Update: Sources have now increased the death toll number to 81.
China's Wuhan-based coronavirus is spreading like wildfire as each day more, and more cases are being confirmed. Now, a public health expert has chimed in and given a shocking statement.
At the moment, there are about 2,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus called 2019-nCoV. Most of these cases are at ground zero of the outbreak, Wuhan, China. Around 40 cases are outside of China, and it has been confirmed that 56 people have died worldwide. Prof Neil Ferguson, a public health expert at Imperial College, said "My best guess now is perhaps 100,000 cases right now".
Despite there only being 2,000 confirmed cases, Ferguson says that there's "Almost certainly many tens of thousands of people are infected." Ferguson also mentioned that there's an unknown area and that's how many children have been infected and not counted, he says this is an unknown because "We don't have reports as yet as to the extent to which children are becoming infected, probably because of the bias towards severe cases."
Prof Wendy Barclay of the department of infectious disease at Imperial College London said that the coronavirus could be more like influenza and the common cold. The reason for her to say this is because this coronavirus seems to have many mild carriers as it's not necessarily making people severely ill. The virus could have infected people that haven't shown any symptoms yet, meaning they are carriers who appear to be quite well at the time. Prof Barclay says, common viruses like the cold and influenza "are carried into the air during normal breathing and talking by the infected person".
She continued, "It would not be too surprising if the new coronavirus also does this. If this does prove to be the case then controlling the spread does become more of a challenge, and measures like airport screening are unlikely to stem the virus effectively."
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