Why is the Wuhan Virus Such a Threat?



ORIGINAL POST

Posted by Ed 56 days ago
AsiaXPAT (Hong Kong) -  An article published on the Daily Telegraph provides rationalle for the extreme measures that governments are taking to address the coronavirus threat.
 
Leading financial journalist Ambrose Evans-Pritchard also analyses the dire global implications related to the spread of the corona virus in this article. 
 
 
Here are some excerpts:  
 
The Virus Threatens to Collapse the Global Supply Chain
 
The workshop of the world is closed. China is on a total-war footing. The Communist Party has evoked the ‘spirit of 1937’ and mobilized all the instruments of its totalitarian surveillance system to fight both the Coronavirus, and the truth. Make GDP forecasts if you dare.

As of this week two-thirds of the Chinese economy remains shut. Over 80pc of its manufacturing industry is closed, rising to 90pc for exporters.

The Chinese economy is 17pc of the world economy and deeply-integrated into international supply chains. It was just 4.5pc of world GDP during the SARS epidemic 2003, which some like to use as a reassuring template. You cannot shut down China for long these days without shutting down the world.

The scale of disruption in China is already staggering. Hyundai, Number Five in global car sales, has been forced to close all its factories at home in Korea for lack of key components.
Volkswagen, Toyota, General Motors, and Tesla have all downed tools at their Chinese plants, as has Apple’s iPhone supplier Foxconn.
 
 
Global Supply Chain Risks
 
In his seminal paper, Trade-Off, David Korowicz, explains the fragility of our Just-In-Time global supply chain and the contagion risks should factories stop production for even a few weeks. 
 
To summarize, companies keep limited stocks of parts and products so if the supply chain is interrupted (by war or pandemic) the shelves go empty and it would be very difficultnand probably impossible to restart the system.
 

If the Virus Spreads Outside of China It Overwhelms Medical Facilities, and Spreads Even Faster
 
“It’s very, very transmissible, and it almost certainly is going to be a pandemic,” said Anthony Fauci, head of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease.

It is the same warning from an “increasingly alarmed” Peter Piot, head of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.


The danger is that it will become endemic and circulate everywhere like flu, a manageable headwind for rich countries with good health care but a Sword of Damocles having over Africa or South Asia.
 
 
Medical experts quoted in this New York Times article indicate that the problem with the coronavirus is that it can spread before a person exhibits symptoms.  By the time they become sick, they may have already passed it on to multiple people.
 
Obviously we have a very dangerous situation on our hands. Measures to try to stop the spread of this virus risk toppling the global economy. But not introducing draconian measures likely means the virus spreads out of control and we get a similar outcome.
 
 
 
Also see the SCMP for ‘Striking’ coronavirus mutations found within one family cluster, Chinese scientists say 
 

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COMMENTS

Ed 51 days ago
This from a friend commenting on this article  Plague Pushes China To Breaking Point
 
 

'A friend's family is in Wuhan, they are all at home 4/5 people in the family are sick, just the kid is not sick and they believe one family member is on a deathbed (45-year-old male) the rest just have bad flu symptoms. These people are definitely not in the official statistics and are undocumented cases so I imagine the numbers are much much higher.'

 

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Ed 45 days ago
UPDATE - SOHO Hong Kong is in its death throes due to the coronavirus with dozens of restaurants, bars and shops now boarded up.   
 
This is a recent video of Elgin Street:
 
https://youtu.be/A_dogNMEIgw 

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Ed 43 days ago
UPDATE - Lenovo Reporting Serious Delays due to Coronavirus
 
 
Our systems management company is advising the following regarding CTO products: 
 
'From our Lenovo rep directly; Due to Covid-19 and CPU shortage impact, all CTO and back to back order require up to 8 to 12 weeks ordering lead time'
 
 
This is 2.5 x longer than usual and this assumes that the factories will be able to source the components to clear the backlog of orders that are building up. 
 
CTO's refer to custom builds so there will still be off the shelf desktops and laptops in the shops. 
 
But once their inventory gets sold, we may be facing a similar situation with long waits for computers. 
 

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Ed 42 days ago

UPDATE: Two Thirds of Migrant Workers Have Not Returned to Work

Meanwhile, the SCMP reports that over 200 million migrant workers are unable to return to work

The government 'expects' 120 million workers to be back on the job by the end of February and that the remainder will return 'in March' when the virus 'is brought under control'

I'd like to thank the SCMP and Channel News Asia for their excellent press releases. 
 
