With yesterday’s first confirmed case of the H1N1/swine flu in Oklahoma, that takes to 41 the number of states affected by the worldwide outbreak, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A number of maps tracking the H1NI flu outbreak are already widely available, but the New York Times had an interesting story about how several universities are using data models to predict future infections.
You can see some of the maps by Northwestern University here. (Caution: these are from the “worst-case” scenario.) Researchers there compiled data using several sources, including one that approximates human interactions from the circulation of dollar bills across the country.
Here’s one of their maps:
Meanwhile, researchers at Indiana University came up with many of the same conclusions when they predicted the course of flu infections.
Here’s one of the IU maps:
While we’ve all heard the calls for basic hygiene (vigilant hand-washing; covering your mouth with a tissue when coughing and sneezing) to help curtail the outbreak, this was an important point from one of the professors interviewed in the New York Times article:
But one thing remains true: “People have a very weird perception of large numbers,” (Dirk Brockmann) said. “If you have 2,000 cases of flu in a country of 300 million, most people think they’re going to be one of the 2,000, not one of the 299,998,000.”
(Don’t forget to check out our in-depth Know-It page on the flu.)
Written by Paul Monies