Mortality Rates update 2

Another partial update on the mortality rates for the coronavirus. This is developing fast enough that another update was needed. There were significant increases in the number of cases in South Korea, Italy and Iran. I am now listing all countries with more than 60 cases:

Country…………………….Cases……..Deaths………..Rate

World Wide…………………85,954…….2,941……………3.42%

S. Korea……………………..3,150………..16…………….0.51%

Italy………………………..…1,128………..29…………….2.57%

Iran……………………………..593………..43…………….7.25%

Japan…………………………..241…………5.……………2.08%

Singapore……………………..102…………0……………..0%

Hong Kong……………………..94…………2……………..2.13%

Germany………………………..79…………0……………..0%

France…………………………..73…………2……………..2.74%

United States…………………..68…………1……………..1.47%

Cruise Ships………..…….…..705…………6……………..0.85%

 

Data is from Johns Hopkins CSSE 2/28/20 as of 1:23.10 PM EST. It is here: Johns Hopkins CSSE

A few observations:

  1. S. Korea lower mortality rate with over 3,000 cases either indicates that 1) they have exceptional health care 2) they have a younger population exposed, or 3) they are doing a better job in identifying all the people who have the disease. Suspect the later. If that is true for most of these cases, then any nation with a mortality rate of greater than 0.50% could be undercounting the number of cases by several multiples.
  2. Italy has now exceeded over a thousand cases and suspect the number will continue to grow.
  3. Iran is still underreporting cases by the thousands.
  4. The cruise ship figure is interesting as it is a more contained environment. Japan quarantined 3,711 passengers and crew from the Diamond Princess. Of those 705 tested positive for Coronavirus and now six have died.
  5. The CSSE database is double counting some cases. For example their are 705 cases that tested positive on the cruise ships, 44 of them were shipped to the U.S. I believe their database counts those 44 among the 705 on the cruise ship and counts those 44 among the 68 in the U.S. If this is the case then the revised mortality statistics for the U.S. is 4.17% (removing those 44 cases).

Withdrawal and War Termination – 1

I have got a hunch that there will be multiple posts on this subject, so have already labeled this post such. The United States just signed a peace agreement today with the Taliban. The United States had agreed to reduce the presence of U.S. troops to 8,600 within 135 days (around 13 July 2020). It is currently around 13,000. The U.S. also agreed to completely withdraw all troops in 14 months (by April 2021?). In exchange, “the Taliban promise to not let extremists use the country as a staging ground for attacking the U.S. or its allies” (to quote from Yahoo news). The withdrawal is “conditions-based” to quote Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. This is more to this 4-page agreement, which I have yet to see. I may get into later.

There will be a separate peace deal between the Afghan Government and the Taliban will begin on 10 March 2020 which will included a “permanent and comprehensive ceasefire” (to quote from the U.S. State Department). We shall see how that goes. On 10 March the U.S. will review its sanctions against the Taliban with the goal of ending them by August 27.

In my book America’s Modern Wars (2015) I have a chapter called “Withdrawal and War Termination.” It is Chapter 19 and covers pages 237-242. It is a short chapter because we never really did any work on the subject. Not that we didn’t want to, but we could never get anyone to fund such work. Most of our customers were U.S. Army or Department of Defense (DOD). They were not particularly interested a decade ago in work on “withdrawal and war termination.” Now I think they should have been, but I don’t get to make those decisions.

My chapter starts:

The missing piece of analysis in both our work and in that of many of the various counterinsurgent theorists is how does one terminate or end these wars, and what is the best way to do so? This is not an insignificant point. We did propose doing exactly such a study in several of our reports, briefings and conversations, but no one expressed a strong interest in examining war termination.

Obviously, if the insurgents are driving tanks through the streets of the capital city, the war had ended, and not favorably for the counterinsurgents. But many insurgencies end with some form of negotiated settlement. Many insurgences end with the slow collapse and disintegration of the insurgency. Many of these end with some form of political compromise. Most of them end with some form of negotiation and political agreement, regardless of victor.

