Levitt did explain that social distancing and other measures are necessary to make sure hospitals do not become overwhelmed but also cautioned against the panic that is occurring and the need to quell that.
Stanford biophysicist and Nobel laureate Michael Levitt says that based on how the COVID-19 crisis has played out in multiple countries, the threat is less severe than the media has portrayed it to be and might be over sooner than most think. “The real situation is not as nearly as terrible as they make it out to be,” Levitt says, and, in the end, “we’re going to be fine.”
Levitt, the L.A. Times’ Joe Mozingo notes, “correctly calculated that China would get through the worst of its coronavirus outbreak long before many health experts had predicted” and now “foresees a similar outcome in the United States and the rest of the world.”
In a report published on February 1, Levitt predicted with remarkable accuracy how China’s cases would end up, saying that around 80,000 would contract the disease and among those around 3,250 would die. Mozingo notes that as of March 16, China, which has nearly 1.4 billion people, reported a total of just 80,298 cases and 3,245 deaths related to the virus and the number of new cases has slowed down to around 25 per day.
The important metric, Levitt explained, is the number of new cases, not the total number of cases. The new cases data allows one to see more clearly the rate of spread. He also stressed that only when the virus is not being detected will it spread “exponentially.” When countries are testing and responding aggressively, the growth rate tends to decrease significantly.