Infectious Diseases

The Numbers Behind the Coronavirus Data

Posted on 12 March 2020

It seems like only a short while ago that the coronavirus outbreak was mostly restricted to China, with just a handful of cases reported in the west. Now, at the time of writing of this post, there are just over 127 000 reported cases across the globe, of which 50 000 are outside China, primarily in Europe and the Middle East.

Such is the power of exponential growth, a mathematical function in which the growth of a quantity (the number of new cases) depends on the quantity itself (the number of existing cases). Yet if coronavirus is following such a growth model, what causes its growth to slow? This video discusses some of the mathematics behind pandemics, and how we can predict when cases will begin to fall.


Exponential growth and epidemics:

Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU):

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