China Grinds to a Halt as Coronavirus Death Toll Tops 1,000


The official official death toll just topped the 1K mark but it's likely 10 times that as China grinds to a halt.

Medieval Times Checks

The New York Times reports ‘Like Europe in Medieval Times’: Virus Slows China’s Economy.

More than two weeks after China locked down a major city to stop a dangerous viral outbreak, one of the world’s largest economies remains largely idle. “It’s like Europe in medieval times,” said Jörg Wuttke, the president of the European Chamber of Commerce in China, “where each city has its checks and crosschecks.”

It is becoming increasingly clear that restarting China — the world’s largest manufacturer and a titan of global trade — would be difficult even if the country made major strides in the next few days toward containing the outbreak.

On Monday, Nissan of Japan said it would shut down its plant in Kyushu, Japan, for four days beginning later this week “due to supply shortages of parts from China.” Other carmakers, like FCA in Italy and Hyundai in South Korea, have already warned that a lack of parts from China could force them to curtail production in their home markets.

The local authorities are taking a tough stance with traffic, meaning workers are struggling to return to their jobs. Many towns and cities have begun imposing two-week mandatory quarantines on arriving truck drivers who picked up cargos in cities with disease outbreaks or even just drove through these areas.

Even factories with enough workers are running into further problems. The packaging industry is almost shut down, so everything from plastic packing to steel drums is running out, Mr. Wuttke said.

Steps to Nowhere

The municipal government in Shanghai, home to more than 20 million people and a vast array of businesses, said only 70 percent of the city’s manufacturers were taking steps to resume production. Few have actually received permission to do so.

Mother May I? No, You May Not.

Coronavirus Death Toll Surpasses 1,000 in Mainland China

CNN reports Coronavirus Death Toll Surpasses 1,000 in Mainland China.

Global numbers: 43,105 confirmed cases; 1,018 deaths

Japan: Two Japanese citizens who had initially tested negative for coronavirus have now been diagnosed with the disease. Japan now has confirmed 163 cases.

Vietnam: Vietnam confirms two more coronavirus cases, including a 3-month-old baby

Thailand: Thailand confirms a new coronavirus case, as its government says the Westerdam ship won't be allowed to dock there.

Singapore: 2-year-old girl among new coronavirus cases confirmed in Singapore

Heads Roll: Heads roll in Hubei over coronavirus outbreak. Two senior officials of the Health Commission in Hubei province, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak, were fired on Tuesday, Chinese state broadcaster CCTV reported.

The coronavirus threatens the Chinese Communist Party’s grip on power


Meanwhile, the Wuhan Crematory is Operating at 4-5 Time the Normal Rate as China suppresses the real facts and figures.

Other than that, things are normal as this Tweet shows.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (65)

Xi warned officials that efforts to stop virus could hurt economy: sources

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese President Xi Jinping warned top officials last week that efforts to contain the new coronavirus had gone too far, threatening the country’s economy, sources told Reuters, days before Beijing rolled out measures to soften the blow.

With growth at its slowest in nearly three decades, China’s leaders seem eager to strike a balance between protecting an already-slowing economy and stamping out an epidemic that has killed more than 1,000 people and infected more than 40,000.

After reviewing reports on the outbreak from the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and other economic departments, Xi told local officials during a Feb 3 meeting of the Politburo’s Standing Committee that some of the actions taken to contain the virus are harming the economy, said two people familiar with the meeting, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter.

He urged them to refrain from “more restrictive measures”, the two people said.

Local authorities outside Wuhan - where the virus is thought to have first taken hold - have shut down schools and factories, sealed off roads and railways, banned public events and even locked down residential compounds. Xi said some of those steps have not been practical and have sown fear among the public, they said.

China’s state council information office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The official Xinhua News Agency, reporting on the Politburo meeting last Monday, called the coronavirus outbreak “a major test of China’s system and capacity for governance.” It added, without details, that “party committees and governments of all levels were urged to achieve the targets of economic and social development this year.”

Since the meeting, China’s central bank has vowed to step up support for the economy and prepared policy tools to offset the damage. The NDRC said at a weekend briefing that it was urging companies and factories to resume work, especially in “key industries” such as food and pharmaceuticals.

“In the context of the epidemic and the downward pressure on the economy, it is more important to maintain economic growth,” Pan Gongsheng, vice-governor of China’s central bank, said on Friday.

On Monday, Zhejiang province, an economic powerhouse in eastern China, ordered local authorities not to overreact by restricting everyday movement or shutting down “shops of chain stores and convenience stores that sell daily necessities such as vegetables, cooking oil as well as meat, eggs and dairy products,” according to a government release.

China has unveiled new tax policies as it tries to reduce the burden on industries hit heavily by the epidemic.

Reuters reported this month that policymakers in China are preparing measures, including more fiscal spending and interest rate cuts, amid expectations the outbreak will devastate first-quarter growth.

Many in China returned to work on Monday after the Lunar New Year holiday was effectively extended for about 10 days, but morning commutes were far less crowded than usual and numerous factories remained shut.

The ruling Communist Party’s propaganda department last week ordered state media to focus on “economic recovery”, according to a person with direct knowledge of the order, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the situation.

