Until we know who is infected and who isn’t, please stay home. Here’s why.

Like you in this time of uncertainty I am concerned about my family, my friends, and my community which includes colleagues and clients, both individual and corporate.

Professionally  my mission is to help managers and business owners be more strategic, take a step back, and think for themselves so they can bring to their work life and their workplace contributions that are thoughtful, discerning, and unique. I never tell them what they should do, except in a well-defined mentoring context. And the things I post on my blog are designed to contribute to this taking a step back and reflecting.

This post will be an exception in that it is not about management nor leadership nor strategy. It seeks to address the topic of the day by bringing together information from what I gather are reliable sources. This information requires immediate action from all of us for the good of all of us.

Stay healthy. Stay home.


 

The rate of spreading of a pandemic is the product of two numbers:

  1. the infection rate of the disease, and
  2. the connectivity of the network.

The first number is one we cannot change right now, the second one (connectivity) is one we can influence… by social distancing and self-quarantine – that flattens the curve. If we don’t come into contact with others, the disease does not spread as fast.

How fast, you ask?

Remember that network growth is exponential, not linear.

Linear growth by increments of (for example) 10 looks like this:
10,20,30,40,50, and so on;

Exponential growth by a multiplier of (for example) 2 looks like this:
1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, and so on.

At the beginning exponential growth seems slow. It is only 32 after five cycles.

But forward to 20 cycles. Linear growth gets to 200 (20*10); while Exponential growth gets more than a million! See below:

2048,
4096,
8192,
16,384
32,768
65,536
131,072
262,144
524,288
1,048,576 = 2^20

In exponential growth, 1,000 is “halfway” to 1,000,000. What brought you to 1,000 cases (which seems manageable), can bring you to 1 million cases in the same amount of time.

So, as stated above, the rate of spreading of a pandemic is a product of two numbers:

  1. the infection rate of the disease, and
  2. the connectivity of the network.

The first number is one we cannot change right now, the second one (connectivity) is one we can influence… by social distancing and self-quarantine. This will curb the growth in the number of infection cases. And a lower number is less of a burden on the healthcare infrastructure. Ideally, that number would be below what the infrastructure can support.

What to do? Stay home.

This way we won’t catch the virus and we’ll prevent exponential growth to a vulnerable population.

what to do


Sources: Cesar Hidalgo and Yaneer Bar-Yam onTwitter.

For further information, see EndCoronaVirus.org (also on Twitter) – an action network of @NECSI, scientists @Harvard @MIT and volunteers seeking to educate in order to end the outbreak of Coronavirus COVID-19.