- Confirmed cases across Africa pass 10k
- China reopens Wuhan
- Global case total passes 1.4 million
- Scientists find evidence some recovered don’t have antibodies
- WHO again insists lockdowns must stay in effect
- Iraq extends border closure with Iran
- Ethiopia joins growing list of African states by declaring state of emergency
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Update (0830ET): With one hand, Germany’s Department of Health is pushing an app that will rely on cellphone location data to track contacts of people who test positive. Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry is taking action to restrict the use of the conferencing app Zoom over security concerns.
Meanwhile, Zoom just hired Alex Stamos, the former security chief at Facebook who spoke out against his former employer during that whole Internet privacy debacle, as it tries to rebuild its reputation before everybody
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Though the coronavirus outbreak figures reported out of Europe yesterday were probably more mixed than health officials would have liked, there was, apparently, enough to keep the resurgence of optimism that has fueled market gains in recent days alive. While China blithely prepares to unleash its second wave on itself and the world in what seems like an almost deliberate act, the Washington Post reported overnight that the main epidemiological model being followed by the federal government has just revised down the need for ventilators, beds and other equipment as the world seems to have convinced itself that a lull is underway.
Across the US, chatter on social media about the need to get at least some of the shut-down economy back online has intensified in recent days, as political commentary as inspired heated discussions as opponents accuse Republicans and many regular Americans of callously placing the economy and their own self-interest above protecting society’s most vulnerable. Meanwhile, the global case total has surpassed 1.4 million, with 83k+ deaths.
But as JPM projected, and as was the case during SARS and other prior pandemics, even if the novel coronavirus does begin to recede heading into the summer, remember: this is only part one.
At this point, it’s not like anybody is going to snap their fingers and suddenly turn the clock back to Dec. 31, 2019. Many Americans – especially those at high risk – will likely cut down on leisure air travel, as pundits are already talking about the death of the “one-flight meeting”.
But as we begin to weigh the pros and cons, and the Trump Administration reportedly weighs a plan to reactivate parts of the economy and allowing some people to get back to work if they can demonstrate that they’re healthy, the SCMP late last night highlighted some new scientific evidence that is extremely disturbing.
As we explained above, by lifting restrictions on Wuhan, China is potentially unleashing hundreds, maybe even thousands, of asymptomatic carriers on the rest of the country. But scientists believe the ‘herd immunity’ that has supposedly been built up during the first wave should blunt the impact of ensuing waves somewhat. Well, unfortunately, it looks like that thesis needs to be reexamined.
Since the early days of the outbreak, we’ve seen reports about people being reinfected with the virus (though in some cases there were doubts about whether the virus ever really left). Well, now, a team of researchers at Fudan University in Shanghai has discovered that an alarmingly high number of recovered patients whom they’ve tested show low, or no, levels of the virus antibodies in their blood. That means a sizable chunk of those who are infected will be vulnerable to reinfection.
In other words, if these findings are confirmed, the hoped-for “herd immunity” that is supposed to help us get things back to normal in the time between now and however long it takes researchers to mass produce a vaccine simply isn’t going to materialize: Instead of diluting the density and acting as blockers for spread, many will be reinfected, and go on to spread the virus to others, all over again. It’s just the latest reason to worry that the second wave of the virus could be larger than the first….