COVID-19 Forecasts: Big to Global Nightmare

COVID-19 forecasts are coming in, and they range from big to nightmarish.

One estimate is that the new coronavirus could rack up “billions more infections” and eventually affect two-thirds of the global population, according to a top WHO advisor Ira Longini, Bloomberg reports.
 
The prediction is based on transmissibility studies in China that show that each infected person generally passes the virus to 2 or 3 others. And: “Unless the transmissibility changes, surveillance and containment can only work so well,” says Longini.
 
Another estimate ranges from 550,000 cases to a pandemic-level 4.4 million, depending on whether everyone has the same chance of being infected, STAT reports.

Ever wonder where these models come from?
 
Disease forecast models haven’t changed much from the century-old method estimating 3 things: numbers of susceptible, infectious, and recovered. But they have improved dramatically thanks to superpowered computers and ever-more-granular data allowing modelers to simulate the countless ways that individuals go about their lives.
 
Officials are also predicting how they can get ahead of COVID-19 in Africa, where so far no cases have been confirmed but the potential for spread is huge, according to WHO. The organization has named 13 high-priority countries with close travel links to China, including Algeria, DRC, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and South Africa.
 
COVID-19 testing capacity on the continent has also been ramped up from just 2 countries to 17.

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