COVID-19, The Corona Virus Pandemic through the eyes of a Six Sigma Blackbelt – UPDATE#1

Related: Covid-19 Update#2

Data Analysis, Trends and Key Takeaways for us:

Why is Covid-19 such a big deal?

The fatality rate of Covid-19 is 4.2% as on Mar 20, 2020 as per WHO’s report. (9840 deaths in 234073 cases). Heart disease and stroke have remained the leading causes of death globally for the last 15 years. About 14% of people who have a heart attack will die from it. The reason Covid-19 needs to be taken seriously although it has a far less fatality rate compared to a heart attack, is the denominator. It’s a highly contagious disease. When we say about 4 have sadly passed away in say a 100 infected by the SARS-CoV-2 which is the name of the Corona virus of the disease Covid-19, it translates to 12,385,101 (12.3Mn or 1.2 Crore) deaths even if only 30% of the Indian population (1,376,236,810) is affected and with a conservative fatality rate of 3% . Now that’s a scary figure.

Predicted decay on various materials of the Covid-19 virus (SARS-Cov-2, color coded in Red) vs the older SARS virus (which is SARS-CoV-1, color coded in Blue).

Source: nejm
  • It’s clear that it can stay alive for over 24 hours on surfaces like plastics, stainless steel and cardboard. Doesn’t survive longer on Copper.
  • Most of the stuff we use in our daily lives are not copper, hence, it’s a good idea to use disinfectant wipes and sanitize shopping carts in grocery stores (At least around the area where we touch them).
  • Use disposable gloves when out and discard them before entering home. Also when receiving parcels from online orders – discard the package immediately and sanitize your hands.
  • It is not much of an airborne virus (aerosol)- cannot survive longer in air, but it spreads through cough droplets contact if you’re in close proximity to someone who’s affected and by touching surfaces of materials that are exposed to the virus. Avoid touching your face and keep hands disinfected
  • There is no evidence that eating meat spreads the virus – if you have been eating meat – no need to stop eating – infact, eating meat improves your immunity and you may get better sooner with boiled chicken and soup if you have a flu – that’s a known age old remedy. Consumption of home-made, well cooked meat is safe. If you are a vegetarian or a vegan – follow your well known remedies that work for you as usual.
Data source: WHO
Computation and Illustration: @vimaloctavius
  • If you experience Nasal congestion, Sneezing or vomiting you probably don’t have the Covid-19. Apply usual protocol and don’t visit the hospital unless there is a need.
  • If you have high fever with dry cough, fatigue, keep a close watch – these seem to be the symptoms of the Corona Virus. Shortness of breath has also been reported in other countries.
  • The virus is fragile – washing hands with soap often, kills it and can go a long way in faster recovery if you do not have any underlying health condition.
Raw Data Source: WHO
Computation and Illustration: @vimaloctavius

Inference from Pareto chart above: China, Italy, Iran, Spain, Korea and France contribute to about 82% of Covid-19 cases

Raw Data Source: WHO
Computation and Illustration: @vimaloctavius

Learning: Japan has been isolating cases and treating in quarantined clusters, but even tougher policies are being sought after to control the spread. Visit the hospital only if it’s necessary. Else isolate yourself. Kerala is following suit and are involved in extensive testing and quarantined treatment. There is evidence that sick hospital workers have passed on the disease to patients who are already fragile.

Ideas on Flattening the Curve

Original Histogram (Blue) and inference: WHO
Illustration on flattening the curve: @vimaloctavius

If most of us get sick at the same time, no country has the infrastructure to support hospitalization of large numbers at once. Hence we need to do what we can to delay the spread even if we all can’t escape it. That gives us more beds to those who need it the most. Social distancing is critical to delay the spread of the disease.

For instance, due to lack of beds available at hospitals to treat the high influx of Covid-19 cases, a quick set-up with basic medical needs and beds are arranged in a football court in Seattle, Washington. That’s the gravity of the situation if we don’t work together on flattening the curve. It has come to a point where we may have to make a tough decision on who gets treated and who doesn’t due to high influx of cases within a short time in some places around the globe.

Even if you have a healthy immune system and you do recover, it’s important not to pass it on as it may be fatal for another.


Be creative, Identify and eliminate opportunities that result in the exponential spread of the virus, which will keep you and your loved ones safe. – Virus spreads through social contact. Quarantine yourself and your loved ones – step outside only if you need to. Avoid family gatherings at home and outside – The spread in China largely occurred within families and households. – Wash hands often with soap, avoid touching your face, discard parcel packages like cardboards, plastic covers immediately and sanitize your hands. – Consider a paid leave to housekeepers and cleaners – they move around a lot of households – if you’re salary is not impacted it’s a wiser thing to keep them happy and prevent the spread. Plus, its good to be active while you’re working from home doing household chores. – More advice for the public from WHO here

In the wise words of a centenarian who’s 106 years old and has lived through the Spanish flu, a global pandemic that killed 50Mn people between 1918-1919 – “There’s no sense in playing it down. You have to look at it square in the face…and do everything you can in your power to make it better.”

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