The scientists at Cornell University must have a lot of free time on their hands. Instead of finding a cure for cancer, for example, they’ve figured out the expected scope and speed of a future zombie outbreak.
Equipped with the results of the 2010 United States census and the SIR model – a tool that predicts the spread of infectious diseases (usually in the case of tsunami, Ebola outbreak and the like) – the team created a mock zombie outbreak model.
What might be common knowledge to zombie culture aficionados will probably come as a shock to most: big cities will be the most susceptible to a future zombie outbreak.
The outbreak model used San Francisco as ground zero for the simulation’s interaction tool. With the researchers’ variable of a 0.8 bite-to-kill ratio, here is the progression of the zombie plague:
Within 24 hours: San Francisco is completely infected.
36 hours: zombies have crossed the Bay Bridge and BART Tunnel. Napa and Sonoma valleys’ wine seasons are interrupted by zombie takeover.
48 hours: America’s tech industry is decimated as Silicon Valley is overrun with zombies. There will be no iPhone 7.
Within one week: Zombies have reached Lake Tahoe, Nevada.
Within 30 days: Los Angeles is yet unaffected, but the zombie infection has already reached Fresno and Bakersfield.
So, the lesson learned from this completely novel (read: useless) research is that, in order to avoid a zombie infection, it’s best to move as far as possible from urban centers. Where, exactly? The model suggests that the safest harbors from zombie infection are Montana and Idaho. It will take several months for zombie attackers to reach your Montana mountaintop fortress.
The Cornell team presented their findings to the American Physical Society. Did anyone in the room roll their eyes and wonder why they weren’t talking more about the US healthcare crisis instead of a lonely high school boy’s creepy dreams?