By on March 17, 2020

As we attempt to wean ourselves off endless discussions the new coronavirus, we’ve noticed there’s not exactly a glut of alternative news out there. Trade shows are being delayed, factories are being idled, and the whole world seems to be in standby mode as we attempt to stall the spread of COVID-19 following its migration out of China.

Regional quarantines in Asia were already doing a number on supply chains, and it wasn’t long before manufacturers around the world began idling production to further slow the virus’s spread. By the beginning of March, it was becoming quite clear that auto sales would suffer significant impacts as people spent the next several weeks isolated in their own homes. Now, the push is on to assess just how much this whole ordeal will impact an OEM’s bottom line. 

While the ability to postpone the progress of a particularly nasty little virus seems significantly more important than how much money a company makes, there are reasons to be concerned about the economy. Markets are panicking and people are hoarding food and toilet paper in lieu of more traditional purchases — especially of the big-ticket variety. This spells major implications for the banking industry, which we admit is difficult to find sympathy for. But it also could spell disaster for the automotive sector and those employed by it.

Speaking with Automotive News, Kristin Dziczek, Vice President of Industry, Labor and Economics at the Center for Automotive Research, said that the U.S. economy would lose roughly 94,400 jobs and $7.3 billion in overall earnings for every seven-day period that customers aren’t buying new vehicles. Meanwhile, government tax revenue would shrink by $2 billion.

“It’s concerning,” she elaborated. “There’s been a supply disruption that’s led to a demand disruption that’s led to a public health crisis. If on the other side people don’t want to buy cars, we have a real problem.”

We’d argue that the health crisis came first, since this is all the result of one super-devastating cold. Depending on who you ask, however, the economic impact takes precedence over whatever health issues may have arisen to effectively place the entire world on hiatus. Any claims of this being the next Great Depression or Great Recession (whatever they ultimately decide to call it) are premature, though. Nobody actually knows how long this will last or serious it will be. We’re all just making educated guesses.

From Automotive News:

Morgan Stanley expects the coronavirus outbreak to send U.S. sales down 9 percent this year, it said in an investor note last week. Before the outbreak, analysts had expected a modest decline of 1 percent to 2 percent in 2020.

LMC Automotive cut its U.S. forecast by nearly 300,000 vehicles to 16.5 million, a 3 percent drop from 2019.

“Whether you believe there is a public overreaction or that COVID-19 is actually a public health crisis … there is no denying the expected negative impact it will have on the economy and auto industry,” Jeff Schuster, LMC’s president of global vehicle forecasts, said in a statement.

If the economy recovers rapidly from coronavirus concerns, TrueCar subsidiary ALG projects new-vehicle sales of 16.4 million in 2020, down 2.9 percent from its initial forecast and 3.8 percent from last year’s total. A longer economic slowdown could result in vehicle sales of 14.5 million this year, ALG said, 14 percent below its initial 2020 predictions.

Sounds brutal, yet everything hinges on how quick the recovery process ends up being. Assuming everyone manages to avoid each other for a few weeks and the virus fails to continue spreading unchecked, then factories can expect to resume operations while people continue their pilgrimages to the dealership before this ends up being a legitimate disaster.

The Center for Automotive Research warns that even a swift recovery could take longer to reach the automotive sector, as most customers probably wouldn’t select a new car as their first major purchase after weathering the storm. Still, the group doesn’t believe it will be anywhere near as dire as the financial crisis that bankrupted General Motors and Chrysler just over a decade ago. That may not be cause for celebration, but we’ll gladly take good news wherever we can get it.

[Image: Viacheslav Lopatin/Shutterstock]

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155 Comments on “Have You Heard About the Coronavirus Being Bad for the Economy Yet?...”


  • avatar
    redgolf

    Stock market opens quietly – USA Today – What, Me Worry! ( Alfred E. Newman)

  • avatar
    thelaine

    On the bright side, the toilet paper industry is thriving.

    • 0 avatar
      thegamper

      For real! I did my fair share of stocking up on food and thankfully did a Costco run about a week or two before it all hit the fan. I understand the run on hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes, etc….but toilet paper?

      In any event, Seems to me like a 3% drop is extremely optimistic. They might get something close to that number before the year is up but it will be with massive discounts and incentives. My prediction would be in the 5-10% range before its all over.

  • avatar
    R Henry

    I expect the financial sector will be encouraged by the Feds to juice economic activity by putting lots of free money on the table.

    If we had access to 0% interest long term auto loans, me thinks that would “move the metal.”

  • avatar
    volvo

    Aside from the auto industry this crisis may be disastrous for businesses that are not “to big to fail”. And if insurance companies are held to pay for many of these losses (and not protected by force majeure or act of God clauses) then insurance losses combined with insurance company income losses from market decline and shrinking reserves we may see huge increases in policy prices if consumer policies can be obtained at all.

    Commercial and residential landlords may also be hit hard. Tenants, rightfully so, will have some protection and mortgage payments may be put off but property taxes, insurance coverage and utility bills will need to be paid on time by the property owner who may have no income stream until the economy recovers.

    Homeowners are a decent example. Your mortgage probably requires you to maintain insurance to protect the lienholder, you will pay a certain amount for water, sewage, garbage and power whether you use it or not, property taxes need to be paid on time or significant penalties are incurred and after 12-18 months the property may be put up for auction by the taxing authority. Mortgage lenders may be required to allow payments to be deferred but I think it is very unlikely this will apply to property taxes.

    And so it goes. Governments, businesses and individuals will want to minimize their losses. The downstream fallout from this economic contraction may be severe and prolonged.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      That’s the whole idea behind the panic. Otherwise only auto parts and iphones would be affected, and only for a short time.

      Th Chinese and Koreans are treating covid-19 with the anti-malarial drug chloroquine phosphate with success, and a combination HIV drug with protease inhibitors, Kalestra, has given similar results. Both drugs are fully tested and approved. There are three vaccines undergoing testing too.

      The cause of the panic is the Trump-deranged mainstream media, cheering for a damaged economy that will get Trump defeated. There’s plenty of time before the election for all this to come out, and I don’t think voters will forget.

      • 0 avatar

        I understand the conspiracy theory argument but, it’s a little tricky to get the whole world including our enemies to buy into the performance. Also at this point Trump loyalists and Trump himself seem to have acknowledged its a serious problem.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Even the POTUS has admitted that this is a ‘pandemic’. After previously denying it for a number of weeks.

        If anything this crisis demonstrates the importance of a free media. The Chinese government originally attempted to suppress news of this virus in the same manner that they originally suppressed news regarding SARS.

        The heritage media is responsible for making experts on the field available to provide information, and to demonstrate the inadequacy of the response of some governments.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        “The cause of the panic is the Trump-deranged mainstream media,”

        yeah, because all of those sick and dead people in other countries are just doing it to make Trump look bad.

        Another insular American ignoramus.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          Even Trump isn’t as thick as Lorenzo

          Troll value = 0/10

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Amazing when like Lorenzo who say that “the libs” are “politicizing” this issue…but ignore that they’re doing they same thing, and whatever they’re doing, Trump’s doing that to the 100th power.

