I'm not a medical professional nor am I a statistician but it's very evident many people are concerned about the Novel Coronavirus that first appeared in December 2019.

All I'm trying to do here is to get a common sense way of measuring the risk, and I do not employ any difficult mathematics or statistics so the way I calculate some of these numbers can be highly misleading - that's an advanced warning that this information is for entertainment purposes for you, and somewhat of a risk modelling for myself only.

I live in Australia so I'll use my country as an example. I tried to get the influenza case numbers for 2019 but I couldn't find it after 5 minutes of googling therefore, I looked at 2018 but the historical numbers will tell you that 2018 was an abnormality in that the numbers were unusually low, looking at the 5 year, rolling average.


So I'll look at 2017. In 2017, there were a total of 249,882 reported cases of lab confirmed flu infections in Australia with 598 deaths. That gives us a death rate of 0.239%.

I've been told that my simple calculation of death rate of an on-going event like the 2019-nCoV is incorrect on Twitter. But I don't have a better way of doing this so I'm going to keep it very simple. And since the number of people recovered is almost the same as the number of deaths, I don't think my calculation would be too far off.


259 out of 11,374 is 2.277% - so the death rate is just shy of 10X the usual yearly flu that affects a lot more than 11k people just within Australia.

Yes, this is an on-going case, and there are reports saying the numbers are increasing exponentially among a whole pile of fear mongering, I would dare like to conclude that your chances of dying from the flu is a lot higher than dying from the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.

I do feel like the world has really done an amazing job at coming together to keep this virus contained - and China has done a marvellous job at locking down inter-city travels quite quickly as well as being a lot more open, transparent and regular in their outbound communication to the world, I'm told through the tweets. By the way, here's my Tweetdeck setup. This is how I get timely, world information:

I'll need to make an assumption - perhaps a big assumption that the number of confirmed cases isn't growing exponentially, and I'll look at Australia only.

As of this morning, 1 February 2020, 9 cases of 2019-nCoV have been confirmed in Australia (source)

At a simple, linear growth trajectory we'd have 108 cases by the end of 2020. With the 2.277% death rate applied (again note, not scientific at all) we'd have 2.459 deaths by the year end. The flu killed 598 in 2017. If you live in Australia, you are 243 times more likely to die from the flu than the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.

If you are from another country, Google your country's stats for how many people die from the flu each year but a simple search for the US tells me:

During the 2018-2019 season, the CDC estimates 16.5 million people went to a health care provider for the flu and more than 34,000 people died in the U.S. The prior season saw 61,000 deaths. (source)

Again, my calculations are just for fun but consider this - did you think about wearing a mask or carrying alcohol hand sanitisers in your pocket in 2017? I didn't. But I have them now - just in case.