Coronavirus Update: First Death in USA, Moment of Truth for USA

The moment of truth for the United States will come in the next week or so. Will it follow the path of Singapore, or Japan, South Korea and Italy?

The first death in the USA has been reported. KIRO: Department of Health confirms first coronavirus death in Washington state
Caixin: Five Lessons for Other Nations from China’s Fight Against Covid-19
5. Total transparency is needed

Transparency comes last — not because it is the least important, but because it is the most important.

In fact, the above set of prevention and control lessons, although all linked to each other, are just a framework. Each country must make its own choices according to its own situation, including whether to use shelter hospitals and isolate suspected cases.

The Japanese government, for instance, may have confidence in its people’s self-discipline, and let both mild and suspected cases perform home isolation and self-observation. Personally, I think it is risky, but these things must be judged by the results. It goes without saying, but controlling the impact of the epidemic in Japan to an endurable level will come down to the choices of the Japanese government and people.

The Japanese government’s plan is transparent. The government has clearly announced what it will do, explained why, provided suggestions and advice on how to live at home, how to observe, and when to go to the hospital. The whole process is transparent, which can slow the rate of transmission, reduce public panic, and reduce pressure on the medical system.
The U.S. has not been transparent in its process, nor has it been competent. The CDC had horrible guidelines through February 27, see: USA In Denial Over Coronavirus, Institutional Failures Reaching Critical Mass. On the bright side, they updated guidelines on February 27:
On the negative side, in my opinion, they are not encouraging the behaviors that will drive the infection rate down. Instead, along with the Trump administration, they're downplaying the risk.
I'm not an epidemiologist, but common sense tells me that you should be taking extra precautions beyond the standard wash-your-hands flu prevention if you live in a major city. Doubly if there is significant air travel. Cities such as NYC, Boston, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles at a minimum. The CDC is gambling that cases haven't broken out. The Surgeon General too.
My hunch is U.S. case growth will follow that of Italy, South Korea and Japan. With a larger population and a longer time lag, I suspect it could even catapult past South Korea for the most cases in a couple of weeks.

Finally, for those who think the Trump administration is particularly bad on this issue, recall that "experts" in the field were calling travel bans racist last month and other nonsense. Many said this was "like the flu." The Obama administration conspired with the media to cover up ebola. As I discussed in Will Coronavirus Kick off the 4th Turning?, the U.S. has institutional and cultural rot down into its roots. If this turns into a disaster, the fallout will be felt for decades.

If you want the financial side of things, I posted a market-oriented update earlier today. Only One S&P 500 Stock Survived the Coronavirus Panic; Palladium Update and 1998 Scenario

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