Geniuses Determine How Long It Would Take for Star Trek’s Tribbles to Completely Fill the Enterprise
A new paper guesstimates how long it would take for tribbles to fill the USS Enterprise on Star Trek.The math of population growth is more than just exponential.Spock calculates the population of tribbles in the classic episode, “The Trouble with Tribbles.”
Physics undergrads at the University of Leicester have made a growth equation for the Star Trek universe’s infamous troubling tribbles—purring balls of fluff that rapidly multiplied aboard the USS Enterprise in a classic 1967 episode. The students did this research for publication in Leicester’s undergraduate journal Physics Special Topics.
The “Trouble with Tribbles” application is novel, but this fits into an old math problem that many of us learned about squirrels. Population is funny when it’s tribbles multiplying the Enterprise into oblivion, but real populations don’t increase exponentially forever—it’s never that simple by a long stretch. So the ideas at play are exponential growth and then logistic growth, which can be gathered together as population or demographic formulae.
Tribbles are taking over, but at some point, the ship would be saturated enough with tribbles that there’s no room for new tribbles. That’s the carrying capacity of tribbles for this specific area, which is the inside of a spaceship instead of, say, a city park. Growth does not continue at exponential pace.
It’s here that our friends in Leicester begin to go wrong. They use an exponential equation instead of including the natural logarithm that better represents how a population approaches carrying capacity. As Khan Academy puts it, “Exponential growth produces a J-shaped curve, while logistic growth produces an S-shaped curve.”
Indeed, the students acknowledge this in their paper. Even within the utopian environment of the Enterprise, where every atom is recycled and made accessible again via the replicators, the tribbles can’t just reproduce forever; this isn’t the Library of Tribabel. Where squirrels or rabbits end up competing with each other for increasingly scarce food and other resources, the tribbles are being fed poison in an effort to control them.
“Luckily, in the crew’s case, the tribbles are feeding on toxic grain and begin to die out, so the population of tribbles does not end up filling the entire ship,” the students explain. “In this case, the assumption that the tribbles remain alive is incorrect. This means that the tribbles would not fill the USS Enterprise in the short time of 4.5 days.”
Examining your assumptions is a very . . . logical thing to do.
But how did they arrive at the estimate of 4.5 days to begin with? First, the students used an existing estimate of the volume of the Enterprise, which they sourced from a Wired article titled simply, “How Much Does the Enterprise Weigh?” Then they measured a “replica tribble” that they assume, intriguingly, “is roughly cylindrical.”
Each tribble has a litter of 10 young per 12 hours. By using the known population over time, they found an equation to represent the unknown “growth constant” of the tribble population:
“T is the number of tribbles after time t, T₀ is the initial number of tribbles at time t = 0, k is the growth constant of the tribbles (to be determined) and t is the time in hours,” the students explain. Using their estimates of the volume of the Enterprise and the volume of a tribble, “we found that the number of tribbles required to fill the USS Enterprise is 18.4 ×10⁹ tribbles.” From there, they calculate out the total required time of 4.5 days.
To really get into the nitty gritty of where and how the tribble population would reach carrying capacity, we’d need to add a lot more parameters. The Enterprise isn’t one giant open space inside, and tribbles need air to breathe, for example. Indeed, the future is bright for tribble-based math for these undergrads, with nowhere to go but up—just slowing more as they reach the carrying capacity.
Agent Scott Boras Honors One of Kobe Bryant’s Final Wishes by Hiring Alexis Altobelli for Internship
On Monday, the sports world paid tribute to Kobe and Gianna Bryant as part of a public memorial service at Staples Center.
They were among nine victims in a helicopter crash last month in Southern California. Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri, and his younger daughter Alyssa were also on board, and one of Kobe’s final acts, it was revealed Monday, was helping out Altobelli’s surviving daughter, 16-year-old Alexis.
Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka — who was also Bryant’s former agent — was among those to make a speech at Monday’s service. During his remarks, Pelinka told the crowd that he received a text from Bryant while he was aboard the helicopter on the morning of the fatal crash.
In the message, Bryant had asked Pelinka to reach out to baseball agent Scott Boras about an internship for Alexis. The NBA legend wanted to serve as a character reference for her.
