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-   -   Unanticipated aspects of a pandemic (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=891257)

Chad Sudan 03-08-2020 05:26 AM

Unanticipated aspects of a pandemic
 
As a result of the coronavirus, more than a quarter of Italy's population is now prohibited from leaving its region, and public events, including funerals and weddings, are banned.

I can hardly keep up with today's headlines, much less picture what the coming months are going to be like.

I understand that, in many countries, travel will be restricted, and many of us might have to self-isolate in our homes, and the economy will be severely shaken, and there could be a lot of deaths.

But beyond that? Anyone want to speculate about consequences that are not yet on our radar?

RioRico 03-08-2020 02:27 PM

Massive disruption of supply chains in the short term; political instability; mortality spikes; then normality and prosperity. We can look at the Black Death and 1918 Flu as models. Terrible at the time, then back to something like normal - till the next event.

susan 03-08-2020 03:12 PM

Potentially infrastructure collapse, no police, no medical personnel.

Sam Stone 03-08-2020 03:15 PM

Long term, if it was really, really bad, you might see reversals or slowdowns of a number of trends, and accelerations of others.

For example, tolerance of large homeless populations could collapse if the public health issues in the Bay area and Los Angeles lead to a disaster.

Telecommuting and remote work may accelerate.

Globalism could take a hit, as companies learn that they might need to trade some absolute efficiency for redundancy and safety.

The EU could collapse. It's already floundering, and open travel through the EU zone and the inability to close borders could become a serious problem.

Depending on how hard Iran is hit, the current regime could finally lose its last shred of credibility and control, and there could be a revolution, either quiet or violent.

China could come out of this with a huge blow to its trade. Depending on how many vital goods and medicines are made unavailable through supply-chain breakdowns sourced to Chinese suppliers, we could see massive shifts away from China.

The migration of peoples around the world from low density towns and rural areas towards high density cities could slow down or even reverse. The coming revolution in satellite internet availability could feed into this, as could increased acceptance of telecommuting and remote work. Such a trend could lead to massive shifts in wealth between states as property values decline in one area and increase in others, and high value, high paying jobs can be done from anywhere on the planet.

Xenophobia could rise.

The world economy has been propped up with massive amounts of debt ever since 2008. A crisis like this could be the catalyst that causes systemic financial collapse, cascading bankruptcies, and ultimately a global recession or depression.

Climate change will slow as fossil fuel consumption collapses along with manufacturing output and the general economy.

As stresses on populations and therefore leaders grow, there will be wars, riots, and a turn to authoritarianism on both the left and right.

Those are all guesses. No one knows what's going to happen. I could probably paint scenarios in which all the above are exactly reversed. The world is complex and unpredictable.

If the Coronavirus eventually fizzles out without a deadly global pandemic that kills hundreds of millions, I suspect that everything will return to normal, with changes as above only on the margins, or not at all.

Darren Garrison 03-08-2020 04:42 PM

Lessening stress on Social Security funding as lots of elderly people stop collecting it. Also, less complaining from Millennials about Boomers refusing to retire and give them their jobs. Possibly a fall in demand for reruns of Murder She Wrote, Diagnosis Murder, Matlock, and Walker Texas Ranger.

Dewey Finn 03-09-2020 12:54 PM

India produces a good fraction of pharmaceuticals used worldwide and they've said that they will restrict exports if they feel something is needed domestically. So perhaps that will encourage the US to develop domestic production facilities, at least for critical stuff (although there is a long list of critical drugs).

Damuri Ajashi 03-09-2020 01:25 PM

Unexpected:

People treating pandemics like hurricanes and snowstorms.
They're stocking up on things like water and toilet tissue.

I also didn't really expect the anti-asian racism.

Tigers2B1 03-09-2020 01:56 PM

Gun and ammunition sales will significantly increase.

RioRico 03-10-2020 08:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tigers2B1 (Post 22179676)
Gun and ammunition sales will significantly increase.

