A few thoughts on COVID/CCP, and China

Since I spent time working for big Pharma, one of my responsibilities was to keep up with the latest scientific and medical journal. Over the years, I have read thousands of research papers including medical literature, scientific and economic journals. I have overseen some thirty some research projects for Americas Majority Foundation.  So, I know something about science and economics, something that most of our media personalities and reporters don’t. 

COVID-19/CCP Virus

You will notice I use COVID-19/CCP virus.  CCP stands for the Chinese Communist Party virus to remind Americans that this virus originated in China and that the Chinese Communist Party not only suppress information about the virus but also allowed this virus to escape their country.  They are responsible for thousands of deaths and world economy on the brink and we can’t allow them to escape responsibility.  More on this later.

Who knows the final results but a few thoughts on worst case scenario and best-case scenario.  We don’t know for certain how virulent this is, but this has been under debate.  Anthony Fauci estimated that the mortality rate is 1% but he also noted in the New England Journal, “If one assumes that the number of asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic cases is several times as high as the number of reported cases, the case fatality rate may be considerably less than 1%. This suggests that the overall clinical consequences of Covid-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza (which has a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%) or a pandemic influenza (similar to those in 1957 and 1968) rather than a disease similar to SARS or MERS, which have had case fatality rates of 9 to 10% and 36%, respectively.”  So, while Fauci uses the 1% mortality rate, he suggests that it could be overall lower and since we are not testing everyone, many mild cases will go reported so we have to make assumptions based on guest work.

In reviewing data from March 20 on those diagnosed infected vs those tested, I found that in reviewing data produced https://ourworldindata.org/covid-testing, that in nearly I million tested, we saw an ratio of 9.7% of diagnosed versus those tested.  Most nations saw data between 3% to 20% of infected to tested.  We can only guess but here are some numbers. Worst case scenario would be based on this data is that 20% of Americans would be infected, similar to what we estimated in 2009 outbreak.  60 million Americans would be infected and 1% mortality rate results in 600,000 deaths and at .1%, it is 60,000 deaths.  The latter may be a worst-case scenario and close to what we suffered during the Spanish flu.  (We lost 650,000 to the Spanish flu which would be equivalent of 2,000,000 today based on population.  During the Spanish flu, our population was one third than today.)   At 3% which is South Korea numbers, we will be looking at between 9 and 10 million infected with at 1%, mortality 90 to 100,000 deaths or as low as 9 to 10,000 deaths at .1%.   At 10%, we are looking at 30 million infected with a range of 30,000 to 300,000 deaths. (The 10% number would reflect what we are seeing in data collected in much of Europe, Australia and the United States.)

There is a wide disparity that could happen, and it could either be a bad flu season, slightly worse than a flu season or as many as half million dead as a result.  This still makes it less than the Spanish flu which killed triple per capita.   The 1957 Asian Flu and 1968 Hong Kong Flu attributed to 100,000 to 120,000 deaths in the United States, there is a strong possibility that this virus may be similar in mortality.

This is not minimizing COVID/CCP Virus since it appears to be more virulent than the flu but certainly less virulent than the Spanish flu.  The true mortality rate will never be accurate and will be as much guesswork as anything else since we are not testing everyone but those with symptoms so we will overestimate the actual mortality rate. 

Economics

The problem with Trump economic plan is based on a combination of shutting down the economy by closing business while going on Keynesian economics on steroids. It is hard to stimulate an economy when no one is working as part of a policy by the government to reduce virus outbreak by isolation and quarantine.  With people panicking, it makes sense to do an isolation/quarantine strategy to reduce the outbreak, but you can’t continue doing this for too much long without serious damage to the economy. Eventually people have to go back to work or else you have a major depression that will be hard to dig out of.  The second problem with this plan is that you have ton of money sloshing around unproductively.  With this stimulus, we may be creating a situation where we “have too much money spent chasing too few goods” and this could create another problem in 2021, inflation.  In the 1918-19 Spanish flu, there was a post-World War One boom but there was a major inflation that appeared.  1920, severe recession occurred as the newly form of federal reserve found itself ringing out the inflation as incapacitated President Woodrow Wilson did very little in fighting the recession and Warren Harding allowed the economy heals itself. 

