Coronavirus could infect 40 percent of world over one to two years - expert

Coronavirus could infect 40 percent of world over one to two years – expert

Coronavirus could infect 40 percent of world over one to two years - expert

An infectious diseases specialist says coronavirus could infect up to 40 percent of the world’s population in the next couple of years.

Professor Michael Baker, from the Otago University Department of Public Health, says it will likely infect billions.

“This pandemic infection has had a trajectory now for three or four weeks that looks like it will infect perhaps 40 percent of the world’s population over the next one to two years.”
It comes as panic spread to our health services. The Prime Minister visited Healthline staff on Saturday and their phones have been ringing off the hook.

It’s at Healthline that the call came in from the family of the person in their 60s who is New Zealand’s first COVID-19 case. They arrived at Auckland Airport from Iran via Bali on Wednesday and had minimal contact with anyone except family, before calling Healthline and going to hospital.

“The passenger in question has done everything right,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

It took three tests to confirm their infection. The first, a simple throat swab, was negative, the second, a sample deep through the nose, also negative and the third, which finally came back positive, was a sputum sample. That’s where a flexible scope was put down the patient’s throat into their lungs.

Everyone who was on their flight is being contacted.
This is the sort of contact tracing that our public health units do all the time, for foodborne outbreaks and also if they do have these instances where someone is unwell on a flight and people need to be traced,” said Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield.

But only people who sat in the two rows behind and in front are being told to self-isolate for 14 days.

“Close contact is people who have been within a metre for more than 15 minutes so people beyond that are not at risk of getting this infection,” said Dr Bloomfield.

The owner of a barbershop in Auckland’s Mt Albert was on the Emirates flight. He only found that out late on Friday when he was watching the news, but has since self-isolated. He told Newshub that on Friday he cut about 25 people’s hair – a simple illustration of how the virus could spread.

Health officials say it’s likely we’ll get more cases and eventually could end up with the virus spreading in the community.

But for now COVID-19 in New Zealand is contained inside Auckland Hospital.

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