And then there is a multiple page discussion on 1) determining winners and losers (easy to determine insurgent victories, but “around one-third of counterinsurgent wins are clouded, or somewhat less than clear victories“), 2) force draw downs during an insurgency (there are only three cases: Malaysia, Northern Ireland and Vietnam, not counting Iraq and Afghanistan) and 3) then we go to these concluding statements:

A basic examination needs to be done concerning how insurgencies end, how withdrawals are conducted, and what the impact of various approaches towards war termination is. This also needs to address long-term outcome, that is, what happened following war termination.

We have nothing particularly unique and insightful to offer in this regard. Therefore, we will avoid the tendency to pontificate generally and leave this discussion for later. Still, we are currently observing with Afghanistan and Iraq two wars where the intervening power is withdrawing or has withdrawn. These are both interesting cases of war termination strategies, although we do not yet know the outcome in either case.

Anyhow, more to come on this.

 

Mortality Rates update 1

Partial update on the mortality rates for the coronavirus:

 

Country…………………….Cases……..Deaths………..Rate

World Wide…………………84,124…….2,867……………3.41%

S. Korea……………………..2,337………..13…………….0.56%

Italy……………………………..888………..21…………….2.36%

Iran……………………………..388………..34…………….8.76%

Japan…………………………..228…………4*……………1.75%

Cruise Ships…………………..705…………5……………..0.71%

 

* The site says 4, some news reports are now giving higher counts.

This update is caused by the continue expansion of cases in S. Korea, Italy, Iran and Japan. These are the four countries outside of China that report over a 100 cases. This post was updated in the afternoon because of additional Italian data.

Data is from Johns Hopkins CSSE 2/28/20 as of 4:13.12 PM EST. It is here: Johns Hopkins CSSE

A few observations:

  1. S. Korea has a noticeably lower mortality rate than any other nation with over a 100 cases. This may be because of better identification and testing of people with the virus.
  2. Italy is now nearing a thousand cases, as I mentioned yesterday was possibly the case.
  3. Iran’s mortality rate is now lower because they are identifying more cases. Of course, some of these new cases may be fatal.
  4. I assume Japan’s figures will be sorted out as reports and updates are made.
  5. The cruise ship figure is interesting as it is a more contained environment. Japan quarantined 3,711 passengers and crew from the Diamond Princess. Of those 705 tested positive for Coronavirus and five have died.

 

Mortality Rates of the Coronavirus by Country

In my morbid fascination with casualty rates it is hard for me not look at the statistics on the coronavirus and not calculate morbidity rates. Here are the stats:

Country…………………….Cases……..Deaths………Rate

World Wide…………………82,548…….2,810……………3.41%

China………………………..78,497…….2,744……………3.50%

S. Korea……………………..1,766…………13……………0.74%

Italy……………………………..528…………14…………..2.65%

Iran……………………………..245…………26…………10.61%

Japan…………………………..189…………..3……………1.59%
Singapore………………………93

Hong Kong……………………..92……………2……………2.17

United States…………………..60

Kuwait…………………………..43

Thailand………………………..40

Bahrain…………………………33

Taiwan………………………….32……………1…………….3.13

Germany……………………….26

Australia………………………..23

Malaysia……………………….22

France………………………….18……………2…………….11.11

Vietnam………………………..16

Philippines………………………3……………1…………….33.33

Cruise ships…………………705……………4………………0.57

Other countries……………..117

 

Data is from Johns Hopkins CSSE as of 9:03.03 this morning. It is here: Johns Hopkins CSSE

Now, it is suspected that the number of cases are underreported. There are people that get sick and recover that are never reported. Don’t know how many this is. Suspect that the population of unreported cases exceeds the population of reported cases. Have no data to support that suspicion.

