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COVID-19 Daily Update 31 March 2020

If you live and work in the US, prepare for a weak dollar, sky-high inflation, and obscene unemployment levels for the next two to three years.

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What you need to know right now - Worldwide

CONFIRMED CASES

799,723

CONFIRMED DEATHS

38,721

  • Almost every country in the world is underreporting both cases of COVID-19 and deaths from it. Some countries, like China, are covering up the numbers, while others like France, Italy, and the UK aren't counting deaths unless they happen in a hospital. As bad as this is, it's actually much worse.
  • America took the lead in total reported cases, but (a) that's a garbage number...see above, and (b) it's not on a per capita basis.
  • On a per-capita basis, the US is twenty-first. Tiny San Marino is number one, having lost 25 of its 33k citizens.
  • Southern Europe continues to get clobbered. Over 20k deaths between Italy and Spain. They top the list at numbers one and two, respectively, for total deaths, and numbers two and three on a per-capita basis.

Want to help? Click here to see a list of charities supporting communities affected by the outbreak.


What you need to know right now - USA

CONFIRMED CASES

164,359

CONFIRMED DEATHS

3,173

  • Red states are getting redder, as the virus sweeps through the American south and midwest. Michigan, Missouri, and Ohio are skyrocketing. Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee, Cleveland, St. Louis, and Kansas City are new hotspots.
  • If New York were a country, its death count (1,342) would rank eight globally.
  • Oil hit its lowest point in eighteen years yesterday.

The US is more like EU than China

When you're trying to model out the likely death toll and timeline in the US, it's a bit useless viewing the country as a whole. Every state's governor has in his or her power to lock down or not. To guide social distancing or not. And so rather than one homogenous pattern of growth, you see something like this.

Deaths per day by state

Some states have taken the pandemic more seriously from the beginning, notably California and Washington. They very quickly locked things down and enforced social distancing.

Others, like MississippiMissouri, Florida, Oklahoma, and West Virginia, have not. Louisiana, which allowed Mardi Gras to carry on this year, is one striking example of states' rights.

So what's the upshot then?

First, there's no unified or coordinated national strategy or plan for resource allocation, and there's no unified strategy for social distancing, self-isolation, or lockdown.

So some states will be hit harder than others. Some will be left with far more death and economic debris than others.

And when the time comes, there will be no single Freedom Day. Every state and municipality will relax lockdown at their own pace.

What happens then, when your state or city is in lockdown, but the next one over isn't? How tempted are you to break quarantine to jump the county line for a six-pack of beer? Will they let you in? Will you be met with armed resistance if you try?

And how might this affect the electoral map in November? As discussed last week, a lot of mismanagement is taking place in swing states. If they're harder hit than necessary, or if a significant per cent of their older population (which votes red) dies, how might that shift the political landscape?

Quite a lot, I'd suggest.

America's tenuous place in the world

This dynamic can be extrapolated globally.

Currently, the United States is on the most aggressive death trajectory in the world.

Where other hard-hit countries are starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel
  • Italy and Spain are levelling off, Germany is on the right track.
  • China has flatlined, or if they haven't, they've covered it up well enough that it won't make a difference
And the southern hemisphere has had and will get longer to prepare.

Most of the first world will be through the worst of the pandemic by the beginning of June, and the southern hemisphere will enjoy a more flattened curve, whereas America will carry on through August its current rate.

America will be hit harder and longer than any other industrialised country in the world.

How much of an advantage will China's five-month head start give it in the global markets for the foreseeable future? What about the EU's two-month lead?

If you live and work in the US, prepare for a weak dollar, sky-high inflation, and obscene unemployment levels for the next two to three years.

Time to get yourself a Bowie knife.

Carter Hopkins

Carter is a former US Army Ranger, US Army intelligence officer, and counterintelligence officer with the Defence Intelligence Agency. He has a BA in Political Science from UCLA and an MA in Security Studies from Georgetown.

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