Not so locked down. But there are real consequences for people and businesses.
By MC01, a frequent commenter on WOLF STREET:
I currently live in Italy, right in the middle of the “orange zone” that the government declared due to the Covid-19 outbreak. The publisher of Wolf Street, Wolf Richter, asked me to write about the issues relating to this emergency, so brace yourself for some hard truth.
In an “orange zone,” movements are restricted, but there are many exceptions. These restrictions, in terms of getting around, going to work, etc., actually mean little. Social activity, however, is much more limited. Bars and restaurants must close at 6 P.M. and shopping malls must remain closed on Saturdays and Sundays. Here are some brick-and-mortar retail stores that have been affected by the lockdown:
All concerts, sport events and theatrical performances have been suspended, medical examinations have been restricted to emergency cases and the chronically ill. Nursing homes are completely off-limits; only the closest relatives are let in, and then only in case a patient’s condition worsen to where they become “desperately ill.”
But so far, the most critical measure has been shutting down schools. While there are no children or young adults in critical condition, it’s widely suspect they may help spread Covid-19 around as asymptomatic carriers; hence the precautionary measure.
Now universities have been shut down as well. Saturday evening saw a mad scramble in the big university cities – Bologna, Padua and my alma mater, Parma – by students from Southern Italy to get back home before new quarantine measures came into effect.
Businesses won’t feel much of a difference in their operations except having to give leave to employees with small children who need to stay home and look after them. Deliveries are completely unaffected. We just got an express delivery from Germany on Monday morning.
However, many companies have restrictions and precautions of some kind in place now: for example, GLS delivery drivers must wear hand masks and gloves “at all times” while making their rounds. Travelling for work is for all purposes unrestricted except inside the “red zone” (the original area of the contagion). But visiting foreign customers right now may be a tad complicated. I’ll keep you updated as soon as I find out more.
Now for some “on the ground” reporting.
In the first chaotic few days after the original Covid-19 outbreak, the only items that disappeared from the shelves were rusks (a popular hard, dry biscuit or a twice-baked bread) and crackers. These are the empty rusk shelves; I took this photo during the first week of the emergency:
Intriguingly, vacuum-sealed white rice, a staple food with an extremely long shelf life, has never been in short supply. And now both hardtack and rusks are back on the shelves. We won’t starve to death at least.
But as the number of cases increased, other items have started disappearing from the shelves: facemasks, hand sanitizer, paracetamol (generic medication in Tylenol). IKEA reported even liquid soap dispensers are sold out. But intriguingly enough, disposable nitrile and latex gloves are in plentiful supply, highlighting some curious priorities among hoarders of all stripes.
Traffic is down, but not as much as it may be expected. This is usually an extremely busy street:
The area where I live is not exactly an area known for its high living, but right now any reason to go out after 7 p.m. is effectively gone. Needless to say, the only Chinese restaurant in my area has been closed for over a week now.
This is the parking lot of one of my vendors, usually packed:
But what happens if somebody you know is diagnosed with Covid-19?
Last Saturday evening, I received a phone call: the CFO of a company I work with had been hospitalized due to troubles with breathing. He had already been tested for Covid-19 but it would have taken “at least 24 hours” for the results to arrive. Had he tested positive, everybody he had been in contact with over the previous 14 days would have to be tested as well and, even if asymptomatic, quarantined at home for 14 days. Fortunately, this turned out to be “just” ordinary pneumonia, a side effect of a small surgical operation.
The exact origins of this outbreak in Italy remains a mystery, in spite of much idle speculation in the media. But the call for “extraordinary” fiscal and monetary measures started long before the first victim from Covid-19 was confirmed by health authorities.
But Italy’s economy has been in trouble for a long time.
Manufacturing had already been in a worsening slump for several months, so the Covid-19 is not the cause for whatever horrific figures will be reported at the end of the first quarter but merely the catalyzer.
The big problem is that Italy, thanks in no small part to ECB largesse, has been in full stimulus mode since 2016: Public debt stands at a hefty 135% of GDP and corporate debt is around 165% of GDP.
There are countless desperate attempts to push both corporations (including my booming evil empire) and individual citizens deeper into debt to goose GDP figures: just today I got in my mailbox an offer for an unsecured corporate loan repayable over 84 months and yesterday another for a mortgage at 0.48% plus Euribor-12. This tells me exactly where priorities stand at the moment. By MC01, a frequent commenter on WOLF STREET
Throwing good money after bad as a business model. Read… So That’s the End for Air Italy. And More Airline Money-Pits
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Soon to happen here in Westchester, NY.
Cuomo called the National Guard already.
The sky is falling the sky is falling.
No leadership any where in sight.
This is a skirmish in the grand scheme of fights.
If we have our tail between our legs now, God help us when things get bad.
The thin veneer of civilized society is beginning to reveal what we are really made of.
“The sky is falling the sky is falling.”
Could there be some confusion? Last time I checked, the sky was not falling. It was still up there, along with the sun. But the Dow was falling. Not the same thing :-]
Thanks for asking MC01 to do this report, and, as always with the articles, posts, and comments, very informative and helpful.
We have been considering a trip to Sicily for a while, to visit wife’s cousins, etc., in the ancestral home town of her birth family, and I just told her,”Now is the time,” at least to buy the air tickets; however, I also told her that Italy may not let us in, unless we were able to be ”certified clean”,,, even a couple or three months or more from now because we would be coming from USA, IMO at that time the location of most of the active cases of this virus.
BTW, TOtally agree with BenX below::: IMO should have been at least ”highly recommended” at least a couple of weeks ago, though I suspect, relatively, it will take a month or so, not a week for USA to get to the current level of Italy percentage wise.
You are correct, Wolf. The sky is not falling, but that is the deafening cry of all the chicken littles we hear right now. I was trying to call out the panic on Main Street. The Dow is most certainly falling, how far down, nobody knows. Could get bad for some. Oh well, eventually the house wins, right? Always.
Yes, the Dow is falling!!! ..so I have asked…where are the Dow 40,000 folks…not hearing much from that chorus. Also, in the past I have posted that the FED is like the fraudulent wizard of OZ…old guy pulling special financial-effects levers…I then asked a number of months back, who will be Toto that pulls back the curtain and exposes the fraud….it turns out that Toto was the Coronavirus.
