Currently there’s been 300,000 cases of coronavirus reported world-wide.
Now that every country is to varying degrees emulating China’s successful close-down strategy, the rate of new infections will soon begin to slow.
But let’s say the number actually rises as high as one million before, as in China, being successfully killed off by an absence of hosts.
One million means roughly one person out of every 8 thousand cops it.
And of those, 96% will sail through it in 3 to 6 days unscathed. Old and impaired people who catch it will mostly die.
The odds of copping coronavirus are thus highly remote, all the more so given the world-wide close-down preventing contagion and the virus’s survival. More to the point, the odds of dying from it are roughly one chance in 200,000 of the population.
In New Zealand’s case that’s about 25 fatalities, or, 5% of the annual flu deaths and roughly a twelfth of the annual drowning and road fatalities. To the ire of the Police we take those risks with a grain of salt.
What’s fascinating is weighing the public’s reaction to these remote chances against their response to the recent record $30 million or thereabouts Lotto prize.
In the days leading up to the draw stores selling Lotto tickets were mobbed. Yet the chance of winning were so remote as to defy even an atom of common sense, so the hysteria over the virus, despite the extreme odds, becomes explicable – namely illogical fear contagion.
This is the serious destructive stuff which will adversely affect a huge number of our population.
Numerous small and a considerable number of larger businesses, will go broke.
The unemployment figures will surge. The business category most affected will be retailers and so-called hospitality, that is bars, hotels, the travel industry, cafes and the like.
With bank and state assistance most will climb off the canvas and within a year, have put it behind them. By mid 2021 we will be back with labour shortages and tourism will be recovering.
Most Western world governments say they will pick up a fair amount of the business losses which in New Zealand’s case will total billions.
Our government debt level is one of the lowest in the world thus its impact will be slight.
But there’s simply not enough money in the world to accommodate these global debt-raising intentions, thus a repeat of post 2008 beckons Quantitative easing, a euphemism for the printing press will re-emerge.
If normal economics apply such a flood of cash should ultimately lead to inflation and in its wake, soaring interest rates.
But it won’t, rather as before, after about 4-5 years there will be a shortage of sensible investment options, ergo soaring and irrational share-markets.
To all of this I would remind folk how bloody boring life would be without such turbulence. It’s why Germany has a fairly small tourist industry, it alone having achieved such a nirvana of prosperous common-sense daily life tedium.
But I’ll wager, within a year, the current copy-cat global reaction will be seen as a ridiculous and enormously costly gross over-reaction.