Cough. Cough. Sneeze. Sneeze. Die.

Well, that was a wild ride. And here comes the last zero G roll. I found the idea of R0, a.k.a. the basic reproduction number, absolutely fascinating. So here is a quick list of the R0 for the world’s most infamous viruses.

Disease Transmission R0
Measles Airborne 12–18
Pertussis a.k.a. whooping cough Airborne droplet 12–17
Smallpox Airborne droplet 5–7
Polio Fecal-oral route 5–7
Rubella Airborne droplet 5–7
Mumps Airborne droplet 4–7
HIV/AIDS Sexual contact 2–5
SARS Airborne droplet 2–5
(1918 pandemic strain)
Airborne droplet 2–3
(2014 Ebola outbreak)
Bodily fluids 1.5-2.5

Courtesy of Wikipedia

Let’s just say that we are lucky to live in an age where there is a vaccine for whooping cough.

Contagion actually made me think back to our discussions on HIV/AIDS. I think, regardless of how awful and devastating the virus depicted in the movie was, at least the incubation period was short. In a lot of ways HIV is a super virus, perhaps the most clever killing machine (yes, I just attributed agency to the virus) as of yet, due to the fact that its incubation period is enormous. What happens if we get a virus that is able to hide for decades? How do you fight against something that appears seemingly out of nowhere? All I can say is, I am very grateful I did not have to live through the ’80s. I wonder, is there such a thing as an “age of contagion”? What does it mean to live in a health-obsessed society like ours when there are hundreds of thousands of these killing machines?

I certainly don’t know the answers to these questions, but there is at least one thing I learned in the course of this semester. GET THOSE FILTHY HANDS AWAY FROM YOUR FACE!

Thanks for these awesome 14 weeks and I wish you a disease-free Christmas and a healthy New Year!



Ps.: Warner Bros. did the coolest advertising campaign ever for this movie. Check it out, I promise, you won’t regret it!

Contagion – Bacteria Billboard



1 Comment

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  1. Thanks for this! Hadn’t looked up this chart before.

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