New Delhi, June 10: If coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread, the pandemic may kill 50-100 million people like the 1918's Spanish flu did, according to a research paper published in the medical journal The Lancet.  The research paper, which was published on June 6, further stated that more deaths will occur if coronavirus cases overwhelm healthcare facilities. The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed over 4 lakh lives so far.

"High caseloads stress medical systems and can lead to more deaths if health-care systems become overwhelmed. Should the Covid-19 pandemic worsen, its effect might approach that of the 1918 H1N1 influenza pandemic, which had a CFR of more than 2% and caused 50–100 million deaths worldwide," the research paper led by Gao Fu, the director of the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, said. Spanish Flu: As Coronavirus Spreads, Here's All About The 1918 Influenza, Which Was The Deadliest Pandemic of 20th Century.

While China claims it has contained the outbreak of coronavirus, which was reportedly originated from the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year, Gao and his colleagues warned of a second wave of infections. China continues to be at risk of facing a second wave of the coronavirus epidemic as the nearly the entire population of the country remains susceptible to the virus, they said. Coronavirus in Italy: 101-Year-Old Man, Who Survived World War 2 and Spanish Flu, Recovers from COVID-19 Infection.

"There is no known ongoing community transmission, but the risk of local transmission introduced by internationally imported cases remains a major concern. Almost the entire population of China remains susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 and, therefore, is at risk of a Covid-19 epidemic," the authors opined. They anticipate that the coronavirus pandemic won't be contained until a vaccine is developed.

"Experience with influenza A (commonly known as the flu) is that NPIs (without case finding, isolation, and contact tracing) can reduce spread by up to 50%, which is potentially insufficient to alleviate critical medical needs caused by the Covid-19 epidemic. With ongoing virus transmission, the Covid-19 pandemic might continue indefinitely until relieved by an effective vaccine response," the research paper said.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jun 10, 2020 07:44 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website