The world is in "uncharted territory" when it comes to the coronavirus outbreak. That's according to the World Health Organisation, which has reported infections in at least 73 countries.
The number of deaths and confirmed cases are growing by the hundreds in some countries. Are we facing a global pandemic?
To delve deeper into the issue,.. we have joining us today, Dr. Stanley Perlman, of who has been studying coronaviruses like COVID-19 for the last 38 years.
To my right, we have Dr. Benjamin Cowling from Hong Kong University, an expert on the transmission patterns of respiratory diseases.
COVID-19 has now infected more than 94-thousand people and killed over 32-hundred people worldwide. But the WHO is still reluctant to call it a pandemic.
Let's first take a listen to what the WHO's health emergencies executive director Michael Ryan had to say recently.
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"If we say there's a pandemic of coronavirus, we're essentially accepting that every human on the planet will be exposed to that virus. To accept that mitigation is the only option is to accept that the virus cannot be stopped."
Despite that, we're seeing a soaring number of infections every day, across unsuspecting communities and countries that thought they were relatively safe.
Dr. Perlman, would you call the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic now?
- The WHO insists this virus is containable. Dr. Cowling, would you agree with this assessment?
Some, including the head of the WHO, have lauded China's lockdown of entire communities and cities to contain the virus. Is this really effective though?
The WHO says COVID-19 is likely to kill 3.4 percent of those affected. But can we trust that number when we don't know just how many people have been infected to actually determine the denominator?
Well, China has said its winning the battle against the coronavirus and the WHO has hailed its progress. But what dangers do we face by possibly taking this new coronavirus too lightly?
South Korea has been rolling out emergency measures to test thousands of people every day and help those infected get the support they need. How do you think the country is doing so far?
This is where we'll have to end our discussion.
Dr. Stanley Perlman, thank you for joining us all the way from Iowa in the U.S., and Dr. Ben Cowling from the University of Hong Kong.