German Chancellor Angela Merkel was blunt Wednesday in her assessment of how coronavirus will impact her nation: A vast majority of people in Germany will get coronavirus, and there is little or nothing anyone can do about that right now.
What did she say?
"When the virus is out there, the population has no immunity and no therapy exists, then 60 to 70% of the population will be infected," Merkel said, Reuters reported. "The process has to be focused on not overburdening the health system by slowing the virus's spread ... It's about winning time."
Germany has a population of about 82 million. Merkel is predicting that more than 57 million people in Germany will be infected with coronavirus. Mortality rates are hard to nail down right now due to the variables of different nations and a continuing lack of adequate testing capability in some places, but even a conservative death rate applied to Merkel's prediction means that more than a half a million Germans could die from the virus.
The virus is especially dangerous for elderly people and those with pre-existing respiratory or immune system issues. In many patients, especially younger ones, the virus may cause only minor symptoms and present no danger.
For some context, Italy has more than 10,000 cases right now, and 631 people have died. The virus is so uncontrolled in Italy right now that the entire country is now under quarantine. Germany has 1,565 cases and three deaths so far.
Some, like Czech Republic Prime Minister Andrej Babis, feel that Merkel's alarming outlook on coronavirus will just create unnecessary panic, CNBC reported.
Preview of what's to come?
The dangerous situation in Europe has caused concern in the United States about what may be coming in the United States, where the virus appears to be spreading rapidly and the ability to test people for it has not yet caught up to demand.
In the U.S., 32 people have died of coronavirus, and there are more than 1,000 known cases.
"I can say we will see more cases and things will get worse than they are right now," Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Wednesday morning according to CBS News.