COVID-19

berkeley

With this virus showing up in places where there has been a free flow of people back and forth (Korea, Italy), why do we think we have "only" a small number of cases in the United States? It doesn't seem that diagnostic testing is widely available here. Are doctors sending out samples from symptomatic patients to the CDC?


dave

I would think (hope) any pneumonia patients in hospitals are being tested, but Covid-19 can be asymptomatic for 2-14 days during its incubation period (one outlier was 24 days).    That said, who knows how many testing kits there are or where they are?  

Or ....


dave

Dow futures down 4%.  Maybe someone knows something.


bub

Told my family yesterday the market was going to take a big hit today and I'm not even really a market guy.

We have to start talking rationally about how we are going to deal with a pandemic here.  


cramer

The fear in the market is that no one knows how much the coronavirus is going to spread and whether there will be a prolonged global economic slowdown.  The markets are spooked today by the coronavirus cases in Italy and South Korea.  Until last Friday, the market had been acting as if the coronavirus could be contained to China and there would be a V-shaped economic recovery. There is no known cure for COVID-19.  


bub

I keep thinking that there has been no real outbreak here yet but based on pure hysteria, Chinese restaurants are suffering badly.  I read the other day that business in Chinatown NY is down 50%.  What's going to happen if there are real outbreaks and people have a real reason to stay away from restaurants and other retail spaces?  


sbenois

cramer said:

The fear in the market is that no one knows how much the coronavirus is going to spread and whether there will be a prolonged global economic slowdown.  The markets are spooked today by the coronavirus cases in Italy and South Korea.  Until last Friday, the market had been acting as if the coronavirus could be contained to China and there would be a V-shaped economic recovery. There is no known cure for COVID-19.  

Of the 79k cases of CV in China, 25k have now recovered and the spread there has stopped dramatically in the last 4 days.   Yes it is a concern in Europe and South Korea but with proper preparations, it is certainly something that can be contained. 

I think that the unspoken but actual reason for a lot of the futures going south is related to the press declaring that Sanders will be the Democrat nominee.


cramer

bub said:

I keep thinking that there has been no real outbreak here yet but based on pure hysteria, Chinese restaurants are suffering badly.  I read the other day that business in Chinatown NY is down 50%.  What's going to happen if there are real outbreaks and people have a real reason to stay away from restaurants and other retail spaces?  

Or if there are the kind of quarantines that towns in Italy have imposed? 

It really seems as if people just thought this was going to be a minor blip and things would go back to normal very quickly. Prior to the coronavirus outbreak in China,  David Tepper had been very bullish on the markets.  At the Superbowl, he was interviewed and said that the coronavirus was a gamechanger. Tepper is one of the best in the business, and for a almost two weeks it appeared that he was wrong. But here we are. 


cramer

sbenois said:

cramer said:

The fear in the market is that no one knows how much the coronavirus is going to spread and whether there will be a prolonged global economic slowdown.  The markets are spooked today by the coronavirus cases in Italy and South Korea.  Until last Friday, the market had been acting as if the coronavirus could be contained to China and there would be a V-shaped economic recovery. There is no known cure for COVID-19.  

Of the 79k cases of CV in China, 25k have now recovered and the spread there has stopped dramatically in the last 4 days.   Yes it is a concern in Europe and South Korea but with proper preparations, it is certainly something that can be contained. 

I think that the unspoken but actual reason for a lot of the futures going south is related to the press declaring that Sanders will be the Democrat nominee.

sbenois - I think that the probability that Sanders will be the nominee has a lot to do with the drop in the US futures, but it doesn't have anything to do with the 4% drops in the Asian and European markets. The US markets started acting badly last Thursday. There had been only a handful of stocks that were leading the market.

eta - Just to be clear: You are correct that with proper preparations the coronavirus can be contained. But the concern is how the global economy is going to be effected - the IMF Bank has already said that COVID-19 is the most pressing uncertainty for the world economy right now. 

btw,  I'm not spooked. I'm not selling and have been sitting with cash waiting for a chance to buy. 



bub

You can't believe reporting out of China, especially reports of progress.  Their number one priority is spin control and given the scale of this thing, thy couldn't present the true picture even if they wanted to.   And their story seems to change every day.

I wish there was better reporting about the cases outside of China.  The internet has made for lazy, echo chamber journalism.  I read the same cut and paste sentences and think "you haven't even picked up the phone to the CDC or WHO or any expert to actually ask any questions."

One question I have when they do the breakdown of mild/severe/death percentages is what do thy mean by severe?  Does that include, say, walking pneumonia, which isn't good but doesn't require hospitalization.   The percentage of people that need hospitalization will be a huge factor in our ability to deal with it.

