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A preprint posted on Friday on medRxiv suggests that the heroic countermeasures undertaken in Wuhan have worked far better than had been predicted in the West, where quarantine has long been out of ideological favor. The rising blue line is the predicted number of new ascertained cases in Wuhan after February 1, while the falling Xs are the actual ascertained cases.

Evolving Epidemiology and Impact of Non-pharmaceutical Interventions on the Outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 in Wuhan, China
View ORCID ProfileChaolong Wang, Li Liu, Xingjie Hao, Huan Guo, Qi Wang, Jiao Huang, Na He, Hongjie Yu, Xihong Lin, View ORCID ProfileAn Pan, Sheng Wei, Tangchun Wu
This article is a preprint and has not been peer-reviewed. It reports new medical research that has yet to be evaluated and so should not be used to guide clinical practice.

BACKGROUND We described the epidemiological features of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) outbreak, and evaluated the impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions on the epidemic in Wuhan, China. METHODS Individual-level data on 25,961 laboratory-confirmed Covid-19 cases reported through February 18, 2020 were extracted from the municipal Notifiable Disease Report System. Based on key events and interventions, we divided the epidemic into four periods: before January 11, January 11-22, January 23 – February 1, and February 2-18. We compared epidemiological characteristics across periods and different demographic groups. We developed a susceptible-exposed-infectious-recovered model to study the epidemic and evaluate the impact of interventions. RESULTS The median age of the cases was 57 years and 50.3% were women.

Men and women were hit about equally, although men somewhat more severely. In China, men are much more likely to be smokers, so the difference in smoking rates didn’t seem to hugely matter. So, don’t assume that this is dangerous only to Bad People Who Smoke.

The attack rate peaked in the third period and substantially declined afterwards across geographic regions, sex and age groups, except for children (age <20) whose attack rate continued to increase. Healthcare workers and elderly people had higher attack rates and severity risk increased with age. The effective reproductive number dropped from 3.86 (95% credible interval 3.74 to 3.97) before interventions to 0.32 (0.28 to 0.37) post interventions.

Before the Wuhan lockdown, each case was creating an average of 3.86 new cases, which was very, very bad. After the lockdown, R-nought fell to 0.32. An R-nought above one means it’s spreading, below one it’s shrinking. The 1918 Spanish Flu is usually estimated to have been around 2.

But what happens when Wuhan reopens for business?

The interventions were estimated to prevent 94.5% (93.7 to 95.2%) infections till February 18. We found that at least 59% of infected cases were unascertained in Wuhan, potentially including asymptomatic and mild-symptomatic cases. CONCLUSIONS Considerable countermeasures have effectively controlled the Covid-19 outbreak in Wuhan. Special efforts are needed to protect vulnerable populations, including healthcare workers, elderly and children. Estimation of unascertained cases has important implications on continuing surveillance and interventions. …

Here’s the PDF of the full article with graphs.

A total of 1316 healthcare workers were infected, representing 5.1% of the total cases (Table 1). The average attack rate in local healthcare workers (144.7 per 106 people; 95% CI, 137.0 to 152.8) was substantially higher than that in the general population (41.7 per 106 people; 41.2 to 42.2) overall, and particularly in the third period (507.4 per 106 people; 468.6 to 548.5; Fig. 3A).

Health care workers were almost 3.5 times as likely as general public to be infected.

Strikingly, we estimated that the overall ascertainment rate was 0.21 (95% CrI, 0.18-0.24), and similar across the periods (Table S2). We predicted the cumulative number of ascertained cases to be 26,252 (95% CrI, 23,116 to 29,522) by February 18, close to the actual reported number of 25,961, while the estimated cumulative number of total cases was 125,959 (105,060 to 151,612). Our model suggested the number of active infectious cases in Wuhan peaked on February 1, and then gradually dropped afterwards (Fig. 4E). If the trend remained unchanged, we predicted the number of ascertained cases to become zero by April 22 (95% CrI, April 5 to May 19), 2020, and the total number of both ascertained and unascertained cases would become zero around May 4 (April 17 to May 30), 2020.

In 1918, many U.S. cities were hit with a double whammy.

The attack rate continued to increase before February 2 while dramatically declined thereafter for all groups, except for children (age <20 years). Consistent with early analyses, younger people were less likely to be affected,8,11,21 but we found that the attack rate continued to increase over time for those aged under 20 years. In particularly, infants under the age of 1 year had the highest attack rate than the other age groups of children, probably because they cannot wear masks and have low immunity.22 Children had a lower chance of getting infected probably because they had less frequent social activities during the school winter break starting in early or middle January, but the attack rate increased when all people were required to stay at home and risk of familial clustering of infection started to increase.11 Our results also indicated that healthcare workers and elderly people had higher attack rates and the severity increased significantly with age. Therefore, special attention and efforts should be applied to protect and reduce transmission and progression in vulnerable populations including healthcare workers, elderly people and children.

Here’s an important question: children are much less likely to be “ascertained” as infected?

But … the majority of cases are assumed by these researchers to be unascertained. Are unascertained cases (most of them only mildly symptomatic or nonsymptomatic) as infectious as ascertained cases? Are children less likely to be infected or just less likely to be symptomatic and thus ascertained? How infectious are children to each other and to adults?

These are important questions for whether to close the schools or not. Similarly, should blockbuster movies aiming at young audiences not be released into theaters?

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  1. Similarly, should blockbuster movies aiming at young audiences not be released

    Yes, and the prohibition must be made permanent. The future of our entire society depends upon it.

