For the last month, the mainstream media’s narrative has been that China screwed up the management of coronavirus (“SARS-CoV-2”), because the Chinese communist party is authoritarian and the political system lacks transparency, freedom of speech etc. Well, guess what? Countries full of freedom, democracy and capitalism are massively screwing up and have pretty much guaranteed a global pandemic.
(UPDATE: In the two days since this blog was posted, COVID-19 has spread to Germany, Spain, Austria, Croatia and Switzerland in Europe; Brazil in Latin America; and Iraq, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Oman, and Kuwait in the Middle East. And the CDC said on Tuesday that an outbreak in the US is virtually guaranteed and people must be prepared for “significant disruptions” in their lives. Also, San Francisco declared a coronavirus emergency).
In Japan, there are now about 800 confirmed cases of COVID-19, mostly thanks to their disastrous handling of a cruise ship. South Korea is experiencing exponential growth, with more than 800 cases now. The US flew back more than 300 Americans from the cruise ship in Japan, but managed to spread the virus by mixing sick and healthy people. In Italy, the number of cases went from 3 to 130 in two days, setting the stage for a European epidemic. Finally, Iran has been hit as well. It’s disaster all over.
Japan: When a couple of people in a cruise ship (“Diamond Princess” — operated by an American company) tested positive for coronavirus, the Japanese government quarantined the whole ship for two weeks. However, air gets circulated among the cabins, which kind of defeated the quarantine’s purpose. Also, when the staff came to deliver the meals, they were exposed to the virus. Finally, the rules were lax and passengers often managed to leave their rooms and socialize with others. In the end, more than 600 people were infected during the two weeks. Then to make things worse, when the quarantine was over, they let 23 sick people go back home by mistake.
US: In the cruise ship in Japan, there were about 350 Americans, out of which 14 had the novel coronavirus. The US State Department decided to fly them all in one plane, even though the CDC strongly advised against it. To make things worse, the US put the sick and the healthy people together in a bunch of buses and made them sit inside for four hours, while waiting for the plane. Needless to say, a couple of days after everyone landed, 36 tested positive — meaning that 22 people in the military cargo plane got sick during the trip back home.
The US government is also not very transparent about how many confirmed and suspected cases there are in the US now. California alone has more than 7000 people under self quarantine. In Michigan, hundreds of suspected cases are asked to “do their best” to stay at home! In New York, 575 “medium risk” suspected cases have been asked to participate in “voluntary quarantine.” Hmm … honor system is a great way to control a dangerous virus! And there’s no central database for all the states either.
As for testing, only 3 out of 100 labs in the US have coronavirus diagnostic kits. The CDC sent a lot of non-functional (useless) kits to states all over the country. Hawaii received damaged and faulty diagnostic kits, and is being told that they may not get new kits for another month. That’s very scary. Thanks to tourism, what happens in Hawaii does not stay in Hawaii.
Finally, CDC’s guideline (flowchart) for who will get tested for coronavirus — even if people are really sick — says that either the patient must have visited China in the last two weeks or they must have had close contact with a confirmed coronavirus patient. This is a joke that defies all logic.
Thanks to all this mind-boggling incompetence, only 426 Americans have been tested for COVID-19 (as of Feb 24)!!! Is the logic, “if we don’t test, we won’t have an epidemic”?
America is thus fudging and hiding the Coronavirus numbers by not testing people and by not including the thousands of people under quarantine. The current official number of 14 or 35 — its not even clear — doesn’t even include the 36 sick people who were evacuated from the cruise ship in Japan. It’s a clusterfu*k!
Finally, if you live in the US, it’s impossible to buy surgical masks now. Pharmacies don’t have them; and if you go to Amazon, the expected shipping time is … two to three months! If there’s an outbreak in the US, we are all screwed!!!!
Europe: Italy has been the first victim. They now have over 200 cases and 6 deaths. The epicenter is a town near Milan, a big city with a large population of international tourists, businessmen and students. Although they are trying to lock down a few small towns, they can’t do the same to big cities in Europe.
The problem with the virus is its long incubation period, which scientists are saying is actually close to 24 days (and not 14, which potentially makes all the past and present quarantines meaningless). During the incubation period, a person without any symptoms can still pass the virus — sometimes, simply through breathing!
Thus, by the time one person is confirmed to have the virus, he/she has likely spread the virus to hundred other people. How many of them will actually get sick and pass on the virus to more people? And in a world where millions of people travel every day by planes, one cough in Milan will be “heard” in airports in Frankfurt, London and New York within a few hours.
Can you imagine if the US has an outbreak? Certainly, there won’t be massive quarantines of big cities — corporations won’t allow it and people won’t obey it. Thus the virus will spread very rapidly. The US also lacks essentials like masks, diagnostic kits, hazmat suits, hospital beds or even doctors. China can build hospitals in ten days, churn out millions of masks every day, quarantine an entire province and galvanize the whole nation into action. None of that will be possible in the US.
Scary situation. This coming week will tell us if this is going to turn into a worldwide pandemic.