Coronavirus: No, the Situation is Not Under Control

BRANDON J. WEICHERT | THE WEICHERT REPORT

A Harvard epistemologist was quoted last week in The Atlantic as having predicted that within the year, roughly 60-70 percent of the world’s population will have been exposed to the CoVID-19 pandemic (yes, it is a pandemic, despite what the “experts” continue arguing).

With a death rate of around two percent (based on numbers coming out of China), that means that 5.4 billion people could be walking around with the CoVID-19 strain onboard (if the number of infected globally reached 70 percent of the world population). With a death toll of just under two percent globally, nearly 30 million people will have died (with more than one million of the US population potentially dying).

Everyone on the Right needs to come to grips with this basic fact: our government, regardless of who is in charge, is unprepared for the handling of this disease.

Down here in Florida, the hospital wait times have exploded to more than an hour-and-a-half longer than what they normally are–and this is just with the standard, run-of-the-mill bugs floating around this time of year. Throw in the coronavirus on top of the usual sicknesses, and you’re talking about serious strain being placed on America’s carefully calibrated infrastructure (which was not designed to handle the kind of “black swan event” that is currently dominating the world news cycle right now).

In China, there has been an ongoing shortage of face masks, field testing kits, and pitiable bottlenecks in the laboratories which test the biological samples of those who may have been infected with coronavirus. All of this has led to terrible delays in not only identifying potentially infected patients, but it has also led to the breakdown in basic medical standards for treating infectious diseases, such as the coronavirus. The infrastructure of China’s medical community is at its breaking point.

Cut over to the United States and the fact that during times of disease outbreaks even among “normal” diseases (such as the seasonal flu), on top of whatever ordinary workloads that medical facilities work on a daily basis, throwing in a highly transmissible disease, with no known cure, in which incubation periods can last upwards of 27 days with 12-14 days in some cases of those exposed to CoVID-19 appearing asymptomatic (but spreading the disease nonetheless), it beggars the question: how in the world does the American medical system expect to survive and thrive under these conditions?

Bottom line: our infrastructure works great under normal conditions. Throw in a “black swan event,” such as Coronavirus and everything goes out the window.

It will take time to overcome bottlenecks similar to what the Chinese have endured–and in the meanwhile the disease will continue spreading. Fear will become the norm. Panic will ensue. The system cannot handle what it is going to be experiencing over the next several months (possibly years).

And the markets know it–even if our politicos cannot quite seem to wrap their tiny heads around this fact (or, in the case of the Democrats, if they want to lower everything to the reducto ad Trumplerum argument, which is also entirely inappropriate here). Markets rarely lie. Yes, they fluctuate with the wind. But, they also tend to reflect real concerns and can often highlight truth–even if only in retrospection.

So, here we are, the single largest drop in the market since 2008.

Don’t pretend like a) that’s insignificant or b) that everything is going to get back to the way things were. As I have been saying since 2016: there’s no going back.

We are living in a period of dynamic change; historic instability. Things will happen faster and be more unpredictable than at any other time in the last 60 years.

Just get used to it.

President Trump did enact a temporary and limited travel ban for people coming in from affected areas, notably China. He also ordered that anyone with symptoms be quarantined until they could be cleared by medical professionals.

Yet, the travel ban was hardly holistic.

It allowed American air carriers to reduce the number of flights into and from China while still allowing for individual airports to determine whether they would accept flights from affected areas or not.

Meanwhile, Air China’s ban into the United States was meant to last only February 28 while the US government still allowed other Chinese air carriers into the country. Plus, as the disease spread to other countries outside of China, such as Singapore or South Korea, air carriers were still allowed untrammeled travel to and from those states to the US.

What’s more, it has been revealed that American medical officials handling coronavirus-infected patients from the doomed Diamond Princess cruise liner were not provided with adequate protective gear and became exposed to the disease themselves.

Given that a Japanese quarantine officer in full protective gear, who went aboard the stricken Diamond Princess cruise liner to aid those infected with coronavirus was himself infected despite wearing that gear, it should be obvious that there is little we can do at this point to effectively contain the disease.

