posted on Aug, 4 2014 @ 03:17 PM
There are a lot of threads on various aspects of the current Ebola outbreak - so many that it's hard to picture just how fast Ebola is (or isn't)
really spreading. To get a better picture and to see what kind of projections could be made, I created three charts using data I manually compiled
from periodic updates from the World Health Organization (WHO).
The results are pretty interesting, and a bit scary. I thought others might be interested in seeing these, too. Chart 1 and Chart 2 show the number
of cases and the number of deaths for the Ebola outbreak that have been reported to WHO.
The y-axis scales are different in these graphs. In Chart 1, the y-axis is linear. In Chart 2, the y-axis is a logarithmic scale where divisions of
the axis increase by powers of 10. Logarithmic scales can sometimes make a rate of progression much more clear. For example, a rapidly escalating
curve may actually be a pretty straight line increase (but at a geometric rate) when viewed on a logarithmic scale.
I suspected that the spread of an epidemic like the Ebola outbreak might look more like such a straight line on a logarithmic scale. And (at least to
me) that's what Chart 2 indicates.
The data used is from the news updates on these WHO sites:
SOURCE: WHO website 1
SOURCE: WHO website 2
NOTE: The WHO data used includes both laboratory-confirmed and suspected cases as reported to WHO by the affected countries in Africa.
If the trend that is pretty obvious in Chart 2 was to continue to spread at this rate without slowing down, you can make some seat-of-the-pants
projections just by extending the lines. That's what Chart 3 shows... and it is scary, especially if you imagine it continuing even further at that
Chart 3 has future projections that hopefully will NOT happen. Actual data was only available through August 1, 2014.
I want to stress that hopefully the trend will NOT
continue as projected in Chart 3. Hopefully things like travel restrictions, quarantines,
possible vaccines, treatments, or just nature will limit (and ideally halt) the spread.