Steve Sailer writes in TakiMag:
For weeks, the coronavirus news has been paralyzingly bad, leaving President Trump, the Democratic candidates, and the media with little to offer in the way of pragmatic or inspiring leadership on the issue. But over the past few days, data on new infections in Wuhan, China and in South Korea suggest that there might be light at the end of the tunnel.
Fortunately, a new idea has emerged from the data released last Friday on new coronavirus cases in Wuhan up through Feb. 18. Back in January, each person with the disease was passing it on to an average of 3.86 other people. An R0 (the “basic reproduction number,” which is pronounced “R-nought”) of 3.86 represents exponential growth nearly to the power of four, a catastrophic rate.
Mathematically, as long as R0 is greater than 1, the epidemic spreads. When R0 falls below 1, however, it starts to die out.
Via heroic shutdown measures (basically, confining most of the population of this huge city to their apartments), the Chinese cut the R0 in Wuhan by more than an order of magnitude down to 0.32. New infections fell by almost 95%.
Granted, there is the important question of how much to trust Chinese statistics. I can’t answer that, but it’s worth pointing out that China’s boss, Xi Jinping, had been keeping himself far away from Wuhan. Xi is an ambitious man who wants to be ruler of China for decades into the future, so he’d only sent disposable deputies. But on Tuesday, it was reported that he was paying his first visit to the plague spot, suggesting that the situation had indeed improved enough for Xi to risk his own health.
The recent data imply that in Wuhan they are now on a path to not just controlling the epidemic but conquering it, perhaps by spring. The Chinese authors of the preprint (i.e., not yet peer-reviewed) article “Evolving Epidemiology and Impact of Non-pharmaceutical Interventions on the Outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 in Wuhan, China” statistically speculate that new cases of WuFlu could be gone from Wuhan by early May:
If the trend remained unchanged, we predicted the number of ascertained [diagnosed] cases to become zero by April 22…and the total number of both ascertained and unascertained cases would become zero around May 4….