Harvard Epidemiologist raises the alarm


Coronavirus epidemic is worse than expected. Coronavirus epidemic in 2020?

Hopefully, the estimate of the R0 reproduction rate of the new coronavirus is lower than the estimated 3.8 R0.

The Reproduction Number R0 of an infection can be considered as the number of cases that 1 case generates on average during the course of its infectious period, in an otherwise non-infected population.

This value is useful because it helps determine whether the 2019-ncov Coron virus can spread through a population.

How bad is that reproductive R0 value? It looks bad on a pandemic level – never before has such a high virality coefficient been seen for Coronaviruses being the Sars and Merc coronavirus.

It is unlikely that only travel restrictions to and from the city of Wuhan will stop the transfer through China.
Perhaps with a 99% reduction in travel, the extent of the epidemic outside of Wuhan can be reduced by 4%.

The basic reproduction number for this 2019 nCoV outbreak may be higher compared to other emerging corona viruses.

What does this mean for America?
We may now be confronted with the most virulent virus epidemic the world has ever seen.

An R0 = 3.8 means that it exceeds the modest 0.49 viral attack rate of SARS by 7.75x – almost 8 times! A virus that spreads 8 faster than SARS cannot be stopped by containment alone. 

A 99% quarantine cut-off from Wuhan will not even reduce the spread of the epidemic by 1/3 in the next 2 weeks. 

We may be confronted with a potentially uncontrolled pandemic that the world has not seen since the Spanish flu of 1918. 

Let’s hope it doesn’t reach that level.

What is the typical R0 attack for seasonal flu in most years? 

It’s about one

  • R0 = 1.28 for the 2009 influenza pandemic.
  • R0 = 1.48 for the Spanish flu from 1918.
  • R0 = 2.80 is the new conservatively estimated reproductive value of #WuhanCoronavirus

R0 = 3.8 is the highest estimated value of the new virus.



The Lancet now reports that the coronavirus is contagious even when no symptoms are visible to isolate patients.

symptoms of Coronavirus

MAW an asymptomatic infection seems possible.

Let’s say the estimate of 3.8 is too high (there are unpublished estimates of 2.5). even if the R0 of this virus = 2.5, that is still 2x higher than the seasonal flu 1.28 and higher than the Spanish flu pandemic of 1.80 that killed millions. 

So R0 = 2.8 is still dangerous for an epidemic.

There are already 3 cases confirmed by PCR in the US of people traveling from Wuhan.