The Gist explores how R-Nought fights Ebola, and priming studies with Maria Konnikova.

How Contagious Is Ebola? There’s a Formula for That.

How Contagious Is Ebola? There’s a Formula for That.

A daily news and culture podcast with Mike Pesca.
Oct. 7 2014 6:19 PM

What Is R-Nought, and How Is It Helping to Fight Ebola?

Epidemiologists combating the deadly virus rely on a mathematical model to predict its spread.

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The Ebola virus up close.

Photo illustration by Slate. Public domain photo byCDC/Dr. Frederick A. Murphy.

Listen to Episode 109 of Slate’s The Gist:

Today on The Gist, something we’re good at when it comes to fighting infectious disease. Mathematical modeler Nina Fefferman of Rutgers University explains how a mathematical model called R0 can predict the spread of Ebola. Then, in our regular segment Is This Bulls---, Maria Konnikova of the New Yorker discusses why some priming research has gone too far. For the Spiel, a Pew Research study reveals a huge knowledge gap when it comes to the economy.


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Mike Pesca is the host of the Slate daily podcast The Gist. He also contributes reports and commentary to NPR.