There actually is a market-listed SKY that’s falling:
“Skyline Champion Corporation operates as a factory-built housing company in North America. The company offers manufactured and modular homes, as well as park-models and modular buildings for the multi-family, hospitality, and senior and workforce housing sectors…”
Modular housing – if a SKY product falls on you, it’s gonna leave a mark!
As for leadership, Cuomo is showing what a real leader, an adult looks like.
Vintage VNet – you might find yourself in Italy with no easy way to get home, flights having been unexpectedly cancelled. This has happened to some Brits.
When this does take the sky down, some people are going to be in shock.
It would be hilarious to see the looks on the faces of such people when the Dow falls, and falls, and falls, and falls, till it does not exist.
You aren’t looking for leadership, you’re looking for someone with a magic wand.
Harry Potter for President!
I can assure you that I am not looking for a wizard with a wand.
What I am looking for is a spirit of fortitude from someone in leadership to calm the panicked and remind everyone that this too shall pass. Perhaps not without loss or suffering, but life will go on. The doom and gloom is unnecessary and counterproductive to the proper handling of this situation. But the truth is that the media is profiting from the hysteria it is whipping up.
Reality believes the media is profiting off of the hysteria…I don’t think he’s checked the stock price of any media companies lately. If this hysteria is supposed to be their ingenious plan to generate profit, they are making an epic failure of it.
Interesting in that Cuomo has one of the main duties of the National Guard to be cleaners…
No details given.
But he’s doing his bestest ..by pushing ‘Coumo Goo’, um, er, NY soap !
All for the good of the realm, of course.
Neah neah-neah neah neah booga booga booga.
The National Guard is not going to be in that area in ANY police or military capacity. It is coming strictly for logistical purposes. . .ie. meals on wheels for seniors and for schoolchildren who rely on breakfast/lunch at the schools that will be closed.
The containment area (a one-mile radius from the epicenter in Westchester) will pertain strictly to limitations on large gatherings. . .ie. schools, places of worship and other large institutions. It is not going to be a quarantine or exclusion zone and it does not apply to individuals ansd families or individual/small businesses.
In short, there will be no real lockdown taking place like they’re portrayed in movies/TV.
FYG, I live just a few miles from that “epicenter”
The US should call for social isolation now rather than wait a week, when the situation will be like Italy today.
This will never happen as long as leadership is convinced that COVID-19 is a hoax.
That was never said. Change channels.
Also President Trump restricted travel to China on January 30th.
It may as well have been said… the usual Trump supporters in my local town are filling up community facebook pages with junk about how overplayed this is and how any attempts at social distancing are overreactions. The rot starts at the top.
“One of my people came up to me and said ‘Mr. President they tried to beat you on Russia, Russia, Russia. That didn’t work out too well.’ They couldn’t do it. They tried the impeachment hoax that was on a perfect conversation,”
“This is their new hoax”
Feb 28, 2020
I suspect Wolf will be moderation deleting your needless and useless insult any moment now Javert Chip.
They should, but they won’t. In theory, all public schools should be closed, especially in affected states. But none of the US leadership at the state or the federal level has the balls to do it.
It would be immediately criticized as an overreaction. Then tank the markets again.
How about shutting down the NYC subway?
Probably the most logical place that this virus could be spread in the NYC region.
FYI. All colleges in NYC have had classes canceled and have been replaced by on line classes.
St Paul, MN, where my sister is a teacher, is closed, but only because of a teachers’ union strike which began yesterday.
The University of Minnesota (my alma mater) has just announced that it is closing all five campuses next Monday. Right now the Duluth and Twin Cities campuses are on spring break.
The university leadership is doing it, led by the top schools, who apparently listen to their epidemiology profs. Bravo for them.
I actually think the stock market would rally as soon as someone like Fauci takes the bull by the horns and starts mobilizing a genuine national response. The only way to get past the “nightmare that keeps getting worse” phase its to take it head-on.
Colleges in CT are closing one after another… this will cascade and they will all be shut within a week. Local schools already have plans to close at the first sign of disease in the local community (wife is a high school teacher so I have the inside story.) CT is ahead of the ball so far, but word just broke that we have community spread now in the southwest corner of the state (NYC metro.)
Unfortunately, the information coming out of our school district is that no symptoms means not dangerous. Direct quote from a letter sent to parents of an elementary school. “The employee does NOT have symptoms and there is no concern for students exposure at this time.” While we know for sure there are asymptomatic infections. They are trying to down play the situation and when they have a confirmed case, then it would be too late already.
I was watching an interview by Joe Rogan, with Michael Osterhelm (sp), who thought sending kids home would be very problematic for nurses ..due to issues of child care, or lack thereof. He has a point. Nurses, more than Doctors, ARE the vangard to fighting epi/pandemics ! .. that we have to really think of the unintended consequences as it relates how we deal with this thing. We have few options as it is … so care considerations of various actions need to be weighed.
Today’s Star Tribune with Dr. Osterholm:
New Jersey colleges and schools are mostly closing. This will be used as reason to raise taxes permanently if they reopen in summer.
On plus side, this might show people that physically attending most classes is a waste of time and money.
Especially once it spreads more, I seriously doubt, the government will be able to convince or force average people to do anything. The government can shut down restaurants, schools, and many other things though. The government can only focus on where people would go and not the people themselves.
Large scale national guard quarantines would likely lead to unexpected problems and might erode trust in the government in America.
Everyone is free to conduct social isolation. I don’t think we are near the point the government needs to restricting our movement.
The US has had:
31 deaths (not a reason for martial law)
15 total recovery cases
1,063 active cases
10 serious cases
To put that into worldwide perspective
67,051 total recovery cases
53,943 active cases
5,918 serious cases
This should not be taken lightly by those that are at the greater risk. But not to the extent we are witnessing.
Joe, like your stats. Take it one step further and do the math. Basically. 3.6% who contract the disease DIES.
Spanish flu epidemic was about 1/2 that.
