Coronavirus fatality rate is HIGHER than thought: Virus kills 3.4% of all patients – making it more than three times deadlier than flu – says WHO
- About 3.4% of people who have been infected by coronavirus have died, making it well over three-times deadlier than flu
- Flu is estimated to kill less than one percent of those infected, but spreads much more rapidly than coronavirus
- WHO also warned of dire shortages of personal protective equipment and said that manufacturing needs to be ramped up by 40% to meet global needs
The strain of coronavirus behind the a growing global crisis kills 3.4 percent of all patients, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the UN body, said current figures show the infection is three times deadlier than flu, which kills less than one percent of patients on average.
According to data relayed by the WHO on Tuesday, coronavirus’s mortality rate is higher than previously estimated, making it more dangerous than some experts and government officials have implied.
He noted that there are vaccines and treatments for flu and, although more than 20 vaccine candidates are in development, alongside a number of therapeutics, none are currently available, adding coronavirus’ relative danger.
WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adghamon Ghebreyesus called on global manufacturers to increase their producto of personal protective equipment by 40%
Thus far, coronavirus seems more deadly than the flu, but isn’t quite as infectious as the seasonal virus.
‘It spreads less efficiently than the flu, and transmission does not appear to be drive by people who not sick,’ said Dr Tedros.
‘We don’t even talk about containment for seasonal flu, it’s just not possible, but it’s possible for COVID-19.
‘We can’t treat COVID-19 exactly the way we treat flu, but there are enough similarities that countries are not starting from scratch.’
The 3.4 percent fatality rate is a global estimate. Death rates vary quite broadly from country to country, dependent mainly upon on sophisticated their health systems are.
In some countries, the mortality rate has been as high as four percent, while in others, it’s as low as 0.7 percent.
So far, nine out of 137 people confirmed to have coronavirus in the US have died, putting the infection’s fatality rate for Americans at 6.6 percent.
But, with testing shortages, that number is likely misleading. Public health experts have been enraged at the short supply of – and previously flawed – tests sent out by the CDC and estimated that, in places like Washington, cases may exceed flu.
As more people are tested with positive results, the case number will grow, and likely far out-pace the death rate in the US.
Medics wearing N95 masks arrive at LifeCare Center in Kirkland, Washington, where five elderly people have died of coronavirus. N95 mask prices have tripled amid shortages
Of the nine deaths in Washington, at least five were residents at a nursing home, and elderly people are far more vulnerable to the infection and at much higher risk of developing serious disease from it.
In an effort to slow the outbreak and slew of fatalities in the facility, LifeCare Center in Kirkland, hazmat suit and mask-clad medics have brought in additional oxygen tanks and supplies.
The WHO on Tuesday also warned supplies of face masks and other protective equipment for health care workers like these are ‘rapidly depleting’ because of a ‘severe disruption’ to the global supply chain.
Dr Tedros warned the shortages are leaving medics dangerously ill-equipped to care for patients with COVID-19, the disease which has struck 92,000 people worldwide.
Up to 90million masks, 1.6million sets of goggles and 76million pairs of examination gloves are needed to protect health care workers, it is estimated.
Shortages and supply hoarding have triggered huge price inflations on vital personal protective equipment (PPE).
Face mask prices have surged by six-fold, the cost of gowns has doubled and prices for N95 respirators have tripled.
‘Stocks are often sold to the highest bidder,’ said Dr Tedros. ‘We urgently need to increase production’ of PPE, he warned.
Manufacturing needs to be jump by 40 per cent to meet the growing demand, it is estimated.
As cases of coronavirus in the US have surged, Americans have been panic buying masks, disinfectants and non-perishable foods (file)
Panic buying is emptying shelves in the US. Such shopping in the US and abroad also partly to blame for dwindling supplies of personal protective equipment, the WHO said Tuesday
It’s a pattern already emerging in the US, where more than 100 people are now infected.
US consumers have been panic-buying PPE, canned food and cleaning supplies in fear that they might have to shelter at home if the coronavirus starts spreading in their community.
Retailers – from local pharmacies to national chains – have reported shortages, and Amazon has been cracking down on price gouging for masks and other products.
Dr Tedros pled with the public to stop hoarding and stockpiling as masks are not recommended for most people and contribute to governmental and hospital shortages.
He also encouraged worldwide governments to incentivize increased manufacturing of protective gear.
In the US, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar as estimated that US health care workers alone will need some 300 million masks amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Already, a more active flu season than usual had strained the US hospital system and health care supplies here.
President Trump has repeatedly compared coronavirus and the flu, including during a Friday press briefing.
More than 92,000 worldwide have coronavirus. Hoarding and stockpiling is leading to severe shortages for health care workers, the WHO said
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