The history of COVID-19

Fighting bureaucracy

Today the focus is on AXIOS and their article on the history of COVID-19. They have an excellent China Newsletter.
As Chinese officials have a very accurate selective memory loss, good to be aware of this.

I don’t write much otherwise as the whole day I have battled horrible Chinese bureaucracy. I have not yet reached the end but at least made big progress.
We could not enter the Beijing administration as we needed that dreaded 100086 stuff we can’t use, see my earlier post. After two trips back to our compound we managed to solve it with a letter from the compound management stating we were in Beijing in the past two weeks.

Other food news: TRB is coming back. And use chilis against the virus.
I also want to evaluate a bit the reaction and impact of my daily briefings.

Belgium to fine people using masks in public.

Really. This is not 1 April joke.
I think Chinese must be shocked, Americans may applaud.
You chose.

See the details here:
‘Wie rondloopt met mondmasker, moet GAS-boete krijgen’
Redacteur Knack 18/03/20
https://www.knack.be/nieuws/belgie/wie-rondloopt-met-mondmasker-moet-gas-boete-krijgen/article-normal-1578355.html

Volgens ere-vrederechter Jan Nolf kan het systeem van GAS-boetes worden ingezet om onnodig gebruik van mondmaskers tegen te gaan. ‘Enkel tijdens carnaval mag je gemaskerd de straat op.’

The early days of China’s coronavirus outbreak and cover-up

In earlier posts I already detailed many aspects of this but the following overview is very complete and points the finger in the right direction.

Axios has compiled a timeline of the earliest weeks of the coronavirus outbreak in China, highlighting when the cover-up started and ended — and showing how, during that time, the virus already started spreading around the world, including to the United States.
Why it matters: A study published in March indicated that if Chinese authorities had acted three weeks earlier than they did, the number of coronavirus cases could have been reduced by 95% and its geographic spread limited.

Here’s an abbreviated timeline, compiled from information reported by the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the South China Morning Post, and other sources.
It shows that China’s cover-up and the delay in serious measures to contain the virus lasted about three weeks.

Dec. 10: Wei Guixian, one of the earliest known coronavirus patients, starts feeling ill.

Dec. 16: Patient admitted to Wuhan Central Hospital with an infection in both lungs but resistant to anti-flu drugs. Staff later learned he worked at a wildlife market connected to the outbreak.

Dec. 30: Ai Fen, a top director at Wuhan Central Hospital, posts information on WeChat about the new virus. She was reprimanded for doing so and told not to spread information about it.

Dec. 31: China tells the World Health Organization’s China office about the cases of an unknown illness.

Jan. 1: Wuhan Public Security Bureau brings in for questioning eight doctors who had posted information about the illness on WeChat.

Jan. 2: Chinese researchers map the new coronavirus’ complete genetic information. This information is not made public until Jan. 9.

Jan. 7: Xi Jinping becomes involved in the response.

Jan. 11–17: Important prescheduled CCP meeting held in Wuhan. During that time, Wuhan health commission insists there are no new cases.

Jan. 13: First coronavirus case reported in Thailand, the first known case outside China.

Jan. 15: The patient who becomes the first confirmed U.S. case leaves Wuhan and arrives in the U. S., carrying the coronavirus.

Jan. 18: Annual Wuhan lunar new year banquet. Tens of thousands of people gathered for a potluck.

Jan. 19: Beijing sends epidemiologists to Wuhan.

Jan. 20: The first case announced in South Korea. Zhong Nanshan, a top Chinese doctor who is helping to coordinate the coronavirus response, announces the virus can be passed between people.

Jan. 21: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirms first coronavirus case in the United States. China’s top political commission in charge of law and order warns that “anyone who deliberately delays and hides the reporting of [virus] cases out of his or her own self-interest will be nailed on the pillar of shame for eternity.”

Jan. 23: Wuhan and three other cities are put on lockdown. Right around this time, approximately 5 million people leave the city without being screened for the illness.