            Sad that this is the place our politics has devolved to.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            yeah, but only “the libs” politicize anything. when his side does it, they’re just “telling the truth.”

        • 0 avatar
          dont.fit.in.cars

          Couldn’t tag him for paying a hooker, Russia collusion, obstruction, a phone call or an impeachment….Dems will howl for year should he survive the panda plague.

          • 0 avatar

            To be fair they did kind of tag him his supporters (voters and law makers) just didn’t care. As the man himself said he could shoot someone on 5th avenue and it wouldn’t matter.

          • 0 avatar
            C5 is Alive

            “As the man himself said he could shoot someone on 5th avenue and it wouldn’t matter.”

            I’m no fan of Trump, but on that particular point it would depend entirely upon whom he shot.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        LMAO!

        The cause of panic is the convoluted messages coming from the Trumputin WH which has been CONTRARY to everything the health experts have been saying.

        Compare what Trumputin and his minions (Rush and the blowhards on Faux News) have been saying (nothing to worry about, like the “common cold”, will dissipate when the weather gets warmer, “we’re doing great” – to complete BS about the amount of tests being available and when a vaccine would be ready, as well as making over-reaching claims about other screening tools such as the one that’s in the early stages by Google.

        Trumputin finally had to reverse course and treat Covid-19 the serious threat that it is (of course, no one should panic) and surprise, surprise – the blowhards on Faux News have largely stopped making the false/asinine claims they have been making (that still hasn’t stopped complete idiots like Nunes from urging people to “go to your local restaurant, your local pub…”).

        Despite the quick spread of covid-19 in certain parts of Korea due to certain peoples who kept quiet about their recent visits to Wuhan, the South Koreans have been able to contain it thru quick and effective govt. action.

        The most important thing being wide-spread testing (here, we don’t even have enough tests for nurses on the front lines who have SYMPTOMS to get tested) and there being enough masks for everyone to be wearing one.

        W/ the widespread testing, people in Korea are alerted via their phones when someone in their neighborhood has tested positive and all the locations that person had recently visited.

        We’re not even close to having such a system (much less having enough tests or masks available).

        That’s what happens when you gut the budget for the CDC and shut down the White House Pandemic Office (that was established under Obama).

        And oh, Trumputin and the his state (Faux) news trying to dismiss the dangers of Covid-19 is not dissimilar to the PRC state media trying to suppress coverage at the early onset.

        And just like how the right-wingers here are claiming that it is a Chinese made bio-weapon, the Chinese right-wingers are claiming that Covid-19 was started by the US in an attempt to discredit Xi.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @Lorenzo – there is variability in physiological response to infection by SARS-CoV-2 (The virus causing the COVID-19 disease). Antivirals may work in some patients and chloroquine may work in another subset. Most patients who die from COVID-19 develop ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome). In some cases an overwhelming pro-inflammatory response is triggered. MODS (Multi-organ dysfunction syndrome) is also part of that package leading to multi-organ failure. ARDS carries a high mortality rate regardless of the cause.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Even a 9% drop is optimistic. It could be several months until factories are open and the supply chain is restored, not to mention having workers willing to come in.

    A local car dealer emailed to tell people that its sales office is closed, but you can still buy a car from them online. I like this dealer; they are the only one from whom I’ve bought twice.

    However, I suspect that the advent of spring/summer and the expected receding of COVID-19 could spark a huge surge in car buying – spring fever and all that – at least for those who still have jobs, but not enough to make up for lost time.

  • avatar
    thelaine

    I’m just gratified that ACME Garden Rakes sent me an email telling me they were standing with me during these tough times.

    • 0 avatar
      volvo

      Thank you thelaine. That gave me the best chuckle I have had over the past few weeks. I think my email from ACME may have been treated as spam and was overlooked. I certainly will consider them when I purchase my next rake.

      • 0 avatar
        dont.fit.in.cars

        All my vendors and wonderful Wells Fargo filled my in basket.

        Leaving for a cross country trip in a week. Hopping to fill my truck under 50 bucks.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Based on projections, Canada and the USA can expect cases to ‘peak’ around mid April and decline from there. If we have implemented effective containment measures.

    So expect layoffs and decreased hours. Meaning greatly decreased spending. Cash flow will become limited.

    Smaller companies, ‘mom & pop’ shops and companies with a great amount of debt will suffer the most.

    Those companies that survive will probably thrive from pent-up demand once things return.

    However this may provide impetus to trends that were already starting. On-line schooling. Working from home. Reducing dependence on goods manufactured in China/Asia.

    One worry though is now that transit systems, restaurants, businesses are announcing ‘enhanced’ cleaning/sanitation, one wonders just how little attention was previously paid to this?

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      Arthur, how’s your health situation? (not COVID, the other thing)

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        @Toolguy, thanks very much for asking, really do appreciate it. Although all elective procedures have been cancelled, my latest procedure went ahead as scheduled yesterday. The hospital only had 2 entrances open. Hospital employees all wearing masks and gloves. A perfunctory and I believe basically useless verbal ‘pre screening’ was conducted on everyone. Visitors are strictly limited.

        Wonder what happens if hospitals/medical facilities run short of sanitizer and masks? Just read of some guy in Kentucky with nearly 18,000 bottles of sanitizer and another with about 10,000 N95 masks. Both hoping to make large profits at the expense of others.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          “Wonder what happens if hospitals/medical facilities run short of sanitizer and masks?”

          My facility had to put all the masks and gloves under lock and key because they were disappearing.
          Last week we started active screening of everyone entering our facility.

        • 0 avatar
          dont.fit.in.cars

          It’s called opportunity. Capital risk is production ramps up and meets demand. Then his expense is karma

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Soup lines coming next

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      well, we know those poor, poor airlines are already begging for a bailout.

      You know, after having spent billions on CEO-enriching stock buybacks.

      but that’s what our government thinks is important. make sure those airlines, casinos and cruise lines make it through this ok. Definitely clear where someone’s priorities lie.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        China allowed biological weapon to leak out, and you going to tell us to shut up. What if this is a training session? Next time thousands sick Chinese come here to “visit” while China withholds access to antibiotics and other medical compounds. I have a lot of people working in big Pharma. They are scared as factories are not receiving components.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          “China allowed biological weapon to leak out”

          There is zero evidence that SARS-CoV-2 aka the novel corona virus was genetically modified.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            That’s the latest conspiracy theory going around the SMITR set.

          • 0 avatar
            slavuta

            Lou,
            Even Russians say, this is impossible for this strain to be “natural”. Considering that Russians basically an ally for China. [Some] Russian scientists believe, this is man-made. Now, my personal theory – Note, it kills old people very well. What is the biggest problem in China right now? – this is right. Demographic issue of having too many old people. To me, this is a mild weapon that wasn’t supposed to be released yet but got out of control somehow. Of course, they eat bats, so, bat is a perfect transport. One probably escaped the lab. Or, may be, a worker sold it for extra dough.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            While the bio weapon stuff is nonsense, at the end of the day the Chinese government’s failure to regulate their food supply by looking the other way for whatever reason while people sold all manner of bush meat, combined with spending a couple of months minimizing and hiding it unleashed this and amplified the global effect.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @slavuta – I’ll repeat myself. There is zero evidence of genetic manipulation. ZERO.

