As of this morning, the deadly coronavirus that originated in China has killed 26 people and infected more than 900.
But according to one simulation run less than three months ago, things could get much, much worse. Less than three months ago, Eric Toner, a scientist at the Johns Hopkins Centre for Health Security, had run a simulation of a global pandemic involving the exact same type of virus, according to Business Insider.
His simulation predicted that 65 million people could die "within 18 months".
“I have thought for a long time that the most likely virus that might cause a new pandemic would be a coronavirus.”
As of now, the outbreak is not a pandemic, but it has been reported in eight different countries. Toner's simulation said that nearly "every country in the world" would have the virus after six months.
“We don’t yet know how contagious it is. We know that it is being spread person to person, but we don’t know to what extent. An initial first impression is that this is significantly milder than SARS. So that’s reassuring. On the other hand, it may be more transmissible than SARS, at least in the community setting.”
His analysis used a fictional virus called CAPS, which would be resistant to any modern vaccine and would be deadlier than SARS. The simulation involved a virus originating in Brazil's pig farms. The outbreak started small, with farmers coming down with symptoms, before spreading to crowded and impoverished areas.
The simulation also showed flights being cancelled and travel bookings falling by 45%, as people disseminated false information on social media. It also triggered a financial crisis around the globe, with global GDP falling 11% and stock markets falling 20% to 40%.
No word on whether or not the simulation accounted for the modern monetary theory the Fed is essentially governing with now.
He also claimed that the current coronavirus could have major economic impact if it the total cases hits the thousands.
“If we could make it so that we could have a vaccine within months rather than years or decades, that would be a game changer. But it’s not just the identification of potential vaccines. We need to think even more about how they are manufactured on a global scale and distributed and administered to people.”
“It’s part of the world we live in now. We’re in an age of epidemics.”
Of course here in the United States the CDC is assuring us that we don’t have anything to be concerned about…
“We don’t want the American public to be worried about this because their risk is low,” says Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “On the other hand, we are taking this very seriously and are dealing very closely with Chinese authorities.”
Hopefully they are correct, and hopefully this outbreak will blow over sooner rather than later.