All of this is to say, that the critics of the president are wrong to claim that he’s not done anything. He has. Where Trump has erred was in not acting boldly and swiftly enough. Yes, the president’s actions could have precipitated a massive economic downturn. As we’ve seen though, the insufficient response on the part of the White House to the disease, has eventuated in a massive market collapse anyway–which will harm the president’s reelection efforts.

The president is right to attempt to calm fears, though. That is his job.

But, he must do a better job of managing expectations. In a situation such as this he cannot afford to appear either glib (which he is starting to seem) or doom-and-gloom (no danger there at this point). Tonight, at the Trump rally in North Carolina, the president literally referred to the coronavirus as a “hoax.”

Courtesy of The Washington Examiner via Twitter.

You see, according to President Trump, the coronavirus news coverage is yet another partisan witch hunt in the mold of the “Russia” collusion delusion and the Ukraine impeachment (non) scandal. And, as I have been writing for weeks, Trump’s opponents are cynically weaponizing the coronavirus to use against him.

Still, there is a real threat here from the disease and it is obvious that neither our government nor any government (including the much-ballyhooed central planners of China) is well-prepared to handle this outbreak.

That is why the Centers for Disease Control’s director of the Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Dr. Nancy Messonier, said the following in an interview earlier this week:

For schools, options include [during a coronavirus outbreak] dividing students into small groups, or in a severe pandemic, closing schools and using internet-based tele-schooling to continue education. For adults, businesses can replace meetings with video or telephone conferences and increased teleworking options. On a larger scale, communities and cities may need to modify, postpone, or cancel mass gatherings. Disruptions to every day life may be severe but these are things that people need to start thinking about now. [Emphasis added].

These steps should have been taken over a month ago, when the first cases started popping up. The Chinese had been lying and covering up the extent and severity of this disease. Everyone knows it, but few are willing to admit this truth.

Senator Tom Cotton (R-AL) is also convinced of both Bill Gertz and my own reportage that the CoVID-19 outbreak very well may have come from a Chinese-military associated virology lab in Wuhan. At this rate, we will only know that which the self-interested Chinese Communist Party (CCP) will tell our stunningly pliable political, scientific, and media elite.

The danger of this disease cannot be overstated. Here is a unique illness for which we have no cure. There are Pollyannas out there claiming that its mortality rate is lower than the seasonal strain of influenza (the flu).

This is true.

Of course, it has since been revealed that the methodology and equipment needed to properly test for this disease among potentially affected populations has been dangerously low supply. Meanwhile, the incubation period can be as high as 27 days–with people being asymptomatic for as long as 12-14 days.

Oh, and the mortality rate for the seasonal flu is .1 percent of those infected. Already, the mortality rate, in the words of Dr. Michael Osterholm director of the Centers for Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, has told news outlets that the coronavirus transmission rate is the key to understanding why it is more dangerous than the seasonal influenza strain.

You see, although MERS and SARS (two diseases that media outlets continue incorrectly likening coronavirus to) do have much higher mortality rates, they are harder to transmit among populations.

The fact that coronavirus transmits much like the seasonal flu does–and that it can transmit to large groupings of people relatively quickly across long distances–means that it is a far deadlier killer than the flu. Osterholm says that the coronavirus will be more lethal globally by a factor of twenty times compared to the ordinary flu (the difference between .1 percent fatality rates of the seasonal flu and the 2.3 percent fatality rates of the coronavirus).

Also, the average turnaround time for a vaccine under these conditions is about 1,000 days. As I have said here previously, even if the Israelis can concoct a viable vaccine in the next “few weeks,” it will still take about 1,000 days thereafter to conduct trials on the vaccine and then scale it up. Some have argued they can help to halve that development time. Even then, we’re still talking until the end of 2020 before there is a viable vaccine for much of the population.

In the meantime, the disease continues proliferating. We are talking about another Spanish Flu-type pandemic. It’s just that no one wants to admit it in power…because no one has any idea or plan on how to adequately respond to prevent mass casualties. The longer we delay, the nastier things will get. We will get through this crucible, though, just as we survived the Spanish Flu. It’s just that many will not make it. What’s more, as the CDC has suggested, the social fabric of our society will fundamentally change–and so will the economic and political environment, too.

