Coronavirus US live: Trump to revise physical distancing guidelines despite experts’ warnings

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My colleague Ed Helmore has this report on a new date compiled by CNBC that suggests the coronavirus may be deadlier than the 1918 flu.

Precisely how contagious and deadly COVID-19 is may still be a matter of debate, but three months after it emerged in China it has infected approximately 500,000 and killed 22,000.

Using an infectious disease scale based on the number of deaths divided by the number of infections, Covid19 comes up, in epidemiological terms, with an “R naught” value of 2.

While R naught can fluctuate over time as more data is collected and conditions change, the World Health Organisation puts COVID-19 at 1.95, others at 2.2.

Infectious disease specialists say the 1918 Spanish flu, which killed an estimated 30m to 50m, had an R naught of about 1.8 and a mortality rate of 2.5%.

The report concludes that if the current 4.5% mortality rate of COVID-19 drops ( the estimates may be skewed high as a result of incomplete data, and are based on data collected before social distancing efforts to stop the spread were put in place), it won’t be as bad as the 1918 flu.

In a new memo to all House members, the House sergeant-at-arms Paul Irving and the attending physician Brian Monahan have outlined safety guidelines for tomorrow’s vote on the economic stimulus package.

“We will be monitoring the number of Members in the Capitol and on the floor to ensure we maintain safe social distancing at all times,” the memo reads. “Members who are ill with respiratory symptoms or fever are discouraged from attending.”

The @USSenate is NOT practicing social distancing. Susan Collins and Lindsay Graham are practically snuggling on the bottom left. pic.twitter.com/1AboyVhtJc

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