Will Russia Succumb to Corona-Chan?

People have been asking me what’s going on in Russia with respect to the Corona situation. I am a Russia blogger, and I am quite obsessed with Corona, so I certainly need to write about this intersection.

As of March 8, there were 17 confirmed cases in Russia (two Chinese – both several weeks ago, since recovered; an Italian; and the rest Russians – both Chinese and one Russian have recovered). There has also been one case in Saint-Petersburg (an Italian exchange student, whose hostel is now under quarantine along with 700 students), and there has been a case in Nizhny Novgorod today.

The authorities appear to be treating Corona seriously, at least by unexacting international standards.

  • Russia sealed its Chinese border as early as January 30, and flights from China have been largely curtailed, with the exception of business visitors and transit flights.
  • People returning from high-risk countries (which now include China, South Korea, Iran, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the US) need to submit to a home quarantine lasting for 14 days, with the local police having leave to check up on them anytime during that period.
  • Breaking the quarantine carries criminal penalties of up to an 80,000 ruble fine, or expropriation of six months of wages, or 360 hours of community service, or up to one year of prison. If breaking the quarantine leads to a death, there are harsher penalties.
  • Several major events have already been called off, such as the annual Saint-Petersburg Economic Forum. (Not like investors are going to be doing much investing this year anyway).
  • Although I haven’t seen exact figures, I think that there have been perhaps a couple of thousand people put through quarantine by now.
  • Rospotrebnadzor, as of three days ago, has claimed that Russia has performed 51,000 Coronavirus tests. I do not know how credible that is – certainly, if true, it would suggest incredible efficiency for a middle-income country where the epidemic is still likely in its incipient stages (for comparison, as of approximately the same time, South Korea has performed 150,000 tests; the US performed 6,000 tests).

About a week ago, Moscow’s epidemic planning was leaked to the media.

It consists of three stages: Plan A (preventative measures); Plan B (when the first transmissions occur); and Plan C, or State of Emergency (self explanatory).

Plan A includes the aforementioned measures, as well as daily temperature measuring in schools and kindergartens, remote temperature measurements at some metro stations, and cancellation of all major mass events (this hasn’t been fully implemented yet).

Plan B involves the identification and geolocation of all recent contacts and family members of people confirmed to have COVID-19, who are subjected to a 14 day quarantine observed by the police. There are mass disinfections of places known to have been visited by infectees, such as apartments, workplaces, and schools. Public transport is also subjected to regular disinfections. By March 12, it is planned to roll out an information system informing residents of danger zones and SMS messaging of people who have been in contact with COVID-19 infectees. Schools, museums, cinemas, libraries, shopping centers, etc. may be selectively closed. This appears to be similar to what Singapore has practiced, and I personally expect Plan B to be rolled out in another week or two.

If these measures fail to contain an exponentially increasing outbreak, Moscow is to move to an Emergency Situation, which presupposes Wuhan-tier restrictions on public life. These are to include the closure of all non-essential enterprises and organizations, the shutdown of public transport, and restrictions on entering and leaving the city even in private vehicles, and the imposition of a curfew enforced by the police and the National Guard.

Last I heard, the recommendations in this document have yet to be formally approved, though I suspect many of them are already getting implemented.

For those of you who read Russian, the journalist Mikhail Golovanov posted scans from this document on his Facebook page.

Overall, I am now relatively optimistic about Russia’s chances of controlling the epidemic – at least, much more so than for the United States, which gives off the impression of a chicken running about without its head (this represents a major revision of my views since late January). One good thing about having many siloviks in positions of power is that they are a paranoid, authoritarian bunch. To a limited extent, I have even already observed some of this at work. For instance, the director at the institute where I work part-time received an advisory from the Mayoralty against inviting Chinese citizens to conferences several weeks back. So it’s clearly it’s something that high-ranking officials really are concerned about. The relatively large-scale quarantines at such an early stage, the detailed contingency planning, the surprisingly wide-ranging testing, the Soviet legacy of a surfeit of hospital beds (incidentally – a factor that historian Adam Tooze has just remarked upon)… if China was able to control its outbreak, at least temporarily, then I think Russia should be able to do that as well.

Anatoly Karlin is a transhumanist interested in psychometrics, life extension, UBI, crypto/network states, X risks, and ushering in the Biosingularity.


Inventor of Idiot’s Limbo, the Katechon Hypothesis, and Elite Human Capital.


Apart from writing booksreviewstravel writing, and sundry blogging, I Tweet at @powerfultakes and run a Substack newsletter.


  1. Please keep off topic posts to the current Open Thread.

    If you are new to my work, start here.

  2. Felix Keverich says

    Holy fuck, oil crashed 25% overnight! Stupid Saudi Barbaria.

    Russian economic resilience is to be tested.

  3. Forget oil, watch American stock markets tomorrow. It will be something special.

    Or better yet, watch US Treasury yields. I always knew they were going negative (free dollars for everybody!!), but UST10 under 0.5% already is exceeding even my wildest fantasies. I expected that some time end of the year.

    Free money is coming, and capital becomes worthless overnight. Perfect for Universal Basic Income.

    EDIT: Or a World War. That’s how those problems were solved in the past.

  4. Felix Keverich says

    Forget oil, watch American stock markets tomorrow. It will be something special.

    I believe “circuit breakers” will not allow indexes to drop below 5%. So nowhere to go but up.

  5. more so than for the United States, which gives off the impression of a chicken running about without its head

    Hey, I resent that! Actually, the US is more like that chicken that successfully traveled the sideshow circuit, with its head missing, and to which people wrote letters addressed “the headless chicken.”

  6. Belarusian Dude says

    Not entirely related to coronavirus

  7. I’ve always liked Russia as a good hedge for global existential risk, except for nuclear war. The country is only one generation removed from systemic collapse, so a lot of people have a living memory of how to survive it. It’s hard to rattle the Russians, they just shrug.

