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by Jenni Davidson
26 March 2020
Up to 50,000 people in Scotland could already be infected with coronavirus, CMO says

Up to 50,000 people in Scotland could already be infected with coronavirus, CMO says

Up to 50,000 people in Scotland could already be infected with coronavirus, according to the chief medical officer, Catherine Calderwood.

Speaking at the Scottish Government’s daily press briefing, Calderwood said that between 40,000 and 50,000 people may now be infected with COVID-19 but many will not yet know it.

The official number of confirmed cases rose to 894 on Thursday, up 175 from 719 on Wednesday, with a further two deaths, taking the total number of fatalities to 25.

However, Calderwood said the official figures were a “very significant underestimate”.

With testing currently limited to those who are hospitalised with severe cases of the virus, many more will be infected than the official figures confirm.

On Monday the CMO suggested a figure of 1,000 people infected for every death, but the new estimate suggests an even higher rate of infections.

Calderwood said: “Once again, we’ve seen the number of confirmed cases in Scotland rise and very sadly the number of deaths again has risen.

“As I’ve said before, this of course is a very significant underestimate of the number of cases in Scotland.

“And we’re probably looking at of the order of perhaps 40,000 to 50,000 people in Scotland who are now infected with coronavirus.

“Many of them don’t yet know that they are infected, nor indeed do they realise that they are potentially going to infect those around them.”

Calderwood said it was encouraging to see the empty streets and asked people not to relax the rules or be tempted to see people from other households at the weekend.

She said: “This is going to be a long haul and as the weekend comes, a weekend perhaps unlike any other you’ve ever experienced, the children are already asking if they can go back to school because they miss their friends and all the fun that school can bring, as well as the hard work, but as we approach the weekend, to not relax those rules, to not be tempted to see other families from other households.

“That confining yourself to your own household, to not mixing with other people who then are mixing with others, is so key and so important and I’d thank those who have been able to do this so far, but really just encourage, the virus is out there, you do not know who has it, to stay away from as many people as possible, stay with your family, stay with your household.”

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