  2. Benign dictatorships seem way more efficient than our legalese democracies full of human rights. We know that human rights favor criminals to the detriment of society at large, regarding common crime like robberies, riots, looting.
    In this coronavirus example, human rights to be free of capricious quarantene might make the difference between ending an epidemic and spreading an epidemic with millions of diseased and tens of thousands of deaths. The understanding of exponential growth vs. decrease exceeds the mathematical understanding of most. Furthermore, such knowledge must be censored and not be passed on.Repressive measures for the common good do not please our PC overlords. And they would, of course, be stopped by a judge in Hawaii or California.
    Steve Sailer will watch the pendemic’s progress and inform us further.

    • Replies: @Realist
    , @Prester John
  3. There are some NEJM articles appropos your questions.

  4. Polynikes says:

    Looks to me like it’s the old fogeys who should be shut in. I suppose some older parents might be at risk if kids are good carriers. But so far this seems to be skipping over the under 40 crowd.

  5. What is wrong with you Mr. Sailor? Making mammas feed and stay with their spawn instead of having a school do it? Give up our Italian vacations and ski trips? Or how about that all important cruise for the Mrs.? Comic cons? Outlander cast will be at many, so that is a big no there. Banning spectators from sporting events might improve the all important tv ratings. So yay to coronavirus for the future NBA and NCAA ratings.

    Seriously there are many invisible people working those venues who live paycheck to paycheck. Actually that goes for most Americans working in general. If the work stops: how do you pay rent, food costs, health insurance, and the ridiculously priced copay? It also helps China that they make a most of the medicine and medical supplies. We’re just the old corporate efficiency screwed, while being ruled over by the permanent state of cheaters and boobs.

  6. While your newsfeed is jammed to overfill with flu news, the saudi crown prince has arrested three of his relatives (again). It’s almost like real life game of thrones except the women have to all behave themselves.

  7. Anonymous[351] • Disclaimer says:

    South Korea is a better predictor for the west. It’s not a communist shithole. There is some competence and transparency in the government. The SK death rate is well below 1%.

    New “data” shows shitty corrupt China is improving? Okey dokey.

    • Replies: @Hail
  8. Lot says:

    The Chinese stats are fake. And they aren’t fake in a consistent way that you can usefully use in studies. If they underreported consistently by 70%, you can adjust for that.


    1. the underreporting was extreme at first for mostly innocent reasons, same as the USA now.

    2. It continued to underreport because of lack of tests

    3. Changes to confirmation rules caused a spike then fall that didn’t reflect any changes IRL.

    4. Political pressure to report good news and restart factories started in the last week of February. Now we are told zero new cases in China outside of Hubei. Sure!

    Drawing statistical inferences from garbage datasets and writing papers about it: Typical Red Chinese Science.

    All this doesn’t mean the Chinese gov actually had better options given the situation.

    • Agree: Buzz Mohawk, Brutusale
    • Disagree: LondonBob
  9. Lugash says:

    These are important questions for whether to close the schools or not. Similarly, should blockbuster movies aiming at young audiences not be released into theaters?

    Theaters shouldn’t be open right now, or for the next couple of months. Places of worship shouldn’t be open. Employees who can telework should have the right to work from home and tell their management to get bent of they say otherwise.

    I think one of the problem areas with Covid-19 is going to be retirement communities. America has entire towns that are filled with elderly people. They’re going to get hit hard. Long term care facilities like the one in Kirkland as well, I’d guess places like that don’t exist in China.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    , @S. Anonyia
  10. Sorry, I still don’t find the folderol surrounding this “Novel Coronavirus®” to be quite believable as officially described and reported. The Chinese Government is famous for lying about things in China and horribly manipulating people to serve Govt. ends. The US Govt. is not as famous, but probably should be. Ditto dfor all the rest of the governments around the world. It’s not that I don’t trust them, it’s just that… well, I don’t trust them. I am certain (and have proof) that they will lie blithely to us anythime it is convenient to assist the powers-that-be. I am equally certain that the powers-that-be are working closely together in a coordinated and global effort on this Coronavirus® operation.

    How many people with the vague”flu-like symptoms” are tested, and how many tests come back positive?
    Where do the test kits come from? Who makes them? Are they accurate? How long does it take for the culture in the test? Who administers/incubates/analyzes the tests? Why should we believe their reporting?
    Why is there such disparity in reporting about how many tests are being made, administered, etc?

    All in all, it seems to me like this is a lot more propaganda than illness. A whole lot more. 20-1 or better.

  11. Lot says:

    Immigration restrictionists loudly called on Trump to close our border will China in January over CV.

    He never did this, and thousands of Americans may die as a result.

    I saw some reports that Italy’s patient zero was a Pakistani food delivery guy for a Chinese restaurant. Very 2020. Diversity kills.

    Slovakia is the only place in Europe that appears to have avoided an outbreak, and is under 0.5% non-Euro migrant.

    • Replies: @Anon7
  12. Realist says:

    Benign dictatorships seem way more efficient than our legalese democracies full of human rights.

    That is correct…The current amended Democracy/Democratic Republic is the most corrupt, wasteful form of government there is. When you let idiots vote, bad things happen. But that is academic we now live in an Oligarchy and the pretense that we have a Democratic Republic is a charade. Voting means nothing. The only interest of the people in control is power and wealth. Our founding fathers set up a Democratic Republic with severe restrictions on voter eligibility…that worked fairly well for the short time it lasted.

  13. Ironwrkr says:

    Is that what happened? First case December. Many infections in January. New years celebration to ensure good transmission. Is it possible that this was a natural peak and decline and efforts by chicoms made no difference whatsoever? Just spitballin’ here….

  14. mikemikev says:

    Is the virus infecting almost everyone, as you would expect a novel flu to?

    No — 75 to 80 percent of all clusters are in families. You get the odd ones in hospitals or restaurants or prisons, but the vast majority are in families. And only 5 to 15 percent of your close contacts develop disease.

    Thread theme

  15. Realist says:

    Corvid-19 is the Y2K of 2020.