 

 

Now let's try to understand what these 200 million migrant workers might be thinking.
 
Keep in mind that this 200 million figure comes from the 'Ministry of Truth' which is notoriously loose with the truth. As the JP Morgan graph above indicates, coal consumption has barely increased since the extended holiday ended. China burns coal to produce electricity and factories use electricity. If 100 million workers are back on the job, where is the spike in electricity consumption?
 
1. 621 people on the Diamond Cruise ship have now tested positive for COVID. This is obviously a highly contagious disease.
 

2. Entire cities in China are in total lockdown with almost nobody on the streets. Videos are circulating showing authorities with weapons enforcing the quarantine.

3. There is panic buying in the shops in China (and to some extent Hong Kong).

4. Official numbers indicate 75,000 infections with 14,000 recovered. The hospitals obviously still have no space.

5. The actual number of infections is surely many times higher than the official count. Scientists at the World Health Organization have suggested we are seeing 'only the tip of the iceberg'

6. SARS did not abate for over 6 months and it was never out of control in China.

It's easy to say (as the Chinese government is) that the workers will report to the factories soon. The virus will magically go away. And of course, these workers need money so they are going to return and start making widgets.

But hold on a second. Bloomberg reported yesterday that thousands of expats are either fleeing Hong Kong or have shipped the kids out of the city. Hong Kong doesn't even have 100 infections. And Hong Kong is not in complete lockdown with armed guards controlling our movements.

Yet panic and fear are in the air....

Put yourselves in the shoes of a migrant factory employee in China. Let's say you work in the auto industry in Wuhan ('the Detroit of China') at a semi-skilled job making components for Land Rover. You left for your village to spend Chinese New Year with your family and friends.

Then you read about this terrible virus that is devastating Wuhan. How would you feel? What would you do?

Struggling with that? Just imagine that you returned to your 'village' for Chinese New Year.

You flew to London, or New York, or Toronto, to spend a week or two with your family and friends. Now substitute Hong Kong with Wuhan. You work in Wuhan.

How would you feel? What would you do?

If the Chinese government assured you that it was safe to return to your office even though there are hundreds of other workers there and one might show up asymptomatic and infect you (would you not be thinking 'Diamond Princess... 621 infections’).

Would you be willing to return to a city that is in complete lockdown? Where you can go to and from the factory and the grocery store, but otherwise are confined to your apartment?

Yes, you need that salary (and that bonus), but is it worth risking your life for?

Now we are in the shoes of a migrant worker in China.

Clearly hundreds of millions of them are doing exactly what you or I would do. They are frightened of this virus and they are unwilling to return to their places of work.

They know that if they return to their factories, and contract the virus, that the hospitals are full. They are unlikely to receive medical care.

They have no interest in putting their lives at risk to produce widgets for the world.

Land Rover's CEO in the UK says his assembly plants will stop production in two weeks’ time due to a shortage of components. If it gets to this Land Rover will lose many millions every single day. Think about all the other industries that will be in the same boat.

We read about this and sanguinely conclude, nothing to worry about, this is too important. The workers will ride to the rescue and the supply chain will flow again.

Stepping back into that Wuhan workers shoes.

Do you think he gives a rat's ass about Land Rover?

If you worked as an executive for Land Rover in Wuhan, would you be thinking 'yep gotta rush back to that hell hole where I might get infected and die, because Land Rover needs those bloody door handles or the assembly lines in the UK stop'

Or might you decide to hold tight, wait for this virus to abate, and then return to the Land Rover office.

This appears to be what the Wuhan and 200 million other factory workers are doing. They are remaining in their villages with their families and waiting.

And meanwhile, the Land Rover CEO is watching the inventory numbers on his computer screen each day as they head towards zero.


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Ed 38 days ago
UPDATE - The CCP is Pushing Factories to Open and Risking Everything
 
The CCP has loosened restrictions on factories allowing them to open as China tries to re-start crucial production and prevent the global supply chain from collapsing.
 
This is a classic Catch 22 situation whereby if they keep the factories closed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, shelves will start to go empty around the world.    But, by opening the factories while the virus is still raging, China risks a huge spike in infections which would leave factories drastically short of workers. 
 
Factories that have reopened are reporting that they are operating at very low production levels due to a shortage of workers. 
 
Workers in heavily infected centres are prevented from returning to work in the large industrial cities.   Factories are still waiting for their suppliers to start shipping and for transport companies to commence distribution. 
 
There are huge stakes involved and one wonders how far the CCP might be willing to go to force frightened workers to return to their jobs.  
 
