipe off the push-cart handle with an alcohol wipe? Are your wearing your disposable gloves? If not, WHY not?
Go get a box or three of these examination gloves. Get alcohol wipes.
This is not a call to go nuts. This is a fucking wake-up call that this shit is NOT limited to far, far away. So it is time for basic preventive measures. Just be aware of what you touch out there.
How did you open the door to that store? Hm?
Pretend there is WET PAINT on surfaces. Don't let your hands get paint on them.
When you wash your hands, it has gotta be for 15 seconds or more (Doctor's fargin orders, sez Scooter).
Yes, there are as many theories about coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) as there are people talking about it. The reality is that I don’t know the truth about what this virus really is or where it came from and neither do you.
But there’s something that we do know for sure regardless of where this virus came from or whether it even really exists. The hype and fear and panic and pandemonium surrounding this (supposed) outbreak is going to be far worse than the disease could ever be. Because, as I’ve been screaming about for over a decade now, a bioweapon attack (real or manmade, false flag or otherwise) is the perfect cover for a slew of agenda items on the globalist checklist. And the more the population panics, the more they play into the globalists’
Here are five items on The Powers That Shouldn’t Be’s wishlist that are being delivered on a silver platter as people scurry around panicking about coronavirus.
1) Unprecedented surveillance and control of population
As Corbett Reporteers will know by now, China is in many ways the model for the technocratic Brave New World of the 21st century. Social credit scores and facial recognition CCTV networks and government-controlled internet are just the most obvious examples of how governments will seek to surveil and control their populations in the future. So it shouldn’t be surprising that China, as the epicenter of this new coronavirus outbreak, is pioneering new and hitherto undreamt of ways to keep their population in line during the crisis.
The first thing to note is the sheer scale of what the Chinese government is attempting here. The quarantine imposed in Wuhan last month, encompassing a city of 11 million people, was already the largest quarantine in human history. But when that quarantine expanded to include the entire province of Hubei—a population of 57 million people—the scope of the lockdown became nearly unimaginable. How can such a quarantine possibly be maintained?
But to really manage millions of people, you need technological help. And so the Chinese government has been deploying every tool in its arsenal to monitor and maintain restrictions on citizens and their movements.
Flying drones to harass anyone walking around without a mask? Check.
A nationwide video surveillance system called—you can’t make this up—Skynet to help spot quarantine evaders? Check.
A color-coded rating on a smartphone payment app to identify people as low or high-risk for carrying the virus based on their payment and travel history? Check.
If you can think of a creepy and invasive way of tracking and controlling the population, you can bet your bottom dollar that the Chinese government has already thought of it (and is likely already using it).
But here’s the real question: When this is all over, do you think the government will simply shelve these technologies and systems? Or do you think that once this level of control becomes normalized that the authoritarians in the Chinese Communist Party will continue using it?
And here’s the even realer question: Do you think there’s a government anywhere around the world that wouldn’t use this technology on its own population if given a convenient excuse (like, say, a freakout over a novel coronavirus)?
The answers to these questions are obvious, but just look at the prisoner conditioning that has been taking place at the airports for the past two decades. Even people like myself who grew up pre-9/11 can scarcely believe there was a time where you could hop on a plane with little more than a step through a metal detector. What? You want to bring a water bottle through security!? What are you, crazy? In just two decades, the entire experience of air travel has been utterly transformed, and no declaration of victory in the so-called “War on Terror” will ever bring back the old security screening practices. For the average American, the TSA if just a fact of life now.
And for those who live for long enough in a quarantine crackdown, complete government surveillance of every citizens movements, purchases and interactions will just be a fact of life. These tools of control are here to stay, and the longer these quarantines last and the greater the areas effected, the further it will go in conditioning the public to accept it.
2) A blank check for Big Pharma and the WHO
When a detective is looking to solve a crime, it’s important to ask cui bono. Although it may be circumstantial, establishing who benefits from a crime at least points you to some suspects.
In this case, though, the question of who benefits has a simple answer: WHO benefits, of course. The World Health Organization, that is. As the United Nations body tasked with directing international health and leading the response to global health concerns, the WHO always grows in power in the wake of every crisis.
During the swine flu non-crisis and the ebola non-crisis and the zika non-crisis the WHO was led by Director-General Margaret Chan. It was under Chan’s watch, remember, that the WHO declared the 2009 swine flu outbreak a “global pandemic,” a move that automatically triggered billions of dollars of vaccine purchases by various governments. This was a blatant cash grab, of course, and even the Council of Europe was compelled to note that the members of the WHO council that made the pandemic declaration were also sitting on the boards of the vaccine manufacturers who stood to benefit from that decision.
With the Covid-19 outbreak, too, the WHO is playing a game with the pandemic declaration, only this time its motivation is precisely the opposite. In 2017, the World Bank issued a $425 billion bond in support of its Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility. Investors in that bond issue will lose everything if a global pandemic is declared before July . . . a key reason, some suggest, why the WHO is refusing to call coronavirus a pandemic despite it quite clearly meeting the criteria.
So who is heading the WHO this time around? Well, it’s not Margaret Chan anymore. She stepped down in 2017 and was replaced by Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, an Ethiopian politician and academic who, William Engdahl notes, is the first WHO director-general who isn’t even a medical doctor. Instead, after earning his degree in biology at the University of Asmara in Eritrea and serving in a junior position at the Ministry of Health under the Marxist dictatorship of Mengistu, he:
“[. . .] then went on to become Minister of Health from 2005 to 2012 under Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. There he met former President Bill Clinton and began a close collaboration with Clinton and the Clinton Foundation and its Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative (CHAI). He also developed a close relation with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. As health minister, Tedros would also chair the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria that was co-founded by the Gates Foundation. The Global Fund has been riddled with fraud and corruption scandals.”
Oh, you mean the Gates Foundation and their GAVI Alliance for vaccination that are the WHO’s biggest donors? The Gates Foundation that helped host the Event 201 “high-level pandemic exercise” in New York last October that war gamed out the entire coronavirus scenario we’re currently living through? Right.
