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WHO Chief warns that more deadly virus could sweep the globe

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A senior chief from the World Health Organization has warned that the current coronavirus pandemic is ‘not necessarily the big one’ and that there is the potential for a more deadly virus to sweep the globe.

Dr Mike Ryan who is the head of the WHO emergencies programme has described the current pandemic as a ‘wake-up call’. Dr Ryan went on to say: ‘This pandemic has been very severe… it has affected every corner of this planet. But this is not necessarily the big one’. 

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According to official statistics the coronavirus has so far killed 1,799, 337 people worldwide. In addition to this the most recent SAGE estimates have placed the infection fatality rate at 0.5% which means that one of every 200 people infected will die.  

The Spanish Flu was the last major global pandemic and that killed in excess of 50million people in 1918 and 1919. However, that was far more deadly to younger people and there was a high mortality rate among those aged 20-40 years old. The Spanish Flu’s infection fatality rate was 2.5%. The Black Death is believed to be the world’s deadliest pandemic that killed between 75million and 200million people across Africa, Europe and Asia between 1347 and 1351. 

Dr Ryan has said: ‘This [coronavirus] is a wake-up call. We are learning, now, how to do things better: science, logistics, training and governance, how to communicate better. But the planet is fragile. We live in an increasingly complex global society. These threats will continue. If there is one thing we need to take from this pandemic, with all of the tragedy and loss, is we need to get our act together. We need to honour those we’ve lost by getting better at what we do every day’.

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