Read More on Bloomberg
 
 

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Ed 37 days ago
UPDATE - Two Thirds of Coronavirus Cases are Undetected - Imperial College London 
 
Consistent with similar analyses [3], we estimated that about two thirds of COVID-19 cases exported from mainland China have remained undetected worldwide, potentially leaving sources of human-tohuman transmission unchecked (63% and 73% undetected based on comparisons with Singapore only and with Singapore, Finland, Nepal, Belgium, Sweden, India, Sri Lanka, and Canada, respectively).
 
Undoubtedly, the exported cases vary in the severity of their clinical symptoms, making some cases more difficult to detect than others. However, some countries have detected significantly fewer than would have been expected based on the volume of flight passengers arriving from Wuhan City, China.  
 
 
The hospitals are full in China, making it likely that most making people who contract the virus won't seek medical care or go into quarantine, particularly if they are not experiencing severe symptoms.  
 
What are the real number of infections in China? 

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Ed 35 days ago
UPDATE -  Coronavirus Threatens Global Economy with a Sudden Stop
 
This is another excellent article from Ambrose Evans Pritchard of the Telegraph.  It's behind a paywall so I will summarize:
 
- the spread of the coronavirus is beyond the point of meaningful containment
 
-  many prominent virologists have lost patience with the WHO and the organization is perceived as kowtowing to pressure from China.   Contagion experts Peter Sandman, Ian Mackay, and Jody Lanard state:
 
 
“We are near-certain that the desperate-sounding, last-ditch containment messaging of recent days is contributing to a massive global misperception about the near-term future.
 
One horrible effect of this continued 'stop the pandemic' daydream masquerading as a policy goal: it is driving counter-productive and outrage-inducing measures by many countries against travellers from other countries, even their own citizens back from other countries.
 
“But possibly more horrible: the messaging is driving resources toward 'stopping' and away from the main potential benefit of containment – slowing the spread of the pandemic and thereby buying a little more time to prepare for what’s coming.”
 
- the mortality rate of the coronavirus is in the same region as the Spanish Flu (2.8pc in Hubei) 
 
-  the Central Banks will be powerless to mitigate the impact of the virus because large segments of the economy will be effectively shut down (stimulus cannot force workers to return to work and produce the products that make the world go round)
 
-  Large numbers of workers are not returning to factories.
 
China’s Baidu migration index shows that 72pc of travellers and migrant workers have not returned to the 15 largest cities since the Chinese New Year. Nomura says journeys on the Guangzhou metro remain down 85pc. Coal use at six key power plants – a proxy for industry – is down 47pc. 
 
It is not believable that people are going back to work and at the same time that the spread of the virus is being contained dramatically outside Hubei.
 
 
 

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Ed 32 days ago
UPDATE - Why No Health Care System Can Cope with a Coronavirus Epidemic
 
A doctor in the UK explains that even a modest uptick in hospital admissions 'overwhelms the system'
 
- the coronavirus is worse that SARS or MERS in that it is undetectable for long periods when patients show no symptoms yet are infectious
 
- the virus can remain infectious on surfaces for up to 9 days 
 
- the mortality rate is 2-3%, many times higher than 'the flu'  and roughly 5% of all cases require intensive care
 
- England has 4000 ICU beds in total.  Many of those beds are taken up by people with other critical illnesses
 
- estimates indicate that if unchecked, the coronavirus could infect 60% of the population 
 
 

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Ed 22 days ago
MUST WATCH - Joe Rogan Experience - Michael Osterholm
 
Michael Osterholm is an internationally recognized expert in infectious disease epidemiology.
 
He is Regents Professor, McKnight Presidential Endowed Chair in Public Health, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Division of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, a professor in the Technological Leadership Institute, College of Science and Engineering, and an adjunct professor in the Medical School, all at the University of Minnesota.  
 
https://youtu.be/E3URhJx0NSw 

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Ed 21 days ago
UPDATE -  First-hand coronavirus report from Italian health workers
 
Doctors in Italy are experiencing a severe shortage of ventilators which is forcing them to decide who lives and dies from the coronavirus.   Younger patients are prioritized and in some instances, 60-year old patients are being left to die. 
 
Why do most deaths from coronavirus involve elderly patients or those with debilitating diseases?   
 
Because when faced with the bleak choice of keeping a young fit person alive,  or an elderly, sick person, the young person gets the ventilator. 
 