            The “un-natural” aspect of this strain is that it “jumped reservoirs”. It is a virus that usually inhabits animals and crossed over to humans. That isn’t unusual in any way shape or form.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      “One worry though is now that transit systems, restaurants, businesses are announcing ‘enhanced’ cleaning/sanitation, one wonders just how little attention was previously paid to this?”

      I think we all know the answer to this: they weren’t doing much if anything.

      While your picking up toilet paper at the store just remember the handle on the cart is full of germs: https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/93485/10-dirtiest-things-you-touch-every-day

      • 0 avatar
        dont.fit.in.cars

        At lunch at our normal restaurant two days ago. Waitress wearing gloves and sanitized booth, tables and chairs between each turnover.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Gosh, why would they do that when this isn’t a real threat?

          Thanks for shooting your own argument in the foot…LOL

          • 0 avatar
            dont.fit.in.cars

            Really, what is my argument? We are shutting down our economy for a virus that test 99% negative. Stock market is short selling and continuing by staying just below the uptick trigger. MSM feeding the frenzy. It’s biological Y2K.

            Every ten or so years the stock market cashes out and Congress never letting a crisis go to waste, answers by funding more money to plan parenthood. So as a nation can cull more newborns than ever will pass from C-19. When US politics is leverage over a over a Chinese “pandemic”of their making while candidates shill open borders is good for the nation then it’s a race to the bottom.

            Shutting borders and taking precautions is warranted. Instead mayors are nulling sale of weapons, alcohol and shutting restaurants which is stupid. Grocery logistics is stretch to its limit and local governments want to close a 8% food source which is not impacted.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            “Really, what is my argument? We are shutting down our economy for a virus that test 99% negative.”

            you’ve already shown you don’t understand basic math, so why don’t you shut the hell up already.

          • 0 avatar
            dont.fit.in.cars

            That’s racist.

          • 0 avatar
            dont.fit.in.cars

            They’re doing to calm overblown media hyped fear. Although I didn’t require it , it was a nice gesture for loyal patrons.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @dont.fit.in.cars – “or a virus that test 99% negative”

            Where is your source of information?

            Saying something over and over again doesn’t make it true!

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @dont.fit.in.cars – I’m still waiting on the scientific evidence that backs your claims!

  • avatar
    -Nate
  • avatar
    SSJeep

    Im ready to buy a new car and would do so tomorrow, but the deals just arent there yet. Once I see 10% off MSRP and 0% financing, Ill start shopping again. Its bound to happen at some point.

    • 0 avatar
      dwbf11

      I am right there with you. Before all the SHTF I was starting to shop for a couple of new (or new used) vehicles anyways. I am hoping for some strong deals later on in Q2, paired with attractive financing options. I am curious how long it will take for those to start cropping up – one Toyota dealer I’ve been following on the East Coast has already started taking bites out of the MSRP that are noteworthy but not quite there yet.

      As an aside I’m not too interested in marketing the current fleet yet; I have zero interest in taking test drives with people.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “Any claims of this being the next Great Depression or Great Recession (whatever they ultimately decide to call it) are premature, though.”
    “Still, the group doesn’t believe it will be anywhere near as dire as the financial crisis that bankrupted General Motors and Chrysler just over a decade ago.”

    We’ll see.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      I think it all depends how the virus plays out and how well the situation is handled, however I’m still seeing as much politics as I do action and that’s not good

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      “We’ll see.”

      keep in mind that the financial crisis only pushed them over the edge; GM and Ford had been losing billions for a long while leading up to it, and Cerbehrysler had no real money to ride it out. This is going to hurt, but at the very least they all have $15-20bn cash and cash equivalents to ride through.

      back in 2009 they were all effectively broke.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        On the automotive side I think that Ford, GM, and FCA will stay out of bankruptcy but still get badly beat up. We’ll also get a big test on if consumer preferences shift at all during a deep recession and if the utility-heavy brand portfolios a lot of companies have moved to can remain successful.

        Tesla is the one I’m not sure of. The virus has nuked the launch of the Model Y and Alameda County just declared their main factory as a non-essential business which at the very least is going to slow down their production line and possibly stop it. The recession could also bring a large amount of cancelled pre-orders (which I can see being an issue on other company’s new releases as well) and hurt their needed expanding customer base.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        Not saying that GM was a well-run company, but those 2 share buy-backs (due to activist investors) didn’t help by draining billions from GM’s cash reserves.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    The layoffs within the dealerships will most likely begin in earnest 4/1. Optics aside most dealerships will not keep commissioned staff onboard to collect minimum wage while no one is coming in the door, especially the producers who were marginal to begin with they will be shown the door quickly.

    Zero chance a 9% chance drop occurs; new car sales will be off 40% in March is my speculation. The stores that I work with have been ghost towns for a week or more.

  • avatar

    Have to see how this goes. The media on the right here in the states just decided in the last 24 hours that this thing may be real, which is odd because even Trump seemed to have decided that last week. But at least hopefully my Fox news watching friends will stop going out to eat and drink every night.

    I have been shopping for a 3 row used crossover or SUV. So far no big price drops but the emails and calls from dealerships intensified starting last night. My wife works for an auto auction and the just announced they were closing in person auctions and will be online only for the foreseeable future. The highways have been empty on my commute the last 2 days, so I’m guessing demand for cars will be way off.

    As far as business goes, my employer is planning on staying open but admits that might not work long term. A friend of mine that works for another manufacturing company has been using vacation since one of his kids is at high risk. He was informed that the company is having office workers go remote and production staff will get lay off notices before the end of the week. Where I live there are lots of FIRE employees so working from home will be a big thing, but the service industry and precision manufacturing that makes up the rest of our economy will be hit hard.

  • avatar
    dont.fit.in.cars

    Ask yourselves the following:

    “98/99% negative test rate should alarm everyone. We’ve shut down the biggest economic system in the world for a virus that is not appearing in 99% of the people who are sick.”

    Wall Street is not the economy, it’s an investment vehicle. Short sellers are staying just below the up tick rule so trading doesn’t stop. Congress and MSM engineered this panic and Democrat strong holds have quarantined citizens. Suggested stop sale of weapons and alcohol. This is a broad overreach for a virus no more worst than flu.

    Back to cars. My wife drives an Expedition and her go to discipline technique for the kids, if they misbehave, if behavior doesn’t improve daddy says we have to drive the Camry.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      “This is a broad overreach for a virus no more worst than flu”

      You are grossly misinformed. Stop watching Fox News and open your eyes.

      https://elemental.medium.com/why-we-should-care-commonly-asked-questions-and-answers-about-covid-19-6b166f1876e9

      • 0 avatar
        dont.fit.in.cars

        The ole Fox News retort. I don’t watch Fox nor cable.

        3.4% is world wide.

        South Korea, which has the second-highest number of cases outside China, has a death rate that’s one-tenth of that. Out of 6,593 cases, 42 people have died: o.6%.

        China has bad sanitation, open meat markets, and poor hygiene. Iranians are licking memorials, and Italians haven’t shut their border.