Worldwide, the death rate is 3.4-3.6% for Covid 19. However, in some countries with decent health care (like S Korea) the death rate is around 1%, still 10X what the regular flu kills. I’m not sure the US fits the category of accesible health care since they’ve done almost no testing to date and don’t have enough facilities.
3.6% fatality rate.!!!!!!!
The Spanish Flu killed an estimated 50 million people in 1918.
That is why people are freaking out.
As an aside, my wife was at our local regional hospital getting some scheduled blood work done. There were two older gentlemen in line to get the Covid 19 screening, just in case….. because they are at risk. Results in 1 hour for them. There are no cases yet on Vancouver Island, population just under 1 million. nevertheless, lots of testing ongoing to to keep track of the spread. After all, Seattle is only a ferry ride away.
On the radio yesterday there was some discussion about plans to close the BC WA border. It is on the table.
I guess a lot of people don’t understand geometric progression.
Imagine someone reporting a forest fire and the officials say: Oh, it’s just an acre? Well call us back if it gets big’
You studiously ignore any info that contradicts your panic promoting numbers.
As has been pointed out here and elsewhere, the fatality pct that you ignorantly apply to whole populations is almost certainly wrong – because the denominator you insist on using is simply wrong – go to the CDC and see how they do it.
Basically, you are using *hospitalizations* as your denominator – which excludes the huge pcts of the population that never get ill or have mild symptoms that never get them anywhere near a hospital.
By using assumedly proven C19 deaths over less assumedly proven C19 related hospitalizations…you get a greatly inflated fatality rate…which you then apply to the entire population.
This is obviously misleading…but you insist on reposting without providing any justifying rationale.
Caution is justified – insistently ignorant panic promotion is not.
For one – if stupid statements drive non-C19 sick people into hospitals unnecessarily through panic and fear…you increase the danger of their *real* contamination *and* you counterproductively shift resources away from those genuinely C19 ill.
In short, *you* become a disease vector.
Hospital beds per 1000 population. Look up that statistic, look at Japan, Korea, Italy, and USA. I’ll give you a hint, USA at the bottom of the list. Our healthcare system will easily be overwhelmed by this disease.
The reason that shutting things down now is NOT an overreaction is because we need to slow the rate of transmission if we want to avoid overloading our medical system and having a higher fatality rate as a result.
That is 125,599 ‘known’ cases worldwide. We don’t know what we don’t know.
How many people have been infected and show no reaction? Add those to the 125,599 and then divide the deaths by that number.
In the long run, ten million deaths amongst the elderly solves a lot of problems. 61 here.
These numbers are real. There will be tens of thousands of COVID-19 cases in the US in a 3 weeks and thousands of deaths. Look at what is happening in Lombardi, ICUs will be full and people will be dying without access to ICU care. There isn’t a need to panic but there is a need for immediate social isolation in as broad a way as possible or our health care system will be overwhelmed.
Hospital beds are meaningless in this setting. ICU care is the thing that saves people’s lives. The US has more ICU bed capacity than any country on earth per capita with the possible exception of Germany. We are very well equipped in that regard. The WSJ has a story today describing the ICU care shortage in Lombardi. In a nutshell, there is no more ICU capacity and they are determining which patients live and die as a triage team would do in Afghanistan or Vietnam. If we do not socially isolate the same problem will happen here. The idea is to spread the cases out over several months so that we have the ICU capacity to care for sick people.
Joe: like a Tsunami approaching shore, it’s not the current height of the wave that’s the problem, but the future height. In the absence of national “red alert ” measures like South Korea (and China before them, and Italy after), the potential damage is 3 – 5% of global population. (Death rate surges because hospitals get overwhelmed as in Wuhan, Iran ad now Italy.)
US Hot spots like San Fran Bay Area, Westchester County NY and King County WA have maybe 2-5 days to get serious, or it will be too late to turn the path of the pandemic.
I like the tsunami metaphor. So I am sticking with the theme.
Just because an earthquake occurs in Japan does not mean we should consider every small wave to be the big one.
Nor should anyone wait for the government to tell them to leave.
Just take the proper precautions. And drive away from the beach.
The thing about an epidemic is that it follows an exponential model. If we do not do anything, either the population or the government, to slow down the spread of the virus, then it will grow unabetted in an exponential model. From the studies of past data from all over the world, the number of confirmed approximately doubles every 4 days. So 1000 cases right now would likely to double in 4 days and so on. And especially with the lack of testing kits and the availability of tests, these numbers do not reflect the real number of populations infected. The goal right now as Chris Martenson from Peak Prosperity had said is to flatten the curve and not to overwhelm the health care system with a huge boom of infected patients. So I believe we need to act more rather than less at this moment, if not by the government, then by the local community. Local communities need to take the initiative to begin social isolation to curtail the spread of the virus.
Amen. Also, close schools, restrict group meetings of more than 10, cancel games, have online masses, etc. Otherwise, thousands will die for lack of enough ventilators, nursing care, etc.
Greed and fear of monetary loss is causing Republicans and this administration (out of fear of causing losses to their ultra-rich owners/patrons) not to take effective action: cordon sanitaires.
Have you looked at the responses in other countries at this same stage? Take a look at the UK. This doesn’t have anything to do with the nature of the administration in charge, these are hard decisions, and no one is getting ahead of the curve the way they need to.
It´s not the virus that will get you but the panic that follows!
I think this is a drill or the Italian finance sector is/going to collapse in the not too distant future!
So far….really no panic anywhere except for central banks making money (debt) even cheaper and easier.
The stock market took a hit. Way, way, way overdue and is still richly valued.
And the oil market volatility has nothing to do with the virus.
For 90% of us that’s true!
The internets are saying Boeing wants to draw the max on it’s bank cash lines before it gets turned off.
Liquidity crunch coming? Government bailouts for the too big to fail…err…truly needy?
The Fed better do some more emergency somethingorothers and POTUS better bring on the bailouts. A company like Boeing and others need unlimited free cash in times like these (and also times not like these), financed by U.S. taxpayers and ZIRP. And ubiquitous repos.
