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expert reaction to 1 million confirmed cases of COVID as reported by John Hopkins University

The Coronavirus Resource Centre,  put together by John Hopkins University, shows that global COVID-19 cases now exceed 1 million.


Prof Trudie Lang, Director of The Global Health Network, Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, said:

“A million cases across the globe might have seemed unthinkable in the earlier stages, when the case numbers where increasing in China, and appearing in low numbers as imported cases in a few other countries. Perhaps two considerations stand out as important if one million cases is to be recognised as a milestone. Firstly it was with a view to this point we have now reached, where there are climbing cases across the globe, that when this outbreak was designated a public health emergency a key reason given by WHO was the need for global collaboration to support less resourced nations. As we see case numbers rise across several African nations then this is the time to not lose sight of this call and ensure support and partnerships are strengthened.  The second point is that the 1 million refers to confirmed cases and as one of the key unknowns remains the knowing the number of untested cases then it is likely 1 million was reached some time ago. This further reminds us that for many countries wide spread testing is challenging to implement. The Africa CDC put a call out for reagents and equipping to meet the demand from their member states. A global, shared response is needed, especially to mitigate what the impact could be in less resourced countries where the numbers are beginning to climb.”  


Dr Bharat Pankhania, Senior Clinical Lecturer, University of Exeter Medical School, said:

How significant is it that globally we’ve reached 1 million confirmed cases?

“It is as expected and it is later than expected as China assisted in, doing what only China can do, a total lock down and severe restriction on movements. We can expect this number go into several millions in the next few months, especially as USA has been late in implementing its tighter control measures and to date it has still not done so.

As this is only confirmed cases, is it likely that true cases surpassed a million a while ago?

“Without a doubt we already have several million cases, there are parts of the world where they have not even started to meticulously test and collect numbers, confirmed or clinically confirmed.

Do we have an understanding of how many cases there may be that aren’t confirmed?

“It depends, however, in countries with poor testing there may be a huge margin between confirmed cases and cases unidentified or not tested. It may be greater by several factors.

What does this mean for the future of the pandemic globally?

“The new virus is doing what has been expected of it to do. It is highly transmissible, infectious and disease causing thus we can expect continued major global disruption lasting for a very long time and it is better to say so now , rather than to say, it will all be over in a few months, there are no indicators which direct us to believe this pandemic is going to be over in a few months.”

All our previous output on this subject can be seen at this weblink:


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