BERLIN, March 11. /TASS/. Experts say that up to 70% of the population may contract the novel coronavirus, as there is no vaccine against it, German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated on Wednesday in Berlin.
"We need to understand that the virus is already here, and as long as the population has no immunity against the virus, as long as there are no vaccines and no treatment, the share of the infected population will be high - experts talk about 60-70%," the chancellor said. She did not specify the period of the spread and the country. According to Merkel, the key thing is to slow down the spread of the virus. "We need to buy time," the chancellor said.
Head of the Robert Koch Institute Lothar Wieler confirmed the 60-70% prediction. "We do not know how fast this will happen," he said. "The slower the better."
Earlier, several German experts stated that one in three Germans might contract the virus. The Bild daily reports that Merkel had voiced similar predictions during a closed parliamentary session.
Nearly 1,300 people have contracted the novel coronavirus in Germany. 80% of patients exhibit mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. The virus presents the greatest danger to elderly persons or to people with chronic diseases. Three German citizens have died from the disease.
In late December 2019, Chinese authorities notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about an outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, central China. According to Chinese authorities, about 80,700 people have been infected with the virus in the country. The death toll has exceeded 3,100, while about 61,400 patients have recovered. WHO declared the outbreak of the novel coronavirus a global health emergency and named the virus COVID-19. Cases of coronavirus have been reported in over 100 countries, including Russia. The largest outbreaks of COVID-19 outside of China have been detected in South Korea, Iran and Italy. According to WHO, the total amount of people infected has surpassed 110,000 globally, while over 4,000 people have died.