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Will the Coronavirus Derail the Global Economy?

good evening thank you all for coming
here today for this event my name is Zhiguo He I’m a a professor of
Finance at the Chicago Booth and a Fama-Miller co-director at Chicago
Booth. It is my pleasure to welcome you to tonight to the event hosted by BFI-China: Will the Coronavirus Derail the Global Economy. As you may know, the
Becker Friedman Institute for Economics serves as a platform for the 250 plus
economists on the University University of Chicago campus. In 2018 we
launched BFI China in order to bring the rigor of Chicago economics to the
forefront of addressing the challenges that the Chinese economy and the
world is facing. This groundbreaking partnership between UChicago
economists and the Chinese researchers and institutions will produce new
insights on these critical policy challenges and aim to share these
findings with the world. Under the umbrella of BFI-China, we are
organizing today’s discussion on a significant issue that is facing both
the China and the world right now: the rapidly evolving coronavirus outbreak
has led to significant speculation in the media about the global economic and
health implications of the crisis. One of our goals with this round table is to
shed light on what we know and perhaps debunk some of the myths
that are circulating around the potential epidemics. We have a great
panel today, experts joining us tonight. The full bios are in your program that
are in your hand, but let me give some brief introductions first of all I would like
to introduce a close colleague of mine Chang-Tai Hsieh. Chang-Tai is a professor
of economics at Chicago Booth as well as the director of Chinese growth and
economic initiative for BFI-China and the co-director of BFI’s development
economics initiative next to Chang-Tai I’d like to welcome Emily Landon
associated professor of medicine and executive medical director for infection
prevention and control at University of Chicago Medicine. Finally I’d like to
welcome back to campus the UChicago alum Yanzhong Huang. Yanzhong is a
professor and the director of the Center for Global Health Studies at Seton
Hall University and is a senior fellow for global health at the Council
on Foreign Relations to moderate our discussion tonight is we’re very happy
pleased to have a Vox science and a health editor Eliza
Barclay we appreciate her joining us today tonight to lead this exciting
discussions with that I hand this program over to Eliza thank you thank
you so much I am thrilled to be here to moderate this conversation with this
incredible panel I’m gonna start by pulling up this page is it there yeah
okay just to you guys okay okay yeah so this this just can help put this
conversation in context this is a the data real-time generated from Johns
Hopkins University it’s being pulled from a number of different sources and
we’ll let the numbers just you can check them out there I wanted to just sort of
set some context for this conversation by walking through a few ways in which
this corona virus outbreak is really unprecedented first of all as many of
you probably know that there has been unprecedented information spread some of
it is misinformation like the allegation that the virus escaped from a germ
warfare lab in Wuhan and then there is also an astounding amount of scientific
information pouring out there dozens of clinical papers pouring out of
China every day it’s unprecedented in terms of the scientific knowledge being
generated being shared about this outbreak the size of the quarantine and
China is unprecedented there are currently around 780 million people
living under some form of travel restriction the speed of the genome
sequencing of this virus was unprecedented scientists in China
sequenced the genome and made it available on January 10th so that was
just one month after the first case was recorded and you compare that to SARS it
took several months to sequence the genome of that virus also we have a very
unusual although potentially not totally unprecedented situation of the largest
outbreak outside of China on a cruise ship anchored in Japan there are
currently over 621 cases of corona virus out of 3,700 passengers who are on that
ship and it’s it’s turned out to be both a tragic but also potentially useful
experiment right it’s a way to test the quarantine measure I think we’ll hear
more from Emily about how it’s gone but it’s showing us this this cruise ship
situation is showing us that this virus is really challenging to contain so I
want to ask a few opening questions of each of the panelists starting with you
chun-tae so while we don’t yet know the full extent of how the corona virus
outbreak will affect China’s economy and the global economy what are what are the
important early signs on that impact Thank You Emily so I want to stress that
it’s very early and there’s most of what we want to know we still don’t know yet
who he was was throwing up but this is what we’re seeing on the ground that
what you see is that big parts of the Chinese economy have shut down down so
if you think about sort of the basics of getting workers to
companies and companies getting their good goods out the travel restrictions
is just making that very very difficult I anticipate that this is gonna that
that that hopefully the the that that the health issues get settled and this
is gonna go back there’s a little bit but I would say that the the the one
thing that I would pay attention to is the following that is or the one thing
that concerns me now is is that it seems to me that what all the signs that I see
is that the central focus of the local authorities is to try to do something or
appear to try to do something about this and that is the the only thing that they
are the only thing that they are focused on and the cost of that is that
everything else goes goes to the side so we see news reports about how people
that are that are sick with other things they don’t get treated so we’ve seen in
news reports and then the reason I think in terms of the economy what one needs
to be concerned is that the the local governments have have played the central
role in explaining in in creating the the conditions for the growth of the
private sector that we have seen that for a long time for the last their you
know two or three decades this was one of their central focus or so the
question so the thing the key to look at going forward is whether that focus is
gonna come back it’s gonna come back or you you were gonna see the dilution of
attention the dilution of focus going forward towards other thing and we have
seen a little bit of science of this in the last five years you know not because
of the virus but but but but a bunch of but a bunch of other things so so the so
looking forward the thing that I think I would keep my eyes on is is what is a
local government good voice local government going to be focused
two years from now and I wanted to also ask there was a report in The New York
Times today that pointed out that there are some business leaders and economists
who are now challenged challenging the quarantine and saying hey you know how
long is this gonna go on this is a problem and so I’m just wondering what
do you make of this this growing tension around these measures well I’d like to
knows I mean that’s why you know I I’d like to know from the from from people