        The person in this “crisis” is people panic, act like animals, and fail to quantify data.

        • 0 avatar

          Per the WHO on the 15th the current global fatality rate is 3.7%. China is 3.9%, and the rest of the world is 3.5%. You mention shutting the borders. Given our current economy shutting the US border alone will likley be enough to send us into a recession. Right now fatality rates are estimates we don’t really know how it will shake out. The reason for the panic is the signs are there this will spread quickly and have a fatality rate high enough to kill large swaths of the population.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          “The ole Fox News retort. I don’t watch Fox nor cable.”

          well pardon us, when you’re parroting the s**t they’re saying basically word for word.

          “South Korea, which has the second-highest number of cases outside China, has a death rate that’s one-tenth of that. Out of 6,593 cases, 42 people have died: o.6%.”

          yes, because South Korea got their s**t together, started aggressive treatment, contact tracing and quarantining. They have a low death rate BECAUSE THEY REACTED QUICKLY.

          Christ, I don’t know why so many people think like you.

          • 0 avatar
            dont.fit.in.cars

            As of today 93 us citizen have died from an infection of 4748. Fatality rate of 0.019. LESS than flu death rate.

          • 0 avatar

            Current death rate in the US is very low. If you look at the data from other countries it has a long incubation period (2-11 days). Given when most of the cases were reported, there is some likley hood that the US number will increase by the middle of next week. For instance France and the UK just saw spikes in fatality rates in the last 2 days.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            .019 is a 1.9% fatality rate. The seasonal flu’s fatality rate is generally .1% or .001.

            For example this year’s seasonal flu has had 22,000 deaths from ~35M cases. If 35M people get Coronavirus you might be looking at 300K to 700K deaths. Long-term hospitalization overwhelming health service capacity is another.

            Right now Italy appears to be an atypical situation for one reason or another.

            I’d say let’s let governments do what they feel is needed right now, see what the numbers for the US looks like on March 31 and go from there.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            A low death rate means a low transmission rate, and in a densely populated place like South Korea, that means they’re doing something right.

            Here in Colorado, the number of cases went from 17 to 160 in ***seven days’ time***. That means that at some point, 17 people gave it to 9.44 other people. Start doing math and in a month’s time, assuming the same rate, about 1.25 million people have the virus. If 1.4% die, that’s 17,570 dead folks in Colorado by this time next month…in a state where 38,000 people died in all of 2019.

            Is that worst case? Probably. But for people like dont.fit.in.cars to blow this off means they’re either simply stupid, or trolling.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            “As of today 93 us citizen have died from an infection of 4748. Fatality rate of 0.019. LESS than flu death rate.”

            if you can’t do basic math, you shouldn’t be so strident.

          • 0 avatar
            EGSE

            “As of today 93 us citizen have died from an infection of 4748. Fatality rate of 0.019. LESS than flu death rate.”

            Another example of someone who can’t grasp simple statistics.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Go easy on dont.fit.in.cars…he was sleepy the day they taught percentages in math class. And fourth grade was just sooooooooooo long ago…

    • 0 avatar

      It is worse then the flu in theory. It has a fatality rate of 3.5% per the WHO and CDC. Thou some expect that to fall to 1.4% as we get better at identifying and treating. But at 1.4% its still 14 times more deadly then the flu.

      • 0 avatar
        thegamper

        The response seems so out of whack though. All this, destroying the economy, disrupting everyone’s lives so we can ostensibly save the most vulnerable few percent of the population seems like a steep price to pay by the rest of us. Just keep in mind that if coronavirus doesnt kill that 1.4%, something else probably will soon.

        When you look at several causes of death in this country such as smoking, gun violence, car accidents….all very preventable things, all far more likely to kill more people in the US than Coronavirus this year, yet the sky is falling somehow when it comes to coronavirus. Priorities do not seem commensurate to danger.

        • 0 avatar
          jack4x

          There are approximately 1000 people who work at my company.

          You can be [email protected] sure that if there was something out there that couldn’t be tested for but was expected to kill 14-34 of those employees this year, that they would shut down operations until we had more answers.

          If this is as minor as the naysayers think, then the economy will recover from it quickly. If not, I’ll be glad we took as many precautions now as we did. Either way, I trust scientists on this more than news pundits on either side.

        • 0 avatar

          We don’t know right now that’s the thing if the virus infects 30% of the population (which is one of the estimates I have seen ) then you end up with a low of about 230k deaths at a.2% fatality rate or a high of around 3 million with a 3.4% rate. Which would make it either the 4th highest or the highest cause of death in the US. So if we go with the 1.4% it is still the #1 cause of death by a more then 2 to 1 margin over heart disease which would be the next most likely.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          “The response seems so out of whack though. All this, destroying the economy, disrupting everyone’s lives so we can ostensibly save the most vulnerable few percent of the population seems like a steep price to pay by the rest of us.”

          uh, yeah, so what if you get in a car accident and can’t get timely treatment because all of the ERs and ICUs are full of people with this?

          Look past the end of your goddamned nose for once. This has high potential to be much bigger than “some old people dying.” it’s going to be a drag on the economy no matter what. the point is to try to get ahead of it now (short term pain) instead of doing the usual American idiot thing of “ignore it, kick the can down the road and hope it goes away, then end up in a situation 10 times worse.”

          Just. Look. At. Italy.

          • 0 avatar
            thegamper

            Well Jim, you might be right. But I might also be right. Truth is we will never know how it would have panned out if we didn’t have all the shutdowns, social distancing, etc.

            However, when it’s behind us, I’m betting that the damage done may very well not have been worth it.

            I don’t like dealing in speculation. What we will know for sure is how many people lost their jobs, homes, livelihoods, savings. And we are talking about younger people with alot life left to live, people with children, etc, etc. How many children should we make homeless to save a nursing home?

            You are picking winners and losers with your perspective just like I am. Why are your winners more important than mine? If you could look past your own nose, you could at least see the dilemma.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          @thegamper – seriously? If nothing is done the death rate will easily expand beyond the “most vulnerable”.
          Your 1.4% figure would translate to 4.6 million deaths in the USA.
          There are 924,107 staffed hospital beds in the USA. 46,500 are medical ICU beds.
          If a patient required artificial ventilation D/T COVID 19, the average time on a ventilator is 14 days. The patient then will need another 14 days to fully recover. If no recovery, the average time on a ventilator to death is 25 days.
          Are you saying that “we” should just let people die?
          There are 19,136 funeral homes in the USA and can handle on average 113 funeral per year.

          Are you suggesting the USA goes “full ISIS” and bulldoze corpses into mass graves?

        • 0 avatar
          EGSE

          @thegamper – “The response seems so out of whack though.”

          Only the most warped and empathetically bankrupt could post what you did.

          Besides the older population that you thumb your nose at, there were 1.8 million U.S. citizens diagnosed with cancer in 2019. Radiation treatment and chemotherapy weakens the immune system but, you’re prepared to dismiss their chances for survival so you won’t be inconvenienced.

          Add the 750000 people that received organ transplants who are on a life-long regimen of immunosupressive meds to prevent rejection. Another cohort you’re ready to write off.

