(Natural News) The global mortality rate for coronavirus (COVID-19), the disease caused by the new coronavirus that first appeared in China and is now spreading across the globe, is much higher than what was previously thought, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.
The WHO, in an announcement from their headquarters in Geneva on Tuesday, set the new rate at 3.4 percent, a number that’s much higher compared to their previous estimate, which was pegged at 2 percent.
“Globally, about 3.4% of reported COVID-19 cases have died,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during the press briefing.
The WHO previously said that the mortality rate of the coronavirus globally could range from 0.7 to up to four percent – depending on the quality of the healthcare system of the country where it is being treated. Early in the outbreak’s onset, however, scientists had concluded the death rate would be around 2.3 percent.
During an earlier press briefing held Monday, WHO officials admitted that they don’t know how COVID-19 behaves, adding that they still don’t have any idea as to how the infection is transmitted and what treatments will work to effectively stop the disease.
“This is a unique virus, with unique features. This virus is not influenza,” Ghebreyesus said during the Monday press briefing. “We are in uncharted territory.”
Ghebreyesus made the statement after several people highlighted what seemed to be overlapping symptoms of both influenza or flu and the coronavirus (COVID-19). This has prompted inquiries as to whether standard flu medication can be used to stop the spread of the new infection.
He also noted in a statement that the coronavirus (COVID-19), which has infected over 95,126 globally, with 3,253 confirmed dead, does not transmit as efficiently as the flu, based on data that they have so far.
According to Ghebreyesus, this means that containment is “still possible.”
Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s Health Emergencies Program, said this finding has given health officials a glimmer of light that the virus could be contained.
“Here we have a disease for which we have no vaccine, no treatment, we don’t fully understand transmission, we don’t fully understand case mortality, but what we have been genuinely heartened by is that unlike influenza, where countries have fought back, where they’ve put in place strong measures, we’ve remarkably seen that the virus is suppressed,” Ryan added.
“We don’t even talk about containment for seasonal flu — it’s just not possible. But it is possible for COVID-19,” Ghebreyesus said. “We don’t do contact tracing for seasonal flu, but countries should do it for COVID-19 because it will prevent infections and save lives.”
Coronavirus mortality rate still subject to change – experts
Health experts, meanwhile, say the fatality rate of the novel coronavirus is still subject to change, with the rate possibly set to drop as the number of cases continues to rise. According to experts, this is because an estimated 80 percent of the coronavirus cases are mild and that the patients checking into hospitals have the most severe symptoms. A report released by Business Insider revealed that people with symptoms mild enough to recover at home without seeking medical treatment are not counted in the official records.
As of press time, the coronavirus is confirmed to have infected 95,126 people, with 3,253 confirmed dead, mostly in China. The disease has since spread to at least 58 other countries, including the U.S., which has more than 125 cases so far, with 11 recorded deaths. (Related: New York State monitoring 700 people for coronavirus, while NYC is on “high alert” for possible outbreaks.)
Nancy Messonnier, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, in a statement published February 25, warned that the further spread of the coronavirus in the U.S. is “inevitable.”
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