When the Ebola outbreak occurred in October of 2014 I began a series of charts that might be useful in tracking the disease and attempting to predict its growth, deaths, and demise. Fortunately, the methods for coping with that disease worked, and when those procedures had been fully implemented, the disease was ended in West Africa. Ebola’s growth rate for the first several months was logarithmic, as is seen in the straight line on the charts below of the number of cases and the deaths.
See the current Coronavirus Cases from Worldometers.info/coronavirus/
2020-02-23 = 78,823 cases. 2,464 Deaths, 23,301 Recovered
Much worse is the growth rate of the Coronavirus – COVID-19 (the popular name hasn’t stabilized yet). It seems to be much more contagious and spreads as easily as the common flu. It is particularly dangerous because it appears to be undetectable in a carrier for as long as two weeks after exposure. With the modern popularity of world travel, that permits the disease to spread widely and then become infectious. After it appears it presents itself as the common flu for the period of time when it is most contagious. But it gets more serious and the death rate has been about five percent so far. If a vaccine can’t be created quickly in massive quantities, this will develop into a world-class disaster. It usually takes several months to discover a vaccine that works, and several more months to manufacture large quantities of vaccine. With Coronavirus disease, we may not have that much time before it spreads world-wide.
The Mishtalk chart above shows Coronavirus going from 100 cases to 1,000 in 5 days, and it is projected to go from 1,000 to 10,000 in 6 days. Because this disease seems to have spread worldwide the only limiting factor will be the 8,000,000,000 people inhabiting the Earth.
That, of course, is the worst-case projection, and straight-line projections are almost always wrong, but it could approach that limiting factor. This would be the rate of growth per six-day periods – 1, 100, 10,000, 1,000,000, 100,000,000, 10,000,000,000. At that observed rate of growth so far, it would only take a month to infect everyone.
It is not much comfort to look at the charts below I made for a similar situation with the Ebola virus outbreak. It started in 2014 and was over in about a year. But when the US election comes this November, we will probably have a whole new outlook on what’s important.
The Boy Scouts are presently in deep trouble, but their motto is what we really should be paying attention to today: “BE PREPARED!”