The world’s richest man, Bill Gates, believes the new coronavirus could be a “once-in-a-century pathogen we’ve been worried about.”
But the Microsoft co-founder, in an article for the New England Journal of Medicine on Friday, hoped the situation is “not that bad.”
He added: “but we should assume it will be until we know otherwise.
“There are two reasons that Covid-19 is such a threat. First, it can kill healthy adults in addition to elderly people with existing health problems.
“The data so far suggest that the virus has a case fatality risk around 1%; this rate would make it many times more severe than typical seasonal influenza, putting it somewhere between the 1957 influenza pandemic (0.6%) and the 1918 influenza pandemic (2%).
“The average infected person spreads the disease to two or three others — an exponential rate of increase.
“There is also strong evidence that it can be transmitted by people who are just mildly ill or even presymptomatic.”
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, announced late last month that it would donate up to $100 million to help fight the virus which has affected more than 80000 people in about 60 countries in the world, and claimed more than 2700 lives.
Gates urged more action from governments and industries around the world to work together on affordable vaccines to tackle the virus.
“There is no time to waste,” he said.