The actual number of people infected with the new coronavirus in the United States in the spring was two to 13 times greater than the official number of cases., according to data from the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) released Tuesday, confirming that the pandemic is largely fueled by asymptomatic people.
CDC analyzed samples from blood banks in 10 regions of the United States between March and June to detect antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, an unequivocal sign that the person had previously contacted the virus, even though they had not fallen ill. .
They discovered that between 1 and 5.8% of the inhabitants of these areas had been infected in this period, with the exception of New York City, where the prevalence reached 23.2% of the population as of May 6, or which is the same, to one in four New Yorkers.
Compared to the official number given for those dates, the actual number of cases was double in Utah, but ten times more in South Florida in late April and up to 13 times more in rural Missouri in late May. Even in New York, the epicenter of the American epidemic in the spring, there were ten times more people infected than the official number of cases.
These serological studies (based on a blood test) are carried out in many countries and allow researchers and health authorities to know the progress of the virus in the population, regardless of the availability of screening tests (in the nose or throat), that reveal if people are infected at the time they get it.
In the spring there was a shortage of diagnostic tests in the United States, which contributed to underestimating the circulation of the virus and its mortality, and experts say that not enough tests have been done in the country yet.
The bottom line is that on the one hand Hundreds of thousands of Americans unknowingly have the coronavirus and are helping to spread it; and on the other, generally with around 5% of the infected population, the country was still far from the threshold of collective immunity in the spring.
The study indicates that even The worst-affected area of the study – New York City, where nearly one in four people has been exposed to the virus – is not even close to achieving group immunity, the level of exposure at which the spread of the virus would begin. decrease on its own. To reach that level, experts believe that at least 60 percent of people in a given location would have had to be exposed to the virus.
“These figures suggest that the US is not close to group immunity,” he told the New York Times Carl Bergstrom, an infectious disease expert from the University of Washington in Seattle.
About 40 percent of infected people do not develop symptoms, but they can still transmit the virus to others. In the United States, about 700,000 people are now tested daily.
Upcoming CDC analyzes likely reflect an increase in infections in Florida and other parts of the country experiencing outbreaks since June.
US President Donald Trump warned on Tuesday that the COVID-19 epidemic “is going to get worse,” in a message at the first press conference on the virus at the White House since mid-April. “Probably and unfortunately it’s going to get worse before there is an improvement.” he said before calling on Americans to wear the mask when physical detachment is not possible.
With information from AFP
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