Seaborn Hall, 03/13/20, updated 3/19/20, check back for updates

Coronavirus 2019: Historical Context

No one remembers H1N1, the swine flu, in 2009, but it infected 1.4 billion globally, almost 60 million in the US, and killed up to 575,000 in the space of just one year. Over 12,000 of the dead were in the US. 265,000 were hospitalized in the US in just the short period from April 2009 to March 2010.

H1N1 is the best comparison with the current Coronavirus – not because it is the same type of infection, it is not, but based on the potential to spread. CS went on record early saying that we don’t believe this crisis will be as bad or infect or kill as many as H1N1 did in 2009-10.

 

As of early 3/12/20, Coronavirus had infected 127,810 globally and killed 4717. On 3/14/20, in the US there were about 2500 cases and 51 deaths.

H1N1 Swine Flu – Beginnings And Spread

H1N1, or the swine flu, as it was commonly known, began in Veracruz, Mexico sometime before April 2009, when it appeared for the first time in the US, in California. It began tapering off globally in November 2009. Severe decreases in numbers of cases did not occur till May 2010.

H1N1, an influenza, was the same type of virus that caused the Spanish influenza in 1918 that killed 50 million people globally. The Spanish pandemic infected 500 million people globally, about 27% of the world’s population at that time, and was one of the deadliest epidemics ever.

According to the CDC, 

“From April 12, 2009 to April 10, 2010, CDC estimated there were 60.8 million cases (range: 43.3-89.3 million), 274,304 hospitalizations (range: 195,086-402,719), and 12,469 deaths (range: 8868-18,306) in the United States due to the (H1N1)pdm09 virus….“Additionally, CDC estimated that 151,700-575,400 people worldwide died from (H1N1)pdm09 virus infection during the first year the virus circulated.** Globally, 80 percent of (H1N1)pdm09 virus-related deaths were estimated to have occurred in people younger than 65 years of age. This differs greatly from typical seasonal influenza epidemics, during which about 70 percent to 90 percent of deaths are estimated to occur in people 65 years and older.”

According to the CDC, the viirus began and was detected by April 15, 2009, WHO did not declare ‘global pandemic’ until June 11, 2009, a full 2 months later. Outbreaks peaked in May and June, then declined, and surged again in late August. By October 24, 49 states reported infections. Coronavirus, by comparison, has spread to all 50 states as of 3/18/20. Since the first US cases were detected in January 2020, this is much faster spread, probably due to slow testing response and the more severe contagious effect of the virus.

H1N1 began in Mexico in April 2009. It began tapering off globally in November 2009, seven months later. Severe decreases in numbers of cases did not occur till May 2010.

H1N1 And Other Viruses vs Coronavirus – Comparisons

Though Covid-19 is a Coronavirus with more similarities to SARS and MERS, its spread thus far appears to have more similarities to H1N1 though the death forecast globally is not currently as high even though the current mortality rate exceeds that of H1N1.

  • H1N1 mortality rate was only .01-.08%. Current mortality rate of Covid-19 is 2%. Experts believe this will go down as the virus progresses.
  • MERS in 2015 had no evidence of asymptomatic transmission. SARS in 2002-03 was transmitted by respiratory droplets with no evidence of asymptomatic transmission.
  • SARS caused approximately 8000 cases and about 774 deaths.
  • MERS caused only about 2000 cases but about a third of those who contracted it died – it was largely confined to Middle East nations.
  • H1N1: Over the complete course of the virus it infected up to 1.4 billion globally and may have killed as many as 575,000.

This Spanish Flu Chart Shows Why Social Distancing Works

There are also various Influenza Type A viruses that have cropped up from time to time but none, so far at least, has been devastating globally. These are the H5, H7, and H7 viruses.

Though Covid-19 is a Coronavirus with more similarities to SARS and MERS, its spread thus far appears to have more similarities to H1N1 though the death forecast globally is not currently as high even though the current mortality rate exceeds that of H1N1. The repressed spread and infections in the US thus far may be due to President Trump’s early travel ban on China.

During the Spanish Flu in 1918, infected rates in Philadelphia vs St Louis (chart right) were different because Philadelphia authorities allowed a city wide parade for returning WWI soldiers. The goal of social distancing is to ‘blunt the curve.’

Perhaps we don’t remember a panic surrounding H1N1 because there was another crisis at the time – the Great Financial Crisis (GFC), which bottomed in March 2009, one month before H1N1 hit, then the markets began to rise. They finished 2009 well up, but of course there was major stimulus from the Federal Reserve and the Treasury. H1N1 probably took a backseat to media reports on the GFC and government and Fed reactions. Contrary to the Trump Administration, the Obama Administration did little to react to H1N1. For example, President Obama did not declare a national emergency until October 24, 2009. President Trump just declared a national emergency due to Coronavirus Friday March 13, 2020, less than 2 months into the US crisis.

