End of coronavirus pandemic is near, says Nobel laureate Michael Levitt

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Stanford biophysicist and the 2013 chemistry Nobel victor Michael Levitt has stuck his neck out to say that the outbreak will not really be the horror story many are anticipating it will be.

With all that in mind, Levitt believes the number of new infections will begin to decrease more quickly that many prognosticators are suggesting.

He added that if countries ensure social distancing and minimal travel, then most will be able to get rid of the viral outbreak soon.

On Jan. 31, China had 46 new deaths due to coronavirus, in comparison with 42 new deaths a day before.

"This suggests that the rate of increase in number of the deaths will slow down even more over the next week", Levitt wrote in a report he sent to friends February 1 that was widely shared on Chinese social media. Essentially, although the vehicle was still speeding up, it was not accelerating as rapidly as before. His core focus was not on the cumulative figure, but on the number of new cases identified every day - and, particularly, on the change in that number from one day to the next. "Around the last week of February, Levitt reportedly told China Daily News that the virus" rate of growth had peaked.

His optimistic report on China said the country would peak with around 80,000 and 3,250 dead. This came out to be true like a prophecy vindicated.

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Amazingly, Levitt's prediction was rather accurate as China has a total of 80,298 cases and 3,245 deaths as of March 16.

China's population of almost 1.4 billion, with roughly 10 million annual deaths.

The number of newly diagnosed patients has dropped to around 25 a day, with no cases of community spread reported for a couple of past days. The report says Levitt analysed data from 78 countries that have had more than 50 new cases every day and that he sees "signs of recovery" in many of them.

"Numbers are still noisy but there are clear signs of slowed growth", said Levitt, later noting the virus can only grow "exponentially" when it's undetected and there are no measures in place to stop its spread. What Levitt noticed about Covid-19 in ChinaThe clue to predicting the Covid-19 trajectory for Levitt lies in the rate of daily increase. You can meet new people on public transportation, for example; but even on the bus, after some time most passengers will either be infected or immune. Even in the case of the virus-affected cruise ship Diamond Princess, the infection rate did not top 20%.

Levitt said recent trends in confirmed cases in Iran point to a slowdown. "This is not the time to go out drinking with your buddies".

However, Levitt says the data does not support these situations, especially for places that have put in place reasonable precautionary measures like social distancing and even for ones that haven't instilled stricter measures as China did.

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