Boston, Feb 28 | A Harvard University scientist has predicted that upto 70 per cent of humanity could be infected by the coronavirus.
Harvard University epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch has predicted that the coronavirus “will ultimately not be containable” and, within a year, will infect somewhere between 40 and 70 percent of humanity, according to a report in The Atlantic.
However, he says that most of these people will not have severe illnesses or even show symptoms at all, which is already the case for many people who have tested positive for the virus.
Lipsitch, Professor of Epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health and Director of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics, has predicted that within the coming year, some 40 to 70 per cent of people around the world will be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. But, he clarifies emphatically, this does not mean that all will have severe illnesses.
“It’s likely that many will have mild disease, or may be asymptomatic,” he said, as per the report. It is similar to influenza in which 14 per cent of people with influenza have no symptoms.
Influenza is often life-threatening to people with chronic health conditions and of older age, but most cases pass without medical care.
Scientists say that the lack of severity of the coronavirus is the reason why it is difficult to stop. Viruses like SARS, MERS, and the avian flu were eventually contained in part because they were more intense and had a higher fatality rate.
On being infected by the virus that caused SARS, chances were that people were not going about their normal routine. However, the current coronavirus, known as COVID-19, can be asymptomatic, or at least very mild, and there’s a better chance people will likely go about their day as normal. It is similar to the flu, which can also be deadly, but often passes without the infected person seeking medical care.