A few takeaways are:

  1. Mortality rate worldwide is around 3.49%
    1. If the number of unreported cases is equal to the number of reported cases, then the real mortality rate is half that.
  2. Mortality rate is China is 3.50%
  3. Mortality rate in South Korea is 0.74%.
    1. This is a significant difference
    2. It may be a result of better health care
    3. It may be a result of early detection and quick treatment
    4. It may be a result of better statistical collection on number of cases.
    5. Is probably a combination of all three.
    6. The point it, it is less than 1% with a significant number of cases. So this is the standard that is achievable.
  4. Mortality rate of Italy is 2.65%
    1. Italian health care is good…so…
    2. Does this mean that there are still a lot of unreported cases out there?
      1. So Italy may have over a 1,000 cases?
  5. Mortality rate of Iran is 10.61%
    1. Now the Iranian health care system may not be as good as S.Korea and Italy…but….
    2. This strongly indicates that there is a large number of unreported cases.
      1. Maybe also over a 1,000 cases?
  6. Just for reference the mortality rate of the flu is something like 0.1%.

 

While S. Korea and Italy are tragic and concerning, what really scares me is the uncontrolled outbreak in Iran. If there are over a thousand cases and it is not locked down and controlled, then it can spread, both in Iran and out of Iran. Iran’s neighbor to the west in Iraq (which reports 6 cases). Iraq is a country that is not always in good order. To their west is Syria, which is in civil war. What happens if the coronavirus arrives in a country in civil war. What containment is there? What government run health care is there?

To the east of Iran is Afghanistan (which reports 1 case) and Pakistan (which reports 2 cases). What happens if it spreads there? Afghanistan is in civil war as are parts of Pakistan. Are the Taliban really going to implement thorough and complete containment and provide proper healthcare?

So while the virus may be able to be contained in places like S. Korea and Italy, is it going to be contained in places like Iran, Iran, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan? Will this then become a permanent source of further transmission of the virus to the rest of the world, generating periodic outbreaks elsewhere and forcing systematic containment efforts for years to come?

Hard to Ignore the Coronavirus

It is hard to ignore the Coronavirus. It is kind of the biggest game changer right now, not only for the tragic mortalities, but for its economic impact and as a result, for its impact on international relations and national security. While its rate of expansion in China seems to be slower (see my previous post), it is appearing in various “hot spots” across the world. As of the moment I am writing this (after 1:00 PM Feb. 24) there were 80,350 confirmed cases worldwide and 2,705 deaths…assuming all the reporting is complete and correct. Right now in South Korea there are 977 cases and 10 deaths, in Italy there are 283 cases and 7 deaths, in Japan there are 170 cases and 1 death (and 3 from the cruise ships) and in Iran there are reported 95 cases and 16 deaths. There is a sense that the Iranian figures are low and the real numbers are higher. So outside of China there are pockets of disease in multiple locations.

See: https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6

Beyond the immediate dangers the virus poses, there are the problems and cost of containment. China, in its efforts to control it, effectively shut down entire cities. Is that what Korea, Italy and Iran are going to have to do? This is a major economic hit.

The markets on Monday clearly picked up on this with the Dow Jones dropping over a thousand points yesterday. It is down 500 800 almost 900 points today. Markets in South Korea, Italy, etc. are getting hit even worse. Oil prices are also declining. Right now they are over $50 a barrel but they could decline to the low $40s. The exchange rate for the ruble has also declined to 65 to a dollar. Their economy and government budget is heavily impacted by oil prices. My post from 28 January:

The Snowballing Effects of a Virus?

This is clearly going to affect the world markets through this quarter and probably into the next quarter. If it is fully contained, then the economies will start to recover. The question is, can this virus be fully contained? Because of the rather “stealthy” way it spreads, with people apparently able to spread it before they show symptoms of the disease, it may take a while to fully contain. Suspect these are not the last outbreaks. Each outbreak then produces another round of costly containment efforts.

