Australia’s chief medical officer, Professor Brendan Murphy, says the true number of coronavirus cases around the world may be five or even ten times higher than the current official estimate.
“Worldwide, we’ve now passed a million reported cases of COVID-19,” Prof Murphy said at a press conference with Prime Minister Scott Morrison in Canberra this afternoon.
“We believe that the true number is probably five or ten times as much as that, because we know that judging by the death rate, the testing rate, in many countries they’re not detecting all the cases. There are some countries that don’t have the capacity to test.”
The official tally reached one million people today. According to Johns Hopkins University, there are now 1,015,709 confirmed cases of the coronavirus around the world, with 53,030 deaths.
The United States has the highest number of reported cases with 245,213. Italy and Spain have each passed 100,000 as well.
“In Australia, we’re now reporting 5274 cases,” Prof Murphy said.
“But in Australia we’re pretty confident that our testing has been probably the best in the world. We are very confident that while there will certainly be some undetected cases, we have a pretty good idea of the size of our outbreak.”
He said the government’s medical advice panel was “quitely pleased” with Australia’s direction, but “we cannot stop” imposing measures to keep the virus under control, as community transmissions were still occurring.
More to come.