Despite the staggering number of coronavirus cases worldwide— 53 million— the microscopic size of the coronavirus cells mean that they can fit in a little more than a teaspoon. One teaspoon, on average, can hold 6 millilitres (ml) of liquid. And, by Matt Parker’s estimates the entirety of the world’s covid would be equivalent to 8 ml of liquid.
“All the chaos in the world… is down to a teaspoon’s worth of trouble,” he said on his podcast A Problem Squared. He also stated that even at the upper end of his calculations all the coronavirus particles infecting people worldwide could not exceed one shot glass. “A virus particle is very small, it’s just the code to wreck other cells.”, he said.
Matt Parker, who is a contributor to Radio 4’s science show Infinite Monkey Cage, began with an estimate of the number of cells in each virus sufferer based on the viral load measured from swabs, and research published in medical journal The Lancet. He then used the figure of 300,00 new infections daily, worldwide, and assumed that each person is infected for 14 days to calculate the number of people currently carrying coronavirus. After multiplying everything, he estimated that 3.3 million billion Covid-19 cells are currently present in the human population.