China, coronavirus: Truth hurts

No, this title is no reference to the mega-hit by reigning pop/rap star Lizzo.  In "Truth Hurts," Lizzo raps that she ain't going to be anyone's side chick. 

China clearly thought the United States and the rest of the universe could be its side chick, as it fumbled, dissembled, and obfuscated the truth regarding the coronavirus.  While nobody is certain of the disease's genesis, it is certain that the grim statistics are rising and from the onset were worse than China admitted.  That could have implications for us here in the States in ways we may not find pleasant.

But now it's starting to get out that things are bad.  When China quarantined 51 million people for then-reported coronavirus cases of a scant few hundred, the ratios didn't jive.  When the 36-year-old Wuhan doctor who sounded the alarm was pictured with a mask over his nose and a tube in his throat (tubes are known, if used more than once, to carry the disease), his subsequent death announcement was pretty much preordained.  Similarly, and eerily, other disease informants have been rounded up from the Wuhan area and whisked away to parts unknown.

We know why China is doing this: China is a major trading partner with large parts of the world, and the coronavirus is at least temporarily shutting that down.  There's a perception that so long as the disease is sealed off in China, only China will suffer.

But ultimately, whose economy will suffer?  Sure, the United States' markets are still on a tear.  But we rely inordinately on Chinese manufacturing for masks, gloves, vitamins, and the bulk of the major chemical ingredients for finished pharmaceutical products.  What happens when or if China diverts output to its own citizens rather than continue to export them to America?   

Disney has shuttered its parks in China and Hong Kong, with its park in Shanghai representing its largest foreign investment, costing approximately $5.5 billion to open.  Apple has closed most of its China retail operations.  Most of Apple's manufacturing sites have also ceased operations.  McDonald's has closed its retail operations in a number of cities in and around Wuhan.  Luxury brands such as Burberry, Kate Spade, and Coach are also affected.  American Airlines, UPS, and FedEx have ceased flights in and out of China.  It is impossible to estimate  how much the bottom line of cruise ships globally will be reduced.  On this ground, we will feel some impact.

But while United States consumers can exist without a new Apple iPhone, watch, or other consumables, and accept a short-term hit to their 401(k)s and other investments, patients cannot survive for long without their medications.  Will the medications we buy now really leave China under these circumstances?

Truth hurts.

Image credit: Pixabay public domain.

No, this title is no reference to the mega-hit by reigning pop/rap star Lizzo.  In "Truth Hurts," Lizzo raps that she ain't going to be anyone's side chick. 

China clearly thought the United States and the rest of the universe could be its side chick, as it fumbled, dissembled, and obfuscated the truth regarding the coronavirus.  While nobody is certain of the disease's genesis, it is certain that the grim statistics are rising and from the onset were worse than China admitted.  That could have implications for us here in the States in ways we may not find pleasant.

But now it's starting to get out that things are bad.  When China quarantined 51 million people for then-reported coronavirus cases of a scant few hundred, the ratios didn't jive.  When the 36-year-old Wuhan doctor who sounded the alarm was pictured with a mask over his nose and a tube in his throat (tubes are known, if used more than once, to carry the disease), his subsequent death announcement was pretty much preordained.  Similarly, and eerily, other disease informants have been rounded up from the Wuhan area and whisked away to parts unknown.

We know why China is doing this: China is a major trading partner with large parts of the world, and the coronavirus is at least temporarily shutting that down.  There's a perception that so long as the disease is sealed off in China, only China will suffer.

But ultimately, whose economy will suffer?  Sure, the United States' markets are still on a tear.  But we rely inordinately on Chinese manufacturing for masks, gloves, vitamins, and the bulk of the major chemical ingredients for finished pharmaceutical products.  What happens when or if China diverts output to its own citizens rather than continue to export them to America?   

Disney has shuttered its parks in China and Hong Kong, with its park in Shanghai representing its largest foreign investment, costing approximately $5.5 billion to open.  Apple has closed most of its China retail operations.  Most of Apple's manufacturing sites have also ceased operations.  McDonald's has closed its retail operations in a number of cities in and around Wuhan.  Luxury brands such as Burberry, Kate Spade, and Coach are also affected.  American Airlines, UPS, and FedEx have ceased flights in and out of China.  It is impossible to estimate  how much the bottom line of cruise ships globally will be reduced.  On this ground, we will feel some impact.

But while United States consumers can exist without a new Apple iPhone, watch, or other consumables, and accept a short-term hit to their 401(k)s and other investments, patients cannot survive for long without their medications.  Will the medications we buy now really leave China under these circumstances?

Truth hurts.

Image credit: Pixabay public domain.