  8. I assume you’re joking.

  9. LondonBob says

    It was Russia that crashed oil, looking to hit US shale, with budget tightening and build up of reserves the Kremlin has obviously seen this as a scenario for awhile and has actually enacted it itself.

    The American response to the Wuhan Flu is staggeringly incompetent, a reflection of the third World demographics of the country, rather than the demographics of the eighties that popular imagination still supposes the US has. The US looks very vulnerable and blowing the US oil shale business will cascade through the bond market and US financial system when they are most vulnerable.

    Russia still has the community cohesion and relatively efficient administrators uninfected by PC ideology to manage a Wuhan Flu outbreak. The contrast between the West and the response of the East Asian countries really is a wake up call, I suspect Russia will sit between the two.

  10. Dieter Kief says

    One good thing about having many siloviks in positions of power is that they are a paranoid, authoritarian bunch.


    Great article Anatoly Karlin. Thanks!

    This Trump-chicken-man needs a lot of luck now.

  11. LondonBob says

    Still seeing a lot of Americans saying you can’t trust the Chinese numbers, actually I trust them much more than the US numbers.

  12. reiner Tor says

    That’s good. Hungary so far has not shown much competence, unfortunately.

  13. reiner Tor says

    The Italian numbers have shown wild swings. One day it’s 50, next day just 30, then over 100…

    The Chinese numbers were clearly doctored to an extent, since they were way smoother. Over the weeks, they might have shown reality faithfully, but at the very least they smoothed out the daily swings. I also suspect they were lower than reality, though it’s really hard to know.

  14. sudden death says

    It would be useful to revisit official known beginings in RF:

    Sources told the website Chita.ru that the infected person in the Zabaykalsky Krai walked into a local hospital seeking medical attention and was transferred to an infectious-diseases facility in Chita on January 26.

    Wan Yunbin told Chita.ru that he was only hospitalized on his second visit to doctors, who initially discharged him. Spokespeople for the local governor’s office say this was because the patient’s coronavirus test results were negative the first time and positive the second.


    Given what we know now about contagious spread that means this Chinese guy presumably might infected Russian doctors, doctors have infected their patients, patients infected family members and so on as this case is lagging USA first case in WA about 10 days.

    I could not find any information if the contact tracing, comprehensive testing and isolation was done to all the potentially exposed people in this case, but if it was not done, it means this RF region is just about 10-12 days behind the spread schedule in Seattle area.

  15. another anon says

    And, here is the newest addition to your conspiracy files.
    If the virus was really created by Donald Trump to destroy the Deep State, would it be good or bad? Would you be happy to die if you knew that the world satanic illuminati cannibal conspiracy goes down with you? 😉


  16. Felix Keverich says

    Russia declined to participated in new output cuts. Saudis then started an actual price war. They crashed the market.

    Damn, low-IQ camel-fuckers should not have this much market power.

  17. LondonBob says

    Russia declined to cut output knowing the price would crater. The Kremlin has planned for $25 oil, so they are presumably comfortable with that for a few months. Why cut just to prop up US shale, this is retaliation against the Americans.

  18. Jaakko Raipala says

    Someone I know just visited St Petersburg and mentioned that Russian health officials were checking everyone for fever and other symptoms on the train. If we had done such basic testing for people returning from Italy this might not have exploded here but no.

    I think those Western propagandists who were predicting trouble for the CCP are going to be eating crow as this will turn out to be a worse disaster in “liberal democracies”. Russia has a good chance of scoring a propaganda victory out of this, though it will be a cold comfort with the collapsing oil price and all.

  19. Felix Keverich says

    this is retaliation against the Americans.

    It’s a Saudi tantrum. Don’t give me this “cunning plan” bullshit.

  20. LondonBob says

    Prices were going down anyway, Saudi tantrum or not, they have real issues with oil at this level, market share can soften the blow of lower prices.

    Doesn’t change the fact the Kremlin was well aware of what oil prices were going to do when they said no output cuts.


  21. Hopefully this tantrum will lead to an Islamic revolution and replace this dismal jewish puppet state.

  22. yakushimaru says

    There was an interesting case in a not very big city in Liao Ning, the southernmost province of Manchuria.

    In the entirety of Feburary, the official figure of that big city area, the city proper and the large rural surroundings, bigger than a county, there was zero confirmed patient. Then, near the end of Feb, it turned out that there was a seriously ill case. It was misdiagnosed.

    The patient seemed to be having got it out of province in Jan, the onset was early Feb, but local hospitals made mistake, so the patient was free roaming, basically, the entire Feb until the symptoms became serious near the end of Feb.

    Then, about 10 days has since passed, the figures there only increased very slightly. I took it as a sign that when large gatherings are cancelled, and when the public are kind of scared so they mostly stay at home, the ability of one patient to infect others can become quite low.

    Plus the summer may help and the drugs will come eventually. At this point, I am still hopeful that the world can go back to normal summer this year. Otherwise, the economic pressure will kick in and a lot more will be fluid.

  23. the world can go back to normal summer this year

    The world going to back to “normal” is the worst possible thing that could happen, what redeeming qualities does this nightmare ZOG world hold for you exactly?

  24. another anon says

    While you people are panicking, California and France laugh at some puny virus.
    Don’t worry, be happy, smurf it up!



  25. yakushimaru says

    To be honest, ZOG, LGBTQ, CCP, Great FireWall, Wars in Mideast, all of these are really far away topics. Just topics. At some level, they are not seriously different from NBA or NFL to me.

    This virus, and the potential economic risks down the road, they are different. They can make daily lives very uncomfortable.

  26. another anon says
  27. sudden death says

    That most likely means justafluer Trump is not going to worry much until USA hits 70 thousand deaths from SARS 2.0.

