Originally published March 9, 2020 @ 11:23 am

Just as a quick follow-up to my previous post, The Atlantic reports that the Harvard epidemiology professor Marc Lipsitch predicts that within the next twelve months 40% – 70% of the global population will be infected with the coronavirus and 1% – 2% of those will die.

This comes out to about 30 million – 105 million corpses worldwide, including 1.2 – 4.2 million dead in the US.

Dr. Lipsitch likely is being very positive, since the current mortality rate of SARS-CoV-2, as calculated by the WHO, is 3.4% and the WHO is famous for its boundless optimism. Case in point: despite mounting pressure from the scientific community, the WHO still hasn’t declared the coronavirus infection a pandemic.

As of late, the WHO has been less about providing information and more about managing expectations. A couple more weeks of stalling and the WHO will manage itself out of relevance.

The prognosis from the Harvard epidemiologist closely matches the numbers from the recent Australian National University study predicting 15 million casualties (236,000 in the US) for the most positive scenario (and 68 million dead worldwide  – over one million in the US – for the pessimistic scenario). The economic impact on the global economy is expected to be anywhere from $4.4 trillion to $9.2 trillion.

I think what we need to grasp here is that more likely than not, we’ll be OK, medically speaking. Most people will have mild symptoms or none at all. The economic impact, however, will be massive.

Currently, the gross world product is estimated to be around $90 trillion. A GWP loss of 5% – 10% will be felt by everyone. Today Dow dropped 1900 points and S&P 500 sank 6%, forcing NYSE to halt trading. This was the biggest drop in stock indexes since the 2008 financial crisis. And, compared to what’s coming, the virus has barely touched us.