In the very likely event of a zombie apocalypse, a few things are necessary for survival – a heart of steel, a shotgun, and a badass crossbow, among other useful tools. Most importantly though, you just need a really good hiding spot, and according to researchers at Cornell University, that’s anywhere, but a major city.
In fact, the unaffected should head straight for the Northern Rockies – a location that may take weeks or even months for zombies to penetrate, due to its scattered population dynamic.
“…once the zombies invade more sparsely populated areas, the whole outbreak slows down—there are fewer humans to bite, so you start creating zombies at a slower rate,” states Alex Alemi, a graduate student.
Major cities, on the other hand, would fall much more rapidly. This conclusion was reached based on a thorough analysis of actual virus outbreak data, studied in conjunction with and oral history of the first zombie war found in World War Z. Then, using various equations that take into account factors such as population and rate-of-infection, the researchers at Cornell were able to determine where, how and at what speed a potential zombie outbreak could spread across The United States.
The study, although fictional, actually yields very important information about real diseases and epidemics – the gist of which will be presented at the American Physical Society meeting, taking place on March 5th in San Antonio.
“Modeling zombies takes you through a lot of the techniques used to model real diseases…” Alemi told Phys.org. “…it is a good introduction to disease modeling in the real medical world.”
Although various films and television series, such The Walking Dead, depict a zombie outbreak as an epidemic that affects parts of the world simultaneously, an actual apocalypse would be more complex due to the different types of interactions that occur (zombie bites human or human kills zombie, etc.).
Thus, in order to obtain the most probable results, the team had to consider how the rate of a certain action can alter the course of another – much like how actual disease can spread in the real world. Given the complexity of these various factors, traveling to the Northern Rockies definitely sounds like the safest bet for survival.