The WHO-China Joint mission report provides insight into the progress of COVID-19 and the efforts to contain it. The data shows that the majority of cases in China have been connected to Hubei Province and that improvements in care have resulted in a material reduction in deaths. The scary number is the 14.8% death rate for people aged over 80, which has major implications for the health services. The overall level of deaths compared to cases in the review is 3.8%, which compares to 2.6% in Italy and 0.6% in South Korea, though there will be differences in data collection. The rate for those over 80 in South Korea is 3.7%.
The WHO-China Joint Mission published a report last week that is very clearly written, based on actual data and looks at efficacy of the response to the virus. It has broken down the cases by age and sex, and the numbers are driven by number of deaths divided by numbers of cases. The key points were:
• Laboratory confirmed cases come to 55,924 as of 20 February, of which 2,114 (3.8%) have died.
• Improved care has significantly reduced risk of death: 17.3% of those with symptoms from 1-10 January died, whereas 0.7% for those post 1 February.
• The median age was 51 and male:female split 51:49.
• 77% of cases are from Hubei Province.
• Transmission largely occurs in families, with an infection rate of 3-10%.
• China has been proactive in tracing contacts and a high % have had medical observation. For example, in Guangdong Province, 100% of identified contacts were traced, of which 78% have completed medical observation and 4.8% have been infected. Similar efforts in Shenzen City and Sichuan Province have infection rates of 2.8% and 0.9% respectively.
• No known pre-existing immunity and not yet known whether immunity after infection.
• Most cases in China had direct links to Wuhan.
• Most healthcare workers have been infected in a household setting (except for the early stages in Wuhan).
• According to the report: “A particularly compelling statistic is that on the first day of the advance team’s work there were 2,478 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported in China. Two weeks later, on the final day of this Mission, China reported 409 newly confirmed cases. This decline in COVID-19 cases across China is real.”
• Again, according to the report: “COVID-19 is spreading with astonishing speed; COVID-19 outbreaks in any setting have very serious consequences; and there is now strong evidence that non-pharmaceutical interventions can reduce and even interrupt transmission. Concerningly, global and national preparedness planning is often ambivalent about such interventions. However, to reduce COVID-19 illness and death, near-term readiness planning must embrace the large-scale implementation of high-quality, non-pharmaceutical public health measures. These measures must fully incorporate immediate case detection and isolation, rigorous close contact tracing and monitoring/quarantine, and direct population/community engagement.”
There is a markedly increased risk of death for over 80s, which presumably also coincides with a higher rate of underlying conditions.
• Acorn International (export services) has said the coronavirus could have a material impact on its business in 2020 and suspended quarterly dividend policy indefinitely.
• Buddy Technologies (cloud-based data management) – Delays in glass manufacturing, component supply and packaging due to coronavirus.
• Delta & American Airlines have suspended all flights to Milan. Delta says it will not restart flights until early May.
• Dentsply Sirona (dental equipment maker) – FY20 annual guidance now incorporates a Q1 revenue impact of between US$60-70m.
• Dubai Emirates Group has seen a measurable slowdown in business across its brands due to the virus outbreak.
• Finablr (payment and FX solutions): “The outbreak of COVID-19 is an incremental negative for Travelex's business given broad exposure to airports and travel flows. VAT and related services will also be negatively impacted. While China and other Asian in-country revenue account for approximately 10% of Travelex revenues, other markets closely linked to Asian outbound travel are also experiencing headwinds… Whilst there are current indications of sharp declines in air passenger numbers, the impact on global travel during the remainder of 2020 and on Travelex full-year performance is uncertain.”
• HIS Co (Japanese travel agent)) has revised its full-year net earnings to a ¥1.1bn loss from a previous ¥11bn profit citing the coronavirus.
• Hiscox (insurance): “It is too early to estimate the impact of the coronavirus. The main areas of potential exposure for Hiscox are event cancellation, travel and personal accident cover and we have received notifications of small claims to date. Pandemic is only covered in a very small part of the portfolio where we have very controlled net exposure.”
• Luminous Cruising (based in Japan) has filed for bankruptcy.
• Lyft (ride sharing) – The recent outbreak has led to production delays on its bikes and scooters. Further disruption expected to the supply chain given the travel restrictions in place.
• Monster Beverages (energy drinks) – Some of the company’s operations in China will need to be moved to other locations.
• NCR (POS systems) – It’s possible that ongoing efforts to contain the virus could affect its supply chain. Certain supplies are currently being affected, but the impact is limited so far.
• New York Times is seeing a slowdown in international and domestic advertising bookings, which the company has attributed to uncertainty and anxiety over the virus outbreak.
• Ocado (online supermarket) has advised its customers to place orders earlier due to “exceptionally high demand”.
• Plexus (electronics manufacturer): “An update to its fiscal Q2 revenue outlook due to evolving business and financial implications relating to the COVID-19 outbreak. While the situation relating to COVID-19 and its effects on the company, its customers, suppliers and logistics providers remains fluid, the company currently estimates that its fiscal Q2 revenue will be negatively impacted by approximately US$40m primarily due to workforce disruptions within the company’s supply chain. The negative impact may result in revenue for Q2 to fall below the low end of our guidance range of US$790-830m as provided by the company on 22 January 2020. Operating margin within the fiscal Q2 is also expected to be negatively impacted due to inefficiencies in our global manufacturing facilities as a result of the supply chain disruptions.”
• Ritchies (Australian food retailer) – CEO warning of packaging supply issues.
• Saga (travel agent) has put the sale of Titan on hold as the coronavirus crisis causes chaos across the travel industry.
• Samsung – Again suspends mobile device factory in Gumi South Korea after a coronavirus case was confirmed at the plant.
• TVS (Indian motorcycle manufacturer) – Sales down 15% to 3m units in February, partially due to lack of supply of certain components.
• Wynn Resorts (hotels and casinos) – Outbreak will have an adverse effect on the company’s results.
• International property fair MIPIM Cannes (world’s leading property show run by RELX) postponed to June.
• CERAWeek energy conference in Houston cancelled.
• MotoGP in Qatar cancelled due to number of Italian participants.
• MotoGP has been postponed indefinitely in Thailand.
• World Copper Conference in Chile has been cancelled.
• Paris book fair cancelled.
• Five Serie A matches were postponed this weekend, including Juventus vs Inter Milan.
• World Copper Conference has been cancelled.
• Outdoor Classics world-leading trade fair for hunting, shooting sports, equipment for outdoor activities due to be held in Nuremberg has been postponed to September.
• UAE suspends passenger ferry services with Iran until further notice.
• China – manufacturing PMI 40.3 in February vs 51.1 in January (Caixin).
• Seoul – mayor urging 10m residents to work from home.
• South Korea – 57% of cases connected to the Shincheonji Church. Overall fatality rate 0.5%, with 3.7% for those over 80.
• South Korea – outbound shipments -11.7% in February, with auto -16.6% & display panels -21.8%. Impact is expected to be greater in March given spread of virus.
• China – man sentenced to death for killing two officials at a coronavirus checkpoint.
• The Louvre was closed yesterday and remains closed after staff voted “almost unanimously” not to open. The museum had 10.2m visitors last year and is the world’s most popular museum ahead of the 8.6m visitors to the National Museum of China.
• Twitter – has cancelled non-critical travel for staff.
• The OECD has warned that the virus could halve global growth and has revised its growth forecast to 2.4% in 2020, down from 2.9% in November.
• The Duomo, Milan's cathedral, has re-opened following a period of closure due to fears about the coronavirus.