Gun shows will be major infection hotspots. Materials shortages will cause US firearms and ammo producers to shut down as supply chains deteriorate. Homecrafted bows and arrows will proliferate but archery fairs will also become infection hotspots. Homecrafted slingshots will proliferate; mass shootings will likely dwindle but beware poisoned darts.

nearwildheaven 03-10-2020 10:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RioRico (Post 22182453)
Gun shows will be major infection hotspots. Materials shortages will cause US firearms and ammo producers to shut down as supply chains deteriorate. Homecrafted bows and arrows will proliferate but archery fairs will also become infection hotspots. Homecrafted slingshots will proliferate; mass shootings will likely dwindle but beware poisoned darts.

At which time we'll all start throwing rocks.

I've seen entries on social media from people who purchased a case of toilet paper, because they were running low at home, and getting weird looks and even comments about it. :o

snfaulkner 03-10-2020 10:36 PM

Cats and dogs living together....

elfkin477 03-10-2020 11:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Darren Garrison (Post 22178290)
Lessening stress on Social Security funding as lots of elderly people stop collecting it. Also, less complaining from Millennials about Boomers refusing to retire and give them their jobs. Possibly a fall in demand for reruns of Murder She Wrote, Diagnosis Murder, Matlock, and Walker Texas Ranger.

We'll finally find out for sure if people choosing to age in place are responsible for the massive shortfall in affordable housing.

Dr. Strangelove 03-11-2020 12:58 AM

It's a shame that COVID-19 is deadly, because so far it's been a great benefit to me.

Traffic is light--driving to work is a breeze. So is parking; normally the lots are work are packed, but now that a large fraction of the company is working from home, I've been getting excellent spots. The cafeteria is not as jam-packed as usual, and the lines are short. In the offices, it's quiet. I loathe noise and the difference has been notable. Some automated systems at work which always seem to be overloaded and have many-hour work queues now complete in minutes.

So while I hope that the actual pandemic ends as soon as possible, I also hope that the panic continues at least a little longer. It has been a very relaxing week.

Velocity 03-11-2020 01:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Darren Garrison (Post 22178290)
Lessening stress on Social Security funding as lots of elderly people stop collecting it.

Even at the worst, it doesn't look like any more than a few thousand elderly people could die in America from Covid-19. That won't even make a dent in Social Security funding.

steatopygia 03-11-2020 01:16 AM

Decreased pollution from people commuting to work. Decreased deaths due to traffic accidents. Increased awareness of basic hygiene.

Lantern 03-11-2020 01:18 AM

It appears that smoking is a major risk factor, so it is possible that this epidemic triggers a long-term decline in smoking particularly among Asian men.

RioRico 03-11-2020 03:24 AM

I recall one of a set of future disaster scenarios in the 11/1995 WIRED (I can't access it because paywall and I gave away my copy) but IIRC a lengthy global pandemic will close borders to physical objects including people. Electronic data transfers, fine. But if your lover is across a frontier, you can only exchange digitized DNA codes - same if you want to breed your champion animal with a foreign critter or import a new crop strain. Beware hackers. You don't want your children or chickens to grow antlers.

Otherwise, unanticipated consequences depend on a pandemic's severity, duh. CoViD-19 might burn out in a few months, or drag on miserably for years. Hope for the best; plan for the worst.

I don't expect toilet paper to become a medium of exchange (money) but funnier stuff has happened.

Arkcon 03-11-2020 08:37 AM

I'm really wondering if the COVID-19 pandemic produces lasting social change. And the only one I really mean addresses my pet peeve -- people not washing hands, avoiding face-touching, unnecessary touching of communal items, just sitting in common areas sniffling and coughing and hawking up and swallowing.

Problem is, I'm guilty of many of those behaviors from time to time. I try to improve, but I didn't really have it drilled into me as a child, and its seems like the latest group of young adults hasn't really learned it either.

I remember SARS, but thought it was nothing at the time and since. I briefly heard of MERS, now I hear that MERS, like COVID-19 are genetically similar, likely jumps from animal population to human. That suggests to me that new upper respiratory infections are going to start happening. Are they teaching better habits to grade school kids? ANd are they sticking.