And how are WHO going to save the day? With Big Pharma drugs, naturally! Governments are already lining up to pledge tens of millions of dollars to fund the effort to develop a coronavirus vaccine. And that’s just the funding to develop the vaccine. There are many more billions waiting for the big pharma manufacturers who can deliver the first vaccine to market.
Yes, coronavirus is going to be a big payday for some rich and well-connected people in the international medical mafia. But don’t worry, the politicians are going to get in on the fun, too . . .
3) An excuse to implement medical martial law
A decade ago, in the midst of the swine flu hype, I released an episode of The Corbett Report podcast on medical martial law. In that episode I laid out the various ways that governments around the world (including, of course, the US government) have been quietly passing legislation that would enable them to implement martial law in the event of a global pandemic. This would allow them to quarantine and incarcerate citizens suspected of infection, and would allow the government to administer whatever medications (including vaccinations) it deemed necessary to stop the spread of the infection.
In the US specifically, this legislation took the form of The Model State Emergency Health Power Act, a piece of legislation that was drafted by the Center for Disease Creation (CDC). The act grants government the power to quarantine, force vaccinate, and mobilize the military to help implement emergency procedures as deemed necessary to contain the outbreak. It is designed to be forwarded in each state legislature so that the states could harmonize their emergency pandemic plans, essentially creating a federal system enabling medical martial law. As the ACLU notes:
“The Act lets a governor declare a state of emergency unilaterally and without judicial oversight, fails to provide modern due process procedures for quarantine and other emergency powers, it lacks adequate compensation for seizure of assets, and contains no checks on the power to order forced treatment and vaccination.”
Regardless, at last count the act has been the basis for 133 pieces of legislation in 33 different states.
And, sure enough, the citizens of the developed, Western world who thought that martial law was only for banana republics and exotic Eastern countries are about to get a taste of this bitter medicine on the back of the coronavirus hype.
Australia just activated its emergency pandemic plan despite not having a reported case of human-to-human transmission of Covid-19. The plan grants the government the power to cancel public events, force people to work from home, close childcare centers and otherwise impose mandates and restrictions on the daily lives of its citizens as it sees fit.
Not to be outdone, the Swiss Federal Council has just declared a “special situation” which allows the council to issue emergency police ordinances “without a basis in federal law.” Some of the powers explicitly assumed by the council include the power to mandate vaccinations, order quarantines and ban events or close institutions.
Now Britain, the US, and other countries are dusting off their own emergency plans and preparing to get in on the martial law bonanza.
Of course, this is not only the perfectly predictable response to the current outbreak hype, it was the predicted response. That’s right, as noted above, the high-level exercise dubbed Event 201 that was held last October and which simulated a global coronavirus pandemic featured extensive discussion about the need to implement medical martial law in order to bring the virus in check.
Thus we saw Stephen Redd of the CDC opining during the exercise that “governments need to be willing to do things that are out of their historical perspective [sic] . . . It’s really a war footing that we need to be on.”
Likewise, Brad Connett of medical supply manufacturer Henry Schein Inc declared that “it can happen quickly. A martial [law]-type plan–they may not say that, exactly–but a martial [law]-type plan can go into effect and stimulate change very quickly.”
It certainly can. And what room do you believe the governments that implement martial law are going to leave for dissent on the issue? Why, none, of course. But how are they going to stop the spread of information in this age of 24/7 always-connected social media?
Funny you should ask, because that leads us to our next New World Order agenda item.
4) An excuse to crack down on the internet
In New World Next Year 2020—the annual year-end New World Next Week wrap up episode—I predicted that 2020 was going to be The End of the Internet As We’ve Known It! At the time I formulated that prediction, the 2020 (s)election circus and the inevitable wave of censorship that it would bring about weighed heavily on my mind. As it is, it’s quite possible that coronavirus will be the convenient excuse for governments to flex their internet censorship muscles.
Zero Hedge has already had its Twitter account suspended for posting the details of a particular Chinese scientist working in the Wuhan bio lab that some suspect was the origin of the outbreak. This was done in the name of Twitter’s policy about “abuse and harassment,” but given that the website did nothing more than post the already publicly available contact information for the scientist, it seems more likely that this is part of a campaign to control the narrative on coronavirus from the get go.
As I write this editorial, the front page of Google News (which I strongly advise against using as a source of information, for the record) is filled with “Fact Checks” about various coronavirus theories that are floating around the internet.
Given the current state of online censorship, can there be any doubt that governments around the world will jump at the excuse to scrub dissenting voices from the internet? As alternative information about the virus, its origins, and the vaccines that are intended to “cure it” flood the net, a propaganda campaign unlike any we have seen before will be waged to portray the purveyors of this information as a threat to public order. They will be purged from the internet accordingly, with (no doubt) the approval of a large proportion of the population. And with that precedent set, it will only be a matter of time before any information that challenges the ruling power is deemed a “threat to public order” and wiped from the internet.
Lest there be any doubt that the online purge is an aspect of the pandemic scenario that is particularly important to TPTSB, it should be noted that Event 201 dwelled extensively on how to “stop the spread of misinformation.” Their answer: Internet shutdowns and censorship, of course!
5) Precipitating economic crisis
Given that I make my living online, the prospect of internet shutdowns and censorship crackdowns are worrying to me. But before you become too distraught over the plight of the poor podcaster, let’s put this crisis into perspective: Assuming that the virus does go pandemic, it is quite likely that this will be the largest economic disruption of our lifetime.
This is the point where I would put forward some facts to back up such a bold statement, but given that we just saw the worst week in the markets since the financial crisis, including the worst two day point drop in Dow Jones history, I doubt that it’s really necessary to elaborate.
As mass quarantines expand, public events are canceled, businesses are shuttered, and economic activity generally grinds to a halt, it doesn’t take a genius to deduce that we are in for a global economic crisis of nearly unthinkable proportions. But the real disruptions are going to start long before we get to that point.
