A Little Math on the New Plague

Let’s consider the infection rate. I have heard a rough approximation of a doubling every two days. From a purely mathematical perspective, this may be considered as two to the power of n/2 (where n is the number of days). In a week, this would be:

2^3.5 = 11.3

Now allowing for some of the afflicted to have recovered (or died), let’s reduce that number from 11.3 to 10.

In this simplification, we simply add a zero each week. Without delving deeply or referencing the source from which I found this, I recall the following (top three rows, obviously, and extrapolating from there):


where the -2 means two weeks ago, and the +1 means a week from now.

Now obviously there is a catch. We approach saturation as time moves forward. Six weeks from now, there will not be one billion infected people in the US, as there are only about 325 million of us to begin with. Which means that, as the numbers increase, the curve will begin to flatten. This has already begun to happen in China and, more obviously, in South Korea. The South Korean government has been a case study in a sober, active, and pragmatic response to an emerging threat. In South Korea, the curve began to flatten far below the saturation level. Despite being home to one of the great world cities (Seoul), South Korea was able to rein in this virulent pathogen in a way no other country has yet approached.

I hope our country’s response ultimately more closely resembles that of South Korea than that of China, but I fear it may end up worse. If this administration emulates the regime of its benefactor, the US populace will simply be kept in the dark as an unchecked pathogen is left free to exact whatever price it will.