Once it’s clear those truly in need like Boing will be taken care of, the D.C. elites can stop nashing their teeth, relax, sit back, and let the flu run it’s course and kill some folks. Maybe they can get the corporate media to just stop reporting it and ignore it, once D.C. is on board with the correct course of action.
It’s the only way they know to cure what’s happening.
With zero percent interest, why not draw down all credit lines?
One of my biggest customers imports small walk-behind tractors and attachments from Italy to the USA. I talked to my contact yesterday about the flow of product from Italy and they said for now it was still good. Luckily this business is not J.I.T because they order in and stock most of the products in winter so they are available as soon as planting season starts in spring
here, in Italy, we are in the midle of the storm that has yet to come in other European countries.
Here in the Med, it seems people are not sure if they want the tourists to come, inevitably bringing the virus, or stay away, inflicting significant economic harm. The balance of opinion, though, seems to favour staying away.
It seems remarkable that governments have been so slow to stop passenger flights arriving in their countries, even from badly affected destinations. Until very recently, people who couldn’t go from Milan to Rome could still fly to London.
Canada’s done nothing except fly in a few hundred from cruise ships to be isolated for 14 days at an air force base.
Flights from the hot zone continued uninterrupted until China slowed and then stopped outbound flights; otherwise OK to come. Probably a couple of hundred thousand people landed between late Dec and Feb to just Vancouver and Toronto. Those disembarking were asked to fill out a form declaring if they had symptoms. Who knows? Maybe we’ll get lucky.
Instructions from the government are if you feel you may be sick, to self-isolate. Don’t visit hospital emergency because they’re overloaded anyway; they’re hoping to set up temporary facilities for testing, possibly in tents; stay tuned.
The UK health department’s excuse – sorry, “explanation” – seems to stand on two broken legs:
1. Stopping flights would interrupt the flow of goods, including essentials (on PASSENGER flights?)
2. Aviation isn’t one of the main sources of virus spread (even if this is true, which I doubt, and remains true, which I doubt even more, what about the precautionary principle?)
Responses on passenger aviation risk around the world seem feeble.
Oh, and I forget, ‘lots of the people flying into the UK are British citizens’ – which makes them exempt from virus risk, does it?
I also live in the UK and until recently worked at the university of Essex. This university has a very high Chinese contingent as well as people from across Europe.
Based on this information you’d think they would be concerned about spread of the virus by conducting lectures online etc but no. What they are really concerned about is the possible drop in student numbers.
“The impact on our ability to meet our student number targets in October 2020 is severe. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Lorna Fox O’Mahony, is leading a Task Force focused on doing all that we can to minimise the impact of the virus on recruitment. It is important that we recognise the urgency of the issue and that we take decisive action. I have therefore asked University Steering Group members to re-prioritise their work, stopping or deferring non-essential work, to focus on a range of steps, including: deferred start dates; the use of online learning; new product development; enhanced conversion activities and an additional focus on retention of our current students.”
Despite what governments say, they are unable to take critical decisions to control the situation.
Reply to Twinkytwonk,
Universities have closed in the past from plague. The following is copied from a current article on livescience.com
“historians do know that Newton had an extremely fruitful period during his student years at the University of Cambridge. The black plague had led to the university’s closure for nearly two years, from 1665 to late 1666, so Newton spent that time at home diving into mathematics, physics and optics”.
Aviation is a source of illness because passengers are in close quarters with one another. Also, airplanes tend to not clean up after every flight which makes them a cesspool of germs. And even if you fly in the early morning hours US time, there is no guarantee of a top to bottom scrub. They’ll just do some vacuuming right before the first flight of the day and that is it.
Lodging is the same way but for a different reason. The beds and mattresses are filthy from people getting laid. The maids do change the sheets, but there is no top to bottom scrubbing of every room. Therefore, the last person could have a serious illness and could have covered it up.
In BC there has been thousands of Covid 19 tests completed. There is a 24 hour hotline staffed by nurse practitioners with experience in infectious disease to answer questions. It runs 7 days per week.
BC had its testing program up and running as far back as January. Funding has already been allocated for relief to folks who have to stay home from work, plus EI rules are being relaxed for long term illness. Don’t forget we have universal healthcare.
Where on earth would you rather be?
Our provincial health minister has flatly stated don’t go on a cruise, and no air travel for elderly. We actually have press conferences 2X per day with accurate updates. They are taking this very seriously.
“BC there has been thousands of Covid 19 tests completed”
Provide a link to the stats so everyone can see what pct of contacts (the std for testing) actually test positive (virality) and what pct of positive tests rq hospitalization and ICU (severity) and result in death (fatality) – *those* would be useful numbers.
Everything else is winking panic porn.
Thanks for the boots on the ground report. You folks may well be defining the ‘new normal’ before this thing is over. I wish you the best!
Went to the supermarket today. Apparently the run on toilet paper has ceased and there is plenty of paper towels available as well. The parking lot was filled to capacity. I think people have run out of space to store toilet paper. Business is booming for the supermarket I went to and they are expanding.
That’s because most people are hopefully realizing they’re not going to need that much toilet paper to blow their nose. Everywhere I go is packed….gym…restaurants…etc. Biggest overreaction to congestion I’ve ever seen.
I think that depends on where you go. Here in eastern Washington state, Walmarts and Costcos are lacking in the TP department, as well as other areas. Regular supermarkets, on the other hand, are stocked. The only things that are missing is rubbing alcohol (but not grain) and hand sanitizer.
One interesting observation in a Walmart, though, was that people seemed to panic buy what other people panicked bought, i.e. canned chile was completely empty, but canned stew was fully stocked.
Another humorous finding, all baked beans were gone, except for Bush’s vegetarian beans, which was fully stocked. It has been interesting watching peoples habits during these times.
“…people seemed to panic buy what other people panicked bought…”
This is the definition of panic – a complete absence of thought.
What is the difference between a can of baked beans and a can of Bush’s vegetarian beans?
The difference is the bacon.
It will really be the apocalypse if the vegetarian beans are gone!
Thank you for writing this report. It is good to find out what is happening from people actually there, instead of listening to talking heads in DC and New York.
1) When u buy an espresso, the barista might serve u corona in a cup.
