The math of covid-19
Grades 9 - 12 Lesson
COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a type of coronavirus. There are steps you can take to protect yourself (recommended by WHO).
Cough or sneeze into your elbow or by covering your mouth and nose with tissues.
Wash your hands with soap and water often (for at least 20 seconds).
Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell.
Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.
Avoid personal contact, such as kissing, sharing cups or food with sick people.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects, such as doorknobs.
Stay home if you feel unwell.
In order to predict at what rate the virus might be spreading and how various measures might help contain it, scientists use available statistics, graphs and formulas.
ANALYZING STATISTICS AND TRENDS
Look over the data and graphs. Record your thoughts.
What do you notice? What questions do you have?
From the graph, representing TOTAL CASES OUTSIDE CHINA, it is obvious that the number of cases increases rapidly over a short period of time.
This is an example of an EXPONENTIAL function, which could be modeled by the general formula
FACTORS AFFECTING THE TREND
Answer the following questions:
Do you think the exponential trend of COVID-19 spread could continue indefinitely? Why or why not?
What would start happening to the graph, representing the cases, once the number of infected people grows larger than the number of those not affected?
List all possible factors that could slow down or stop the spread of the virus and thus affect the trend? What would the graph look like?