Darren Garrison 03-11-2020 08:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Velocity (Post 22182806)
Even at the worst, it doesn't look like any more than a few thousand elderly people could die in America from Covid-19. That won't even make a dent in Social Security funding.

Okay, it is kinda hilarious that you live in utter terror of every appliance in your house but are blasť about a world-changing pandemic.

bump 03-11-2020 11:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by susan (Post 22178149)
Potentially infrastructure collapse, no police, no medical personnel.

Unlikely.

First, the mortality rate is thought to be significantly lower than the 1918 Spanish Flu in everyone but the elderly and infirm (0.4% or less for people under 49, 1.3% for people in their fifties), where the death rate is expected to be considerably higher (about 15% for people above 70, and 3.6% for people between 60 and 69).

For most people who catch it(~80%), the data is showing that most have a flu-like illness- fever, cough, malaise, etc... and that's it. What makes this significantly different is how communicative it is- the R0 value is between 2 and 3, which means that every person infected tends to infect more than 2 people, but less than 3. Contrast this with influenza's R0 value of 1.3. So it's highly and rapidly transmissible in a population- which we saw in Italy, where they reported 20 total cases on 2/22, 229 on 2/24, 374 on 2/26, 888 on 2/28, 1694 on 3/1, 2502 on 3/3, and so on, with 10149 as of yesterday. If you graph it, it looks awfully exponential.

What's likely to happen (in my non-scientific opinion) is that a LOT of people are going to start reporting it in the next few weeks, with it really getting going about the first week of April. I suspect that what'll also happen is that a lot of people will be home sick, hospitals will probably be strained severely, but for most people, we'll just be sick and get over it and go back to work. But for a period of some weeks, things will be weird, in that services and stuff will be somewhat unavailable with so many people out sick. But not societal collapse; we're not going to go all Beyond Thunderdome because a bunch of people have coughs, fevers and body aches.

C3 03-11-2020 11:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Arkcon (Post 22183126)
I'm really wondering if the COVID-19 pandemic produces lasting social change. And the only one I really mean addresses my pet peeve -- people not washing hands, avoiding face-touching, unnecessary touching of communal items, just sitting in common areas sniffling and coughing and hawking up and swallowing.

I was thinking about this, too. When my oldest son (now 16) was potty-training, we were going through a serious drought, so we were only flushing as necessary. Because he was 2, we just took care of the flushing for him so he didn't have to make the judgement call, lol. He still VERY OFTEN forgets the whole flushing part.

Meanwhile, I put a little sign up at our front door that says "wash your hands." My kids have been very conscientious about thoroughly washing their hands every single time they walk in. I really think that once the habit has been instilled, this will probably be something they do the rest of their lives.

Another unanticipated result may be serious upheaval in the US government. The average age for Congress is around 60 years old. All three of our presidential candidates are in their 70s. It's possible we could have a bunch of seats that need filling.

XT 03-11-2020 11:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chad Sudan (Post 22177601)
As a result of the coronavirus, more than a quarter of Italy's population is now prohibited from leaving its region, and public events, including funerals and weddings, are banned.

I can hardly keep up with today's headlines, much less picture what the coming months are going to be like.

I understand that, in many countries, travel will be restricted, and many of us might have to self-isolate in our homes, and the economy will be severely shaken, and there could be a lot of deaths.

But beyond that? Anyone want to speculate about consequences that are not yet on our radar?

I think it's possible to see a major shift in the global logistics and supply system. With the trade war, you were already seeing some companies leaving China. Depending on when or if China gets it shit back together, you might see more companies wanting to at least partially decouple their supply chains from China and maybe from the region, though that's going to be a lot harder. A lot of countries have become dependent on China's manufacturing for all manner of things (including medical supplies and critical chemicals), so you might see an effort to change that, at least to become less dependent. And unanticipated aspect might be a lot of social change in China wrt things like their wet market and attitudes hygiene (this might be in a lot more than China as well).

