Coral Gables, March 24, 2020SL FINANCIAL is an actuarial consulting and advisory firm based in Miami, Florida. We offer complete actuarial solutions in both traditional (re)insurance and alternative risk financing industries.

The following is inspired from an article published on Medium.com on March 19, 2020 entitled “Coronavirus: The Hammer and the Dance”:


The article focus is to show how strong coronavirus measures (i.e. “The Hammer”), that are temporary, are necessary for leaders to buy time (until a treatment at least is developed) and avoid the collapse of the healthcare system due to big peak of infection. Key takeaway of the article is that:

      • Healthcare systems are already collapsing
      • Countries can either fight hard now or accept to suffer a massive epidemic
      • Choosing the epidemic will generate thousands or millions of deaths with possible further waves of infections
      • Choosing the fight will likely curb the deaths while learn and prepare for future outbreaks
      • All this will achieve something critical i.e. Buy Us Time

This post will focus on assessing the current situation using an epidemic calculator developed by Gabriel Goh, to country in sub Saharan Africa (case study of Cameroon). The calculator implements a classical infectious disease model – SEIR (Susceptible Exposed Infected Removed). The assessment in this post along with the reader should be mindful of the following conditions and limitations:

  • Data Quality and Methodology. We relied on the calculator developed by Mr. Goh and have adjusted the parameters to reflect contextual differences between Cameroon and the United States. Model parameters for the United States or China were used without verification or audit, other than checks for reasonableness.
  • Variability. Estimates are subject to material uncertainty from many different sources including (but not limited to) the random nature of claims experience, historical experience not being perfectly correlated to future experience, impacts of legal interpretations and judicial decisions, catastrophic events, legislation, regulation and business operations.

Central scenario assessment for country Cameroon suggests that the total number of deaths could reach over 430,000 (i.e. over 1.7% of the population):


Chart 1: Exposed, Infected, Hospitalized and Deaths in Cameroon COVID-19 Central Scenario

Chart 2: Infected, Hospitalized and Deaths in Cameroon COVID-19 Central Scenario


Source: SL FINANCIAL Analysis, Epidemic Calculator, Gabriel Goh, http://gabgoh.github.io/COVID/index.html


Finally, the following table presents a comparative assessment of the SEIR model’s parameters using Gabriel Goh’s estimate for the United State:



United States




330 million

25 million


Initial infections



Assumes 66 infected as of 3/24/20 is understated. We estimate true infected to be around 180(*)

Basic reproduction number (R0)



Assumed higher secondary infection due to non-application of confinements measures

Transmission time (Tinc)

5.20 days

7.96 days

Assumed higher incubation due to alternative medicine and more resistant immune systems

Transmission time (Tinf)

2.9 days

2.9 days

Assumed identical

Fatality rate



Assumed lower due to alternative medicine and more resistant immune systems

Time from end of incubation to death

21.3 days

20 days

Assumed slightly lower due to lower quality of healthcare

Length of hospital stay

10 days

20 days

Assumed higher due to more severe cases ending up hospitalized

Recovery time for mild cases

11.1 days

15 days

Assumed higher due to less optimal treatments

Hospital rate



Assumed lower due to higher case treated outside the healthcare system

Time to hospitalization

5 days

2.5 days

Assumed lower due to higher case treated outside the healthcare system

(*) 180 = 20 (international flights per week) x 2 (2-week period leading to 3/17/20) x 150 (passengers per flight) x 1% (percentage of infected) x 3 (basic reproduction number)


For any question or media inquiry, please visit our website at www.sl-financial.com or contact our team at that ceo@sl-financial.com.




Achille Sime




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    Achille Sime

    Fellow of the Institut des Actuaires France (FIAF)
    Fellow of the Society of Actuaries (FSA)
    Member of the American Academy of Actuaries (MAAA)
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