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  • NPR: A frightening curve

    NPR - 09/18/2014

    In the past week, world leaders have started using a mathematical term when they talk about the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.

    “It’s spreading and growing exponentially,” President Obama said Tuesday. “This is a disease outbreak that is advancing in an exponential fashion,” said Dr. David Nabarro, who is heading the U.N.’s effort against Ebola.

    So what does this mean? If nothing changes in the next few weeks, we could see at least 60,000 cases by the end of 2014.

    Here’s why.

    Right now we’ve had more than 5,000 cases of Ebola, and at least 2,600 people have died.

    Some scientists, like Alessandro Vespignani at Northeastern University in Boston, are taking numbers like that and putting them into computer models to see where this epidemic is going.

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