Well that escalated quickly (coronavirus edition)

Is this what the beginning of the end of the world looks like?

BREAKING: China confirms 5,974 virus cases, exceeding nation’s SARS total – AFP

A comment from yesterday:

BREAKING: #China says that #coronavirus infections increased from 2,887 to 4,515 *an increase of 56% in a single day*. Deaths increased 29% to 106.

This is just the beginning. Expect these numbers to continue to rise…quickly

#Beijing — population 21.5 million — reported its first death from #2019_nCov and shut down 28 bus routes to nearby cities.

#Shanghai—population 24.2 million — already recorded a death, and now has 13 new cases of #coronavirus (total of 66).



Coronavirus *appears* to be highly contagious as well as serious:

Having YEARS of experience developing an #Ebola treatment, I was concerned about this #CoronavirusOutbreak from the outset, because this #coronavirus strain is very contagious, causes severe illness, and NO treatments or vaccines are available.

Unlike H5N1 “bird flu” (which does not spread easily between people) or SARS (which was spread by only a handful of “super spreaders”), this #coronavirus DOES appear to spread easily between people, even after making the jump from an animal (this is not common).

In addition to being highly contagious, this novel #coronavirus can cause a SEVERE infection that can kill even healthy people. It’s rare to see BOTH of these (bad) attributes in the same novel virus. Usually, it’s one or the other.

More reason for alarm:

The Chinese regime is likely underreporting the true scale of the coronavirus outbreak, according to a Harvard epidemiologist.

Fears of a rampant epidemic are mounting after the infectious disease hit most parts of China and have spread to over a dozen countries globally.

Official figures record the pneumonia-like virus infecting thousands and killing scores, although experts say the total number of infections is vastly greater than that reported by the communist regime.

In a recent study by Imperial College London, the researchers found that “self-sustaining human-to-human transmission” is the “only plausible explanation of the scale of the outbreak in Wuhan.”

Researchers said that each infected individual could infect 2.6 others, on average, and the authorities would need to block transmission of more than 60 percent of the cases to contain the outbreak. […]

China has quarantined 17 cities, postponed school openings, and extended the week-long national Lunar New Year holiday to Feb. 2, in an attempt to curb the disease’s spread.

Despite such efforts, 5 million people left the virus epicenter of Wuhan before the lockdown took effect on Jan. 23.

As it turns out, we are dealing with the consequences of another SARS-type government coverup:

Everyone must understand, first of all, that this epidemic was allowed to spread for a period of more than forty days before any of the abovementioned cities were closed off, or any decisive action taken. In fact, if we look at the main efforts undertaken by the leadership, and by provincial and city governments in particular, these were focused mostly not on the containment of the epidemic itself, but on the containment and suppression of information about the disease

Shanghai has seen its first death from the virus.

Russia’s Far East has closed its border with China.

Japan and Germany confirm coronavirus cases in people who had not traveled to Wuhan.

The US has decided not to block flights from and to China.

It’s hard to know what is real and what is media- and government-generated hysteria. The information from China is incomplete and hardly reliable, and it seems that nobody outside China knows what is going on.

Then there’s this:

The novel #coronavirus outbreak may reach its peak in one week or around 10 days, and then there will be no large-scale increases, says Zhong Nanshan, a renowned Chinese respiratory expert

We see through a glass darkly. As a hedge against gullibility, here’s a thread in which a science writer debunks hysterical claims by a Harvard epidemiologist.

On the other hand, I would note that the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918-19 infected some 500 million people, or about one-third of the human race, and killed at least 50 million people.

3 thoughts on “Well that escalated quickly (coronavirus edition)

  1. I watched a report on the economic impact of Coronavius and the economist was really downplaying the severity of the virus, citing the fact that 6,000 people normally die, world wide, of flu, each year. I am no doctor. Well, not that kind, anyway. Actually, I’m barely the other kind. But it seems to me that when 6,000 people die every year of flu, they don’t all catch it in the same week and in the same city and planes aren’t usually grounded. Is it me or does this seem more severe than last year when this didn’t happen?

    • I am not an epidemiologist, but the flu comparison doesn’t seem right. It’s like the “bathtub fallacy”: more people die slipping in bathtubs every year than are killed by terrorism, therefore, we don’t need to worry about terrorism. Excellent logic, until a suitcase nuke goes off in Times Square and kills a quarter of a million people.

      The actual experts, as opposed to the economist you cited, seem rather more concerned. Quote from a paper co-authored by the dean of Hong Kong University’s medical school and just published in The Lancet:

      “Large cities overseas with close transport links to China could also become outbreak epicentres, unless substantial public health interventions at both the population and personal levels are implemented immediately,” the study said.


      I really don’t know enough to comment – all I can do is cite the most authoritative experts (with plenty of paranoid speculation thrown in)…

      • And yes, the fact that China has imposed the largest quarantine in human history, locking down 60 million people in central China – the population of the entire west coast of the U.S. – is alarming in itself, even if this turns out to be a major over-reaction.

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