More than one million coronavirus victims were unknowingly infected by “stealth transmissions”, a top disease expert has warned.
Professor Jeffrey Shaman claimed the explosive spread of Covid-19 was helped by thousands of oblivious spreaders who had the virus but didn’t know.
Shaman – an environmental sciences professor at Columbia University – warned that further social distancing will be needed to stop the virus in its tracks.
The study in Science journal used epidemiological research and mobile phone data to reveal that there were six undocumented infections for every one confirmed case in Wuhan at the start of the epidemic.
These cases are believed to have resulted in at least two thirds of documented infections.
The study warned that a "radical increase in the identification and isolation of currently undocumented infections would be needed to fully control" the virus.
It comes amid reports that 260,000 people could have died if the government had not announced new measures last night.
Coronavirus could see GCSEs and A-levels postponed to September if schools close
Speaking at a press conference where Prime Minister Boris Johnson told Brits to avoid pubs, clubs and theatres to help prevent the spread of the disease,
England's Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty has warned Brits they are in "for the long haul on this" as the coronavirus pandemic grips the country.
Mr Witty said the next few weeks and months will be "extraordinarily difficult" for the health service.
Professor Neil Ferguson, professor of mathematical biology, warned that the modelling showed restricting people’s social lives would only in effect only buy the world “a breather” adding this was the “main downside of where the world sees itself now".
“We may well be ending up in a really quite different world for at least a year or more,” he said.
- Boris Johnson
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