World Health Organization official: 80 percent of coronavirus cases will involve mild symptoms

Eighty percent of those who are infected with the new coronavirus (COVID-19) will have cases involving mild symptoms, World Health Organization (WHO) spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said Thursday.

In an interview on "America's Newsroom" with hosts Ed Henry and Sandra Smith, Jasarevic said that his advice to the American public during the pandemic is the same for "every person on this planet."

"There are basic things you can do to protect yourself, to protect your community," he explained.

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"First: hand hygiene. We know how this virus is being transmitted. We know that you will get infected by introducing the virus through your nose, mouth, ear. And, that will happen most likely by touching your face with your hands after you have picked up the virus on some surface," Jasarevic stated.

A new study published in the medRxiv depository suggests that the virus can remain in the air for up to three hours, and live on surfaces such as plastic and stainless steel for up to three days.

The pandemic has reached over 124,000 people globally and killed over 4,600 thus far. The United States has seen over 1,300 cases with more than 35 deaths.

"If you [are a] person that is obviously sick – coughing – and if you are in the area where the virus is circulating, stay away," he warned. "Keep the distance."

"And," Jasarevic continued, "If you are coughing, if you have a fever, if you feel tired, and you think that you have been exposed to COVID-19, stay at home. We know that 80 percent of the people who are infected will have a mild disease that may go through — the person can go through the disease just by staying home and protecting others."

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However, those who develop a severe illness will "obviously" need medical attention and will need to be hospitalized, he added.

"And, this is why health care workers need really to be equipped and need to be trained for this," he concluded.