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Scientists Figured Out What Would Really Happen During A Zombie Outbreak

Here's how the infection would spread in the United States. New York City is so screwed.

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A team of Cornell researchers figured out how fast a zombie outbreak would spread across the United States. You know, just in case...

Universal / Via giphy.com

The team came up with their findings by using a variation of the SIR model, a tool that epidemiologists use to predict the spread of infectious diseases like measles and Ebola.

In the SIR model:

S = The number of susceptible people who haven't been infected by the disease.

I= The number of infected people

R= The number of people who recovered or died from the disease

The numbers are used in calculus equations to determine things like how fast a disease is likely to infect a percentage of the population.

New York City is pretty much fucked within 24 hours.

Cornell University / Via businessinsider.com

Obviously, they found that densely populated cities are most at risk. But unlike Hollywood portrayals of zombie outbreaks, you'll notice that the infection doesn't happen all at once in every city. In their simulation, for example, the zombie infection originated in New York City, but it would still take a whole month to spread to upstate New York.

Most of the flyover states are still safe after a month:

Remote areas in Montana and Nevada are still safe after four months.
Cornell University / Via mattbierbaum.github.io

Remote areas in Montana and Nevada are still safe after four months.

But the safest place is the northern Rockies, which would take months and months to infect.

Cornell University / Via cbc.ca

I know where I'm moving.

After 28 days, cities are not the most dangerous places to be. That award goes to suburbs like — wait for it — Bakersfield, California.

Andiya / Via giphy.com

The study found that towns in between large cities are actually most at risk after a month. For example, the study notes that Bakersfield is in danger of being attacked by zombies coming from San Francisco, San Diego, and Los Angeles.

The absolute worst place to be after a month is northeastern Pennsylvania.

AMC / Via giphy.com

That's because the area is susceptible to infections coming from all major metropolitan areas on the east coast.

There's good news. As time goes on, the number of killed zombies increases (green map). But so does the rate of infection (red map).

Live Science / Via youtube.com

The researchers studied films like Shaun of the Dead to find the "bite to kill" rate. It seems like zombies have the upper hand: They are 25% more likely to bite humans than humans are to kill them.

In conclusion:

White House / Via giphy.com

You can play with this swanky interactive to check out how long it takes for your city to be utterly destroyed.

Thumbnail via Kevin Winters/Getty

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