News yesterday of an alleged slowdown in coronavirus cases was unfortunately totally bogus as expected in this corner.

Here are some details from worldometeres

South Korea

  • 24 new cases in South Korea (31 cases, of which 24 announced after midnight GMT and 7 cases reported previously). Cases have more than doubled (+165% increase) in the last 24 hours, rising from 31 to 82 (+ 51).
  • The mayor of Daegu (South Korea), Kwon Young-jin, urged its 2.5 million residents to refrain from going outside and to wear masks even indoors if possible. He called for urgent help from the central government in Seoul. Meanwhile, Vice Health and Welfare Minister Kim Kang-lip cautioned that: "at this stage, (the government) judged that COVID-19 is spreading locally with a limited scope." Virus alert was not raised, with its level kept at "orange" (third highest).
  • The Shincheonji Church of Jesus in Daegu, attended by the 31st case (a possible "super spreader"), has been shut down after about 10 members tested positive for the virus. About 1,000 members attended worship at the church.
  • 22 new cases in South Korea (in the city of Daegu): all associated with the the first confirmed patient in the region.

Japan New Cases (10 Including)

  • A woman in her 60s, wife of previous case in Kyushu. She had chills on the Feb. 17 and fever the next day.
  • A man in his 80s who got infected at the "Sagamihara Central Hospital."
  • A man in his 80s in Okinawam but with no contact with the passengers of the cruise ship.
  • A woman in her 70s who had a 38° fever for a few minutes on Feb. 14, then went on a bus tour until Feb. 16, visited a medical institution on Feb. 18, and showed symptoms of pneumonia on Feb. 19.
  • A man in his 40s who reported chills, sweating and malaise on Feb. 15, and had symptoms such as fever, muscle pain and cough on Feb. 18. The man has no recent travel history abroad and attended the Sapporo Snow Festival where a previously infected case was present
  • 2 government employees who had done office work on the Diamond Princess cruise ship.


  • 60 new cases and 6 new deaths occurred outside of Hubei province in China on February 19, as reported by the National Health Commission (NHC) of China.
  • 1 new case in Singapore. 3 more discharged. [Pdf from Ministry of Health]
  • 13 new cases on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan.
  • 3 new cases in Iran: two in Qom and one in Arak. All three patients are Iranian nationals. (The Islamic Republic News Agency).
  • 1 new case in Taiwan, bringing the total to 24. The source of infection for this latest case has not been traced. Possible community-based transmission is being investigated. Patient is a 60-year-old woman with no travel history abroad in the last two years. She had a fever and cough on Jan. 22, went to the clinic four times and was diagnosed with common cold and other diseases. Symptoms worsened with shortness of breath. Diagnosed with pneumonia on Jan. 29, hospitalized on Jan. 30, transferred to the intensive care unit on Feb. 10.

From John Hopkins Email Alert

  • SOUTH KOREA The South Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare reported a total of 104 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 1 death, more than double the 51 cases reported yesterday. Of the newly reported cases, 28 are linked to churches associated with known confirmed cases (5 at one church and 23 at another) and 14 are linked to hospitals (1 at one hospital and 13 at another). In a briefing earlier today, South Korean MOH officials announced that they expect to identify additional cases linked to the churches.
  • IRAN Multiple media outletsare reporting that the Iran Ministry of Health and Welfare has confirmed the deaths of 2 COVID-19 cases in Qom. Reportedly, both victims were elderly patients who had unspecified pre-existing health conditions that may have contributed to their severe disease. According to one report, the Iranian state news agency announced that neither of these individuals had recent travel to China or even outside the Qom province, suggesting that they may have been infected locally. The report also indicates that 25 additional individuals at the same hospital are under quarantine to monitor for COVID-19 symptoms. Iran reported 3 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 5. Schools and universities in Qom are reportedly closed over concerns about a local outbreak. We are unable to identify official Iranian government sources, and we are relying on media reports to monitor this situation.
  • EPI UPDATES China’s National Health Commission reported 394 new confirmed cases across the country and 114 new deaths. The NHC has reported a total of 74,576 confirmed cases and 2,118 deaths nationwide. A total of 16,155 cases have been discharged, and 4,922 suspect cases remain. Notably, this is the second consecutive day that the NHC has reported a decrease in the number of active cases (ie, cases that have not been ruled out, discharged, or died). There are currently 56,303 active cases, down from 57,805 yesterday and 58,016 on February 18. This decline could be impacted as clinically diagnosed cases in Hubei Province who receive negative SARS-CoV-2 tests are removed (as discussed below), but the recent trend warrants further monitoring in the coming days and weeks.

2.5 Million Urged to Stay Home in Daegu

Given that no one in their right mind believes any stats from China, South Korea and Japan are the places to watch.

The most important news of the day is that 2.5 Million Urged to Stay Home in Daegu, South Korea.

South Korea reported its first death from the new virus on Thursday while the mayor of a southeastern city urged its 2.5 million people to stay inside as infections linked to a church congregation spiked.

In a televised news conference, Mayor Kwon Young-jin expressed fears that rising infections in the region will soon overwhelm the city’s health system and called for urgent help from the central government.


“National quarantine efforts that are currently focused on blocking the inflow of the virus (from China) and stemming its spread are inadequate for preventing the illness from circulating in local communities,” Kwon said.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 49 of 73 new patients confirmed in the city’s region in the past two days went to services at a Daegu church attended by a previously confirmed virus patient or contacted her elsewhere.

The center’s director, Jung Eun-kyeong, told reporters that it’s still unclear whether she was a “super spreader” of the disease or merely the first patient detected in the area. Jung said officials were screening some 1,000 people who attended services at the Shincheonji Church of Jesus with the woman on Feb. 9 and Feb. 16 and were placing them under home isolation.

The church, which claims about 200,000 followers in South Korea, said it has closed all of its 74 sanctuaries around the nation and told followers to instead watch its worship services on YouTube.

The explosion of infections in Daegu and the neighboring region, as well as some new cases in the Seoul metropolitan area where the sources of infection are unclear, have raised concern that health authorities are losing track of the virus as it spreads more broadly in the country.

Jim Bianco Chart of South Korea Cases

In regards to the alleged decline of cases in China, please note China revised their methodology again.

Incompetence or purposeful distraction?

Fed Minutes Highlight Coronavirus Concerns and Uncertainty 8 Times

Yesterday I commented Fed Minutes Highlight Coronavirus Concerns and Uncertainty 8 Times

Those minutes are from a January 28-29 meeting before there was much of any concern elsewhere.

Please note that Half the Population of China, 760 Million, Now Locked Down

From an economic standpoint, January say the Largest Shipping Decline Since 2009 and That's Before Coronavirus impact hit.

Supply chain disruptions have barely started.

It is impossible to estimate the full impact as long as cases are spreading. Worse yet, cases are exponentially rising outside of China.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock