Coronavirus Update, 2976
Good Monday morning, I’m still reporting on the coronavirus.
So, I’m constantly trying to decide whether this emphasis on coronavirus is just an overblown media panic designed to damage the Trump economy, or is it a real problem?
I think the best thing for me to do is to provide you with the stuff that interests me and let you make your own decisions.
I’m starting to track the doubling rate of the virus here in the U.S. One thing is for sure, President Trump did a great job blunting the impact by putting up a travel ban very early on.
But now the virus is spreading in the U.S. and it won’t be long before every state and every hospital in the nation will be affected.
We know it’s not very deadly if you have a good immune system. Children don’t seem to get it – or, at least, their immune system can deal with it as a normal cold or flu, and so they go unreported.
In a recent analysis by a team of researchers at Johns Hopkins and in China, of more than 72,000 confirmed cases in China, children under the age of 10 accounted for less than 1% of infections. Of the 1,023 deaths recorded in China at that time, not a single child was among them.
However, children can spread the virus, especially if initial reports prove accurate that an infected person can spread the virus two weeks before they themselves show symptoms.
Conversely, the older you get, the weaker your immune system gets. The center of the outbreak in Washington state apparently is a nursing home.
Those who do get sick can contract a deadly version of pneumonia, and require hospitalization – many times in in Intensive Care Unit (ICU for weeks at a time.
Unfortunately, the most likely outcome in the United States is that these hospitalizations – predominantly among those over 60 years of age, could run this nation out of hospital beds.
It all depends on one critical metric – the doubling rate.
In my report #2973 which I posted on Sat. night, the doubling rate was estimated to be about 6 days.
At that rate, the prediction was that active coronavirus cases would hit 1,000 in the U.S. by Tuesday, March 10, and 2,000 by March 15th.
This rate would cause all hospital beds to be filled to capacity by May 8th.
Now, I know there are a lot of variables in this equation, however, these are said to be conservative estimates.
However, according to the latest Johns Hopkins real-time map this morning, U.S. cases have taken the biggest percentage increase of any nation – 24.6% per day.
That would imply a doubling every 4 days.
But these numbers aren’t anywhere near the numbers of people who will get the flu this year. Here’s the infographic put out by the CDC. It shows there have already been between 34 and 49 million people who have contracted the flu between Oct. 1, 2019 and Feb. 29, 2020.
So why are we worried about the coronavirus numbers jumping from 424 up a whopping 561? That is the question of the day.
All I can say is I’ve never heard of the U.S. running out of hospital beds before. So, I’m going to track this doubling rate daily for the next couple of weeks to see how this develops.
I do expect it to be higher in the next few days as test kits will become available by the millions this week, so a lot of uncounted cases will be counted by the end of the week, but then the following week will tell the doubling rate story and we’ll know more about where this is going by then.
Another thing. If you think this is totally a non-factor, you need look no farther than China to see the results. China’s industrial capacity has come to a halt. It’s so bad that even regional government hundreds of miles away from the center the outbreak are ordering large and medium sized industries to force their workers back to work, despite a critical shortage of masks and disinfectant sprays.
Shortages are so widespread that beginning on Feb. 17, it became illegal for brick and mortar stores to sell such merchandise. It had to be ordered online and each person can only purchase 5 masks.
“The first day – Feb. 17, we sold 10,000 masks to 2,000 people who booked online. That day, 1.023 million people tried to order masks online; only 0.2 percent of them succeeded.”
This was in Changchun, China, which has a population of 7.5 million people.
Since then, every day, the masks sell out within 3 and one half minutes of the system opening to booking.
As a result, employees simply to refuse to go back to work without masks and local police have been deployed to force companies into resuming operations.
Obviously, the Chinese communist government, through denial and obfuscation of the facts of the wildly-spreading COVID-19 virus early on, helped the virus get a huge headstart on the population – something President Trump was determined to avoid.
We just don’t yet know if these actions have slowed the spread enough to keep from over-running our hospitals.
And lastly, perhaps the worst societal damage could be to the world economy.
This morning, the futures mar
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