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13 Mar, 2020 12:19

Coronavirus fears '50% panic,' could be over by summer – top Russian scientist

Coronavirus fears '50% panic,' could be over by summer – top Russian scientist

While some countries are experiencing a scramble for toilet paper and certain prominent politicians are calling the pandemic a hoax, the real experts are a bit more rational about Covid-19.

In Russia, one senior scientist believes the crisis could have stabilized by the middle of summer.

"It can be predicted that the spread in the world will subside by June-July. In China, the peak incidence rate passed on February 2," says Alexander Shestopalov, head of the experimental modeling and pathogenesis department of infectious diseases at the Federal Research Center for Fundamental and Translational Medicine.

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Shestopalov is confident that the current situation with coronavirus infection is "about 50 percent panic," and based on morbidity and mortality data, Covid-19 is 10-15 times less pathogenic than coronaviruses that provoked the SARS epidemic in 2002-2003 and MERS in 2012 – 2015.

"In addition, the quality of diagnosis has now increased significantly, and therefore the detection of the virus is quite high," he added. "In general, measures taken against the spread are adequate, although sometimes excessive."

Shestopalov's estimate is similar to that of Zhong Nanshan, China's senior medical adviser. On Thursday, he told reporters that, if countries take the epidemic seriously, it could all be over by June. Zhong is a highly-respected epidemiologist known worldwide for discovering SARS in 2003.

As of Friday afternoon, over 135,000 people have been diagnosed with coronavirus across the globe, 45 of them in Russia. Three of those have already been discharged.

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