The virus cannot be contained, governments are trying to slow down the spread so their hospitals and afterlife facilities are not overcapacity.
FEBRUARY 19, 2020
“Biased American public health and immigration policies” are to blame for Americans’ “anxiety over the potentially deadly disease,” says a recent Berkeley News article.
The piece, titled “Coronavirus: Fear of Asians rooted in long American history of prejudicial policies,” draws on the opinions of two UC Berkeley educators to make this claim.
Professor John A. Powell, director of Berkeley’s “Othering and Belonging Institute” is quoted saying that Coronavirus woes stem partly from “an assumption that the West, particularly Anglo-American Christians, should dominate the world,” and partly from a “heightened state of [anti-immigrant] bias.”
He adds that debates about Chinese expansionism, Chinese 5G networks, and Chinese espionage can also reveal racist American tendencies.
Powell concludes that a global society is the only path forward in a new world characterized by growing Chinese hegemony.
Berkeley research scientist and lecturer Winston Tseng agrees with Powell.
“There’s a part of that original history of xenophobia and racism in America from the 19th and 20th centuries that is coming back,” he told Berkeley News.
“[The Coronavirus] is a very serious issue, for sure, but from a public health standpoint it’s a relative issue compared to all the public health issues globally,” he said, after stating his belief that the virus will peak with only 200,000 cases.
The Berkeley News article also claims that “social media memes and GIFs” about the coronavirus are complicit in the spread of virus-related xenophobia.
Campus Reform previously reported on a similar statement about the virus made by Berkeley that was ultimately retracted by the school alongside a public apology. The statement came in the form of a now-deleted Instagram post from an official Berkeley account which claimed that “xenophobia” is among the “normal reactions” to the virus.
The school’s executive director of communications and media relations, Roqua Montez IV, acknowledged the social media retraction and apologized for its content.
Campus Reform reached out to Montez for further comment but did not hear back in time for publication.
Liu Zhiming, the director of Wuchang Hospital in Wuhan, died on Tuesday morning after “all-out rescue efforts failed,” state broadcaster CCTV reported.
Liu’s death was initially announced on Monday night in a social media post by the Hubei Health Commission. However, in a follow-up message the commission said that the hospital director was alive and battling the virus.
At least six other medical workers in China have died from the virus, while an additional 1,716 have been infected, AFP reported, citing official figures.
The death toll from coronavirus has reached 1,873, with nearly half of China’s population subject to quarantines or other restrictions put in place to prevent the spread of the virus.
According to the latest figures, there are 73,325 confirmed cases of the virus worldwide – the vast majority in mainland China.
February 14, 2020
You couldn’t make this up.
The Washington Free Beacon reports:
Maxine Waters: California Should Have More Say Over Primary Process Because of Its Rich Donors and Fancy Parties
Rep. Maxine Waters (D., Calif.) said that California should have more influence over the Democratic primary process because the state has so many wealthy donors.
“We have candidates who fly out to Los Angeles from everywhere to raise money,” Waters said Thursday on CNBC. “You would have two, three, four at a time in Beverly Hills having dinners and some of our contributors, who are very rich, were holding fancy parties, trying to accommodate the requests for donations and contributions.”
“The thinking is that if we are supplying tremendous dollars to candidates, we ought to have more say,” she added.
Watch the video below:
Does Waters have any idea how awful this sounds? Apparently not.
“The use of such a poster is unacceptable,” Hashimoto said at a press conference on Friday adding that the creation of such pictures is “very regrettable.”
A series of posters depicting an Olympic torch runner wearing a hazmat suit were produced by the Voluntary Agency Network of Korea (VANK), a private group in South Korea who said they wanted to raise awareness about ecological issues in Japan.
The runner’s suit and green radioactive flame spewing from the torch apparently referred to the nuclear disaster in Fukushima in 2011 after a devastating 15-meter tsunami hit the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant causing high radioactive releases.
The prefecture was included in the route of the Olympic Torch Relay with Japanese officials stating there would be no radiation threat to the relay participants.
“We included messages of warning about the safety of radiation, the biggest concern during the Tokyo Olympics,” the VANK said. “Host country Japan said agricultural products from Fukushima Prefecture are safe and announced that it will provide them for Olympic athletes.”
Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the government lodged complaints with South Korea regarding the posters which they found “unacceptable.”
Earlier this week Japanese officials said the deadly coronavirus outbreak would not affect the schedule of the upcoming Summer Games.
by Tyler Durden
Specifically, Morgan Stanley suggested that real time measurements of Chinese pollution levels would provide a “quick and dirty” (no pun intended) way of observing if any of China’s major metropolises had returned back to normal. What it found was that among some of the top Chinese cities including Guangzhou, Shanghai and Chengdu, a clear pattern was evident – air pollution was only 20-50% of the historical average. As Morgan Stanley concluded, “This could imply that human activities such as traffic and industrial production within/close to those cities are running 50-80% below their potential capacity.”