2) Seria A, the Bundestleage and UEFA games will play in empty colosseums. Milan train station was cleansed from the illegal.
3) The DOW in a public bathroom. Glue the Dow last x3 daily candle, since Mar 9 open. Its a high quality red Mandelbrot candle, at this point.
4) The weekly DOW breached the cloud. Chikou in the back, plunged
below the cloud. The front end of the cloud is turning red. But
its only Wed afternoon.
5) Turkey industrial might, flooded with refugees, replaced China.
@ Michael Engel
What language is this written in?
Thanks for the on the ground report. Could you summarize anything regarding the health care system at this point?
It seems as though many are missing the point about the reaction by our CDC and associates. The idea is to deliver an abundance of caution NOW as to prevent a far worse case later. As a nation, we seem to only consider getting radical when the condition is radical.
The claim is we do not have any resistance to this virus nor is there a vaccine as of yet. Imagine this, the flu comes to the U.S. and nobody has ever been vaccinated.
We ONLY get radical when the condition is radical? REALLY? The media isn’t in a tizzy ALL THE TIME because it’s good for business? My state just declared a state of emergency for:
It’s a thing, sure. MC1’s written a great article about the effects of the illness AND the hysteria, but I think I’m going to have to avoid comment zones for the rest of flu season. Runaway imagination is way more contagious than this zombie flu is.
I’m sorry, I really don’t include what the media is saying as ‘radical’ in the sense that I was referring to actual ‘action’ and not noise. I will have to be more succinct with my syntax.
Again, from what is being stated at this time, we do not have antibodies for this strain. This means that it would be like the flu coming to the new world in the ‘good old days’ of the first white explorers contacting the native Americans. It didn’t go well for them.
I just got back from Costco (Texas location). The store was very busy and many carts had TP and water (water? our public water is good). I bought a 30 roll of Charmin as we are down to a few rolls at home. Oh, and I bought myself a big container of mixed nuts!
Gasoline was $1.82 a gallon there so I filled up!
Dang, how much toilet paper do people use anyway? A 12 roll package lasts me and my son at least two months. But going by what I saw at a dinner buffet yesterday, I can understand it. Some people there had 2 or 3 plates stacked with half-eaten food beside them while working on a dinner size plate of dessert. Mouth moving, blank stare. Such pigs and gluttons we can be in these good times. Fat, lazy and unhealthy. Reality is coming, America.
In my town on Olympic peninsula. Senior care facilities are now o n lockdown. No family unless fire emergency. Inslee says no gathering over 250 people. An event I was to go to now virtual
So Mariners games are still ago then?
The Mariners don’t want to leave spring training here in Arizona.
Dire emergency. Sorry fat fingers
Now it’s getting clearer what Covid shall be used for : a reason for real Helicoptermoney.
The Virus is not harmless but by far not that virulent as the totally overdone hype by mass media makes ordinary people to believe.
You have Cholera, Malaria, Hepatitis A+B, Dengue, Yellow fever, Tuberculosis and even the old plaque in many areas of the world where mass tourism is and tourists bring it home. Nothing happens.
But it is in deed an extraordinary coincidence that Corona appears exactly when globalization is intended to be stopped and many profiteurs of it have overblown social budgets which they cannot keep now and so opposition will be on the rise.
At least for myself I do not read the sh.. of the mass media anymore. A good book sheems to be more valuable – perhaps Machiavelli.
The diseases you mention have vaccines or effective antibiotics and you are right — nothing happens, no plague, no cause for concern. This virus is different. It is highly contagious and has a high mortality rate for the elderly (and not so elderly) and for those with compromised health like smokers and … wait for it … obese people of which there are many in this country. If this outbreak can’t be stopped or slowed down before a vaccine or effective treatment is found there could be many tens of thousands dying — many more than from the common flu. Of equal concern is the dire impact it is already having on investment accounts and soon … jobs.
Thanks MCO1 for some 1st person info. I believe taking basic hygienic steps and lowering the #persons per area and other individual descretionary measures will mitigate the outbreak greatly. This is our first test of world wide connectivity and its scope of use in dealing with a world wide pandemic. Our great advantage has always been language and communication. The virus will play out but the ECB and the Feds reign of fiat terror will not play out as soon.
Looks like hiking the Cinque Terre sentiero azzurro this spring is out of the question. Isolating them should be relatively straightforward.
Whew! That’s great news.
I’m guessing I’m probably a little older than you, and did the hike last year. I was so exhausted and sore when I finished, all I wanted to do was sit down, cry like a baby, and drink beer.
Next time don’t hike through in one day. Stop at each one for a day or two and go to the next. Part of it is closed this season anyway, and the alternate route is said to be very difficult.
Croatia seems to have picked up cov-19 from Italy, so it looks like Plitvice might be out of the question as well. So are the Lofotens in Norway. If I stay home they’re just going to recruit me to do something constructive and I just want foreigners to entertain me.
That’s easy. Just watch French politics (the Brits are getting close).
“We won’t starve to death at least.”
Eight hundred some people have died (average victim age: 80) in Italy from an (admittedly) virulent virus, yet somehow young, healthy people believe the stores might close for months and they’ll starve to death??? Where does this come from?
COVID-19! Doesn’t that sci-fi name send shivers down your spine? The truly terrifying fact I’ve uncovered is that this has been going on FOR CENTURIES! Very old people, dying EVERY YEAR in approximately these numbers! And to think, we always assumed this was just nature taking its course!
As to why we’re going to starve… Don’t look for a rational answer. This is mob-mentality we’re talking about. Like economics.
Dying every year, yes. In these numbers – remains to be seen. Keeping the numbers within historical range may require national shutdowns as seen in Korea and Italy, hopefully not as much as China.
Oddly enough, the longer people wait to react, the more extreme the eventual measures have to be in order to halt the disease!
“Oddly enough, the longer people wait to react, the more extreme the eventual measures have to be in order to halt the disease!”
You are talking about governments’ deficit financing with borrowed money, right?
Lisa, no, I am talking about lockdowns, quarantines, martial law enforcing no-movement-outdoors.
Actually the faster we act decisively against the virus, the less economic damage there will be in the long term.
