Wired: Death Cuts the Degree of Separation Between You and Covid-19 (featuring Babak Fotouhi)

iSchool News - April 9, 2020

one yellow ball next to rows of blue balls

In an article by Adam Rogers, senior correspondent for Wired Magazine, Rogers looks at what emotional connection is needed for all Americans to feel engaged with and impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic—suggesting that this would take every American knowing someone who has died from COVID-19. He talks with Dr. Babak Fotouhi, Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland College of Information Studies (UMD iSchool) about the possibility of quantifying how many have to die to before everyone personally knows someone who has passed from Covid-19.

“The problem is deceptively hard,” says Dr. Fotouhi. “It can be articulated in one sentence, easily, and everyone understands. It’s hard to believe that it’s such a mathematically hard problem to solve even approximately.”

After exploring theories, Rogers cites an estimate that it might take more than 1.6 million people dying in the U.S. before everybody knows just one of them.

Read the full article here.