Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Do You Quarantine 400 Million For a Virus No Worse Than the Flu?


I am not going to draw any conclusions , but ask yourself the following questions. Why would a government that is obsessed with retaining control go to these measures, if less disruptive and draconian measures would have resulted in fewer deaths, say, than the common influenza? 

China's economy, and soon the world's economy, is going to grind to a halt with the disruption in supply chains due to factory shutdowns in the PRC. Airlines, travel and tourism related business, and many others are already losing money hand over fist. Debate the particulars of this virus all you like. 

You may never get the truth of it all. But...what you can see, everywhere from China to the rest of the world, is the reaction to this outbreak from governments. Their reactions are wide ranging, severe, and most importantly, they are costing many many companies huge amounts of money. THAT is the difference between this outbreak and earlier ones such as swine flu, sars, and others. Look at governmental reactions. 

Follow the money...or in this case...watch how much money companies are losing as a direct result of those government reactions.

NPR |   And we are reporting on another big story this morning. The coronavirus - it has been spreading and so has anti-Chinese sentiment, even among some of China's friends and neighbors in the region, many of whom have banned flights and visitors to and from the mainland. Tourism-dependent Thailand has so far resisted this, even though there are at least 32 confirmed cases in that country. Michael Sullivan reports.

MICHAEL SULLIVAN, BYLINE: It's 10:00 in the morning, and I'm standing in Sop Ruak in northern Thailand in the Golden Triangle, where Laos, Myanmar and Thailand meet. And I'm staring out at a beautiful picture of the Mekong River right in front of me now. From this vantage point, at this time of day, there are usually hundreds of Chinese tourists here snapping photos.

But today, there is absolutely no one here, and that's because a week ago, the Chinese government banned all outbound travel groups from China in an effort to contain the coronavirus. Now, that's made some people in this tourist town happy, but it's made others unhappy.

PANG PEERADA: We don't hate Chinese, but we have to hate coronavirus.

SULLIVAN: Pang Peerada has good reason to hate the virus. The manager of the Serene Hotel here on the Mekong says business has taken a beating since last week's Chinese ban on outbound tours.

PEERADA: Actually, the group - cancel for two group and a big group, around 50% of the hotel.

SULLIVAN: They were taking half your rooms and now they've canceled.

PEERADA: Yes. Right.

SULLIVAN: She says she still gets the occasional individual Chinese couple, who she says are still more than welcome.

(SOUNDBITE OF BEEP)
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Hello. Welcome.

SULLIVAN: Sop Ruak's 7-Eleven is ground zero for Chinese tourists who stop in this town. Manager Siriporn Wongchai reckons about 80% of her 1,500 customers a day were Chinese before the group ban. Today, there's just a few Chinese, plus some Spaniards and Thais.

SIRIPORN WONGCHAI: (Through interpreter) I'm not afraid, and none of my staff are afraid or have gotten sick because we wear masks and use gel.

SULLIVAN: But she says it'd still be a good idea if the Chinese stopped coming altogether for now.

WONGCHAI: (Through interpreter) I feel the Chinese should stay home until the virus is over. We have nobody sick here in our town, but if they keep coming, we could have soon. I don't want anyone from my team getting sick or their families.