The COVID-19 coronavirus has spread drastically in the past few weeks. Hong Kong's leading epidemiologist believes that the virus could infect around 60 percent of the world population. The warning came after the World Health Organisation said that the recent cases of patients who had not visited China were the tip of the iceberg.

According to an article published by a prominent news platform, Prof Gabriel Leung the chair of public health medicine at Hong Kong University said that the main question was to figure out the size and shape of the iceberg.

Another scientist Ira Longini a World Health Organization adviser who tracked studies of the virus's transmissibility in China said that the virus might get transmitted enough to affect two-thirds of the population which could be in billions. Longini said that the virus spread before the effective quarantine was in place.

Wuhan Coronavirus
Twitter / Enrique Shore

Twitter Clarification on the article

The article written in the Guardian garnered attention and Leung has been questioned about what he meant through certain comments. In a tweet clarification, he acknowledged the article and talked about the reasoning and model to understand what he had said.

The assessment from Leung came from understanding the transmission rate. Leung replied on the questions regarding his comments on Twitter by defining a mathematical model that helps in structuring the idea of the transmission.

Leung replied to the predicted rate by talking about what his quote meant and what the transmission rate is and how a wider transmission can be predicted.

Leung believes that the fatality rate would be high if the infections continue to spread. In a meeting with the WHO he has stated the same by emphasizing the need to understand if the rate of transmission can be contained. Longini's assessment was based on a model which showed that each infected person normally transmits the disease to two to three other people. The relative mildness of the infection can also affect this number.

For now, all the international authorities and government officials believe that containment is an essential part of looking at the virus until a proper vaccination comes into effect.