An expert has warned that coronavirus could become as lethal as the 1918 Spanish Flu which infected 500m people worldwide and killed around 50m, or 27% of the population.
Virologist Dr Chris Smith warned coronavirus could become the century’s equivalent of the Spanish flu.
Dr Smith said, “This virus is less lethal than SARS which killed about a tenth of the people it got to, but the coronavirus is better at getting to people.
“We think the mortality rate may be lower but because it is getting to more people we may ultimately end up with a higher death rate.”
He added, “People are hedging their bets and saying [the death rate] is between 2 to 5%.
“In other words, out of 100 infected people, maybe five will lose their lives.
“This may be on par with the 1918 Spanish Flu if what happens in China happens more broadly across the globe.”
Coronavirus has killed more than 1,773 people and it has now been confirmed there are more than 71,000 cases of Covid-19, mainly in mainland China.