By Debora MacKenzie
An illustration of the structure of the new coronavirusCDC/Alissa Eckert, MS. Dan Higgins, MAMPathogens obey simple rules of transmission, and these can be used to predict how fast the number of infections will rise and fall, how hard it will be to stop a disease and how bad things are likely to get.
Measuring the necessary parameters in a virus that is new to humans can be difficult, though. First you need the basic reproduction number, R0.
If everyone is susceptible to an infection – and we are, as the Wuhan virus is new to humans – R0 …