The World Health Organization announced today that the Coronavirus global death rate is higher than previously thought, saying that globally the mortality rate for COVID-19 is 3.4%.
“Globally, about 3.4% of reported COVID-19 cases have died,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a press briefing at the agency’s headquarters in Geneva. In comparison, the normal yearly Flu mortality rate is only 0.1%.
“This is a unique virus, with unique features. This virus is not influenza,” Tedros said Monday. “We are in uncharted territory.”
U.S. Coronavirus Cases Rise; Nine Deaths now Reported in Washington
Anxieties are rising in the United States as the death toll climbed to nine in Washington.
“What is happening now in the United States may be the beginning of what is happening abroad,” said Dr. Nancy Messonnier of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, noting that in China, where the outbreak began more than two months ago, older and sicker people are about twice as likely to become seriously ill as those who are younger and healthier.
Top US doctor says coronavirus possibly a ‘pandemic’.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House’s coronavirus task force, told NBC Nightly News’ Richard Engel that the Cornvirus — which has infected over 100 people, killing nine in the US — is “an evolving situation.”
“We’re dealing with clearly an emerging infectious disease that is now reached outbreak proportions and likely pandemic proportions,” he said. “If you look at, you know, by multiple definitions of what a pandemic is, the fact is this is multiple sustained transmissions of a highly infectious agent in multiple regions of the globe.”
In the interview, Fauci urged the public to stop comparing the virus to the Flu, saying the impact of this virus can be far worse.
“We need to be at least thinking about the possibility if we get a major outbreak of this coronavirus in this country,” the doctor said. “That would mean perhaps closing schools temporarily, getting people to do more teleworking, canceling events where there is a lot of crowds in confined places, canceling unnecessary travels so that you’re not on an airplane for five hours with a bunch of people who might be infected.”
Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told Senate lawmakers Tuesday that the current COVID-19 outbreak already meets two of the three main criteria under the technical designation of a pandemic.
“It is a new virus, and it is capable of person-to-person spread,” she said in prepared testimony at a hearing. “If sustained person-to-person spread in the community takes hold outside China, this will increase the likelihood that the WHO will deem it a global pandemic.”
WHO officials warn medical gear ‘supplies are rapidly depleting’
World Health Organization officials called on medical supply manufacturers to “urgently increase production” to meet the global demand that is needed to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Supplies are rapidly depleting. WHO estimates that each month 89 million medical masks will be required for the COVID-19 response, 76 million examination gloves and 1.6 million goggles,” Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters at the organization’s Geneva headquarters.
On Capitol Hill in Washington, Health and Human Services’ assistant secretary for preparedness and response, Dr. Robert Kadlec, admitted that the United States only had about 35 million N95 respirator masks. That’s about 10% of the 3.5 billion they estimate is needed if COVID-19 erupts into a full-blown pandemic.
Preparing for a Possible COVID-19 Pandemic Outbreak in the United States
- You need to have at least a 2-4 week supply of food and water on hand, people are already starting to panic and a number of big box stores are already out of many supplies.
- Read our article on Pandemics and How to Prepare for a Pandemic Outbreak.
- Have an emergency communication page and multiple ways to gather intelligence. Here are the emergency communications frequencies you should listen to during an emergency.