Paris | The epidemic of coronavirus could be 1.8 million deaths in the world, even with stringent measures to reduce its spread, according to an estimate made public Thursday by researchers from Imperial College London.
These assumptions are based on simulations, mathematical built according to what we know at time T of the disease Covid-19 (infectiousness, mortality assumed, etc) and therefore do not constitute “predictions”, as highlighted by the researchers.
A previous report from the Imperial College in mid-march had estimated that the epidemic could be up to 510, 000 deaths in the United Kingdom and reach 81% of the population, in the case of a purely hypothetical where no measurement would have been taken.
This publication had been the subject of many criticisms including methodological in the scientific community, but had, however, led the british government to change its strategy on the epidemic in the face of such a scenario as a nightmare.
In the hypothetical case of an epidemic against which no action would have been taken in the world, the authors model a number of victims may reach 40.6 million dead, for 7 billion people infected, nearly all of the approximately 7.6 billion people on the planet.
Taking then into account the different variables in the different regions of the world (pyramid of ages, income levels, accessibility of health care…) they model the expected reduction in mortality rate depending on the speed of entry into force of the measures taken to combat the epidemic, including screening by testing, quarantine of infected individuals and measures of social distancing.
By taking strict measures of containment early enough to contain the mortality rate to be 0.2 per 100 000 per week, their modeling leads to a global total of 1.85 million dead for nearly 470 million people infected.
With measures taken later and containing only the mortality rate at 1.6 per 100 000 per week, they will lead to to 10.45 million deaths, for a total of 2.4 billion people affected.
The authors point out, however, that their study provides “insights on the possible trajectories (of the epidemic) and the impact of measures to help reduce the spread of the virus, based on the experience of affected countries at the beginning of the epidemic.”
“But, say they,it is not possible at present to predict with any certainty the exact number of cases for a given country or the mortality is precise and the weight of the epidemic that could result”.