A medical professor at John Hopkins University, Dr. Marty Makary, said between 50,000 and half a million people have coronavirus in the United States even though they are untested and remain unconfirmed. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said there have been 41 deaths and 1,600 infection cases, but Makary said that number should not be believed because cases of infection should possibly be higher than that.
“Don’t believe the numbers when you see, even on our Johns Hopkins website, that 1,600 Americans have the virus,” Makary said. “No, that means 1,600 got the test, tested positive. There are probably 25 to 50 people who have the virus for every one person who is confirmed. I think we have between 50,000 and half a million cases right now walking around in the United States.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared coronavirus a global pandemic with about 140,000 confirmed cases and over 5,000 deaths. Given the rate of spread, Makary said COVID-19 could become the “worst public health epidemic since polio” and warned everyone to take the disease very seriously. The pandemic has reached 155 countries around the world and has spiked in some countries more than others.
WHO recommends that people observe proper hygiene to prevent getting infected with the coronavirus. Some of the basic steps for prevention include regular washing of hands with soap, avoiding touching one’s face, and practicing social distancing. Makary said with the rate of infection in the United States, the country’s 100,000 ICU beds could become inadequate since up to 200,000 new patients that need critical care could turn up at hospitals across the country.
Some of the countries that are worse hit by the pandemic include China, Italy, South Korea, and the United States among others. Makary said health experts are watching how other countries such as Italy are responding to the crisis to see what else can be done in cases of overwhelming emergencies. The Washington Post reported that many hospitals in Italy delayed surgeries, stopped HIV treatments, and converted regular hospital space into coronavirus units to be able to deal with surging cases.
“We’re watching what’s happening in Italy very closely,” Makary said. “China was not transparent. Iran was not transparent. But Italy has been extremely transparent, and what we’re seeing here is a hospital system that’s entirely overrun, even with the quarantine, which we have not done. So I think we need to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.”
Makary warned people to jettison the idea that COVID-19 is contained in the US or anywhere else. He warned that the virus is out there “on every door handle and on every car door and with every handshake”.
Meanwhile, an unnamed Johns Hopkins Hospital “provider” has tested positive to Coronavirus and is said to be “currently at home recovering”.