The inevitability of the new “Beer Flu” (coronavirus) coming to the Fifty States is obvious. It will spread to many other places worldwide. As discussed in the last commentary, I’ve studined up on the 1918-1919 influenza epidemic, and the way it bounced around the world. It was truly an incredible series of events. A century later may not be much different, despite medical and communications improvements.
In 1918-19, the US, lost three-quarters of a million people. So it got off easily – no thanks to stupidity and lying on the part of government at all levels. The results, by American standards, were staggering. Especially in urban areas. (There are mass graves in Philadelphia and other cities from 1918.)
(But even in rural areas. About 15 years ago, as part of an environmental site assessment in south central South Dakota, I examined a site with dozens of graves from the 1918 influenza epidemic. The people, young, old, and in-between, died out on the open prairie as their families tried to take them to the nearest medical care available. They were buried near where they fell.)
In the 1918-1919 Pandemic, out of 1.8 billion people worldwide, 500 million got the flu, and 50-100 million died. Even today, we still do not understand all the impacts. If the Beer Flu is just 1/10th as fatal, with 8 billion people, that would be more than 2 billion getting ill and up to 40 million dead.
Here in the Fifty States in 2020-21, we may again get off lightly, given our good medical care and relatively low population density. And the trade war with China may actually help: people are searching for and finding alternatives to Chinese products.
But there will still be impacts.
The West Coast’s cities, already cesspools of infection for a variety of diseases, and closest to Asia, for example. Not just San Francisco or Ellay. All the West Coast cities are at serious risk: Seattle is getting to be known for its homeless and public pooping problem nearly as much as San Francisco. Their Tranzi governments are both busy wrecking their societies (and economies) and demonstrating their incompetence.
(As well as preventing rational, skilled, and experienced people from running businesses, providing services and goods, and living in peace.)
Most of the American cities with the greatest homeless populations are in California. The conditions are ripe for trouble.
Indeed, even a dozen or so flu deaths in one or two West Coast cities: San Fran or Oakland, Los Angeles or Seattle, could trigger panic and much flight elsewhere. That, in turn would trigger other panic reactions. Just as seems to be happening in China and Hong Kong.
But this is nothing compared to the potential impact on most of the world.
Africa is probably most likely to suffer. There is significant Chinese penetration, with hundreds of thosands of Chinese workers on projects in the continent. Like the rest of the world, Africans buy all kinds of goods from China, and also sell billions of dollars of raw materials to its factories. Apparently there is also significant foreign aid provided by China. All this may drop substantially with the Chinese economy and even government crumbling.
But the relatively poor health care available, together with dense and often poor urban populations (especially in West Africa) make them prime environments for the swift spread of the coronavirus. Even smaller urban areas (along the coast of East Africa, and South Africa) are likely to be hard hit. For societies tottering on the edge of survival, the flu may push them over.
Latin America, and its immense urban areas, is similarly vulnerable. As both markets and sources for China’s collapsing economy, and with their poor, crowded cities, it likely will follow Africa in a downward spiral.
Although the nations and people of Southeast Asia and the Pacific Rim have some potential for reduced Chinese pressure in the near-term, they still have major weaknesses because of their business ties and urban areas. The Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand all are in danger. Even South Asia faces similar problems, despite India not being particularly friendly with China.
The impact of the growing epidemic and economic disruptions in China on Southwest Asia (the Middle East) has already been significant and bad. Oil prices worldwide are dropping, and especially in the Persian Gulf, which is the major supplier to China. Now under $50 a barrel, China’s lockdown of transportation inside and outside the country – and a growing reduction in industrial activity in its industrial heartlands – will continue to reduce demand and therefore cause oil prices to fall still more.
This will indirectly impact on other oil-producing nations, including Venezuela, Nigeria, Angola, and Libya, making matters still worse.
We might think Europe – both the West and Russia – to be as little impacted as North America. That may not be the case. As with the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, Europe is a major consumer of Chinese production. A drop in supply will directly hit their economies. Indirectly, problems in South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East will cause trouble for the EU and other European countries. That includes potential for more migration from North Africa and Mesopotamia.
And with the immigrants will come more of the virus: often to the very core of European cities already overrun by Middle Eastern refugees and Islamist supporters. The very places less able to deal with the infection.
If Russia is really interested in again expanding, the opportunity would seem to be perfect. At least to the extent of reestablishing a defensible perimeter. And with its vast and empty Siberian region, and the buffers of both Mongolia and Xianging (identified by some as “East Turkmenistan”) the Russians have less to fear than much of the world from the contagion ravaging China.
This worst case scenario isn’t foreordained, by any means. But it is potentially a serious situation for the entire world.
We need to pray and prepare, in case it does turn out to be worse.