Coronavirus: New Data Introduces (Some) Hope

What should I do to protect myself from the coronavirus? How long will the threat last? Will it go away when summer gets here? Will we eventually developed ‘herd immunity’ and, if so, when will it start to kick in?

These are just some of the many questions viewers and readers like you are asking us, and Chris does his best to address these as best he can in today’s video.

And while the virus continues its global exponential spread, we are starting to see some positive news begin to trickle in.

For example, it's looking like the majority of folks who get the virus will not be contagious for as long as previously feared.

And, it looks like good ol’ hand soap is surprisingly effective at inactivating covid-19. So wash your hands – a lot!!

While the data continues to show the vast bulk of coronavirus infections lie ahead of us, there is much each of us can do to avoid becoming a victim ourselves, and to help slow the outbreak’s rate of spread.

Reading the coronavirus preparation megathreads available for free on is a great way to get started:

  1. Coronavirus: Sanitation, PPE and Self Quarantine Megathread
  2. Coronavirus: Medicinals, Herbals and Supplements Megathread
  3. Coronavirus: Home Prep, Deep Pantry & Gardening Megathread
If you’re one of the many new readers here on Peak Prosperity, be sure you’re up-to-date on developments with the coronavirus. All of our latest covid-19 video updates, podcasts and articles can be accessed here for free.

And here’s a brief list of the more recent material that Chris and I have published for our premium subscribers, to give you a sense of what’s behind the paywall (free executive summary, enrollment required for full access)

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

So it seems like Mongolia might have its first coronavirus case… a French man who came in last week from the Moscow flight and happens to work at one of the mining companies to the south (translated article here… translation isn’t great but it’s enough to get the point). Looks like he spent a few days in the capital, Ulaanbaatar, before going to his work location in Dornogobi in the south. The article makes it sound like he was SUPPOSED to do self-quarantine but instead ate out at a few of the more popular restaurants before traveling to his work location. Not sure about that… my Mongolian reading skills aren’t any better than what the translated version seems to say.
On the good news side, it appears the gov’t is taking quick action. They’re tracking down all the man’s contacts in the capital and in Dornogobi (up to 120 people so far including the people sitting within 3 rows of him on the plane), they’re stopping all local flights & trains, they’re closing the roads in/out of the capital (again) and some inter-province roads, and making noise about restricting in-city traffic for a time. I know I already did this rant days before, but why is the US still not showing this base level of competence & precaution?
Thankfully our kids and their grandparents are at the house in the countryside. I hate being cut off from them for several days, but it’s good to have them distanced from possible sources of infection. As for my wife & I in the capital, we’re about as prepared as we can be so I’m not worried. I expect there will be another temporary buying panic today, and a recent article is hinting at that and at the same time trying to calm people from too much panic buying. Dealing with the crowds is a headache I don’t need, so I’m going to just kick back today and have a beer… :slight_smile:

Addendum: Added some more English language Mongolian news articles about the story. I didn’t see it having made to the English language reports and I can’t say it’s verified, but there are reports that the person in question not only broke self-quarantine, but ahem entertained two lady visitors to his hotel room (not bad for a 57-year-old :wink: ). Whether this or the general allegations of him breaking quarantine are true or not, there are apparently a lot of pissed Mongolians here calling for his blood.

Chris, thanks for these videos. Do you know this website?

Pretty cool they make this timeline of his whereabouts available to help the public estimate their relative risk of exposure (nudge nudge “hey US officials, wouldn’t you agree?” nudge).
It’s sobering to see how many people and places one infected individual can come in contact with (turns out the ICC tower and the restaurants he visited are really close to my wife’s hospital). One report coming in is that the KFC delivery person who delivered the man’s food last week now has a fever and is being tested & treated. Let the suckage commence…
(source image link here and can also be found as part of a news article here)

This is amazing. Would be SO HELPFUL if we had tried to do even a tiny version of this in the US. They won’t share much at all about the cases and it’s so frustrating.

Hopes rise over experimental drug's effectiveness against coronavirus

Many see remdesivir as one of few drugs that has reasonable prospect of helping patients

Wuhan mortality rate may be much higher than we thought, and impacting much younger people -

In the hardest hit province in The Netherlands, a random sampling was done three days ago with health care professionals (including non-symptomatic people) and today the results were published: 4% already infected.
(In Dutch:
The official sources still maintain that only symptomatic=ill people with fever >38 degrees C spread this disease. (Contrary to several Chinese findings, e.g. this one in The Lancet, where not even all people who were sick enough to die of this virus had fever >37.3C.)
No schools are closed. All festivals are on. “Wash your hands and if possible avoid handshaking. Masks don’t help…”
I am very, very concerned that The Netherlands is right behind Italy. Many European countries and the US follow the same stupid route.
Why don’t we learn from China, Singapore and South Korea? Are we secretly racist? Or just plain stupid?

Here, in Colorado, we now have 12 confirmed cases. However, look at the conditions required to get a test.
Colorado state lab testing for COVID-19 prioritizes tests that meet the following criteria:

  1. The patient has a fever OR signs/symptoms of lower respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath, AND the patient has been in close contact with someone confirmed with COVID-19, within 14 days of when symptoms started.
  2. The patient has a fever OR signs/symptoms of lower respiratory illness (and other diagnoses such as influenza have been ruled out), AND the patient recently traveled to parts of the world where infection rates are high or community spread is occurring, within 14 days of when symptoms started.
  3. Severe acute lower respiratory illness (e.g., pneumonia, ARDS) requiring hospitalization and without alternative explanatory diagnosis (e.g., influenza)
    I have seen other states with similar criteria. No wonder there are so few cases being reported. My guess would be there are 100 or more people, just in Colorado, that are probably infected and may be exhibiting mild symptoms. Of course, if just one of them, visit a nursing home sadly it will probably end up being another Kirkland.

