A panicked opinion:
UPDATE: Transmission of #coronoavirus estimated at 2.6 by another research group (lower than the 3.8 initial reports). But 2.6 is still extremely bad —each infected person will infect 2.6 others. Even the authors admit #CoronaOutbreak containment will be very difficult. Thread: pic.twitter.com/Gg2vyIevL4— Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) January 25, 2020
18\ New R0 estimate by Imperial College London scientist is 2.6 — with each infected person infecting 2.6 others. This is a really bad cascading value considering we have no vaccine and it comes amidst flu season. Other thoughts here: https://t.co/fzsgNpUoil https://t.co/bbRXhMZU7E— Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) January 25, 2020
HOLY MOTHER OF GOD – the new coronavirus is a 3.8!!! How bad is that reproductive R0 value? It is thermonuclear pandemic level bad – never seen an actual virality coefficient outside of Twitter in my entire career. I’m not exaggerating… #WuhanCoronovirus #CoronavirusOutbreak pic.twitter.com/6mmxIHL9Ue— Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) January 25, 2020
9/ …cannot be stopped by containment alone. A 99% quarantine lockdown containment of Wuhan will not even reduce the epidemic’s spread by even 1/3rd in the next 2 weeks. Thus, I really hate to be the epidemiologist who has to admit this, but we are potentially faced with…— Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) January 25, 2020
10\ … possibly an unchecked pandemic that the world has not seen since the 1918 Spanish Influenza. Let’s hope it doesn’t reach that level but we now live in the modern world ? with faster ??+ ? than 1918. @WHO and @CDCgov needs to declare public health emergency ASAP!— Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) January 25, 2020
A contrary opinion:
The claim that “we are now faced with the most virulent virus epidemic the world has ever seen” and that the new coronavirus is 8x as infectious as SARS is completely untrue. Even if the R0 were 3.8 that would be nowhere near a record.— Ferris Jabr (@ferrisjabr) January 25, 2020
Here is some context w/ a range of R0s: pic.twitter.com/mESegkytXr
When I first heard about this coronavirus outbreak in China, I dismissed it because we have had so many of these scares over the years. Could it be different this time?
I see a lot of people downplaying this by comparing it to how many people die of the flu every year. The difference here is that humans have no immunity to this virus which jumped from bats to humans via the filth of a Chinese wet market in October or November.
Note: This particular coronavirus didn’t come from bat soup. It jumped from bats to humans via a third species.