who know public health and doctors how big of a risk this is because I know we
have to think about it is that I I you know I I want to trade off the benefits
and the costs I mean that sort of there’s a little natural that’s what we
do like you know you know we really think it’s optimal to go to to go to a
extremes they go to shoes or I’ll just stick my head out there that is you know
if we think about say you know that is I’ll make a claim that you want to think
about how much is the optimal amount of crime but what I mean it like you know
that you can think about a society in which you view that crime is so costly
that you’re willing to do whatever it takes to bring crime down to zero right
but that’s gonna be very very costly it’s gonna be very very costly to to
bring crime down and most societies don’t do that I mean in some sense we
tolerate some level of crime in at all rate in the sense that that you know we
don’t blanket a city with police we don’t keep people in their houses
completely so I I I would like to know about what what the benefits are so that
I can think about the cost and and then we can think about what is their optimal
balance and then it could be the case and that after we’ve heard from the
medical experts that this thing is so costly that if we don’t take extreme
measures then life is going to end that could be the truth
I could richer or maybe it’s not and then there’s some other intermediate
things that we could do in which there’s just a better balance of the benefits
and the cost and I think that that’s what you are saying there basically
you have a bunch of the business leaders say is saying look this is extremely
costly right this is extremely costly so let’s thinkin so let’s have a discussion
about what these costs are do you have your spot sure there’s like 20 things to
say um so I mean I’m obviously not an economist but um but I think that a
couple a couple important things to say about epidemics and outbreaks are that
in the beginning you don’t know anything and this has been as you mentioned a
lies that unprecedented what we can know and how quickly we were able to know it
that said there’s still a lot of things about answering those key questions
about how deadly it is how dangerous it’s going to be and how human costly
it’s going to be and that really depends on a lot of things that you can’t know
right away and I also think that what so anyway in the beginning it makes sense
and most public health officials will try and do a cordon sanitaire a
quarantine whatever word you want to use they’re gonna try and contain the virus
or the bacteria or whatever illness you’re talking about the best bet in the
beginning when you have few cases is to contain at all costs contain in fact if
you could have contained this really early on when it was 20 cases you
wouldn’t see any cost only like a very small number of people would pay a cost
and there gets to a point where it’s not worthwhile to continue to try and
contain if it is in uncontainable now dr. Fauci Anthony Fauci from NIAID has
said that once we see four generations of transmission I think dr. Messier is
agreeing with this now and when there’s see four generations of transmission so
I’m sick I make you sick you make someone else sick who wasn’t
here tonight and they make their family members sick that’s four generations of
transmission and when we see that that it will be no longer appropriate to try
and contain the virus within the United States and we should let it we should
switch to a mitigation strategy this sounds a little terrifying when you’re
talking about a virus that you’ve never heard of that you’ve never seen that’s
killing thousands of people half the world over but it’s not it’s actually
very much like what we’re doing right now for influenza we have
scenes we have medications we have treatment facilities we try and keep
people who are at higher risk of influenza away from people with
influenza we try and make sure that we’re mitigating the damages that
influenza does every single year but knowing when to draw that line is hard
especially when you’re the first country that has it because there’s also this
sort of social issue of if China is unable to contain it it will spread to
the rest of the world it will be seen as a Chinese problem which it is not the
viruses don’t care what you are or what country they start in it’s not anything
to do with that it’s an unfortunate and unlucky event that happens and this
virus appears as you mentioned with the cruise ship to be nearly impossible to
control the spread of and so many people in public health are also arguing that
it may be time for us to think more about mitigation and less about less
about containment but that’s a very that’s gonna be a big shift for
Americans especially in the u.s. it’s a big shift to go from this this virus
that I’m seeing all these memes about on on Twitter and on Instagram and now
we’re just gonna let it run through our communities then everything’s gonna be
just fine I’m it’s sort of a really really big shift to make and and what is
it about the virus itself is it it’s high contagiousness that means that is
for the reason why it’s been so hard to contain yeah I think the methods by
which one has to sort of put in that cordon sanitaire that like the
containment plan in the beginning no one expected this virus was going to be this
this contagious because even like regular old coronaviruses that we get
from colds don’t appear to be this transmissible but based on what we see
on the cruise ship it’s probably pretty bad it’s probably pretty easy to
transmit numbers of people there certainly are now we can acknowledge
asymptomatic individuals testing positive people with definite symptoms
and definite exposures testing negatives so we have sort of an inadequate testing
situation you can’t actually be able to tell quickly who’s sick and who’s not
sick it’s difficult then to tell who’s
exposed and who’s not exposed if you think you have to be within six feet of
someone for ten minutes but then it turns out that a bunch of people got
sick and they weren’t within six feet of someone for ten minutes then all of a
sudden you have to change everything and all your rules change and so we have to
be nimble but it’s really hard to wrap your head around your own personal
health safety and being nimble about the risks that you face as an individual
that’s it’s it’s different and we do certainly do a lot of risk benefit
analysis in medicine too but but it’s always left to an individual person to
decide what their risk benefit tolerance is and that’s a little bit different
here because public health will be making the decision for all of us and we
don’t usually approach things like that in medicine
young young you are an expert in public health in China and the government’s
ability to detect disease outbreaks so do you think that the the topic now as
Emily said this is an unlucky occurrence it could have happened anywhere
perhaps but do you think that the top authorities in China did too little too
late and for political reasons potentially great question well first of
all I have to admit to confess that not a public health expert by training
actually I’ve graduated political science department here at the U of C
and I saw my mentor professor Tali young there so but my dissertation accuracy
supervisor professor young some health politics in China so when we look at the
D I guess you are asking the question about the government response to the