  16. Jack D says:

    It will be “interesting” to see how liberal Western democracies (esp. the US and esp. big Leftist ruled cities) cope with the epidemic and with people who insist on violating quarantine. Most US jurisdictions have laws, going back to Typhoid Mary days, that permit contangious individuals to be detained but do we have the balls to actually enforce these laws anymore? Homeless people who live on the street have many times shown themselves to be resistant to being housed in any setting. Big city police have been programmed not to cooperate with Federal authorities. What if the contagious person is “undocumented”? We know that in the AIDs epidemic, the authorities dicked around for years about closing down gay bath houses (while the disease spread and spread) because gays were an “oppressed” group.

    Typhoid Mary herself has been depicted in recent years as a misunderstood immigrant woman who was wrongfully imprisoned by the white male power structure.

  17. Jack D says:

    It’s true that the epidemic will spread like wildfire once it reaches a nursing home and that it will kill a high % of the residents. But if rigorous measures are taken (and I know this is asking a lot in our society which is lacking rigor in so many areas) the patients can be kept isolated so that it doesn’t reach them in the 1st place. It’s not like the nursing home patients are taking the subway to work every morning.

    The key will be the staff. In the cruise ship epidemics, I will bet that later analysis will show that the (3rd world) crew was key in spreading the disease. You know all those signs in restaurant rest rooms that say “employees must wash hands before returning to work.” Guess what – they don’t.

  18. Anon7 says:

    Every year, a failure to close our borders results in from 20,000 to 60,000 deaths and 200,000 to 600,000 hospitalizations due to the flu. Those are real numbers, not “thousands may die” imaginary numbers.

    Public health experts have concluded that deadly influenza viruses spread around the world every year, and there is nothing that can be done about it. Similarly, with Covid-19, it had spread to too many countries before it was discovered and cultured. Sure, the ChiComs could have been quicker and more transparent.

    In the (boringly realistic) movie Contagion, spoiler alert, poor Gwyneth Paltrow shakes hands with a chef who had just chopped up the sick pig that was the original source of the disease, and she came straight home to America. There is no way to stop it, unless you want to close the borders permanently, no air travel, no ship travel, no border crossing, without 90 days in Ellis Island.

  19. It’s because the Chinese are shipping anyone infected to Wuhan to drive the numbers down.

    Idled factories and ports tell you much more than
    fake Chinese numbers.

  20. @Jack D

    You raciss, and I like it. There is a high correlation between racism and IQ.

    That third world vector into some of our most vulnerable areas is just another example of how we haven’t done f*ck all, really, to protect and preserve anything at all in our own world. Nothing. If we did, then we wouldn’t have third worlders taking care of the soon-to-be ancestors that should be respected above all.

    Eldercare is a good investment, but we must do it the right way. Plenty of money can be made in this while still employing actual Americans who know how to be somewhat sanitary.

    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk
  21. Anon[198] • Disclaimer says:

    Okay, maybe I am missing something…

    US public schools are staying open because of low-income students who would miss meals, etc.

    Is there any reason why the state National Guard cannot be immediately mobilized to home-deliver food to students? The National Guard (basically middle-income white dudes who want an extra pay-check) are the only group who could be trained in the logistics and sanitation requirements to make it work at-scale.

    And if school administrators want to get creative, could they not find ways to partition students into smaller groups in different locations, so the virus does not spread through the entire student body as a whole?

    And can the Tax Cut Boomer Repubs not collaborate with the Big Spender Boomer Dems to figure out a way to give families temporary financial assistance, who are now unable to work because they are at home taking care of their children? Seems like this is a win-win for both parties.

  22. Altai says:

    It’s fucking nuts. In Ireland the government was reassuringly proactive in cancelling the 6 Nations match with Italy in Dublin (As well as cancelling programmes for Italian students) well in advance as soon as the outbreak in Italy emerged but was seemingly powerless to prevent the thousands of Italian fans who still chose to go to Dublin as a weekend holiday trip this weekend since they’d already paid for their flights and accommodation. (The numbers were estimated from uncancelled hotel bookings) Ireland isn’t in the Schengen agreement, it wouldn’t be ‘closing’ an open border with Italy to cancel those flights. (Indeed even if it were in Schengen it wouldn’t be closing a border to cancel flights for any reason)

    A similar thing is happening with St Patrick’s Day. I expected the Irish government to not cancel it immediately despite taking place less than two weeks after the Italy match and also being a magnet for Italian tourists (As well as a lot of Spanish and French tourists) because it could induce somewhat more concern if it cancelled the main Dublin parade and other activities but that they would cancel it some time later. But at this point the same thing as the match may happen. This weekend was the deadline they had set but Leo Varadkar has said it won’t be cancelled or any other big events. It’s crazy and if he thinks they can just slip and nobody will notice, they’ll be caught out when an outbreak occurs 1-2 weeks later and clusters appear all over Europe directly tied to the parade. (Not insignificant are the large numbers of American high school and college bands that play in the main Dublin parade who seem like perfect vectors for the spread of the virus both during their time in Dublin and once home again as a big group spending lots of close time together)

    An interesting example of just how fast things can happen is in Iceland, the outbreak there has progressed from just two flights from Milan from which over 40 cases were brought in (In a country of just 330,000 people) so far and now the first 2 cases of transmission within the country. Given the outbreak going on in the US and the staggering numbers of tourists that go there per capita from the US, I’d say Iceland will be seriously affected if it doesn’t raise the drawbridges. (It was already suffering from over-tourism anyway)

    The US should have long cancelled direct flights from Italy and banned the booking of non-direct flights from anyone originating in Italy. But now it’s too late and it’s spreading like crazy in the US and it actually might make more sense for the US to be quarantined from Europe. Why haven’t the Boston or New York St Patrick’s day parades been cancelled?

