Coronavirus expert: ‘War is an appropriate analogy’

On the UK’s Channel 4 News, Dr Richard Hatchett, the CEO of a group called the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), spoke on the Novel Coronavirus – known as Covid-19 – outbreak which is gathering pace around the globe:

CEO of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations Dr Richard Hatchett explains the long-term dangers of the Covid-19 coronavirus – saying it’s the scariest outbreak he’s dealt with in his 20-year career.

Channel 4 News YouTube Channel

He likened the need to be vigilant to war – for Brits, he said the threat from Coronavirus is “very significant” and spoke of the “potential” for the virus to spread as being somewhere in the region of 50%-75% of the global population catching the virus.

He spoke of how the World Health Organization (WHO) were “very impressed” by the response to the virus in China. He also praised the response in Singapore.

On the subject of children, he said that “children have been minimally affected” but that it was unclear whether children had been infected to the same degree as adults.

He also said that “if you look at places where death has occurred, a death probably signifies a place which has had the virus for at least a month. Because it takes time…” for people to catch, deteriorate, and die from the virus.

He says that “the UK is doing a good job” to respond to the virus.

Is Coronavirus The Same as The Flu?

“I don’t think we’re dealing with the flu here” he said, before adding that experts “think the mortality rate is higher than 1%” which is “much higher” than seasonal flu. He argues that the “attack rate” and the mortality rate are likely to be higher than with seasonal flu.

Coronavirus Is Worst Virus Since 1918’s Spanish Flu?

He continues that “not since 1918” when the Spanish Flu killed millions, has the human population in the world seen a virus like Covid-19.

He said Ebola had a high mortality rate, but not “the infectiousness that this virus has”.

“Many fold” worse than Normal Flu

“I don’t want to make a prediction, because what happens with this virus is up to us. I do think this virus has the potential to cause a global pandemic, if we’re not already there.”

Dr Richard Hatchett

He added “and I do think the virus has demonstrated that it has a lethality that is likely many fold higher than normal flu.”

A 1% or 3.4% Mortality Rate?

“It doesn’t matter” – because Covid-19 is many times more infectious than other major viruses, a 1-3.4% mortality rate will cause millions of deaths.

Should Everyone Work From Home?

Dr Richard recognises than not everyone is able to work from home, but he insisted that “we do need to modify behaviour.”

One problem that we face as a society when we have a virus that has a mortality rate of 1% or less, and that mortality is concentrated in certain parts of the population, the elderly, for example, or the chronically ill.

One challenge that we face, is that people who are young and generally healthy, won’t perceive personal risk, and they’ll govern their behaviour based on what they perceive their personal risk to be.

I think we need to start thinking in terms of the social risk.

Dr Richard Hatchett

He explained that he is relatively young and healthy, and the risk to him is therefore lower, but if he goes to work, and shakes hands with an older colleague who has a chronic medical condition, “I could be responsible for that colleague’s death.”

“We can’t view the epidemic in terms of our personal risk.”

In This Story: COVID-19

Covid-19 is the official WHO name given to the novel coronavirus which broke out in late 2019 and began to spread in the early months of 2020.

Symptoms of coronavirus

The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • a persistent new cough (non productive, dry)
  • a high temperature (e.g. head feels warm to the touch)
  • shortness of breath (if this is abnormal for the individual, or increased)

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Below are stories from around the globe related to the 2020 outbreak of novel Coronavirus – since the WHO gave the Covid-19 naming. Most recent items are posted nearest the top.

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    Singapore, officially the Republic of Singapore, is a sovereign island city-state in maritime Southeast Asia.

    The country’s territory is composed of one main island, 63 satellite islands and islets, and one outlying islet, the combined area of which has increased by 25% since the country’s independence as a result of extensive land reclamation projects. It has the second greatest population density in the world. The country has almost 5.7 million residents, 61% (3.4 million) of whom are Singaporean citizens. There are four official languages of Singapore: English, Malay, Chinese, and Tamil; with English being the lingua franca.

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    The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for international public health. The WHO Constitution, which establishes the agency’s governing structure and principles, states its main objective as “the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health.”

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