The translated transcript in this video drives home just how grim the situation is.   And this is what is happening in a country that has one of the world's most robust health care systems.
 
https://youtu.be/p3IlVzMVuTE 

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Ed 20 days ago
https://youtu.be/p7LDk4D3Q3U

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Ed 17 days ago
UPDATE - The Stages of Coronavirus Panic
 
As I think everybody knows, Italy is in quarantine because of the coronavirus outbreak.

This situation is bad, but what's worse is seeing the rest of the world behaving as if it isn't going to happen to them.

We know what you're thinking because we were in your place too.
Let's see how things developed:
 
 
 
"To the rest of the world, you have no idea what's coming."  
 
 

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Ed 16 days ago
UPDATE -  BALI - ENOUGH OF THE LIES
 
Bali has been attempting to convince the world that there are no incidents of the Wuhan virus on the 'island of the gods'.    Perhaps the authorities (and hotel owners) believe the 'gods' are protecting them - or more likely they are trying to protect their tourism revenues.
 
That ruse has been blown out of the water as Australia's New 4 is reporting mass spraying of disinfectants and the closure of schools in Bali.   Tourists are now required to self-quarantine for 14 days on arrival, which is essentially ends tourism in Bali.
 
A mate who runs a business there informed me that he had to send 4 of 10 staff home who were feeling unwell and had sore throats yesterday.   When I asked if they were getting tested he said that "a restaurant in town had something similar happen to their staff and they were turned away by the local hospital when the owner sent them to be tested".
 
As of the first week of March, authorities in Indonesia were insisting that there were no Wuhan Virus cases in the country. The country was also very slow in banning flights from Wuhan and other cities in China. 
 
The Balinese government, and to a certain extent, the Indonesian government, have put people's lives at risk due to the selfish (and futile) agenda of a small group of wealthy individuals chasing higher hotel occupancy rates.   
 
Tourists continued to land in Bali on the understanding that the island had no infections.  
 
 
 

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Ed 15 days ago
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Ed 15 days ago
UPDATE :  Imperial College in London - Virus Suppression Could Take 18+ Months 
 
British researchers indicate that without extreme measures, 2.2 million people may die from the Wuhan virus in the United States alone.
 
Attempting to suppress the spread of the virus will likely still result in hundreds of thousands of deaths and huge numbers of infections.   Hospitals would be overwhelmed with serious cases. 
 
Read More on the New York Times  
 
Read the Research Paper 
 
 
 

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Ed 14 days ago
UPDATE - Australia Won't Lock Down - 'It's Futile to do so'
 
 
https://youtu.be/ujhnCibbDMU 

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Ed 13 days ago
 
UPDATE - A Potential Nightmare Scenario is Brewing in Bali
 
Bali will suspend its visa on arrival programme on Friday effectively shutting off an already decimated flow of tourism in an attempt to stop the spread of the Wuhan Virus.
 
This is likely to have devastating consequences for the island since '80% of Bali's GDP is based on tourism' 
 
Expats are fleeing in droves fearing that flights will be terminated and they will be left stranded.
 
With the government focusing on supporting large businesses it is expected that there will be little or no help for those who lose their jobs in the tourism industry in Bali.
 
Solemen Indonesia, a charity that supports over 2000 people with  disabilities in Bali, indicates that the most vulnerable in society are already hugely at risk. 
 
"Most of our funding comes from the hospitality industry. How can we help people if we have no money?" said Robert Epstone, the charity's British-born founder.
 
"It will be potentially catastrophic if all our funding is withdrawn because  thousands of people in Bali will have to fend off starvation."
 
Read More on Al Jazeera  
 
 
We lived in Bali for 7 years and visited in November.   Expat friends were telling us that crimes involving theft were off the charts.   
 
When we first arrived in Bali we were unaware that we were expected to hire a gardner from the nearby village, resulting in a very dark incident.   A few days after our gardener, who was the nephew of a Balinese friend from another village, started work with us, a group of villagers, drunk on arak, attacked and beat him.   
 
We rushed out to intervene and they did not attack us I suppose because as foreigners we are off limits, and we were a source of money --- once we were made to understand the rules of the game.
 
Desperate people do desperate things.  And it looks like Bali is headed for some very desperate times. 
 
 

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Ed 10 days ago
UPDATE -  The Young Are Not Immune to the Ravages of The Wuhan Virus
 
A medical worker in America describes what he is observing with his patients:
 

“Reading about it in the news, I knew it was going to be bad, but we deal with the flu every year so I was thinking: Well, it’s probably not that much worse than the flu. But seeing patients with COVID-19 completely changed my perspective, and it’s a lot more frightening.”