Given that the mass quarantines have started in China, a.k.a. the most important link in the global just-in-time supply chain, we are going to see significant difficulties for many manufacturers producing basic consumer goods in the very near future. Smartphones. Cars. Even, in a perverse bit of irony, medical supplies. So much of the global economy that depends on Chinese manufacturing is already experiencing shutdowns and shortages. And this is only the razor thin edge of what promises to be a gigantic wedge.
Here’s the worst part: These disruptions are already baked into the cake. Even if everyone on the planet was suddenly cured of their disease overnight and all quarantines were lifted, the effects of these last few weeks of lockdowns and closures would still continue to ripple their way through the global economy for months. But as the fear and hype spreads from continent to continent and the mass disruptions expand, these effects will get worse and worse.
I would expand on this point, but I have a feeling this is going to become a dominant and recurring topic of review in these editorials in the future. Let me just say this for now: Regardless of whether coronavirus is natural or manmade or even whether it exists at all, the economic effects of this event are going to be very real and very profound. Given that I write for the International Forecaster and have been documenting the Ponzi scheme that is the modern global economy for over a decade now, I’m often asked when the scam will collapse and the long-predicted global financial crisis will hit. Well, it’s very possible that the crisis has now officially hit and the decades of pie-in-the-sky negative-interest-rate helicopter-funny-money insanity that has papered over our grim economic reality is about to come crashing down all at once.
Conclusion: Coronavirus panic is a giant boost for the globalist agenda
I recently heard a suggestion that if this does eventuate into a global pandemic then it will set the globalist agenda back by decades. After all, an event like this will surely teach us all a hard lesson in national self-sufficiency and the inherent danger of an overextended, just-in-time global supply chain, right?
Of course not. No, that’s the conclusion that a rational person thinking about the crisis in a rational way would come to. So of course the globalists are going to force feed us the exact opposite idea: That a crisis like this will demonstrate how we need even more global integration amongst all levels of public and private society.
Don’t believe me? Just read the press release that Johns Hopkins and the Event 201 participants put out last month just before “Wuhan” and “coronavirus” became topics of daily conversation:
“The next severe pandemic will not only cause great illness and loss of life but could also trigger major cascading economic and societal consequences that could contribute greatly to global impact and suffering. Efforts to prevent such consequences or respond to them as they unfold will require unprecedented levels of collaboration between governments, international organizations, and the private sector.”
Oh, that’s right. This is another chance to “fail forward.” After all, as that great globalist soothsayer Rahm Emanuel told us during the last financial catastrophe, the global elitists’ mantra is to “never let a good crisis go to waste.” Do you really think this “crisis” (whether real or imaginary) would be any exception?
Coronavirus End Game: The Economic Crisis & Roll Out of the New Digital Financial System
In this report, Spiro Skouras recaps the events leading up to the current global coronavirus outbreak, while looking ahead at the looming financial crisis and how the virus will likely be blamed, providing cover for the crimes committed by the central bankers.
As the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak has revealed, the world has become increasingly susceptible to the emergence and outbreaks of new and re-emerging infectious diseases that can spread quickly due to the rapid movement of people globally.
The appearance of a new infectious disease with pandemic potential usually ignites serious cross-cutting media, as well as scientific and political debate.
The events surrounding the 2019-nCoV are no different, and for the past 5 weeks, 2019-nCoV has captured global media, political, and scientific attention.
The flurry of scientific activity surrounding 2019-nCoV has led to over 103 publications (as of Feb 10, 2020), which have defined various epidemiological and clinical features, including evidence of human-to-human transmission in community, household, and hospital settings. These have guided the development of numerous guidelines from WHO and other public health agencies for diagnosis, prevention, and control. As a result of these guidelines, airlines have reacted quickly to the outbreak, including British Airways, Lufthansa, Swiss Air, and Austrian Air, who have suspended flights to and from mainland China. Several countries have also been evacuating their nationals and their family members from Wuhan.
This outbreak highlights the lessons learned from previous outbreaks, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), and Ebola, for which China, Saudi Arabia, and WHO faced severe criticisms for slow action. For every outbreak, global preparedness for, and response capacities to, emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases with epidemic potential can be improved upon. The rapid, well coordinated global response to the emergence and detection of 2019-nCoV, and effective communication between scientists, researchers, and epidemiologists and public health and funding agencies, was unprecedented compared with past outbreaks. However, since the first announcement of the outbreak, the news and social media hype has also been unprecedented.
The path from generation of scientific and public health information to consumption and use of this information by the media contains several steps, each of which can lead to exaggeration or misinformation. The proliferation of internet-based health news might encourage selection of media and academic research articles that overstate the strength of causal inference. We investigated the state of causal inference in health research at the end stage of the pathway—ie, the point of social media consumption. Did the media hype emanate from ineffective risk communication both to the public and media? Proactive case finding and increase in contact tracing and screening led to an exponential rise in the numbers of cases reported by the Chinese authorities, with a consequential increase in media reports and ensuing hype. The reproductive rate (R0) predictions, evacuation of European and North American citizens from China, and in some cases the confinement and quarantine of people (eg, in the UK), have gained major visibility in the press and have also contributed to the hype.
Reporting of the situation in real-time from the public on social media could lead to more accurate collating of information by the media. However, the rapid pace of developments, increasing case detection rates, along with increasing diversity of information mean it has become increasingly difficult for the media to assimilate and make meaningful interpretations from this information source. Moreover, the volume of information being reported to and by global public health authorities exceeds the capacity to collate and analyse it, or to cross-reference and verify with other data received. This inability to validate information can fuel speculation, and thereby lead to media and public concern.
The balance between providing the information required for appropriate actions in response to risk and providing information that fuels inappropriate actions is delicate. The global media response to 2019-nCoV remains unbalanced, largely due to the continuously evolving developments and, as a result, public perception of risk remains exaggerated.
The many unknown factors surrounding the virus are likely to lead to further media hype and aberrant public response. For example, the number of people who travelled to and from Wuhan before travel restrictions and the lockdown were put in place, how many of these individuals were asymptomatic or were incubating the virus, and whether screening and current control measures will be effective, are all unknowns.
As of Feb 10, 37 558 cases were confirmed, and 812 deaths had been reported to the WHO. Outside of China, 307 cases had been detected in 24 countries.
