Spreading ahead

9 numbers that explain the future of Coronavirus

As the world grapples with the coronavirus outbreak, officials across the globe are making all sorts of predictions: but it's not that easy.

Originally Published: 

“All predictions are important. Most predictions are wrong. And I think we must be careful with that.”

Out of all the confusion over COVID-19, the data we have so far point to 9 potential futures to help you think about the coming months and years.


The countries that don't yet have coronavirus

(March 12, 2020)


As of March 12, 81 countries are still to be contaminated by the virus.

114 countries have confirmed COVID-19 cases, according to the CDC. Overall, the global burden is “very high,” the WHO says.



The total number of people predicted to be infected with COVID-19.

(As of March 13, 2020)


Researchers last week condudcted a predictive analysis to calculate the number of people who may contract coronavirus by March 13: 116,250.

However, on March 13, there are 125,048 people contaminated globally, meaning the pandemic is spreading quicker than calculated.

As of Friday, March 13, 4,613 have died.


According to those same predictions, by the end of March, cases will be above 150,000.

The numbers vary. The W.H.O. predicts billions more .

Other predictions range from 550,000 to 4.4 million people who could be infected in the next year.

STAT, 2/14/20

30 to 79

the age group of people who will be impacted by the virus.



The Chinese CDC reported that 87 percent of its coronavirus cases affected people in the age group between 30 and 79.

The greatest death toll was reported in the age group over 80, probably due to overall worse health, with 1.3 percent of deaths reported among people in their 50s, less than 0.3 percent people under 40 years of age.

1.1 million

The number of public school students who go to school in New York City



Many schools and universities across New York State and New Jersey are stopping classes and shutting down their facilities.

NYC schools chancellor Carranza said that long-term closings of schools would be an “extreme,” so over 1.1 million students will still go to school this week.

2.3 trillion

The predicted loss in dollars for world GDP


The world is projected to lose more than $2 trillion in growth. The US economy will shed $420 billion in 2020.

The rate of GDP growth for 2020 is now predicted to be 1.5 percent, half the 2.9 percent predicted at the start of the year, according to the OECD.


Percentage drop in nitrogen dioxide in the air over China.


In China, air pollution levels are falling because of industrial shutdowns and decreased travel.

Satellite monitoring by NASA and the ESA reveals air pollution has dropped by roughly a quarter in the past month.

General coal consumption has also fallen by 36 percent, and production of steel products is down by 15 percent, according to Carbon Brief.

Experts caution it is too soon to predict positive impact on the environment, and possibly counterintuitive.

Industries will likely engage in what is known as “retaliatory pollutions,” because they will have to maximize production to make up for what they’ve lost.

$113 billion

Predicted loss in revenue for airline companies.

According to the International Air Travel Association, air travel will drop for the first time since 2009.

A loss between $63 and $113 billion to the industry is predicted.

1.5 million

Barrels per day that oil exporting countries will cut.


During the COVID-19 outbreak, the oil industry has seen demand plunge by 24 percent.

According to OPEC, oil demand will likely drop by almost 50 percent. That may limit global production by at least 1.5 million barrels per day until the end of June.


Percentage increase in stock value for home-fitness brand Peloton.


As people are urged to stay at home, companies providing “homebody” services may benefit.

According to Yahoo Finance, video-conferencing service Zoom has seen their shares grow by 11 percent, and Peloton’s stocks went up 12 percent as a greater number of fitness aficionados avoid the gym.

There may be more on the horizon.

Inverse will endeavor to keep you updated at our Coronavirus hub, which you can find via our homepage.

Please note: These numbers are accurate as of March 13, 2020. We will update them as needed.


“I think this virus is probably with us beyond this season, beyond this year,” said Robert Redfield, the director of the CDC, to the CNN.

Thanks for reading,
head home for more!