Boras will now honor Bryant’s wishes by creating an internship for Alexis that will allow her to experience various aspects of the agency, according to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times:
“Boras has been in contact with [Alexis’ older brother, J.J.] and will create a position for Alexis, who will be able to rotate through the company’s various departments, including marketing, baseball operations, sports science and office administration.”
Per Hernandez, Boras had already invited the Altobellis to tour his SoCal-based Boras Corp. office and to discuss how Alexis could gain experience by working for him.
Boras is the best-known agent in baseball. He represents a number of the top players in the game, and has become a sizable figure in labor matters. He also shared a church with the Bryants in Newport Beach.
John, Keri and Alyssa Altobelli were honored with a public memorial at Angel Stadium earlier this month. In addition to Alexis, the Altobellis are survived by son J.J., who serves as a scout for the Boston Red Sox.
It seems Hannah Brown can’t go too far without seeing one of her exes.
While the Dancing With the Stars champ’s ex, Peter Weber, is on TV each Monday as the Bachelor, it seems Brown ran into another ex over the weekend. Both Brown and her ex-fiance, Jed Wyatt, were guests at Bachelor in Paradise stars Dylan Barbour and Hannah Godwin’s engagement party in Beverly Hills on Saturday night.
Videos posted to social media show Brown hanging out at the soiree with Godwin, while Mike Johnson dances behind them.
Brown got ready for the party with her good friend, Heather Martin, while Wyatt attended the bash with his new girlfriend, Ellen Decker.
The former Bachelorette ended her engagement to Wyatt just weeks after he proposed on the ABC dating show, following headlines that he came on the series with a girlfriend back home in Nashville. The two didn’t leave things on the best of terms, with Wyatt appearing to shade Brown on social media after her finale aired.
“I think there’s always — when you’re hurt, because he’s hurt too, you want to justify things, and maybe that was just a way for him to see it in an way that explains some of his hurt,” Brown told ET in August of Wyatt’s social media behavior. “But you know, I think we all know what show we were on, and my dating relationships were very out in the open and everybody knew what they were a part of.”
Brown asked her runner-up, Tyler Cameron, out for a drink after her failed engagement to Wyatt, but rekindling that relationship didn’t work out. She also appeared to consider giving things another shot with Weber on The Bachelor (he asked her to join his season), but decided to focus on Dancing With the Stars. During her recent appearance on ET’s Unfiltered series, Brown revealed who she would want to date, marry and disappear from her final three contestants.
“It’s so funny — I guess… Yeah, I guess I’ll do it. Sure, why not? Date, marry, disappear with my final three guys,” she said. “Date: Tyler. Marry: Peter. Disappear…Jed.”
Weight loss associated with slowing of this decline in lung capacity.
Mid-life weight gain is linked to an acceleration in the natural decline in lung capacity that comes with aging, reveals a 20-year study published online in the journal Thorax.
But mid-life weight loss is associated with the slowing of this aging process, emphasizing the importance of maintaining a healthy weight, to stave off serious respiratory ill health, say the researchers.
Lung capacity is measured by forced vital capacity (FVC) and forced expiratory volume (FEV). It’s an important indicator of future ill health and life expectancy.
There’s plenty of evidence linking overweight and obesity in adulthood with poorer lung capacity, but most of the studies have been relatively short term, and tracked the respiratory health of people only up to the age of 50.
To gauge the potentially longer term impact of changes in weight, the researchers drew on data from the European Community Respiratory Health Survey (ECRHS). This has been tracking the health of more than 10,000 adults aged 20 to 44 since the early 1990s.
For the purposes of this study, the researchers included 3673 participants from 26 locations in 12 countries in Europe and Australia. Their weight, height, and lung function were measured at three time points over a period of 20 years.
Information on other potentially influential factors was also collected: whether they smoked or had been exposed to secondhand smoke; whether they had asthma; how often they exercised; and whether they had any other serious condition, such as diabetes or cancer.
Their average age was 34 at the start of the study, and 54 when they had their last check-up. At the start of the study, around one in eight (12%) was underweight; over half (57%) were of normal weight; around one in four (24%) was overweight; around one in 20 (6%) was obese.