initial outbreak it not after January 20th you know now I think we have a
sufficient information we could sort of connect the dots now piece together all
this information it should be a more complete picture now of what how the
government actually responded to the initial outbreak my so according to the
Chinese scientists well the outbreak probably
began as early as November 2019 then you have this doctor Li right that he
noticed something that is dangerous similar to SARS so he share that
information I are with his friends and relatives name but he was disciplined
you know for spreading the rumor right and of course by the he later he was
infected and he used his death basically to prove he was not the rumor monger
you know that was a tragic story of course by then you have another doctor
how she was treating the patients but dr. Jang I noticed that this is
something really is going to be big right that we got to report right so she
insisted that they report to the uplevel health authorities so the Wu hang out
Health Commission got that information I believe through that the online
reporting system the National CDC also got that message that is why on December
31st right that the National CDC sent a team to investigate what happened you
high right and there I think their conclusion probably support this there’s
human to human transmission so that is why the China then share that
information with a w-h-o and the United States on January 3rd right at that time
us points to human to human transmission and President Xi apparently also got
that message away so that is why on January 7th
but he issued that directive might I’m taking actions on the outbreak but we
don’t know exact content of that directive but they people suspected it
was very likely like you got to do something on that but in the meantime
don’t ruin the atmosphere for celebrating the spring
so for the national local governments that was a very difficult decision to
implement and that was also compounded by these so-called two sessions right at
the local level a two session that is like the most important political events
at the local level national level because that is the political
consultative conferences and their People’s Congress by the electing new
leaders so that was between January 5th and January levels who I see so that
they studied the issue they closed down the they see the seafood market and
January 1st they also issued reports and daily basis about the outbreak until
January 5th then they became silent until January 11th are they again you
should report on the outbreak but again there was this two sessions at the who
Bay the the provincial level right so again you saw this silence right between
the January 11th and the January 17th that’s wearing the meeting ended right
so there was both in action and then also lack of risk communication with the
public right people were completely prepared for the outbreak you saw that
in a way dr. John nan Xiang announced you know at the press conference you
know this is indeed human to human transmission I the Hubei they provided
it is in Wuhan there was two people celebrating right this after this
potluck event you know everybody shared their like dishes with each other so
that’s like a photo ground for the further spread of the virus so
essentially like two weeks if we count to this January seventh as the way that
the virus already was spreading like a combustor right the thing there was lack
of at the local level by until January 18
actually until January 23rd so essentially at least two weeks were
squandered and what do you make of the the mass quarantine as as it is dragging
on now for weeks it is very interesting that data as we just talked about this I
found it interesting that despite this advancement in biotechnology right there
you know so far but it’s sort of we still believe that the Silver Bullet a
right to containing the virus still those centuries old instrument
essentially right cordon sanitaire quarantine right the lazarettos if you
will a quarantine actually is derived from Italian means you know forty days
but that was that your first time or you implemented by the city-states in Europe
being under God so the question here would remains you know how to what
extent these measures are effective you know if you actually look at the results
outbreak you know people the Chinese government like to say well because of
their decisive measures as mass quarantine measures you know the virus
died out but that seems to be not that accurate if you look at the actual the
data in fact the reproduction number of the virus we caught our night actually
already was below one right because if it’s below one that means that the virus
lost momentum users cannot that leads to sustained transmission it is all it was
already below one before the government implemented mass containment measures
you know so in that sense this containment approach may prevent the
spread of virus in unaffected regions but it not leads to the factual
containment of the virus okay so for now this one again you might make
actually strong case that indeed it prevent at least contain the spread of
the virus seem unaffected reading the regions other than you hang or who Bay
provinces but to what extent it actually contain the spread of Raz who I who by
you know I think that is a big question mark I don’t think it did at all I think
it basically who Bay was like a giant cruise ship off the coast of Japan I
mean it was this sacrifice of who Bay province it said we’re gonna just let
everybody this can run amok in Hubei province but we’re not gonna let it get
out to our other cities and if it does get out to our other cities which it
would inevitably do we’ll be able to contain it there with very few people
isolated or by social distancing which is a like quarantine light it’s like
don’t go to big public events we want a big public events and don’t you know do
other things stand a meter away from other people but you don’t have to stay
home right so they said well let’s then we can keep everything going by if if
the embers of the problem in in Hubei get out and they land in these other
cities then we can stop them from becoming fires by by starving them of
oxygen by not letting the virus pass to other people in those areas with more
limited quarantine but that is not what’s happening and and I think that a
lot of that is because it’s so much more transmissible than anybody expected I
think with SARS as you mentioned a lot of people did their own people
automatically do their own social distancing like they will protect
themselves and stay home even without quarantine for a period of time until
they’re tired of it and and that helps and it helped pull
down that are not the are not is a fascinating number it’s the number of
people that one sick person will infect for measles it’s 15 to 18 measles most
transmissible disease known to man if everybody’s not vaccinated now if you’re
vaccinated that’s no wait lower but the are not matters if it’s over one it
means your outbreak is still spreading is expanding exponentially basically
because every one person will infect two or three or even 1.5 is still a lot of
spread but if the number is less than one it means that every infected person
doesn’t even in to another person which means you’re
definitely coming down the whole goal of quarantine and all of these things is