Other unanticipated aspects might be more emphasis on organizations like the CDC, especially with respect to funding but also with respect to just listening to them. I think another unanticipated aspect might be the cleaning up of the WHO from the massive corruption in the organization and the fact that the critical parts of it are underfunded as well (though a lot of that 'under funding' has to do with the corruption and how monies are spent).

Another one is this might be the straw that breaks the camels back wrt the Trump administration, if this turns nasty in the US. We have had a critical mismanagement of this outbreak in the US from the perspective of our leadership, but with emphasis on Trump and his mixed messages and the chaos he brings to anything. In this case, however, if the outbreak is as bad as many seem to think, it might be what takes him down. This could be true of several governments...the most unanticipated, if it happens, is that this might be the first step in the CCP going down. Several other governments could fall from this as well, especially due to their own mismanagement.

nearwildheaven 03-11-2020 10:15 PM

I live in Iowa, and so far, I'm personally not seeing any difference in traffic or stocked stores (we have a Costco and a Sam's Club but I'm not a member of either) and school is still in session.

RioRico 03-12-2020 02:58 AM

"Unanticipated aspects of a pandemic" are Black Swan events that, by definition, aren't obvious, and have serious impact. Thus whatever seem logical and isn't gobsmackingly significant doesn't fit.

What's left? Wild cards. New religions, geopolitical superpowers, dance crazes, humanoid mutations and hybrids, telepathic devices, and candlesticks.

Manda JO 03-12-2020 06:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bump (Post 22183458)
What's likely to happen (in my non-scientific opinion) is that a LOT of people are going to start reporting it in the next few weeks, with it really getting going about the first week of April. I suspect that what'll also happen is that a lot of people will be home sick, hospitals will probably be strained severely, but for most people, we'll just be sick and get over it and go back to work. But for a period of some weeks, things will be weird, in that services and stuff will be somewhat unavailable with so many people out sick. But not societal collapse; we're not going to go all Beyond Thunderdome because a bunch of people have coughs, fevers and body aches.

But lots of people aren't going to get paid, and that's a big deal. Not just the people losing 3 weeks pay, but the "collateral damage"-- I work with a woman whose husband is a roadie--he is a master electrician who does power for shows and music festivals. He's the main earner--they are seriously fucked. He's going to lose half a year's income. If they close the schools, I will be fine, but all the hourly workers won't get paid. Same for people who work in all kinds of industries that are closing down or slowing way down. Mandatory sick leave pay won't help them.

This will all lead to a huge drop in spending over the next year, and then it's just a classic recessionary spiral: low demand leads to low profits, leads to more people being laid off, leads to even lower demand.

If it becomes endemic and they can't get a vaccine, I guess we will go back to "chicken pox parties", making sure everyone get it when they are 5-6 years old. Also, at some point we need to be able to test to show someone has had CORVID-19. Because the symptoms can be so mild, I imagine some people are already immune and don't know it. It would be useful to know.

OldOlds 03-12-2020 06:32 AM

Just regarding the pharmaceutical supply chain: I wouldn't worry too much. Just a little. There is still a fairly robust pharma supply chain in the US, and additional capacity in the EU (are we and the EU likely to cooperate or compete in a crisis? I don't know). There has been a significant move towards China and India, but I'd expect we could gather up the resources to maintain the supply of critical stuff.

That said, converting a facility from making one thing to another (say, from one kind of tablet to another) takes significant time. And changing from one class to another (say, from tablets to parenteral biologics) is effectively impossible without rebuilding the facility

FWIW, I've been in pharma development and manufacturing for 25 years, though like most of us as my career has progressed it's been into a specialized area, so I wouldn't call myself an expert outside that area, but there is overlap so I'm not ignorant either.

OldOlds 03-12-2020 06:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Manda JO (Post 22185034)
If it becomes endemic and they can't get a vaccine, I guess we will go back to "chicken pox parties", making sure everyone get it when they are 5-6 years old. Also, at some point we need to be able to test to show someone has had CORVID-19. Because the symptoms can be so mild, I imagine some people are already immune and don't know it. It would be useful to know.