During the monitoring period, almost 4% of participants lost weight, while weight didn’t change in around a third (34%). Around half (53%) put on a moderate amount of weight (0.25-1 kg/year), and around one in 10 (9%) put on a lot of weight (more than 1 kg/year).
Analysis of the results showed that changes in weight over the 20 years were associated with the rate at which lung capacity declined.
Among those with a healthy weight, or who were overweight or obese as young adults, moderate and high weight gain were associated with a speeding up of the decline in lung capacity.
On the other hand, weight loss among those who were obese as young adults over the following 20 years was associated with a slowing in this decline.
This was also the case for those who had been underweight at the start of the study, and whose weight remained stable throughout the monitoring period. But decline was also faster among the underweight who put on a moderate amount of weight.
This is an observational study, and as such, can’t establish cause, added to which the findings drew on total body weight, which can’t distinguish between muscle and fat. Nor were the researchers able to assess how long it takes for a change in weight to affect the lungs.
Nevertheless, the findings echo those of previous studies, they say. And, together, they “reinforce the public health message that overweight and obesity have deleterious effects on health, including respiratory health,” they write.
“However, the negative effects of overweight and obesity on lung function can be reversed by weight loss even in later adult life,” they point out. “Therefore, public health policies that promote healthy lifestyles and body weight may be important for maintaining good lung function in adult life,” they conclude.
Reference: “Body mass index and weight change are associated with adult lung function trajectories: the prospective ECRHS study” 25 February 2020, Thorax.
Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, the largest generic opioid manufacturer in the United States, has tentatively agreed to pay $1.6 billion to settle thousands of lawsuits brought by state and local governments over its role in the opioid crisis.
The agreement was endorsed by 47 states and U.S. territories along with a committee of lawyers representing thousands of cities and counties, the company said on Tuesday.
The money, to be paid into a cash trust over eight years, will be used to underwrite the costs of opioid addiction treatments and related efforts across the country.
“Nothing can undo the devastating loss and grief inflicted by the opioid epidemic upon victims and their families, but this settlement with Mallinckrodt is an important step in the process of healing our communities,” Attorney General Xavier Becerra of California said in a statement announcing the agreement. “Our office has worked aggressively to hold accountable bad actors who fueled this public health crisis.”
Under the terms of the agreement, the United States division of Mallinckrodt that produces generic opioids would file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. After a bankruptcy judge approves the restructuring plan, an initial payment of $300 million would be disbursed to plaintiffs to alleviate the opioid crisis, with the remaining $1.3 billion to be paid out over eight years.
Other divisions of the company, which has its headquarters abroad and also produces branded drugs, are not filing for bankruptcy.
Mallinckrodt is the first opioid company to reach even a tentative national settlement agreement with municipal governments and most of the states. Offers from other defendants — like Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, which, like Mallinckrodt, is now also seeking to restructure in bankruptcy court, and from the health and consumer products giant Johnson & Johnson and huge drug distributors like McKesson — have yet to be accepted by an overwhelming majority of plaintiffs.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that from 1999 to 2017, almost 218,000 people died in the United States from overdoses related to prescription opioids. The opioid-related deaths were five times higher in 2017 than they were in 1999, according to the C.D.C.
In a statement, Paul T. Farrell Jr., Paul J. Hanly Jr. and Joe Rice, lawyers who are negotiators on behalf of thousands of cities and counties suing the company in federal courts, said that though they had agreed to the deal in principle, they were still working out the details.
“Our pursuit of corporate accountability against a host of other defendants across the entire drug supply chain will not stop,” the lawyers said.
New York is one of the few states that have not yet confirmed acceptance of the Mallinckrodt offer. Its trial, which is being joined by Suffolk and Nassau Counties, against a cluster of pharmaceutical industry defendants, including Mallinckrodt, is set to begin on March 20.
In a statement, Letitia James, the New York attorney general, said: “While we continue to work with other states and creditors to ensure that any proposal involving Mallinckrodt serves the interests of our communities and that money can flow to our communities for remediation as quickly as possible, we have yet to reach a final agreement with the company on all terms of a New York settlement. Unless that happens, we are determined to press ahead with the trial against the company next month.”
With the Los Angeles County Museum of Art just weeks away from demolishing four buildings on its campus to make way for a $650 million structure by Peter Zumthor, the Ahmanson Foundation said Tuesday that it is suspending its decades-long program of buying art for the museum over concerns about the effects of the radical redesign.