    The only good thing coming from that – Trump himself quite soon is going to end the same way as Zingaretti, leader of co=ruling Italian Democratic Party, who posted a photo of him drinking beer in a pub, recommending Italians to go out and eat a pizza on Feb 27. Now he’s tested as infected with the coronavirus since March 8, lol



  28. Numbers for Russia look good at the moment. However, ominous things:

    1. This virus is highly seasonable, and will spread faster in colder (non-summer) weather.

    Therefore, in Russia there is an additional 1-2 months in “the dangerzone”, compared to Southern Europe where summer weather will arrive earlier.

    1. Israeli tourist was allegedly infected in Russia already.

    If there are more like this, it could be a sign of the virus is already in the country. (With Iran and Italy, something similar was first noticed – that tourists were tested for the virus).

    1. Russia has populations who are vulnerable for this virus – people with HIV, also many people with asthma in certain cities. (For example, I have old family members who have developed asthma from living in a polluted city, and they will be in a dangerzone if they get this virus).
  29. It’s possible the virus is already in Russia and not being checked adequately.* On the positive side, we can be sure the situation is definitely 2-3 weeks better (i.e. more delayed) than in Italy.

    Probably it could be 1-2 weeks better than in UK, Sweden, Germany, etc.

    This virus requires colder weather (and therefore lower absolute humidity) to spread at a high rate. In much of the country, summer is arriving at least 1-2 months later than in Southern Europe, so the amount of time in a “dangerzone” is greater.

    Whereas Southern USA (especially Florida), India, Middle East, Southern Europe – all these areas will reach temperatures sufficiently high to start to slow the virus transmission at the end of this month, or at least around the end of April.

  30. Of course, summer weather (i.e. higher temperatures) will help to slow this virus’s transmission in multiple different ways.

    One of the main ways it will slow the transmission – absolute humidity rates increase with air temperature. Absolute humidity rates (but not relative humidity rates) are known to be inverse to droplet/airborne transmission of respiratory illness causing viruses.

    But in Northern Europe, it will not reach high enough temperatures for at least 2- 3 months, so there is sadly still a lot of time in which this virus can spread exponentially.

  31. yakushimaru says

    It is smoother probably because of the large number effect. Like when you throw a dice many, many times, …

    If you compare the Italian numbers with numbers of one single province of China, say Zhe Jiang or Hu Nan, …

    The numbers of Korea right now is a lot smoother than that of Japan. Korea got many more cases while in Japan, the confirmed cases are still few, in comparison.

  32. Tone loc says

    Canadian response is hilarious, no restrictions and inviting people from infected countries over.

  33. another anon says

    This is not about Trump, this is about millions of his supporters who are listening to him alone and treat his pronouncements as voice of god.

    Stay away from them, if you can.


  34. Korenchkin says

    It’s all in how you spin it, if they avoid a major economic disaster while the West is in turmoil they can brag how much more stable their system is even if it is not an economic top performer

  35. Do wealthy Russians still dream of bugging off to Italy, France, California, etc? They are less likely to get sick if they stay home.

    There is an assumption that people in hot climates are always outdoors. It’s called the Sun Belt – this region’s rise is completely dependent on air conditioning. There are maybe two months out of the year where it is comfortable to stay outside all day.

  36. 2. Israeli tourist was allegedly infected in Russia already.

    From the article, it sounds like he probably picked it up in Spain and then just passed through Moscow:

    The man had flown from Tel Aviv to Barcelona on February 25, two days later took a flight to Switzerland, from which he flew to Moscow on March 2 until his return to the country two days later.

    That’s quite a hectic flight schedule, it shows why the spread is going to be so hard to contain.

  37. Kratoklastes says

    It was Russia that crashed oil, looking to hit US shale

    This guy gets it.

    After the Saudis threatened to flood world markets, the Russian Finance Ministry took the time to tell the entire world: We can deal with $25 a barrel for a decade.

    That’s a key reason that the US financial and oil services sector (OSX -31%) have been among the most-crushed sectors. At $50 they will go backwards slowly; at $30 they won’t get quarterly bridging finance.

    US CNBC-level morons: “The US is now a net exporter of energy: we have energy independence

    Russia: Hold my vodka…

    Anyone with the slightest understanding of strategy, knows that this was tantamount to an act of war.

    The Yanks can’t say that without showing how weak their hand is.

    The US will probably respond by launching a war of aggression somewhere – as they did when the oil price got down to the $20 region just prior to the invasion of Iraq.

    They didn’t attack Iraq for the oil – they attacked because doing so would add a massive risk premium to oil prices, which would increase the value of oil-service stocks (like Halliburton and Schlumberger) and any land with oil under it would become a better value-proposition regardless of where the lands was situated.

    Cheney and his cronies didn’t have to own Iraqi oil reserves to benefit: they just needed to own any oil-producing land that became commercially viable at $50 oil.

  38. LondonBob says

    Buried in the PM’s press conference in Downing Street was the quiet admission that drastic action to slow everything right up would simply stop it spreading, then when measures were relaxed again we’d get it next Winter. In other words, we need you to get this, but at the time we choose. This Spring/Summer would be the most manageable.

  39. Bloomberg started to cry about Putler’s evil plan to crush American’s shale and… bla, bla, bla. Evil Putler is doing it again. LOL.

  40. Belarusian Dude says

    Anatoly, following this thread I must ask if you have ever been tested for autism

  41. In the beginning that was probably because they had limited tests and every day they were hitting their limit.

  42. reiner Tor says

    The collapsing oil price is probably not as detrimental to Russia as it was in 2008 or 2014, but maybe I’m wrong.

  43. reiner Tor says

    I’m still skeptical that it could’ve caused such a smooth increase in the number of deaths.

    At least the Chinese data probably accurately captured the trends, while in America they are not testing at all, basically, so arguably China was better than America.

    The incompetent response of most Western governments (against expectations) makes China now look comparatively very good. I would put them very close to the stellar performers Singapore and South Korea. (And Singapore might’ve been helped by their climate.)