Jan. 24–30: China celebrates the Lunar New Year holiday. Hundreds of millions of people are in transit around the country as they visit relatives.

Jan. 24: China extends the lockdown to cover 36 million people and starts to rapidly build a new hospital in Wuhan. From this point, very strict measures continue to be implemented around the country for the rest of the epidemic

The bottom line: China is now widely claiming that its actions to combat the coronavirus bought the world time to prepare. In January, the opposite was true.

Go deeper:
Read the full timeline:
LINK

China’s coronavirus cover-up was among worst in history:
LINK

A court action

Axios also mentions:
Suing China: Class action filed against China over COVID-19 outbreak (Law.com).
A plaintiff has filed a nationwide class-action lawsuit in a U.S. district court in Florida against the People’s Republic of China for its failure to contain the coronavirus epidemic.
Read the court document here.

Why the USA is fu###d

Loved this as I saw most of the statements myself.

Of course some will say this is all lies and witch hunting, blabla. Now guess who’s talking. Actually some Americans have the same selective memory loss as the Chinese authoritarian regime. They start looking very much alike.
I could not located the link to that video, This came close:
Trump spent weeks downplaying the coronavirus. He’s now pretending that never happened. Trump’s claim that he’s always taken the coronavirus “very seriously,” refuted by Donald Trump.
https://www.vox.com/2020/3/18/21184945/trump-coronavirus-comments-then-versus-now

COVID-19 newsletter

Shanghai quarantine (always subject to change!)

A mix of news flashes, worthwhile ones, in my COVID-19 newsletter of today.
Quarantine requirements change by the day, so one needs to doublecheck at the last minute.
17 March 2020 – Everyone who travel from (pass by) Korea, Italy, Iran, Japan, France, German, Spain, USA, UK, Switzerland, Sweden, Belgium, Norway, Netherlands, Denmark, Austria during the past 14 days, as soon as you enter Shanghai, you need to keep in quarantine for 14 days. If you have home in Shanghai, then you need to stay at home for 14 days. If you don’t have home in shanghai, then the government will send you to an official quarantine place to stay for 14 days

New coronavirus stable for hours on surfaces

SARS-CoV-2 stability similar to original SARS virus.
https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/new-coronavirus-stable-hours-surfaces

The virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is stable for several hours to days in aerosols and on surfaces, according to a new study from National Institutes of Health, CDC, UCLA and Princeton University scientists in The New England Journal of Medicine. The scientists found that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was detectable in aerosols for up to three hours, up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel. The results provide key information about the stability of SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19 disease, and suggests that people may acquire the virus through the air and after touching contaminated objects. The study information was widely shared during the past two weeks after the researchers placed the contents on a preprint server to quickly share their data with colleagues.

See the original article for more.

Dutch article mentions criticism on the research; the danger from the air could be exaggerated and the virus transmitted in the air would survive only a short time. But other studies also confirm the virus can survive for a long time on surfaces. See also earlier posts on the subject.
Amerikaans onderzoek: ‘Coronavirus kan uren overleven in de lucht en op oppervlaktes’
https://www.knack.be/nieuws/gezondheid/amerikaans-onderzoek-coronavirus-kan-uren-overleven-in-de-lucht-en-op-oppervlaktes/article-news-1578109.html
18/03/20 – Belga

China helping EU countries

At a press conference in Beijing on Tuesday, Lei Chaozi, a director of the science and technology department at the Ministry of Education, confirmed that China has begun supplying Italy, Britain and the Netherlands with coronavirus test kits and said “the country is very willing to enhance cooperation with other countries” in the preventive effort.

Damn I am blood type A

People with blood type A may be more vulnerable to coronavirus.
Research in Wuhan and Shenzhen indicates patients with the blood group had higher rate of infection and tended to get more severe symptoms.
https://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/3075567/people-blood-type-may-be-more-vulnerable-coronavirus-china-study
SCMP 17 Mar, 2020

People with blood type A may be more vulnerable to infection by the new coronavirus, while those with type O seem more resistant, according to a preliminary study of patients in China who contracted the disease known as COVID-19.
Medical researchers in China took blood group patterns of more than 2,000 patients infected with the virus in Wuhan and Shenzhen and compared them to local healthy populations. They found that blood type A patients showed a higher rate of infection and they tended to develop more severe symptoms.

