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Coronavirus contagiousness/death rate vs other infectious diseases

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In 2014 The Guardian compared the SARS coronavirus, Ebola, and many other infectious diseases contagiousness and deadliness.

Contagiousness is given as a number of people one person can infect, and is given as an R0 number (pronounced “R naught”).  an R0 = 2 would mean one person can get 2 people sick.


The current estimate of the contagiousness of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus is an R0 rate between 2.25 - 3.2 (based on information provided at the end of this post).  As times goes on, the rate will get more accurate.  It is far too early to have an accurate death rate for the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.


Here's the chart: 




SOURCE: https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/ng-interactive/2014/oct/15/visualised-how-ebola-compares-to-other-infectious-diseases


And here's a good article on how Ris calculated: https://vitals.lifehacker.com/what-is-the-coronaviruss-r0-and-why-does-it-matter-1841264885


Here are the values given in the article:

  • On January 23, the World Health Organization met to discuss whether the virus constitutes a global public health emergency (not yet, they concluded). Their scientists presented data that showed an R0 of 1.4 to 2.5.
  • This preprint (preprints are not yet peer reviewed) posted on January 24 estimates the R0 “is likely to be below 5 but above 3.”
  • Another preprint from January 24 estimates R0 at between 2.0 and 3.1.
  • Another report, posted to Github from the University of Bern on January 24, found R0 to be about 2.2
  • This report from Imperial College London on January 25 estimates an R0 of 2.6
  • This preprint posted on January 26 estimates R0 of 2.9, calculating it two different ways, with confidence intervals around 2.3-3.7.


Taking the average of those ranges, we get an average Rrange of 2.25 - 3.2.  (Each of those bullet points above have links to their sources in the original lifehacker article)


If anyone has updates to these numbers, I hope you'll share them.

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Excellent post.


Basically it varies who you ask.


Estimates for the infectivity of the new virus range from the WHO’s estimate of 1.4 to 2.5 to a much bigger 3.6 to 4.0 calculation from Jonathan Read of Lancaster University in England and colleagues. Read’s group estimates that only about 5.1 percent of cases in Wuhan have been identified. The researchers reported the preliminary results January 24 at medRxiv.org.




Anyway, if we have 100,000 cases and 100 deaths, this would make the coronavirus 100 times LESS deadly than SARS.


Too early to give a true R naught though, in my view. The range indicates these are mere guesstimates.


The human flu virus has centuries of being well adapted to humans. It would be ludicrous to assume MERS, SARS or Cov are as adapted to spread among humans. It is EXTREEEEEMELY unlikely. Hence the human influenza virus is the real and deadly killer. MERS, SARS and Cov are just wannabe newcomers.  Of course acronyms are more sexy. 

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There are more than enough "virus" topics already on the forum we dont need yet another one.

Please divert your attention and comments to the existing threads.


Thank you

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