Researcher Accused Of Sensationalism After He Calls COVID-19 ‘most Frightening’ Disease

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The researcher compared the novel coronavirus with the Spanish flu which is estimated to have killed around 50 million people around the world in 1918.

Written By Kunal Gaurav | Mumbai | Updated On:
Researcher

Social media has accused a leading researcher involved in the development of a potential vaccine for COVID-19 of fearmongering after he said that the novel Coronavirus is the “most frightening” disease he ever encountered in his career. Dr Richard Hatchett appeared on Channel 4 News on March 6 to warn viewers about the dangers of the deadly virus.

When Hatchett was asked whether he had a potential vested interest to drive investment for his research, he said, “It's the most frightening disease I've ever encountered in my career, and that includes Ebola, it includes MERS, it includes SARS.”

“And it's frightening because of the combination of infectiousness and lethality that appears to be manyfold higher than flu,” he further added.

Read: Pope Francis Delivers Sunday Prayers Via Video Amid Coronavirus Dread

'Potential to explode globally'

Hatchett even compared the epidemic with the Spanish flu, an influenza pandemic, of 1918 which is estimated to have killed around 50 million people around the world. The researcher said that the novel Coronavirus is as dangerous as Spanish flu because it combines two qualities in a similar way.

“We have seen very lethal viruses...but they don't have the infectiousness that this virus has. They don't have the potential to explode and spread globally,” said the doctor.

Read: South America Reports First Death From Coronavirus As Global Death Toll Crosses 3,600

Netizens were not impressed by Hatchett’s statement since the World Health Organisation (WHO) had said that the COVID-19 has killed 3.4 per cent of reported cases. They accused the doctor of “scaremongering” and “sensationalism”.

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Read: Japan Confirms 47 New Coronavirus Cases Bringing Total To 461

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