Now this is bad news

Bangkok closes bars, schools amid surge in cases and public rumors of a lockdown. Kick boxing stadiums, cinemas and bars in Bangkok and its surrounding areas will be closed for 14 days from Wednesday.

But obviously worse is this ticking time bomb.
Hubei’s migrant workers ‘living in fear’ as debts mount under lockdown. Sweeping coronavirus containment measures, including transport restrictions, have trapped nearly 60 million people in Hubei province. Among them are scores of rural migrant workers who are struggling to pay debts because they have been unable to return to their jobs.
My take is, that is not only a problem for Hubei migrant workers…

Why overseas Chinese return to China

(SCMP 18 March 2020, edited)
Chinese overseas head home to safe haven under Beijing’s tough quarantine regime. Some Chinese abroad feel comfort of close family, health care, masks, social control, quarantines and government surveillance is best combination to beat pandemic.

Some became very alarmed still seeing crowds of people abroad going to sports and other events, not taking any precautions. They also cannot understand why foreigners don’t use masks.
While China’s initial cover-up of the epidemic led to widespread discontent, many Chinese have given credit to the authorities for successfully slowing the transmission of the virus since drastic quarantine measures were put in place at the end of January.

Beijing has enforced mass quarantines with a powerful propaganda apparatus, surveillance technology and a large network of community watchers.
As health experts in Europe and America have struggled to convince everyone to stay at home and practice social distancing, many Chinese said the draconian measures in their country have made them feel safer.

Many of them are debating if they should “escape” back home, to a place perceived by some as a safe haven in a global crisis.
The tipping point for many overseas Chinese was a loss of trust in the health care systems of their countries of residence.
“If something happens to me, I would rather be in China,” Liu said, citing the scarcity of testing kits in the US. “The health care services [in China] are better. The medical system has already handled tens of thousands of cases.”
Despite the mandatory quarantine at home, many overseas Chinese, especially students, said they were desperate to return because of school closures, a desire to be with close family and a greater trust in China’s epidemic control mechanism.

Visit to the bank

This morning went to the bank. It took some 20 minutes to pass security and to fill out Chinese list of questions, Twice we had to do this scan QR stuff. Worse, need to do it every day. Impossible for someone who is not fluent in Chinese. Once in the bank another scan.

So this is inside the bank. Must be incredible for Americans (and other Westerners) to see a meeting with masks INSIDE the bank. And the scan stuff.

A stark warning to USA (and other countries)

Coronavirus: Unconfirmed cases may be behind rapid spread in China, researchers say.
(SCMP 17 March 2020)
Study estimates that 86% of infections went undiagnosed in the two weeks before Wuhan was locked down on January 23. Those people, who probably didn’t have severe symptoms, thought to have infected 79% of documented cases.
A joint study by experts in China, the US, Britain and Hong Kong found that undocumented infections of the new coronavirus, likely those without severe symptoms, were largely responsible for its spread across China in January.
The modelling research was published in Science magazine – run by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Couldn’t express it better!

In other words, tests kits must be used from the very start on anybody who is not feeling well or has suspicious symptoms or has met infected people.
Much unlike in USA and other countries.

