As governments across the world start the easing of social isolation and distancing measurers they may want to have a look at figures from modelling firm AIR Worldwide.
Johns Hopkins University, which is being used by many as the most trusted source of pandemic figures, warned that Wednesday was the darkest day in the outbreak so far.
Wednesday saw the university report that 106,000 new infections had been identified. It represents the biggest single-day increase in cases worldwide so far in the pandemic, bringing the number of confirmed infections close to 5 million.
The university warned the true number is likely to be significantly higher, due to differing testing rates, delays and underreporting.
It also saw the global death toll rise to 328,120 across the world, although again the feeling is that this figure is not as high as the reality.
The World Health Organisation has said the situation is of real concern.
WHO Secretary General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, (pic) said: “We still have a long way to go in this pandemic. We are very concerned about the rising numbers of cases in low- and middle-income countries.
Dr Ghebreyesus may well not want to hear the latest projections from AIR Worldwide.
It predicts that the number of cases globally from the COVID-19 outbreak over the next four weeks may reach 50 million total cases, with 644,000 estimated deaths, based on low scenario estimates modelled by the firm.
“Variance in publicly reported estimates stems from a number of factors, not the least of which are misreporting and underreporting of infections and deaths,” said Doug Fullam, director of life and health modelling, at AIR Worldwide parent group, Verisk. “Underreporting is driven by the fact that as much as 60-80% of people infected with COVID-19 may exhibit no symptoms or only mild symptoms and, most likely, do not get tested. The cases of COVID-19 that are reported, therefore, represent at best only 20-40% of the total population. Therefore, in all likelihood, underreporting is substantively higher. Testing more widely in the general population would lead to more accurate numbers of cases and deaths being reported. The projections from the Verisk COVID-19 Projection Tool account for underreporting.”
It throws plans to reduce restrictions placed on large parts of the world’s population into some degree of doubt.
Texas has eased its lockdown rules to the point where this week saw gyms reopen. The easing measure came with a spike in infection rates which have started to rise rapidly as the state lessens the rules on social distancing.
It has also come with a spate of law suits that claims workers have been at risk of the virus by having to return to work.