China’s official media has been trying to project calm. In a Monday editorial, the official People’s Daily urged the public to deal with the epidemic with a “positive mood”.

Editing by Gerry Doyle

No. 1-15

....with the chinese stock index hardly moving, neither does the Hang Seng, the latter even up this morning , the Nikkei at a 30 year high, not to mention German and other China dependent indices....Is everybody deluded,.... or just happy ?


Coronavirus Updates: Virus Is Said to Spread Through Apartment Building’s Pipes
Dozens of people were quarantined at a Hong Kong housing complex after the virus appeared to spread through the building’s pipes. The number of total cases in China topped 42,000.

Hong Kong officials evacuated and quarantined dozens of residents of an apartment building after two people living on different floors were found to be infected with the coronavirus, the authorities said on Tuesday.

The two cases appeared to suggest that the virus had spread through the building, perhaps through a pipe, raising new fears about the virus’s ability to spread.

Officials from the city’s Center for Health Protection said the decision to partially evacuate the building was made after the discovery of a unsealed bathroom pipe in the apartment of a newly confirmed patient, a 62-year-old woman. She lives 10 floors below a resident who was earlier found to be infected.

In addition to the infected residents, four other people living in three different units displayed symptoms of the coronavirus, according to Sophia Chan, Hong Kong’s health secretary.

In all, quarantines were ordered for the residents of 23 units of the Hong Mei House, a building on the Cheung Hong Estate, a public housing block in the New Territories section of the city.
The local outbreak prompted comparisons to an incident in 2003 when 329 residents of a housing estate in Hong Kong became infected with SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome. The virus was later found to have spread through defective piping. Forty-two of the infected residents died.

“Our initial understanding is that the relevant household may have done some self-remodeling work,” Frank Chan, Hong Kong’s secretary for transport and housing, said of the outbreak on Tuesday.
Mr. Chan denied that the recent cases were comparable to the 2003 outbreak because of the location of the pipes. In the earlier case, the pipes were outside the building and the SARS virus was spread through the air.

At a government-organized news briefing on Tuesday, Professor Yuen Kwok-yung, a microbiologist at the University of Hong Kong, said the situation this time appeared to be different. But he said the authorities were not ruling out the possibility of airborne transmission of the virus.

Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s chief executive, said determining what happened at the housing complex was of “great importance” and ordered an investigation.

When Terry Law, 20, learned from late night news reports that the new coronavirus was believed to be spreading from one resident to another in the complex, he raced to the building.

Mr. Law’s 80-year-old grandfather has lived in the building for two decades. And while he is not in the same area where the two cases were found, his family did not want to take chances.

“Even though he’s in a different wing, they share the same lift and the same lobby,” said Mr. Law. “There’s lots of chances for people to meet.”

On Tuesday afternoon police had blocked off the building, only allowing in residents who showed identification. A street cleaning vehicle sprayed down the road outside, even as a light rain fell.

As a group of journalists watched outside the police line, a small bus drove out with a handful a masked residents. The driver was wearing protective coveralls, a mask and goggles.

Most of the residents of Hong Mei House are 60 or older, said Mr. Law. His grandfather is in good health, but he is worried.

“My grandfather is that old, so I want to take him home,” he said.


Anyone suspected of having the virus should be killed immediately.


Apparently, I began commenting on this blog at the same time crazy conspiracy theories began going parabolic. What is up with the ridiculous comments?

And apparently they all pass the smell test. Yet more reasonable comments, that deal with facts and the real world, get erased. Go figure.

The US is turning into Bizarro World.


"We went back to work" But no you didn't. DOW green. At this rate we could launch nukes and achieve DOW 50k.


Meanwhile, daily reported new cases in China dropped to 2484, it's lowest total in February, while reported deaths hit a new high, at 108. That is a ratio of 4.3%, for those that think the ratio is always 2.1%. New cases in the rest of the world hit a new high, at 88, well over the prior high of 51, thanks mostly to the Cruise ship.

At some point, China will have to relax it's quarantine, and re-open for business, and when they do, there will no doubt be a second wave of infections. The longer they go without re-opening, the greater the chance for other sorts of problems, such as a massive worldwide shortage of pharmaceuticals.


The SO2 spike-cremation theory has been debunked. We only have one guy claiming that more bodies are being burned in one crematory in Wuhan. OK.

We know that the cases in China almost exclusively count people with strong symptoms. People with mild symptoms and asymptomatic people are ignored. Which means that the perceived death rate is inflated. WHO, Imperial College London estimate the case fatality ratio at 0.8% - 0.9%. Actual death rate is probably lower than that. Still higher than a serious flu, but much lower than the hysterical estimates among some commenters.


Given the uncertainties in the 2019-nCoV situation, I figure it is better to say nothing than to continue speculating.

As of yet, nobody really knows what the case fatality rate for 2019-nCoV is outside of China. Unless the CFR is awful, it seems China will end its quarantine soon for economic reasons, whether or not containment is successful. It will likely be another couple of weeks before there are meaningful reports on how the Diamond Princess passengers and crew will get through this. The Diamond Princess shows the bug is very contagious in the right conditions, but the symptoms might not be severe for most people. Unless a significant number of people infected outside of China become gravely ill in the next 2 weeks, or if China continues its strict quarantines, many are going to dismiss this whole ordeal as a they would a typical flu virus.

