Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 02-28-2020, 07:43 AM
KidCharlemagne is offline
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 5,498

Shouldn’t the number of Coronavirus infections be increasing much more aggressively?

Over the last week, the number of reported 2019-nCov infections has slowed considerably, staying in the low 80k’s. While the WHO estimates says it’s R0 is probably around 2 (1.4-2.5) other studies average around 3.5. Even given the latest measures put in place to bring that number down, shouldn’t the long incubation time (with some estimates at a possible 27 days) already have afforded the virus an opportunity to spread much more aggressively? I get that the rates don’t reflect actual infections but you should still see the same proportion of reported infections. Perhaps my mathematical thinking is off here, but the growth appears to be anything but exponential at this point. What am I missing? Thanks.
Old 02-28-2020, 08:00 AM
Fiendish Astronaut's Avatar
Fiendish Astronaut is offline
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: London - England
Posts: 1,278
The recorded numbers clearly do not reflect the real figure. Italy has recorded three infections in Milan yet six people have been recorded by other countries having returned from Milan. Now it's possible that all six met the three carriers (or each other) but that seems unlikely. More likely is that Milan has far more than three cases.

Also the US is reporting 60 cases. Again I'm dubious. One of those cases has no connection to an infected country or to any other known cases. But the US done almost no testing. The UK has 18 cases but has conducted over 7,000 tests. The US has tested less than 500 people.

Last edited by Fiendish Astronaut; 02-28-2020 at 08:01 AM.
Old 02-28-2020, 08:09 AM
Fiendish Astronaut's Avatar
Fiendish Astronaut is offline
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: London - England
Posts: 1,278
Also you should treat China separately from the rest of the world. China's numbers are increasing a lot more slowly now they have isolated entire cities - since China is responsible for the overwhelming number of cases a reduction in its growth of cases has a big affect on the overall figures. But the cases for the rest of the world have been growing exponentially. The top of the S curve we've been seeing has stopped flattening out and is beginning to show signs of pushing back upwards again.

See the blue Total Cases graph here:

Last edited by Fiendish Astronaut; 02-28-2020 at 08:10 AM.
Old 02-28-2020, 09:41 AM
asahi's Avatar
asahi is offline
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: On your computer screen
Posts: 12,572
We're still learning a lot about the disease itself, and it's not yet clear just how dangerous it is. It's probably less dangerous than SARS, but it's probably more dangerous than typical influenza, and perhaps more dangerous even than some of the bad strains of H1N1 or more notorious flu strains.

China is not really giving us a clear picture of the disease. We can't trust Chinese data because the government is clearly politicizing the process as they release information to international health officials. And even if we could be sure that they were fully cooperating with international officials, their completely and utterly incompetent response, which is the primary reason for its spread, is not indicative of how other more advanced countries would respond to the situation.

We will know a lot more about the disease as testing ramps up in the industrialized nations and in nations that aren't interested in controlling information to make their governments look good, but are instead more interested in public health. So far, it seems to be considerably less lethal in countries with better established health systems. Conversely, in countries with authoritarian tendencies such as Iran, it's going to ravage communities.


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:44 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to:

Send comments about this website to:

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright © 2019 STM Reader, LLC.

Copyright © 2017