As a reminder, all this is (or technically, isn’t) taking place as President Xi Jinping on Wednesday sought to send a message that progress had been made in bringing the coronavirus outbreak under control and, for most parts of the country, the focus should be on getting back to business.
According to state television, Xi chaired a meeting of the Politburo Standing Committee, China’s supreme political body, on the latest developments on the crisis and future policy responses, concluding that there had been “positive changes” with “positive results”.
Xi also reiterated that all levels of local government and Communist Party committees must strive to achieve China’s social and development goals this year, indicating that he did not want the public health crisis to hinder progress.
Most importantly, Xi urged local authorities to refrain from taking excessive measures to curb contagion, and yet clip after clip from China…
… shows that the measures being taken are far beyond merely “excessive” when it comes to limiting the potential spread of the virus, which probably makes sense considering the unexpected surge in infected cases in Wuhan, which have sent the total for China just shy of 60,000.
Add to this the ongoing uncertainty that Beijing is far behind the curve in containing the virus, and one can see why most businesses are reluctant to “get back to normal.”
In the latest confirmation of just that, several other indicators have emerged showing that despite Xi’s stark demands for 1.4 billion Chinese to ignore the global pandemic which may very well have been started by one of China’s own experimental labs…
… virtually all of China – and all those critical supply chains that keep companies across the globe humming and stocked with critical inventory – remain on lockdown.
As confirmation, while we wait for an update from Morgan Stanley on the latest Chinese pollution data (at least until Beijing’s definition of “pollution” is also revised) here is JPMorgan showing that while traditionally daily coal consumption – the primary commodity used to keep China electrified – rebounds in the days following the Lunar New Year collapse when China hibernates for one week, this year there hasn’t been even a modest uptick higher, indicating that so far there hasn’t been even a modest uptick in output.
Yet electricity is just one core indicator of real-time economic activity. Perhaps an even more critical one is human transit across the 1.4 billion person strong nation. Conveniently there is a way to track rudimentary traffic patterns across some of China’s key metro areas, and they show that – in a confirmation of the worst-case scenario – activity, as measured by travel, across most of China appears to have ground to a halt.
The charts below show TomTom’s traffic congestion data across key Chinese cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Wuhan as compared to the average measurement for 2019. What they show is that virtually nobody appears to be driving in China!
Here is Beijing’s congestion level over the past 48 hours (a 7 day average is also available) compared to 2019. The data indicates that travel is about 70% below its 2019 peak.
Amazingly, the industrial hub of Guanghzhou also appears to have ground to a crawl:
By comparison, here is what Los Angeles traffic looks like over the past 48 hours vs 2019 average.
While not perfect, and certainly not a comprehensive view of what is really taking place “on the ground”, the above data is a useful real-time indicator of how the people in China perceive the threat of the coronavirus pandemic, and one thing is abundantly clear: as the pandemic spreads further without containment, and as the charts above flatline, so will China’s economy, which means that while Goldman’s draconian view of what happens to Q1 GDP is spot on, the expectation for a V-shaped recovery in Q2 and onward will vaporize faster than a vial of ultra-biohazardaous viruses in a Wuhan virology lab.
by Tyler Durden
* * *
Update (1400ET): President Trump just reportedly said during a radio interview that he believes China is handling the outbreak “professionally.”
This after a slew of frustrated messages from his administration and officials including Larry Kudlow.
* * *
Update (1320ET): Following last night’s admission that local officials in Wuhan were undercounting the number of cases, a reporter appears to have found evidence that more than 300 unreported cases are active in Shanghai, as well as 1 previously unreported death.
#BREAKING: Shanghai has banned people and cars from entering the city starting at 00:00 on February 14 in order to put the #CoronavirusOutbreak under control. At least 300 cases of such infection have been confirmed in Shanghai. And at least one died from the disease in the city. pic.twitter.com/h8AKfTxAPK
— Ezra Cheung (@ezracheungtoto) February 13, 2020
So China is tightening the lockdown in Shanghai to hide the truth about the outbreak? That’s unconfirmed for now.
* * *
Update(1250ET): Not long after reports claimed the White House is widely skeptical of Chinese numbers, Trump’s top economic advisor Larry Kudlow appeared on television to say the US is “disappointed” in how China has handled the virus response, and that the Trump administration wishes there was more clarity.
Specifically, the US was most hurt by China’s refusal to accept an American team of experts from the CDC, who offered to help.
The US economy would be at 3% growth if not for the virus, he added.
* * *
Update (1230ET): As Beijing insists that it’s safe for foreign nations to soon lift their travel restrictions on China, CNN reports that the European Union is considering closing its borders if the outbreak really escalates.
They cite a Croatian health official, who said the plan is in the works, though he strongly suspects that it won’t be necessary.