China is coming back online – Italy is still reeling.
Here in the US we call it “politicians”.
Thank you so much, MC01. You’ve just given many of us not yet in an “orange zone” a glimpse of our own futures.
Sounds like and rhymes with 1984.
It seems that the corona virus stopped even the refugees that were trying to get into Italy and Europe.
Well, I heard a H.S. classmate of mine is in serious condition (induced coma already) because of coronavirus in Paris Arrondisment 10 hospital. God bless him. I hope to see a pic to make sure it ain’t fake news.
Disinformation is criminal during a pandemic.
Disinformation, misinformation, obfuscation, distortion, and stonewalling are considered free speech. And the higher up you go, the freer it gets, until, at the very top, it becomes completely untethered.
I’ve never gotten used to it either.
‘Fauci said COVID-19 is at least 10 times “more lethal” than the seasonal flu, even if the mortality rate drops far below the World Health Organization’s current estimate of 3.4%.’
ACCURATE INFORMATION FOR SALE! IT’S FREE!
Until we have more experience and better data about Coronavirus, nobody has the faintest idea how many people have it now, or have had it recently. Unfortunately, this is a fertile environment for US politicians with vested interests in manipulating numbers:
Dividing 3,500 globally reported Coronavirus deaths, by 85,000 reported infections, you get an all-but-useless mortality rate of about 4%.
The same corrupt mathematics manipulation would produce the following Flu mortality rate:
Divide 35,000 Flu deaths by the 350,000 hospitalizations, you get a horrific 10% mortality rate (accepted Flu mortality rate is about 0.1%).
Thank you for injecting some reason into a stream of insistent stupidity coming from certain other posters.
Just in time Illinois has legalized on-line sports betting. And cancelled the St Paddy’s day parades – the river shall remain brown.
Like Italy or China bases its behavior on who is US office.
It’s not a flu, but I wholeheartedly agree this stuff has been blown out of all proportions. Too many people are smelling and tasting big money like shark tasting blood in the water.
Tax breaks, subsidies, mortgage and loan repayment suspensions… the longer we are treated like slaves (leave your hovel only to work or else and be grateful we allow you to go buy food and medicine with your own money and at full price) the more money the usual gang of thieves will get. Let’s name the members of this gang of thieves: farmers, real estate speculators and export-oriented companies starting from the automotive sector… the folks that always win no matter the party in power and who have taken extorting money to the next level.
And us poor idiots who are being crushed by these ridiculous measures won’t be even given a bag to hold.
To say this stuff has put me in a foul mood wouldn’t even come close.
I’m waiting for the 90% off sale at Fendi, Gucci, or Prada, until then, no need to panic.
Don’t know if that will happen. At the Barney’s liquidation, they pulled most of their stuff out. But Moschino was on sale.
Petunia – The brands you mention are a step or three above, but Coach, MK and Kate Spade have already started giving the store away.
Believe it’s just a matter of time before it affect the upstream.
My local outlet mall, Tanger, sent out a coupon book with four 25% off coupons on any four items in the mall. This is a discount on top of whatever the store is offering, good for the rest of the month. This is a really good deal, will try to go take a look soon.
Not all farmers. Wineries have been in a pinch before this outbreak, but this will be a nail in the coffin for many of them. Industry was a bit over capacity, though.
Overall, this is excessive hype. Politicians get to expand their power over, and the money managers get to play their games. Best part, just because you are in quarantine is no reason not to work, got to keep up that GDP, useless for individuals but important for the power brokers.
The supply chain interruptions have begun here in Silicon Valley. I talked with a friend of mine yesterday that works at Cisco Systems. He said the whole company will shut down for two weeks.
About 10 years ago Cisco moved the manufacturing of almost everything they sell to China. The also outsourced most of their Computer Aided Design work to China. I’m sure they’re only the first of many to have problems.
Encouraging people to work from home brings a whole new set of issues with it. Any type of teleconferencing requires a significant amount of uploading bandwidth. Most cable system internet connections like mine have about 50 – 200 Mbps download speed but only 6 Mbps upload speed.
We’re going to need a major rethinking of our internet infrastructure if this is going to become the new normal.
“Any type of teleconferencing requires…”
It is amazing just how many AV doodads turn out to be disposable bullshit when resources are constrained and real work needs to be done.
How much value add is there really in full 4k color, full motion realtime, stereophonic teleconferencing of the typical 95 pct pointless biz mtg?
How much info does the video component really convey in exchange for its huge resource demand?
Ran into the problem when I was working from home to design centers in Hyderabad, Beijing, and St Petersburg Russia. The net has been optimized for movies from Netflix, Amazon and Apple. Not for uploading CAD drawings and code source trees.
Perhaps in the not so distant future, the constant emphasis favoring military industrial complex spending will take a respit in favor of other more productive (dare I say important?) uses.
I suggest a prioritized list of items, perhaps the illustrious MSM can take the matter further?
I’ll start by suggesting pandemic prevention mechanisms might be higher priority than an aggressive military budget?
20 yrs to get back to more or less status quo ante has already done a lot to reduce American appetites for forward based military postures vs. Homeland centric ones.
Broadly speaking, Trump’s policies already reflect that. He is pulling troops from Afghanistan (despite continued Taliban presence) and he is forcing NATO members to pay more for their own defense.
Great post, MC01, so informative. Thx; and of course, thx Wolf.
I have seen somewhere in the news that Italy wrt the rest of the EU has an older and aging population, and that explains to some extent the high death toll there.
Apparently in some universities of the U.S. West Coast, students have now begun using Zoom as a substitute for corporeal class attendance. Can’t substitute for labs though.
Italy has got the reputation for using plenty of garlic in its cuisine; that should help. A nearby grocery was almost out of heads of garlic on Monday; hey, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure…..isn’t that also in use as an anti-vampiric ?
Thx again, MC01. Stay well, all
People who believe this is no worse that the regular flu or that it only kills people over 80 are completely ignorant of the facts and need to do some research before spouting off.
In addition, anyone who cannot survive for a month or two with what they already have in there homes are just plain stupid. Natural disasters hit everywhere, and you should be prepared at all times for the things that happen as part of everyday life.
