WHO: Coronavirus Could Potentially Infect 4.8-Billion, 16% Lethality Rate Predicts Catastrophe
Researchers at the World Health Organization say statistics regarding the Wuhan Coronavirus spread potential and lethality could allow the virus to infect two-thirds of the planet and kill half a billion or more, if present characteristics of the disease maintain and containment efforts fall short.
The crucial measure of the virulence and transmissibility of any disease is known as the R-0 value, or “R-Naught,” attack value, which defines how many people a single infected patient can be expected to contact and infect before containment and treatment. Statistics published by The Lancet, Britain’s premiere medical journal and corroborated by World Health Organization research indicates that COVID-19 has an R-0 value of somewhere between 4.7 and 6.6, making it a comparatively aggressive virus with potential for rapid spread.
Even at the lower end of the virus’s presenting R-0 range, a person infected with COVID-19 can be expected to infect five more people, meaning the disease has what virologists refer to as geometric spread potential. 1 person infects five. Five people infect 25. 25 people infect 125. 125 people infect so on. In 10 generational steps of exposure, 1.2-billion people are potentially infected by the virus. An R-0 value at the higher end of presenting range, say closer to 7, would progress more than twice as fast.
And with The Lancet study’s findings placing COVID-19 lethality between 15% and 17% of infected cases, the projections for a global catastrophe come down to simple math versus a global health community’s ability for effective response to contain and slow progression of the pandemic.
Compounding the containment challenges unique to COVID-19 is an asymptomatic incubation window now cited up to 24 days before a patient begins to exhibit symptoms, delaying ability for detection and lengthening the window for viral shedding and additional infections as a contagious person continues to circulate in the population unaware they are even ill. Incubation weeks up to two weeks are most common, but on Sunday, doctors revealed to the Taiwan Times cases of patients who presented no symptoms for 24 days or more even after testing positive for the COVID-19 virus in their bloodstreams.
Skeptics of Coronavirus crisis, largely comprised of laypeople unfamiliar with how pathogens are studied, classified and quantified have been largely dismissive of dire predictions about COVID-19, with many believing it no different than influenza, SARS, MERS or H1N1 outbreaks in recent years that failed to materialize on a significant scale. Early comparative statistics regarding the diseases however paint a far different picture, placing COVID-19 in a far different class of pathogens. In simplest terms, NO. This isn’t “Just like SARS.”
Meantime, an ever growing stream of video and photographs illustrates the desperation of Chinese people cut off from food and unable to replenish supplies crying out for help from balcony windows and in at least one case, taking unthinkable risks in attempts to circumvent the lockdown. A video posted Monday showed a woman in Wuhan attempting the climb down the outside of a 30-story apartment building, only to lose her grip and plunge ten stories or more to the pavement below. Twitter quickly removed the graphic video as a violation of community standards.
In another video, (below) a woman risks her social status and possible execution to tell the truth of the catastrophe, revealing that while members of her family have died, no effort is being made to ‘cure’ patients and that the Chinese government is lying about everything in order to conceal the scope of the outbreak, while using it as an opportunity to liquidate political prisoners, dissidents and anyone who tries to tell the truth about the viral outbreak.
WATCH: Woman in Wuhan: ‘Don’t believe what the government is saying. We are dying. We cannot get out to have medicines or food, or beds. It is all a lie. They are killing us.”