(By Aral Bereux)
The difference between an epidemic and a pandemic is simple. An epidemic is locally based, spread person to person within a localised geographic area. A pandemic is one where a disease like COVID-19 spreads person to person internationally, without the need to have had contact with the original source of the virus. It hints at mutations, second, third and fourth generation spread, and it hints at a bigger international problem.
In the last three days, 11 new countries have reported confirmed cases of COVID 19. Many of these cases have arisen from contact with people who have not travelled to China. This suggests the virus is potentially self-sustaining itself at community levels in a pandemic spread.
Italy is now on lockdown, reporting 12 fatalities and over 450 cases in the northern provinces; South Korea is suffering the worst blow with 1261 cases reported (12 deceased) and Iran’s strain of COVID-19 appears to be more virulent, with a mortality rate of 13 percent, surpassing the Chinese death rate and R0 factor.
So why then is the World Health Organization refusing to acknowledge the obvious?
Reports are now coming out that back in 2017, according to Business Insider, Zero Hedge and many others, “the World Bank launched a $425 million catastrophe bond issue supporting its Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility (PEF).”
These still outstanding PEF bonds (read pandemic bonds) are forecasted to mature in July 2020. What this means is if the bonds are “triggered” by the World Health Organization declaring a pandemic before then, massive, massive profits would be wiped out, and along with their bondholders.
And it goes further…
The “Class A bonds” are valued at $225 million, with a 6.9% payout annually.
Class A bonds default once 1) a pandemic is realised, 2) deaths reach over 2,500 in any one country, and 3) 20 further deaths in an additional country.
The “Class B bonds” were issued in the amount of $95 million and paid out at 11.5% annually.
Class B bonds default at a lower trigger of 1) 250 deaths, and 2) 20 other confirmed deaths.
As it stands today, by the above default definitions, the world is facing a pandemic. China’s death toll is 2,717, surpassing both the Class A and Class B default mechanisms. Iran has reported 19 deaths, with South Korea and Italy both reporting 12 deaths each today.
Will WHO declare a pandemic before or after July? It’s unlikely unless the devastation becomes apocalyptic and obvious to those outside of the powers that be. Some economists have called this a mere “distraction” from “getting serious about supporting preparedness” while others expect the worst is yet to come as WHO concentrates on the economy rather than world health issues.