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The basic reproductive number --- R0 --- is one of the most common and most commonly misapplied numbers in public health. Nevertheless, estimating R0 for every transmissible pathogen, emerging or endemic, remains a priority for epidemiologists the world over. Although often used to compare outbreaks and forecast pandemic risk, this single number belies the complexity that two different pathogens can exhibit, even when they have the same R0. Here, we show how predicting outbreak size requiresdoi:10.1101/2020.02.10.20021725 fatcat:knwb5oyhpbgsrbfkzovcqdbqwi