Coronavirus already a pandemic with disease out of control, scientist warns
A scientist has chillingly warned the coronavirus is already a pandemic – with deaths in the UK now imminent .
The deadly disease has already claimed more than 3,000 lives globally, with nearly 100,000 cases confirmed across the world.
England and Wales' Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty believes the UK will see a significant number of COVID-19 cases and “some deaths” in six weeks.
A man in his 80s became the second person to die of the virus in the UK yesterday.
The World Health Organisations (WHO) has not yet deemed the coronavirus a pandemic – when an epidemic grows across multiple countries and continents at the same time.
But top microbiologist Charles P. Gerba believes it has already reached the deadly stage.
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The Arizona University professor told Daily Star Online: “I believe we already have a pandemic – it is on every inhabited continent in the world and spreading.
“Containing the spread is going to be more difficult and more likely to spread in cities.
“More people take mass transport in cities in poorer countries.
“A study in the UK found that you were six times more likely to get a respiratory infection riding a bus than driving to work in a car.
“The more commonly surfaces are touched by more people the more likely you are to pick up the virus on your hands.”
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In the UK, supermarkets have drawn up “feed the nation” contingency plans to help the country cope with any panic-buying.
Under the plans, supermarkets would scale back the variety off foods available and instead focus on maintaining supplies of stable products.
The army could also be deployed to tackle the coronavirus as part of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plan to fight the disease.
Soldiers could be deployed to guard vital sites so the police are free to deal with potential public disorder, according to new government plans.
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The outbreak could lead to a fifth of workers being absent, cause police to drop low-priority cases and force the NHS to delay non-urgent care.
The Prime Minister said on Tuesday that it is “highly likely” the UK will see a growing number of coronavirus cases, but stressed that “for the vast majority of people in this country we should be going about our business as usual”.
There are four phases in the government’s plan – contain, delay, research and mitigate.
In the event of the outbreak worsening, or a severe, prolonged pandemic, the response will escalate and the focus will move away from "contain" and "delay" to "mitigate".
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