If there is a potential bright spot in China, is that they will not constrain themselves with slow FDA testing and approval procedures for drugs.  They are trying everything right now.   If they announce success with antivirals or vaccines they are trying now and it's verifiable, that will stem the panic.  


sbenois

Which website have you been following for your info on this?


bub

No one in particular.  I just do broad searches in hopes of finding reliable information.  


sbenois

Good information is here:

https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6

Which includes data from this site in China, run by the medical community there.   They have been very forthcoming about on the ground info for weeks now.

https://ncov.dxy.cn/ncovh5/view/pneumonia?scene=2&clicktime=1579582238&enterid=1579582238&from=singlemessage&isappinstalled=0


bub

Random thoughts:

1.  Flu season usually peaks in February so in terms of hospital capacity for a growing Coronavirus situation in the next few months, that's good.   100s of 1000s of people get hospitalized for the flu every year and it does not seem to overwhelm our hospital system.  

2.  Chinese men smoke like chimneys (over 50% of men in China smoke) live with terrible air pollution, and have to deal with a hospital system that was overwhelmed before this crisis.  I hope and think those differences will make for a milder overall epidemic here. 

3.  If it becomes a bigger thing here, everyone who can telecommute should.




sbenois

I am not worried about any epidemic here at all.   


cramer

Dow futures down 900 points. S&P futures down 100 points.   Anybody who is leveraged (on margin) is going to get killed.  Tepper's advice was "don't be leveraged."  He's a smart man. 

10 year Treasury note 1.39%.  

eta - Should Democrats be happy? 


RealityForAll

sbenois said:

cramer said:

The fear in the market is that no one knows how much the coronavirus is going to spread and whether there will be a prolonged global economic slowdown.  The markets are spooked today by the coronavirus cases in Italy and South Korea.  Until last Friday, the market had been acting as if the coronavirus could be contained to China and there would be a V-shaped economic recovery. There is no known cure for COVID-19.  

Of the 79k cases of CV in China, 25k have now recovered and the spread there has stopped dramatically in the last 4 days.   Yes it is a concern in Europe and South Korea but with proper preparations, it is certainly something that can be contained. 

I think that the unspoken but actual reason for a lot of the futures going south is related to the press declaring that Sanders will be the Democrat nominee.

Generally, Chinese economic statistics or Chinese corporate financials cannot be relied upon.  

What makes you think the health/COVID-19 statistics are more reliable?

Whisper numbers that I have heard from friends in China is that the deaths and infections are being reported at 10% of actual  (in order to prevent "panic").    79k reported cases in China likely means 790k cases after compensating for Chinese understatement.

=========================================================

Link regarding Chinese economic statistics:  https://www.uscc.gov/sites/default/files/Research/TheReliabilityofChina%27sEconomicData.pdf

Excerpt from above link:

China’s recent economic weakness has revived questions about the quality of its economic
data. Critics charged that official statistics overstated the economy’s growth and
understated inflation in China’s economy. The recent complaints followed a long period of
questioning whether China, a developing country and authoritarian state, has the
institutional capacity and political will to publish accurate statistics. Because China is now
the world’s second-largest economy, and is suffering from economic imbalances, the debate
carries more weight than in the past.


yahooyahoo

Total overreaction by the market.  

There are far worse things in the world that the global financial markets should be concerned with but aren't.


yahooyahoo

Let's put things in perspective.

The WHO estimates that between 250,000 and 500,000 people die EACH YEAR from the flu.

The CDC estimates that between 5% and 20% of U.S. residents get the flu EACH YEAR.  Let's call it 10%, that means 30 million people get the flu in the U.S. each year and at least 10,000 people in the U.S. die.


cramer

The "market" is not concerned with how many deaths may result from COVID-19 - it is concerned with supply disruption, and more so now that the virus has spread beyond China.  For instance, South Korea accounts for 70% of the world's chip supply. If the same kind of quarantine is imposed in South Korea as in China, think what that does to the world economy. 

The US has restricted travelers from China from entering the country. I don't know whether it will now impose restrictions on travelers from Italy and South Korea. 

@sbenois - The health insurers are down a lot more percentage wise than the broader market - the Sanders' effect. 


nohero

The markets are overreacting to the suppliers overreacting to the manufacturers overreacting.


cramer

WHO-China Joint Mission on Covid- 19 press conference: 



bub

The "stop worrying the flu is much worse" theme you saw in earlier editorials has lost a lot of umph. After you get past the fact that lots of people get the flu every year, the comparison fails.  For one thing, we know the flu and while not perfect, we have a vaccine and antiviral drugs available every year.  Also, the death rate and hospitalization rates for the flu are minuscule compared to Covid, as u can see from your own chart.  I was looking at 2019/20 flu stats this morning and saw that the flu hospitalization rate is less than 1%, which is quite a bit lower than China's reported death rate  for Covid (but who (WHO?) knows). 

