Saturday, October 4, 2014

Boom, best case analysis takes another body blow

John Michael:

I must admit, I like your flavor of your prose much better than I like the news you bring.  Not that I disagree with you. I just don't particularly like it.

I just wanted to be one of those "correctors" that plague all blogs. 

Now you posit a twenty-day doubling rate for Ebola.  At the risk of sounding pedantic, per the latest data from Science, August 28, 2014

The doubling rate appears to approximately 35 days.  So, most folks would say to themselves "whew, that bought us some time."

Well buckaroos, sorry 'bout that.

As copiously proved by adherents hunched over their Casio calculators in suburban kitchens across America, if one assumes one million cases of Ebola on New Years day of 2015 and also assumes a doubling rate of twenty days, the date that our buddy Mr. Marburg takes 1,000,000,000 of our family to their long home is July 20th, 2015

Exponential functions are tricky.  I deal with them better than most, when I saw the doubling rate assumption nearly doubling, I did do a little “whew” myself.

But when you plug the numbers into merciless Mr. Excel Spreadsheet, the truth is, they really don’t buy you much.  a thirty-five day doubling time takes you out to December 17th.  One hundred and fifty days. 

Oh well

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