  44. reiner Tor says

    He’s not very autistic, on a scale of 0-10, where 0 is normal and 10 is the most autistic who cannot function in the normal world without 7/24 supervision, his score is probably just 8, or at worst 9. I’m a solid 8 myself, so basically almost normal.

  45. sudden death says

    Assuming virus began to spread in late October/early November in China, they were not doing absolutely anything to stop the spread for nearly 3 full months, even actively doing nonsense that helped to spread it – sanctioning whistleblowers, censoring info, doing mass eating party, etc.

    West (USA especially) is just actively ignoring the problem for roughly two months (imho, relatively mild initial first cases without deaths in USA/Germany/France did more damage as it helped to relax too much, if those first cases were dead, response would be way more serious) so we have roughly around 2-3 weeks more from now to reach late January Wuhan levels nastiness everywhere at once and then try to go full “late-Chinese” way as deaths will begin to pile up just like Italy did yesterday.

    So Chinese response overall (judging both initial and late stages summarily) imho is not worth to be regarded as really good even in context of current Western nonsense.

    btw, Taiwan, which was most distrustful from the start regarding China, is arguably currently looking even better than Singapore or South Korea, so imho they might be the best looking model of response overall so far.

  46. I wish the altright was led and populated by normal people and not socially retarded maladjusted freaks. But then maybe only socially retarded maladjusted freaks tend to be attracted to a site like this, but then for the altright to gain mass currency it needs to go mainstream, like how the NSDAP went from 2 to 40 percent of the vote, and get beyond its niche market of attracting socially retarded maladjusted freaks, but then of you look at the content of this site, Unz might as well post articles promoting the vistues of flat Earth, leech treatment, and pedophilia, so go figure.

  47. reiner Tor says

    China had no advance warning about it. They only realized they had something bad in early December, and it took some time for the information to travel up the chain of command.

    So they only were one month late. The others don’t have that excuse.

  48. Ms Karlin-Gerard says

    Mass evacuation of the elderly and school children (less now as we enter the effect period from 90’s demographic collapse) to Krasnodar, Sochi and Crimea?

    After all they are expecting them anyway in the summer and there has been a lot of construction there recently… and I think the authorities would be capable of accomplishing it, at least for a few million.

    Transferring the main May 9th parade to from Moscow to Crimea or rather Sevastopol would work out fine for Russia and still have gravitas for foreign delegations attending

  49. reiner Tor says

    Well, whatever you wish, I will keep being the all-powerful dictator of the alt-right, with Karlin my right-hand man. And Dmitry my left-hand man. We are all totally well-adjusted.

  50. Ms Karlin-Gerard says

    LOL- now it’s “authoritarian” for Russian officials to advise not to invite Chinese citizens to mass events?! Typical Karlin

    Would he use that word on all the western governments that are being a million times far stricter on personal controls? Of course not.

    Even more baffling because all these health department policies of dealing with it from different states are, by definition, authoritarian.

    The authorities couldn’t even organise people to go along with the extended and costlier medical examination on long term substance abuse (for certification to get car insurance), to the extent that the policy was shelved after complaints and last minute queues.
    Very little punishment either for any people who have escaped quarantine and made temporary media stars (as in media haven’t been banned from reporting on them in case of promoting it)

    Anyway, early diagnosis and testing has been one of the immense successes when Skvortsova was head of Minzdrav. TB, HIV/Aids, heart diseases and so on have all experienced mass increase in testing and early treatment in the last few years.
    This can happen again for coronovirus, though checks on public transport for fever seem pointless- too many false positives

  51. Ms Karlin-Gerard says

    Ok- there would be pandemonium from their western colleagues if Macron or Abe attended a parade in Crimea or Sevastopol. Stupid comment from myself!

  52. Good luck finding enough normies who are able and willing to live the life of real dissidents.

    …but then for the altright to gain mass currency it needs to go mainstream, like how the NSDAP went from 2 to 40 percent of the vote…

    Would not have happened if the German mainstream wasn’t already nationalist and the German elite had not preferred them to the German Left.

  53. Daniel Chieh says

    Hitler was hardly a “normal person” either. You’re not really going to get passionate and dedicated leaders from “normalcy”, whatever that means.

  54. yakushimaru says

    TW is no better than Fu Jian or An Hui both provinces are having zero confirmed patient right now. TW looks better than Singapore simply because TW is less of an international hub and also that TW is much bigger than that city state.

    The disease might be happening in Nov, but right now it is Dec that got solid evidence. Nov is just deduction. Some even guess that it started in Oct. And all these are in retrospect.

    The disease was noticed by first line doctors only near the very end of Dec. And the situation was far from explosive before Jan 10. By Jan 22, China was all serious. So, it can be argued that the Chinese gov’t was too late for 20 days, although personally I think 10 to 15 days is more fair. Some of the better doctors in Wuhan, in terms of this epidemic, were becoming more and more nervous by Jan 10. There, it means that the institution did make mistakes.

    The mass eating party really is no different from Marathon or Campaign gatherings in this context.

    WHO was notified Jan 4 which means the world should be judged by that date. Wuhan’s explosive situation was known by the world since Jan 23 which means the world should be judged by that date.

    And, in retrospect, some western critics are just crazy. They reject most of the major actions adopted by Chinese gov’t and yet they blame the gov’t for acting too late. I want to ask what, in their mind, should Wuhan local gov’t do by Jan 10? Just scream Danger?

  55. Daniel Chieh says

    They reject most of the major actions adopted by Chinese gov’t and yet they blame the gov’t for acting too late.

    “Government” here is two rival organizations that spend at least seventy percent of their time yelling at each other. It mostly works, until something new crops up and then it won’t work at all.

  56. Tantrum or not, Saudi Arabia can’t hold out at such low prices forever. Russia can hold out a lot longer than Saudi Arabia. Eventually, the Saudis will be begging the Russians to make a deal.

