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Tue Feb 11, 2020, 12:53 PM

Coronavirus 'could infect 60% of global population if unchecked'

Exclusive: Public health epidemiologist says other countries should consider adopting China-style containment
The Guardian
Sarah Boseley Health editor
Published: 04:47 Tuesday, 11 February

The coronavirus epidemic could spread to about two-thirds of the world’s population if it cannot be controlled, according to Hong Kong’s leading public health epidemiologist. His warning came after the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said recent cases of coronavirus patients who had never visited China could be the “tip of the iceberg”.

Prof Gabriel Leung, the chair of public health medicine at Hong Kong University, said the overriding question was to figure out the size and shape of the iceberg. Most experts thought that each person infected would go on to transmit the virus to about 2.5 other people. That gave an “attack rate” of 60-80%. Even if the general fatality rate is as low as 1%, which Leung thinks is possible once milder cases are taken into account, the death toll would be massive.

...The Geneva meeting brings together more than 400 researchers and national authorities, including some participating by video conference from mainland China and Taiwan. “With 99% of cases in China, this remains very much an emergency for that country, but one that holds a very grave threat for the rest of the world,” the WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in his opening remarks. To date China has reported 42,708 confirmed cases, including 1,017 deaths, Tedros said.

More here

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/feb/11/coronavirus-expert-warns-infection-could-reach-60-of-worlds-population?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

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