Coronavirus ’10 times deadlier than 2009 flu pandemic’; immunity still an unknown, says World Health Organization

| | April 15, 2020
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Credit: Reuters/Athit Perawongmetha
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People who have recovered from COVID-19 may or may not be immune to getting sick again – and it’s too soon to know how long any immunity might last, World Health Organization experts say. The appraisal comes as WHO leader Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says COVID-19 is “10 times deadlier than the 2009 flu pandemic.”

“We know that in some countries, cases are doubling every three to four days,” Tedros said at a news briefing in Geneva. “However, while COVID-19 accelerates very fast, it decelerates much more slowly. ”

The worldwide number of COVID-19 cases is quickly approaching the 2 million mark, including more than 117,000 people who have died, according to a COVID-19 dashboard created by Johns Hopkins University’s Whiting School of Engineering.

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The 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic that Tedros referenced is estimated to have infected more than 60 million people in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The agency estimates the virus killed nearly 12,500 Americans in the span of one year. Nearly twice that number have already died from COVID-19 in the U.S., where some 570,000 people are confirmed to be infected.

A preliminary study on antibodies in the blood plasma of 175 patients who recovered from the disease in China offers mixed information about the potential for immunity… .

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