Anthony Fauci: COVID-19 could become as serious as 1918 Spanish Flu

Updated: 16 July, 2020 09:36 IST | Agencies | Washington

The Spanish Flu had infected around 500 million people worldwide - about one-third of the planet's population

A worker pours water on newly planted flowers at a burial site for the victims of COVID-19 at Keputih cemetery in Surabaya, in the island of Java, Indonesia, on Wednesday. Pic/AFP
A worker pours water on newly planted flowers at a burial site for the victims of COVID-19 at Keputih cemetery in Surabaya, in the island of Java, Indonesia, on Wednesday. Pic/AFP

US top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci on Tuesday said COVID-19, a pandemic of "historic proportions", has the potential to be as serious as the 1918 Spanish Flu in which over 50 million people globally died.

"If you look at the magnitude of the 1918 pandemic where anywhere from 50 to 75 to 100 million people globally died, that was the mother of all pandemics and truly historic. I hope we don't even approach that with this, but it does have the makings of, the possibility of...approaching that in seriousness," CNN quoted Fauci as saying.

The Spanish Flu infected around 500 million people worldwide — about one-third of the planet's population. Fauci said California, Florida, Arizona and Texas are the states to watch now, and also pointed out that the resurgence in cases are linked with easing of stay-at-home restrictions. "They're seeing record numbers of cases, most interestingly, among young individuals," Fauci said.

New Zealand prepares for future outbreaks

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Wednesday outlined her government's plans to contain future community outbreaks in New Zealand. The country, with 27 active cases, hasn't recorded a community spread in 75 days. Ardern said local or regional lockdowns would be used if community spread occurs and a national lockdown would only be considered as a last resort.

France reopens Disneyland Paris

The French tourist industry received a further boost on Wednesday with the partial reopening of Disneyland Paris and the Eiffel Tower. Disneyland Paris, Europe's most frequented theme park resort, is partially re-opening to the public, four months after it closed due to the pandemic. Also Wednesday the top floor of Paris' Eiffel Tower re-opened. Europe has so far reported 2,615,494 cases, including 7,39,947 in Russia, 2,91,373 in the UK, 2,56,619 in Spain, 2,43,344 in Italy and 1,99,726 in Germany — five of the worst-hit countries, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

China, Russia ease curbs on travellers

China is further easing curbs on domestic tourism, with tourist sites allowed 50 per cent of their daily visitor capacity, up from 30 per cent, and resumed interprovince group tours.Russia has lifted mandatory 14-day self-quarantine for both Russian and international travelers from Wednesday.

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First Published: 16 July, 2020 07:16 IST

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