More updates on COVID-19

Message to our ill-informed Chinese

As part of my more updates on COVID-19:
I mentioned the blatant xenophobic and racial reactions towards foreigners “who are dangerous, importing the virus”.
Well, see this:
No Foreigners Among Beijing’s 31 Imported Cases So Far
16 March 2020
Of the 31 reported cases of COVID-19 that have come in from overseas so far, all have been Chinese citizens and 27 were determined to be symptomatic on the plane, Beijing CDC deputy director Pang Xinghuo said at this afternoon’s press conference on epidemic control.
Pang gave the details as part of a statistical snapshot on imported cases of the disease, which at this point is now the main route of new infections in the capital, as well as other parts of China outside of Hubei.
Pang said that to date, 26 of the 31, or 84%, came from the following five routes:

Aeroflot SU204 from Moscow
Etihad Airways EY888 from Abu Dhabi
Emirates EK306 from Dubai
Air China CA938 from London
Air China CA846 from Barcelona

The 31 confirmed passengers are from Zhejiang (13 cases);  Beijing, Gansu, Hubei, Liaoning, Ningxia Shandong, and Sichuan, (two each); Hebei, Fujian, Xinjiang, and Yunnan (one each).
Read the full article:
https://www.thebeijinger.com/blog/2020/03/16/no-foreigners-among-beijings-31-imported-cases-so-far

See here the original source in Chinese:
https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/PTJz5_cLfpXKtcpdW0uHkg

Here in Word: 200316 noforeigners

Another source: 20,000 people arrive in China daily, with 10% being foreigners.

Fake news and more

China continues to feed fake news that the virus is not from China (maybe brought by UFO?). They will repeat it so many times till they start believing their fake stuff. Pathetic.

I don’t need to mention all the world news about border closures, lockdowns, etc. It’s all over the media. Armageddon.
Worrying in my opinion are the “danger zones”, the areas in the world where we still can expect dramatic increases in the spread of the virus. See a snapshot of those.
Yeah maybe better now to be in Beijing.

Well, Morel’s Restaurant opened today! What a relief! They even admitted Chinese to enter.

Imported cases the new danger

See two China Daily articles, both “omitting” the fact the imported cases are all from Chinese:

“Imported cases face tougher measures”
http://global.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202003/16/WS5e6e8a3da31012821727f37e.html
and
“Control of imported cases now crucial: China Daily editorial”
http://global.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202003/15/WS5e6e16bfa31012821727f341.html

Otherwise most of the policies were already explained in my previous post.

Beijing quarantine

Further to my earlier post, it seems that the exceptions to mandatory quarantine in designated hotels would be for people over 70 years old, pregnant women, unaccompanied minors and even “people living alone”.

Welcome to Beijing! Example of designated hotel Tangyun in Huairou

200316 BeijingAirport

A short clip circulating in Beijing: Chinese invasion from abroad in Beijing Airport.

Is China’s growth streak over?
I fully agree with this comment in the NYT:
The economic fallout from China’s fight against the coronavirus outbreak became much clearer. this week: It’s very possible the economy contracted in the first quarter, for the first time since 1976.
The first official numbers since Beijing locked down parts of the country are out: Industrial production, retail sales and investment all posted record double-digit drops for the first two months of the year, compared with the same period in 2019.
Though government officials played down the news, saying it was too early to tell whether the economy contracted, the data released on Monday was even more dismal than many economists had anticipated.
Looking ahead: It could be months, if not longer, before the country is fully up and running again. Tens of millions of migrants who work in China’s factories are still stuck in quarantines or in their hometowns. And consumers are still not shopping.

Not mentioned in the comment: with world trade grinding and international & local travel to a halt, China’s usual markets will order less and will not be able to import… So even when China is “back to normal” their export markets won’t. And forget about international tourists visiting China.

Alibaba donates to Belgium and USA

In Dutch: Alibaba Foundation sending 500,000 masks to Belgium, also 30,000 test kits. And also donating to USA (in English).
Alibaba Foundation schenkt 500.000 mondmaskers dankzij tussenkomst koning Filip
16/03/20
https://www.knack.be/nieuws/gezondheid/alibaba-foundation-schenkt-500-000-mondmaskers-dankzij-tussenkomst-koning-filip/article-news-1577167.html

Coronavirus: Masks and test kits donated by Jack Ma arrive in US
SCMP 17 March 2010
Chinese-made supplies will be distributed by US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention amid shortages in United States.
The first shipment of Chinese billionaire Jack Ma’s donation of 1 million masks and 500,000 coronavirus test kits to the United States arrived in the US on Monday morning.
The supplies, which will be distributed by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), were purchased in China since its factories have gradually resumed production. The shipment of a second batch will depend on availability, said a spokesman at the Jack Ma Foundation.

