On February 28, I sent the following note to a colleague that I follow on twitter.
I saw your coronavirus and ISA tweets. Are you attending? I'm supposed to stay 4 nights and give 2 papers but had delayed buying tickets even before the news about the 2 Japanese tourists. I saw that you referred to Hawaii as a vector and I think that’s true. Somewhere I read recently that Hawaii has about 800 flights per month to/from Asia.
News reports suggest Hawaii hasn't sent any samples from sick people to CDC for tests, so the Hotel/ISA statement about cases is somewhat misleading. Hawaii has quarantined dozens of people (56 as of last Friday). Doctors have apparently forwarded samples from some of those patients and requested CDC tests, but local authorities have said they don’t meet the criteria (because the people hadn’t traveled to Asia, basically). Because of tourism, Hawaii obviously has strong incentives to avoid an outbreak. Then again, they might have perverse incentives to slow-walk information that would imperil their economy. Trump is doing that with regards to the stock market.
If this disease starts spreading from domestic cases (like the one in California), then Hawaii’s lack of testing makes no sense. Local authorities didn’t even know about the Japanese couple until they had returned home. The incubation period for the disease is estimated at 5 days, though they don’t really know.
Given that the contagion rate has been really high in some countries and the death rate is 2-3% (reportedly 20 times the rate for the flu), this is obviously a serious issue. The hospitalization death rate is around 15%, which would seem to indicate that as many as 20% of patients end up in the hospital. Even a prolonged hospital visit with a ventilator would be terrible.
I’m interested in your perspective as I mull pulling out of ISA.
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