not to prevent everybody from getting sick much as we in the u.s. like to
think of our health as being of the predominant most important thing to
everyone and we must at all costs protect every single human being that’s
not quite how it works in public health really the goal is to get that are not
below one and then mathematically the the disease will burn out and and can
you remind us where is it yeah so there have been estimates between two and six
probably somewhere in there and that’s huge okay see that is not an error rate
like a like a standard deviation that you want way too big the size of is
between two and five yeah but you can’t really know right away because the and
then is this an okay time to talk about numbers yes yeah I was gonna so numbers
are tough in epidemics because the same people who are supposed to count the
sick the the recovered the exposed and the dead are the same people who are
supposed to make the rules about who has to stay home and who has to be in this
isolation room and who can go out who can’t and what who’s at risk and I told
you earlier that everything changes every day as you learn more and so the
rules change then you got to go and re-educate all the people so that they
can enforce the rules so that you can make sure everybody’s following the
rules that you’ve put in place in order to protect people and then oftentimes
these are also the people have to take care of the sick and so the counting is
hard to get done and so you can never a hundred percent rely on numbers that
come out in the middle of an epidemic they’re just in the beginning they’re
fine right the first hundreds a few hundreds cases but once your health
system starts to get overwhelmed you can’t afford there’s not like a pile of
epidemiologists sitting around waiting for this and to come up to do work right
they’re they’re doing other things and you have to pull them off those tasks to
do this so then someone else has to fill that job and it just becomes
unmanageable and so Emily are you saying that those numbers that look so solid
are really not they can’t be right and
and it’s not it I think you know there’s a possibility of course there’s a lot of
chatter about the Chinese maybe making this look a little bit better than it is
and not report but I don’t we don’t even need to I don’t know if that’s happening
but I will tell you they can’t possibly count all the people who stayed home
with a cold and didn’t even bother going to the hospital because they didn’t care
if they had the flu or had corona virus they were just gonna stay in their house
and get better and only go if they got sicker and that’s what I would do if I
wasn’t a doctor and an epidemiologist but I mean like that’s what a lot of
people would do so I think I think there are a lot more people in that
denominator the number of people who are sick is far greater and the way to
figure that out is by doing serological testing to go back after everybody’s
done and take blood and say do you have antibodies to this virus do you not
we’re only now like i think i saw at the first tweets today about which i’m not
sure a reliable about about the first serological study tests being able to be
even done so it takes a while to do those antibody tests and so i think it’s
gonna be a long time before we know really what the are not was what it is
now on that cruise ship we can probably calculate it though which is what makes
that kind of interesting and but one day it will be fixed right we will have a
definitive probably be arranged it’s always arranged always what you do
matters right so in a tiny little town in rural Illinois where there’s one
clinic and one doctor and most people live miles and miles away from each
other there are knots can be very different than what’s gonna be on a
college campus here I’m not trying to scare people the university would be
very unhappy with that the point being that our human connections matter and
what we do to help prevent things you could also argue that they are not could
be lower on a college campus where people are paying attention and where
we’re gonna put people into appropriate safe isolations or quarantines if needed
in order to prevent spread or at least scatter people get them separated enough
that they’re less likely whereas there may be very little Public Health in a
rural town and so there may be everybody goes to church one Sunday and then you
know so it’s hard to know but definitely our human interactions and our behavior
matter for they are not so it’ll always be arranged
but I think it looks like it’ll it’ll come out between two and six chun-tae you mentioned earlier the the
local Communist Party officials and I’m curious that they’re in a really tough
spot they’ve been in a tough spot this whole time and this is a incredibly
challenging situation what what are what are the various incentives that they’re
facing can you can you kind of help us see what what they’re up against
well little until a few days ago I mean it was clear that there that they that
they had one objective which is to get this down I mean that that was only now
a few days ago President Xi also made another statement and another statement
that they also have to get their economy up and and and running without providing
details on how that was going to be done so I think was Yin Tong was something
was saying about the conflicting the conflicting signals the signals and I I
don’t I mean I would love to be able to see their internal directives I don’t
see them I don’t see that but I I don’t know what exactly are the instructions
on how that is to be how that is to be accomplished and what information or
what signals they’re getting from the party apparatus on how they’re gonna be
punished and rewarded for you know if for example if you’re the if you’re the
mayor of what’s that city that has there has this really large Foxconn Factory it
was a city of so that is a plant with 200 thousand people to doing it and now
only a fraction of their workers are able to come back well you know if
there’s a major outbreak there because the party the the local party secretary
heeded the second set of instructions to get the economy up and running and
there’s always that risk I mean there’s the there there there’s but he did get
the plant up and running what’s gonna be that you know what’s the
consequence of that just to follow up what you said what when you are local
government official of mail for example you are being told like you need to
improve your local economy but in the meantime you need to make sure there
will be no new infections the latter is apparently more
quantifiable than the former right there is because the local leaders they are
very strategic right they are only going to pursue or implement those targets
that objectives that are quantifiable right so now I would expect that they’re
probably still going to focus on health continuum the virus gets you especially
when you are told in some localities if you found like an one more case you’re
gonna be big trouble right they will certainly have no incentives like that
you promote account because these two objectives that sort of self-control
dictor we don’t need to be that’s from a medical standpoint they don’t have to be
you can say we’re going to switch to mitigation people who are over this age
shouldn’t come out they should stay at home and people who are well should
bring them food and things and they shouldn’t come to work at the factories
