An engineering student’s Blog

” …All of this. All of this was for nothing – unless we go to the stars.” – Infection, Babylon 5, J. Michael Straczynski

1 fatality out of 66 cases in the US

My wife said she’d die if she were the mom – I can’t imagine the horror and tragedy this family just experienced.

UPDATE :: The CDCs 11 oclock update is up.

Which makes my attempt at a CFR look hasty indeed.

UPDATE :: Our first death was a patient originally infected in Mexico and brought to the US for treatment, not originally infected here in the US and maynot be statistically appropriate include if youre trying to estimate an effective CFR for the US.  I need to read m0r3.

A CFR is an extremely difficult value to get
See this post at “Effect Measure” for more information 


A rough, very rough, CFR (case fatality ratio) of 1/66, about 1.51%, or 15 fatalities for every 1000 infections is possible.  In statistics one of the most important things you learn is how to look at the sample number and data of the statistic to analyze its usefulness, a sample number of 66 out of a potential population of 305 million may not be a good idea.  The actual CFR for this strain of H1N1 maybe end up being way off this initial value.  I should try to construct an error estimate.  But I wont.  Im not a statician, Im not a medical expert, I just felt like writing down what worries me about this new flu.

A gross approximation of the potential of such a virus can now be done, if you allow a number of assumptions, in the absence of much more valuable, real data.  

If the spanish flu infected 25% of the population and killed 2.5% of those effected, and this virus seems milder but its ability to be transmitted between humans is still unknown even if we know its happening.  Lets assume this aspect of the virus will also be milder.  Say 10% of the population infected 30.5 million out of which 462000 could be serious, fatalities could be reduced in this group if promtp and appropriate action is taken, and antiviral medications like tamiflu and relenza remain effective against it, reduced by about 2/3rds to about 154000 fatalities in the US.  Of course this gross estimate ignores a lot of factors like not being in flu season and if this will reduce the potency of the virus and how much and how fast it spreads, if it does effect it.  We still dont know why there even is a flu season.  And more importantly we don’t know much at all about this very new virus to expect an estimate like this from anybody who knows anything about disease and epidemiology.

Maybe this number isn’t useful – maybe I took a number and ran too far with it.  Kinda like forest gump catching the football and running off the field, down the street, …and what.  You didnt see the movie?!  Its a blog not a news source, you want safe and reliable analysis?  Wait a few years for the CDC to cruch the data.  But this is my number and I hope im wrong I hope its another flu we just deal with every year – makes us miserable for a week and we shrug it off then get the regular flu – and shrug it off.  But Im worried that we’ll be lucky to see only 154000 fatalities at the end of this.

Remember if you’ve seen one flu pandemic – you’ve seen, one flu pandemic.


Filed under: Health, Science

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