WASHINGTON – The deadly new coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, that has broken out in China will afflict a minimum of tens of thousands of people and will last at least several months, researchers estimate based on the first available data.
“The best-case scenario, you would have something… where we go through the spring into the summer, and then it dies down,” Professor David Fisman, of the University of Toronto, who wrote an analysis of the virus for the International Society for Infectious Diseases, told AFP.
Said Prof Alessandro Vespignani, a professor at Northeastern University: “It’s not something that’s going to end the next week or the next month.” He is part of a group of researchers that manages an online dashboard about the outbreak.
Epidemiologists have no crystal ball. They have only piecemeal information on the new virus, which appeared in December.
They use mathematical models to estimate the actual number of cases, as of the current date, and compare them with past outbreaks – but many of their hypotheses remain uncertain.