The World Health Organisation (WHO) has confirmed that the novel coronavirus is ten times deadlier than the swine flu outbreak, which claimed 18,449 lives between January 2009 and August 2010. More than 1.6 million people were infected by the H1N1 strain a decade ago.
This virus, on the other hand, has so far killed nearly 115,000 people and infected over 1.8 million across the globe.
“We know that COVID-19 spreads fast and we know that it is deadly – ten times deadlier than the 2009 flu pandemic. We know that the virus can spread more easily in crowded environments like nursing homes. We know that early case finding, testing, isolating, caring for every case, and tracing every contact is essential for stopping transmission,” said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
He said that cases are doubling every three to four days in some countries. “However while COVID-19 accelerates very fast it decelerates much more slowly. In other words the way down is much slower than the way up. That means can only be lifted if the right public health measures are in place, including significant capacity for contact tracing,” he added.
The WHO acknowledged that “ultimately, the development and delivery of a safe and effective vaccine will be needed to fully interrupt transmission”.