Don’t ‘hang your hat’ on current coronavirus numbers, US doctor warns: Experts say the epidemic is moving TOO QUICKLY to have an accurate death and illness rate

Thursday, March 5, 2020
By Paul Martin

The World Health Organisation says the global death rate from coronavirus is 3.4%, higher than the 2% that was previously reported
Dr Jennifer Ashton, ABC News Chief Medical Correspondent, advised people not to panic
She said the rate is subject to change constantly because researchers don’t know the exact number of people who’ve fallen ill
Dr Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health said the rate among older people is higher because they are more at risk due to pre-existing conditions
Worldwide, more than 96,000 people have been infected and more than 3,300 people have died

5 March 2020

A US doctor is warning Americans that the coronavirus epidemic is moving too quickly to have an accurate death and illness rate.

On Tuesday, the World Health Organisation announced the global mortality rate jumped to 3.4 percent, up from the previously reported two percent.

But Dr Jennifer Ashton, ABC News Chief Medical Correspondent, told Good Morning America that people should not be panicking over the rate increasing.

She added that researchers are collecting data ‘by the hour’ and that the illness and mortality rates could change on any given day,

‘I really caution people not to hang their hat on any given number,’ said Dr Ashton.

‘This is a dynamic and evolving situation. We’re collecting data literally by the hour and that mortality rate depends on the denominator. It depends on how many people are truly infected and that number is still unknown.’

Dr Ashton echoed the words of federal health officials, who’ve told Congress that it’s still too early to determine US death rates from coronavirus.

During a meeting of the House Appropriations subcommittee on Wednesday, Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said it’s too early to report the rate because it’s unknown how many have been infected with the disease.

He explained that researchers are still trying to work out the exact number of people who’ve fallen ill, because some may be asymptomatic.

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