Economically speaking, the whole outbreak looks like it will be ignored as long as possible.

What else can be said?



Please don't pose full articles or ridiculously long comments here.

I deleted one of them on the bio-conspiracy theory.

Any comment to that also went up in smoke


Several factories we deal with are planning to open between 2/13 and 2/17. They are not in Hubei. We shall see if they are granted approval to proceed.


If I understand well now for the last two days in China they mainly only count the sick peoples (hospitalized) as new covid 19 cases. That means that containment efforts are gone away with the economic wind because the spread is due at 50 per cent to people bearing the virus but being not seriously sick.
New Chinese datas indicate that the symptoms free incubation period range from 1 to 24 days now (good luck with a 14 days quarantin period)
Looks to me that soon or later this new severe flu will be accepted as is and will spread with limited containments until a remedy or a vaccine is available.


Using the available data, I'll take another stab at the CFR. For this, I will take the total deaths divided by the number of cases ten days ago, for three separate regions.
Wuhan: 1068 deaths/9074 cases= 11.8%
Rest of China: 45 deaths/5301 cases=.85%
Rest of the world: 2 deaths/174 cases=1.15%

Statistically the rest of China and the rest of the world are both quite close to 1%. Wuhan's number obviously reflects that the hospitals were overwhelmed, and the quality of care was not good and/or tt may reflect under-reporting of the total number of cases, where the reported cases may be only the very serious ones.

Note that the 1% estimate is probably somewhat low. All the cases from 10 days ago may not be resolved yet, and some of those may die, increasing the CFR. On the other hand, some of the deaths may be people not counted as official cases until later, an effect that would decrease the CFR.

9 Replies


We just don't have access to the data needed, the only data which has a wide enough timeframe and depth is Chinese.

Another way to calculate would be if we knew time to outcome, because

offers 20% mortality of cases closed. Are people discharged in a shorter or longer time than those that do not survive - no way to know. None of the figures make sense either unless we know the background of unregistered figures. For outside China we might have to wait a month or more to get a clearer idea. This is a form of torture and authorities are criminal for not releasing data, because we now have to sit and watch as the virus spreads in our countries, adding up fatalities day to day over weeks to try to figure if it is that dangerous. It is just criminal to withold this data, especially when by international bodies that are supposed to help resolve an event, or our governments when they know.


Rest of the world is 0 deaths. Both people who died were Chinese who left China already sick.


Time to recover or time to die were actually about the same 22.3 vs 22.4 days if I recall. I’ll dig the link out later.


Should the American and Japanese deaths be included as “rest of world” though. They both died in China, both were of Chinese/Japanese descent.
Counting them as “China” works if your hypothesis is that quality of care, or Chinese/Japanese/ACE2 expression is the problem.
It doesn’t work if your hypothesis is that air pollution and susceptibility to pneumonia is the problem (depending on how long they’ve been there)


Thanks, question is if from transmission, onset of symptoms, admission etc. It still does not bring in mild and unregistered cases I suppose, that would be needed to understand China data. Which brings me to:

@conversation Latkes . To calculate from western data we would have to look at the 350 or so confirmed cases in the west, then add time of infection of each and project to time estimated to close of those cases. A lot are recent, four fatalities of all of those is already over 1% . So this is why I say we are being left to watch what the true figures are as the virus spreads, as this sample might take one month for example. Add to that age specifics and a larger sample might be needed. Add to that that these were caught early and go to full care, which would not be the case for a pandemic.

So too early to guess with these figures really. :(


Measured from onset (table 2, page 6 from below). There is also a lot of math in this paper, which leads to the 0.9% CFR. Page 4 is worth a read.


Thanks, will read it.


That is a start, but there are some large assumptions there.

For example they are extrapolating detected cases in travelers as mild unregistered cases in Wuhan. This is erroneous because only a handful (50 of 350 source worldometer ) are listed as recovered (12 of 350 are severe and the number of symptomatic are not given) . Maybe they used a minute subset (10 of 750 from flights) from the flights and they have also all recovered, I don't know.

Then there is incubation which seems very variable, the possibility of sequential infections, level of care during pandemic, and possibility the virus will become more or less dangerous through adaptation or change. I can think of other variables also.

If we take western figures we have 2 fatalities of 50 recovered ( unadjusted for bias) which gives 4% CFR in the west. The sample is too small to be very useful though.

So, well I am not as optimistic as they are in that paper is all, but we will just have to sit around twiddling our thumbs for now I suppose.


Let me phrase it another way.

Say one of the ten travellers ( who represent the number of unregistered supposedly mild/recovered cases in Wuhan) was a fatality, how would they report it ?

Would they say the unregistered CFR in Wuhan was therefore 10 % ?

Would they say he would have been detected, placed in care and become a figure on a government chart ?

Assumptions, as is that 10 infected of 750 travellers represents mild infection rate also an assumption because of small size of sample etc.

So, we are left guessing.

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