How Many Does It Kill? Covid-19 vs. The Flu

H1N1 was the same type of virus that caused the Spanish influenza in 1918 that killed 50 million people globally. Covid-19 is a Coronavirus, more similar in make up to SARS and MERS. The Spanish pandemic infected 500 million people globally, about 27% of the world’s population at that time, and was one of the deadliest epidemics ever. However, this time is different – medical procedures and health directives and procedures are much more advanced in the 21st Century.

MERS in 2015 had no evidence of asymptomatic transmission. SARS in 2002-03 was transmitted by respiratory droplets with no evidence of asymptomatic transmission. To review:

  • SARS caused approximately 8000 cases and about 774 deaths. it was largely confined to China.
  • MERS caused only about 2000 cases but about a third of those who contracted it died – it was largely confined to Middle East nations.
  • H1N1 (also known as the swine flu): Over the complete course of the virus it infected up to 1.4 billion globally and may have killed as many as 575,000. H1N1 killed 12,469 in the US.
    • As of mid-March 2010, the CDC estimated that H1N1 infected about 59 million people in the US alone

H1N1 mortality rate was only .01-.08%. Current fatality rate of Covid-19 is around 2%. Experts believe this will go down as the virus progresses. Other past viruses have been more similar to Covid-19 structurally. SARS and MERS were both Coronaviruses.

SARS mortality rate was 10%, MERS was 36%; but, flu has a much lower mortality rate of about .5% and kills many more people a year, so control of this Coronavirus is mandatory. The fatality rate of Coronavirus is around 2% at present – but is expected to go lower as the virus progresses. Some say it will drop to under 1% and be more comparable to that of the flu eventually. However, this is an unknown, and unknowns can create fear and panic.

Coronavirus – Transmission, Contagion, And Reporting

R Naught: How Contagious Is A Disease?

According to one recent source, when reporting about or analyzing the Coronavirus:

Distinguish between whether something ever happens and whether it is happening at a frequency that matters. A good example is the question of presymptomatic transmission. If it occurs frequently, it will make control measures that target sick people (isolation, treatment and contact tracing) less effective. It is very likely that presymptomatic transmission happens at some frequency, but the evidence is very limited at present. Knowing that it happens sometimes is of little use; we desperately need evidence on how often it happens. The same is true for infected travelers escaping detection. Of course, this event will happen for many reasons. Again, the question is how often it happens—and whether it leads to the establishment of local transmission.

Perhaps the most salient characteristic of the virus creating fear and panic is that the contagious effect is still largely unknown. Coronavirus may be spread by asymptomatic hosts who do not show symptoms for somewhere between 5 days and 2 weeks. This ‘contagion effect’ is suspected, – but still unknown for sure.

According to the CDC, flu has already infected 32-45 million globally during the 2019-20 season and killed 18,000-46,000 (this number was from a few week ago, its higher on 3/14/20). There are likely more than the reported cases/deaths of Coronavirus in some Asian countries. The Coronavirus is not expected to peak in China until April/May.

Coronavirus Comparison – Conclusion

Snopes is many times not reliable as a fact-checker, being liberally biased – but does an adequate job reporting the facts about the way that the CDC and Obama administration aptly handled the H1N1 spread. That being said, what Snopes does not say is what Obama did not do was put any restraint on borders or travel, as Trump did early on. The virus subsequently infected 60 million Americans and killed over 12,000 during one year.

Since social distancing is the primary defense we have against the virus at present, with the President’s travel ban from Europe instituted Friday night March 13th, we feel that the US still has a very good chance to keep total infected and death numbers below those of H1N1 in 2009-2019. We currently expect the climax of panic and fear in the US to subside within about 2 months.

 

Related Links

For Coronavirus Daily Update See This Link

Coronavirus, Global Viruses, The Stock Market – And Fear And Panic

Coronavirus – What Can You Do To Protect Yourself And Others?

The Positive Aspects Of The Coronavirus For The United States

Update: CDC Home Pages On Coronavirus; Also see here; Also see, CDC Updated Global Map On Confirmed Cases Of Coronavirus, CDC

CDC USA Update

Coronavirus, Live Updated Map, John Hopkins University

For More On John Paul Jackson See This Link, Also, See The Spiritual Life Page

For More Resources On Investments See The Money-Interpretation Page