A few of us were talking about that the other day- I remember chicken pox parties when I was a kid. The office millennials thought it was barbaric and insane. That prompted us to start inventing other "common practices" from when we were kids. Some were real (I was routinely sent to buy my dad's smokes at 11 years old) and some were not. THey were aghast. Good fun.

Dinsdale 03-12-2020 07:35 AM

Taking a crazy tack, would there be societal benefits if 2% or so of the world's population died? Perhaps greater among the elderly?

The world's population affects agricultural pollution and energy use. A reduction of the demand would give us breathing space to adjust. (Who am I kidding? We'd use the opportunity to INCREASE our consumption! :smack:)

More elder deaths would speed a transfer of wealth to the next generation - not sure why that would necessarily be a benefit.

Perhaps eldercare costs would be reduced.

Maybe I'm channeling The Lathe of Heaven...

DCnDC 03-12-2020 08:13 AM

I think this could be the beginning of the delivery robot revolution.

Mijin 03-12-2020 08:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dr. Strangelove (Post 22182800)
So while I hope that the actual pandemic ends as soon as possible, I also hope that the panic continues at least a little longer. It has been a very relaxing week.

That feeling will pass.

I live in China and it's just been week after week after week of waiting for things to get back to normal.
Work from home, plus no gyms, no movie theaters, no restaurants, no shopping, no events of any kind, even the parks were locked up. And of course no travel. And you were not allowed to have guests come to your housing complex. So there's just nothing to do. For months.

I know this is small fry compared to being in full quarantine, or being in Hubei itself, let alone getting sick or dying, but it still sucks and it's the topic of this thread.

Now that the virus seems to be coming under control in China, these restrictions are gradually being lifted. Every day I'm sending friends messages like "OMG Tim Horton's was open and had, like, 8 people inside!"

However, if the virus risk entirely recedes, there's no doubt that the Chinese government will turn on the taps. Meaning: even in a normal year, the government has the power to add or remove working days at will (G20 conference this Friday? All non-essential workers must take Friday off and work Sunday instead).
So after this crisis I'm sure there will be a period of enforced overtime for everyone, including weekend working. Schools will likely dramatically shorten, or even completely nix, the summer holiday, as well as having extended hours.

So there's going to be a long tail to this crisis even under the best case.

(Obviously the US response is necessarily going to be very different to China's but it's just worth keeping this in mind as a reference)

bump 03-12-2020 08:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Manda JO (Post 22185034)
But lots of people aren't going to get paid, and that's a big deal. Not just the people losing 3 weeks pay, but the "collateral damage"-- I work with a woman whose husband is a roadie--he is a master electrician who does power for shows and music festivals. He's the main earner--they are seriously fucked. He's going to lose half a year's income. If they close the schools, I will be fine, but all the hourly workers won't get paid. Same for people who work in all kinds of industries that are closing down or slowing way down. Mandatory sick leave pay won't help them.

This will all lead to a huge drop in spending over the next year, and then it's just a classic recessionary spiral: low demand leads to low profits, leads to more people being laid off, leads to even lower demand.

If it becomes endemic and they can't get a vaccine, I guess we will go back to "chicken pox parties", making sure everyone get it when they are 5-6 years old. Also, at some point we need to be able to test to show someone has had CORVID-19. Because the symptoms can be so mild, I imagine some people are already immune and don't know it. It would be useful to know.

Oh, I didn't mean that it wouldn't have economic and social consequences, just that it's unlikely to lead to "Potentially infrastructure collapse, no police, no medical personnel." , as susan had said, and is more likely to be a short-ish period of unusual disruption that we'll see as really out of the ordinary, assuming that recessions are a normal thing that we see periodically.

Hermitian 03-12-2020 08:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dinsdale (Post 22185124)
Taking a crazy tack, would there be societal benefits if 2% or so of the world's population died? Perhaps greater among the elderly?

Hey, when you watched the Avengers movies, who's side were you on?

