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Ask HN: How worried are you about coronavirus?
9 points by FailMore 39 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 20 comments
I can get stressed very easily by news stories like this, and honestly I'm stressed now! I'm unsure if I'm having an over reaction or not. How stressed do you feel about it? And/or how do you manage that stress? Thank you

Its like..imagine flu were twice as likely as it is now but 10x as deadly if you got it, especially if you're over 50. Is it nothing? No. Is it bubonic plague? No. Can you catch it? Not at the moment unless you're in hubei? Its a bit like 90% of it is in hubei, 9% rest of china and 1% rest of the world..

Most of the problem is health systems cant scale for 2x flu in a short time.. But the world has a bit of time for prep since its mostly a chinese problem at the moment..

The rest of it is mostly economic fallout from secondary effects like travel restrictions and large scale quarantines(like the chinese have done). Unless you're in the travel and hospitality industry..theres probably little impact at the moment?

Why are you stressed?

> The rest of it is mostly economic fallout from secondary effects like travel restrictions and large scale quarantines(like the chinese have done). Unless you're in the travel and hospitality industry..theres probably little impact at the moment?

Let's just talk about economic impacts.

Supply side:

- a substantial portion of goods sold at retail in the US have some part of their supply chain in China. This includes goods made in China as well as those made in the US with some inputs from China.

- a substantial number of people are employed in industries which sell retail goods that have a supply-chain dependency on China

- a substantial number of people are employed in the US logistics industries (shipping, trucking, warehousing, etc)

- China's economic output has been affected to the degree that their CO2 emissions are down 25% yoy [1]

- Maersk, the world's largest shipping company, has been cancelling sailings due to the shutdowns in China [2]

- firms will begin laying off employees in the above positions as the supply shock continues

Demand side:

- travel, hospitality, events, etc industries impacted

- a disease epidemic can cause a severe drop in consumer spending. China car purchases are down 92% [3]. Consider also the impact on restaurants, sports, entertainment, child care, etc. Some portion of this change in behavior will be "long term" from the perspective of the business cycle (ie: delaying major purchases into the following year, etc)

- firms will begin laying off employees in the above positions as the demand shock continues


- consider that sustained, simultaneous supply and demand shocks may be hitting the world's economies in waves until this disease is mitigated

[1] https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-coronavirus-has-tempora...

[2] https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/20/business/maersk-earnings-coro...

[3] https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/feb/21/china-car-s...

“Not at the moment” is the operative term. Viruses are viral.

Imagine if the flu caused irreperable lung damage.

Imagine striking lottery.

Hubei has like 60 million people. Maybe 70k cases of covid-19.

> Maybe 70k cases of covid-19.

This is almost certainly not the case.

From the MRC Centre, Imperial College, London:

"the team estimate only about 1 in 19 people infected with COVID-19 in Wuhan are being tested for infection and therefore being reported as confirmed cases."


That's because they stopped counting....

the best thing you can do for yourself is get yourself off the news. it is incredibly toxic psychologically and unlikely that it will increase your happiness. cut out what doesn't serve you. Your handle says "FailMore" so try new things with the time freed up from ditching your phone, even if you fail it will still be better than staying in whatever the algorithms are feeding you. (keep in mind that your surrounding is also in the same algorithm prison and you might have to take active measures to tune out the BS).

fwiw, I grew up when the HIV epidemic went through the news cycle in the 80ies. And the news were similar in tone but exposure to news was limited (no Internet, no phones). So I often wonder what would happen if something like HIV comes around today in the age of the Internet. It would be mayhem I'm sure.

There is also a lot of disinfo around covid-19 popping up: https://twitter.com/CT_Bergstrom/status/1228525855208427521

Now-ish is the time to take advantage of cheap flight+hotel deals in asia.. The chinese are stuck at home with their covid-19... Do get travel insurance though?

I feel zero stress. CDC estimates 16,000-41,000 flu deaths for the 2019-2020 season (through 15 Feb) in the US alone.


Look at US coronavirus deaths. Do the math. Sleep easy.

If not in the US, substitute $YOURCOUNTRY. Do the math. Sleep easy.

How do you do math on fake numbers of covid-19.

The one thing that should be obvious at this point is that developing countries are not reporting their real numbers.

China didn't report until international cases arose. Same with Iran. if you look at the map of infected countries, there are several that mysteriously are between infected countries and somehow have zero cases.

You cant do math when you have bad data.

Assume a pandemic. In other words, assume you are going to get it and maximize chance of surviving.

From what we know so far, many have very mild cases, some have severe to very severe. Some die from disease directly (e.g. loss of ling function due to a viral pneumonia), others from follow on complications (e.g. septic shock, secondary bacterial infection).

Based on published data it appears to kill about 1 in 500 of those under 50, assume 80% of cases are mild and that becomes in in 2,000; assume 95% of cases are mild (e.g. another cold or flu) for those under 50 and that's 1 in 10,000. So you risk if you are under 50 is likely somewhere between 1 in 2,000 and 1 in 10,000.

Above 50 those odds get worse rapidly, more so if you are a smoker or live in an area with bad air pollution.

So you're stressed out about imaginary numbers. I agree. Thats hard.

Not at all. In the worst possible case, global pandemic, it'd kill maybe one in fifty people. That case is very unlikely.

If you take basic precautions as you would for flu--wash your hands properly, etc.--your odds are even better.

Better to worry about what matters: Quit smoking, use your seat belts, eat healthier, etc.

I got a large life insurance policy to support my family if I die before the kids are grown.

This is good advice no matter what the situation is.

Is there a clause for death by pandemic?

If there was, and the pandemic was very deadly, would insurance companies be able to actually pay out in the event of a large scale outbreak?

I’m very worried because:

- We don’t have good data on the true morbidity rate.

- The actions China is taking seem very extreme and they have the most experience with it.

- Isolated quarantine of infected patients seems like the only way to prevent its spread and this is hard to do given our 2020 way of life.

- Did I mention we don’t have good data? But the reports of longer than 14 day incubation periods, re-infection, and asymptomatic spread are worrying.

- The US health system seems quite unprepared. We have ~100,000 ICU beds total.

- Not to mention the economic impact. So, so many goods made in China and SE Asia, and in fact, in the least developed countries whose health systems are worst.

- Vaccine or a kind mutation seem like the best hope to me, and these are very uncertain.

Yes it's the actions that China are taking that seem so out of whack with the current 'it's flu+' narrative. I don't think China enjoys doing this to it's people, it likes minimising the risk of unrest and this does not do that. And I also think that, if the actions they are taking are necessary, there is no way for a western country to replicate them (right now 60 million people are banned from driving, that's like banning the whole of my country's population!)

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