My Estimate: the U.S. is Eight Days from 1% of the Population being Infected
As of 1430 EST on 3/31/20, using the John Hopkins Wuhan virus data aggregator site, at the current rate of growth in the number of infected, I estimate that within eight days one percent of the U.S. population will be infected.
One percent is the number that means the infection has a point-of-no-return hold on the U.S. population and will continue to spread out, infecting Americans.
This number, assuming no mitigation efforts, means the virus cannot be stopped and a majority of the population will become exposed to it and likely infected.
It is, frankly, unclear to me what effects the mitigation of stay-in-place will have on the growth — both in terms of delaying the eight days I estimate to get to one percent of the population and once at one percent, the spread of the Wuhan virus thereafter.
Notwithstanding that Marc Lipsitch, an epidemiologist at Harvard University estimates that for every known infected person in the United States there are 50 undetected infected people, I am going to assume for every known infected, there are only five people infected because of the initial and the extension of the 15 Days to stop the spread.
Also, using current testing guidelines, if 20% are severely ill, it is likely that those are the ones that have been tested. Therefore, to mathematically capture the 80% who are infected but not tested as well as the 20% severely ill, I multiplied the number of infected by five.
Therefore, if the known infected in the United States is 164,610, then my estimated total number of infected in the U.S. is 174,467 x 5 = 872,335.
Currently, the number of infected in the U.S. is doubling every four days.
872,335 x 2 [four days elapsed time] = 1,744,670 x 2 [another four days elapsed time] = 3,489,340
Therefore, the U.S. will hit 3,489,340 in eight days, which is more than one percent of the population.
Mike Ahmadi calls this one percent number the “nuclear reactor overload” number, meaning, at this point, enough of the population is spewing virus that a majority of the rest of the uninfected U.S. population will be infected, without mitigation efforts like 15 Days to Stop the Spread.
Think of 15 Days to Stop the Spread, and its extension, as the control rods in the reactor.
Shortly we will know if the stop-the-spread can keep the infection level below 1 percent, or if these efforts will slow it enough to allow our health care workers a more metered demand for ICU beds and ventilators.