October 6 (Evening Standard) – A tenth of the world’s population may have been infected with the novel coronavirus, leaving the “vast majority” of people at risk, according to the World Health Organisation.
Dr Michael Ryan, director of the WHO’s health emergencies programme, warned that the world was “now heading into a difficult period. The disease continues to spread. It is on the rise in many parts of the world”.
The estimate — which would amount to more than 760 million people based on the current world population of about 7.6 billion — far outstrips the number of confirmed cases as tallied by both WHO and Johns Hopkins University, now more than 35 million worldwide.
Experts have long said that the number of confirmed cases greatly underestimates the true figure.
Speaking on Monday to WHO’s 34-member executive board, Dr Ryan said the figures vary from urban to rural, and between different groups, but that ultimately it means “the vast majority of the world remains at risk”.
The news comes after the UK government revealed a delay in nearly 16,000 positive coronavirus results being added to the official figures.
Officials said due to a technical issue, there had been a delay in publishing 15,841 cases in England, meaning the total reported over the coming days will include some additional cases from between 25 September and 2 October.