Therefore, although several hundreds of patients remain in intensive care, the overall hospital fatality rate remains at 2%. Therefore, it is time to reduce the hype and hysteria surrounding the 2019-nCoV epidemic and reduce sensationalisation of new information, especially on social media, where many outlets aim to grab attention from followers. Additionally, the disparity between the strength of language as presented to the media by some researchers and politicians and the inference shared on social media requires more research to determine how content is being relayed on different platforms.
An effective way of putting this outbreak into perspective is to compare it with other respiratory tract infections with epidemic potential. 2019-nCoV appears to fit the same pattern as influenza, with most people recovering and with a low death rate; the people at risk of increased mortality are older in age (>65 years), immunosuppressed, or have comorbid illnesses. There is currently no evidence that 2019-nCoV spreads more rapidly than influenza or has a higher mortality rate.
The media should focus on having altruistic intentions and develop dialogue with the appropriate authorities to protect global health security through effective amiable partnerships. They should highlight vaccine development efforts as well as educational and public health measures that are being put in place to prevent the spread of infection. Although there are many things to still learn regarding how best to respond to disease outbreaks of this nature,
there are also several positives, such as diagnostics tests being developed within 2 weeks and rolled out globally or the rapid garnering of financial support for vaccine development, which should perhaps be in the headlines, to fuel reassurance rather than fear.
GI, AZ, and FN are co-primary investigators of the Pan-African Network on Emerging and Re-emerging Infections (PANDORA-ID-NET) funded by the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership the EU Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. AZ is a NIHR senior investigator. MM is a member of the innate immunity advisory group of the Gates Foundation and his work is funded by the Champalimaud Foundation. We declare no competing interests.
Coronavirus Update 29 with pulmonologist Dr. Seheult of https://www.MedCram.com. Topics include COVID-19 testing problems and shortages in the United States, Mutation of SARS-CoV2, Rapid growth of confirmed coronavirus cases in Iran, South Korea, Washington State, among many other places.
“The DoD is concerned not only the impact COVID-19 has on mission readiness, but the risk to inadvertently spread the virus to the U.S. by returning members who may have been exposed,” a senior Pentagon official told Newsweek…
…When asked for comment, Jessica R. Maxwell, a DOD spokesperson, said the DoD has “contingency plans in place and are taking steps to educate and safeguard our military and civilian personnel, family members and base communities in preventing widespread outbreak.” But ultimately, “Commanders of individually affected geographic commands will be and are issuing specific guidance to their forces as their situations may require.”
…The use of the term “pandemic” in the briefing documents described a global outbreak, whereas an “epidemic” would be confined to a country,” a senior Pentagon official told Newsweek. During a pandemic, a large number of people in several countries or continents are affected, according to the CDC. (source)
The National Center for Medical Intelligence (the NCMI) raised the Risk of Pandemic warning from WATCHCON 2 to WATCHCON 1, according to the document obtained by Newsweek. WATCHCON 2 is used in the event of a “probable crisis” and WATCHCON 1 means the crisis is imminent.
The CDC also feels that the risk of a pandemic is high.
The Centers for Disease Control also notes that the likelihood of a global pandemic is high.
At this time, however, most people in the United States will have little immediate risk of exposure to this virus. This virus is NOT currently spreading widely in the United States. However, it is important to note that current global circumstances suggest it is likely that this virus will cause a pandemic. This is a rapidly evolving situation and the risk assessment will be updated as needed.
Current risk assessment:
For the general American public, who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus at this time, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is considered low.
People in communities where ongoing community spread with the virus that causes COVID-19 has been reported are at elevated though still relatively low risk of exposure.
Healthcare workers caring for patients with COVID-19 are at elevated risk of exposure.
Close contacts of persons with COVID-19 also are at elevated risk of exposure.
The CDC has been harshly criticized regarding its response to the virus. Tests that they sent out to health departments were faulty, losing weeks of possible containment in the United States. (More on the lack of containment in this article.)
The WHO refuses to call it a pandemic.
Perhaps in an effort to ratchet down the level of fear and panic across the globe, the World Health Organization has not deemed Covid-19 a pandemic.
“Does this virus have pandemic potential? Absolutely, it has. Are we there yet? From our assessment, not yet,” Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told journalists in Geneva.
He explained that the decision to use the word ‘pandemic’ is based on an ongoing assessment of the geographical spread of the virus, the severity of disease it causes, and the impact on society.
“For the moment, we are not witnessing the uncontained global spread of this virus, and we are not witnessing large-scale severe disease or death,” he said, adding that what is occurring is coronavirus epidemics in different parts of the world, which are affecting countries differently. (source)
One must wonder, why is there so much ado about a word? Why is the World Health Organization so reluctant to call this what it is, a pandemic outbreak when it is one, even by their own definition? (That definition, found here, is “A pandemic is the worldwide spread of a new disease.”)
The preparedness and alternative media worlds are not alone in asking this question.
Lauren Sauer, director of operations for the Johns Hopkins Office of Critical Event Preparedness, told a reporter for the Washington Post, “Personally, I think we’re doing everyone a disservice by continuing this debate…It is creating more panic than just declaring it and moving on.”
The World Bank has an insurance policy against pandemics.
In a possibly unrelated aside, the World Bank has an insurance policy against pandemics but unless certain conditions occur, it won’t pay out, which greatly benefits investors. I use the word “unrelated” because apparently the bonds aren’t dependent on the WHO’s classification of an outbreak.
According to the World Bank, which created the fund three years ago, it was designed to “swiftly funnel funds from the deep-pocketed financial sector to health authorities in poorer countries before international assistance could be mobilized.”
They sold $320 million of these securities, which will mature in July of this year. If it matures, investors could receive double-digit yields. If a pandemic does occur, however, they could lose every penny they put into the fund.
The Class B bond covers conditions that are non-influenza related, like Ebola. But interestingly, the bond never paid out despite the ongoing crisis in the Congo based on the conditions laid out by the bond.
What are those conditions?