The WHO has said that level of restriction isn’t necessary, but that’ hasn’t stopped Russia from closing part of its border and other countries restricting travel by Chinese.
* * *
Update (1215ET): For the second day in a row, the CDC has warned that more confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the US are inevitable, especially as the testing of ~800 evacuees from Wuhan continues.
After confirming the US’s 15th case at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, officials warned that “there may be additional cases” identified during this period.
The 15th patient was a “solo traveler” from China who has been quarantined “since arriving at Lackland Air Force Base from Wuhan.
They remain in isolation at a local hospital.
Officials assured the public that there’s no risk to the local community, according to CNN.
“We are right in the middle of that incubation period so it is not surprising” that the individual developed symptoms, McQuiston said.
“For the most part the people in quarantine are not doing much associating with each other,” McQuiston said.
Across the ocean in Russia, two women being held under quarantine over fears they might have contracted the virus managed to escape, citing the appallingly poor conditions of their medical detention, according to the NY Post.
Both of the women were hospitalized with flu-like symptoms after returning the Hainan region in southern China that is popular with Russian tourists because of its tropical environment.
In honor of US stocks turning green, we’d like to share this memorable clip of hazmat-suit-wearing person spraying an office down with disinfectant as China continues to slow lurch back to work.
Remember, it’s just like the flu – except much, much worse.
If it was really so mild, would authorities be treating anybody even suspected of having the virus like this?
But as the lockdown begins to lift in Beijing, here’s how people are reacting to…well…being around other people.
Update (1150ET): Citing a senior White House official, CNBC reports that the White House doesn’t have “high confidence” in the coronavirus numbers coming out of China.
The U.S. does “not have high confidence in the information coming out of China” regarding the count of coronavirus cases, a senior administration official told CNBC.
The official also noted that China “continues to rebuff American offers of assistance.”
The current thinking is there must be a reason why they won’t allow the CDC to send over personnel to help with the virus response.
Meanwhile, Jennifer Zeng tweeted out video of migrant workers being forced to sleep outside because of the draconian lockdown.
How much longer until President Trump demands evidence that the virus wasn’t bioengineered?
* * *
Update (1015ET): Following last night’s debacle over China reporting, Fox News’ Edward Lawrence reports that administration sources say they believe China is under reporting the number of coronavirus cases by at least 100,000 in China.
Additionally, Lawrence notes that administration sources say scientists working on how the coronavirus spread are having difficultly getting to the sight on where the first case happened.
We suspect Chinese authorities will do their best to keep any “help” from the west at arm’s length for fear of discovering the truth behind this deadly outbreak.
Jennifer Zeng meanwhile tweeted a video of migrant workers in Jiangsu province being reduced to sleeping in the streets or woods thanks to the lockdown.
* * *
Update (0950ET): Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Thursday morning that the CDC is preparing to announce another confirmed coronavirus case in the US later in the day. That would be the 15th case in the US.
The announcement hit US stocks just minutes after the open.
In Europe, CNN reports that 21 Spaniards who returned from Wuhan on an evacuation flight have been released from Gomez Ullah Hospital in Madrid. The Spanish Health Ministry said the individuals had finished their quarantine stretches.
* * *
Update (0915ET): Even China’s state-controlled press is beginning to sound alarmist as it becomes increasingly clear that the epidemic is anything but ‘contained’.
Meanwhile China’s CDC has reportedly declared ‘War Time Status’ to authorize war-time conditions on quarantine, supplies, management and, of course, control & discipline.
If you thought the lockdowns were bad, it looks like Beijing is about to get pretty creative as it tries to walk the balance of pushing the public to get back to worked and protecting them from the virus.
In Xiaogan, in Hubei Province, two young men were forced to kneel in the street after violating restrictions of traveling outside.
Reuters adds that Huanggang, another city in Hubei, that it will tighten epidemic controls by “sealing residential complexes and only allowing essential vehicles on roads.”
Patients quarantined in China’s hospital jails are clearly hoping that their patriotic socialist principles of valuing the common good over individual liberty will see China through.
In other news, the EIA warned earlier that the COVID-19 outbreak would cause the first drop in oil use in a decade.
* * *
Update (0750ET): News out of China is presenting yet another lesson in contrasts.
In his latest remarks, President Xi said his government is striving to hit China’s development targets, and that the government will “definitely be able to minimize impact from the virus,” according to Chinese state media that has been relayed to English-language newswires.
He also pledged to maintain the development momentum of China’s economy.
Meanwhile, over in Macau, the government of the beleaguered casino paradise is planning to hand out vouchers to residents allowing to buy food to try and help boost local consumption once the outbreak starts to subside, Bloomberg reports.
They can only be used at local restaurants and businesses over the next 3 months.The government is also planning to reduce some taxes and fees to help people recover (a rare example of fiscal stimulus directed at main street).
Here’s a video report published on NHK’s site (please excuse the excess text):