One coronavirus patient ‘can infect 59,000 people – compared to 14 with flu’ – The Sun

TOUGH measures have been put in place to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

But some people continue to ignore social distancing rules – and others have dismissed the virus as being "just the flu".

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To put things into perspective for those who continue to flout the rules, one expert has worked out how those small differences in numbers can lead to a major rise in infection rates.

Dr Hugh Montgomery, professor of intensive care medicine at University College London, revealed that for each individual coronavirus patient, 59,000 people could be infected.

That's compared to 14 with flu, he said.

Prof Montgomery told Channel 4's Dispatches: "Normal flu, if I get that, I'm going to infect on average, about 1.3, 1.4 people – if there was such a division.

"And if those 1.3, 1.4 people gave it to the next lot, that's the second time it gets passed on.

"By the time that's happened ten times, I've been responsible for about 14 cases of flu.

"This coronavirus is very, very infectious, so every person passes it to three.

"Now that doesn't sound like much of a difference, but if each of those three passes it to three, and that happens at ten layers, I have been responsible for infecting 59,000 people."

This coronavirus is very, very infectious, so every person passes it to three.

He said that while most people are going to feel a bit unwell, they will recover, but by not self-isolating themselves, they will spread it around.

Prof Montgomery continued: "A few will get sick,at about day ten of their illness, so they will need to come to a hospital.

"When they're in a hospital they will consume resources and time, and people will look after them quite rightly.

"They will be monitored to see if they become really, really sick.

"Those people then come to an intensive care unit and that's where, if you're critically ill, your life gets saved or not – and this is the issue.

"If we've got a limited resource, which we have, a limited number of ventilators, a limited number of doctors, a limited number of nurses – if we overwhelm that, we can't provide that service of caring for these people properly."

'It's going to be ugly'

Prof Montgomery added: "I'm not going to play it down, it's going to be ugly, it's going to be horrible for a large number of people.

"But it will be a small number of people who get properly sick and a smaller percentage of those again that need to come to an intensive care unit.

"We can save the lives of a large number of those people too.

"But please just remember the best chance we can give to the people who do fall ill is if we've got enough beds and enough staff and enough kit to be able to be there for you.

"If you are irresponsible enough to think that you don't mind if you get the flu, remember it's not about you, it's about everybody else."


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It comes as the Health Secretary branded those who are ignoring social distancing advice to stay two metres apart as "very selfish".

Matt Hancock also indicated that further measures could be brought in to tackle the virus.

Over the weekend, photos emerged showing crowds of people visiting open spaces across many parts of the UK.

The Government has said it is safe to exercise as long as people keep at least two metres away from other people.

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Emergency legislation that would grant powers aimed at tackling the pandemic will be debated by MPs later.

Mr Hancock also told the BBC that 12,000 ventilators are now available after last week's appeal by the PM, up from 5,000 that the NHS had access to previously.

It came as an 18-year-old was thought to have become the youngest victim of the virus in Britain as the number of deaths in the UK rose to 281.

In Walsall, a 36-year-old nurse and mother-of-three is on a ventilator in intensive care after contracting coronavirus.

Areema Nasreen is in a critical condition at Walsall Manor Hospital in the West Midlands where she works.

There are growing fears that Britain is on a similar trajectory to Italy – scene of the world's worst outbreak – where the death toll passed 5,000 over the weekend.

The Italian government was one of a number of European countries to announce new or extended restrictions – with Germany banning public gatherings of more than two people not from the same household.

Meanwhile, letters are going out to 1.5 million people with underlying health conditions who are considered to be the most vulnerable to the coronavirus telling them to stay at home for the next 12 weeks.

The Government said it would ensure those without families and friends to support them would continue to receive food and medicines, with the military helping to organise deliveries.

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