Old Rule Of Thumb Was That Pandemics Happen 3 Times Per Century. 20 Years In, We’ve Had At Least 7 Scares
The incidence of infectious disease events has more than doubled from the 1940s to 1960s, and researchers blame urbanization, globalization and increased human consumption of animal proteins. Meanwhile, scientists struggle to suss out just how many people actually have the coronavirus and how deadly the virus could prove to be.
The Wall Street Journal:
Viral Outbreaks, Once Rare, Become Part Of The Global Landscape
The rapid and global spread of the deadly new coronavirus caught households, business leaders, investors and policy makers off guard, but health experts and economists who study pandemics say it shouldn’t have come as a surprise at all. Epidemics of infectious diseases have become a regular part of the global landscape in the past quarter-century, thanks in part to economic trends including urbanization, globalization and increased human consumption of animal proteins as society becomes more prosperous, these experts say. (Hilsenrath, 3/6)
The Wall Street Journal:
Just How Many People Are Infected With Coronavirus?
Researchers at Harvard and Imperial College London estimate that, on average, only one-third of the illnesses exported from China have been observed, a calculation that is still likely to be incomplete. “It’s not accounting for those who are asymptomatic,” said James Hay, a postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “The number including those without symptoms or with mild symptoms is likely to be higher than that.” The estimate is based on assessments of how many infected people traveled to other countries from Wuhan before movement was restricted. (McGinty, 3/6)
The New York Times:
The Coronavirus, By The Numbers
Adam Kucharski studies how diseases spread, but he’s not handling viruses in the lab or treating sick people in the hospital. He’s a mathematician at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and he uses math to understand outbreaks of diseases like Ebola, SARS, influenza and now Covid-19. His goal is to design better ways to control outbreaks. In an eerie coincidence, he wrote a book called “The Rules of Contagion,” before the current outbreak, which has been published in Britain and will be released in September in the United States. In it he talks about the math of contagion involving not only physical diseases, but also ideas, rumors and even financial crises. (Gorman, 3/5)
Coronavirus Mortality Rate Likely To Drop, Say Health Experts
The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) made a startling pronouncement this week when he estimated the global mortality rate of the coronavirus to be 3.4 percent – much higher than the seasonal flu. Experts warn that the figure from WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus comes full of caveats and is likely to change as more people get tested and undergo treatment for the virus. (Weixel, 3/6)