How virus numbers are likely to change in the next few days

Here are six things to watch for in the coronavirus statistics in the near future:

– Global cases of the virus will pass a quarter of a million, probably before the weekend.

The rate of increase in reported cases has accelerated in the last few days. It took eight days for the total to jump from 100,000 to 150,000, but just four days to go from 150,000 to 200,000.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) put the total as of 5pm on March 18 at 207,860.

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>(PA Graphics)</figcaption>
(PA Graphics)

– Italy will overtake China as the country with the most coronavirus-related deaths.

The number of cases and deaths in China has plateaued, while in Italy they are still rising fast.

China had reported 3,242 deaths as of March 18, while Italy had reported 2,976, according to the WHO. If current trends continue, Italy could overtake China in the next 24 hours.

– There will be a big rise in the number of cases in the UK.

This is partly because the virus is spreading – but partly because the number of tests is about to go up.

The Government has said it wants to increase testing to a level of 25,000 a day within the next four weeks. Currently the level is around 6,000 a day.

As the volume of tests goes up, there is greater likelihood of more cases being identified.

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(PA Graphics)

– The United States will overtake France and Germany in the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus.

Up to now it has been countries in East Asia and Europe that have reported the most cases of the disease. The US has lagged behind, possibly because it has not been testing as high as proportion of its population.

The latest WHO figures suggest that could soon change. The US had reported 7,087 cases as of March 18, just behind France (7,652) and Germany (8,198).

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>(PA Graphics)</figcaption>
(PA Graphics)

– The disease could spread to the last few remaining virus-free countries.

There are still places yet to report their first confirmed case, according to the WHO, particularly in southern Africa – such as Angola, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

The WHO has also yet to record any cases in south-east Asian countries like Burma (also known as Myanmar) and Laos.

– Deaths will be reported in all parts of the UK.

As of the end of March 18, there had yet to be a coronavirus-related death reported by any NHS authorities in south-west England. Cases have been recorded in these areas, however.

The rest of the UK, including every other region of England, has reported cases and deaths.

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>(PA Graphics)</figcaption>
(PA Graphics)

    Useful information

  • The HSE have developed an information pack on how to protect yourself and others from coronavirus. Read it here
  • Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus who has been in close contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days should isolate themselves from other people – this means going into a different, well-ventilated room alone, with a phone; phone their GP, or emergency department;
  • GPs Out of Hours services are not in a position to order testing for patients with normal cold and flu-like symptoms. HSELive is an information line and similarly not in a position to order testing for members of the public. The public is asked to reserve 112/999 for medical emergencies at all times.
  • ALONE has launched a national support line and additional supports for older people who have concerns or are facing difficulties relating to the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in Ireland. The support line will be open seven days a week, 8am-8pm, by calling 0818 222 024


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