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GMOA says one COVID-19 carrier count infect 406 in one month

ECONOMYNEXT – Statistically, every patient infected with COVID-19 could transmit the virus to 406 others in one month, Sri Lanka’s Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) President Dr Anurudda Padeniya said.

Padeniya was quoting research carried out by University of California Assistant Professor of Medicine Robert A J Signer on the math behind social distancing and COVID-19.

In an article published in Global News, Signer explained that the calculations were based on initial research from officials around the world.

“There is a universal logic to this,” Global News quoted Singer as saying, noting that the exact numbers may vary from country to country, especially as research is still being conducted.

The infographic below shows how one person who is asymptomatic for five days and doesn’t practice social distancing can spread the virus to 2.5 people.

“Initial studies have suggested that one person infected with novel coronavirus can transmit the virus to approximately 2.5 people,” he explained.

Signer added that initial research also shows those who tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, were asymptomatic for an average of five days.

“The next assumption we made is that after five days, a person will begin experiencing symptoms, will quarantine and no longer infect others,” he said.

If one person transmits the infection to an average of 2.5 people, and those 2.5 people each transmit to another 2.5 people and so on, within 30 days, 406 people would be infected.

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The graphic then shows what would happen if people limited their social interaction by 50 per cent — an infected person would only transmit the virus to 1.25 people. In 30 days, 15 people would be infected.

Then, it goes on to do the same calculations, assuming the infected individual limited social interaction by 75 per cent.

That’s when the “transmission chain” would ideally end, Signer explained.

“A person can’t actually infect 0.625 people. They are either going to infect zero people, one person or more than one person,” he said. “Because there is a plausibility that some people will infect zero people, that’s when the transmission chain ends. (Colombo/Mar23/2020)

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