Originally published on January 29, 2020 by TraderStef at CrushTheStreet.
It has become very difficult to keep up with the rapidly evolving details of the coronavirus story and I will only pen a third part if its virulence elevates to a SHTF pandemic. I will keep a Twitter thread alive with relevant updates as much as possible that originates from the Jan. 21 article noted below. Today, I will address sourcing issues and attempt to debunk a circulating narrative that conflates theories about a bio-weapon release at ground zero from a lab in Wuhan. First up on today’s agenda are links to recent articles where I covered the coronavirus outbreak and a few thoughts on today’s monetary policy decisions at the FOMC meeting.
The FOMC decided to keep interest rates on hold, increased the rate paid on excess reserves (IOER) by five basis points to 1.6%, and Jay Powell tried to clarify at the press conference what the Fed’s reasoning is for keeping excess reserves at $1.5 trillion. Excess reserves are the funds that financial institutions and TBTF banks keep beyond what is required by regulation, and as of the 2008 financial crisis, the Fed is paying a rate of interest.
“FED’S POWELL SAYS CORONAVIRUS WILL HAVE SOME EFFECT ON THE CHINESE ECONOMY, AT LEAST IN THE SHORT TERM”
At least on their public face, the Fed does not view the unfolding coronavirus disaster to be a concern at this time. They also consider the small increase in IOER as “only an adjustment.” With core inflation at 1.6% and stuck in the subdued land of “humility” while unemployment trends at historic lows, the Velocity of Money will remain at an extreme low or collapse further. The Fed is also extending the overnight and term REPO operation implemented in Sep. 2019 to at least Apr. 2020, and that suggests trouble continues to brew under the financial system’s hood. Powell opined at the FOMC presser (begin at timestamp 14:40) on REPO vs. QE and clarified recent statements by Fed officials about launching a standing REPO facility. Powell said, “It will take some time to evaluate and create the parameters to put into place… we don’t know the timing of when overnight and term-REPO operations will come to an end.”
For the second “nothing is wrong” Goldilocks day in the U.S. stock market, the interest rate paid on the U.S. 10-year note remained at its 2-point plunge level that occurred over the last two weeks, which is currently 1.59% and not far from an all-time low of 1.3% in Jul. 2016. Whatever the Fed is doing that they claim is not QE, it appears to be baked in the cake that they will continue it for the foreseeable future and adjust the rules as they go along. The Boston Fed president made it clear on Jan. 13 that the Fed is in uncharted territory and on the lookout for risks.
In a world where conspiracy theories have turned into the truth, it is even more important to identify a source as close to the facts as possible.
“Epidemiologists are generally one of the smartest medical professionals in the room. Usually only superseded by virologists, who seem to wait for everyone else in the room to catch up.” – Christopher Todd
“The continued increase in cases and the evidence of human-to-human (H2H) transmission outside China are deeply concerning. Although the numbers outside China are still relatively small, they hold the potential for a much larger outbreak” – WHO
WHO emergency committee to meet Thursday on coronavirus – UPI
CDC Diverts Flight of American Evacuees to Military Base in California as Coronavirus Pandemic Spreads… “A plane carrying around 200 American citizens who were evacuated from Wuhan, China—where the new coronavirus outbreak started—was diverted to March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County, California, late Jan. 28… The CDC did not immediately return a request for comment. In a statement Tuesday morning, Department of Defense press secretary Alyssa Farah said: ‘March Air Reserve Base and the Department of Defense stand ready to provide housing support to the Department of Health and Human Services as they work to handle the arrival of nearly 200 people, including Department of State employees, dependents and US citizens evacuated from Wuhan.’” – Epoch Times, Jan. 29
Defense Dept. to house 200 Americans at Calif. military base after evacuation from China… “The whole plane erupted into cheers when the crew welcomed them back to the United States. It is easy for us to focus on fears, but at the end of this day, this mission, it was about people. It was about American citizens, some of whom were working to serve our country. It was about families (and) it was about helping each other in this time of need.” – Dr. Anne Zink, Alaskan Chief Medical Officer via OAN, Jan. 29
The source I trust when it concerns pandemics is Dr. Henry Niman PhD. (his recombinomics Website is in the middle of redesign – see his Twitter feed and forum). He is a respected virologist with over 40 years of experience and is distributing his analyses freely into the public domain. After reading the rest of this article, I suggest you take the time to review two of his most recent interviews from Jan. 27 and Jan. 28 that were aired on alternative media. He also produces a free podcast archived on his forum. The following information is a combination of what I have learned about the coronavirus outbreak and paraphrased recent information that Dr. Niman distributed.
Asymptomatic patients in the current outbreak (SARS 2.0) that test positive are the most dangerous, as is the case with the first cluster in North America identified in Toronto, Canada. There are concerns for the U.S. that Asian cluster super-spreaders have traveled into the U.S. mainland and passed fever screenings when they were asymptomatic and contagious. There are millions of people who left Wuhan and mainland China before quarantines were implemented and were not screened at any point along their domestic or international travel.