          Add smokers to those you show disdain for: “Consistent with this science, analysis of deaths from corona virus in China shows that men are more likely to die than women, something that may be related to the fact that many more Chinese men smoke than women. Among Chinese patients diagnosed with COVID-19 associated pneumonia, the odds of disease progression (including to death) were 14 times higher among people with a history of smoking compared to those who did not smoke. This was the strongest risk factor among those examined.” – https://tobacco.ucsf.edu/reduce-your-risk-serious-lung-disease-caused-corona-virus-quitting-smoking-and-vaping

          What was done to you to make you so callous?

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “you’re prepared to dismiss their chances for survival so you won’t be inconvenienced.”

            While I agree with your conclusion an 8-week (and probably more) global shutdown and social isolation is beyond an “inconvenience”. The world is making a big sacrifice to keep people alive. It’s like an organ donation.

          • 0 avatar
            EGSE

            ajla, what alternative plan would you propose? If the Feds had listened to those who are subject matter experts we’d be ahead of where we are now. Instead it was blinders and dithering while it burned its way upwards. Look at how South Korea jumped on it. They’ll pay a lesser price than we will because they didn’t dick around. The states picked up the ball that D.C. didn’t.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “what alternative plan would you propose?”

            The only alternative plan I propose is that you cut people some slack and don’t downplay the things nonsick people are going to endure through this as “an inconvenience”. Especially as weeks wear on.
            Like I wrote before, it is like an organ donation or a limb amputation. It is a big deal for basically *everyone* and I don’t think some commenters being surly or angry or wanting to vent about the situation is unreasonable.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            Sometimes people need to be told that their “opinions” don’t matter.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            Seems like @theGamper and @dontfitincars are willing to sacrifice Trump’s primary supporters. Are they trolls, Russian bots, working under a false flag, or just unable to understand statistics?

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            @EGSE, I’m not sure smokers are going to garner a ton of sympathy. It isn’t like we haven’t known for 50 years that smoking made you more likely to die prematurely. The old, the vulnerable…sure, we should do what we can to protect those vulnerable populations, but call me whatever, I am not sure I’d be prepared to inflict this level of suffering to help keep folks alive that have knowingly been doing harm to themselves.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @dont.fit.in.cars – “98/99% negative test rate should alarm everyone. We’ve shut down the biggest economic system in the world for a virus that is not appearing in 99% of the people who are sick.”

      Where are you sourcing your information?

    • 0 avatar
      B&B? PFFFFTHAHAHA

      Right on the money. Of course you’re being attacked for the truth. Don’t worry as the B&B(!) here parrot garbage like its the truth all day every day. Shills are like that.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I’ll illustrate how this works for this guy…let’s take the state where I live (Colorado).

      Coronavirus stats, state of Colorado, March 10-17
      https://www.denverpost.com/2020/03/06/coronavirus-map-colorado/

      Colorado cases, March 10th: 17
      Colorado cases, March 17th: 160
      So in other words, 17 people had it, and then gave it to at least 170 more people. Multiplication factor: 9.411. Behold the power of math.

      Therefore, if nothing is done to make sure those 160 people don’t spread the virus at the same rate it was spread to them at, here’s where it goes:
      Colorado cases, March 24: 1,505
      Colorado cases, March 31: 14,140
      Colorado cases, April 7: 133,360
      Colorado cases, April 14th: 1,255,055

      Assuming a 1.5% morbidity rate, that’s 17,570 dead folks in Colorado in one month’s time…in a state where about 38,000 people died in ALL of 2019.

      If you don’t have anything intelligent to say, dont.fit.in.cars, don’t say it. Seriously.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        I’d say that focusing on fatalities (and hospitalizations) is maybe more useful than tracking overall cases.
        Right now there isn’t a good handle on data and it’s a bit all over the place with nations like Germany showing an influenza-comparable .2% rate and places like Italy showing a SARS-comparable 8%.

        Right now prevention is very important because we don’t know much about the direct fallout of the situation. Let’s see how things look at the end of March and go from there.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Throughout history there has always been a significant number of humans who have refused to submit themselves to logic or critical thinking.

        The internet has allowed them to ‘find’ each other and spread their misinformation.

        How many of the anti-vaccers are now clamouring for some sort of medical cure, including a vaccine, for COVID-19?

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Then we have the conspiracy wackos who’ve crawled out of the woodwork…

          youtube.com/watch?v=0IvkwWT_29c&feature=share

          Yep, coronavirus was caused by 5G…and, oh, by the way…airborne viruses don’t exist.

          If people weren’t suffering and dying, I’d say this was actually funny as hell.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        dont.fit.in.cars is the guy with the hat.

        https://xkcd.com/2278/

        “don’t do anything until it’s too late to do anything.”

        that’s typical Americans, though. No ability to plan, no interest in prevention, just stick your heads in the sand and hope it goes away. then when it doesn’t and becomes a crisis, go crying at everyone expecting them to bail you out because “nobody knew this could happen!!”

        • 0 avatar
          dont.fit.in.cars

          Haven’t said don’t do anything. I’m not stocking up on toilet paper or emptying stores of beans and rice. Nor licking door handles or memorials.

          I am washing my hands, limiting contact with others and still conducting business. Kids are off track and suggested to the wife not to take a trip south to magic mountain. Instead they headed to the slopes (empty) for their first ski lessons. Did trip to Walmart for two magnifying glasses ( building puzzles) with the kids. Pretty much carrying on as I had for 58 years.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            No, you’re just minimizing the impact of a deadly disease, and I have no idea what your endgame is for that. But I have some theories…

            1) You like to troll
            2) You’ve bought into the idea that taking this seriously makes certain politicians with orange combover hairdos look bad.
            3) Or you’re just silly enough to think bad s**t won’t happen to you and that if it does happen to someone else, it’s their fault.

            Take your pick.

      • 0 avatar
        dont.fit.in.cars

        Your assuming multiples as though it was guaranteed infection.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        So you understand geometric progession. Congratulations. It only works that way with influenza or any other communicable disease if nothing is done, like limiting exposure for those most at risk, and taking logical precautions like washing hands and keeping hands off your face, covering your mouth when you couch or sheeze, etc. Using geometric progression the way you did is a prescription for a frenzied panic.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Exactly, if nothing is done then this progresses geometrically. Now, how does downplaying all this – which is exactly what dont.fit.in.cars was doing – help to avoid this?

          Look, if the extent of the “panic” here is that people get weird about buying things like toilet paper and cleaning supplies (and ammunition, by the way), then I don’t think that qualifies as much of a panic. Do you?

          • 0 avatar
            dont.fit.in.cars

            They get weird and buy stuff attempting to control their lives. Problem is they have no control other than separation from others. Viruses are natures biological holocaust. They’re RNA that transform from animals to humans then mutate more until it exhausts itself. This is why government cannot respond fast enough to stay ahead. Even annual flu vaccines are a guess and only 28-49% effective. People sued manufacturers for catching the flu , so move vaccines are made off shore.

            The Black Plague took years to spread overland and trading ships. Today with air travel, speed of infection is increased dramatically. All through our history infections wiped out 7-10%?of populations, it was and annual thing with the only prevention was scrubbing with vinegar. We’re doing the same thing with wet wipes.