    Trump bungled this spectacularly. He started out strong in the shutting down travel from China early on but didn’t follow through once it broke out in Italy. It’d be perfect for him, shut down travel form Eurasia and just shit back and shitpost at the EU for not engaging in any serious inter-country quarantine for seemingly ideological reasons.

    • Replies: @Anon
    , @JMcG
  23. @Buzz Mohawk

    There is a high correlation between racism and IQ.

    On second thought, that’s probably not true. Common sense is common, after all.

    • Replies: @SFG
    , @Jack D
  24. Sean says:

    It is natural, so the chances of it being as lethal as the Chinese originally reported were negligible. Their scientists simply covered their hindquarters by making a worst case scenario figure up then giving it an extra order of magnitude. No one ever got convicted of homicide (as Italian seismologists did a few years ago) for being a Jeremiah when asked for their qualified scientific opinion.

    For instance the World Health Organisation in the last week put the Covid-19 global death rate at about 3.4 per cent (compared to seasonal flu’s 0.1 per cent) . That estimate is almost certainly too high by at least one order of magnitude, yet when Trump cast doubt on its accuracy he was viciously attacked by the establishment media.

    Trump made his money by telling contractors before the building was finished that the ostensibly rock bottom quotes he accepted for what they had provided were too high and so they could be satisfied with less or the project would collapse and they’d get nothing. He understand the psychology of how estimates are made: that the person making them is thinking mainly of themselves and a margin is added.

    • Replies: @gcochran
  25. danand says:

    “Similarly, should blockbuster movies aiming at young audiences not be released into theaters?”

    Not really a young audience movie, and maybe they just think the title timing is unfortunate:

    “MGM made the difficult decision to delay the release date for No Time to Die, the upcoming installment of the long-running James Bond franchise. This was due to the coronavirus outbreak, which has continued to spread across the globe and has had a major impact on the movie business. Taking that into account, the delay seemed like the right move to make, but it’s going to be a costly one.

    According to a new report, it’s estimated that the James Bond release date shift will cost No Time to Die between $30 and $50 million. The studio had already started a heavy marketing campaign that was ramping up rapidly, with the worldwide release set to begin next month following the planned March 31 premiere in London. For instance, a Super Bowl spot for the movie cost around $4.5 million. That money isn’t necessarily wasted, but the momentum it gave Daniel Craig’s final go-around as 007 will certainly have tapered off come November.”

    Maybe movie complexes will make for good coronavirus homeless shelters/containment centers. I guess cruise ships will soon be available for repurpose also. There must be many good “soon to be ghost” facilitating options.

  26. SFG says:
    @Buzz Mohawk

    There *is* (probably) a high correlation, it’s just negative. (Someone here did this bit already.) Exposure to the university system, upper middle class belief systems, and all that.

    • Agree: Buzz Mohawk
    • Replies: @Dieter Kief
  27. Jason Liu says:

    If the outbreak continues to a point where it can’t be covered up anymore, then perhaps you’re right about fake stats. But I doubt it.

    • Replies: @Lot
  28. @Lugash

    Closing public venues for months- seriously?

    That’s a great way to put a lot of folks out of work.

    I agree with the callous stock market expert on the news the other day. Just let everyone get sick and return to normal.

    This mainly severely affects the elderly and immune-compromised, anyway. Unfortunate for them, but every couple of generations a new and deadly illness is bound to hit, such is life.

  29. Eventually, Covid-19 will be like the HIV virus which was just as effectively quarantined, which is to say it wasn’t because of a weird mix of political correctness and homophobia.

  30. Look on the bright side: how many in the West had heard of Wuhan before this? I’m fairly well-read on subjects Asian, but was only vaguely aware of it before this. As PR men say (though not to you), there is no such thing as bad publicity.

    China has at least 66 cities over one million, and a couple more just shy:

    But our own list of what the Germans call Millionenstädte keeps growing. Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Phoenix, San Diego. Soon Austin (little Austin!) will join them, perhaps on next month’s census.

    Wait, looks like they already have:

    Jacksonville, Fort Worth, San Francisco, Charlotte, and Columbus are all over 900,o00 and growing. Indianapolis is next, at 866,000. (They, like Jacksonville, cheated by merging with the county.)

  31. Anon[426] • Disclaimer says:

    European governments have a powerful incentive to do nothing to stop Covid-19.

    European governments decided to appease their plutocrats by importing massive amounts of cheap, non-union labor to make the plutocrats richer, and to pay into their ponzi scheme of a welfare state. European governments think their non-productive elderly and the high medical costs associated with the elderly are a burden.

    European elites don’t care if immigrants cause terrorist attacks go up by a factor of 100. They don’t care if the immigrant crime rate makes Europe’s cities unlivable. EU elites are greedy and utterly ruthless.

    EU officials think exactly like the old monarchs who believed in their own divine right to rule, and they think ordinary people are mere cattle to do their bidding, exactly the way monarchs viewed the peasants.

    As far as the EU elites are concerned, the elderly are a drag on the welfare state. Europe already has a medical system with death panels for the elderly. If costs are too high, or hospital beds too full, the Europeans just pull the plug and let patients die. These elites see Covid-19 as a benefit. It will weed out the non-productive elderly and make state payments into the medical system drop after the virus rages through.

    EU officials are thrilled with Covid-19 because they think it will, long-term, delay bankruptcy for their ponzi welfare state. They’re screaming ‘racism’ to prevent anyone from stopping Covid-19’s entry into their countries.

    • Replies: @BB753
  32. Anon[426] • Disclaimer says:

    It is important to keep in mind that the death rate in a pandemic is front-end loaded (if the virus doesn’t mutate later into a more dangerous strain). People are taken by surprise, no special preventative measures are in place, and the virus will immediately invade and rampage through hospitals filled with people with pre-existing medical conditions, because hospitals are the first place many sick people go to for treatment. The admissions official has no idea that the coughing person who just walked in past all those other patients is carrying a plague, and by the time hospital realizes the danger, it’s too late. That’s what happened to Wuhan.

