February 5, 2020
It appears as though the coronavirus is spiraling out of control.
The majority of China’s growth hubs have delayed the resumption of business by at least a week as the country tries to control the spread of a new coronavirus that has killed more than 200 people.
As of Monday morning, at least 24 provinces, municipalities and other regions in China have told businesses not to resume work before Feb. 10 at the earliest. That’s according to publicly available statements from the governments.
Last year, those parts of China accounted for more than 80% of national GDP, and 90% of exports, according to CNBC calculations of data accessed through Wind Information. As a result, these delays in getting back to work could have a significant impact on the growth and international trade of what is now the world’s second-largest economy.
Drone footage shared by ABC News shows the streets in Wuhan are nearly empty:
Drone footage shows almost empty streets in typically bustling Wuhan, China, amid a citywide lockdown over the deadly coronavirus outbreak.
— ABC News (@ABC) February 4, 2020
A Russian expat shared video from inside of Wuhan amidst the quarantine:
There’s at least 24,551 confirmed cases of the coronavirus worldwide and 493 deaths according to the official numbers.
In the last two weeks, China locked down some 50 million people in more than a dozen cities to try and stop the new coronavirus that has sickened thousands in the province of Hubei.
It may take as long as 14 days for the flu-like symptoms of the virus, dubbed 2019-nCov, to appear. Soon, China will find out if the largest mass quarantine in history has worked, or if undiscovered cases have quietly dispersed and seeded a far wider epidemic.
The travel restrictions in Hubei’s 11-million-person capital of Wuhan began on Jan. 23—eventually halting air and rail travel, buses, subways and car services. The lockdown came days before the Lunar New Year, China’s mass national holiday when people visit home or vacation. The aggressive plan aimed to keep the disease mostly in Hubei, slowing a viral diaspora officials feared could be carried invisibly by millions of Chinese travelers.
[…] [An international team of researchers] estimated that in the two weeks leading up to the quarantine, there were about 10 million trips to Wuhan from other cities, and 12.5 million trips from Wuhan to elsewhere. The group also estimated that there may have been thousands more cases at the time of lockdown, never diagnosed.
The New York Times seems to be fanning the fearmongering flames:
The virus crisis is testing China’s ability to feed its 1.4 billion people, one of the Communist Party’s proudest achievements. Cooped up at home and fearful that the epidemic could last weeks or even months, families across China are hoarding provisions, making it harder for shops and supermarkets to keep fresh food in stock. Many places have closed off roads to passing traffic, slowing truck shipments and raising freight costs.
[…] Officials are on alert for signs of strained supplies throughout the rest of the country. Retail prices for fresh food have crept up in many places. The Shouguang vegetable price index, a widely watched daily gauge, rocketed to a multiyear high last week. Poultry farmers are warning that supplies of chicken feed are running low because of transport restrictions and millions of birds could die as a result.
As if one dangerous disease was not enough for China right now, the national government over the weekend reported a “highly pathogenic” outbreak of bird flu at a chicken farm in Hunan Province. Some 4,500 chickens had died, and 17,000 were culled preemptively.
Grocery bills in China were already climbing in recent months as an epidemic of swine fever ravaged the nation’s hog population.
The BBC reported Monday that China has accused the US of causing panic and “spreading fear.”
While that does seem to be the case, there’s very legitimate reasons to be concerned.
The AFP shared this horrifying picture of a makeshift “hospital” which looks awful similar to the old images from the 1918 Spanish Flu.
An exhibition centre is converted into a hospital in Wuhan, China.
The Wuhan government said it plans to convert three existing venues, including a gymnasium and an exhibition centre, into hospitals to take in patients with mild symptoms of the #coronavirus pic.twitter.com/KqcBzNoJCT
— AFP news agency (@AFP) February 4, 2020
The Spanish Flu is believed to have been greatly exacerbated by people with the virus living in such close quarters.
Their newly completed hospital (presumably this is the one in Huoshenshan that was built in just 10 days) looks a lot like a prison:
— Alex Soltani (@alexsoltani1981) February 4, 2020
It is what it is. It sure as hell is a lot better than the picture above.
Nearly one dozen passengers on a Diamond Princess Cruise ship quarantined off the coast of Yokohama Port in Japan have tested positive for coronavirus and are being hospitalized.
Public Relations Specialist Alivia Owyoung confirmed to USA TODAY Tuesday that 10 passengers tested positive for the virus following the “first phase of health screening,” where Japanese health officials reviewed 2,666 guests and 1,045 crew members on board Diamond Princess for symptoms.
Just a couple of weeks ago, scientists held out hope the new coronavirus could be largely contained within China. Now they know its spread can be minimized at best, and governments are planning for the worst.
“It is not a matter of if—it is a matter of when,” said Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security and a spokesman for the Infectious Diseases Society of America. “There is not a doubt this is going to end up in most countries eventually.”
The U.S., with 11 diagnosed cases so far, plans to quarantine at military bases potentially more than 1,000 Americans evacuated from China’s Hubei province. State health departments are activating emergency programs to isolate the potentially infected—a piecemeal approach that could range from specialized facilities to hotels. Some hospitals have tents in stock to use as emergency isolation wards.
Adalja told CNBC on Tuesday the U.S. has to assume containment will fail but he believes it’s likely to be a “mild pandemic” in America.
Though there’s only 11 confirmed cases so far in the U.S., our government is bringing folks in from Wuhan by the planeload.
Two flights evacuating hundreds of US citizens from the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in China are scheduled to depart for the United States on Tuesday, a US official with knowledge of the matter told CNN. https://t.co/1qy5vOihiT
— CNN (@CNN) February 4, 2020
This article was posted: Wednesday, February 5, 2020 at 6:47 am