Angela Merkel says she expects around 60-70 per cent of Germans will be infected with the coronavirus, which equates to about 53 million people.
Reportedly, the German Parliament fell completely silent when Merkel stated the number.
News outlet Bild reported the German Chancellor’s comments, which echoed numbers forecast by Berlin virologist Christian Drosten, who added that such a total could take 2 years or longer to reach.
Given the fact that coronavirus has a mortality rate of around 1 per cent, this could equate to over half a million deaths, although new methods of fighting the virus could reduce this number.
The World Health Organization’s director general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus claimed that the death rate was higher at 3.4 per cent, although this has been disputed.
Germany, which has recorded 1,565 coronavirus cases and two deaths so far, has yet to impose the kind of quarantine measures seen in Italy, where the entire country has been placed on lockdown.
German health authorities have said that people should avoid attending concerts, clubs or football games to limit the spread of the illness.
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