Going ‘Through Hell’

Meanwhile, on the pandemic front...

The disconcerting headlines around the spread of the coronavirus continued to pile up on Wednesday, as cases topped 435,000 globally and the death toll around the world neared 20,000.

Spain had its deadliest day yet, as the country lost 738 people, bringing the total to 3,434. That morbid news comes a day after hopes of a turnaround in Italy were muted by the country’s second-most fatal 24 hours of the epidemic. 743 people lost their lives in Italy on Tuesday.

New York now has nearly as many cases as Iran and accounts for about half of America’s COVID-19 total. It’s marked in teal on the updated visual.

Italy is prepared to fine anyone disobeying the national lockdown as much as €4,000, Ansa said. The death toll in Belgium (you can see it in the chart – it’s 178) represents a 46% jump from the previous day, but cases rose “just” 16%. 

In Russia, cases surged by a third in 24 hours to 658, and Putin has been warned that a lack of testing likely means the infection count is understated. Pakistan has now reached 1,000 cases in just 29 days, a faster rate of infection than Italy experienced.

And speaking of lockdowns, India entered its second day under an effective shelter-in-place order. Narendra Modi on Tuesday told citizens to “forget what it means to go out [because] today’s decision draws a line outside your home”. The three-week nationwide decree amounts to the most ambitious such effort in the world, considering it covers 1.3 billion people. Obviously, India cannot afford for the virus to spread unchecked given the country’s population density. India was already mired in a mini-stagflation prior to the pandemic, and now, growth estimates are being trimmed further.

In Germany, Lothar Wieler, president of the Robert Koch Institute, told a press briefing that things are set to get worse. “I want to emphasize, as I have been doing for a long time, that we are at the beginning of the epidemic”, Wieler said. “Naturally the number of deaths will also rise in Germany”.

The Prince of Wales has tested positive, Clarence House said Wednesday. Prince Charles does have symptoms, “but otherwise remains in good health”, a spokesman remarked. The UK Parliament is planning to close starting tonight.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike implored residents to stay inside this weekend and work from home in light of a rise in the number of virus cases. 41 new infections were confirmed Wednesday in Tokyo. For 10 of them, it’s not clear where the virus came from.

Ventilator demand globally is now 10 times the available supply, according to Shenzhen Mindray Bio-Medical Electronics, a Chinese manufacturer of medical supplies. The company’s board secretary told Bloomberg that global demand is multiples of what the company can process even after ramping capacity to “several times” what it was previously.

China was already sending a record amount (in terms of dollar value, anyway) of medical equipment to the world headed into the pandemic.

Trump has decided he won’t call COVID-19 “The China Virus” anymore.

“Look, everyone knows it came out of China, but I decided we shouldn’t make any more of a big deal out of it”, he told Fox, adding that “I think I made a big deal. I think people understand it”.

“They lost thousands of people”, the president went on to say. “They’ve been through hell”.

With all due respect, the whole world has, sir. And New York is going through it right now.


6 comments on “Going ‘Through Hell’

  1. I am reading that Italy needs 500-700 billion euros to refinance their debt, which ( pre-virus) was 135% of GDP. Will Germans and Dutch refinance that debt? If Italy fails, businesses can be picked up for pennies on the dollar.

    • Anonymous

      Yes, by china to claim “made in Italy”. Which is why Italy is already suffering so much.

  2. The tragic reality of this spreading is certain. The human impact basically implies this is world war lll. As such, the economic damage isn’t recorded yet, because this battle has been like a blitz. About 2 weeks ago global market capitalization had lost around 20 trillion, while this week has seen staggering volatility, punctuated by the rants and bombastic hyperbolic madness from our God sent King. In reality, the initial loss of 20 trillion plus is seldom put into perspective, but thankfully, we have Warren buffet to lend a hand with valuation concepts. We take global market cap, divided by global GDP, and then we get a rolling valuation for ww lll. However, the part missing in valuation, is the future growth of earnings within the framwork of anemic global decay. Our King suggests business as usual within weeks, which may be the case for a handful of wealthy entities. but I doubt he and the first porn star will be among the public at an Easter egg hunt.

  3. During 2019 and early 2020, we stayed invested in US equities despite the problems because QE/ repo liquidity seemed to be able to more than offset any economic issues ( flat earnings, etc.), however, at this juncture I have no idea whether there is enough government monetary/fiscal stimulus to compensate for the economic problems that are known and especially the economic problems that are not yet known. Very scary times until the world has a vaccine.

  4. Anonymous

    The numbers outside of NYC aren’t nt growing as fast due to a lack of testing. In Washington state, we still have a shortage of swabs and test kits and can only test hospitalized patients and symptomatic healthcare workers. The tests that we do have access to, are currently taking between 4 and 8 days to come back which is causing us to waste PPE while treating people that end up not having it, and it’s taking forever to get healthcare workers that don’t have it back on the job. It also means patients can be stuck in the hospital for extended periods of time because they can’t return to their nursing homes or go to a rehab facility until their Covid test is back, which is tying up much needed beds.

    Because this disease is transmissible during the asymptomatic incubation period, and there are asymptomatic carriers, the lack of a quick point of care test means that we can’t identify patients or healthcare workers without Covid symptoms that are coming to the hospital and spreading the disease. The lack of available testing is making it impossible for us to adequately protect ourselves, and our patients. In a perfect world, we would have a quick test that everyone that walked into the hospital would get so we could send home infected staff and cohort infected patients in a dedicated unit so we could use the limited PPE that we have most efficiently.

    We also need robust testing of the community so people know whether or not they have it and can change their personal behavior to protect themselves, and others. There almost certainly are asymptomatic carriers stocking your grocery store, packing your amazon order, or delivering your mail/packages right now. However, we have no way of identifying those folks and can’t adequately slow the spread of this disease the way they are elsewhere.

    Unfortunately, the administration declined to work with the WHO, and other countries that developed efficient tests weeks (closer to months now) ago, and instead turned the testing over to commercial outfits like Quest who have done a really poor job of providing adequate testing thus far. I certainly hope we see some cooperation with experts around the world and are able to roll out rapid tests for both active cases, and for antibodies so we can identify folks who have had it and recovered.

    For what it’s worth, if the number of cases of pneumonia, and the number of patients on isolation in my hospital is any indication of the trend. This thing is still growing exponentially in WA. We now have multiple floors of the hospital that are dedicated to patients that are in isolation for lower respiratory infection and the hospital is still pretty full despite cancelling all elective procedures.

    The next 2-3 weeks will be very telling.

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