We basically have two choices.

  1. Let this disease burn out as fast as possible. The health system will be overwhelmed for a period and a number of people will die who might perhaps otherwise have lived.
  2. Contain the disease at a level where the hospitals can manage the number of patients. This will require large scale social interventions over a protracted period of time and have a significant impact on the economy which will in turn result in a number of deaths of people (for other reasons) who might otherwise have lived. Perhaps we eventually get a vaccine - but I think that’s far from a guarantee - and flu vaccines have historically been limited in their effectiveness.
    It seems to me that which we choose depends to a large extent on what the IFR (infection fatality rate in the general population - different from CFR which requires an actual diagnosis to have been made) truly is.
    In my view the data from the Diamond Princess and South Korea indicates IFR may well be at the very low end of the possible range - perhaps 0.25% or even lower. If that is the case - is it possible that the total suffering actually be lower if we just get it over with and let the disease burn out?

I’d love to see Chris have a brief discussion in one of his videos about the manipulation of the numbers, or at least the definition and comparisons. It feels like, as usual, when the government doesn’t like the results of the numbers, they find a way to manipulate them.
For instance, CFR seems to be a very common ratio. Suddenly, to make it less scary, we’re making the claim that it’s useless because it doesn’t account for all those that had mild or no illness. Ok, I get it, but wouldn’t that apply to every other CFR for other pathogens? It’s only useful because we can compare it to other diseases so we have some comparison on what we’re dealing with.
Furthermore, if it didn’t cause symptoms, it’s almost hard to make the argument that you were infected from a practical standpoint. Yes, I get that you were infected and possibly infectious.
Anyway, I just wanted to start a discussion around the changing ratios and the narrative that is being put out. It seems super fishy to me. Thanks!

New Rochelle NY has a 1 mile area that has been placed in “Containment” for a cluster eruption of COVID-19. The NY National Guard has been called in to distribute food to those homes in the “Containment” area.
Now this appears to be more of an institutional containment than one of people and homes. Containment - lite? Get the people used to the idea first?
ETA: this video link of NY Gov. Cuomo’s presser addresses the New Rochelle ‘strategy’ beginning approx. 17:20 of the video.

It feels like, as usual, when the government doesn’t like the results of the numbers, they find a way to manipulate them.
Parts of the government are likely responding with best intentions, other parts are merely incompetent and doubtless there are plenty of sleazy crooks who are looking out only for their own selfish interests. And then there are other governments, and groups looking to destabilize governments. And then most folks who are watching a situation develop and trying to make the best sense they can of the numbers they are seeing.
For instance, CFR seems to be a very common ratio. Suddenly, to make it less scary, we’re making the claim that it’s useless because it doesn’t account for all those that had mild or no illness. Ok, I get it, but wouldn’t that apply to every other CFR for other pathogens?
This particular caveat tends to apply in the early stage of an epidemic. Later on, careful study of complete data sets allows for a (more) accurate determination of the real value.
It’s only useful because we can compare it to other diseases so we have some comparison on what we’re dealing with.
I don’t agree with this. I think people are capable of evaluating this number on an absolute basis. And in any case - see above - CFR is probably fairly accurate for diseases we have been able to study for a longer period.
It’s also worth pointing out that diseases with high R0 (and therefore - typically - rapid spread) almost certainly cause a greater discrepancy between apparent CFR and the true IFR as testing capacity struggles to keep up with the actual spread of the disease. This same rapid spread will also produce the overwhelmed hospital departments we are seeing, and thus - at least initially - give the appearance of a much more virulent disease than is actually the case.
Another really good data point now indicating that this might be the case is Iran. We have a study that estimates the total number of cases in Iran from the number of exported infections as 2 million. And yet Iran is reporting only 291 deaths. To be fair Iran is probably undercounting deaths too - but even if there were 2,000 deaths that is still only a 0.1% fatality rate.

"At this time, it's really important to be paying attention to how to maintain your own health and well-being," Sorensen said. "It's a social contract that we have with each other. We need to all work together to limit the spread of this."
Bold my emphasis. That is such a crucial point! All those who are not paying attention and not doing their part to reduce potential for spread are culpable, putting the rest of us at risk. Time for people to step and honour their social contract with the rest of us. The rest of the article is found here:

The following graphs use the same normalizing logic. They are created by downloading google “cough” and “fever” search trends by month from 2004 - 2020 - normalizing each year to 50 (we just care about seasonality). 2020 is normalized to 2019 levels to allow it to freely develop (and so can exceed 100). We can then show how recent seasonal results are trending relative to prior years. Generally, the first place people go for symptoms is Google.
Example of Intense Virus Spread on Google Searches.
Exposure started mid-February. (febbre & tosse)

Seattle - Similar spread to Italy
Exposure started in March

Ontario, Canada - example of reduced spread.
Compared to other regions - there aren’t many good examples here. 2020 March is generally matching prior-year downward seasonal trends - suggesting better management of virus.

I live in a rural farming community in Wales, UK. Just been announced that number of cases in Wales has more than doubled in last 24 hours from 6 to 15. People on my Facebook telling me not to panic as it’s only 15 people. I’m more concerned by the rate of growth. It’s been doubling every day since it started here. One good thing here is there are drive-through test centres including one in my local town. Big rugby match scheduled for Saturday between Wales and Scotland in Cardiff, 70,000 people, still not cancelled like the games on Italy and France. We have tickets actually but are not going to the game. We’re lucky to have free healthcare but the local hospitals whilst staffed with many wonderful people are a bit antiquated. Let’s hope the U.K. quickly takes a more aggressive approach to contain the virus. Somehow doubt it.

This isn’t easy to read. Tragic.