There are also qualitative differences between diseases.  It's not just stats.  It seems like a lot of people who are recovering have permanent lung damage from the kind of pneumonia this new disease is causing.  The unknowns of a new disease make it a cause for concern.

      https://www.wired.com/story/coronavirus-is-bad-comparing-it-to-the-flu-is-worse/about  


cramer

Eunice Yoon, of CNBC, has been reporting from Bejing. She's brave, informative and lovely. 

https://twitter.com/onlyyoontv/with_replies


HatsOff

bub said:

The "stop worrying the flu is much worse" theme you saw in earlier editorials has lost a lot of umph. After you get past the fact that lots of people get the flu every year, the comparison fails.  For one thing, we know the flu and while not perfect, we have a vaccine and antiviral drugs available every year.  Also, the death rate and hospitalization rates for the flu are minuscule compared to Covid, as u can see from your own chart.  I was looking at 2019/20 flu stats this morning and saw that the flu hospitalization rate is less than 1%, which is quite a bit lower than China's reported death rate  for Covid (but who (WHO?) knows). 

There are also qualitative differences between diseases.  It's not just stats.  It seems like a lot of people who are recovering have permanent lung damage from the kind of pneumonia this new disease is causing.  The unknowns of a new disease make it a cause for concern.

      https://www.wired.com/story/coronavirus-is-bad-comparing-it-to-the-flu-is-worse/about  

I agree with what you say for the most part, except for this. I refuse to listen to anybody's anxiety about covid-19 if they tell me they haven't got the flu shot.

There are lots of differences between coronavirus and the flu and the truth is we just don't know yet how bad it might get, or won't get. The thing that concerns me is that because it is new, nobody has any kind of  immunity to it. And because it seems that people can spread it without being very sick or even sick at all, it's essentially impossible to isolate people and stop the spread. 

Some epidemiologists think it is going to become endemic, i.e. just part of background noise like the other coronaviruses (that cause some colds) that circulate all over the world. So once infection is widespread, pretty much you're going to get it.

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/02/covid-vaccine/607000/

And if the rate of serious illness stays the same as it now seems to be - that could be bad news. I say "seems to be" because I firmly believe that there is vast undercounting because a lot of people have no symptoms or very mild symptoms. So the "serious illness rate" could be a lot less than it seemed at first. But even if it is "only" in the same ballpark as the flu - if everybody gets this bug, that's a lot of serious illness.

I think that the best bet is to slow its progress as much as we can. China's lockdown seems to have slowed things down there, but you can't keep that up forever. I'm really surprised it's still on - I would have guessed they would have given up by now. And in relatively more democratic countries I can't see it working at all. So that leaves us with the usual stuff - wash your hands, cover your sneezes, don't go to work if you aren't feeling well, etc.

And for pity's sake get the flu shot and keep your other immunizations up to date. It won't prevent you from getting coronavirus, but it will reduce the overall burden on the health care system.


yahooyahoo

The first flu vaccine was created in 1938.  That was over 80 years ago and up to half a million people still die every year from the illness. New variants of the flu are developing on a regular basis.  COVID-19 appears to be a more serious illness but has not even come close to the scope of influenza at this point.


bub

Because we seem to be in inching towards a more widespread outbreak, it seems all the more urgent to me for the CDC to emphasize the milder profile of the admittedly small number of cases here in an effort to calm people down.  If, for example, nobody here has required ICU, it would be nice to know.  The stats they keep spitting out about how over 80%  of cases are mild, and X percent severe Y percent deaths etc, are from China.  I think the disease profile in advanced countries and especially in the U.S., at least until the recent big outbreak in Italy, has been much better. 

Yeah, people should get the vaccine.  I don't think I've ever had the flu in my life though, or maybe I was an asymptomatic carrier.  I've been getting the shot for the last 14 years or so but before then, nada.  


dave

The transmission rate (Ro) needs to get to below 1 for  a viral outbreak to slow down rather than continue.  Depending on what study you look at Covid-19 seems to be between anything up to 1.4 to 6.6 (measles is 12-18).   The flu transmission rate is about 2-3. 

The size in microns of the influenza virus is about 20 microns, which means most surgical masks can keep them out.  The size in microns of Covid-19 is about 0.12 microns, which means it can get through most masks on the market, including n95 masks, the standard for viral flu outbreaks for medical staff.

The important thing is to a) drop political barriers between Iran and the world, so Iran has access to testing kits, b) help China get to its feet, so its factories can come back online, maintaining the supply of medicines, medical technology, syringes, etc. to the US hospitals, and c) keep this from ever reaching Africa, which does not have the resources to deal with it.

As to the flu vaccine, it's important, but it isn't working that well this winter.  Not a reason not to get one, I guess.

Meanwhile avoid crowds, wash your hands frequently, and don't touch your face.


marylago

My sister is immunocompromised and ended up in the ER last week; released the same day. They put her in an isolation unit. I don't think it was because of CoVid19 but the flu. I even asked one of her nurses. While she demurred, she said that this year's flu shot did not offer such great protection. I will still get one every year, if not to protect myself, to protect others. BTW, the nurse also spoke of CoVid 19 deaths happening with co-morbidity more frequently. If you have another condition that will weaken your immune system, you are more likely to be a statistic. Most healthy people have recovered okay. Same with the flu. You might feel like you're dying, but if you are more or less healthy, you'll probably be okay.



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