Hoarding

I don’t understand this meaningless hoarding going on in Western countries, never saw this in Beijing during the outbreak. What’s wrong with this people? Then they say Chinese are crazy… WTF. Buying toilet paper, water whatever. And guns? Stupidity has no borders.

Watch this crazy line of people in Cypress (USA) to enter COSTCO.

WATCH: Hundreds line up at Costco in Cypress amid coronavirus outbreak

Costco for weeks has seen a crush of shoppers swarm its big-box stores, loading up on paper goods and food. Other retailers such as Target and local grocery stores have seen their shelves wiped clean of hand sanitizer, toilet paper and paper towels.
A line on Friday extended out of the Cypress Costco about a quarter-mile to surrounding streets as people waited to get inside. Shoppers were told around midday that the store had sold out of paper products and store-brand bottled water.

Beijing will quarantine travelers from overseas

Beijing to quarantine all international arrivals for 2 weeks in special facilities

Beijing will quarantine travelers from overseas for 2 weeks in medical treatment stations starting Monday, local authorities said Sunday, as China steps up measures against coronavirus cases coming from overseas.
People arriving from abroad had previously been allowed to undergo a mandatory two-week quarantine at home, but now only those in “special circumstances” will be exempted from being sent to facilities where they must pay for their own stay.
People’s Daily, 15 March 2020
https://peoplesdaily.pdnews.cn/2020/03/15/china/beijing-to-quarantine-all-international-arrivals-for-2-weeks-in-special-facilities-133904.html

Terminal 3 in Beijing yesterday with also massive queues to pass health checks.
The designated medical treatment stations are staffed with professional medical workers to carry out health monitoring. Those who falsely report information, conceal a disease or cause the spread of the epidemic will be punished according to the regulations, Beijing Daily reported Sunday.

Feedback from arriving passengers

Mixed reviews…
It takes some time after arrival to proceed from the airport to the reception center in Shunyi. All must undergo quarantine in designated hotels, normally close to the place of residence but others are being send to Huairou or other locations outside of the city. Some hotels are up to RMB 700 per night, price range can be from 200 upwards, including 3 meals. The only hotel in Dongcheng District would be RMB 420/night. They comment that overall it was “well organized”. See one of the hotels (from WeChat group).

Others say it is a mess, you can’t chose the hotels and prices are inflated…
See overview from SCMP on quarantine regulations, dated 14 March when the mandatory quarantine rules in Beijing were not yet announced.
As a rule, anything can change at any moment.

Another overview (Beijing not updated yet): https://www.nytimes.com/article/coronavirus-travel-restrictions.html

See here also overview done by American Chamber in South China, seems pretty updated and recommended:
https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/N5dgq5JrBWGEDxAtQBzFWA

I AM NOT A VIRUS

As said earlier there is now a real xenophobia in Beijing. Some restaurants bar the “dangerous foreigners”, because “restaurant could have problems if authorities see there are foreigners inside”. For confidentiality I cannot give details.

Chinese coming back from Schiphol, Holland, on a CZ plane. They are the real dangerous people and not most foreigners (see any?). Reason is Chinese abroad mostly have no insurance to look doctor so they want to come back for treatment. Vast majority barred from boarding in Europe are Chinese and most incoming sick people are returning Chinese.
To stop this, what I know the government now will NOT treat them free of charge. If they have the virus the bill for treatment is RMB 400,000. Message: “Don’t come here, stay where you are if sick, we don’t want you!”

Also:
The Washington Times – Sunday, March 15, 2020
The World Health Organization on Sunday said there is no evidence the U.S. introduced the coronavirus into China as suggested by Beijing’s foreign ministry spokesman last week.
“We have neither seen the allegation nor any evidence to support it,” WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier told The Washington Times.