    One Chinese Covid-19 study I read said that the majority of those who died, mainly the elderly and those already in the hospital, passed away in the first week. That’s what happened to that nursing home in Washington state. They got the virus and lost 9 people very fast in only a two-day span. It’s also likely that those who are going to die of a cytokine storm will die very soon after catching the virus.

    Over time, the death rate should start to fall because 1) Those in the most populous areas have already had exposure to the disease and built an immunity to it, and can no longer be carriers, and 2) Those most likely to die are already gone. It’s the younger and healthier who are left behind, and they’re less likely to die.

  33. JMcG says:

    I’ve long been on record as saying that Ireland has the most loathesome political class in the world. Matched only by an equally repellent journalistic class. The very epitome of a nation that takes itself seriously and acts ridiculously.
    I do doubt that many US marching bands will be going to the parade. All our local high schools have cancelled international travel in the past week.

    • Replies: @Altai

    As Tocqueville (among others) warned, democracy has its downsides too. We’re now seeing one.

  35. Dumbo says: • Website

    This seems, if anything, like a repeat of the AIDS scare in the 1980s, a disease that can be serious but which was overhyped and misrepresented (i.e. heterosexuals have the same rate of contagion, etc).

    This report from Italy shows that the average age of the deceased there is 81.4 years, 70% of them men, and 70% with other simultaneous diseases or pathologies. No death of anyone under 50, so far, and only one person between 50 and 59. This in a total of 233 deceased, so far.

    Now, I am not happy with that, I don’t want anyone in my family or circle of friends, young or old, to be affected, but at least it’s not the black plague, and while it might seriously affect the economy, I think (or I hope) it should be over by the spring.

  36. Jim Given says:

    Are people of East Asian ancestry, i.e., people of the Mongoloid race, much more likely to die from coronavirus infection? Many claims on the Internet now that something of this kind is true, but no scientific studies that sound reproducible. I saw a limited study claiming that Asians show a greater density of ACE 2 receptors in samples of their lung tissue, these being the receptors to which the coronavirus attaches.

    • Replies: @Bill P
    , @LondonBob
  37. Lot says:
    @Jason Liu

    I am certain the Chinese stats are wildly inaccurate. This isn’t controversial, they are internally inconsistent for example.

    Our stats are of course also wrong. The difference is public health authorities acknowledge this. For example, Wash State authorities estimated 1000+ cases soon after the Kirkland outbreak even though they had confirmed well under 50 cases.

    Time will tell if the Chinese gov “back to work, it’s all clear policy” was best. I don’t rule this out. But I think it is more likely it leads to a second round of infection that is widely distributed.

    Alternatively, they both lie and also keep things mostly shut down for several more weeks. Some signs of this being the policy.

    • Disagree: LondonBob
  38. Altai says:

    There is also the conspiracy theory that given the strength of the hotel lobby that they are waiting until the last minute passes on granting refunds for room bookings to shut it down. But that still risks a lot of people still showing up and is just generally an epic level of gombeenism.

    Somebody mentioned the general election during the famine never mentioned it. Similarly the political class in Ireland seems oblivious to all this vis-a-vis the formation of a new government.

    They’ve just rescinded the ban on nurse recruitment. Which simultaneously reminds us that the Irish political elites thoughts in 2008 were: ‘We need to make cuts, let’s cut the nurses, the dead weight of this society!’, that it took 12 years and a global pandemic before anyone said: ‘Will end the specific and unprecedented ban on recruitment of nurses?’ and that they seem desperate now to do anything to stem the folly brought upon by their own actions.

  39. Or maybe it just abated on its own and was a tempest in a teapot. As usual.

  40. peterike says:

    “in the West, where quarantine has long been out of ideological favor”

    I blame the gays. Living in New York City during the hey day of the AIDS crisis, the amount of hostility directed at anyone who suggested quarantines was truly amazing. Not even quarantines: even suggesting common sense moves like shutting down the bath houses and other places where anonymous sex was carried on got you treated like a war criminal.

    Of course, the result was tens of thousands of dead who could have been spared. And this was a disease that required certain “active” transmission modes. Not just someone coughing on you. But back then the media lied: you were constantly — and I mean CONSTANTLY — told it was “just about to” break out into the general population, which of course was always nonsense if you knew even a little about how AIDS was transmitted. But the media and government lied about it day and night for years.

    Why should I trust them now?

    • Agree: JMcG
    • Replies: @Anonymous
  41. Romanian says: • Website

    Cool video

    I installed Plague Inc on my phone today. Nifty little game. I have less to do the next week, with the cancellations of two international events we were organizing and of another event abroad the week after which I was attending. I expect to catch up on my reading, do some work from home. My country officially got its 10th infected person and first in the capital.

    My take on things – even if it blows over, global society is structured in a way that leads to the importation of crises (virus, strife, war) from the periphery to the supposedly better equipped center. Big concerns are not just diseases themselves, but the capacity of advanced societies to maintain the provisioning of critical goods and services, including healthcare for the sick, in the face of such stressors. Mortality rates will rise once the medical resources (beds and so on) are fully spoken for. At the same time, global production and supply chains are extremely fragile (as we can see from the fact that most of the world’s antibiotics come from China) and we risk having technological and consumption crises in addition to internal disruptions. these cascading disruptions amplify casualties and prolong chaos.

  42. Forbes says:

    There’s a giant problem with their data set…

    Our model suggested the number of active infectious cases in Wuhan peaked on February 1, and then gradually dropped afterwards

    Wuhan was quarantined on January 23, with an 8-hour advance notice. Five million people evacuated the 13-million population city.

    In other words, nearly 40% of the relevant population departed the city. That the incidence of infection dropped–or started to drop a week later–would be expected. This is an inherent problem with “models” as they fail to factor real world variables. Modelers believe the conclusions drawn therefrom accurately “tell” the story.

