As of today there have been 696 reported cases of coronavirus among the 3,711 passengers who were aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship. The ship was quarantined on February 1; all passengers and crew had disembarked by March 1. As of March 1, there were 6 deaths among those infected, and the number hasn’t grown (as of today).
Given the ease with which the virus could be transmitted on a ship, the Diamond Princess may represent an upper limit on contagion and mortality:
- an infection rate of 19 percent of those onboard the ship
- a fatality rate of less than 1 percent among those known to have contracted the disease
- a fatality rate of less than 2/10 of 1 percent of the population potentially exposed to the disease.
Conclusion: There is no question that coronavirus represents a significant threat to life, health, and economic activity. But the panic being fomented by the media and opportunistic politicians is unwarranted.