The Chinese city of Wuhan has been quarantined due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus…

Before I get into it, I thought it should be noted that we should keep xenophobic talk about food chocies and what not out of the topic. There’s a lot of sensationalist articles going around blaming the outbreak on these things, and it doesn’t need to be here. Also, I’d like to try and keep discussion calm with no talk about ‘ZOMBIE OUTBREAKS’ or other kinds of hyperbolic reactions to the news. These are people who are being terribly afflicted from this outbreak, and it has already led to 17 deaths. There is no reason to trivialize those deaths with jokes and what not.

I’d like to keep the discussion informative and objective, if possible. Which is hard with developing stories like this, but this feels like a big deal to me…

I can’t think of a city in recent memory that has been placed in ‘lockdown’ like this. Wuhan has a population of over 11 million. Which is larger than New York City… I’m assuming ‘lockdown’ means quarantine, seeing as how there is footage of transport centers being closed by the government. There are cases in the U.S., Japan, Scotland, and Korea as well.

There’s also footage of highways being closed down, but that comes from a link I don’t necessarily trust, so it could be inauthentic.

SARS has come up a lot around this story, and while it is comparable, I wonder if a lot of the reaction is due to criticism at how the Chinese government handled that. Quarantine seems like a drastic step to me, because I feel like it might cause more panic than good. Plus, a lot of sources have pointed out that it might be too late. Families are traveling for Chinese New Year, and the lockdowns happened well after a lot of that traveling already occurred.

So, let’s get into it a little. Again, let’s keep discussion objective and serious, and let’s avoid being hyperbolic.


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Some more information I was shown:

This video seems to have a fair explanation of what’s going on. The good news is that this virus is not on the level of SARS in terms of mortality, and it seems like most of those who have died already had some kind of pre-existing condition, or were elderly, so healthy individuals may not be at risk.

I don’t know much about virology, but I wonder if there’s a risk of it evolving or mutating into something worse.

Some official information:

I’ve also been watching for news from the WHO in whether or not they’re going to declare a global health crisis. It seems they are waiting on that right now:


I heard it reported yesterday that it was in Washington State. I dunno it seems extremely contagious considering all the places it’s popped up in and that makes me more sympathetic to a quarantine. That said, quarantining that many people is kinda wild and dystopian. I understand it though.

The quarantine seems like it may be too little, too late, but hopefully cancelling the large New Years’ celebrations in Wuhan and Beijing will help prevent a disastrous outbreak.


An NYT reporter named Chris Buckley is on the ground in Wuhan:

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I think a lot of the tut-tutting about “locking down” a whole city misunderstands or severely underestimates how big a deal Lunar New Year is in China. For most people, you get the whole week off so this is the one opportunity for migrant workers (i.e. people from the countryside who work in cities) to see their families for the whole year. The entire high speed rail infrastructure in China was built in no small part to service this need. Given China’s population, I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the busiest travel season in the entire world.

The timing of this outbreak on the eve of Lunar New Year is extraordinarily bad because practically everyone travels all over the country and back for the space of a week. It has the potential to supercharge any potential epidemic. Under these circumstances, I really can’t see a way around a fairly onerous quarantine to limit the spread and impact. Humans are stupid, arrogant, and selfish. Without a strongly enforced quarantine, people who are potential vectors will travel, either to escape the hot zone or arrogantly believe that they can’t possibly be infected, and exacerbate the problem.

I’ve been talking to some of my friends in the medical profession to get a sense of what we’ve learned since SARS and bird/swine flu. The answer is actually quite a bit about the proper response to developing situations. This is the test to see if we took any of the lessons from recent global outbreaks to heart.


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Living on the west coast in an area with a heavy Chinese presence has made this very interesting. Lots of people getting riled up about nothing.

There was a news story yesterday about how a hardware store sold out of their face masks in a hurry, and that one person bought 30 boxes of the things.
Nevermind that it wont actually prevent you from getting sick. The masks are designed to stop dust particulates, which are a lot bigger than microbial diseases. Basically if you want a mask to protect yourself from getting sick you need something way more hardcore. Mostly the mask should be used by people who are already sick, need to go out, and don’t want to be coughing on everyone. That’s where they become actually useful.

Apologies for my previous post, I’ll do better.

Five cases in the U.S. now, and well over 2000 cases elsewhere.

Seems like China is making the correct moves here:

On Saturday, though, Hong Kong declared a citywide emergency, its highest warning level, canceling all official Chinese New Year celebrations and extending school breaks for the holiday until Feb. 17. Also on Saturday, China said that starting Monday it would clamp down on travel for some of its citizens heading abroad, including suspending tour groups and temporarily halting the sale of flight and hotel packages.

The scariest part of this still is the incubation period, which is cited at possibly being up to 14 days. And it’s contagious even during this period.

What’s more, it’s unknown at what point a person with the virus becomes contagious. Health care workers are operating under the assumption that the incubation period for the illness is about 14 days, meaning that it takes roughly that amount of time for symptoms to show up after a person is infected. Scientists still do not know whether a person is infectious during the incubation period.

Mongolia has closed its borders.

Did this happen with SARS?

Seconding this. I live in Washington, King county, which is next to Snohomish county where we got the first reported case of the virus in the US. Lot of Lunar new year celebrations got cancelled.

I’ve actually heard differently about the masks:

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Seems like the article disagrees?

That’s what China is saying apparently:

China’s National Health Commission (NHC) said on Sunday that the new coronavirus is contagious even in its incubation period, which lasts up to 14 days, and that the virus’ ability to spread is getting stronger.

Today’s episode of The Daily was focused on the outbreak. The reporter they talked to was on the ground in Wuhan in the early days and only got out the day before the government locked it down. It was mostly interesting to hear how there was almost a sense of denial from the local doctors, but at one point he basically says that this is what the people get who choose to live in that system and I didn’t really care for that. You shouldn’t blame the citizens for the mistakes of an authoritarian regime that they can’t really do anything about.


Whelp, looks like they changed their minds.

We should believe that scientists invent the vaccine in the nearest time.
Also, I’ve heard that the cruise liner near the China coast is also enforced quarantine for 14 days.

So uh, i have a week long vacation in Hawaii departing March 13th. At this point, it would be stupid to go right?

I’m also really curious about stuff like this. I’m flying to New Orleans in a day (from NJ). But that’s a little different as I’m on the east coast. If there are cases in Hawaii I wouldn’t go (I don’t know). If there aren’t… I would?

In graduating in May and have some time before I start working. Was really hoping I could travel Europe, but that seems like it’s not meant to be.