  57. What would have been the effect of Russia had decided on modest deficit spending of say, -2 percent of GDP, after 2015, in an effort to keep GDP above 4 percent, instead of tightening fiscal policy?

  58. But the vast majority of his post 1929 followers are normies, otherwise by definition they would not make up 40 percent of the voting population.

  59. Фрэнк в СПБ says

    Living in Saint-Petersburg I have not noticed anything at all. I have been in the metro many times recently, saw people streaming into the new large stadium yesterday, and have observed no changes from a few months ago.

  60. SIMPLEPseudonymicHandle says

    heads are overrated.

  61. sudden death says

    Fair point, if we assume this was really natural and naturally occuring virus, but that is yet to be decided for sure.
    But if that was leak from the labs in Wuhan, whether natural virus leak/screwup when collecting specimens or even worse, leak of chimeric aritificialy engineered virus with gains of function, then they don’t have excuse of having no advance warning.

  62. Oh oops I just read the misleading headline, and was too lazy to read the article. So coronavirus symptoms usually develop over 5 days, therefore a story described in this article is probably no sign of infections in Russia, as this traveller was in Russia only 2 days earlier.

  63. Weather conditions will become warmer earlier in Krasnodar (i.e. from May), but I don’t think moving people will be helpful, as they will be then closer to other people. If you want to be extreme, then everyone needs to remain at home, and the virus can be controlled, even in colder conditions (as we see in Wuhan now).


  64. I understand governments don’t want destroy their economic figures, by closing everything down.

    Incompetent thing is – why there is not more encouragement for the voluntary public social distancing, self-isolation, stocking up. For example, instead of saying “don’t panic”, they should be saying “good idea – stock up with food and stay in your house as much as possible in the next weeks”.

    Afterall, the more people voluntarily stay at home with their tins and toilet paper, the less the virus will impact.

    In addition, governments should have contributed to production of ethanol hand wash, N95 face masks, gloves laced with antiviral properties. What is incompetent is seeing the opposite – advice not to buy facemasks, because governments want people not to buy them, so there will be enough from private suppliers for medical personnel.

    How difficult would it be for a government to produce, or even just purchase, these supplies (N95 masks, ethanol sanitizer, antiviral gloves) with guarantees to producers for compensation if they ramp up production now, and distribute them to the public?

  65. reiner Tor says

    I think it’s not unlikely that it was an accidental leak of a natural virus from one of the Wuhan labs.

    Which is not all that different from a natural outbreak, because the leak could happen in one of two ways: either a bat pissed on a scientist, who didn’t properly quarantine himself (but may not have been aware of being infected, nor of infecting anyone else; nor, for that matter, what kind of virus this was, what were the symptoms, etc.), or some contaminated animal was sold for its meat.

    In either case the authorities could only become aware of this after there was a huge cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan, as a result of investigating its origins. So even in that case, they couldn’t have known earlier than the second half of December, so roughly one month before they started doing something.

  66. reiner Tor says

    One interesting side effect of the virus might be that capital flight from Russia will be a lot more difficult, at least for Russian citizens. So a result of the collapse of the oil prices might not be so catastrophic, as in 2014 or 2008.

  67. reiner Tor says

    Incompetent thing is – why there is not more encouragement for the voluntary public social distancing, self-isolation, stocking up. For example, instead of saying “don’t panic”, they should be saying “good idea – stock up with food and stay in your house as much as possible in the next weeks”.

    In addition, governments should have contributed to production of ethanol hand wash, N95 face masks, gloves laced with antiviral properties. What is incompetent is seeing the opposite – advice not to buy facemasks, because governments want people not to buy them, so there will be enough from private suppliers for medical personnel.

    A few more things, for example extensive testing, could’ve and should’ve been done. That way they could’ve pursued aggressive individual quarantine measures (separating those individuals with infections, without having to resort to shutting down entire regions), but that ship has sailed in Italy and probably in most of Europe either. So instead of avoiding shutting down their economies, these countries are now going to be forced to do precisely that.

    How difficult would it be for a government to produce, or even just purchase, these supplies (N95 masks, ethanol sanitizer, antiviral gloves) with guarantees to producers for compensation if they ramp up production now, and distribute them to the public?

    We don’t know, because they haven’t yet tried much. In Hungary, they triumphantly announced last week that the prison system was producing 25,000 masks a day – “more than enough.” Hungary has a population of roughly 10 million, so assuming 1 mask per day per person (roughly in the ballpark, unless we assume a full lockdown) means they are producing just a quarter of a percent of the requirement.

    At least Orbán now seems to have understood that a huge epidemic is coming, and yesterday used terms reminiscent of Churchill’s 1940 speech. Which is probably smarter than falsely reassuring people. He also said that Hungarians were less disciplined than similar peoples to the north of us (he mentioned Poles, Czechs and Slovaks), so that we need greater effort to follow the instructions. He might be correct on that.

  68. sudden death says

    Stories are leaking now about the initial Chinese response:

    On 30 December, after seeing several patients with flu-like symptoms and resistant to usual treatment methods, Ai received the lab results of one case, which contained the word: “Sars coronavirus.” Ai, reading the report several times, says she broke out into a cold sweat.

    She circled the words Sars, took a photo and sent it to a former medical school classmate, now a doctor at another hospital in Wuhan. By that evening, the photo had spread throughout medical circles in Wuhan, where it was also shared by Li Wenliang, becoming the first piece of evidence of the outbreak.

    That night Ai said she received a message from her hospital saying information about this mysterious disease should not be arbitrarily released in order to avoid causing panic. Two days later, she told the magazine, she was summoned by the head of the hospital’s disciplinary inspection committee and reprimanded for “spreading rumours” and “harming stability”.