            It’s ludicrous to think government owes citizens 2k for shutting the border or suing claim government can stop a pandemic.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            “They have no control other than separation from others.”

            Thus, the social distancing you seem to be mocking. You just keep shooting your own arguments in the foot. That must sting after a while.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @FreedMike – ‘You just keep shooting your own arguments in the foot.’

            that does explain the increase in ammunition and gun sales!

          • 0 avatar
            Lorenzo

            I see the problem you have with my comment, FreedMike. You misread it.

            I said “…if nothing is done, like limiting exposure for those most at risk, and taking logical precautions like washing hands and keeping hands off your face, covering your mouth when you couch or sneeze, etc.”

            I listed the things that ARE being done that make your geometric progression example inoperative. You apparently think those measures don’t matter, and are equivalent to “nothing”. I simply think you’re wrong.

            We already have an example of nothing being done, the off-shore quarantine of the Diamond-Princess cruise ship. There ws a quick review of the base statistics, the reviewer calling it a petri dish example.

            The review is on a climate-sceptic site, but is the only one I’ve found with real statistics from a unique case. Check it out:

            https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/03/16/diamond-princess-mysteries/

  • avatar
    R Henry

    NSFW, but Carlin has some points:

    https://youtu.be/X29lF43mUlo

  • avatar
    Matt Foley

    If young people* aren’t already outraged, by the time this thing is over, they will be. The coronavirus is lethal to old people,** and governments are run by old people,*** and they’re shutting down the world’s economy because they’re terrified to die. We need to pick a Curve Is Flat Enough date (I suggest 4/15) at which we all go back to work, regardless.

    *Don’t call me a “whiny millenial” card on me. I’ll be 50 this year.
    **Don’t come back with “Actually…” and “Um…” and try to tell me everyone’s at equal risk. Study the casualties. The AVERAGE age of an Italian corona death is 81.
    ***I don’t blame rank-and-file old people for this – just elected officials like Ohio governor Mike DeWine (73), Trump, Bernie, Biden, Pelosi, Schumer…

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      ” We need to pick a Curve Is Flat Enough date (I suggest 4/15) at which we all go back to work, regardless.”

      You first.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        “You first.”

        Well, I haven’t stopped yet, so OK. At the end of the day, from a practical perspective, some of us will have to pay for all of this.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      Matt Foley – why didn’t you just say “Boomer Remover” and save a sh!tload of typing?

      • 0 avatar
        Matt Foley

        I love my kids more than I love my parents, or myself. It’s that simple.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Matt, seems to me if we do the right things, it doesn’t have to come down to some kind of binary choice between your kids and your parents.

          Sorry, old folks have as much right to be healthy as anyone else. Period.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        You just love those tags. He’s Gen X, the one that followed the boomers, and the last generation that got a halfway decent education. Most, but not all, of those after Gen-X now fit the description Obama advisor Ben Rhodes gave to news reporters: “…they literally know nothing.”

    • 0 avatar
      B&B? PFFFFTHAHAHA

      Okay zoomer.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      What of the young with asthma, or a compromised immune system? Or those requiring surgery, chemo, etc that has reduced their immunity?

      They should fend for themselves?

      Economic downturns, always result in recoveries.

      The major problem is that the ‘social safety net’ in the USA is now proving to be lacking.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @Arthur Dailey “The major problem is that the ‘social safety net’ in the USA is now proving to be lacking.”

        That is readily apparent. IIRC COVID 19 cases in Canada are doubling every 4-5 days. The USA is every 2 days.
        Canada’s “socialized” health care system demands that companies making lab equipment, “test tubes” and reagent chemicals be “universal” i.e. not tied to only one brand or maker of medical equipment. That means one can easily run more tests.
        The USA had 490,600 influenza cases with 34,200 deaths (0.07 %). Canada had 35,356 with 302 deaths (0.008 %).

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    In times of trouble, what cars will sell more? Less? I’d imagine that practicality will be more desirable. Miata sales suffer, sadly.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    As the day wears on I’m seeing more and more buzz about the $1000 payment to every tax filer. I’m not sure what to make of it. Any thoughts?

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I’m currently in the “bailout all the things” camp. I’d even like to see the UBI upped to $2000.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Since the government has no problem bailing out banks/Wall Street/big business why not the tax payer. On the other hand it really isn’t much and kind of an obvious attempt to buy votes, but I know it will help a lot of people right now

        Sort of a “cash for clunkers” without the clunker

    • 0 avatar
      dont.fit.in.cars

      More government cheese.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      I make of it that in the midst of this crisis the crux of the response is to take some more of my taxes and give it to people who will then stimulate the economy by spending it on scratch offs and Marlboro Reds. But this is good, per what I read on here anyway because some CEO’s are bad.

      I’m sure I’ll be called names over this, but at the end of the day, my money still spends and they’ll still show up in April (or whenever now) with their hands out.

      • 0 avatar

        Well recent examples of tax cuts seem to show giving companies more cash only really helps the top 20% of income earners (stock buy backs bonuses etc). Giving cash to the poor results in the majority of the cash moving thru the economy quickly including many of the harder hit service jobs. Given the situation it makes a whole lot more sense.

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          So target it. Help the poor with rent and living expenses. This isn’t “giving” everyone 2 grand, this is allowing people to put 2 grand on someone else’s credit card.

          • 0 avatar

            Is it really thou the 2017 tax cuts cost anywhere from 1-2 trillon over 10 years and there was no plan in place to pay for it. How is that any different. Realistically the US gov spends all kinds of money on things it can’t afford all the time. Might as well do some good with it.
            As far as targeted assistance that drives up over head on the payments (admin costs compliance costs fraud tracking). as far as actual money on the ground it’s far better to just send a check. But I kind of think all government assistance should just be cash and let the people sort it out.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            So you can argue the merits of the 2017 cuts, but at the end of the day it was a reduction in the amount people paid. As most of the taxes are paid by upper income earners, well, the results are predictable.

            Incidentally, I didn’t see them as necessary or fiscally responsible, however I do see a difference versus just giving money to everyone. This isn’t a one or the other game. The fact that the 2017 cuts were bad doesn’t make these not bad.

            But I will go out and spend it, so mission accomplished I suppose. Of course one day, someone has to pay for it, no less than the 2017 cuts. But that’s only a problem for those of us that actually pay taxes I guess.

  • avatar
    VSQATeam

    The economy is really bad now because of this Pandemic. :(

  • avatar
    SaulTigh

    Lot of arguing on here, but then tough times will do that to people. My view is that this is going to subside faster than most people think, with the efforts already in place. At the end of the day, it’s an upper respiratory virus that seems to be about 3 times more transmissible than influenza. That’s a problem, especially in areas with high population density, but not an insurmountable one as demonstrated by South Korea.

    Italy is the country that seems to freak out everyone in the west, but I’ve read that certain factors contributed to what they’re experiencing: older population, high incidence of smoking, widespread ignoring of the first directives from government to limit contact and take precautions, as well as failing to lock down travel from China early on. If you take a look at a list of countries by population density, Italy is 51st (60,000,000 people in an area slightly larger than Arizona). That’s 20,000,000 more people than live in California. The United States is 145th on that same list.