The quest for a vaccine

We’ve Got The Vaccine, Says Pentagon-Funded Company
12 March 2020
Canadian firm says it could make 10 million doses per month — if its innovative production method wins FDA approval.
A Canadian company says that it has produced a COVID-19 vaccine just 20 days after receiving the coronavirus’s genetic sequence, using a unique technology that they soon hope to submit for FDA approval.
Medicago CEO Bruce Clark said his company could produce as many as 10 million doses a month. If regulatory hurdles can be cleared, he said in a Thursday interview, the vaccine could start to become available in November 2021.
An Israeli research lab has also claimed to have created a vaccine. But Clark says his company’s technique, which has already been proven effective in producing vaccines for seasonal flu, is more reliable and easier to scale.
Read the full story:
https://www.defenseone.com/technology/2020/03/breaking-weve-got-vaccine-says-pentagon-funded-company/163739/

The Chinese economy

Good insight here:
Coronavirus: China’s economy suffered dramatic collapse in warning to rest of world. Combined data for January and February showed that industrial production, retail sales and asset investment all declined far more than analysts expected. Lockdowns to control the coronavirus proved to be a constraint to economic growth, but with China now in recovery, data suggests what rest of the world could expect.
SCMP 16 March 2020
https://www.scmp.com/economy/china-economy/article/3075314/coronavirus-caused-dramatic-collapse-chinas-economy-warning

Bericht van prof Wim Derave, UZ Gent

Professor schrijft brief aan bevolking: “We zijn een eigenwijs en tegendraads volk, ons egoïsme gaat ons de das omdoen”
Er komt een drama op ons af als het gaat over het nieuwe coronavirus. Dat zegt Wim Derave, professor inspanningsfysiologie aan de UGent. In een brief naar “de medemens” haalt hij uit naar mensen die de maatregelen van de overheid niet serieus nemen. “Je kan het leven van een medemens redden. Wees niet egoïstisch. Bron: VRT NWS: nieuws
https://vrtnws.be/p.3k3PwwG4e
De volgende tekst is eigenlijk van een andere bron maar ziet er gelijk uit.

200315 Wim Derave

Worldwide pandemic

Happy Sunday

It is a curious feeling to watch from Beijing the worldwide pandemic, to see the growing list of countries enforcing a lockdown and closure of restaurants, bars, cinemas and more: Italy, Belgium, France, Spain, … I guess more to follow. And forget travel. Be happy if you made it home, stay there!

As said situation in China seems to be improving overall but still too many restrictions make life difficult. Even the Belgian ministry of Foreign Affairs recommends NOT to travel and as an example these countries block in one way or other Belgians to enter: Vietnam, Morocco, Turkey, New Zealand, USA, Poland, Denmark, Saudi Arabia, Cyprus, Lithuania, …

Some people still deny reality and facts as they blindly believe fake news outlets like Fox News and other. That so-called news channel competes in fakeness with Global Times, at times China Daily and other media from authoritarian countries with harsh censorship. If they attack CNN, NYT and other, hey you also can watch France24, Euronews and other that will show how the U.S. is still scrambling to catch up and the White House (we should call it the BLACK House) giving meaningless and erratic press briefings. And “medical authorities” unable to answer the most elementary questions in congress and senate.

Not to be surprised some medical experts predict between 160 million and 214 million people in the United States could be infected over the course of the epidemic. I don’t dare to give a figure but it does not look good for reason I explained before, see also further.
The U.S. has roughly 46,500 beds designated for ICU use, but even in a moderate scenario, it’s projected that 200,000 people could need ICU treatment, according to a report from Johns Hopkins.

And: why a shortage of tests in the U.S.? (again, basically nothing new)
The CDC’s initial test for the virus was faulty. And, for reasons that remain unknown, the U.S. opted not to rely on the World Health Organization’s test while the CDC developed a new one. Red tape slowed down academic labs that wanted to quickly develop their own. With both academic and commercial labs now pitching in, testing is becoming more widely available. But the U.S. is still playing catch-up, and the virus has likely been spreading undetected in the meantime.

