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Originally Answered: How many people are infected by the Coronavirus in Italy?
How many people are infected by the Coronavirus in Italy?
Well, these are all best-guesses. In China, outside of Hubei province, the fatality rate is ~ 0.2% so far. Italy had two fatalities on February 21 – 22. So if you project out with the 0.2% ratio, then the number of infected would be around 1,000.
The acute rate of this disease is around 10% – 15%. The initial 6 cases in Italy were all acute, which means that there are ~ 60 cases out there.
So you get a rough estimate of between 60 to 1,000 cases best-guess. But nobody knows for sure unless they quarantine everybody and test everybody. Even then there’s a chance the test is not done properly and patients in the incubation period are missed.
Basically that window between January 7, when the viral sequence was announced, to now, is not meant for other countries to just sit there watching China and making jokes about it. It’s the window for other countries to develop and distribute test kits to local hospitals and clinics and ramp up epidemic monitoring / random sampling for people with symptoms. Your standard infection surveillance. The WHO has been yelling about this since Day One, and has already shipped testing kids to a number of developing countries, together with supplies and training.
The understanding is that developed countries can do all these themselves. Because they have mature healthcare system. The surveillance testing should have started like a month ago. Then you don’t have this kind of silent spreading of the infection. You don’t test, you don’t know, and people simply don’t go to hospitals until they are really sick, and by then it’s too late. Do you want to track the movement of a couple hundred people who may be infected, or do you want to track the movement of a quarter million people. That’s the difference.
PS: Needless to say that there are a lot of mishaps happening with the containment. The CDC developed a testing kit that doesn’t work, so it’s back to the bench. Japan could do only 300 tests a day, and what with the Diamond Princess, well, one has to be having a fever for 4 days before one gets a chance to be tested. In South Korea this one cult lady managed to infect a couple thousand people. Indonesia said outright the test is too expensive (I think it’s somewhere around ~ $250 per test in the US) so we’ve done only 100 tests so far… I mean, Italy is certainly not the only one with some hiccups. Question is how much time do we have to fix it.
I suspect that all these countries will end up buying stuff from China, because Italy is already running out of Covid-19 tests, and China is the only country who’s producing 1.7 million Covid-19 tests a day, and they just set up the highest-speed face mask production line in Guangzhou that’s making 1000 masks a minute. From just this one line. No other country can ramp up production capacity for these sort of things so quickly.
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