The current numbers are dramatic.
The coronavirus is in 91 nations. It has killed 3,300 people and infected close to 100,000. Researchers in Australia think that it could cost the global economy $2.4 trillion and a death toll of 15 million. The Aussies modeled their analysis on the 1968-69 Hong Kong flu pandemic that killed about one million people.
In a worst-case scenario, modeled after the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918-20, worldwide economic losses could top $9 trillion and 68 million people could die. Those kind of consequences could send the world economy into a tailspin and worse.
U.S. coronavirus rates right now are at 150 cases and 11 deaths.
These are serious possible numbers. The sparse data has U.S. analysts suspicious that, as is started in Wuhan, China, home to the Chinese government’s biowarfare lab, and that info on cases in China itself is hard to come by, the Chinese may be trying to geopolitically exploit the virus. Interestingly, reports filtering out of China say the number of cases there may be dissipating while cases grow outside of China.
Like a Hollywood blockbuster such as “Outbreak” or “The Andromeda Strain,” could this virus be a Chinese biowarfare experiment gone horribly wrong?
Even if it is not, the toll already is staggering and climbing. And as the media spreads panic to drive up ratings and, in the U.S., try to do to President Trump what they did to President George W. Bush over Hurricane Katrina, the psychological effect is changing basic patterns of life and society.
Yes, the Chinese experiment could be a mistake. But is the lack of information and coordination from the Chinese a deliberate attempt to make the disease a worse phenomenon than it already is?
Politically, opponents to Trump are cynically using the disease to try and score points. They also loaded the bill funding the federal response to the virus with a liberal goody bag of spending that has nothing to do with the coronavirus.
Combine that with the other factors and normal even-keeled people have reason for serious concern. Not panic, not desperation at this point. However, planned prudence would seem to be the order of the day.