but people who are younger and who are healthy should and we want to focus on
not having any more deaths not not having any more cases just let the virus
burn its way through I mean look at that it sounds awful but it’s not look at
children so children the newest pediatric information that
came out shows that a ton of children are positive for this but they’re not
getting very sick and it seems age is the greatest risk factor certainly that
that method wouldn’t be a hundred percent foolproof but it would be more
balanced can we say that it’s actually going to be in terms of impact on the
economy this is my hypothesis and certainly John Kay you could dispute
that right actually since there be a this the old age is the biggest risk
factor right there you would expect that in terms of the impact of the economy
the GDP per capita is technical it could increase because that’s technology good
terms economics of the Black Death right right GDP per worker went up put push you a
bit so I’m not an economist no no no but you seem to be hinting that what is
being done right now I mean maybe you have a minute and you said that what’s
being done the massive quarantines I mean the other thing like that that that
I that that I see is that the massive quantity is not just there but every
city has been doing has been doing the same thing so it’s not just that initial
strategy that that that you mentioned of trying to contain the embers that
everybody is doing the wuhan strategy by the US public health metric of like four
generations of transmission would make us want to reconsider and switch to a
mitigation plan if you were to apply that in China then it’s probably not
appropriate to continue to have major quarantines now I want to be clear this
disease is it appears to be it’s much the reason it was noticed is that it’s
worse than the common cold it’s not like influenza it will come out with a death
rate higher than influenza 30,000 Americans die every year of influenza we
accept that as being part of the deal of the winter and this would be like having
another doubly bad at least flu season on the tail of our regular flu season
and it would affect more people because no one has any antibodies this is not an
easy decision to make and but it doesn’t appear to be containable anymore and so
at some point you have to decide that you’re going to maximize the resources
to take care of the people that are the sickest and figure out a way I don’t
know whether it’s but I would say anything you could do to
help keep the situation from ending up like in Wuhan we suspect and believe
that there probably are people dying because they cannot get to a hospital
there isn’t a bed for them well I fully agree with you and the industry of the
need profit of transition to a mitigation price the strategy chapter 10
days ago I published a piece in China Newsweek calling for this transition but
I think at this time it’s politically yeah not acceptable you know that
because actually we have people in China saying that this us this implementation
of the mitigation strategy during the 2009 h1n1 pandemic
it’s indication of us being weak being incompetent one thing one point just to
clarify my understanding that a big driver of this economic impact even
though we don’t know the full extent yet is that there are so many migrant
workers who are not allowed to travel back to their their workplace direct
potentially a third and so it’s it’s really it seems to me that at a certain
point right China may have to decide lift the roadblocks let people travel
again and the question is you know when anyone have any thoughts on when that
that could happen or what might be the driver like is it gonna take w-h-o or is
it gonna be an internal decision I mean Seussical was was taught it was
it was telling me today that you have lots of companies that are taking
matters into their own hands that they’re sending out caravans they’re
sending out charter planes to bring their workers back to bring their
workers back and imagine a part of that is that you also have to negotiate these
deals with the local party secretaries to make an exemption for for for these
people so imagine this is something that Fox come can do and Alibaba can do so
you know powerful firms can do this but the typical firm Perley doesn’t have the
connections or the or the resources to make that happen yeah well they’re making their allow
they’re putting people back to work for to make personal protective equipment
yes masks which we can’t we can’t get more we’re we’re not short of and 95
respirators but we certainly can’t get as many as we want no one can the facial
speaker masters this is actually sort of a bottleneck problem in actually
preventing the workers to resume walking because you China has a maximum mask
manufacturing capacity of nearly 30 million a day but look at the demand
side need 1.8 billion today I so you know I about to receive that is the
cause from my relatives in China said we only have two maskers at home you know
and we can’t just even go outside you know because either in this case you
either like you know like go out like once every six days or use the same mask
for six days right so and now we already have heard those cases across infection
when workers you know reserve returned to their factory is that only even
though that might be isolated cases there was enough that sure to send it is
the wrong message from not a good idea you know until you go back to work it’ll
take a couple weeks to do yeah because of the doubling time I would say one
more thing about the mass so this is something I have looked into I’ve looked
into the mass production of mass is heavily locally concentrated English and
how Hebei province actually and then what what I think is partly is going on
is that the local authorities they have every incentive to to try to keep the
mass locally so the part of what I think’s going on is that there’s also
what I will call a miss allocation a mask that that yeah some people some
places and for too many and other places don’t have Emily I wanted to ask are you concerned
about countries with weak or health systems I know that many people in your
field are that if this starts to spread rapidly in some parts of sub-saharan
Africa it could be much more serious the heroic containment efforts that
China has been trying to do will certainly buy time for the rest of the
world to be prepared for this and that is the greatest gift I think that that
can be given from the suffering of the people that are in these quarantines the
difficult positions that they’re in that will bite I it has bought time for us
those embers take time to grow into fire but there are countries that are
reporting no cases or one case that obviously have far more I mean need to
look at the modeling from the airplane traffic they have far more people coming
from China there’s no way that they don’t have more cases than that and and
there’s without any sort of public health system it can be really difficult
to know exactly what’s going on and people are asking me now at the hospital
you have to rejig you have to talk to me before you travel anywhere especially in
Asia so that I can tell you if you’ll be able to come back to work when you
return and a lot of people just ask and it’s spring break time coming and I get
emails every day I’m going to Japan I’m going to Singapore I’m going to Cambodia
not a good I’m going on a cruise and I’m trying but some of these people are
