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Did I say disruption was coming?

And so it begins.

Suddenly there are no more weddings for a quarter of all of Italy. No more movies, pubs, dance halls or trains to some parts of the country either. Italy is about to overtake South Korea for the number two spot on the list no country wants to lead, unless Iran beats Italy to it (which it almost certainly has already). Today 16 million Italians are not free to go about their business, or go to school.

On Feb 21st, Italy had three cases, now 366 people are dead, and 7353 are infected (at least). How life has changed in two weeks and three days. Suddenly France and Germany are about to reach the 1,000 mark. This is what exponential curves feel like.

“We are facing an emergency, a national emergency,” Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said in announcing the government decree in a news conference after 2 a.m. — NY Times

The Frankfurt and London exchanges dropped by 8 percent in early Monday trading, while in Paris stocks were trading 4 percent lower. An index of Europe’s 50 biggest companies was down nearly 6 percent.

Oil prices lost nearly a quarter of their value in futures markets, as two major producers, Saudi Arabia and Russia, set off a price war while the world’s thirst for crude is already ebbing. While low oil prices can give consumers a boost, they can also disrupt countries that depend heavily on petroleum dollars to keep their economies running.

Stanford Uni and University of Washington have cancelled all classes and gone online. The first of many.  One student started a petition and got 3700 signatures. Maybe that did it, or maybe the rulers there are smart and worried about catching it themselves.

This is all so predictable.

But we don’t have to sit back and wait for leaders to figure out the obvious. Send those messages. Start those petitions. Write to the editors. On the curve, every day matters. We know what we should do. We just need to get serious. Stop the flights, stop the crowds, stay home and get deliveries. Close the schools. Do it well fast and hard and then it’s over. Then open flights up to all the countries that did it properly too.  Its not the end of the world. Then we can help others.

The good news: South Korea continues to get fewer new infections (only 272, down from 800 at the peak). Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan appear to be in control. There is a future where the West awakes, stops doing everything two weeks too late, playing catch up with a virus, and pretty soon we can flatten that curve.

The video’s pretty full on, but history books will be written about this week. Tucker Carlson’s not boring and there’s plenty to debate, like how fast can we start mass production of antibiotics. (UPDATE: Antibiotics won’t beat a virus, but we sure need them).

Does Greg Hunt have a plan, or is he hoping the US does and we can piggy back? Or thinking India will have medicine to spare? They banned pharmaceutical exports four days ago.

If Australians are a bit skittish it’s because Greg Hunt has said we’re “prepared” 400 different ways with an old influenza plan and no other details.

This is what’s coming (something like Italy), plus deaths. Or we can do it now and skip most of the deaths bit:

The Italian Warnings

Northern Italy under lockdown

– Lombardy region (entire region, all provinces)
– Piedmont (provinces of Alessandria, Asti, Novara, Verbano Cusio Ossola, and Vercelli)
– Veneto
(provinces of Padua, Treviso, and Venice)
– Emilia Romagna (provinces of Modena, Parma, Piacenza, Reggio Emilia, and Rimini)
– Marche
(province of Pesaro Urbino)

In the above areas:

  • Travel in and out of the area, as well as within the area, will only be possible in response to “duly verified professional requirements, emergency situations, or for health reasons”
  • People with symptoms of respiratory disease and fever of 37.5 Celsius or above are strongly encouraged to stay at home and limit social contact as much as possible, and contact their doctor
  • Avoid gathering
  • All schools and universities must be closed
  • All museums and places of culture will be closed
  • All cultural, religious or festive events are suspended
  • Cinemas, pubs, theaters, dance schools, game rooms, casinos, nightclubs and other similar places shall remain closed
  • All sporting events and competitions are suspended
  • Ski resorts are closed until further notice
  • Swimming pools, sports halls, thermal baths, cultural centers and wellness centers must suspend their activities
  • Bars and restaurants can remain open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. provided they respect the safety distance of at least 1 meter between customers – this provision also concerns other commercial activities
  • Shopping centers and department stores must remain closed on public holidays and the days preceding them
  • Places of worship remain open, provided that the safety distance of at least 1 meter is respected, but religious ceremonies (marriage, baptism) are prohibited until further notice

National restrictions

  • As in the north of the country, cinemas, theaters, museums, pubs, game rooms, dance schools, discos and other similar places will be closed
  • Sports competitions are suspended with some exceptions


Coronavirus Background: ☀ The Demographics: the young are spared, but the severity increases with age, and slightly more for men than women. ☀ The Ro is 2 – 3 and exponential curves are steep. How Coronavirus kills: why the number of ICU units matters so much. ☀ Illness progression: Dry coughs and Fevers, Aches. In 15% of people, by day 5 breathing trouble starts. In 3% (?) by day 8 they may need an ICU (intensive care unit). ☀ The good case of Singapore but the ominous calculations of how fast the ICU beds may run out. ☀ The story of how American Samoa avoided Flu Deaths with quarantine in 1918. ☀

Economics: ☀ The huge impact on the Chinese economy, the awful case of Iran.☀

Beware UN advice:Ethiopian WHO chief was part of China’s debt trap diplomacy ☀

Stats and Data: John Hopkins Live Map Worldometer


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