🦠Covid-19 28/02/20 Beyond China | 🤕85,217 | Deaths 2,924

📊 Daily Data Brief:

85,217 cases

New cases outside China: 1,069

New Cases in China: 433

Total deaths: 2,924 (3.4% of total cases)

Serious or Critical Cases: 7,819 (9.2% of total cases)

Source: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/


The focus has markedly moved from China to the rest of the world this week. Global markets have started to tail spin since 1) the first declared cases in Italy last weekend and 2) the number of new daily COVID-19 cases outside China became greater than in China on February 26 (459 versus 412 respectively). That latter trend has continued to accelerate since then.

🔬 Several stories on US preparedness for containing virus given the country’s limited COVID19 testing ability. This is all the more worrying that a number of cases in the US Pacific Northwest are surfacing with no travel history or known contact with another case. These cases imply that community spreading might already be happening and go undetected. As Michael T Osterholm (head of CIDRAP - Center of Infectious Diseases Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota) is quote in the article: “It just tells us where there is testing, there are cases…” (Link)

🦠 The scientific and medical communities has shown a level of cooperation and collaboration since the outbreak of this novel coronavirus which is key in helping us accelerate both our understanding of COVD19 and drug discovery to combat the virus. Eric Feigl -Ding (Harvard Chan School of Public Health) shared an interesting albeit worrying article reporting on a pre-print paper (as in not peer-reviewed article) that the novel coronavirus has a HIV-like mutation which increased its binding ability up to 1,000 times more than SARS. If confirmed, this would explained the greater virality of COVID-19 vs SARS. (Link)

🗳 If you take the definition of politics from the Oxford dictionary as “the activities associated with the governance of a country or area, especially the debate between parties having power”, Coronavirus has been politicised from its outset (starting with China - excellent article from Zeynep Tufekci on “How the Coronavirus Revealed Authoritarianism’s Fatal Flaw”). This has wide implications in the way the development will be communicated to the public and this is not good news. Communication is a key tool in fighting an epidemic to support preparedness and educate the public. The fact that as reported in the New York Times, Mike Pense will control all the messaging is potentially a source of concern and reminiscent of how controlling information worsen the outbreak in China in the first place (Link)

💰Moving on to the financial and economic costs of the novel coronavirus outbreak, Patricio V. Marquez (a former Public Health expert at the World Bank) wrote a thoughtful and well referenced piece on “The Unpredictable Social & Economic Cost of the coronavirus outbreak”. It touches upon the need for government to budget adequately and persistently for zoonotic disease threats (animal to human transmission), the rethinking that COVID19 will trigger on our supply chain but also the difficult task of quantifying the cost of an epidemic when a big part of it stems from change of behaviour from people in the affected economies. This was demonstrated previously in the SARS and Ebola outbreak (Link)

✈️ Following up on the last point, Max Niederhofer (Partner at HeartCore Capital, Europe’s consumer-only VC) wrote an insightful blogpost “COVID19 and the 2020 travel industry”. An interesting data point, is that according to Skift, 2019 was the biggest year on record for the travel and tourism industry with 1.3 billion departures and and $2.9 trillion global spend. The Geneva Motor show was cancelled yesterday, and so were MWC, Facebook F8, the ASEAN conference in Las Vegas previously. Max also wonders wether Airbnb will benefit or suffer from the outbreak, echoing questions raised in an article by the always excellent Alexis Madrigal from the Atlantic yesterday. (Link)


🎬 A newsletter not being a newsletter without its video clip (podcast or others), for the commute to/from work, Amy Goodman in heavy hitting conversation with Pulitzer Prize Winner and scientific write Laurie Garrett is worth a watch. It explains how deeply unprepared the US is in the face of #COVID19 and the responsibility of Trump in current state of preparedness and inadequacy of response thus far. (Link)