Side-by-side timelines with the 2002-2003 SARS outbreak are no comparison. At this point, the SARS outbreak had gone on for three months with only 300 confirmed cases and 5 deaths. Statistics on SARS 2.0 as of today are:
- 15k+ PCR test (first positive before final confirmation at a centralized facility)
- 7,771 final confirmed in China
- 12,167 suspected cases
- 1,370 in severe/critical condition
- 88,693 close contacts tracked
- 81,947 receiving medical observation
- 103 resolved cases (recovered-released from care)
- 170 deaths
SARS 2.0 is spreading faster and is more virulent. A Case Fatality Rate (CFR) rate cannot be calculated at this time because deaths currently outnumber resolved (recovered) cases. The CFR when all was said and done with MERS was roughly 35%, and for SARS it was 20%. When you look at the current deaths vs. resolved cases for SARS 2.0, we definitely have a problem on our hands. Ignore total of confirmed cases because they are in the proces of being resolved and will take many weeks.
Formula: Deaths divided by Deaths + Recovered = CFR
There is no way to contain the current spread of infection because the virus has already seeded at multiple locations around the world. People infected 2-3 weeks ago are finally being observed and confirmed, and airport temperature screening is ineffective due to the asymptomatic phenomenon. It is estimated that 5 million people departed Wuhan for the Chinese New Year holiday or fled prior to the implementation of quarantine measures. The incubation period is commonly 2-5 days for a coronavirus, but SARS 2.0 is exhibiting a 2- to 14-day incubation, with outlier reports of up to 20+ days.
We are dealing with second-generation virus cases in the U.S. that mutated over the last few weeks, as evidenced in genome sequences from confirmed cases. The genome lineage from the Shenzhen cluster in China described in The Lancet medical journal is the same lineage found in Washington and Illinois, which included an “orf-8” (second-generation) and “29-nucleoid deletion,” which equals super-spreader potential.
“Genome sequences for all five confirmed cases in the United States have been released and all except for Orange Co in California has the orf-8 mutation present in Shenzhen cluster described in Lancet. The orf-8 gene (mutation gene) acquired in 29-nucleoid deletion and was present in the physician at the Metropole Hotel who was the index case for the international expansion of SARS in 2003.” – Dr. Henry Niman PhD.
Genome sequences do not lie, especially when read by a seasoned virologist. That point brings me to the topic of theories surrounding a virus lab in Wuhan. Bat soup anyone?
During and after the SARS outbreak, exotic animals sold in wet-markets were suspected, but harvested samples from the wild did not locate a genome reservoir that matched patients’ infection, until horseshoe bats were considered. Samples that included guano (poop) from caves contained genome sequences with a wide range of coronaviruses. Two coronavirus genome sequences from the bat reservoir matched respiratory viruses found in humans. Several years later, the MERS (Middle-East Respiratory Syndrome) outbreak launched additional interest in novel coronaviruses. Those viruses were different but related to SARS via bats in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, as well as in camels, which turned out to be the source of MERS.
SARS 2.0 is also related to bats, but a little bit different. The closest genome match was found at a lab in Wuhan, which got many people looking at the potential that SARS 2.0 escaped from the lab as a bio-weapon.
“The bio-weapon story is the same story I’ve heard for twenty years. It is always a novel-virus that escaped from a weapons lab, but the problem with that argument is that the virus is always found abundant in nature. It went after H5N1, Swine Flu H1N1, and MERS.” – Dr. Henry Niman PhD.
With a genome sequence in hand, you can launch a search through GenBank. In less than a minute, you will locate the two closest matches to SARS 2.0 out of a database of 41,000 sequences. The two matches are from bats, and a third sequence released last weekend is even closer with a 96% match. Those three viruses have been around for years and come from the bat reservoir. There is one tiny protein recombination within those sequences that people are using to conflate the weapon lab theory. That tiny protein is identical in bats, and SARS 2.0 is not bat vs. human, it is bat vs. bat. The mutation occurring from human cases in the Shenzhen cluster is not found in sequences from the initial ones identified from the Wuhan wet market. The current mutation is a dangerous virus that showed up in the first case in the U.S. and might be an emerging strain, as it has nothing in common with the case in Washington and Shenzhen and is now in four out of five U.S. confirmed cases.
“It transmits more easily, and I think you will be hearing more about this particular lineage in the not to distant future.” – Dr. Henry Niman PhD., Jan. 28
“We have not met an adversary like this one. Actually, it is slier than SARS.” – Chinese Official
The CDC just received the updated test kit on Jan. 27, which is effective for the SARS 2.0 mutation vs. the older kits from SARS that are not accurate in identifying the new strain seeding across the globe.
Europe is not happy about their risk after H2H onward transmission was identified in Germany today, and the index patient is looking like a super-spreader. That person traveled to China and returned to Germany for meetings at an auto supplier company. She is considered the “index patient” and was asymptomatic (suppressed by an over-the-counter therapeutic) while in Germany and has since returned to China. One person from the meetings became symptomatic, was confirmed with SARS 2.0, and infected three or more in the company, with at least 40 others being tested. What is concerning is that there was H2H onward transmission and onward progression, which mirrors what is occurring in China. Given the short time period it took for the German cluster to experience an onset of symptoms after only casual contact, the index patient has the makings of a classic super-spreader.
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