A scientist at the John Hopkins Medical Center in Maryland was an actual predictor of the coronavirus that first hit Wuhan, China in early January, believing that the virus attacks an entire three months prior.

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Eric Toner had staged a simulation of a global pandemic, including the coronavirus and predicted that the deadly virus would kill upwards of 100 million people around the world in approximately 18 months.

Commonly affecting the respiratory system, leading to acute illnesses such as pneumonia, coronavirus has already killed 81 people and affecting over 2,700 in 12 countries, including the U.S. Toner predicted in his simulated scenario in 2019 that if the coronavirus became a pandemic, it could kill up to 65 million people worldwide.


“I have thought for a long time that the most likely virus that might cause a new pandemic would be a coronavirus,” Toner said.

“We don’t yet know how contagious it is. We know that it is being spread person to person, but we don’t know to what extent,” Toner said. “An initial first impression is that this is significantly milder than SARS. So that’s reassuring. On the other hand, it may be more transmissible than SARS, at least in the community setting.”

The outbreak in Wuhan isn’t considered a pandemic, but the virus has been reported in Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, Singapore, and Saudi Arabia. The US reported its first case on Tuesday: a man in his 30s living in Washington’s Snohomish County, north of Seattle, who recently visited China.