COVID-19 Resources

Disclaimer: I am a computer scientist, not an epidemiologist. I am familiar with the math, but might make subject-matter mistakes.

The Big Picture

The death rate is the metric most likely to be accurate, so lets graph it for the world and various countries.

Here is the data from Our World in Data with the death rate per million people. I have here a few countries that I’m interested in, but feel free to add more since the chart is interactive.

We are currently at around 1 death per million – which is probably three or four orders of magnitude from the peak if the epidemic continues unchecked.

Estimating the Number of Cases

Many western countries are not testing adequately. In Tomas Pueyo’s article Coronavirus: Why You Must Act Now he discusses a way to estimate the number of infections given the numbers of deaths.

Before hospitals are overwhelmed, we can assume the death rate is around 1%. We can get this rate by looking at statistics from places that have extensive testing and contact tracing such as China and South Korea. This means that infections on a certain date are 100x more than the resulting deaths.

We must also take into the account the latency from infection to death. I assume here that it is about three weeks. Give a 6.5 day doubling time, that gives us another factor of 10x if we want to estimate infections on the same date as the deaths.

In sum, if we see a certain number of deaths on a certain date, and given the assumptions above, we can estimate 800x actual infections on that date.

UPDATE: the doubling time of deaths seems to be much faster than Tomas used in his article. It is closer to 3 days, based on this collection of studies and the graphs at World in Data. Given a 17 day latency, the infection estimate should be 5000x the death number. If that’s true, then the US death rate of 1.4 per million on March 23rd results in an estimate of 0.7% of total population infected.

Estimating Test Coverage

Given the ratio above, we can estimate how many infections are missed in a region, and estimate the “under-testing factor” on 2020-03-21:

  • For the USA, 244 deaths result in an estimate of 244,000 cases, compared to 19,100 actual. So we see an under-testing factor of 13x. This article has a similar expert estimate of under-testing in the USA.
  • For Canada, also a factor of 12x
  • Italy’s hospitals are overwhelmed, so we use 3% as the death rate, and therefore get an estimate of 1.2 million infected and a 25x under-testing factor.


Here are some good articles about strategy:


NEW Video conferencing tools are important for remote work. There are some serious concerns out there about Zoom.  Consider using Signal, Jitsi, Google Duo or Skype Private mode.

Personal Strategy

Personally, I’m taking the following supplements:

  • Vitamin D
  • Zinc
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin A
  • Selenium
  • Multivitamin
  • 5-HTP, which is converted in the body into Melatonin

See also the Life Extension page.

I’m also making sure to reduce stress by sleeping enough and through recreational activities.

Other things you should do:

  • Wash your hands
  • Sanitize items brought in to your home
  • Initial viral load may affect outcome, so social distancing may reduce the chance of infection and severity

Potential Treatments

Risk Factors

Some potential risk factors:

  • Smoking (quit now!)
  • Blood type other than O
  • Being male
  • Diabetes and other chronic conditions
  • Immune system problems
  • Old age (but perhaps this is mostly due to correlation with chronic conditions)

If you have significant risk factors, consider taking additional steps to reduce your chance of infection.