    The staff were forbidden from passing messages or images related to the virus, she said. All Ai could do was ask her staff to wear protective clothing and masks – even as hospital authorities told them not to. She told her department to wear protective jackets under their doctor coats.

    “We watched more and more patients come in as the radius of the spread of infection became larger,” she said, as they began to see patients with no connection to the seafood market, believed to be the source of the first cases.

    Meanwhile, Chinese officials were still insisting there was no reason to believe the virus was being passed between people. “I knew there must be human to human transmission,” Ai said.

    On 21 January, the day after Chinese officials finally confirmed there was human to human transmission of the virus, the number of sick residents coming to the emergency room had already reached 1,523 in a day – three times the normal volume.

    In the interview, Ai described moments that she will never forget: an elderly man staring blankly at a doctor giving him the death certificate of his 32-year-old son, or a father who was too sick to get out of the car outside of the hospital. By the time she walked to the car, he had died.


    What is interesting here that it seems to imply that old SARS tests were sensitive enough to show reaction when exposed to SARS 2.0.

  69. sudden death says

    Between this all gloom&doom there seems to be some hint of positive development though, which somewhat flew under radar so far, but might explain reduced Chinese fatal cases too:

    Thus far, results from more than 100 patients have demonstrated that chloroquine phosphate is superior to the control treatment in inhibiting the exacerbation of pneumonia, improving lung imaging findings, promoting a virusnegative conversion, and shortening the disease course according to the news briefing. Severe adverse reactions to chloroquine phosphate were not noted in the aforementioned patients.

    Chloroquine is a cheap and safe drug that has been used
    for more than 70 years. In light of the urgent clinical
    demand, chloroquine phosphate is recommended to treat
    COVID-19 associated pneumonia in larger populations
    in the future



    Also it seems that chloroquine doesn’t act on the virus directly – it acts on human organism, so the virus can’t find any work-arounds as it is under no evolutionary pressure to do so, differently from HIV drugs, which act on the virus.

  70. sudden death says


    Recipharm, a CDMO, has recently seen an increase in demand for its product Klorokinfosfat RPH Pharma marketed in Sweden by Astimex Pharma. The company has also received questions about the product, which is typically used to treat patients with malaria prophylaxis and rheumatoid arthritis.

    The interest in this product is due to chloroquine’s antiviral effects, which has potentially be used to treat patients with coronavirus COVID-19 associated pneumonia. Chloroquine has been included by WHO as one drug treatment option for priority research connected to immediate goals. Read More here.

    Although Klorokinfosfat RPH Pharma is not approved as an antiviral agent or for use in relation to pneumonia, Recipharm is presently focusing on securing supply of its chloroquine product should demand suddenly increases and new recommendations are introduced.


  71. either a bat pissed on a scientist, who didn’t properly quarantine himself

    More likely the fecal route.

    Urine is often considered sterile. It is not exactly true – think schistosomes, which are really the stuff of nightmares, but require someone to pee in a pond or river inhabited by snails because they have different life stages. But it’s generally not a great environment for infectious organisms, especially peer to peer ones.

  72. Hungary has a population of roughly 10 million, so assuming 1 mask per day per person (roughly in the ballpark, unless we assume a full lockdown) means they are producing

    In theory you could re-use those masks (until its elastic strap inevitably breaks), as long as you would leave several days inbetween for viruses that might be on outside of mask to deactivate.

    So if you went into a contaminated area 1 time each day. Then you would need about 5 such masks, and then you could cycle between them. So each mask can “rest” for 4 days, during which time most viruses on outside would deactivate.

    So for Hungary, you will just need about 50 million, assuming nobody breaks the elastic straps.

    Mechanical deterioration of those masks is from the straps breaking, rather than the filter. https://smartairfilters.com/en/blog/how-long-air-pollution-masks-last-lifespan-data/

    (Personally, I would be more confident with ones from 3m, although the strap always breaks on them quite easily).

    These masks also stop you touching your face – although you would have to be careful when taking them off. See how carefully nurses remove them in Wuhan https://youtu.be/1Rrn7fmOn1o?t=686.

  73. If we want to think cynically, there could be unfortunately be some pressure next month in “delay of reporting” cases in Russia until after the vote on constitutional “amendments” that will provide the option to Putin to have more presidential terms.
    (It seems to be now that the purpose of those other meaningless “amendments” to the constitution is just a distraction, as they only involved some pointless re-arranging of words.)

    Although hat’s only possible if the coronavirus situation is still small, and not wildly growing by late April.

  74. yakushimaru says

    All of these were known by public in Jan 23 in China and through official channels.

    And I think on UNZ there’s the yellowcaking article where most if not all of these are discussed.

    It is still not yet clear who should be held responsible for the delay around Jan 10. Before that date, the WHO was already notified, there were two expert groups from China CDC in Beijing sent to Wuhan, they were not able to make a clear case. In hindsight, they surely failed. But whose responsibility was that? So far it is not yet clear.

    My suspicion is that this is a new disease, when the experts were having doubts, unable to tell its seriousness, some local officials might be too assertive out of pure ignorance & arrogance.

  75. sudden death says

    so… who is going to run nuclear plants when all the workers here will be hospitalised on ventilators? maybe immigrants from Magreb after 2 week training?

    3 employees working in 3 different **nuclear power plants** in France have tested positive for the #COVID19 coronavirus. EDF (Électricité de France) asked several employees who had been in contact with the infected to isolate for 14 days.


  76. sudden death says

    Finally, studies are coming about survivability of SARS 2.0 virus:

    Overall, stability is very similar between HCoV-19 and SARS-CoV-1. We found that viable virus could be detected in aerosols up to 3 hours post aerosolization, up to 4 hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to 2-3 days on plastic and stainless steel. HCoV-19 and SARS-CoV-1 exhibited similar half-lives in aerosols, with median estimates around 2.7 hours. Both viruses show relatively long viability on stainless steel and polypropylene compared to copper or cardboard: the median half-life estimate for HCoV-19 is around 13 hours on steel and around 16 hours on polypropylene.