This discussion seems to invite a lot of “everyone who doesn’t do what I do or doesn’t think what I think is stupid”. It’s a very ironic sentiment.
Europe has a renting culture and people stockpile almost nothing in their flats. Yes – those who have a big family house may have a basement full of emergency food & stuffs, but the urban-dwellers? I wouldn’t count on it, they are fucked.
Fasting for a couple weeks is very good for your health and boosts your immune system. Fat people have lived for more then a year without food. I could easily last a month
My pharmacy texted me reminder I needed a Rx refilled. I texted back, fill it. That was last Thursday. Pharmacy ordered it but they said the warehouse has none.
May not have to wait for the virus to kill me. The pharma industry may do it first with their outsourced supply chains.
I called CVS. I want another 90 days Rx. Called my doctor, too.
They are blood pressure and heart medicines. I’m not taking any chances.
I called my insure co yesterday, they gave the ok for 90 days of meds. Then I called the pharmacy with the override code and list of meds. Picked them all up today. It was the easiest time I have ever had dealing with my insure co. The pharmacy was super busy.
An email I sent to a close friend in Italy:
Che casino! Veramente, non sappiamo abbastanza per trarre conclusioni. Un cinese si ammala e il prossimo mese tutta l’Italia è chiusa. Cosa succedera se un paziente con COVID-19 entra il mio ufficio? Chiuso per 2 settimane? Sarebbe il fine del mio business. Davvero, non so cosa fare.
Non baciare nessuno!
He replied “Mi astengo”
Only a week before I advised him to avoid the traditional kissing on the cheeks and he was skeptical. Mi astengo means I will abstain.
To put Italy in perspective, whenever the temperature falls below 60F they all put on scarves to ward off colds. I don’t know if they’re over-reacting or what. We really don’t have the denominator. That is, we only know who tested positive and died. We need to know how many were infected vs how many died. Veramente, non sappiamo abbastanza per trarre conclusioni.
Btw, this reminds me of the Bologna train bombing in 1980. I was there in August 2, 1980. My hotel was right in front of the train station. No way to get out.
Veramente, non sappiamo abbastanza per trarre conclusioni.
True, but enough is known to take reasonable actions.
Are the agriturismos all booked yet?
Most Italians outside the cities have gardens anyway, this being Italy and all, and are much less likely to be seriously affected by the financial debacle to come than those who are dependent on the money economy.
Excellent Question, what I’m seeing is that they are being affected, for instance all of Italy is now locked down, but people can go to work in most places, so I’m told.
The problem with agri-tourismo ( small farms that B&B their homes to strangers ) is that everybody arrives in a personal car, and now random driving is forbidden. Police now require a reason for travel, and holiday is not a essential task. Secondly its these city’s people and/or tourists that go to the agri-tourisimo, why would they want to jeopardize their health, by bringing strange city folk at this time into their home??
While public transportation in Italy is excellent, its just city to city, and buses within the city zone, even small city’s. Sure there are taxis, but many small villages have no taxi’s, its impossible to get to most ‘agri-tourisimo’ working-farms without your own private car.
Yes, many of these people are terrified of the collapse of the Italian economy, because all misery is shared, and because Italy has had a really great run say post WW2.
IMHO the people living on these farm’s will do just fine, grow their own food, make their own wine, press their own olive-oil. What hurt’s is the lack of income by the loss of the agri-tourisimo guests. In my experience some 90% of the cost of hosting a guess is the cost of electricity in their room, with no guest it means no expenses. Remember air-con, and heated water is super expensive in Italy.
Just stocked up on 500 cans of beer.
When lock down comes I’m going to drink every one of them
Whoops, my iPad is being bombarded by adds from Stella Artois.
Wolf, I set up an alter-ego account on Reddit to contribute to their coronavirus forum. I’ve done some growth-rate analysis and it appears the Bay Area is on the exact same path as Italy, with an 11 day lag.
I’d be willing to do a proper writeup for you and your readers if interested.
Contact me by email firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ve done some growth-rate analysis and it appears the Bay Area is on the exact same path as Italy, with an 11 day lag.
Expotential. The projections from my epidemiologist friends for the US are ominous in the extreme, with over 100 million cases likely. With a 2% fatality rate that’s 2 million victims.
Thanks for the link.
The latest news out of the WH is incomprehensibly dire. Politico reports that Your Stable Genius is “reluctant” to give the pandemic an emergency designation, which would provide emergency funding to states and allow a FEMA response in affected areas, because he believes calling it an “emergency” would go against his prior insistence that the coronavirus outbreak was no worse than the yearly flu and “totally under control.”
Looks like a staycation for me this year. -snif-
Excuse me while I go wash my hands.
The states don’t waste enough money already? In mine, we spend 30,000 a student for schools which are closing. How about a proclamation to stop arresting personal use drug possession , stop issuing speeding tickets on roads where everyone speeds, etc. my town is building a 32 million dollar recreation center which will now be unsafe to visit.
Also, I suggest immediate national legalization of growing weed at home. The dispensary is crowded
I’m not a Trump fan but what possible good is FEMA when what we need is for people to stay home, and more ICU bed capacity?
Thanks for the great Italy on the ground report.
The black swan has landed. Selling with conviction today. Hopefully there will not be a Fed Swan, an unpredictable, and wildly creative response to patch things, but making them worse in the long term.
Milan hospitals are full. Doctors who are infected worked in the virus patient areas as long as possible. It is triage. Weaker patients are allowed to die. There are medical supply shortages.
One researcher forecast US hospitals will be at full capacity in May. China is reopening factories. Korea presented evidence of containing the outbreak.
See you got a nice write-up in today’s “Marketwatch” site.
Cal U. Santa Cruz has levied some restrictions. Some locals sent home and to take finals via elect. media.
I have friends in Italy who are attorneys, intellectuals, and those attached to the Italian Navy.
The individual who sent this response to Mr. Richter did not explain the severity in Italy.
