Rate of Infection

March 5, 2020

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Anchor lead: How many people are actually infected with
COVID-19? Elizabeth Tracey reports

COVID-19 is spreading rapidly around the world, and no one
really knows how many people are infected. Brian Garibaldi, a critical care
medicine expert at Johns Hopkins, says that is both good and bad news.

Garibaldi: Early on in an outbreak it’s very likely that
we’re underestimating the number of cases that are out there because people who
are either asymptomatic or have low level infections and don’t have to seek
healthcare, we’re not capturing them and we’re not testing for that, so I think
the hope is that there’s actually many more asymptomatic or low level
infections and so the mortality is actually not going to be as high as we’re
seeing right now, and as we get more data that will become a little bit more
clear.   :25

The World Health Organization has released a fatality rate
of over 3% relative to COVID-19 infection, but says that was based on early
data from the outbreak in Wuhan. Now medical professionals around the globe are
learning how to manage the infection better, so that is likely a very high
estimate. The WHO reiterates that basic hygiene measures, especially
hand-washing, remain your best defense. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

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