    Absence of evidence (infections) is not evidence of absence (of infections). The 40% who evacuated took their infections elsewhere.

    So it’s unclear/uncertain that the conclusion “Considerable countermeasures have effectively controlled the Covid-19 outbreak in Wuhan” is reliable or accurate.

  43. Jack D says:
    @Buzz Mohawk

    I suspect that raycism is a high-low thing. The bulk of people in the middle (especially women) just follow the societal conventional wisdom – they are virulently raycis when the society is raycis and virulently anti-raycis when the society is anti-raycis.

    • Agree: Johann Ricke
  44. J.Ross says:

    The Chinese have never had any problem with mass-murdering their own kind, telling lies so lazy and brazenly false that they are instantly self-defeating, or exposing their people to preventable danger.
    This crisis had the potential to end the global addiction to Chinese exports and Chinese money.
    Would the Party at its worst risk letting the golden egg laying goose get sick? I mean, Mao did, but would Xi?

  45. It’s interesting how the Anglo Pacific rim countries have been pretty tough on travel with China while European countries have been liberal on travel with China.

    Compare say, New Zealand with Italy. Both countries receive lots of Chinese tourists, but New Zealand decided to take a major economic hit and put Chinese tourism on hold, while Italy put its tourist sector first and suffered a major virus outbreak.

    Normally New Zealand would be the last western country to do anything to offend China, but even kiwis seem to be reconsidering their economic dependence on China. Perhaps Steve Bannon has a bigger effect on Anglo elite thinking that most people realise.

    • Replies: @LondonBob
  46. @SFG

    There *is* (probably) a high correlation, it’s just negative. (Someone here did this bit already.) Exposure to the university system, upper-middle-class belief systems, and all that.

    Oh – thanks for noticing. I’ve been at least one of the someones – if not the someone who made this point – at quite a few occasions here and over at James Thompson’s “Psychological Commenter” blog too. Ca. last winter, – Jordan Peterson remarked something, that goes very much in this direction. – And that’s why I quoted him while making my remarks as soon as I got to know his point which goes like this: Neuroses of higher IQ-people are often times harder to disentangle because the shield of rationalizations (=pseudo-rational arguments) they’d built up to protect their unbalanced mind is thicker than Joe Average’s, and thus more effective – and harder to remove at the same time).

  47. How infectious are children to each other and to adults?

    It’s not going to matter: the entire “End Is Nigh” narrative is being walked back, as everyone who was invested in the narrative thought a bit harder about what would eventuate if dummies started to believe it.

    As I’ve made clear, my prior has always been that unfortunately covid19 is going to fail to do what yersinea pestis did (i.e., give the human gene-pool a good rinse).

    Proper pathogens should be openly making fun of it.

    It’s been said elsewhere: covid19 is not worthy of a major league spot.

    Just SabremetricsⓉ this bitch, and it’s really clear.

    In three months, this supposed first-ballot Hall of Famer has had ~120k base hits and been given credit for 3300 dingers (people have been miscounting RBIs as dingers: covid19 gets credit for a home run, when the patient was already dying of something else).

    By contrast, the veteran ‘journeyman’ – seasonal ‘flu – gets ~10 million base hits every season, and 5000 dingers a week in the regular season[1]… and seasonal flu is never even mentioned as a candidate for the Hall of Fame ballot. UNFAIR!

    [1] I’ll happily acknowledge that a decent chunk of seasonal flu’s ‘dingers’ are also actually RBIs… it still outperforms this ‘covid19’ moop.

    • Replies: @The Wild Geese Howard
  48. Hail says: • Website

    Yes, the best info we have is that the true death rate is 0.5%, so a quick proxy for how well countries are doing in detecting/testing is, Confirmed Deaths x 200 = Total-Infected.

    In the latest WHO COVID19 situation report,

    As of 15 hours ago,

    Italy reports 197 deaths, so has ~40,000 infected; they report 4,636 infected. Using the 0.5%-assumption based on SK data, Italy is undercounting on a scale of 8.5x.

    Iran reports 124 deaths; many speculate it may be higher, but using that number, Iran has 25,000 infected; they report 4,747. Iran is undercounting on a scale of 5x.

    The US response is also not looking good. The USA reports 11 deaths, = 2,200 infected; they report 213 infections, which means the US is undercounting on a scale of 10x. Sadly the once-great, once-world-leading US is the worst performer of the three, and may well be the worst performer in the OECD, at least based on the numbers I’m seeing.

  49. J.Ross says:

    Regarding Iranian underreporting, much earlier there was a tweet which I almost posted here but rejected. It was from a guy claiming that the Iranian infected population was five times bigger than officially claimed. I traced it back to another guy, literally who on twitter but apparently he speaks Farsi. This guy had nothing solid and no math such as you use, and was apparently (at the time) overreacting to a television appearance by the Iranian deputy health minister, where the minister happened to bring up what sounded like a general public health effectiveness statistic and not something known to be specific to this case. It was that (near quote) for every known infected, there are four or five who do not go to the hospital. This happens to square with your figures.

    • Replies: @Hail
  50. @Kratoklastes

    In three months, this supposed first-ballot Hall of Famer has had ~120k base hits and been given credit for 3300 dingers (people have been miscounting RBIs as dingers: covid19 gets credit for a home run, when the patient was already dying of something else).

    This is a great point that should be repeated.

    A large percentage of the people that have passed away with involvement from Covid-19 already had serious underlying health issues that made them susceptible to passing away from any sort of infectious virus or bacteria that entered their system.

    I think the media is obfuscating this fact because it would undermine the sense of hysteria they are attempting to create to use this situation as a smear against Trump.

