As the novel coronavirus saturates the news, forcing colleges and sports leagues to shut down and infiltrating Hollywood, many Americans are understandably wondering when it will arrive at their doorstep. While the number of known cases in the U.S. appears to be comparatively low as of now, the figures are almost certain to spike very soon, as both testing and exposure increase. While COVID-19 has unquestionably spread further than officially known, it is poised to round the curve and spread widely across the U.S. by the end of April.

To better understand outbreaks like this, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) consults a network of academics and industry experts who specialize in modeling the spread of contagious diseases. One of those outside groups, the Laboratory for the Modeling of Biological and Socio-technical Systems at Northeastern University, provided TIME with exclusive access to 100 of the different coronavirus scenarios it has generated in its efforts to support the CDC.

For the following interactive, TIME picked five of Northeastern’s potential scenarios that most closely align with the growth of COVID-19 cases we’ve already seen in the U.S. These models vary from detection levels of about 40% of those who contract the illness (under the “High” scenario) to 25% (in the “Low” scenario). They also account for the fact that the actual number of infected individuals is and will continue to remain significantly higher than the number of confirmed cases. That’s because not all infected individuals will exhibit symptoms or be tested, even though they remain contagious.

For the full story at, plus and interactive graphic modeling the outbreak, click here. 

Load comments