The Wuhan Coronavirus - Prof Ferguson Update

A week-or-so ago, I blogged about Professor Ferguson's epidemiological analysis of the Wuhan Coronavirus outbreak (which is now called Covid-19, a title so bland, it could have only come from the World Health Organisation). Prof Ferguson's leads a team at the Imperial College in London who are modelling the epidemic's behaviour. I was impressed with Prof Ferguson's earlier assessment and, once again, he gives out some alarming data with his dry, low key delivery. Here is the video:

What I found most interesting about this video was that as soon as any of the interviewees came close to coming up with actual predicted numbers of fatalities, calculated by their models, the interview ended. I could be reading too much into what I saw, but the total lack of predicted numbers of fatalities, in the interviews, was hard to miss, especially from a team whose job is to produce those numbers.

We can calculate these numbers ourselves, if we want to. According to Prof Ferguson's two interviews, the numbers of infected double every five days, 60% of the population will get the virus, 6% will be hospitalised and 1% will die. There is a lot of margin for error on these numbers, since we can't trust the Chinese reports and the epidemic has only recently entered other countries, but if those numbers are accurate, then here in Britain, over half a million people will be dead by June.

In a recent blog article, I created a spreadsheet of the timeline of the coronavirus infection, highlighting how it accelerates. To use an analogy, the coronavirus will come in like the tide on a shallow beach. For a long time, the danger will seem non-existent. Yes, a few cases will appear in the news, then someone dies, like the recent fatality in Paris, but it won't seem to be a threat. But the virus-tide is stealthily moving in, all the time, carried by asymptomatic infections and a long incubation period. All of a sudden, things will look scary. According to my chart, things will look scary for us, here in the UK,in April, if not before. The problem is that there'll be little time to do anything about it at that point; the epidemic will be moving too fast. This is the time when we can prepare with protective items, a store of essentials, good habits and the reining back of social activities.

One question still haunts me, regarding this whole epidemic; why are the media in the West playing down its threat, to the point of deliberately misleading the public? It could be to 'avoid panic', but surely it's better to alarm people now, and play on the safe side, then let people panic when it's too late to prepare anything? I think the clue may be in the constant reference to economic growth. This even occurred when they did a simulation of a coronavirus epidemic. Obsessing about economic growth, on the face of it, makes no sense. No sane people would be interested in economic growth when there's a terrifying pandemic to deal with, but such a mentality does make sense when it comes to amoral billionaires and bank executives.

I think the billionaires in the Western World are terrified that if people stop making stuff (China), flying, holidaying, going to the shopping centre etc, then that wealthy elite will no longer be billionaires. This is because a lot of the wealth of the top 0.01% comes from share ownership (very fragile and inflated through corporate debt), property ownership (whose value has been inflated through cheap loans) and bank loans (from banks that lend out far more than they own in tangible assets). An economic nosedive caused by Covid-19 will bring much of that crashing down, along with most of the Western banks. Those moneyed elite won't be billionaires any more. They're scared to death that such an event will come to pass. Since they own much of the press, it would explain why we're getting the type of coverage of this epidemic that is filling our papers and websites. To sum up this article, if in doubt, listen to Professor Ferguson.