going to see their family like they’re not they’re not going on a liquid you
know they’re going you know they’re going home and and they want to make
sure everybody’s okay and it’s it is really challenging to know what to do we
are probably you know as in public health in America in the US they they
started out by just talking about Wuhan and then it was who Bay and then it was
all of mainland China and now we’re at this precipice again where the
restrictions and the quarantines and the isolations and all of that are being
drawn around China but we’re obviously at a point
where we’re edging toward the next expansion of that risk area and it’s
hard to give people advice about what’s going to happen because the rules for
healthcare workers and in universities as you all have seen in your emails are
more stringent than they are in other places and so certainly I don’t think
we’re going to have you know so many of our health care workers come back from
trips to Asia in March and April that you can’t function but there really is a
significant confusion about what to do in these areas I’m not sure what else to
say it’s very unknown yeah and I think you
alluded to this earlier but but we really may be looking at the tip of the
iceberg so it’s there’s an iceberg I have no idea how much of it we’re
looking at in different places you’re seeing different amounts of it Singapore
Singapore is amazing if you want to read like a really good epidemiologic survey
of this search for Singapore coronavirus and you will see looking like The
Straits Times it’s amazing they’ll like report out every single patient by case
number who they had contact with where they picked it up which cluster they’re
apart of what their address is what you’re supposed to do if you live there
if you think it’s you think you might have known this person it’s amazing
right and we’re not that good even but I still think that but they’re still
having ongoing transmission in communities third and fourth generations
of transmission they’re certainly getting they’re doing their best to keep
it under control but it is it’s hard South Korea reported it’s like I think
50 new cases overnight last night I can’t imagine what happens when your
country comes back with 50 new cases in one area that’s just you obviously have
an iceberg and there’s a lot there’s a lot of really challenging questions that
China is facing right now and they’re facing a lot of places and we’re not
immune to them yumjong I’m curious what are your concerns around the we talked a
little bit about this but the social toll of the quarantine and
tended consequences yeah so when you are doing the policy if
effective analysis by the century right we will compare right this the policy
that it goes by the to the actual right the policy outcome in today whether you
have a fulfilled a the policy goes but so to the extent that this is being a
situations being stabilized my nationwide in China and even you hanging
seems that now situation is improving although this still you know this
question of how reliable the data is also complicated by this changing
methods have come from a new Casey yeah this is confusing it’s can be causing
all the confusion seems to have created a nice peak yeah so but anyway they if
you consider this not just at this cost-benefit thing right when you talk
about those unintended might undesirable consequences all those top down mass
quarantine measures have created right it’s a lot you know I you know sometimes
you it’s very hard to even you know say whether this is really was the wow you
know justifiable because you talk about not certainly economy but that’s big
concern here innocent people predictions buried in some city might you know this
Chinese economy is resilient enough right you might have like a steel more
than five percent and your economic growth you know some you know more
pessimistic would say this is a Chinese economy is going to shrink this year but
this is one I’m not the economy society let leave to Shanghai to elaborate that
then you talk about other like there’s unintended consequence in other areas
like health care you know conventional diseases you know people
China for example has like 800,000 HIV patients they need life-saving medicines
I this now my this is actually now they’re in danger of that being the the
supply chain being disrupted you know they are challenges of access into this
life-saving medicines they’re also people China has n CDs we call non
communicable diseases it is 7% of the fatalities in China attributed to n CDs
including cancer cardiovascular diseases respiratory conditions diabetes you name
it the adjuster for diabetes there’s more
than 100 milling people this is like words you know diabetes capital you know
these people they need right the support with health care they need the medicine
right but now this is all being interrupted you know I have like a
friend who just told me that he’s a he’s a father-in-law was sick and he he’s a
mother-in-law was taking care of him but because of lack of health care his
mother-in-law was infected I’m not infected it was sick and and died and
then he’s his father-in-law was in critical condition you know this is I
think this kind of story is being repeated you know across shrine this one
I think a hospital high you know they basically affected others terminal
cancer patients you know for so that the debates could be back inta for those
coronavirus patients so this also raised a lot of those ethical questions right
to what extend right there whose lives is was more you know that the
coronavirus patients or the cancer patients so there are a lot of questions
is this raised in terms of this evaluating the effectiveness of this
approach thank you chun-tae I wanted to come back to you and we discussed over
email a little interesting provocative article by Ian
Bremmer CEO of Eurasia Group he argued made of several interesting points one
that a top-down system like China’s makes a healthcare system more
vulnerable but he also said that China’s reputation as a reliable trade partner
may suffer in the wake of the outbreak what do you think about that so I must
say I didn’t I haven’t read the piece so I can say but I let me take the two
points one is I think it’s I mean I think it’s commonly it’s it’s so it’s an
argument you hear commonly very frequently that China is a top-down
system that is actually just a fundamental misunderstanding of how the
Chinese system works that it’s a much more complicated thing it’s a much more
complicating that it for in terms of how the economy operates I think for large
parts of the last three decades it was very much a bottom-up system it was very
much a system in which it was what all these local governments were doing to
try to get to try to get businesses going in in there to get in their local
comb in their local communities the second pieces on now what you do see
is that they are sometimes campaigns in which the it’s not really the central
government that’s not the way that I would put it but it’s the authorities of
the Communist Party make it clear there certain things really are a priority
like the virus thing now it’s clear that it is really a probably two or six years
ago there was another big campaign that I haven’t seen anywhere in the media
in the media which is about the crackdown on pollution they’re starting
a firefighter there was a massive crackdown pollution there for decades
