If there's "only" a 3% rate of coronavirus-infected people in China, the number of infected persons will amount to over 43 million, with more than 900,000 deaths.
These are the alarming numbers that Technologist, Guy Martyn, predicted and put together last Thursday.
Coronavirus in numbers
The number of people affected by the coronavirus keeps increasing on a daily basis. As of today, the number of infected people is set at more than 20,000 confirmed cases, and 425 people have fatally succumbed to the virus.
Certain doctors in China tried to warn local and international authorities that the outbreak would be more substantial than initially estimated, and now it's safe to say they were correct.
University researchers, IT people, and others are crunching numbers to predict just how widespread the coronavirus could become.
# infected by CoronaVirus prediction for 1 Feb 2020 : 13600 (worst case scenario) pic.twitter.com/BBUKe63ttd— Watersoup (@watersoup) February 1, 2020
One such person, Martyn, based his calculations and predictions on data from the 2018 flu season, which had an infection rate between three and 11%.
As per Martyn's research, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that 42.9 million people fell ill during the 2018-2019 flu season (that's a 12.9% infection rate), with approximately 647,000 people hospitalized, and over 61,000 deaths.
In keeping with these numbers, Martyn based his projections of the 2019 coronavirus by predicting what would happen if 3, 11, 15, 20, and 25% of the population became infected, keeping the current reported 2.11% mortality rate.
The numbers become staggering as the percentages increase. Breaking down his predictions between China, the U.S., the U.K., and Canada, Martyn created a spreadsheet (image below) with the information.
Martyn pointed out to Interesting Engineering that his predictions, and others of this kind, are "very very general in nature because of so many different vectors in transmission, the health of the body of people, and transmission rates, and protocols."
Furthermore, Martyn noted that "because it's a coronavirus, they tend to mutate, either becoming less infectious or more infectious, or deadlier or less deadly."
As Martyn cautioned he's an "IT person", and that an epidemiologist, doctor, or expert would be more attuned to fully understanding and explaining the rates of infectious viruses.
Regardless, these are interesting numbers to observe. That said, it's all too well and easy to think of the coronavirus in numbers, but we should remember that these numbers represent real people, families, and lives.