The point that one may take out of this, we did have economic activity in 1919 in a pandemic that killed 650,000 people.  My own view is that this is a worse case scenario and those that talk of millions of dead are giving a scenario that won’t most likely not happen.  (As mention before, 650,000 dead in 1919 would equate to 2 million today.  And quarantine did happen in many communities and the medical technology was nowhere what we have today. Could we adopt a similar strategy in which we isolate the more vulnerable, those immunocompromised and the elderly while getting others back to work, knowing that many may have a mild or moderate case.  80% plus of adults and even higher number of children have mild or moderate cases. 

There is another aspect is that we know that azithromycin and hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine looks promising as there are cases where people cases improved.  While we have not a double-blind study, the evidence looks promising enough for physicians to try it either for viral pneumonia or maybe suppressively. 

One strategy in the short term is to use this combination as needed for those in critical and severe cases, while allowing others to get back to work.  There is much to learn on both efficacy and dosing of this combination, we can begin to expand its usage while studying.  This will allow us to get back to work quicker. Also, with increase in testing and the new test that can get results in forty-five minutes will allow us to isolate and track more efficiently. 

There are drugs including anti-viral being tested and we are now testing a vaccine so we may have a variety of treatments by the summer end if not sooner plus a vaccine at the end of the year, depending if it is successful. If successful, how quickly the FDA approves it.

The Democrats have made it clear over the weekend; they will as soon see the whole economy tank than even pass compromised a bill that mostly favored their philosophy.  So better come up with plan B and plan B is get America working by May first.    

Foreign Policy China

I have made a point to call this the COVID/CCP virus since this virus originated from Asia. This is not the first pandemics starting from China.  The 1957 Asian flu and the 1968 Hong Kong Flu as the names showed, originated in China and 100,000 to 120,000 Americans died.  Chinese Communist party lied from the very beginning of this.  They suppress information about the origin of the virus, they lied to WHO about the transmission and they allowed their own citizens to leave the country to others.  They may still be lying as one new story reported that Chinese may have quit testing as to show the world, “they conquer the virus.” I don’t believe that the Chinese are as effective as the South Korean in dealing with this infection and South Koreans are still seeing some 70 to 100 new cases according to worldometer.

The biggest weakness of globalization is what you do when a major power doesn’t play by the rules like China or rogue country in a crucial area like Iran.  China should be held responsible as well as the politicians who have for years promoted the relationship. The key was that as China became more integrated into the world economy, it would also liberalize their own government. They did not do the latter.

Shadi Hamid of the Brooking Institute wrote, “After the crisis, whenever after is, the relationship with China cannot and should not go back to normal. Nothing, in any case, will go back to normal after the sheer scale of destruction becomes clear. Of course, the rest of the world will have to live with the Chinese leadership as long as it remains in power. But this pandemic should, finally, disabuse us of any remaining hope that the Chinese regime could be a responsible global actor. It is not, and it will not become one.”

The moment of decoupling from China must begin and China must be replaced as a major chain supplier to other nations we can actually trust or bring them home. The latter would require America have even better business environment than presently and certainly better after this adventure.  This century, the United States have moved backward on economic freedom as measure by various organization and this has to be reversed.  It means new alliances including building up India as a counterweight to China. By building India economy, we could build a potential ally in our future that we can trust.  India contains the second largest English speakers with 125 million who speaks the language, and this could quadruple over the next decade. That would make it the largest single English-speaking country in the world by 2030. 

China can’t be ignored due to the size of its military and military, but it is still the second leading economy in total but on a per capita it ranks only 79.  It is combination of third world developing country and a developed country and we will still trade with China, but it is time to reduce that dependency and move elsewhere for trade. 

It is also time to review our alliance and while maintaining many of our alliances, it is time for development of the Anglosphere which I describe in my book, The Rise of National Populism and Democratic Socialism, what our response should be?

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