COVID Odyssey: How many people may one person infect in early 2020? ~ The Man Like A Dog With A Bone!

The Man Like A Dog With A Bone!

There was once a fella called Grace
Who worked at a furious pace,
Using maths so darned hard
And poems like a bard
He inspired the whole human race

With Covid running amok
And humans all running on luck
Alan showed Ro
Was double WHO thought
And experts were all left dumbstruck!

Incensed by this change to Ro
*WHO summoned Grace to a court
Grace called Coony McCain
A man of great fame
And statistician wholly self-taught

Addressing the court with a smile
McCain produced graphs as his style
“It’s clear as can be
The experts, you see
Are clearly out by a mile!”

Borty McNabb
16 June 2021

Note: * fictitious from here in the poem

Ro (R0; R-Zero; R-Nought) denotes the Reproduction rate for COVID-19 without any quarantine or isolation.

Ro is the number of people one person may infect.

We have estimated Ro in New Zealand between 4.1 and 6.25 in 2020. See:
COVID Odyssey: Fall Flashback ~ Summary 2020 revisited ~ How many people may one person infect on average? – COVID Odyssey by Alan Grace: My vir[tu]al COVID-19 journey (

Ro for COVID-19 as initially estimated by the World Health Organization (WHO) was between 1.4 and 2.5: “Human-to-human transmission is occurring and a preliminary Ro estimate of 1.4-2.5 was presented.”

We have looked at the following simulation several times showing the outspread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) from 5 to over 360 people in 5 cycles with Re = 2.6:


Source: New York Times.

How can a Coronavirus out-spread from 5 to 368 people in 5 Cycles (Credit: The New York Times)?

If 5 people with new coronavirus can impact 2.6 others each, then 5 people could be sick after 1 Cycle, 18 people after 2 Cycles, 52 people after 3 Cycles and so on. See:

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One Comment Add yours

  1. AlanGraceNZ says:

    Reblogged this on COVID Odyssey by Alan Grace: My vir[tu]al COVID-19 journey and commented:

    My response to Borty

    There was a stats man McNabb
    Whose statistics were quite drab
    His first name was Borty
    His poems are quite naughty
    But his friendship was right fab

    The poem in his very first post
    Made Borty more famous than his host
    His poems though quite naughty
    Bought acclaim to Borty
    Sad the pseudonym’s owner’s a ghost

    It’s said Borty took well his fame
    Of his host it’s not said the same
    His host is a ghost
    Unknown to most
    Was Borty really to blame.

    In one day it’s said Borty
    With his poetry naughty
    Had a lot more fame
    Than had his host’s name
    When his host had reached forty

    Was it only his own lack of fame
    Was Borty alone only to blame
    Or did all friends think
    Golf drove him to drink
    His host simply was never the same

    The real author did never respond
    Just sank to the depths of despond
    Borty’s host’s a ghost
    Unknown to most
    Now he’s gone to the great beyond

    Alan Grace
    17 June 2021


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