It has been estimated that the economic cost of the SARS virus of 2002-2004, which only included 8,098 documented cases and 774 deaths in 17 countries, cost 1.05% of the Chinese GDP in 2003. Hong Kong took the biggest with a 2.63% loss in GDP in 2003 while the U.S. economy had a negative 0.07% effect. It is clear that this virus is going to have a lot bigger impact. Right now, it is 80,350 cases, 2,690 cases outside of mainland China, and 2,705 deaths (with 42 of them outside of China).

One estimate is here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92473/

The Table 2.2 is here (and a lot less blurry): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92473/table/ch2.t2/?report=objectonly

 

The Spread of the Coronavirus does seem to be Slowing

Source: https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6

This graph is from Johns Hopkins. I gather the figures are only as good as the reporting from China, and that I have not looked into.

The top line is the number of coronavirus cases in Mainland China (People’s Republic of China). The next line is the “Total Recovered” which is reported at 21,250 out of 77,917 cases (and 2,361 deaths). The bottom line of “other locations” (meaning outside of China)

A related news article is here:  China reports fall in new coronavirus cases but concerns grow over rising global spread

Belarus?

It looks like the next potential conflict in Eastern Europe is over Belarus. Russia has had more than one conflict with Georgia (population 3.7 million) that has split off two separate states from it (Abkhazia and Ossetia). Both of these conflicts pre-date Putin’s presidency of Russia. Russia more recently has had a conflict with Ukraine (population 42 million, excluding Crimea and Sevastopol) that split off two “Peoples Republics” (Donetsk and Lugansk) and annexed Crimea. Pre-dating Putin is the Transnistia Republic cut out of Moldava (population 2.7 excluding Transnistria, which is 0.5 million).

Now, apparently Russia and Belarus are in a discussion over economic integration that the dictator of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko (age 65), is not too happy with. He claims that his talks last week with Putin is not about “integration” of their economies but about  “merging.” Meanwhile Russia has cut the oil to Belarus, forcing it to get it from Norway and other places.

So what is Belarus exactly? It is a country of only abut 9.5 million people. Not very big, although not very densely populated. It has one major city (Minsk) with an urban population of around two million. Its second largest city is Homeyel (Gomel) with a only half million. For all practical purposes, it is an old style city state, with one major urban area and lot of land. It is 208 thousand sq. kilometers, or about the size of the state of Kansas or Nebraska. To compare:

 

……………………………..,……Belarus…………Russia………….Ukraine
Population (millions)………………..9.5……………147………………42

GDP (billions)………………………60……………1,657…………….134
Per Capita…………………….$6,477………….$11,305………..$3,220

Area (thousand sq. km.)………..208…………..17,098…………….604

 

Part of the problem is that Lukashenko has been dictator of Belarus for the last 20 years. He is not exactly close to the U.S., the E.U. or hardly anyone else. He is kind of standing alone, which is not a very good position to be in when one of your neighbors is at least 15 times larger (and over 27 times richer) .

We shall see how this develops, but an independent Belarus always looked a little improbable. It was briefly independent once before, in 1918. The Belarus Rada still maintains itself as a government-in-exile, located now in Vancouver Canada. This is actually the oldest remaining government-in-exile.

Coronavirus update

Well, I was concerned about the Coronavirus from the start, and so far, it unfortunately seems to be living up to my concerns. This morning, according to the reported stats…..there have been 24,607 reported cases (which is about 3 times as many as reported SARS cases) and 494 deaths. The concern and question is about the trends….is the disease expanding linearly or geometrically? Here is the latest graph from the John Hopkins University site:

This is from this site: https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6

Of course this is assuming that the reported statistics are correct. There is some question about that: https://www.yahoo.com/news/china-arrested-doctors-warned-coronavirus-111252311.html

To summarize:

  1. Last December eight doctors and medical technicians became concerned about a developing SARS-like disease. They were arrested on 1 January 2020 for having “spread rumors.”
  2. There is still on-going censorship efforts concerning the virus in China.
  3. Not discussed in this article, but there are people claiming there could be over 75,000 cases: https://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/coronavirus-cases-in-wuhan-could-be-over-75000-research-model-reveals-/

The tradition is that these communist governments tend to initially try to cover-up and minimize these disasters (i.e. SARS, Chernobyl). Not that democratic governments also don’t sometimes try to minimize the scale of these problems, but the free press does help keep them truthful.