    Great thing that there is more to come:

    In ongoing experiments, we are studying virus viability in different matrices, such as nasal secretion, sputum and fecal matter, and while varying environmental conditions, such as temperature and relative humidity.


  77. Toronto Russian says

    If you want to be extreme, then everyone needs to remain at home, and the virus can be controlled, even in colder conditions (as we see in Wuhan now).

    There’s an interesting video from a Russian painter whose Chinese wife gave birth in Wuhan three days ago.

    From 5:18 they ride an ambulance and enter an empty maternity ward, both behaving extremely stoically.
    15:01: the baby is handed to the father almost immediately after birth, while the mother must remain in hospital for days according to a quarantine rule. He volunteered to do it instead of the baby’s grandmother because she wasn’t tested.
    17:28: he shows his daughter lying in a paint box used as a crib, and handles her telling how he feeds her with stocked formula and uses makeshift diapers (apparently baby goods are scarce there).

    There’s been no updates on this family’s situation since, I hope they’re already reunited.

  78. reiner Tor says

    How cold is El Salvador? Or is it just an overreaction?


  79. another anon says

    Is there really some secret plan to genocide boomers?
    Because no one can be really so stupid – or can be?



    Rush Limbaugh: Coronavirus is like the common cold, and “all of this panic is just not warranted”

    RUSH LIMBAUGH (HOST): But I’m telling you, folks, I have — there’s so many red flags about things happening out there. This coronavirus, they’re just — all of this panic is just not warranted. This, I’m telling you, when I tell you — when I’ve told you that this virus is the common cold. When I said that, it was based on the number of cases. It’s also based on the kind of virus this is. Why do you think this is “COVID-19”? This is the 19th coronavirus. They’re not uncommon. Coronaviruses are respiratory cold and flu viruses. There is nothing about this, except where it came from, and the itinerant media panic that — you can’t blame people reacting the way they’re reacting, if they pay any, even scant attention to the media.

  80. Toronto Russian says

    Oh, and these brave people didn’t name their girl Cora or Corinne (she’s Anna). Someone who shares Anatoly’s sense of humour probably would.

  81. Daniel Chieh says

    That’s tough. Hopefully the baby at least had access to the mother during the Golden Hour.

  82. sudden death says

    My bet – fast forward 1-2 weeks from now – Rush Limbaugh tested positive for coronavirus.

  83. Toronto Russian says

    I wish the altright was led and populated by normal people and not socially retarded maladjusted freaks.

    Karlin has said multiple times he’s not alt-right and made fun of them. Like that time when an alt-righter was arrested for beating up his father-in-law after the man called him out for cheating on his daughter (traditionalism!) or another got a divorce for throwing toddler tantrums in front of his wife. And the public’s aversion has nothing to do with their mental state. It’s because their vision of fixing the Western world, if honest, involves genocide of blacks, Jews and gays, banning university education as “degenerate”, banning almost all entertainment as “degenerate”, and forcibly putting everyone on their favorite keto diet. That is, until they run out of meat and starve because a country run on these principles will soon sink below Africa in its economic status.

  84. Toronto Russian says

    She is nursing when they roll them out of the ward, so she had time to be put on the breast. A lot of stress, but she seems to face it with her parents’ superhuman calm at least.

    Mr Dolsky is a very private person who didn’t even disclose his wife’s pregnancy as the reason for not evacuating last month. He’s unlikely to share much about his family from now on (respect for him in this age of hype and cheap fame-seeking). Here’s his gallery in case some rich reader wants to support creation of good art and buy: https://m.vk.com/photos83187583

    On another topic, an epidemic update from my suburbia: all the STD clinics but one closed down. I understand this is to avoid infecting AIDS patients, but anyone who doesn’t have a trusted partner should better stock up on condoms rather than toilet paper now.

  85. I don’t think it’s overreaction – it looks like good policy from the government in El Salvador.

    We can predict or guess with higher temperatures (therefore higher absolute humidity) and greater UV radiation: the virus will transmit less distance and time in the air, will be active for shorter times on surfaces, and that peoples’ immune response may be stronger, other things equal. In addition, people will be have less social distance in warm weather than cold weather, other things equal.

    But nobody knows what combination of these (plus imposed measures like quarantine, closing schools) can be sufficient to reduce the reproduction of the infection below 1.

  86. It’s just bipartisan politicization of all topics in America, at least for such political commentators.

    Trump was saying in recent weeks that people shouldn’t panic about coronavirus (because he was worried about the stock market falling – he had connected his reputation to how high it was).

    As a result, the Democrats started to emphasize the danger of coronavirus, and Trump’s lack of response – partly to try to win political points.

    In response, the Republicans, began saying “coronavirus is not a serious danger, it’s a scam, etc”.

    If Trump had the opposite response, then such Republicans would be saying “coronavirus is the apocalypse”.

  87. Daniel Chieh says

    I’m glad to hear that the child had the minimum contact needed. Children are resilient, but its a tough time for all involved.

  88. yakushimaru says

    I have a friend, not very close, who did just that. They named their kid born in the SARS year that way.

  89. sudden death says

    In 11 days, starting 03.02 – from 0 to 47 patients with pneumonia, 10 of them already with confirmed SARS 2.0 in one(?) hospital in Moscow:



  90. Currently, in Russia (like many countries to be fair – except the most effective countries like South Korea, Bahrain, etc), it is impossible to be tested for coronavirus, unless you’ve been recently to Italy, China or Korea.

    For example, on Facebook a councilwoman in Novosibirsk wrote how she tried to get tested, even privately.

    So if there are any undetected clusters in the country, they will not be detected for now, unless the person who was recently in Italy, China or Korea will go to be tested.

