More than 250,000 Chinese people will have coronavirus by early February, warns researcher
We’re just a few days away from month two of what’s shaping up to be quite the tumultuous new year, and researchers from the United Kingdom are now warning that the number of coronavirus cases is about to turn exponential.
In a model assessing the potential fallout from this highly contagious outbreak, this team of experts is expecting that more than 250,000 Chinese people will contract coronavirus by the turn of February – a number significantly higher than the roughly 6,200 cases that are currently being reported.
Using the R-naught, or R0, method of mapping disease spread – the basic reproductive number is considered to be the gold standard of assessing disease outbreak potential – these researchers determined that 2019-nCoV, the official name for the coronavirus strain that kicked this whole thing off, has an R0 value of between 1.4-2.5, which is almost the same as the 1918 Spanish flu that killed more than 50 million people.
This is the R0 range being presented by the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) as a possibility, meaning it can – and some say likely will – become a lot higher as the disease progresses.
“Needless to say, while 2.5 is quite high, and in line with that of the Spanish flu epidemic which infected about half a billion people back in 1918, killing as many as 100 million before it eventually fizzled out, the real coronavirus R0 number may end up being far higher,” reports Zero Hedge.
Entitled, “Novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV: early estimation of epidemiological parameters and epidemic predictions,” this paper, authored by Jonathan Reed, estimates that the actual R0 for coronavirus when all is said and done will be more in the 3.6-4.0 range – meaning each person who becomes infected with coronavirus has the potential to infect as many as four other people with it.
In order to stop coronavirus from spreading and creating an epidemic, or possibly a global pandemic, upwards of 75 percent of transmissions “must be prevented by control measures for infections to stop increasing.” The problem, however, is that only about five percent of the infections in Wuhan, where coronavirus is said to have originated, have thus far been identified.
In other words, there appears to be some major difficulties – or perhaps foul play – when it comes to accurately assessing just how many people are currently infected with coronavirus, and how quickly they’re infecting other people.
“… since all of this is happening in China which is not known for making the most socially-beneficial decisions under pressure, there is an ominous possibility that Reed is actually overly optimistic,” warns Zero Hedge.
If there’s no change in the current trajectory of the disease, with containment measures failing to prevent further transmission, Reed warns that coronavirus infections “will continue to be exported to international destinations at an increasing rate.”
We’re already seeing this with new cases of coronavirus popping up in multiple areas of the United States, as well as in Germany, Taiwan, Australia, Japan, and elsewhere – with no seemingly end in sight, sadly.
Reed’s estimate that at least 250,000 cases of coronavirus will emerge in China by about February 4 seem to match China’s current rush to add at least 100,000 new hospital beds to its total capacity in the coming days and weeks.
Reed also expects coronavirus to spread exponentially throughout many other nations such as Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, Vietnam, and of course the United States, where there are at least five confirmed cases of coronavirus already.
“In short: much of Asia will (be) infected, and from there, the rest of the world awaits,” concludes Zero Hedge.
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