The primary one is that there must be more than 250 deaths attributed to the pandemic illness. But for the bond to be payable, there must be more than 20 deaths in a second country, which hasn’t yet occurred with either the coronavirus or Ebola. You can read more about the pandemic bond in these documents.
Whatever you want to call it, Covid-19 is widespread.
People in the United States are definitely concerned if the weekend’s shopping frenzy means anything. To learn more about preparing specifically for this outbreak, go here. To learn more about getting prepped for a quarantine, go here.
Yesterday’s WHO Sitrep report divulged the following information.
Armenia, Czechia, Dominican Republic, Luxembourg, Iceland, and Indonesia all now have confirmed cases of Covid-19.
A WHO team has arrived in Tehran to help with the Iranian response to their outbreak.
Covid-19 has been confirmed in 65 countries across the globe.
It never hurts to get prepared with some extra food, toilet paper, and other supplies. If the Department of Defense is warning that we’re facing a pandemic within 30 days, we can safely say the pandemic has already arrived.
TLDRUpFront: A growing fear in the United States is that COVID-19 may kill millions. This fear is based on an incomplete mental-model of how viruses work fed by COVID-19 reporting that highlights facts in isolation from context and triggering our cognitive biases in how we evaluate risk. This InfoMullet provides a mental model for understanding virus contagions, even within uncertainty, to help understand a variety of scenarios in the United States. The scenarios forecast COVID-19 remains a cause for concern, especially among vulnerable populations, but not panic. Especially when that panic leads to actions that are harmful to self and the community.
COVID-19 is no longer contained to China or its immediate neighbors. Every day a list of new countries report their “first cases”, “first deaths” or “large increases” in infections. The daily reminder that the current fatality rate in China is near 4% and the constant drumbeats of new infections lead many to jump to a mental model that presumes the virus will spread across the entire population and 4% of everyone will die. But that mental model misses an important part of the structure of viruses. Not all the population will become infected in the first place. Knowing this can shift the mental model from catastrophe to valid, even if serious, rational concern.
This is important if you’ve ever tried to have a reasonable conversation with someone shouting in your face. It’s hard to get a word in edgewise. That’s what happens inside the brain when our perception of risk escalates to panic. One part of our mind starts shouting “buy medical-masks!” or “profile Asians!” neither of which are rational, nor helpful, responses. But when we can shift our mental-models back to a more rational state of valid concern, we can listen to that talking voice reminding us to do the things that are both effective: like being mindful how we touch our face and regularly washing our hands; but also mitigate the unintended consequences like runs on supplies or growing anti-Chinese backlash.
Part of that shift requires understanding the term of a fatality rate in relation to the infectivity rate and also using tools to explore the ambiguity of a novel virus in a meaningful way to make better mental forecasts.
Before getting to that standard disclosures apply. The description of contagions, analysis and forecasting techniques that follows is grossly simplified. This is a fast-moving situation and I’m mainly writing this on Saturday and Sunday. For all I know by the time it’s posted zombies will be running wild. But I’m also not aiming this piece scientists or policy experts who I assume already know what they’re doing. Instead this is aimed at an audience trying to decide which voice to listen to in their head. The one shouting “we’re all going to die, buy masks!” or the quieter voice saying, “You know let’s practice today being mindful of not touching our face and see how that goes first?” And this is why I’m posting this to a blog named for luxurious hairstyle of the late 1980’s and early 1990’s rather than submitting it to peer-review. For all the infectious disease specialists out there shouting this isn’t a perfect representation of information, including my sister, /waves at Megan*, please bear that that context in mind.
The Spread of Contagion
To begin shifting our mental models we need a better understanding of how many of the facts thrown at us by the media work together. In a previous InfoMullet we detailed the system structure of a virus contagion and provided a link to a simulation that explores the dynamics. The term “R0”, pronounced R-naught or R-zero, is an aggregate value assigned to diseases that estimates the extent of contagion a single case can generate by infecting additional people. For example ,a person infected by an R2 pathogen could on average be expected to spread it to two other people while contagious, and each of them would spread it to two more. Obviously if an R0 value is less than 1, then virus will not spread successfully, and the higher the R value the more it spreads. The chart from Popular Science below visualizes the R0 values of numerous more well-known infections.
A Dangerous Game of Dots (1)
R0 values are useful because they aggregate a host of detailed factors into one number. But it’s hard for most people to go from an R0 value to a mental model of a viral spread over time. This is because R0 doesn’t account for the stocks of Susceptible and Infected populations as described in the structure. As more Susceptible people become Infected, there’s less Susceptible people in the immediate proximity of an infected patient to become infected.
The Shape of Contagion’s Spread
To improve that mental model we next need to look at how the rate of contagion changes over time. We do this both by studying historical cases and running computer simulations varying all the parameters. What becomes apparent is that the combination of the R0 value and the draining of Susceptible to Infected results in most cases of a tipping point effect where there’s no longer enough uninfected people in proximity to reliably spread the contagion. The virus burns itself out far before it has infected the entire population. Consider the hypothetical image below which compares a pandemic without intervention with one that has an appropriate intervention:
Learn these shapes, you’ll be seeing them a lot. (2)
The vertical axis is the number of new daily cases. This is a rate-of-change. In a pandemic without intervention #1 the shape of the contagion is a sharp growth up in daily cases followed by an equally sharp collapse. This is because the contagion, left unaddressed, spreads more quickly in the population activating it’s tipping point earlier and collapsing. The intervention case #3 is a shallower curve that actually takes longer to conclude. The difference between the two is the net area under each curve, which would represent the cumulative cases over time. If we were to graph the cumulative cases both would appear as an S-Shaped curve, with the no-intervention scenario resulting in much higher total infected cases.
In the image below we compare the hypothetical daily-case behavior on the left, with an actual chart of Hubei Provinces daily new-cases in the middle and the Hubei Province cumulative cases over time.
When theoretical behavior matches actual behavior that’s good. (2), (3)
Notice how the actual daily-case rate in Hubei follows the growth and collapse pattern of the hypothetical, and the cumulative displays the s-shaped pattern of growth. This behavior over time is important to putting R0 and the SIR model in context to understand what will happen as this virus hits new populations. A sharp rise in daily-new cases from the contagion until the tipping-point within the system is activated and daily-new cases begins declining. The cumulative growth rate of total cases, the combination of all daily-new cases, shifts from continuing to climb and flatten.
