One virus patient can infect thousands

One coronavirus patient can infect 59,000 people, according to an expert.

Dr Hugh Montgomery, professor of intensive care medicine at University College London, has worked out how ignoring social distancing can lead to a major rise in infection rates, The Sun reports,

Prof Montgomery said for each individual coronavirus patient, 59,000 more people could be infected.

"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," he told Channel 4's Dispatches.

"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 10 times, I've been responsible for about 14 cases of flu."

However he went on to explain that the coronavirus is "very, very infectious" and each person who contracts it will pass it onto three if not using distancing practices to protect it from others.

"Now that doesn't sound like much of a difference, but if each of those three passes it to three and that happens at 10 layers, I have been responsible for infecting 59,000 people," he said.

 

One coronavirus patient can infect 59,000 people. Picture: Jenny Evans/Getty Images
One coronavirus patient can infect 59,000 people. Picture: Jenny Evans/Getty Images

 

He said while most people were going to feel unwell, they would recover, but by not self-isolating themselves, they would spread it around.

"A few will get sick, at about day 10 of their illness, so they will need to come to a hospital," Prof Montgomery continued.

"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."

Professor Hugh Montgomery has revealed how he used a simple maths formula to show how quickly COVID-19 spreads. Picture: Channel 4
Professor Hugh Montgomery has revealed how he used a simple maths formula to show how quickly COVID-19 spreads. Picture: Channel 4

 

'IT'S GOING TO BE UGLY'

Prof Montgomery told the program he wasn't going to "play it down".

"It's going to be ugly, it's going to be horrible for a large number of people," he said.

However, he explained it would be a small number of people who would get properly sick and a smaller percentage of those again that needed to go to an intensive care unit.

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

"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."

There are growing fears Britain is on a similar trajectory to Italy - scene of the world's worst outbreak - where the death toll has passed 6000.

Not many people practised social distancing in the large queue from the Centerlink office in Bondi Junction on Monday. Picture: John Appleyard
Not many people practised social distancing in the large queue from the Centerlink office in Bondi Junction on Monday. Picture: John Appleyard

The Italian Government is one of several European countries to announce new or extended restrictions, with Germany banning public gatherings of more than two people not from the same household.

Meanwhile, in the UK, 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 UK 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.

It comes as the UK 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.

Bondi Beach has been shut down after people failed to stick to social distancing advice. Picture: Brendan Read
Bondi Beach has been shut down after people failed to stick to social distancing advice. Picture: Brendan Read

In Australia, photos emerged showing crowds of people visiting open spaces across many parts of the UK and also in Australia at Sydney's popular Bondi Beach - despite the social distancing guidelines.

Waverley Council closed all three of its beaches in an immediate response to the NSW Police Minister David Elliot's announcement that beaches across the state can only have a maximum of 500 people on the beach at any one time.

Those beaches are Bondi, Bronte and Tamarama.

The closure will allow the council to plan ways it can comply with the new restrictions, the council said in a statement.

There are now at least 1882 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia with seven deaths so far. There are 818 in New South Wales, 411 in Victoria, 319 in Queensland, 134 in South Australia, 140 in Western Australia, 28 in Tasmania, 32 in the Australian Capital Territory and five in the Northern Territory.

The Australian Government has passed a multi-billion financial assistance package that will include a $550 coronavirus supplement for those eligible.

This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission

Originally published as One virus patient can infect thousands