    I’ve got colleagues in the Seattle area so I was following this story well before most people, and even out there, with the first case in the US, they’ve had just over 1000 confirmed cases out of a total state population of 7.5 million. They really only started locking things down within the last 10 days but the first death in the Kirkland nursing home was on Feb. 19th.

    You can spit and sputter and “what about” and then list every vulnerable population out there, but it doesn’t change the fact that common viruses, viruses we’ve learned to live with and accept sicken and kill people every single year, and will continue doing so. My grandmother, in a nursing home, died of a common virus that would have given you or me the runs for a couple day. We were sad, but she was 86 and in very poor shape at the end.

    I’m not scared of this virus. I am concerned about what it will do to our economy and society, but I hope the main takeaway in the end is wash your damn hands, stay home from work when you’re sick, and clean up after yourself.

    On a happier note for me, it looks like the whales are concerned about the market crash, because I was able to score a stainless steel Rolex Daytona from an authorized dealer last week. That watch was trading for about $7,000-$8,000 over list price on the secondary market before this started and was almost impossible for a normal person to buy new.

    • 0 avatar
      dont.fit.in.cars

      Ah..a voice of reason. My dad is 80 and a Mercer carrier. Hospitals go nuts when he’s a patient. He’s isolated in north GA mountains, a concern but healthy and just as ornery as ever.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        “Mercer carrier” A what????

        • 0 avatar
          dont.fit.in.cars

          MRSA is a bacterium (Staphylococcus aureus) which is resistant to treatment with the usual antibiotics. The bacterium can be carried on the skin or in the nose without the person show- ing any signs of infection. This is called being a MRSA carrier.

          Can’t do math nor spell.

          My old boss mom went to the hospital for knee surgery and had to amputate both legs due to MRSA.

          20k died in 2017

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @dont.fit.in.cars – You wrote “Mercer carrier”

            I know what MSRA is. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

            I deal with the problems associated with it all of the time.

            Staph aureus is a bacterium that roughly 30% of the global population has on/in them as part of their normal flora.

            Methicillin’s are a family of antibiotics which for the most part are no longer used. Cloxacillin is one that comes to mind.

            You can find sh!t on google but it doesn’t mean that you actually know what you are talking about!

    • 0 avatar
      thelaine

      That was an outstanding post Saul.

      This is an outstanding article:

      https://www.hoover.org/research/coronavirus-isnt-pandemic

      People should google how many people die of the flu each year.

      Compassion for people who need to work to support their families is warranted. Economics matters. It makes everything else possible. With poverty comes misery and you can’t help anyone. Unemployment is misery. Poverty is misery. Lots more people die, or wish for it. Check out the drug abuse “pandemic” among the unemployed if you want to want to see some really serious death statistics.

      This hysterical panic is not warranted by the facts. We should intensely focus on the vulnerable and not slam our economy into a wall in order to prevent the spread of a virus which is less deadly than the typical flu. Take all the typical virus precautions and go to work. If you are not already in a risk category, then if you get it, you may possibly be miserable for a short time. Then you will be fine.

      The sooner healthy people get it, the sooner they will be over it and the sooner widespread immunity will develop. Stopping the world to stop the spread of a disease which does not kill healthy people is not a good idea and is not compassionate to anyone, including the elderly.

      Again, how many people does the flu kill every year? Do we take a sledgehammer to our economy every flu season? How many people died of the flu during the 2017 flu season? Is is more than the 120 who have died so far in the US? How about worldwide? Did we lack compassion for old people when we did not slam the brakes on our own economy in 2017? Is destroying the economy the new model for fighting contagious viral infections?

      Money matters. Jobs matter. Economics matter. They should be weighed against the threat. This threat is nothing unusual or particularly deadly. This is not a proper occasion for hysterical self-inflicted economic bloodletting.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        The difference is that this particular virus has a higher mortality rate, and that’s why you’re seeing the reaction you are.

        2019 flu stats:
        https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/2018-2019.html
        Number of cases: 3550000
        Number of deaths: 34200
        Death rate: .09%

        I’ve seen estimates as low as 1.4% and as high as 5% for this virus.

        So…we’re dealing with something that spreads like standard flu but is more dangerous. And unlike standard flu, there is no vaccine for it. I think that the precautions being taken now make all kinds of sense. If people panic…well, that’s their call, I suppose. If nothing was being done at all to limit the spread of the virus, then in a month’s time, you’d start seeing HUGE numbers of people dying, and I think that would cause a far worse panic.

        • 0 avatar
          thelaine

          Mortality rate numbers have been consistently inflated and keep coming down as we get more information. There is no reliable denominator, because there is no way to tell how many people are infected because it is so mild that most people who have it never get tested. Many, many children have gotten infected and never knew it, or thought they had a common cold. Same with many adults. The mortality rate numbers are a red herring. People cannot simultaneously complain about a lack of testing kits and quote mortality rates as if they have a reliable number to divide. The mortality rate is bad for the old and vulnerable. It is very low for everyone else. That is also how the typical flu virus behaves. This virus is too weak to kill children and most healthy people. We should focus our efforts on protecting the vulnerable and the rest of us should take the normal precautions.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            I agree – the mortality rates haven’t been nailed down. And I also agree that people who aren’t at risk should probably just focus on taking normal precautions.

            But I’d also point out that this virus has already mutated once, so who knows what happens a week from now?

            I’d rather err on the side of caution. And I’d also say folks complaining of “hysterical panic” are being more than a bit hysterical themselves. What I see is a lot of worried folks doing irrational things like buying up toilet paper. But at the end of the day, are we seeing REAL panic? I don’t think so. Real panic would probably look a lot more violent and chaotic than anything we’re seeing right now. That hasn’t happened anywhere that this virus has already hit, and I doubt it hits here either.

            But none of this means we don’t do what we can to save people and make sure that the medical resources we have are stretched as far as possible.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “Real panic would probably look a lot more violent and chaotic than anything we’re seeing right now.”

            Governments can probably get away with about 20 weeks of “shelter-in-place” rules before people start snapping. Just mentally many people can’t self-isolate that long, especially during an economic and medical crisis.

            That said 20 weeks is a *long* while. Should be enough time to increase beds, ventilators, and PPE production to the point people can largely go back to their lives.

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            In this case, erring on the side of caution is an extraordinarily expensive error. “Who knows,” in my opinion, is an insufficient basis for deliberately building in this error. There is plenty of data on what we are actually confronting. As far as hysteria, you and I must live and work in different places. People in my neck of the woods are freaking the fk out. Also, the supermarkets are denuded because people are panic buying and hoarding. Paper goods, eggs, bread? Good luck. Your experiences may be different, and I certainly hope they are.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Well, by that logic…

            Who knows what happens if you don’t live a healthy lifestyle? I mean, if Keith Richards can live the way he does and push 80, I can smoke and drink all I want, right?

            Come on, we all plan for “who knows” every day of our lives.

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            We make rational cost/benefit decisions all day long or we do not get to the average age of death from the corona virus.