Prepare to see this sharp rise in daily-new-cases over and over again in a dozen different countries as media reports on the exponential growth but fails to report the following decline as they’ve moved to another country.
Take for example the headlines blaring that Italy’s “cases have jumped by 50% in one day!”(4) Italy is now in the exponential growth part of the growth and collapse pattern. As discussed in the first InfoMullet, COVID-19 had a doubling period every ~2days during that exponential growth. I’m not great at math but 100%/2 days = 50%/day so really what this headline is telling us is that the growth pattern is similar to what we’ve already seen in Hubei. And since Hubei province has more people in it than all of Italy (65M vs. 60M) that headline might as well say “Italy matches Hubei’s pattern – expect contagion to burn itself out in 2 months with ~65K cases 80% of which will be mild and total deaths to be under 2,000.” Because that’s the likely pattern in Italy if it matches Hubei, and we don’t give them any credit for knowing this was coming. It’s not a happy headline to be sure, but it also gives a fuller context than an ominous “Cases growing by 50%!” which is only describing the left hand of that chart pattern.
We’re already seeing in the chart below that global daily cases is beginning its upward ascent, a combination of every country’s growth patterns combined into one chart. But this is worth bearing in mind – if the growth pattern is the same as we’ve seen before in Hubei, why would we expect there not to be a subsequent collapse of daily new cases, leading to a cumulative flattening at the top of the s-curve?
This is what the start of a growth & collapse behavior looks like but #SpoilerAlert it won’t grow like this forever. (3)
This common behavior gives us a crude napkin math number we can use for scenario analysis around the fatality rate. Which is the total number of total infected population when these two patterns have played out. If we take the number of cumulative cases at the tail of the s-curve pattern and divide that into the total population at risk, we have a very crude but useful infection rate as a percentage of the overall population. And that’s the important number to improve our mental models of how this might impact the United States in terms of fatality, and down-shift from “millions will die” panic to “this is serious, but we can handle it” reason.
From Napkin Math to Ambiguous Napkin Scenarios
Using this crude rate of infection as a percentage of the population, we can combine it with the other data that the WHO reported out of China last week and begin forecasting several scenarios for COVID-19 in the United States. These scenarios are notional because we’re working in an ambiguous environment.
We don’t know if the data coming out of China is reliable or consists of under-reporting of either total infections, fatalities, or both. So that’s the element I’m going to vary in these analyses. The intent is to create a range of scenarios, using the crude infection rate as a % of population value, to show that even in the worst case scenarios where China is under-reporting, and our estimates are way off, we still don’t result in a mass-extinction event in the United States.
In the scenarios below I use a simple formula which is Population Size * Infectivity Rate. This provides a “Total Infected” value that is then distributed between Mild, Severe, and Critical Cases based on WHO reporting. These are described as:
80% Mild: anything from cold-like symptoms to that flu-like feeling of being hit by a truck.
15% Severe: Pneumonia, shortness of breath that can land you in the hospital. And
5% Critical: Patients coming down with multi-organ failure, respiratory failure or septic shock.”(5)
Last a fatality rate is applied to the total population of infected cases to show how many people of those infected died. These values are then projected from China onto the United States to give a range of outcomes.
The baseline scenario is based on what we know from JHU’s reporting on the outbreak in Hubei Province.(6) The net infectivity rate is 1/10th of one percent – or .1%. This is determined by dividing the reported cases of 65,000 into the total population of Hubei province of 65,000,000. The fatality rate of 4.1% is obtained by dividing known deaths into the population of Hubei. These values are then applied to a US population to create an estimate of the total cases, and the distribution between mild, severe, and critical. And finally, a rough estimate of deaths in the United States.
The base case which assumes accurate Hubei data and projects that onto the United States.
From this first case we now have a very rough baseline we can compare against a range of scenarios of how China may be under-reporting infections, deaths, both, and the location of where victims are concentrated. This allows us to assess, holding all else constant, a range of scenarios given the ambiguity of what we know establishing low and high rough estimates. These scenarios also illustrate the crucial dynamic that napkin math of infectivity rate plays in determining the overall impact, and why the mental model many have been forming in their heads is off by an order of magnitude.
CASE #1: Under-Reporting in Infections
The first ambiguity case assumes that China has under-reported infections by ten-fold. This may not be intentional. If 80% of the cases are mild there may be a great number of infected patients in Hubei that stayed home and did not report to a hospital. But this case assumes that deaths have been reported accurately. Which makes some sense, since it’s more likely that a death would be reported than a mild case of cold-like symptoms. To help highlight changes, we’ve color coded the chart to show what has gotten better, worse, or stayed the same to the baseline. Let’s see what happens.
We modify the case to assume Hubei total infected is being under-reported by 10x.
Notice what happened when we increased infections but held deaths constant? The total cases jumped ten-fold, and increased the number of patients suffering from mild, severe, and critical cases accordingly. But if we assume the death count is accurate, then the fatality rate actually declines to 1/10th it’s previous rate, from 4.1% to .41%. And the deaths stay the same. This can be counter-intuitive at first but makes sense. The fatality rate can only be calculated by dividing deaths into an infected number, and if our infected number was off by being too small, then the fatality rate is going to decline.
Don’t mistake what this chart is saying – with over 500,000 severe and critical cases of COVID-19 in the US that still generates a large health impact and economic impact. But it’s not as bad as people might be fearing.
CASE #2: Under-Reporting of Infections & Deaths
What if China is under-reporting both infections and deaths by a factor of ten? This represents an ambiguity nightmare, where the data we are using is off by an order of magnitude.
We assume both total infections and deaths are under-reported by 10x in Hubei and project that onto the US.