This is where deterioration may lead to radicalism becoming more appealing to people. Someone like Bernie Sanders today may seem like a long shot candidate over President Trump, but remember, in 2016 Donald Trump was a long shot candidate for president. He won because he took advantage of the political environment that he found himself operating in. Bernie just might do the same. And Bernie provides the public with a distinct set of policies from his Democratic Party rivals, as well as from President Trump.

Here you can already see the narrative shaping up against Trump on the matter of coronavirus from the Left:

Courtesy of Real Time with Bill Mahrer.

Besides, President Trump’s credibility may be declining in the eyes of the voters. Never one to enjoy a high percentage of popularity since taking office (because the media has done a bang-up job of ceaselessly attacking and impugning the man), President Trump did reach a historic high (for him) in approval ratings recently: a whopping 49 percent. This was largely because the Democrats were imploding and the economy was doing the best it has done in at least a decade.

Now, with the coronavirus spreading everywhere–including the United States–and the president sounding as though he is in denial, the markets are tanking. His greatest asset in 2020 is being stripped away from him: a well-performing market. In turn, the disease is going to worsen.

Let us hope that the president’s claim that the disease will abate in the warmer summer months becomes a reality. Even if it does, though, as Dr. Osterholm argues, the CoVID-19 disease will not be going away forever. As soon as the temperature drops again, there will be a new round of illnesses in the colder seasons: flu, cold, and coronavirus season will become a new paradigm we humans must operate under. With a mortality rate far higher than the average flu strain, that is most disconcerting.

We will get through it, but the president needs to stop doing the whole Pollyanna bit. It will come back and bite him politically when least expects it. Instead, the president should be taking personal control of the situation and ensuring that the world sees him as the competent navigator serving as the nation’s helmsman during this crisis.

Rather than allow his fear about how CoVID-19 will impact his reelection or stymie economic growth, the president should be reminding audiences that open borders and free trade–not the Trump Administration–ultimately created the conditions that allowed for the coronavirus to spread into the United States and to begin crushing the American economy.

The president should use this as an opportunity to push the more radical elements of his trade and immigration policies. The president should be looking to the leadership of the Australian government rather than listening to the lying Chinese regime, which continues arguing that everything is A-OK in the Middle Kingdom (when it is not).

Here is what Peter Hartcher had to say in yesterday’s The Sydney Morning Herald on just how effective the Australian government’s response has been (and why it has been so effective in curbing the outbreak in Australia):

The medical officers’ “pandemic” call was a big moment. For a start, they were way ahead of the UN body that is supposedly the lead global agency on international health emergencies, the Geneva-based World Health Organisation.

Why were the Australians ahead of the world? For a very simple reason. They don’t trust the WHO. The information from multiple international sources is that the WHO is under intense pressure from the Chinese government, and succumbing to it.

The Australian Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer, Brendan Murphy, told the NSC that it was medically inexplicable that the WHO hadn’t already declared a global pandemic. It’s politics, in other words.

That’s why Australia had earlier forged ahead of the WHO in declaring the China travel ban, on February 1. It was, again, on the unanimous advice of the AHPPC.

The Trump Administration needs to stop sugarcoating this thing. The market is not going to correct and if it does it won’t last long as the bad news about coronavirus continues coming out. Osterholm is right: declaring this thing a “pandemic” is necessary. It is not a bad thing, though. It is a mindset–as much as declaring a war during an attack is necessary to put our people in the right mindset.

We are going to war with this disease, and we will need every citizen to do their part. Unless the United States can organize an effective response, and unless the president appears to be clued in to what’s going on (which he does not) then the situation will get worse, both in terms of the physical spread of the disease as well as the spread of fear.

The president has not handled this crisis very well. It hasn’t been all bad; some necessary moves were made. But, they were not enough. Now, we must move forward with strong leadership; that’s the only way markets will be reassured and that is the only way that the president can ensure he is not made a one-term president.

©2020, The Weichert Report. All Rights Reserved.

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