What simple mathematics can tell us about coronavirus

Coronavirus numbers
Road accidents do not spread to others; snakebites are not contagious. However, infectious diseases like COVID-19 spread, and transmit in a population like wildfire. Illustration - Eunice Dhivya

As on March 26, 2020, the novel coronavirus pandemic (COVID19) has killed 18,589, and infected 4,16,686. Every minute, the virus is claiming more lives.

Before we are convinced of the savagery of the novel coronavirus pandemic, let us look in comparison, say, the deaths caused by road accidents. The epicentre of the novel coronavirus, China, has a mortality of 700 people per day. That would be 2,55,500 deaths in a year. The actual total deaths in China caused due to the novel coronavirus, 3,277, pales before this figure. And around 50,000 people die every year in India due to snakebites alone.

Given such a relatively low death rate due to coronavirus, why is there a worldwide panic?

Tantalizing conspiracy theories are brandished on social media: plot by Illuminati to cull the human race, deliberate strategy by China to topple the USA and emerge as a world political and economic power, nature’s vengeance on us for not living in harmony with mother Earth. These fairy tales are childish. Keep them aside.

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