This epidemic is nasty: one case at a Biogen executives meeting on Feb 26-27 spread the virus to 100 of the 200 meeting participants. It kills 15% of people in their 80s who get it, 8% of people in their 70s, 3% of people in their 60s, 1% of people in their 50s, and is like a bad flue to people younger.
One frequently discussed scenario for coronavirus in the United States is that it now infects one in every two thousand people, that its infection rate doubles every week, that attempts at social distancing will fail to impact the spread of the virus, that the virus will not become less virulent as the northern hemisphere warms up, and the virus will infect half the population before herd and natural immunity bring a halt to it spread here in America.
Under this scenario—which is optimistic, in some senses of the word—this virus kills one million people in the United States. Under this scenario, the number of those infected will double for seven more weeks, at which point one in fifteen will be newly infected, and then the spread will slow—but your chances of catching the virus will still be high—for another twelve weeks before the epidemic is over here. That carries us for five months—until the end of July. And in many other scenarios we are dealing with this for longer, even if we manage to flatten the curve or if this virus is seasonal, and so vanishes this summer to come back next winter.
We are moving the university online: to lecture slides with audio, to zoom sessions, to asynchronous email for office hours, and to take home assignments. But there are lots of other things we could provide you and lots of other interactions we could set up, if it would assist you this spring.
Assignment: _Please write at least 250 words—at least one page—telling us what you want us to know about how your life is going right now, and informing us of your views of how we should organize and run this class going forward. Submit it at:
Complete it, please, by 5 pm Fri Mar 20, but late submissions will not be penalized...