In a telephone interview William Ahmanson, president of the foundation, said he fears that under the Zumthor plan — a sweeping, one-level structure designed to flatten the traditional museum hierarchies that privilege particular centuries and cultures — many European artworks his family’s foundation donated will end up in storage.
“It’s my understanding that LACMA is changing from an encyclopedic museum with a robust permanent collection to a museum with some permanent collection works on view and more temporary exhibitions,” Mr. Ahmanson, who remains a board member there, said. “The concern is that the carefully curated collection we’ve amassed over decades may never see the light of day again.”
The foundation’s decision was first reported by The Los Angeles Times.
Starting in 1972, the Ahmanson Foundation has spent about $130 million to finance the museum’s acquisitions of 99 artworks, including masterpieces like “The Magdalen With the Smoking Flame” by Georges de La Tour, others by Rembrandt, Watteau and Bernini, and a suite of 42 French oil sketches. The donations were not made with any contractual stipulations that the works remain on view. But historically, Mr. Ahmanson said, “nearly all” of the works except for the light-sensitive French sketches have been on display at any given time.
“I have been asking how much space is going to be dedicated to the permanent collection, of which European art is a large portion, and I haven’t been able to get that information,” Mr. Ahmanson said, noting that the foundation had decided against an acquisition the museum proposed in 2019 for this reason and “will not consider other requests for art from LACMA for now.”
He said the foundation received a letter from the museum’s director, Michael Govan, in 2006 promising “at least equal and probably much better space” for the art in the new building. But since then, amid debate over whether the museum is forfeiting exhibition space in its new design, assurances have not been as convincing, Mr. Ahmanson said.
Mr. Govan said by phone on Tuesday that it’s impossible at this stage to provide any square footage figures for particular material, which will evolve with his curators’ choices. But, he said: “We could not be more enthusiastic to present the Ahmanson works at the core of our collections as they always have been. I believe that some of people’s favorite masterpieces from this group will be even more prominently displayed because of the more accessible arrangement of galleries in the new building.”
As the circus turns for South Carolina, every last adult in the Democrat Party has apparently left the parade.
You have Pete Buttigieg exploiting a 9-year-old child’s “sexual” identity in front of thousands of spectators — for his own political benefit.
The ex-mayor of South Bend, Indiana, actually turned the whole spectacle into a campaign commercial. Where were that child’s parents? Where was his pediatrician?
Like I said, there are no adults left over there.
Then you have Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who seemingly lies about everything she ever talks about.
She lies to get her Harvard job. She lies about her ethnicity. She lies about how much all the free stuff she promises to give out will cost. There is nothing the woman will not say just to get her greedy little white hands on all your money and the levers of control in Washington.
Never is it more obvious that all the adults have left the room than when every Democrat candidate on the debate stage is squirming to their tiptoes, raising their hands as high as they can go and waving them to get called on by one of the debate moderators.
I say there are no adults left. Except for former Vice President Joe Biden. He is not a child, but he is headed for the diaper aisle. His plugs are wound a little too tight these days. He is slipping but at least still has the wits to escape from the old folks home.
Somebody needs to put out a Silver Alert.
And then there is Sen. Bernie Sanders. You have heard how China is the “sick man” of the world? Well, Mr. Sanders is the “sick man” of the Democrat Party.
Everybody is scrambling to get away from him. They should all wear face masks for the next debate in South Carolina.
A quick aside: The only argument against Manifest Destiny — that God has smiled on America since her founding — is that we wound up sharing a hemisphere with China, thus sharing a winter flu season.
Anyway, what were we talking about? Oh yeah. There are no adults left in the Democrat Party and “Sick Man” Sanders is running away with the nomination.
After three years of lectures about Russian meddling in U.S. elections and how President Trump is a Kremlin puppet, the Democrats’ solution is — literally to turn control of America over to a socialist who oozes sympathy and admiration for communist dictators who kill people the world over.
Now comes former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who has never been a child. Actually, he scares children. Sometimes, he likes to throw them up against the wall and frisk them for no reason.
Anything he wants, he just buys. So far, he has spent close to a half-billion dollars buying the Democrat Party. All the party Big Wigs are eager to hand him control. Anything to keep “Sick Man” Sanders from taking over.
