He added: “Given what we know a lot about how these viruses are spread we have lots of data from past epidemics.
“Given how transmissible this virus appears to be and that fact that at least all adults can be infected, we have much less data in children, then 60 per cent is a reasonable figure.
“Within the first 12 months or so. What we don’t know at the moment is if everybody infected. What proportion might die and what are the risk groups?
“Our best estimates at the moment is that maybe one per cent of people who get infected might die.”
When pushed for a specific number, Professor Ferguson said that “potentially” 400,000 people could lose their lives.
But added: “I would emphasise that at the moment, putting numbers like 400,000 isn’t necessarily helpful because we have so little information.”
NINE CASES CONFIRMED
There has been nine confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK with the latest patient taking herself to an A&E in an Uber.
As of Friday, a total of 2,964 people have been tested in the UK, of which 2,955 were confirmed negative.
NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said on Thursday that many more people in the UK may need to self-isolate to contain the illness, which has been officially named Covid-19.
This morning it was revealed two Labour MPs have self-isolated over coronaviru fears after going to a London bus conference attended by an infected patient.
MPs IN ISOLATION
Alex Sobel, MP for Leeds NW, tweeted earlier today he was being tested as one of 250 people who may have come into contact with the killer bug.
The infected person is said to have visited the UK Bus Summit in Westminster on February 6 where Boris Johnson’s Buses Minister, Baroness Vere of Norbiton, was star speaker.
“Whilst I have been informed that I am at very low risk, I have called 111 to be formally assessed” – Alex Sobel MP
Mr Sobel wrote on Twitter: “Whilst I have been informed that I am at very low risk, I have called 111 to be formally assessed.”
And another Labour MP who went to the conference, Lillian Greenwood, today said she is cancelling all her public engagements and is at home to be “extra cautious”.