OK, well that heading and graphic were linkbait.
I’m a firm believer in my own and everyone else’s ignorance. But here’s some correspondence from someone for whom I have great respect that I received this morning you may wish to ponder and/or respond to.
Using various resources I calculated some infection rates to see for myself to what extent Australia is facing a realistic threat. What I learned from this analysis is that the message the government and media should be putting out is that provided we all stick to sensible precautions, (routine hygiene, quarantine where needed, special care for closed communities e.g. hospitals, indigenous people, the aged), we all should be getting on with life as usual.Here is my reasoning.1. Even if all of Hubei’s cases are Wuhan (pop 11.9 million), the infection rate would only be 0.6%. Tellingly, other populous ‘virgin’ centres in China are recording rates considerably less than this, presumably because they have launched credible public health measures. Given this, and given that Wuhan is where it started and where an overwhelming preponderance of cases have occurred so far, 0.6% is arguably an upper bound to be experienced in any urban area which has the capacity to organise itself.2. The rates in South Korea support this conclusion. Daegu has around 4300 cases for a population of 2.2 million – an infection rate of 0.2%. But this includes roughly 3500 cases which occurred in the hot house of a religious sect. For Seoul, as of today, the infection rate is is about 0.005%. It is also reported today (by the BBC I think) that South Korea may have reached its peak.3. I’ve not looked at the Italian and Iranian cases.4. I acknowledge that it may not be as easy for cities in Europe to hunker down – however they have had a head start in getting procedures into place.5. The last chart shows that new cases in China are rapidly declining – all in 6 weeks. The situation outside of China is showing signs of levelling. Provided sensible public health measures are followed, this should continue, the upshot being that it is difficult to see how infection rates could rise much beyond current experience.6. Based on the above, the maximum number of infections I would expect in Australia would be roughly 0.03% for 13mil (being Syd/Melb/Bris) and 0.01 for the balance of 12 mil = 4,800 with a max of 160 deaths (assuming @3.4% death rate) – the largest proportion of these over 60 years of age.7. Interestingly in Australia deaths due to influenza in 2016 were 464 deaths, and in 2017 the number was 1,255 deaths. For flu the death rate may be lower than for coronavirus by the infection rate is much higher.