And just like that, Mr. Bloomberg loses his adulthood. He becomes a child for the first time in his life.
After a decade-and-a-half telling us that New York streets were a war zone and “stop and frisk” was the only way to save black lives, he now gets bullied into apologizing for it.
He would have been far smarter to defend the practice. Admit there might have been problems with it, but become indignant when pressed and vow to never apologize for saving black lives.
As for his miserable debate performance last week, Mr. Bloomberg should have just come out the next day and said, “You know, honestly, I was stunned. I was simply not prepared for the level of stupidity that these people have all stooped to inside the Democrat Party. I aim to study up on all these absolutely moronic issues and platforms for the next debate. It is not always easy to be the only adult in the room.”
Far and away, the best moment of Mr. Bloomberg’s debate was his zinger on Sick Man: “What a wonderful country we have. The best-known socialist in the country happens to be a millionaire with three houses.”
Mr. Bloomberg needs to grow up, channel his inner adulthood, stick to zingers like that and forget all the pandering.
It’s all so childish, Mini Mike. Don’t be scared. Be a man. Stand tall. Or, at least, as “tall” as you can.
• Charles Hurt can be reached at [email protected] or @charleshurt on Twitter.
Baseball games played to empty stands — and not just at Marlins Park. Airlines largely grounded. Restaurants empty — though Grubhub deliveries are booming as hungry people fear leaving their homes.
This is the summer that possibly awaits the U.S. should the coronavirus continue its seemingly inexorable march across the globe.
The novel coronavirus, known for pneumonialike symptoms, has quickly spread far beyond the wet market in the Chinese city of Wuhan whence it sprung just a couple of months ago. Outbreaks have occurred everywhere from Italy to Iran to South Korea.
The World Health Organization is now warning of a potential global pandemic. It’s fanciful to imagine that the U.S. will somehow find itself immune to what could soon be a global scourge. Indeed, a country that for decades has largely given up on enforcing its southern border seems particularly helpless to stop the spread.
It appears likely that the reelection prospects of President Trump would swoon in the event of a major outbreak here. Not only would he be blamed — fairly, or not — for allowing the virus to enter the country, but the economic shock that would ensue would surely harm his prospects.
Mr. Trump also seems oddly disengaged from the crisis. By contrast, one can imagine a Citizen Trump, having been defeated by President Hillary Clinton, calling for an immediate shut-down of the U.S. border until “we can figure out what the hell is going on.”
A glance at what has happened in the countries that have suffered from coronavirus portends bad things. Dozens of Italian towns in the country’s north are on lockdown, and Venice canceled its famous carnival. The Tokyo marathon was drastically shrunk, and it’s questionable whether the Summer Olympics will occur there later this year.
China has taken the drastic measure of essentially shutting down its economy in hopes of stopping the spread. Even this will have significant effects on the U.S., as supply chains are disrupted. And if the virus makes it to the U.S. in earnest, the economic effects could be catastrophic. Consumer spending, which comprises some 70% of U.S. GDP, would surely collapse. (Except maybe for Amazon’s delivery business. Jeff Bezos always has the last laugh.)
What would make the political effects of a coronavirus odder still is that both Mr. Trump and his probable Democratic opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, have based their political campaigns largely on mass rallies. A coronavirus outbreak would put paid to that strategy, as large-scale gatherings would be discouraged. The political conventions would be canceled, too.
One veteran campaign manager says this would serve to Mr. Trump’s benefit. In the event of a coronavirus outbreak that keeps candidates off the trail, “Advantage Trump because he has Twitter already, plus TV audience on command. Bernie is still a distant second to Trump on communication tactics,” he tells me. Mr. Sanders’ “Twitter account is actually kinda mediocre. Trump could livestream from the White House and get millions of people on appointment viewing.”
Consider it a “front porch campaign” for the YouTube age. And the facemask age.
⦁ Ethan Epstein is editorial editor of The Washington Times. Contact him at [email protected] or on Twitter @ethanepstiiiine.
The only thing that can be said about former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s first appearance with his fellow Democratic presidential candidates in Las Vegas Wednesday night was that Mike did not get it done, as his campaign ads promise he will if he becomes president.