“I have patients in their early 40s and, yeah, I was kind of shocked. I’m seeing people who look relatively healthy with a minimal health history, and they are completely wiped out, like they’ve been hit by a truck. This is knocking out what should be perfectly fit, healthy people. Patients will be on minimal support, on a little bit of oxygen, and then all of a sudden, they go into complete respiratory arrest, shut down and can’t breathe at all.”

“It first struck me how different it was when I saw my first coronavirus patient go bad. I was like, Holy shit, this is not the flu. Watching this relatively young guy, gasping for air, pink frothy secretions coming out of his tube and out of his mouth. The ventilator should have been doing the work of breathing but he was still gasping for air, moving his mouth, moving his body, struggling. We had to restrain him. With all the coronavirus patients, we’ve had to restrain them.
 
They really hyperventilate, really struggle to breathe. When you’re in that mindstate of struggling to breathe and delirious with fever, you don’t know when someone is trying to help you, so you’ll try to rip the breathing tube out because you feel it is choking you, but you are drowning."
 
 Read More on Huffington Post 

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Ed 10 days ago
UPDATE - 'One Third of Infected People Show No Symptoms'
 
Classified Chinese research indicates that 43,000 people tested postive for the Wuhan Virus, but exhibited no symptoms of the disease' 
 
If this is correct, then how is it possible that China's community infections have dropped to zero?
 
Read more on the SCMP 
 
 

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Ed 9 days ago
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Ed 9 days ago
 
Meanwhile, in Australia, the BBC is reporting: 

On Thursday, the Ruby Princess cruise ship docked in Sydney with dozens of undiagnosed coronavirus cases onboard.

Almost 2,700 passengers - some coughing and spluttering - were allowed to leave the ship at Sydney Harbour, catching trains, buses and even overseas flights to get home.

More than 130 people from the cruise have now tested positive, making it the biggest single source of infections in Australia. One passenger died in hospital on Tuesday.

 
On Monday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison described the mistake as the responsibility of state officials. 
 
 
We have guests staying at our short term rental in New Zealand who checked in on Sunday. 
 
They were supposed to return to the US on the weekend but were transiting via Australia and Australia banned all non-citizens from entering -- even if they are only transiting to another country.  (They had to purchase NZD5000 one way tickets direct to LA from New Zealand)
 
Clearly Australia is taking this virus extremely seriously. 
 
Yet, they made a 'mistake' allowing many people who were obviously sick, to walk off a cruise ship (knowing that cruise ships are hot spots for the virus...) and into their country. 
 
They made a 'mistake' that will spread the virus farther and wider... and cost the country many, many billions of dollars --- and LIVES.
 
If this is the case, then Australia needs to boot Laurel and Hardy out of office and put some people in who won't make 'mistakes' 
 

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Ed 9 days ago
https://hongkong.asiaxpat.com/Utility/GetImage.ashx?ImageID=248b69ef-55f8-41d7-8ddd-2ccac8773498&refreshStamp=0 
 
Meanwhile, we have yet another article detailing how people who are supposed to be in quarantine are wandering about the city with impunity, potentially infecting more of us.
 
Let's consider what is at stake here:
 
1.  More infections and deaths
2.  Billions upon billions of dollars lost 
3. The potential collapse of entire industries 
 
And the Hong Kong government is enforcing a quarantine by saying 'pretty please, when you arrive in Hong Kong would you mind staying home for 14 days'
 
Even though the government is aware that a great many of these people are violating the quarantine, they continue to 'urge them' to follow the rules.
 
Given what is at stake here (i.e. everything), you would think the quarantine would be strictly policed.   
 
And when I say policed, I mean when you arrive in the city, you are loaded into a van and trucked to a government quarantine facility where you are locked in with armed police or military guards making sure you do not leave until the 14 days is up and you test negative.
 
But nope, the government is trusting people to do the right thing.  And Carrie Lam sheds a tear as she begs people to follow the quarantine rules.
 
Seriously???? 
 
Hong Kong is not the only place where this is happening.   

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Ed 9 days ago
A possible explanation for these seemingly nonchalant efforts at containing this virus may be found in Italy.
 
The Italians did not attempt to cover up the problem, as China did, and is likely still doing.
 
Instead they rolled out draconian containment measures, which obviously have not prevented a very bad outcome.
 
Perhaps governments have learned from this that the Wuhan Virus cannot be contained so are just going through the motions? 