Not surprisingly if both infections and deaths are under-reported by a factor the numbers increase ten-fold: total infected, mild, severe, critical and fatalities all increase. The infection rate goes from 1/10th of a percent to one percent and the fatality rate remains the same at 4.1%. Why does the fatality rate remain the same? Because when the denominator and the numerator of Hubei infected/deaths both increase by ten, the ratio remains the same. 26,665/650,000 = 4.1%
And importantly when we move over to the United States that 4.1% is not applied to the entire US population of 330,000,000. But only the 3.3M who have been infected. This is the key of using a fatality rate only in combination of some understanding of the total population infected and represents the key error in many mental models that are predicting millions upon millions of deaths.
This isn’t to say that COVID-19 does not have a significant health impact on the United States. At 135k deaths that’s more than double the worst-case flu season death rate in recent memory, 80K IN 2018. (7)And we’re still talking over 500K people visiting the hospital with severe or critical conditions. But even there we need to distinguish between “severe” and “critical” using the definitions of the WHO. I’ve seen reports conflating both numbers, comparing it to available ICU beds and predicting the United States will run out of hospitalization space. But the “severe” as bad as it sounds, by definition, is not a hospitalization and should not be included in that number.
CASE #3: Under-Reporting in Deaths but Accurate Reporting of Infections
But what happens if China has the infections accurate, but is under-reporting the deaths? Reversing the ambiguity in Case #1. In scenario #3 we assume there are ten-times as many deaths as reported, but everything else stays the same.
We assume infections are accurate but deaths are under-reported by 10x in Hubei.
In this case the fatality rate increases to a whopping 41%. And the total estimated deaths in the US increase ten-fold, accordingly, reaching the same levels as Case #2. The overall impact remains smaller than #2 in that there are less people overall infected, but the fatality rate among those infected is much higher. Keep in mind the only thing we’re varying in these cases is the ambiguity around China’s reported numbers. There’s a good argument to make that other variations will influence the fatality rate: access to care, healthcare supplies, medicines and other matters of infrastructure and policy response. But in this scenario we’re assuming that the US medical response is no better than China, in order to isolate the effect of ambiguity in reporting.
CASE #4: Concentration of Infected is based in Wuhan and not Spread evenly across Hubei Province
Another kind of misunderstanding is to assume that all 65,000 cases are spread evenly within Hubei’s 65M population. The epicenter of the original outbreak however was Wuhan city, with a population of 11M. So, in this scenario we look at what changes if 80% of all Hubei’s cases, a number I arbitrarily picked, are from within Wuhan. This change in distribution increases the infectivity rate representing more people getting sick from a smaller population and has ramifications for the US case.
By concentrating infected into a smaller population, focused on the city of Wuhan, we increase the infectivity rate from 1/10th of one percent to 5/10th’s of one percent. Applying these estimates to a United States example we obtain a mid-range point between the Base Case and CASE #1.
We assume the distribution of cases is not even across Hubei, and instead 80% are concentrated in Wuhan.
We can now compare all the scenarios side by side and locate COVID-19 risk with a relative comparison to our own annual influenza risk in the United States as reported by the CDC. And just to satisfy that shouting voice in the head I took the Case #2 and multiplied its result by a factor 2-3 times worse than it it already was. What that means is our information isn’t just a little wrong, it’s off by a factor of x20-x30. To repeat Case 5 is taking the worst case scenario and tripling our uncertainty to give an outer range of “we really got this wrong.” I don’t think Case 5 is particularly likely. But sometimes in ambiguity analysis it’s best to take your worst case and just double or triple it to see what happens, and realize it’s still much worse than the mental-model we’ve envisioned. I’ve also included the annual flu season estimates from the CDC, 2010-2018 (7), so we have something to compare these numbers against.
Comparing Base Case & five scenarios against annual flu averages in US.
We see that the range of ambiguity in China’s reported data results in scenarios that are both much less, and more, than the annual flu season. But in no case do we result in millions of deaths. Even the one where our understanding of the data was off by 20x-30x.
Confounding Orders of Magnitude
Of course, the reporting quality of China isn’t the only form of ambiguity we’re dealing with COVID-19. There’s a range of things we just don’t know yet that could make it worse. As a novel virus we don’t know for example if it sustains itself in animal reservoirs allowing it to re-emerge periodically or has a high rate of reinfection. Either scenario may turn that growth & collapse behavior mode above into a repeating period of peaks, and the s-curve of the cumulative cases begin to look like a staircase.
Accepting there is a down-side risk means we should accept there’s an upside risk, that things will be better. Both the infection rate and fatality rate of 4.1% in Hubei represents an overwhelmed healthcare infrastructure at the epicenter of a brand-new virus. Fatality rates in other parts of China have been less and its reasonable to assume that in developed countries with time to prepare it will be even less. Containment measures, once prepared, can better dampen the sharp upward growth. We may see many growth patterns in countries look more like the successful intervention path than the expontential growth and collapse. The identification, mass-production, and deployment of vaccines could place an outer limit on the time horizon that this virus remains truly “novel.”
But let’s discuss the downside risk because that voice in your head isn’t screaming O Happy Day! because it’s concerned about better-than-expected outcomes. One way to compare the impact of ambiguity is to compare the change in the outcome as error in estimate increases. I’m using simple orders of magnitude that are multiplicative, not logarithmic. So, a “10x” means that the order of magnitude is ten times great than what it’s being compared too. Consider the below chart, which compares orders of magnitude between the error in the estimate with a change in magnitude of deaths in the US relative to the flu season.
Comparing order of magnitude changes in error vs. order of magnitude changes in outcomes.
What this chart shows is that even as the error in the estimate rises sharply as an order of magnitude, the magnitude difference in relative death rate relative to the worst recent flu season in 2018 does not rise at the same rate. Even in the extreme case where we’re off by a factor of 20-30x the outcome is only 4.5-6x worse than the annual flu season. And the closer to accurate we are, the impact will be less likely.
Why all the Dread?
So why is there so much dread around COVID-19? Because most humans don’t go through a 3,200 word analysis of virus structures, known data, and ambiguity scenario forecasting before reaching a decision on how to feel. They mainly ask: “does this thing scare me or not?” Part of the fear factor of COVID-19 is that as humans we often use heuristic short-cuts to evaluate risk because it’s cognitively easier than the above exercise. And COVID-19 is hitting a lot of those buttons.