He was boring, expressionless and could not defend himself against past racist, sexist and misogynistic comments, including one mentioned by Elizabeth Warren, who said Mr. Bloomberg once referred to women as “fat broads” and “horse-faced lesbians.” During the debate he also refused to release women who worked for him from sexual harassment nondisclosure agreements, apparently because that would reveal even more of his outrageous behavior than is already known. Bowing to pressure, however, he has since released three women from their NDAs.
While President Trump was mentioned a few times, most of the “debate” was about the candidates carving up and interrupting each other. Watching it made it sound like there is nothing good about America, homelessness is a national plague (mostly in cities and states run by Democrats, which the moderators failed to mention), and according to some of the candidates, most people are unhappy with their health insurance and want the government to take over.
Democrats call it Medicare for all, but it is the single-payer option, a government-run insurance program, which likely means the federal government will in effect become your doctor, deciding who gets care and who doesn’t, who ultimately lives or dies, based on age and diagnosis, and whether you take more from the treasury than you contribute in taxes.
Much of the second hour of the debate focused on the cult of climate change, which most Democrats seem to believe in more than they believe in God. The overpopulated panel of moderators failed to ask Mr. Bloomberg about a Fox News report (perhaps because they hate all things Fox) that a program funded by Mr. Bloomberg pays the salaries of lawyers in the offices of some state attorneys general to “pursue climate-based litigation.”
According to the Daily Wire, a conservative news and opinion site, “The arrangement, which currently pays the salaries of Special Assistant Attorneys General in 10 Democratic AG offices,” the Fox report found, “is drawing new scrutiny now that Bloomberg is running for president. The New York University School of Law’s State Energy & Environmental Impact Center, which was started in 2017 with $5.6 million from Bloomberg’s nonprofit, hires mid-career lawyers as ‘research fellows’ before providing them to state AGs where they assist in pursuing ‘progressive’ policy goals through the courts.”
A number of Republican attorneys general, the Daily Wire reported, “have raised concerns about Bloomberg’s funding of government lawyers, especially since he began his 2020 campaign.” It quoted West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey: “This is a fundamental question of ethics and who’s running our government. When you actually get to place someone under a specific agenda and then pay them and they’re within the office, that starts to call into question whether there are multiple masters within an attorney general office and that starts to really stink.”
Mr. Bloomberg appears to be using his considerable wealth in ways other than paying for those ubiquitous TV ads. If his record as mayor of New York City is any indication of how he would behave as president, he should not even be allowed in the tourist line at the White House, unless you are comfortable with government telling you how large a soft drink you can consume, whether salt should be available at restaurants and you are fine with your guns being taken away, along with other constitutionally protected liberties.
While Mr. Bloomberg’s money might keep him on political life-support, his credibility as a presidential candidate took a major hit Wednesday night from which he is unlikely to recover.
• Cal Thomas, a nationally syndicated columnist, is the author of “America’s Expiration Date: The Fall of Empires, Superpowers and the United States” (HarperCollins/Zondervan, January 2020).
The Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, one of the most visited sites in Kyoto, Japan, was quiet enough to hear the bamboo creaking in the wind.
The Ngong Ping 360 cable cars in Hong Kong, which hover over Lantau Island and take passengers to a famous Buddha statue, hung motionless and empty.
The crush of flag-following tour groups that usually cram the Lantern Bridge in Hoi An’s ancient town in central Vietnam had disappeared.
And in Siem Reap, home to the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, the usually busy Sala Lodges hadn’t had a new booking in three weeks.
The coronavirus epidemic is taking its toll on global tourism, which according to the World Travel & Tourism Council contributed $8.8 trillion to the world economy in 2018. Some economists say the epidemic could be the biggest drag on global economic growth since the financial crisis, with airlines alone expected to lose some $29 billion in revenues this year.
The Asian countries closest to China, which is the epicenter of the outbreak and the world’s leading source of international travelers and tourism spending, are feeling the brunt of the crisis, but the effects are spreading. On Sunday, Venice cut short its annual carnival celebration, and the Italian government shut down travel to 10 towns in the Lombardy region after a surge in new cases there.