The EU System has aggressively pursued “austerity measures” on Italy (Others) for many years. One major result: public hospitals/public health clinics have been devastated by these cuts. The EU/Germany/US have instigated this because Italy is a haven for family-operated businesses: hotel owners(tourism), restaurants, shops related to autos; the list is endless. In contrast the EU/US would love to see these family-owned businesses to falter and die allowing for Private Corporations to overtake Italy; much like what we see in Greece……Of course, the Italian politicians have been paid off to follow the whims of Corporate Capitalism.
Recently, the Italians have heralded the massive input from China being sent to Italy: thousands of mask, medical supplies, medical equipment and some of the best doctors in China to assist the Italian people.
Excellent. Thank you.
I agree with what you say, you must know that there are many coronaviruses in circulation for years but this type of coronavirus and a new family for which we do not yet have the natural antibodies to defend ourselves, for the survivors of this new Covid19 in the coming years will be like taking the normal flu that always involves risks even if much less serious in percentages. Having said that, the thing that makes me think the most are the serious economic consequences that we are facing and the passivity of the people to accept everything, even the worst deprivation of liberty that I read in Italian newspapers, where it is coming to the absurdity of locking people up at home without reason as in the worst cases of dictatorial terror, what future are we facing? And from here I doubt about the randomness or human manufacture of this new virus too perfect to achieve these results to keep a submissive and obedient population in a feudal system?
EU imposed “austerity measures” are not Italy’s problem.
The problem is debt and a shrinking population of working age people.
They have enormous government and private sector debt and the 2nd oldest population in the world and one of the lowest birthrates in the world. If they don’t start growing, economically and demographically, they are bankrupt. The EU isn’t hurting them at all, they are still spending more than they earn, if anything the EU is bailing them out with interest rates far lower than their economy justifies.
Aha, that’s what Italy gets for not pissing of China by banning Huawei’s 5G network
China remembers. China has really ramped up its manufacturing to produce test kits especially, which seems to have gone to Italy and S Korea
Everybody else in the world is struggling to produce the hundreds of thousands if virus test kits and basic medical equipment needed to deal with this pandemic
Wolfe:. If you zapped Travis, then please zap my reply too! Thanks!
The mortality rate of the common flu is less than 0.1%. 126,644 cases recorded. 4654 deaths. That is a mortality rate of 3.7%. Yeah, there could be more mild cases that would increase the denominator but this thing spreads like wildfire.
Fake news. Consensus opinion is that this thing started in China at their filthy ‘wet market’ for exotic animals. China has an appetite for rare delicacies (sweet and sour pangolin anyone?) and now the world is paying the price. Stop spreading misinformation. It started in China, from a Chinese national. That much can’t be disputed.
A bit of Valpolicella Ripasso is my favorite disinfectant. Please be careful!!
If trump were to shut all passenger and freight flights to and from Europe, would that indicate the sky is about to fall?
Oh hang on, that’s a done deal.
Imagine the tens of thousands of bankruptcies that will result from this.
Keep your eyes on that sky fellas
Not to scare people too much but North Italy is one of the richest places in the world, with the best doctors and the best hospitals. If you want a Ferrari you go to North Italy, if you want the top fashions you go to North Italy, if you want the best food you go to North Italy (and France)
Their hospitals can no longer cope with the virus and older people are now not getting what they need, as they treating the younger sick who have better chances to survive….if you have a heart attack, tough, go to the back of the queue…..
I would add bicycles and motorcycles to that list Anthony.
And ski touring equipment…
Italian saying: “Ducati, soldi gettati”
Translation: “Ducati, wasted money”
And if you are itching to buy an Aprilia, you can just fill a cardboard box full of banknotes and set it alight. You would be saving yourself a ton of troubles and most likely some cash as well.
I won’t get into Moto Guzzi. Not only they haven’t learned how to engineer modern bikes but they forgot how to build old ones as well: there’s a good reason the old Daytona 1000 still goes for that kind of silly money. And spare parts are still available through non-official channels.
I have had enough motorcycles and spent enough time working on them (not to mention cash to fix the basket cases) to have a black list of brands longer than Richard Nixon’s. ;-)
Yes I just bought a 2019 Aprilia Tuono V4 1100. No time on it yet, but very soon.
The MV Agusta Brutale 800 RR is too small for me @ 190 cm. Seems like a beautiful machine. I have a homemade steel tube coping machine and I TIG weld, so I like the MV Agusta frame design & build.
As an ex-road, crit and velodrome racer, I am in love with my Italian road bike, a Wilier Cento1 with Campy Super Record 11. And being the local business supporter that I am, I have Hed Ardennes wheels (28 & 20 spokes) made in Roseville, MN.
Let’s clear one thing for the record: that final paragraph of your is nuts, kinda like believing the Chinese government. ;-)
The chief healthcare problems right now are two, both closely tied.
The first is the lack of ventilators, and the second is the lack of ICU (Intensive Care Unit) capacity.
This is because about 50% of existing ICU capacity has to be reserved for “ordinary” emergencies, and patients from these emergencies have to be kept separated from Covid-19 patients, meaning people get shuffled around between hospitals and that temporary ICU have been set up in a number of hospitals (chiefly Brescia and Lodi) solely to deal with Covid-19. I am under a MEDEVAC path so I am keeping tabs.
Yes, it’s not ideal but it’s neither the end of the world, and suspending non-critical healthcare services, both to eliminate crowding in waiting rooms and to transfer personnel to the temporary ICU, is laying bare for everybody to see how many imaginary invalids are out there.
And you don’t come here if you “want the best food”: the food here stinks and is unhealthy. The typical “dish” in this area is this: http://www.ilverospiedo.it/spiedo-bresciano-ricetta/ “The Clogger”? Move along, we have it beaten!
Well, that’s the kind of thing peasants would eat only a few times a year – so quite a culinary highlight I should have thought.
Might make an excellent final meal, for those in the quarantine who don’t fancy their chances, which do seem to be lessening with every day that passes.
But with which wine? That’s the question….
Italy’s budget, with the only exception of 2009, is in primary advance since 1992.In the last years Italy has been always positive both for the trade balance and the current account .I imagine you have the macroeconomics instruments to understand what that means, for instance the fact that if you follow a long deflationary policy you are supposed to have low growth and a progressive hike of public debt.