Meanwhile U.S. government organizes mass contamination at airport for arriving passengers. Incredible mess.

Here’s another not-so-optimist comment:
The economic fallout from the coronavirus could be more serious than the damage done by the 2008 global financial crisis for Singapore, according to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
“We can’t tell when the pandemic will end, but it will likely last at least this year, and quite possibly longer,” Lee said in a Facebook post. “The economic hit will likely be more serious than the Global Financial Crisis, and longer-lasting too, even beyond the end of the pandemic.”

Keep some humor

At least some keep up the good spirits with a dose of humor:

Also screenshots of a short video clip that shows how to keep safe your priceless possession of toilet paper, the symbol of stupid hoarding.
Of course I can also recommend “LAUGH AND GET WISER!

Our friend Renaat Morel, famous chef and owner of Morel’s Restaurant in Beijing, has seen his restaurant forced to close for weeks with big financial loss (as everybody in the sector).

Poor Renaat has to make a living. He is doing extra cleaning work to earn 50 RMB per hour. He is asking for a raise but boss Susan is rather stingy.
BTW Renaat will try to open again this Tuesday, despite the shortage of staff and other difficulties. Legend Beer remains off limits.

David Leonhardt on an article by Derek Thompson, The Atlantic

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/03/coronavirus-stimulus-now/607744/

In an outbreak, public-health interventions are the most effective stimulus. In many ways, though, giving people money is a public-health intervention. More than 10 percent of Americans skip doctor appointments even when they feel sick, because they don’t think they can afford it. In the next few weeks, the Trump administration may have to request that Americans withdraw from public life — to “cancel everything.” This request to engage in economically damaging activity may be more palatable for many families if it comes with a financial package that compensates them for the damage. In a precarious economy where millions of people feel like they have to work to survive, more Americans will insist on going to work even as they show signs of illness, which means more Americans will be infected, and sick patients will overwhelm America’s hospitals.

And this is exactly the “chain reaction” I am always referring to. As the example I gave earlier about the waiter in your restaurant. This analysis of the impact of cancellations in the event industry is telling. Like cancelling major soccer games in Europe. Or F1. Anything like that:
“To see why the U.S. needs a stimulus package, look at Austin. The city’s wise decision to cancel the SXSW festival is devastating, wiping out nearly $1 billion in economic activity. The city’s “conference economy” is large and diverse, including security staff, tech crews, caterers, ride-hailing drivers, and hotel and restaurant staff. Thousands of people will lose an economic windfall they plan for all year. If they fall behind on rent or can’t pay utility bills next month, they’ll pull back spending on grocery stores and clothing outlets. The SXSW cancellation will reverberate throughout the region.”

An interesting analysis on how South Korea dealt with the virus

“South Korea’s coronavirus response is the opposite of China and Italy – and it’s working.”
Seoul’s handling of the outbreak emphasises transparency and relies heavily on public cooperation in place of hardline measures such as lockdowns. While uncertainties remain, it is increasingly viewed by public health experts as a model to emulate for authorities desperate to keep COVID-19 in check.
SCMP 14 March 2020
https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/health-environment/article/3075164/south-koreas-coronavirus-response-opposite-china-and

Excerpt:
As countries ranging from the United States to Italy and Iran struggle to manage the virus, Seoul’s handling of the outbreak – involving a highly coordinated government response that has emphasised transparency and relied heavily on public cooperation in place of hardline measures such as lockdowns – is increasingly viewed by public health experts as a model to emulate for authorities desperate to keep the virus under control.
Whereas China, where the virus originated, and more recently Italy have placed millions of their citizens on lockdown, South Korea has not restricted people’s movements – not even in Daegu, the southeastern city at the centre of the country’s outbreak.
Instead, authorities have focused mandatory quarantine on infected patients and those with whom they have come into close contact, while advising the public to stay indoors, avoid public events, wear masks and practise good hygiene.