Covid-19 Infection Rates

I wanted to do my bit to highlight the need to socially distance at the moment. In addition to outreach astronomy I’ve worked as a mathematical modeller and simulation programmer for many years. Yesterday I decided to create a very simple demonstration to show how infectious Covid-19 is relative to something like the flu.

The red balls represent new cases of Covid-19 based on one individual passing the virus on and creating a human chain reaction. The blue balls represent the same situation for flu. The simulation shows you how many more people will become infected with Covid-19 relative to flu after the same number of transmission waves (9 in this case).

Typically an individual with flu will pass the virus onto 1.3 other people (called the R0 value). With Covid 19 this spreading rate is much higher – between 2.3 and 3. At its worst therefore an infected person will pass the virus onto 3 other people. That might not sound like much but due to exponential growth this level of transmission is like a bomb going off.

Stay safe everyone and please heed the guidelines. With proper social distancing the cascade on the right can be repressed.

Note: This simulation is not validated in any way by medical experts and is for illustrative purposes only.

Developed by S Mackintosh (Mackintosh Modelling & Data Simulations)