            Also, we do this every year during cold and flu season.

            Crippling the economy has massive costs. They should be weighed. I think we have struck the wrong balance and we are going to pay a very heavy and unnecessary price. You, and many, many others think we have struck the right balance and the cost is worth it. That is all we are really saying to each other.

            I respect your opinion, but I just think you are wrong and the medicine is going to prove much, much worse than the disease. We could accomplish more if we simply focused our resources on the vulnerable and their caregivers and took the same precautions we take every year for everyone else. This virus is even less lethal than our typical flu, except for the known vulnerable categories. The proof is right in front of us. Children are nearly immune.

            If you are healthy, and you catch this virus, it will be either unknown to you or annoying, but you will not die and individual and “herd” immunity will result. This is the way it always is.

            Next winter, when we have another killer flu, what will we do? I will advocate against the economic self-harm option. What will others say? At this point, I have no idea. Maybe when they lose their job or business or retirement, they will rethink the issue. Or maybe not.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            I’d say that social distancing and (non panicky) stocking up on supplies is a rational cost/benefit activity in and of itself.

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          Mike,
          I recently wrote at length to one of my relatives why Germany had not a chance to defeat USSR even without Landlease program. But believe me, inefficient Russian roads came before “Siberian divisions”. Many people still mistakenly think that Germans came with a highly mechanized army but in reality, their main vehicle to carry supplies was… a horse. Just look at the pictures of them moving through USSR. They had Panzer brigades, which often would go way forward and then would have to sit for long time without fuel, and other supplies. Logistic lines stretched. And lack of roads did not help, especially when rains started. Germans couldn’t even use captured fuel because their tanks needed refined fuel. Russian diesel was too crude. Later, winter struck and what they found out, their lubricants were not any good in Russian winter. Their equipment wouldn’t even start. If they could move forward quicker, they could make it there before Russian reinforcements arrived. Moscow operation was a long event. 3 months or so. It had 3 stages – defense, counters, offense. Siberian reserves were still arriving at the end of second stage.

          This should not be surprising that there were Germans spying for USSR. Germany had many communists and Sorge was one of them. Hours before attack, one of these ran to Russians and told them. Stalin, however did not trust Sorge and tried to avoid any move that Germans would read as provocation. + thousands of ethnic Germans lived in USSR and many people spoke German perfectly. Hence, there was no shortage of spies with perfect German on occupied territory and in Germany itself.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    I find it interesting that depending on who you believe, this situation can range anywhere from a mosquito bite to the zombie apocalypse.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Where people land on that spectrum seems to be dictated mostly by whether they would care if one-fifth of the people over 70 suddenly disappeared..

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      Mosquitoes kill over 700,000 humans each year:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_deadliest_animals_to_humans

    • 0 avatar
      thelaine

      All people have to do is look at the number of deaths compared to the historical flu season deaths, to get a clue as to how serious this virus is. Answer: Relative to the typical flu, it is weak. The virus has mostly passed through China. Number of deaths in a nation of almost 1.4 billion? Less than 3,500. Compare the number of people who died of the flu in the US just last year. Is this virus especially lethal??????

      Then, see who is dying. Is it a similar demographic to a typical flu season?
      Answer: Yes. When healthy people start keeling over in large numbers, you are in trouble. That is not the case with this virus.

      Instead of conducting this simple inquiry, people are being ruled by fear. This is what mass hysteria looks like. I have never seen anything like it. People should be ashamed.

      • 0 avatar
        Master Baiter

        @thelaine:

        I tend to agree with you.

        I’m not one given to conspiracy theories, but I do think there is a sizable cadre of individuals in positions of power and influence, like Bill Maher for example, who are giddy at the prospect of an economic collapse because it reduces the chances of you-know-who being re-elected. Ditto for the mostly anti-Trump news media which also benefits from the clicks and eyeballs generated by the crisis.

        When this all turns out to be much ado about nothing, today’s doomsayers will claim it was because we took drastic action. Then we’ll be left with a smoking wreckage of an economy, and 401Ks worth 40% less than they were before.

        • 0 avatar
          Dan

          “but I do think there is a sizable cadre of individuals in positions of power and influence”

          Polar opposite take on this. The Bernie crowd is happy to burn the house down because they believe, wrongly but that doesn’t matter, that they have nothing to lose.

          The people of power and influence? It’s their house.

        • 0 avatar
          thelaine

          And lost jobs mean increased rates of:

          Domestic violence
          Criminal behavior
          Family breakup
          Alcoholism
          Drug abuse
          Suicide

      • 0 avatar

        China the fatality rate for those infected was over 3.5%. they kept it in check by shutting down effected areas and quarantining those effected much like the US is doing now. Same with South Korea the numbers look good there because the government (with some delay) took major steps to stop it.

        People will certainly take advantage of a crisis but that doesn’t mean they caused it.

        • 0 avatar
          thelaine

          John P.A. Ioannidis is professor of medicine, of epidemiology and population health, of biomedical data science, and of statistics at Stanford University and co-director of Stanford’s Meta-Research Innovation Center.

          He agrees that your numbers are bunk, as I have demonstrated repeatedly.

          https://www.statnews.com/2020/03/17/a-fiasco-in-the-making-as-the-coronavirus-pandemic-takes-hold-we-are-making-decisions-without-reliable-data/

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        China achieved the low overall death rate it did mostly through drastic restrictions on internal travel that continue to limit exposure to the virus. In Wuhan, the death rate was the same 2%-4% we’ve been seeing in other places. Again, that is tens of times higher than the flu. If we ignored this thing as you seem to advocate, we’d end up with that kind of death rate across our entire population. Worse than that, the damage would be concentrated among the elderly, who have a ~20% death rate.

        It’s amazing how people are willing to sacrifice their grandparents to defend this as$ of a president.

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          The president is fine. Your buddy O’Bama had 13K people perished from the swine flu. Nobody can fully eliminate all problems, no president, nobody. It takes mass-consciousnesses, hard organization to fight. Once virus is gone, economy will pickup. You just used to good things. Optimized efficient economy, etc. I compare it with German invasion into USSR. Germans could quickly move over nice roads in western europe but Soviets had one inefficiency – dirt roads vs highways. And Germans stuck there for good and couldn’t complete the invasion. Same here, high efficiency means, when one bolt fails, the whole construction falls.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            No, the German invasion didn’t fail because of bad roads. That didn’t help, but if Stalin hadn’t been able to move his best Siberian troops into the Moscow front in the winter of 1941, the city would have fallen. Those troops probably saved the whole damn country. Why did Stalin wait so long to use them? Because they were stuck in Siberia, defending against a possible Japanese invasion. But Stalin had a spies in Tokyo (the best known being Richard Sorge, a German, believe it or not) who confirmed that the Japanese had no such ambitions. Once that was established, the Siberian divisions could transferred into the Battle of Moscow, and it worked.

            In the end, Barbarossa failed because the Russians were better at something they’re still great at – spying.

            But even if Moscow had fallen, the Soviets wouldn’t have been finished. They were prepared to move the capital, and all of the critical war factories had already been moved east of the Urals, where the Germans would never have been able to reach.

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