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Harvard Professor Believes Large Sum of World Population Will Be Infected With Coronavirus Within the Year

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As concerns have increased about a potential pandemic, a Harvard epidemiology professor said he thinks the coronavirus — or COVID-19 — could be headed for a major break out. 

In an article titled, “You’re Likely to Get the Coronavirus,” James Hamblin, a staff writer at The Atlantic, explained the likelihood that the coronavirus will continue to spread rapidly.

Marc Lipsitch, a professor of epidemiology at Harvard University, told Hamblin that he thinks it is likely that the coronavirus will infect roughly between 40 and 70% of the world’s population within the year.

However, Lipsitch notes that not every case will be fatal or even severe, “It’s likely that many will have mild disease, or may be asymptomatic.”

Hamblin notes that roughly 14% of the world’s population is infected with the flu but is asymptomatic. 

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Currently, it appears that the spread of the disease has slowed in China. However, in other countries such as Italy, Iran, and South Korea, it appears to be spreading rapidly. 

In Iran, there have been 100 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and roughly 1,000 suspected cases of the disease. On Tuesday, Iraj Harirchi, Iran’s deputy health minister announced that he had been infected with the coronavirus. 

Lipsitch estimated with a that in the United States, there are probably upwards of 200 people infected with the coronavirus — higher than the official number of 35 confirmed cases. 

As the virus spreads globally, investors have been rattled as worries about the supply chain led to the largest drop in the stock market in two years. 

CNBC reports that companies whose revenues could be directly impacted by the coronavirus, such as Delta Airlines, led the decline in the stock market followed by technology companies. But some experts voiced confidence that the U.S. economy will remain strong despite the impact the disease has had on businesses.

Despite widespread concerns about the spread of the coronavirus, WHO officials said on Monday that they had seen some positive trends related to the spread of the disease. As The Wall Journal reports, that WHO officials believe the outbreak in China has already reached its peak and is slowing. 

While they say the disease has the potential to reach a pandemic level, they feel it has not reached that point yet. 

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