  51. anonymous[100] • Disclaimer says:

    There is no way the virus can be hidden for a month. It will overwhelm. This is an example inflexiblae application of right wing stereotypes in foreign affairs brings about stupid conclusions (e.g. commie dictatorships must be lying about absolutely everything!). The quality of comments on iSteve is provincial crap when it comes to foreign countries especially ones disfavored by right wing types.

  52. gcochran says:

    ‘ it is natural’ – gee you’re dumb.

    • Replies: @Sean
  53. Rob says:

    The USA reports 11 deaths, = 2,200 infected; they report 213 infections, which means the US is undercounting on a scale of 10x. Sadly the once-great, once-world-leading US is the worst performer of the three, and may well be the worst performer in the OECD, at least based on the numbers I’m seeing.

    It will be very telling if heads roll at the FDA over their mismanagement. Not just worthless, but actively harmful. The tweety bird in the Whitehouse could use this in his re-election campaign. The permanent bureaucracy is all Democratic anyway, so he wouldn’t even have to sacrifice any of his voters. There’s no downside to being the candidate of good government, not small government

  54. Hail says: • Website

    What I don’t understand is why Iran’s leadership is getting hit so hard.

    The announcement that a large part of their parliament are infected, and the March 5 death of a former senior official Hossein Sheikholeslam* (a one-time Ambassador to Syria, and to Feb. 2020, an adviser to the foreign ministry) who was tested positive for COVID19. One would think these announcements mean they are not consciously covering up the numbers — anymore, if they ever were.

    What does one make of Iran’s “underreporting,” then. It suggests incompetence, a lackluster response, unreadiness. (This was also suggested by their panicky, mistaken shootdown of their own civilian airliner during the early-January Trump-ordered hit on that general.) Presumably they were not taking the virus potential seriously through late February, but now are.

    This isn’t to bash Iran, because the US itself, using the WHO numbers and the assumed 0.5%-death-rate, is even more incompetent and is undercounting/undertesting twice as much as Iran, suggesting the US situation is going to be much worse by the end of March than it is now.


    * – Sheikholeslam (1952–2020) would be nothing to stop the presses over had he died without a “New Virus” pandemic going on. He had a bare-bones english wikipedia page before his death announcement.

    According to the search function here, the word ‘Sheikholeslam’ had never appeared in the Unz Review archives under any author or any commenter, but his name has come up in Unz Review-adjacent material online elsewhere. A google-search for “Sheikholeslam Unz” found a few. Here is one, a blogger quoting Press TV [Iran state news] in Oct. 2019:

    […] Iraq recently reopened its al-Qa’im border crossing with Syria and accused the occupying regime of Israel of orchestrating a string of recent drone strikes on Iraqi popular mobilization forces.

    Tehran-based political analyst Hussein Sheikholeslam said Saturday the unrest is a product of US efforts to weaken “the resistance axis,” which is the key pillar of rising opposition to American and Israeli plans in the Middle East.

    One thing is for sure, his death is fuel for the fire for certain COVID19 origin “it was a US conspiracy” theories for years to come.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    , @Jack D
  55. Sean says:

    Natural selection is about being more efficient than the others, thus narrowing the scope for increased virulence.

    The Wuhan Institute of Virology is a real place, and the exact origin of the novel coronavirus is still a mystery, with researchers racing since the outbreak began to figure it out. But already, virologists who’ve parsed the genome and infectious disease experts who study coronaviruses say they have enough evidence the virus is brand new and came from nature. A large group of them, citing genome analyses from multiple countries, recently affirmed in The Lancet that the virus originated in wildlife.

    It is maybe possible to use science to deliberately create a 4% death rate flu. The WHO said Coronavirus had a 4% death rate the other day, but I disbelieve it. There isn’t any flu arising and surviving while competed against others of its kind in the natural world that has been within an order of magnitude of that estimate.

    Have you had a chance to update the notes to chapter 7 and the bibliography of The 10,000 Year Explosion yet?

  56. J.Ross says:

    Iranians delayed doing anything after knowing about it because they wanted good election turnout, plus one of the affected areas had religious significance (Qom), plus their leaders rely on a lot of face to face meeting. They did everything wrong, for dumb reasons.

  57. Anon7 says:

    Here’s an airline fact. My wife just got off the plane which had sixty empty seats, and the stewardess said that Delta was 69% full today.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  58. Jack D says:

    What I don’t understand is why Iran’s leadership is getting hit so hard.

    In addition to the stupidity that J. Ross mentions (the main reason so many have become infected), the Iranian leadership is mostly older men (which is why they die). Also probably more of them smoke than is common nowadays in the West.

  59. …in the West, where quarantine has long been out of ideological favor.

    Why is that? I don’t mean the reasons they give (for they are the same reasons they give for their opposition to anything ie. racism, misogyny, heteronormativity, etc.), but what are the actual, underlying (psychological) reasons why the “social justice”-types oppose quarantining?

    It’s because it is an idea that appeals to serious adults (particularly men). They are always, inexorably and utterly opposed to anything which would appeal to the sensibilities of an intellectually serious, grown man. That is the thread that runs through all their notions.

    “Daddy is so mean!”

  60. Anonymous[206] • Disclaimer says:

    My wife just got off the plane which had sixty empty seats, and the stewardess said that Delta was 69% full today.

    Is that a high percentage or a low one?

  61. Bill P says:

    I don’t think the PRC deserves much credit for slowing the infection given that their own backwardness played a big role in getting it going in the first place.

    The places to look for ideas on how to handle this virus are Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore, all of which are essentially Chinese, but also fundamentally modern societies. So far, they’ve been doing a solid, good job despite being highly exposed, and they haven’t had to resort to ham-fisted totalitarian measures.

