Pandemic Math: What You Need To Know

Logistic Curve

As a follow-on to this week’s “I believe in science” theme, I will ask you to do three things today. I need you to watch a short video that explains Exponential growth and epidemics, watch another video entitled Simulating an epidemic, and then read an advance release copy of a CDC research paper entitled “High Contagiousness and Rapid Spread of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2.” It will officially be published in Volume 26, Number 7—July 2020.

The videos (by Grant Sanderson on the YouTube channel 3Blue1Brown) are crisp, easy to understand, and extremely well done. Grant is the math teacher that everybody wishes they had in high school.

The CDC research paper is eye-opening. It is a “must read.” The key takeaway from the paper: “Assuming a serial interval of 6–9 days, we calculated a median R0 value of 5.7 (95% CI 3.8–8.9). We further show that active surveillance, contact tracing, quarantine, and early strong social distancing efforts are needed to stop transmission of the virus.”

To help you understand the seriousness of the previous sentence, please watch the videos in order. Then, apply your newly acquired mathematical knowledge to interpret the CDC’s calculated a median R0 value of 5.7 (95% CI 3.8–8.9). If you don’t understand what “95% CI 3.8-8.9” means, here’s a video that will explain what a confidence interval is and why you care.

After you’ve had a moment to think about this, please offer your comments below or ping me on social and share your thoughts. Thank you.

Author’s note: This is not a sponsored post. I am the author of this article and it expresses my own opinions. I am not, nor is my company, receiving compensation for it.

 

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Author’s note: This is not a sponsored post. I am the author of this article and it expresses my own opinions. I am not, nor is my company, receiving compensation for it.

About Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the Professor of Advanced Media in Residence at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, co-founder of Metacademy, and the CEO of The Palmer Group, a consulting practice that helps Fortune 500 companies with technology, media and marketing. Named LinkedIn’s “Top Voice in Technology,” he covers tech and business for Good Day New York, is a regular commentator on CNN and CNBC and writes a popular daily business blog. He’s the Co-Host of the award-winning podcast Techstream with Shelly Palmer & Seth Everett and his latest book, Blockchain - Cryptocurrency, NFTs & Smart Contracts: An executive guide to the world of decentralized finance, is an Amazon #1 Bestseller. Follow @shellypalmer or visit shellypalmer.com.

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