Crowding-Out Effect: We begin with the two shouting voices in our head. Without practice and training it’s easy at points of high emotion for that very loud voice to ‘crowd out’ rational thinking.(8)
Repetitive Exposure: The more stories we see on a topic the more we think it’s an important thing to pay attention too. And right now, media channels are saturated with COVID-19 reporting. We here at the InfoMullet are proud to say, “I’m doing my part!”(8)
Involuntary Risk: When we are not able to voluntarily accept a risk, it is forced upon us, we can evaluate that risk up to a 1,000 worse. (8) Walking the plank 20-30’ above the water is a punishment in a pirate movie but leaping out of a perfectly good airplane 10,000’ up is a sign of adventure. Because the former is forced on us and not the latter.
Exotic Effect:In the United States we have a bad habit of ‘othering’ anything that comes from a foreign land. Sometimes this is silly, like our fondness for Acacia berries as health miracles because we imagine them being grown on some exotic mountain slope in South America versus the blackberries that grow in the stickers out back. In many other cases this is exotic effect is based on historical racism of seeing the ‘foreign other’ as barbarous, sinister or dangerous. The virus originating in China has triggered this exotic effect. Imagine for instead this was named the Ankeny, Iowa Virus, later renamed by the WHO “Oh for the Fun-19.” No one care. Because no one ever cares what happens in Ankeny, Iowa and for good reason.
Stock Market Effect: In most developed countries the level of that nation’s key stock market indices serves as a barometer of confidence in the state of things. This varies by country, and as I’ve stated before, stock market values are not reliable indicators of the economy. But as a short-hand measure, there’s few things more accessible that will be regularly reported to large populations than stock market movements. And because COVID-19 is causing a shock to the global market system the stock market indicators have been flashing “Panic! Panic! Panic!” all week. Because the stock-market effect is in a different area: economics vs. health it can be mistaken as a corroboration from an independent source of concern.
The result of all these cognitive triggers going off at once is the shouting voice takes the wheel and we make rash, uninformed, and unhelpful decisions. Take for instance the run on purchasing medical masks. The irony here is that medical masks don’t really protect one from getting infected, you need a respirator for that. And unless you’re actually trained on how to use the mask, or respirator properly, it won’t work. These devices are intended for use by the infected, and the healthcare workers supporting them, who are trained in their use and most at risk of exposure. (9)
It got so bad that over the weekend the Surgeon General had to plead with Americans not to buy the thing that wouldn’t help so there would be some leftover for when it was needed.(10) Because although there are many other valid reasons for using medical masks at the margins, it’s a good bet that people who are deciding to buy them as a fear response, and then forget they have them or forget to use them or use them wrong aren’t just harming themselves. Those supplies are not going to be available to the healthcare workers, infected and population segments that do have valid reasons to use them. And this run on supplies is just one example of an unintended consequence of a fear response run amok.
Why we adjust our Mental Models
The purpose of this article is not to convey false assurances or tell folks to calm their self-identified bits. Learning to shift our mental model of the world from one point of view to another can introduce a break in the shouting match between emotion and reason going on in our head. Because reason has something to say here that’s useful as well.
And that is that COVID-19 is not Ebola, the Black Death, Smallpox or any of nature’s most vicious diseases in a new and unexpected form. It’s an virus from the coronavirus family of viruses we know well in a novel form. And because we know the structures of factors like R0, infectivity rate at the end of the s-curve growth pattern and fatality rate interact, we can use that knowledge to create estimates, even in areas of ambiguity because we’re uncertain how accurate reports from China are.
We know that if China under-reporting the total infections, but accurately reporting the deaths, the fatality rate drops. And if China is accurately reporting total infections but under-reporting deaths we have a more severe contagion, but focused on a smaller population than some might fear. Only if China is under-reporting total infections AND deaths, even by a factor of 10x – does COVID-19 healthcare impacts move well above an annual flu. And even if we double or triple that risk, it becomes a significant healthcare event – but not millions of dead.
Listen to the Quiet Voice – It’s Giving you Good Advice
Shifting to this adjusted mental-model quiets the shouting voice so we can listen to the quiet one and hear what it’s saying.
We hear that voice saying that COVID-19 is conveyed by small droplets of moisture expelled by a sneeze. They travel between 8-10’ at most before landing on the ground and will last on metal or fabrics for 12 hours or more. The route of infection is when we touch one of those droplets and then put our hands and grubby fingers into our eyes, nose, or mouth.
And then that voice asks us two very important questions:
When was the last time we practiced a mindful intention of consciously not touching our face until we had vigorously washed our hands?
When was the last time we practiced regularly and vigorously watching our hands frequently?
These two acts can do more to limit the spread and mitigate the impact than buying a life-time supply of medical masks. Which is important, because nothing in this article should be taken to say that we should just ignore COVID-19. But as in all scenarios of high alarm we need to be careful to do the right thing, and not just “do anything” because our fear is demanding action.
COVID-19 is going to harm vulnerable populations, both here and abroad, to a greater extent than it does affluent ones. We should focus our efforts on helping them where we can. And if our understanding is off 20x-30x it may be much worse than the worst flu season in recent memory. But it’s not going to result in millions of Americans dead and if we let that be our mental model we’ve already surrounded the ground to the shouting voices in our head.
In the Clancy household two horsemen of the apocalypse are represented by two separate, yet equally important siblings. A real doctor, who diagnoses and cures disease. And an academic all-but-dissertation “doctor” who shakes a tin cup for grant money while studying violence and instability. These are their stories. DUN DUN
I saw my cardiologist yesterday. He's not at all worried about the corona virus. He says the only people who should be concerned are those who have weak immune systems or other underlying serious health problems.
(FOX 2) - The World Health Organization (WHO) has advised people to wash their hands and stop using cash if possible as the paper bills may help spread coronavirus.
WHO told the Telegraph on Tuesday that customers who use cash bills should consider using contactless payments instead as coronavirus (Covid-19) may cling to the surface of paper bills for multiple days.