    • Replies: @Hail
  62. Hail says: • Website
    @Bill P

    As of 21 hours ago (WHO official numbers):

    Hong Kong
    – 107 cases
    – 2 deaths

    – 130 cases
    – 0 deaths

    Taiwan (called “Taipei and environs” by the WHO)
    – 45 cases
    – 1 death

    Cumulative, HK+TW+SG
    – Total population: 37 million
    – 282 confirmed COVID19 infections, a good portion of which were imported cases (in Singapore’s case, 1/4 imported, 3/4 local transmission as of late February when they stopped reporting this breakdown)
    – 3 deaths

    Northern Italy has a comparable total population to HK+TW+SG but was at 197 deaths as of 21 hours ago, and rising fast; could soon be well over 100x as bad in Italy as in HK+TW+SG.

    • Replies: @Polynikes
    , @epebble
  63. Bill P says:
    @Jim Given

    Well, I’m not a biologist, but think about it this way:

    If the virus jumped from an entirely different species (possibly more than one) to humans, why should it have trouble infecting people of different races?

    This is why from the beginning I’ve been highly skeptical of the idea that orientals – who aren’t really that different from whites – are somehow uniquely susceptible to the Chinese coronavirus.

    I suppose it’s possible, but this isn’t a genetic disease, nor is it a disease that’s been around for long enough for some populations to adapt to it. It’s a new, opportunistic infection, and therefore highly unlikely to be picky about it’s hosts.

  64. Polynikes says:

    The USs numbers are more preliminary and it hit a cruise ship with old people and then a elderly home first which could skew our early death rate.

    I’d guess our numbers will look more like Italy’s in a week or so.

  65. Polynikes says:

    Maybe gives a little credence to the theory it doesn’t do well in warm weather and will be gone by summer.

  66. LondonBob says:
    @Jim Given

    There was virologist in the paper today saying he had hoped there might be a genetic element to the Wuhan Flu that meant Orientals were an outlier but his hopes have been disappointed with all the fatalities in Italy.

  67. LondonBob says:
    @alt right moderate

    Italy was one of the few to quickly ban flights from China. I did remember a story of a Chinese tourist who had been touring Northern Italy subsequently testing positive, maybe he was enough to spread it given the high degree of infectiousness.

  68. @Jack D

    The key will be the staff. In the cruise ship epidemics, I will bet that later analysis will show that the (3rd world) crew was key in spreading the disease. You know all those signs in restaurant rest rooms that say “employees must wash hands before returning to work.” Guess what – they don’t.

    Having worked for several decades in foodservice, I can tell you that compliance with hand washing regulations(not just restroom)hovers somewhere under %10. Scorched earth campaigns by management can temporarily bring it close to %30 .

  69. That 0.5% mortality rate being bandied about is from SK, which has done an amazing job tracking and quarantining patients. Also, it’s a generally fit nation without the host of comorbidities the US populace has. I’d be very careful drawing comparisons.

  70. BB753 says:

    Except most of those EU elites are well over sixty years of age and won’t ride out the virus that easily.

  71. epebble says:

    Also surprising:

    India: 40 cases, 0 deaths
    Indonesia: 6 cases, 0 deaths
    Russia: 15 cases, 0 deaths
    Pakistan: 6 cases, 0 deaths
    Bangladesh: 3 cases, 0 deaths
    Vietnam: 30 cases, 0 deaths
    Nigeria: 1 case, 0 deaths
    Mexico: 7 cases, 0 deaths
    Brazil: 24 cases, 0 deaths

    This is a very mysterious virus!

    • Replies: @Hail
  72. anon[260] • Disclaimer says:

    Annals of Zero to Hero

    From WSJ

    The country currently has 75,000 coronavirus tests available, Dr. Adams said. That number is expected to jump to 2 million on Monday, and 4 million by the end of the week, he said. “No public-health doctor who has asked for a test has not been able to get a test,” Dr. Adams said.

    They will have a bazillion face masks next week. IMO.

  73. Hail says: • Website

    How much are those countries testing? Bangladesh? I wonder.

    As for the 0 deaths, those numbers amount to an aggregate of 132 cases. The best info is that the true death rate is 1 in 200 (0.5%); the expected number of deaths from 132 cases would be 0.66 people, so actually it’s not a surprise none have died.

    • Replies: @epebble
  74. epebble says:

    True, but this notion that we may have hundreds of thousands of infections and thousands of deaths in some populations and countries with 2+ billion aggregate population having hundreds of infections and may be single digit deaths is incomprehensible unless one subscribes to some madcap theory that this is a perfectly engineered bio-weapon.

  75. Anonymous[260] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jack D

    “employees must wash hands before returning to work.” Guess what – they don’t.

    That was actually the problem with Typhoid Mary. It wasn’t just that she was carrying this disease, it was that she had terrible personal hygiene and insisted on working as a cook.

    A lot of backwoods rural people in those days thought that cold water caused disease, and so avoided washing and bathing when the weather was cold. Ironic, I know.

  76. Anonymous[260] • Disclaimer says:

    There were stories at the time that homosexual activists were urging the infected to donate blood so that everyone would become infected. It’s your problem too damn it.

  77. @Hail

    Your claim:

    the true death rate is 0.5%

    Where does this supposedly come from?

    Using the 0.5%-assumption based on SK data


    Today’s South Korea data:

    Cases: 8,799 Deaths: 104
    104/ 8799 = 1.18% crude case fatality rate

    Nowhere near your claim of “0.5%”

    You’re probably working off old data. When the number of cases is rapidly increasing (as it was in SK a couple of weeks ago), you’re counting a lot of cases who are going to die, but haven’t died yet. Once the number of new cases starts to decline (as it has in SK), the crude case fatality rate starts to close in on a more accurate number.

    Also, with respect to South Korea vs. Italy, there’s a huge difference in the age distribution of cases (that cult spread it among a lot of people in their 20s and 30s in SK):

    which is a big factor since the case fatality rate for COVID-19 varies greatly by age:

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