A British scientist leading the fight against coronavirus warned that possible forecasts of 400,000 deaths in the U.K. are “not absurd” amid rising panic there.
In a Channel 4 program on the virus, Neil Ferguson of the School of Public Health at Imperial College London said NHS research indicates 60% of Britons could “potentially” be affected by the virus.
“Potentially, given we know a lot about how these viruses are spread we have lots of data from past epidemics,” he said.
“Given how transmissible this virus appears to be and the fact that at least all adults can be infected, we have much less data in children, then 60% is a reasonable figure,” he said.
“What we don’t know at the moment is if everybody infected, what proportion might die and what are the risk groups? Our best estimates at the moment is that maybe 1% of people who get infected might die.”
One percent of the U.K. population is 400,000 people. Ferguson said it would be unwise to throw numbers around, but said it wasn't “absurd.’”
“I would much prefer to be accused of overreacting than under-reacting,” he said.
At least nine coronavirus cases have been identified in the U.K., according to the BBC.
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