"It's not a matter of if but when a pandemic will happen in the US" says the CDC. "Coronavirus cannot be contained, and will cause significant disruptions in our lives."
As the Stock market sold off for the second day (I mean 1800 points down on the Dow in 2 days); the Centers for Disease Control warned American citizens to get read for the Coronavirus to reach epidemic levels in US cities.
"It's not a matter of if but when a pandemic will happen in the US" said a spokesman for the CDC today. "Coronavirus cannot be contained, and will cause significant disruptions in our lives."
On a cruise ship called the Diamond Princess in Yokohama Japan, 50 people died in a passenger manifest of about 3000 people, consistent with the Wuhan, China death rate of 2%.
If virtually everyone in the US comes own with corona virus and 2% die, that's 6.6 million deaths in the US. It would mean that each of us would know people who passed away due to this disorder.
In 1918, the Spanish Flu pandemic killed an estimated 50 million people, in a world wide population of less than 2 billion. The death rate from the worldwide corona virus pandemic may be similar. Is this the big one we've all been waiting for?
This time, it's different, probably. The world's health care infrastructure is far better than it was 100 years ago. I wrote this story not because I want to panic anyone, but because I have a few original thoughts to share with you.
1. This summer will be a spectacular time to visit crowded tourist sites in Europe. No one from China will want to congregate there in groups. Great time to see Venice canals and the Forum in Rome. If you dare.
2. This is the 4th outbreak of a viral disorder in 20 years in the People's Republic (SARS, MERS, Swine Flu). But we've never contemplated this dynamic in the US in my lifetime.
3. Yes, it's strange that this virus broke out in the vicinity of the only biological warfare lab in China. And then Chinese authorities tried to pin it on the wild animal market 20 miles away from where the outbreak began. It's also odd that the medical doctor who first raised the alarm, was first arrested by the Chinese authorities, then died of the disease at just 31.
No one will be ever to prove this conspiracy theory either way. But it looks awful, and may ultimately threaten social stability (meaning the Chinese communist party).
4. Supplies of face masks, disinfectant and medicines will grow short in the US. Aggravating the problem is the fact that 80% of common household pharmaceuticals such as ZZquill and Tylenol, are made in China. We can expect supply interruptions. We may even have to go back to manufacturing some of this stuff ourselves.
5. The Chinese know more about this epidemic, it's origin and spread, then anyone else. They're in full on panic mode. They quarantined 500 million people, almost 10% of the world's population, in a vain attempt to prevent contagion's spread. Even these desperate measures ultimately failed.
6. Influenza kills 10,000 to 50,000 people in the United States every single year. Coronavirus may have a similar death rate. Or it may have a higher one. This is what truly concerns authorities. They just don’t know if this is worse than the flu or about the same.
Epidemics, even world wide ones, do pass, as this one will. The bottom line is it's time to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. Panic constructively, by preparing for Wuhan type quarantine measures here at home. Talk to your family about an emergency plan. Purchase a few face masks if you can and some bottled water. Wash your hands religiously, and use hand sanitizer when possible. Don't panic really, but get ready. Because, it's coming.