Much of Italy is currently in lockdown as the country’s tally of coronavirus deaths has topped 1,000.

The outbreak is putting the Italian healthcare service under immense strain. But will the UK follow this path?

On Thursday, Boris Johnson’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, said the UK was four weeks behind Italy “in terms of the scale of the outbreak” if not “in terms of the response”.

Does that mean we’re four weeks away from a similar fate?

Not necessarily. Here are three reasons why experts believe the UK’s epidemic could be different from Italy’s, and why the number of cases here means something different.

1. Different early transmission

The number of confirmed cases is not the same as the number of actual cases. It depends on how many infected

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