WATCH: Professor Explains Why Coronavirus Much More Serious Than The Flu
TOPSHOT - Medical staff push a patient on a gurney to a waiting medical helicopter at the Emile Muller hospital in Mulhouse, eastern France, to be evacuated on another hospital on March 17, 2020, amid the outbreak of the new Coronavirus, COVID-19. - A strict lock down requiring most people in France to remain at home came into effect at midday on March 17, 2020, prohibiting all but essential outings in a bid to curb the coronavirus spread. The country has reported 148 deaths from the virus, a number that health experts warn could soar in the coming days, seriously straining the hospital system.

Intensive care specialist Professor Hugh Montgomery, who is based in London, explained in an interview with British media why the coronavirus is much more serious than the seasonal flu.

“Normal flu, if I get that, I’m going to infect on average, about 1.3, 1.4 people,” Montgomery said. “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,” Montgomery mistakenly said, as the accurate number is closer to 29.

“This coronavirus is very, very infectious, so every person passes it to three,” Montgomery continued. “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.”

Montgomery explained that the problem occurs because everyone essentially gets sick at the same time and there are limited resources available, like ventilators, to give everyone the help that they need.

“If we’ve got a limited resource, which we have, of a limited number of ventilators, a limited number of doctors, a limited number of nurses, which is fine because we can’t run ourselves with a huge excess capacity all the time,” Montgomery said. “If we overwhelm that, we can’t provide that service of caring for these people properly.”


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