Manda JO 03-12-2020 08:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bump (Post 22185206)
Oh, I didn't mean that it wouldn't have economic and social consequences, just that it's unlikely to lead to "Potentially infrastructure collapse, no police, no medical personnel." , as susan had said, and is more likely to be a short-ish period of unusual disruption that we'll see as really out of the ordinary, assuming that recessions are a normal thing that we see periodically.

I don't think we are seeing infrastructure collapse, but I think we could be looking at ten years of severely delayed maintenance, on top of what is in many places already too many years of delayed maintenance. I remember 2008, when the cranes* disappeared. They are all over Dallas again--will they go away? It could take a decade for the economy to recover.


* construction, not feathers

susan 03-12-2020 09:01 AM

You didn't specify "in the long term." I live in an area where many communities' services will fold if 3-5 people in that service fall ill, including, for example, rural police and fire departments.

zoid 03-12-2020 09:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mijin (Post 22185204)
Work from home, plus no gyms, no movie theaters, no restaurants, no shopping, no events of any kind, ...

This is pretty much my life now anyway

bump 03-12-2020 09:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by susan (Post 22185271)
You didn't specify "in the long term." I live in an area where many communities' services will fold if 3-5 people in that service fall ill, including, for example, rural police and fire departments.

That's an extreme example. The same effects could happen if someone brings tainted potato salad to the annual cookout at the county courthouse- the issue isn't with the virus, it's with the absolute lack of capacity if 3 people being out sick would cause issues.

It remains to be seen just what level of economic disruption this will cause. The good thing is that this isn't caused by any kind of systemic issue with the financial system like in 2008, which as I understand it, means that the economy will be poised for quicker recovery when this is over with. Not that it really helps anyone who loses their job or savings, but in an overall sense, it's a positive thing.

And by "short-ish disruption", I meant more immediate stuff like self-quarantines, lack of public gatherings, shortages in stores, school closings, etc... not necessarily downstream economic effects for years. The immediate disruption isn't expected to be too long term- probably by May that'll be mostly done with.

FlikTheBlue 03-12-2020 02:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Velocity (Post 22182806)
Even at the worst, it doesn't look like any more than a few thousand elderly people could die in America from Covid-19. That won't even make a dent in Social Security funding.

That's not anywhere close to the worst case scenario. Only a few thousand elderly is a super optimistic scenario, and probably very unlikely. Even at a 1 % mortality rate and 70 % of the population becoming ill, that means we're likely to have a few million elderly die. If the mortality rate is closer to 3-4 %, then we're talking tens of millions.

Leaper 03-12-2020 02:35 PM

If hospitalization rates shoot up like some are expecting, I wonder what will happen when the bill comes due for all those families? Waves of medical bankruptcies? The federal government stepping in for relief? Either way, might it make health care reform a little easier?

Ukulele Ike 03-12-2020 03:28 PM

Renewed interest in spirit-rapping. People will flock to palm-readers. Sales of Ouija boards will skyrocket.

doreen 03-12-2020 04:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bump (Post 22185346)
That's an extreme example. The same effects could happen if someone brings tainted potato salad to the annual cookout at the county courthouse- the issue isn't with the virus, it's with the absolute lack of capacity if 3 people being out sick would cause issues.

Yeah, it's like a doctor I read about a few weeks ago. He's the only doctor in something like 10,000 square miles and if he's out of commission, that whole area is without a doctor. But that's true whether he's sick with COVID-19 , or ordinary flu, has a heart attack or is badly injured in a car accident. The problem isn't the reason he can't work- that could be anything, The problem is that there is only one doctor for such a large area. And it's the same thing with a police or fire department that's so small it can't function if 3-5 people are unable to work - why don't they have mutual aid agreements with other jurisdictions or have arrangements to call in the county or state police when 3 of the five police officers are sick*






* I recently read about how a police chief of a one man police department quit- I can't even figure out the reason for these tiny police departments. After all, it takes 21 8 hour shifts to have a single officer on duty 24/7 - if there are only one or two officers, it's seems like the police department is already not functioning for much of the time

zoid 03-12-2020 04:08 PM

The whole store got the flu

Melbourne 03-12-2020 06:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OldOlds (Post 22185055)
Just regarding the pharmaceutical supply chain: I wouldn't worry too much. Just a little. There is still a fairly robust pharma supply chain in the US, and additional capacity in the EU (are we and the EU likely to cooperate or compete in a crisis? I don't know). There has been a significant move towards China and India, but I'd expect we could gather up the resources to maintain the supply of critical stuff.

