A quick prediction.

Now that the number of confirmed cases of swine flu here in sunny S.A. has reached triple digits, allow me to do the incredibly stupid thing and make a prediction.

First, the assumptions:

  • The virus is ‘stable’ (its disease profile with not change over the next year or so)
  • The under-reporting of cases is higher for clinical cases then for deaths by a large margin. Under-reporting of deaths is therefore ignored.
  • The under-reporting of cases is about 10:1 (one case will be tested and confirmed for every 10 that go unreported)
  • About one in ten people will become infected with the disease.
  • No large-scale action to limit swine flu spread will take place.

Next, the known facts:

  • 2844 confirmed cases and 6 confirmed deaths(latest official source).
  • 50% of deaths were of pregnant women. Most of these were in their third trimester.
  • South Africa has a population of about 48 000 000 (source).
  • The GDP per capita is $10119 (from the same source as above)

This leads to some simplistic predictions:

  • At the end of the epidemic, 4.8 million people will have become sick with swine flu.
  • Of these, approximately 1000 people will die.
  • Of these, 500 will be pregnant woman (especially those in the late stages of pregnancy and those with pre-existing conditions).

Now for a retarded set of predictions and assumptions:

  • The economic loss per death will be equal to the GDP per capita of the dead person plus 10% of the GDP per capita of 10 other people (in total: twice the GDP per capita)
  • Thus, approximately $ 20 000 000 will be lost.
  • Thus, it would be worthwhile for the government to immediately cut a $ 20 000 000 check for swine flu prevention and treatment.

So, dear reader, what is wrong with this prediction?


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