  91. sudden death says

    Currently, in Russia (like many countries to be fair – except the most effective countries like South Korea, Bahrain, etc), it is impossible to be tested for coronavirus, unless you’ve been recently to Italy, China or Korea.

    Surprisingly, Latvia has such possibility too at the moment – you can test yourself there in one private local laboratory without any restrictions for the money. The problem seems to be that they are runing out of reagents because there was/is a huge demand for such testing.

  92. Correcting sudden death‘s misinformation –

    Denis Protsenko is the head doctor at a hospital which opened a major new facility for treating patients with viral respiratory illnesses on March 1: https://www.facebook.com/100006679967481/videos/2677781709121135/

    That is why the number of patients with community-acquired pneumonia started at zero, and went up to 47 – not because their numbers in Russia literally went up from 0 to 47 in the past month, LOL. That is out of a total of 271 patients yesterday.

    A few of them were diagnosed with COVID-19, most of them were not. Nothing strange about that.

  93. sudden death says

    So it means that at the moment this one newly opened specialized facility in Moscow has 22% of all known cases (10/45) in RF now? Maybe other hospitals in Moscow have no right to diagnose/treat such suspected patients, they need to be transferred only here since March?

  94. Yes it’s something like that. Sending the people who infected with COVID-19 to that medical centre, after they had returned from abroad.

    Probably, the low number of total diagnosed, is not completely something to celebrate though – it’s partly a product of the lack of surveillance of the virus.

    For example, it has (or had) been difficult to attain a test for the virus even if you have just returned from Iran.


    The difficulty of getting tested, makes sense due to limited resources for testing. But it also means there is lack of surveillance.

  95. sudden death says
  96. IQ points can be higher than real religious people. (Well perhaps that’s not the way to explain it.) Most of the soi-disant “religious people” don’t actually believe religion in their soul, so they avoid the problem of whether to compete for darwin awards over it.

    Russian Church’s Anti-Coronavirus Procession Canceled…Because of Coronavirus

    A religious procession in central Russia aimed at fighting the coronavirus has been canceled due to the threat of the virus itself.


  97. sudden death says

    On Friday they had 10 infected in that clinic, on Sunday morning 17 already, guess quite likely by midnight or Monday morning they will have 20 or even slightly more, so doubling every 2-3 days may be achieved, even if from low initial numbers:


  98. Whether detected cases is the whole iceberg, or just a top of an iceberg – it perhaps will depend on if the virus had been “brewing” in the country last month, before they started testing all people from infected countries.

    The positive news for current policy, is that probably pre-symptomatic people are being detected by tests, because there is a very high early high viral load in COVID-19 infected people. (So testing sensitivity will not need to be high to detect them).

    But as you can see, 3 weeks ago you could fly in from Iran and there would be no testing possible, unless you visited to the doctor with symptoms.

    At the same time, people who do have symptoms now, cannot be tested unless they had been in one of the infected countries.

    Again, with COVID-19 infection people have higher viral load (and possibly more infectious) before they experience symptoms. https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.03.05.20030502v1.full.pdf+html

    So there had been a recipe for possible undetected clusters developing last month as a result of incompetent policy. It’s now something decided by fate whether such a thing exists or not.

  99. before started testing all people from infected countries.

    And even after it is seems a leaky system.


  100. sudden death says

    Looks like all the people in the study were symptomatic, it were mild symptoms but still, those were not asymptomatic patients, so more correct would be to say that high viral loads can be detected even with mild symptoms such as sore throat:

    Clinical sensitivity of RT-PCR on swabs taken on _days 1-5 of symptoms_ was 100%, with no differences comparing swab and sputum samples taken simultaneously.

    Also, Estonia with their tiny population already has 208 infected, while RF way below 100 atm, so it quite probably hardly reflects real existing situation.

  101. Well, symptoms, which will not be detectable by e.g. thermal scanning people.

    However, the positive side of this is they have high viral load so the tests should be able detect them in the early stages of infection.

    The part in that study above which seems to suggest this:

    Also, Estonia with their tiny population already has 208 infected, while RF way below 100 atm, so it quite probably hardly reflects real existing situation.

    Due to incompetent surveillance about this epidemic in Russia, it’s theoretically possible that detected cases are just the top of an iceberg.

    However, it is more likely, in my opinion, the epidemic is actually a couple of weeks behind in Russia, and there is not some enomorous iceberg underneath. This is due to lower connectivity per capita with the areas where there has been community spread of the virus.

    For example, in Estonia there is much higher per capita connectivity to Northern Italy, as a result (in Estonia’s situation) of EU membership and open borders to Italy.

    The dangerous thing is that in April, climate in many cities in Russia will be like Wuhan in January, or Tehran and Milan in February.

    The danger seems to be in this temperature range.



  102. sudden death says

    wow, over 30 overall already infected with Monday evening data in that clinic:


  103. “Social distancing” policies announced this week, so it clear the authorities now accept they have been incompetent idiots in recent weeks, and the virus is now developing in the country to some extent beyond only “the known infected people”.

    The best case scenario is that the epidemic will develops slowly enough, that the warming weather in May will reduce the spread.

    Russia’s relative isolation (in terms of connectivity and travel) from Europe, might at least mean there is a benefit that there is about 2-3 weeks delay in the epidemic. If the situation does not become bad in April. If “social distancing” policies could slow the development epidemic by some additional days or weeks. Then this can be vital extra time to allow for the warming weather of summer to stop the epidemic.

  104. sudden death says

    Russia’s relative isolation (in terms of connectivity and travel) from Europe, might at least mean there is a benefit that there is about 2-3 weeks delay in the epidemic.

    Sadly, given that as of today RF got the first official death relatively quite early in the epidemic timeline with still low overall official infected numbers, I’m afraid there may actually not be such comforting delay in reality.

  105. sudden death says

    Especially given the fact it was victim of community spread as the first fatal case was not even abroad recently…