That said, converting a facility from making one thing to another (say, from one kind of tablet to another) takes significant time. And changing from one class to another (say, from tablets to parenteral biologics) is effectively impossible without rebuilding the facility

FWIW, I've been in pharma development and manufacturing for 25 years, though like most of us as my career has progressed it's been into a specialized area, so I wouldn't call myself an expert outside that area, but there is overlap so I'm not ignorant either.

It's fortunate that Wuhan is the major supplier of only a few drugs, most of which are not important in the USA, or are retail drugs with a vast supply chain. Because Wuhan was out of action long enough that people noticed.

Oh, also, it looks like this time the wet markets in China will never reopen.

RioRico 03-12-2020 11:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Melbourne (Post 22186508)
Oh, also, it looks like this time the wet markets in China will never reopen.

They've been illegal awhile already, right? Why expect good behavior now? Are enough un-bribed cops and officials in the vicinity?

Bryan Ekers 03-13-2020 06:08 AM

I look forward to being Legend.

Melbourne 03-13-2020 06:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RioRico (Post 22187003)
They've been illegal awhile already, right? Why expect good behavior now? Are enough un-bribed cops and officials in the vicinity?

They were closed during SARS, but only temporarily. The Hubai wet market at the epicentre wasn't illegal.

Dewey Finn 03-13-2020 07:29 AM

Here is an unanticipated consequence I don't think was mentioned previously and which I saw on a late-night chat show; monkeys in Thailand stampeding. The explanation was that normally they're fed bananas by tourists, but with no tourists, there are no free bananas.

Mijin 03-13-2020 07:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Melbourne (Post 22187290)
They were closed during SARS, but only temporarily. The Hubai wet market at the epicentre wasn't illegal.

Some of the wild species being sold however are illegal.

In answer to RioRico's question though, there's illegal and there's illegal in China.

While most people know there are certain rules they can bend, or even flout, once the government says "Thou shalt not..." people get in line, fast.
It's still the same government as Tiananmen, and an individual's life means nothing. And in terms of coronavirus, there have been a lot of these triple-underlined decrees.
Or at least: I would feel as comfortable selling pangolin skins now as cocaine. Maybe to some people the risk will be worth it, but not to most.

The history of the wet markets, and why trading in wild meat has been tolerated up to now, is interesting though. Wild meat became popular following the famine of the early 60s for obvious reasons. In the modern era though, as downmarket as they may look, apparently most of the customers are wealthy members of the ruling class buying the meat for its supposed medicinal benefits (ironically). This time though for sure the consequences have been so severe that it will all but disappear.

Darren Garrison 03-13-2020 07:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ukulele Ike (Post 22186200)
Renewed interest in spirit-rapping.

Isn't that how they keep getting new Tupak albums?

Dewey Finn 03-13-2020 08:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mijin (Post 22187370)
The history of the wet markets, and why trading in wild meat has been tolerated up to now, is interesting though. Wild meat became popular following the famine of the early 60s for obvious reasons. In the modern era though, as downmarket as they may look, apparently most of the customers are wealthy members of the ruling class buying the meat for its supposed medicinal benefits (ironically). This time though for sure the consequences have been so severe that it will all but disappear.

Perhaps that's a good thing for the endangered species that have been trafficked?

Mijin 03-13-2020 08:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dewey Finn (Post 22187409)
Perhaps that's a good thing for the endangered species that have been trafficked?

Hell yeah. Good for animal welfare too (and by "good" I just mean: one very cruel practice may become less common but may be replaced by something only marginally less cruel :()


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