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Ed 8 days ago
UPDATE - Anger with Expats Who Shrug Off Wuhan Virus Risks
 
Many expats in Hong Kong continue to refuse to use masks and exercise social distancing and the local community is growing increasingly resentful.
 
Reports of 'quarantine parties' and sleepovers involving expat children are resulting in expats being targeted with the blame for the recent spike in Wuhan Virus cases.  
 
Read More on the SCMP 

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Ed 7 days ago
UPDATE - Inside Italy's Coronavirus Hospital
 
“I WENT INTO THE EMERGENCY ROOM, IT WAS LITERALLY BURSTING WITH PATIENTS WITH SERIOUS RESPIRATORY PROBLEMS. THEY WERE EVERYWHERE, AND WHEN I SAY EVERYWHERE, I MEAN NOT AN INCH OF FLOOR SPACE WAS VISIBLE.” 
 
DR ANTONIO CASTELLI, HEAD OF THE RESUSCITATION UNIT AT MILAN’S LUIGI SACCO HOSPITAL
 
 
Read More on the Singapore Straits Times 
 
 

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Ed 7 days ago
UPDATE - Wuhan to Lift Travel Restrictions on Healthy Residents 
 
The obvious problem is that people testing negative are frequently infected, show no symptoms, and are highly contagious. 
 
So how do you determine who is healthy?
 
Then there is the issue of people arriving in China from other countries who are also asymptomatic who will re-introduce the virus into the country (assuming China is miraculously virus free).
 
Hubei is a key link in the global supply chain and Wuhan is the 'Detroit of China' home to factories that produce many thousands of key automotive industry components.   One has to wonder if the CCP has been left with no choice - either return to business or the global auto industry shuts down.
 
This announcement was just released from Ford:
 
Ford Motor Co. announced it is suspending production at its manufacturing sites in Europe for four weeks and halting production in North America to clean these facilities and boost containment efforts for the COVID-19 coronavirus. 
 
Are factories being closed for cleaning (surely it would not take an entire month to sanitize a factory), or are they closed because they are short components?
 
 
Read more on the BBC 

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Ed 7 days ago
https://hongkong.asiaxpat.com/Utility/GetImage.ashx?ImageID=66d05a20-7138-43b0-aee5-70d27c8f9e2f&refreshStamp=0 
UPDATE - Lockdowns Leave Tourists Trapped in Airports 
 
A series of lockdowns, with many countries now not even allowing passengers to transit to their home countries, has left thousands of travellers trapped in airports across Asia.
 
Many have been sleeping on the floor for over a week and have been denied access to their luggage. 
 
Read More on Al Jazeera  

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Ed 6 days ago
https://youtu.be/CsF6ezLOMC4

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Ed 6 days ago
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Ed 6 days ago
UPDATE - Factories in China Re-Open Only to Fire Workers
 
Just when some factories were re-opening, the Wuhan Virus has overwhelmed China's key markets resulting in collapsing demand.  Factory owners are responding by slashing their workforces. 
 
Read More on Yahoo Finance 
 

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Ed 5 days ago
UPDATE - The Wuhan Virus is Grabbing Hold of South America
 
Wuhan Virus infections in Ecuador, another hot-climate country, now exceed 1300, and cases across South America are increasing at a startling rate. 
 
None of the cash-strapped countries in the region, including Brazil, are in a position to provide the financial support that we are seeing in Europe and North America.
 
Should the Wuhan Virus spiral out of control as it has in Italy and Spain, the results will be disastrous.
 
"Locking down entire cities or countries and paying millions of non-essential workers not to work while healthcare workers battle to contain the virus is a luxury only afforded to countries with first-world economies, huge public debt capacities, relatively stable currencies and big central banks." 
 
Read More on Wolf Street  
 
 
The governments of advanced nations are rolling out programs to support individuals who have lost their incomes due to lockdowns and layoffs.  However the cash payments they will receive are usually significantly less than what they were earning. 
 
Recipients of this support may be able to remain solvent and pay their bills, however it is unlikely they will be buying much more than food and absolute essentials.  In some places that are under total lockdown, such as New Zealand, one cannot even shop online for much more than food, as those services have been declared 'non-essential' 
 
Even in countries that are not under lockdown, few will be buying big ticket items such as automobiles, appliances or furniture, which will lead to further job losses.
 
And as the Wolf Street article indicates, in many countries there will be no financial support for those who have lost their income sources.  Literally billions (India alone has 1.3 billion people) who live from hand to mouth, will struggle to afford even food.   Again, this will result in even more job losses.
 