local governments just ignored like nor but start a fire about five or six six
years ago they took it seriously I mean they took their because now it was clear
from na and it’s not the central government it’s it’s really not the
ministry it’s is really not where the powers but it’s it’s really where that
it was viewed that it became clear that this was a central it was a central
priority so what you do see is that there’s been massive cleanup I mean
that’s what you see and I also think that there have been very big cost very
big economic costs of the crackdown on food but the air is cleaner and all
kinds of you know all all the indication in terms of being a reliable trading
partner right that’s I guess it comes back to the answer I gave to the first
question it depends on whether on what you see two years in the future I mean
what you see I mean it’s my sense is that everybody understands that there is
an epidemic right now and you can’t do and things and there and and you can’t
fulfill your contracts there’s certain things that you can do I think that
everybody that you know it’s like you know a hurricane hits Houston and you
know certain things you just can’t do and I think that everybody everybody s
sensible understands that the question is is what do you see you know once once
this this the disease environment goes down what are local governments doing
and data again I mean I guess we just don’t know now that chunk I brought that up that
the issue of the environmental governance is I actually have a book
coming out from Cambridge entitled toxic politics the China’s environmental
health crisis and the challenge to this date is if now it’s just that I
upon the their website so if you’re interested actually answer the party
here partially answer your question if you’re interested feel free actually to
preorder it thank you sorry do you this gem this Purcell promotion ask the two
of you can work it in okay please and and when you there will be
microphones circulating and please identify yourself and ask a question
thank you I’m dolly Yong in the political science department I have a
brief comment and also a question the common is this and I want a beautiful
chant a mention actually the China actually developed one of the most
extensive the CDC system for our reporting infectious diseases but that
system did not function for this in fact in December none of the the
simply the doctors the local hospitals did not import the data into the system
so so in many ways I have a shot I say coming out actually that discusses some
of this there are other mistakes there are also major to follow just from a
technical perspective without dealing with politics although there is politics
definitely there so the question is for Emily what’s your assessment for vaccine
it’s gonna be a good long time before we’ll get a vaccine I’m hoping that
it’ll go faster than it usually does and it appears as though some labs have
already had key vaccine candidates that they’re ready to try testing and animals
but the process of testing for safety and efficacy is long it’s long because
you want it to be long you want to know that when you get that vaccine that
nothing nothing bad is gonna happen to you and that it’s gonna do what you
expect it to do and so unfortunately I don’t think they’re gonna be able to
stress it any faster it was so nice with h1n1 in 2009 because it was just a flu
and we make a flu vaccine every year and so it was just changing out the antigens
that could go pretty quickly but this is not gonna be a simple it took one year
to develop a vaccine for SARS but we need to came out already all there’s a
crazy were gone so you cannot even put into
the clinical trial or do you test it out effectively because some questions down
here hello I’m Martin and it’s a great potion meet you again dr. Ellen
so the whu-oh has done a lot of controversial oofs regarding the corona
virus about the timing of their actions as well as perhaps a naming issue of the
virus and some people speculate that the whu-oh is under the influence of certain
political powers as well so after this corona virus issue should
we reevaluate our trust in the w-h-o people and that there are
politically neutral or whether they are scientifically sound anymore I think I
think I think we have to let them make the decision about when it’s a public
health emergency of international concern whatever they want to and I
think that they they made some really good points about it’s really hard to go
from red to green to red you know like maybe we need a yellow and and I think
that that’s that’s fair about the naming the names dumb Cove ignite is very very
it doesn’t have to have Wuhan in it I’m fine with that like I think it’s okay to
not name viruses after the locations that they come from although we kind of
have done that for a long time but I this names dumb well I would say well
it’s not that creative and I couldn’t stop people from calling it Wuhan
pneumonia like I mean I just I think it’s like it doesn’t serve they could
have just a fun a bit I thought to answer your question right that happened
we have done the research on WH er reform you know WH er needs to reform
you know that where Margaret Chan became the WH er director-general she kicked
off the W reform process that was 2010 but unfortunately that didn’t work out
in terms the funding structural and fixes this
broader this decision-making a system that is the member state driven process
we have to keep in mind WH o is not a super national organization you know
that actually it has to listen to what members total tell them you know that
especially some bigger powers unfortunately right that you would
expect in the idea word as a technical Authority you will respond to the
development in the biological world right but you know in the reality right
there is in their decision-making it has to also respond to developments in the
political world I think I can only say I think that history is gonna give us a
lot more you know in the future we’re gonna be able to look back on this with
a lot more understanding of what happened but it’s really hard to make a
lot of judgments now it makes sense that China would have had the most influence
they were the ones with the infections but did they have too much hard to say
there was one question here and one here and one here Vinci della I was just
wondering what is then the level of cooperation between China and the US CDC
because I keep on hearing on the news that the CDC wanted to offer a team to
go into China and they were refused I’ve heard the same thing on every CDC press
call and every CDC and public health call but nothing more and nothing less
it’s was asked about same question this morning from Reporter the what in the
disease outbreak like this you know you it’s certainly well now it’s being
declared public house emergency international concern which means you
need international cooperation I so when the US CDC offered aid to China you know
that I would expect to China accepted that right but unfortunately well now in
this case but this is all unfolding the bigger background of the deteriorating
us-china relations this lack of trust misperceptions you know now
political sized you know that decision of whether to accept the u.s. offer and
that also explained probably why even though now finally us experts join the
debate wrote a team in China they not they’re going to visit to Ojai to my
