2020 Feb 29 - Coronavirus

There's been quite a few stories about death in the news this week, first I read that the world's oldest man had died and I thought, "poor bloke, that must be the 3rd or 4th time that's happened to him in the last couple of years"

But the big story this week was the continuing escalation of the Coronavirus as it became the most viral thing to come out of Asia since that Gangnam Style youtube video a couple of years ago. The World Health Organisation upgraded the risk to "very high" and the number of countries affected has risen from "China" to "over 50" and if that term 'over 50' makes you think about Michael Parkinson trying to sell life insurance plans then you're in the right mode of thinking because there's now 20 reported cases in Britain, 57 in France, 63 in the US, entire areas of Northern Italy have now been put on lock down with 650 affected and 17 dead which as a comparison is more deaths than the Italian army achieved during WW2. There's also a case in Ireland apparently brought in by a Ryanair flight although it's not clear at this stage whether the company charged the passenger an additional €50 for having undeclared carry on.

Of course another reason this story is hitting the headlines is because it looks like this was the pin that popped the stock market bubble that's been overly set to burst for the past 2-3 years. The news media have a couple favourite cliches they like to drag out and by far and away the winners are the finance graphics. Stock footage of traders, meaningless charts, a piece done to camera whilst walking over that bridge with St Pauls and the city in the background. It almost makes me nostalgic thinking about it, but long story short the markets are dropping faster than the already heavily discounted prices of John Bercow's and David Cameron's books.

The term 'black swan' is often bandied about by economists but this is more a case of 'black death' as the ramifications of the plague are only just becoming apparent. Global supply chains apparently have a tendency to fail when the Chinese stop showing up for work apparently. The scary part I guess is that what with the propaganda, we still don't know the true scale of things in China. It's somewhat of a mystery, like one time when I got a Chinese fortune cookie after my meal, I opened it up and it simply said "that wasn't chicken"
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