We can see the rubber hitting the road in the earlier article reporting that the factories that have reopened in China are slashing their workforces due to lack of demand for their products. 

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Ed 5 days ago
UPDATE - Small Towns in Philippines are Running out of Food
 
My sources in two small towns in the Philippines (Paracale and Oas Albay) indicate that local grocers have closed their doors because they are out of food stocks and finding it difficult to get resupplied.
 
Residents are having to spend what little money they have on petrol for their motorbikes to travel to larger centres to purchase food.   All public transport options are suspended.

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Ed 5 days ago
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Ed 4 days ago
UPDATE -  How The New Zealand Government Blew It
 
I completely agree with this Op-Ed and have been saying the same thing for weeks.   
 
When NZ stopped allowing Chinese visitors into the country in early February, they should have instead been closing the border to ALL foreigners. 
 
And all returning Kiwis should have been tested AND quarantined.
 
Read More on Stuff NZ 
 
 
 
Air New Zealand Slashes More Routes 
 
Meanwhile, Air New Zealand has announced that it is slashing 95% of all flights and will be operating only 11 'key routes' that are essential for workers and freight. 
 
The final flight out of Singapore arrives this morning NZ time with only 4 passengers on board. 
 
The pilot, Philip Kirk, described conditions at Singapore's Changi Airport as 'apocalyptic' with an aircraft movement roughly once every twenty minutes, predominantly involving cargo aircraft.
 
 
 

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Ed 4 days ago
UPDATE - The Young are Dying from Wuhan Virus
 
A 25 year old man, with no underlying illnesses, has died of the Wuhan Virus in California.
 

California age range for coronavirus patients:

  • Age 0-17: 45 cases
  • Age 18-49: 1,906 cases
  • Age 50-64: 967 cases
  • Age 65 and older: 847 cases
  • Unknown: 36 cases
 
Read More on the LA Times 

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Ed 4 days ago
UPDATE - New Zealand Screwed Up - Part 2
 
When we brought our dogs from Bali to New Zealand, they were required to remain in quarantine in Hong Kong for 6 months, then they were tested for various diseases including rabies, before they were put on a flight to NZ.
 
When they arrived they were again quarantined for a few weeks, and tested AGAIN for disease, including rabies.
 
These strict protocols are the reason why New Zealand is rabies-free. Rabies can kill but it cannot tip over a country's economy.
 
For some reason, the New Zealand government has not been nearly as strict when it comes to the Wuhan Virus, a disease will kill - a disease that has the potential to destroy the New Zealand economy.
 
Nope - up until a couple of weeks ago, Jacinda Ardern's government continued to allow tourists to waltz into the country, except for mainland Chinese who were banned in early February.
 
Perhaps she was thinking that only Chinese tourists could harbour this virus and that all others were immune?
 
In spite of this massive screw up, Ardern is being hailed by the global media as a forward thinking leader who acted decisively to head of the Wuhan Virus.
 
She did nothing of the sort. And now the infection total is approaching 500 with the first death recorded as of today.

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Ed 3 days ago
UPDATES:
 
  • 700+ NJ police officers test positive 
  • Total COVID-19 cases tops 700k
  • US death toll passes 2k
  • Global death toll tops 660k
  • Ireland death toll hits 46
  • UK deputy chief medical officer warns life won't be normal for 6 months
  • Italy reports 2nd day of declines
  • Texas, RI, Florida & others bar people traveling from NY and surrounding area
  • France reports another 300 deaths
  • Medical evacuation flight to Tokyo crashes in Manila
  • Dutch reject Chinese made masks
  • Spanish politicians criticized for traveling to vacation villas
  • Navarro suggests Chinese may have exposed US officials to virus
  • Modi asks for "forgiveness" from India's poor
  • Syria, Jordan report first deaths
  • Louisiana needs more federal help or it will be quickly overrun
  • Russia closes borders to foreigners Monday
  • Does China control the WHO? Video
 
 
 
https://hongkong.asiaxpat.com/Utility/GetImage.ashx?ImageID=31b61fda-3ee2-4d92-b678-fd2eafc4af2e&refreshStamp=0
 
 
https://hongkong.asiaxpat.com/Utility/GetImage.ashx?ImageID=fc836551-85e9-4cc7-b0b8-e22fc11e9990&refreshStamp=0
 
 

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Ed 3 days ago
UPDATE - Meanwhile, in Brazil
 
"The virus is here, we’re going to have to confront it. Confront it like a man, not a boy!" Bolsonaro told supporters outside his official residence on Sunday.
 