knowledge they’re not hi my name is Peter um looking at that diagram up
there I don’t see North Korea on there is anything known about the situation
there there’s like stuff on Twitter about it I don’t think any of that I
don’t know I wouldn’t counted as reliable when those Korea shut down the
land border was China that immediately after the outbreak was reported and the
country and the I think or they currently well there’s a fishery they
had this virus free I think there was right a rumor has it that there was
official you know who be the China returned without reporting it was
immediately executed this is a room hey so my cos here I’m a graduate student at
the Booth School of Business and so I have two questions the first is you know
it’s a total layperson can you help sort of contextualized why this is such a
global issue at the moment because Emily I know you mentioned earlier that for
example the flu in the United States kills every year or maybe thirty
thousand people and so you know looking at a number like two thousand currently
and it doesn’t seem like it’s this global health issue maybe not at the
moment and then you know maybe it’s because it’s more of from an economic
perspective that you know China is such a large economy it has opportunity to
kind of cripple that and then the second question is you know it’s February 2021
can I travel to China I will say an answer to your first question about
epidemic why it’s a big deal it’s really transmissible and you have to do some
math in your head in order to understand but like there’s only about a quarter of
people that are actually susceptible to flu any given year because of your
asked immune history and whatever and the vaccine and alls it’s a hundred
percent for this and so if you do the numbers you can read all these different
people model what its gonna be and it comes out being like millions of
millions of people infected and then some proportion of them dying but if you
have to that you know thirty thousand people died of influenza every year it
could be way way more because way way more people will get sick including all
those asymptomatic people and the children and we don’t know yet because I
can’t tell you the case fatality ratio cuz I don’t know and so it has the
potential to be really bad plus the other piece is that it’s a really long
illness so people get sick for a week and they’re doing okay then in the
second week they realize they’re sicker they need oxygen they have to go to the
hospital then by the end of the second week they’re on a ventilator then
they’re on a ventilator for another week and a half maybe and that’s a small
proportion of the people but if everybody’s susceptible that’s more
people than we have ventilators on ventilators for longer than people are
usually on ventilators it becomes a math problem of we don’t have a system if
those predictions are true the the more serious predictions that you see of like
you know where you look at like thirty percent of Americans are infected of
those 20 percent need to be hustlin we can’t do that here
there’s not enough ICU beds or ventilators to handle that so slowing it
down buying time and figuring out what medications will help fix people earlier
through the trials that are ongoing in China make a huge difference huge
difference actually answer your question this political science theory basically
when you talk about this capture two different type of diseases you know
seasonal influenza right this is something we have got used to it I know
it’s predictable we developer like the risk you know that is that your close
food at actually what are the risk actually poses but for like unknowing
potential life-threatening disease like chronovisor you are NOAA coronavirus
people is going to develop a this exaggerated risk right this is what we
could different type of risk what we could read it
you know that because they don’t know what their various still we don’t have a
lot of unknowns about that right so they tend to exaggerate the risk and so for
this type of this disease problem is acute disease outbreak the World Health
Organization would consider that part of what we call global health security you
know that so that disease case objectives what we call securitisation
you know that the requires measures beyond those normal political procedures
but that for the seasonal influenza last question compared to what’s my name is
Ray I work at the Economics Department sorry I have Asperger questions but the
tip of it is do you think oh it’s kind of twofold it do you think the panic
that is seeing a mother public is rational or justify or at for example so
when there was like two places in the US my friends who don’t even look Asian it
was on the bus and she cleared her throat and she was shown by people in
the past and you look at all these like reporting and panic on the Internet you
think it’s like rational justified and what contributed to this how we could do
better let’s like part of it the other is do
you think the media’s attitude everything towards what’s happening it’s
rational and justified and it’s unbiased because the thing is hunger is 20/20 but
they did not have that and and if say that the ratio says I oh they’re doing
okay job that people think oh they Rick so do you think that is justified or is
there some like biasness and some factors at play there thank you so much
I’ll just say that I think I think panic is never a good idea like it’s not gonna
help you get better or avoid getting sick or anything and and currently like
in the United States the risk to everyone today is extremely low from
everything that you know and even if the virus does come
here and make many many people sick the vast majority of people are gonna be
just fine after they’re done with their illness it may put a huge strain on our
healthcare system to get everybody to just fine but the vast majority of
people are gonna be just fine and I think that the media can be really cruel
I think it’s really hard I want to be really kind to these people who are
responding to this outbreak because you know if it does come here and I’m like
in my hospital during my very best to make sure every healthcare worker
doesn’t get this virus and you know I’m gonna work really hard and we’re gonna
do everything we can but we might not do it all right and so it’s really hard to
see a conspiracy theory or a conspiracy situation when you when I know that it’s
really challenging this situation so I’m not willing to go along with the
conspiracy stuff right now I just don’t think that we need it it’s bad enough
without that we can deal with that stuff later panic is always bad for the
economy according to a study conducted by the World Bank 90% the losses during
the outbreak was caused by panic driven uncoordinated chaotic response okay I
think we are out of time thank you so much to all of you and tossing

Robin Kshlerin



  1. Mike Garcia Posted on February 22, 2020 at 7:36 am

    0_o I stopped watching as soon as the first speaker said "Potential Epidemics".

  2. Ning Posted on February 22, 2020 at 8:48 am

    Don’t like the laughs. Sounds bad.

  3. johnny rotten Posted on February 22, 2020 at 10:07 pm

    These people are idiots

  4. Hiroko Morioka Posted on February 25, 2020 at 11:32 am

    Bizzare discussion. They talk about economic much effects more than human death. Money is more important in the USA academic sphere. They're as bad as the Chinese Government.