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Crises, outbreaks, wars, mortal disease, are always foreseeable until they strike. Until that moment, they are entirely predictable. Bayesian inference can guess how probable it is you will die from cancer, heart disease or a diptheria epidemic. When it hits, when the stage IV diagnosis comes, when pain starts shooting down your left arm, when your throat starts slowly suffocating you, it comes out of the blue.

We are about to receive a lesson in susceptibility. In the triptych of epidemiology, susceptibility is the most terrifying. We don't know how big the susceptible population is. Back in February, the number of people susceptible to Sars-Cov-2, the virus producing the Covid-19 illness, was close to 7.8 billion. It might be closer to 7.5 billion. According to recent testing carried out in France, Spain and the United Kingdom, as little as 5 per cent of the population have been infected by the plague. And that is in three of the worst hit states. This is why we aren't just talking about a 'second peak' of infections, but repeated waves of infection. There's a long way between five per cent and herd immunity.


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