 

 

TMCI is officially closing this year

The Military Conflict Institute (TMCI) is officially closing this year. The TMCI webpage is here: http://militaryconflict.org/. The website had not been updated since 2014.

TMCI was founded in 1979 by Dr. Donald S. Marshall and Trevor Dupuy. They were concerned by the inability of existing Defense Department combat models to produce results that were consistent or rooted in historical experience. The organization was a non-profit, interdisciplinary, informal group that avoided government affiliation in order to maintain an independent perspective and voice. It’s object was to advance public understanding or organized warfare in all its aspects. Most of the initial members were drawn from the ranks of operations analyst experienced in quantitative historical study and military operations research.

The organization conducted over 60 general meetings over its 41 years of existence, usually hosting two meetings a year. I gather in the early years, some of its meetings had over a hundred attendees, but in recent times it was a core group of around 20. There were also attempts to get funding from DOD to support it, which never occurred.

The TMCI eventually ended up being run by Roger Mickelson. During this stage, it actually wrote and published three books: 1) Anatomy of a Combat Model published in 1995, 2) A Concise Theory of Combat published in 1997, and 3) A Philosophy of War published in 2013.

The Anatomy of a Combat Model was written by Lawrence J. Low and is available from the TMCI site at http://militaryconflict.org/Anatomy%20of%20a%20Combat%20Model_1.pdf  I am not sure it will continue to be available through this website. It does not appear to be posted elsewhere.

A Concise Theory of Combat was written by Edmund L. Dubois, Wayne P. Hughes Jr., and Lawrence J. Low. Link to it is here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40235431-a-concise-theory-of-combat and I gather can be downloaded from here: https://www.scribd.com/doc/47751814/A-Concise-Theory-of-Combat and here: https://core.ac.uk/display/36731683 . I cannot vouch for the validity of either of these sites.

I cannot find a link to A Philosophy of War. I have my hard copy but cannot find where it can be obtained on line. It is not on Amazon.

Roger Mickelson was killed in 2016 in a car accident and while TMCI continued, it seemed to have lost focus. Some of the people involved in it, Wayne Hughes and Chuck Hawkins, also recently passed away.

TMCI never really accomplished what it hoped to do. Partly because it never got funding and nor had a staff. As such, there was little work done between meetings and everything was volunteer only. You get what you pay for with volunteer work. If the DOD feels that there is a need for independent analysis of combat and the development of a theory of combat, then they probably need to fund such an effort. So far, they have not.

A few related posts:

The Military Conflict Institute (TMCI) Will Meet in October

Three Presentations

The Elements of Trevor Dupuy’s Theory of Combat

World War IV

Roger Mickelson (Col, USA): “Final Change of Command”

So, Who’s Your Favorite Admiral?

Charles Hawkins passed away

Published Obituary for Charles Hawkins

John Honig passed away

John Honig passed away

John Honig passed away on 30 January 2020 at the age of 96. He was one of the regular attendees of The Military Conflict Institute (TMCI) in addition to being one of the founding members of the Military Operations Research Society (MORS)

His obituary is definitely worth a read. He was born in Austria in 1923:  https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/washingtonpost/obituary.aspx?fhid=10909&n=john-honig&pid=195250345

His has donated papers to the Holocaust Museum: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn692234

John Honig interview: https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/45464588.pdf