In recent years, countries in Southeast Asia invested heavily in resorts and casinos to capture the swelling ranks of Chinese tourists. Now airlines, hotels and tour operators are suffering from a rush of cancellations and a drop in future bookings, primarily from mainland China, but also from Western travelers spooked by the spread of the virus in the region.
The economic toll is mounting: Countries that have relied heavily on Chinese tourism, including Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia and Singapore, are each expected to lose at least $3 billion in tourism-related revenues, according to an analysis by Animesh Kumar, a travel and tourism director at GlobalData, a research and consulting firm based in London.
The steep losses are mostly because of the absence of Chinese tourists, but also because some “tourists from other countries are apprehensive about traveling anywhere close to China,” he wrote in his report.
A report last week from Hopper, the flight and hotel booking app, showed a decline in searches by Americans in the past several weeks for flights to Asian countries, especially China. Its analysis of billions of airfare quotes from across the internet showed a roughly 20 percent drop in demand to Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam. The company said it was seeing a shift in Americans searching for domestic destinations over international locales.
The Coronavirus Outbreak
What do you need to know? Start here.
What is a Coronavirus?
It is a novel virus named for the crown-like spikes that protrude from its surface. The coronavirus can infect both animals and people, and can cause a range of respiratory illnesses from the common cold to more dangerous conditions like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS. How contagious is the virus?
According to preliminary research, it seems moderately infectious, similar to SARS, and is possibly transmitted through the air. Scientists have estimated that each infected person could spread it to somewhere between 1.5 and 3.5 people without effective containment measures. Where has the virus spread?
The virus originated in Wuhan, China, and has sickened tens of thousands of people in China and at least two dozen other countries. How worried should I be?
While the virus is a serious public health concern, the risk to most people outside China remains very low, and seasonal flu is a more immediate threat. Who is working to contain the virus?
World Health Organization officials have praised China’s aggressive response to the virus by closing transportation, schools and markets. This week, a team of experts from the W.H.O. arrived in Beijing to offer assistance. What if I’m traveling?
The United States and Australia are temporarily denying entry to noncitizens who recently traveled to China and several airlines have canceled flights. How do I keep myself and others safe?
Washing your hands frequently is the most important thing you can do, along with staying at home when you’re sick.
Chinese travelers racked up an unprecedented 150 million trips abroad and spent more than $277 billion on international travel in 2018. But the juggernaut last year sputtered in the wake of slower economic growth and the trade war with the United States. It effectively came to a halt as the coronavirus epidemic led the government to bar groups of tourists from traveling abroad, and dozens of international carriers like American Airlines and United Airlines suspended flights to mainland China.
As the virus continues to spread, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday issued Level 2 alerts for Japan and South Korea, advising older adults and those with chronic conditions to “consider postponing nonessential travel.” On Wednesday, Hong Kong received a Level 1 watch advising travelers to take precautions like washing hands and avoiding sick people.
Jenni Honkanen and Tobias Solvefjord, both 39, of Skovde, Sweden, were on a half-full jet from Hong Kong to Ho Chi Minh City on Wednesday morning, wondering if sites would be closed or travel restricted. Still, the couple were not overly concerned.
They were aware that Vietnam had reported only a small number of cases (16 compared with more than 77,000 in China) and joked that it wouldn’t be bad being quarantined in the tropics instead of suffering through the bleak winter in Skovde.
“We’ll be fine,” Ms. Honkanen said. “Vietnam should still be fine, hopefully.”
In one of the country’s most popular destinations, Hoi An, the scene last weekend was as if the former port city had returned to the days before package tours and fleets of tour buses clogged the streets, said resident Patricia Clegg, 64, a native of France whose parents are from Vietnam.
China and South Korea have been the biggest sources of tourists for the town in the past few years as sprawling resorts filled the coast between the town and Danang, about 20 miles north.
“All the Asian tourism has mostly disappeared,” said Ms. Clegg, a consultant for the town’s oldest tailor shop catering to tourists, Yaly. “It’s mostly Western tourists now.”
At Reaching Out handicraft shop in Hoi An’s ancient town, business is down 65 percent since the coronavirus hit the news and by 45 percent at its teahouse, said the owner, Le Nguyen Binh, 56. One-third of the staff is on leave and collecting unemployment until sales pick up. The 40 remaining staff members have their temperatures taken when they arrive to work and don masks, which are also offered to customers, along with hand sanitizer, Mr. Binh said.
