May 23rd, 2018
Podcast Host: Rachael Aprill Phillips
Podcast Co-Host: Levi Phillips
Podcast Co-Host: Nathaniel Phillips
If any of our fictional monsters are going to kill us, it’s zombies. Why? Because the vast majority of zombie scenarios have two things in common -- a pandemic, and the extinction of humanity. And both of those scenarios are scientifically plausible.
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Pandemics, or global disease outbreaks, don’t need zombies to be terrifying: they're the third most likely cause of an extinction event according to the Global Catastrophic Risk Report (GCRR), as we’ve told you before. “Between the Spanish Flu, the Black Death, and the Great Plague of Justinian, over 25% of the world’s population was killed by disease,” according to the GCRR.
A team of Cornell researchers figured out how fast a zombie outbreak would spread across the United States. You know, just in case...
The team came up with their findings by using a variation of the SIR model, a tool that epidemiologists use to predict the spread of infectious diseases like measles and Ebola.
In the SIR model:
S = The number of susceptible people who haven't been infected by the disease.
I= The number of infected people
R= The number of people who recovered or died from the disease
The numbers are used in calculus equations to determine things like how fast a disease is likely to infect a percentage of the population.