I had originally intended to do a starter post on the economic cascade effects that have started. However, I think we are entering a very interesting period where the data will tell us how things are going to go. To determine that, watch the blooms.
The bloom of infections is starting to drop in China, at least as far as we can tell. Again, don’t trust any official figures from the Chinese government as they lie, and have lied from the start. That drop, however, appears to be confirmed by at least some non-government sources in China.
They key to this bloom is that it will grow again once the draconian measures in place are eased. They will have to be eased for economic reasons if nothing else. Once they are, the bloom will grow. How large and how fast it grows, and how fast it stops growing, will tell us a lot.
The blooms are growing, however, in countries around China. This is not, repeat not, unexpected. What we are looking at now is how large and how fast those blooms grow, and if they can be contained to limited areas. If they can, good news. If not, bad news.
There are smaller blooms starting elsewhere, such as the U.S. However, keep in mind that a good part of that bloom are Citizens who have been repatriated from infectious areas, including those known to be infected. That there will be more, many more perhaps, is a given. The efforts so far are on slowing it down, not keeping it out altogether as that is impossible at this point. I do wish they had implemented travel restrictions and quarantines sooner. If wishes were horses…
My own estimate right now is that we could see some massive blooms in SE Asia, all the way down towards Australia and New Zealand. Australia is the one to watch, as it is the closest first world enclave to China. They have enacted a “proper” response based off of very modern public health and public hygiene systems.
If those systems have indeed provided an adequate response, the first place we will truly see it is in Australia. If not, again, the first place we will see it is in Australia. The lessons learned from Australia can be applied to either improve the existing plans and protocols, or to make changes with enough time to prevent a complete disaster. We hope.
Given that there appear to be a number of “superspreaders” with this virus; that it can be transmitted while asymptomatic; that it can be transmitted by multiple vectors; and that we really don’t have good data yet on transmission values (or death), well, much is in up in the air.
Add in that in multiple countries there were people who were allowed in who spread it asymptomatic, and that no effort to find everyone they came in contact with will be 100 percent effective… Those are the new blooms to pay close attention to. Again, if things continue to work well in the U.S. and other first world countries, we should be relatively okay. The slow-down of the spread buys time to develop vaccines, effective treatments, and even more effective protocols for containment.
While I am not raising my alert level yet, I am strongly recommending not traveling to anywhere in SE Asia other than Australia or New Zealand. This does include Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, etc. Have plans for the Olympics in Japan? Cancel and see if you can get refunds. Business absolutely requires working in/with those areas? Telecommute.
Oh, some quick thoughts on a couple of areas.
First, there is a large possibility that it may be more deadly in China because of the massive (and sometimes deadly) air pollution in major cities and/or regions; smoking habits on top of said air pollution; nutrition and basic health; and, public hygiene/sanitation. Again, time will tell.
Second, I really would love for someone to check the grey water systems on the Diamond Princess. Given the increasing number of reports that one mode of transmission is via fecal matter, I think tests on white, grey, and black systems could tell us a lot. Given the level of response over there, am not going to bet that such tests will be run.
Side note is that a number of the systems and such pushed by the so-called Green New Deal types could be almost tailor-made to encourage epidemics and/or pandemics. Again, good reason to check those recycling systems on the Diamond Princess. Sadly, these days I’m not as inclined to consider such “oops” as poor planning, but rather as intentional.
Third, there is some hope that better sanitation systems and practices can help contain the outbreak to some degree. The better the systems, and the more people follow good to excellent hygiene, the better.
Fourth, pray that it does not get a foothold in Africa, particularly south of the Sahara. If it does, it will have a second natural reservoir in which it can lie dormant, mutate, and/or otherwise come forth on a regular basis to plague the world.
If you have not implemented the steps I discussed in this post, I strongly urge you to do so now. Use the interactive graphic to keep track of things. Is COVID19 an epidemic? Yes. Is it a Pandemic? Not Yet. Is there need for panic? No. Should you be paying attention? Yes. Hell yes. Depending on how a couple of parameters go in the next few days, I am considering raising my personal DEFCON from Sit Up to Really?!? Much depends on what we see outside of China in that time. At this time, I still see the major impacts as economic.
Want to avoid catching COVID19 here in the U.S.? Wash your flippin hands frequently, wash them thoroughly every time you use the bathroom, then follow with hand sanitizer after every washing, use hand sanitizer liberally when you can’t wash on a regular basis. Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze, and stay away from those who don’t. Also, keep your bugger hooks out of/away from your eyes, nose, and mouth. In other words, standard flu protocols and fairly standard basic personal hygiene.
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