In the midst of Japan’s historic tourism boom, February in Kyoto would normally see streets and parks filled with tourists — largely Chinese nationals visiting as part of tour groups — taking in the first plum blossoms in the former ancient capital. Chinese visitors supplied one-quarter of Japan’s record 32 million arrivals in 2018. Instead, the popular Chion and Nison temples were nearly void of sightseers. Katsunobu Kato, Japan’s health minister, has urged the public to “avoid nonurgent, nonessential gatherings.”
In Hong Kong, the Tourism Board chief, Dane Cheng, said tourism would take a bigger hit than it did during the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, that struck the territory and mainland China 17 years ago. In the first two weeks of February, only 3,000 tourists a day visited Hong Kong, he said. In January, the city averaged about 65,000 tourists a day, a number that was already down because of months of political protests and a shrinking economy.
“It’s a huge drop,” Mr. Cheng said. “This time it’s not just Hong Kong, but all or most parts of Asia.”
In Hong Kong, where 68 cases of the new disease, formally known as Covid-19, have been confirmed, government-run tourism sites like the harbor-front Hong Kong Museum of Art, the marine-life theme park Ocean Park and the Ngong Ping 360 cable cars have been closed. Events like Art Basel Hong Kong have also been canceled.
Tim Cheung, who was handing out fliers on Thursday evening for his restaurant in Lan Kwai Fong, Hong Kong’s popular night life district, said businesses there had already taken a hit during the protests and were worse off now, with business dropping 70 to 80 percent since the Chinese New Year.
“Basically we don’t know what will happen tomorrow,” he said. “I may be out of a job. I’ll work another day for as long as I can. Many Hong Kongers are like this now.”
Singapore, which has reported 89 coronavirus cases, announced a fiscal boost of several billion dollars to help households and sectors like aviation and tourism that are most affected by the outbreak.
Jewel, a nature-themed complex at the Changi Airport, reflected the malaise. At the Rain Vortex indoor waterfall, usually crowded with people jostling to take selfies, there was plenty of space to take a photo alone. Apple Store employees in their dark blue T-shirts outnumbered shoppers two to one.
Jeanne Liu, the owner of Rich & Good Cake Shop, which has an outpost at Jewel, said that business was down by half. “The general mood in the country is depressed, and people aren’t going to places they perceive as crowded,” she said.
Robert and Jane Murray, 73 and 70, who live in Australia, were sitting in a mostly empty Terminal 3, waiting for their flight to Jaipur, India, to attend a wedding after spending three days in Singapore.
“We booked the trip before all the hype, and it made us want to cancel,” Mr. Murray said. “But we contacted our doctor, who said ‘It’s just like the flu,’ so we just take precautions, wash hands and we’re fine.”
In Cambodia’s usual tourist hot spot, Siem Reap, the airport was hauntingly empty and check-in and security lines were minimal.
Arne Lugeon, 56, the French-born owner and general manager of the Sala Lodges, said that as of mid-Feburary, its 11 traditional wooden houses had not had a new booking in three weeks, even though February is high season for tourism. “I can only hope this virus is contained and then ends soon,” he said.
Fabien Martial, 46, co-owner of the 35-room Viroth’s Hotel, said: “During the Chinese New Year, 70 percent of our clients are from China, but this year they all canceled. The hotel was nearly completely empty for a few days.”
“I’ve been a hotelier here through SARS, avian flu and political unrest,” Mr. Martial added. “I’ve learned to be patient and to endure. Business and tourism will be back.”
In Thailand, which receives, by far, the most Chinese tourists in Southeast Asia, with more than 10 million in 2018, the Platinum Mall in Bangkok is typically bustling this time of year, said Siriwan Saensuwan, 65, who has been selling clothes there for a decade. But for the past couple of weeks, she said, “it has been quiet, like a cemetery.”
“Look for yourself,” she said, “no one is walking around.”
Reporting was contributed by Elaine Yu from Hong Kong; Adam H. Graham and Allan Richarz from Tokyo and Kyoto, Japan; David Farley from Siem Reap, Cambodia; Sanjay Surana from Singapore; and Muktita Suhartono from Bangkok.
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