And Dr Amesh Adalja, Senior Scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, said there could also be a sting in the tale in a few months time – when the illness could hit countries of the opposite side of the globe more heavily, before returning to the northern hemisphere next year. There are now more than 1,000 cases of Covid-19 – the disease caused by the virus – in the USA, with at least 32 deaths.
Nevertheless, Mr Trump, speaking in Washington yesterday, sounded a confident note, predicting of the illness: “It will go away. Just stay calm.
“It will go away. Be calm. It’s really working out.
“And a lot of good things are going to happen.”
He made similar remarks days earlier, saying: “It’s going to disappear.
“One day it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.”
Mr Trump’s point was that the virus will recede in severity once the weather warms up.
Dr Adalja told Express.co.uk: “There is some reason to believe that this coronavirus, like other coronaviruses, will exhibit some seasonality in temperate climates.
“That means for the northern hemisphere we may see some demolition and transmission as we move through spring into summer.”
However he warned: “Of course, the opposite would be true for the southern hemisphere.”
I anticipate this to be around at least a few more months in the northern hemisphere
Dr Amesh Adalja
Assessing the longevity of what the World Health Organization today declared a global pandemic, he explained: “I anticipate this to be around at least a few more months in the northern hemisphere.
“Then I believe the transmission will be much lower in the northern hemisphere.
“However we may see increase transmission in the Southern Hemisphere.
“As there is no vaccine for this virus it will likely become endemic in human populations and return in the northern hemisphere again in the fall.”
Dr Adalja also emphasised the importance of acting now to mitigate the impact of the disease.
He said: “Protective measures could be employed to flatten the epidemic curb and allow for hospitals to cope with a lower intensity of patients over a longer period of time.”
Speaking at a press conference this afternoon, WHO director-general Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus said: “We are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity and by the alarming levels of inaction.
“We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterised as a pandemic.”
There are more than 118,000 cases in 114 countries and 4,291 people have died, Dr Ghebreyesus said, with the numbers expected to climb.
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