Harvard Scientist: Coronavirus Pandemic 'Likely' To Infect 40-70% Of The World

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JakeThomas

Marc Lipsitch echoed other experts who believe the coronavirus could infect up to two-thirds of the world's population.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Harvard epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch believes it is “likely” that 40 to 70 percent of the world’s population will be infected with the coronavirus this year, with uncertainty surrounding how many will become symptomatic.

And he is not alone — two other experts have offered similar projections, The Hill reported.

Ira Longini, a biostatistician and adviser to the World Health Organization, told Bloomberg News that two-thirds of the global population might pick up the coronavirus before all is said and done.

Likewise, the chair of public health medicine at Hong Kong University, Professor Gabriel Leung, “says if the transmission estimate of 2.5 additional people for each infected rate is accurate, that would result in an "attack rate" that would affect 60 to 80 percent of the world's population.

In the United States, where only 15 cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is preparing for a greater impact, The Hill reported.

“Right now we're in an aggressive containment mode,” CDC Director Robert Redfield told CNN last week, adding that “this virus is probably with us beyond this season, beyond this year, and I think eventually the virus will find a foothold and we will get community-based transmission."

This was confirmed by Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, who said recently that the agency is making moves in preparation for the virus to “take a foothold in the U.S.”

During his interview with CNN, Redfield said that although preparedness measures currently focus on containment, “this virus is probably with us beyond this season, beyond this year, and I think eventually the virus will find a foothold and we will get community-based transmission."

In that case, the coronavirus would operate within populations much like the seasonal flu, circulating naturally among communities and becoming nearly impossible to eradicate.

But for now, this is not the greatest concern, Redfield said. “We don't have any evidence that this coronavirus is really embedded in the community at this time, but with that said, we want to intensify our surveillance so that we're basing those conclusions based on data.”

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