"We're all going to die one day."

Brazil has reported 3,904 confirmed cases and 114 deaths linked to the Wuhan Virus.

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Ed 3 days ago
 
Both international and domestic flight volumes have collapsed.
 

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Ed 3 days ago
UPDATE - India Could Have 915,000 Wuhan Virus Infections by Mid-May
 
Doctors in India are warning that it is only a matter of time before the country is overwhelmed by the Wuhan Virus in spite of a nation-wide lockdown.
 
Read More on Bloomberg  

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Ed 2 days ago
https://hongkong.asiaxpat.com/Utility/GetImage.ashx?ImageID=6dcf668f-9dce-464e-a336-c34dda30b17a&refreshStamp=0

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Ed 2 days ago
UPDATE - Don't Count on a Vaccine Anytime Soon - If At All
 
The world’s foremost experts in the field have seen the perils of predicting the arrival of a vaccine. In 1984, then U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Margaret Heckler said a shot to prevent HIV would be ready for testing within two years. Researchers have chased that goal ever since.
 
Vaccine specialists this time are turning to technology aimed at speeding up a process that has traditionally taken 10 years or more.  
 
Read More on Bloomberg 

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Ed 1 day ago

As far as I know Germany does not ban Facebook, Google, or the myriad of apps that track our every movement both digitally and physically 'because of privacy issues'

Yet when it comes to trying to stop the biggest threat to the world since WW2.... suddenly they are concerned about invading the privacy of people who are by law meant to be in quarantine/isolation.

Every country is always behind the curve --- they only lock down after the virus is established communally.  This even when they knew from Wuhan (and Italy) that once this virus is communal it is difficult to control, and impossible to eliminate.

In most countries the self-isolation is voluntary, and loads of people are breaking their 14 day quarantine.

Yet self-isolation is not strictly enforced.  They send you home with a 'pretty please don't go out for 14 days'
 
And now, at least in Germany, the authorities are not even tracking possible infections unless they agree.   Obviously anyone planning to break self-isolation will not agree to be tracked.
 
We are facing a crisis that threatens to topple the global economy, yet governments are always behind the curve with respect to containment policies, and suddenly they are concerned about privacy issues with potential spreaders of the virus? 
 

This is not incompetence.   

 
It’s almost as if they are purposely trying to ensure this virus spreads.
 

07:50 GMT - Coronavirus tracking app must be voluntary: German minister

German Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht told Deutschlandfunk radio that tracking apps to help tackle coronavirus could only be used voluntarily in Germany.

 "It's a real infringement if I have such data so I can only agree with everyone who says that if there is such a solution that actually breaks the chains of infection, it's only possible if those who have it on their mobile phones and so use it do so voluntarily," Lambrecht said.

 
Germany hopes to launch a smartphone app within weeks to help trace coronavirus infections, after a broad political consensus emerged that adopting an approach pioneered by Singapore can be effective without invading people's privacy.

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Ed 19 hrs ago
UPDATE - The Wuhan Virus is the biggest emerging markets crisis ever
 
For countries like India, South Africa, Nigeria, Brazil and Malaysia, the financial shock wave from this pandemic is far worse than the disease.
 

“With their populations at risk, their public finances stretched, and financial markets in turmoil, many emerging market states and developing countries face a huge challenge. Will they have the resources to ride out the challenge? And if not, where will they look for outside assistance in an increasingly divided and multipolar world in which the United States, the European Union, and China have all been through an unprecedented shutdown?

“At the head of the list of vulnerable countries is South Africa… In Brazil… the currency was reeling even before Bolsonaro decided to discard any strategic approach to the virus. Chile, Thailand and Turkey have all been knocked back. Argentina’s much-needed debt restructuring has been blown off course.

“India’s share market is plunging, its exchange rate has slumped and its banks are under pressure.

“The shock has delivered a blow not just to sharemarkets and government bonds but also to commodities… Think of desperately poor Nigeria; think of fragile Algeria, where oil and gas account for 85 per cent of export revenue.”

 
 
Read More on Reuters

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Ed 2 hrs ago

Again … this cannot be incompetence:

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Barely a month before Europe embarked on a scramble for masks, ventilators and testing kits to fight coronavirus, governments told Brussels their healthcare systems were ready and there was no need to order more stocks, EU documents show.

This rosy assessment is in stark contrast to the shortages of masks and medical equipment just a few weeks later, when the European Commission estimated needs across EU states to be 10 times higher than would usually be available.
 
Read More on Reuters 



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