COVID-19 cases potentially up to 24 times greater than what’s being reported
The data and research surrounding COVID-19 is constantly evolving and a recent and shocking revelation is that the actual number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. may actually be up to 24 times greater than what’s being reported. As of July 21, 2020, the CDC states that the U.S. has reporter 3,819,139 cases, but new research out of the CDC says that’s likely a fraction of the actual numbers.
A study conducted by the CDC COVID-19 Response Team and published on July 21, 2020, in JAMA Internal Medicine, states that the actual number of COVID-19 infections might be six to 24 times greater than what’s being reported (and we’ll get into that in a bit), but the study actually sought out to find out how many people have COVID-19 antibodies.
Antibodies are proteins that help fight off infections and typically if you contract COVID-19, it was assumed that you would have the antibodies to ward off the virus again. The problem is, the study found that only a small number of people actually had antibodies to the virus, which basically means, not everyone who gets COVID-19 has the antibodies to fight the disease and thus remain susceptible to catching the virus again. This might explain stories of people getting COVID for a second time and why the CDC strongly urges others not to use a positive COVID-19 test or a positive antibody test as a sign to return to pre-pandemic behaviors. “We do not know yet if people who recover from COVID-19 can get infected again,” the CDC states.
However, a secondary bit of info from the study discovered that in testing people for antibodies, the researchers deduced that the actual number of COVID-19 infections may be far greater than what’s being reported. Researchers think the discrepancy is due to the fact that people with mild or no symptoms just aren’t getting tested.
The researchers stated that “the estimated number of infections ranged from 6 to 24 times the number of reported cases,” but in seven areas (Connecticut, Florida, Louisiana, Missouri, New York City metro area, Utah, and western Washington State), researchers estimated that “greater than 10 times more [COVID-19] infections occurred than the number of reported cases.”
The samples used in the study were collected in early spring and early June, so perhaps another study with post-reopening COVID-19 data would be more helpful. Also, despite the prevalence of COVID-19 seemingly everywhere, the “herd immunity” truthers will be sad to hear we’re nowhere near reaching those thresholds. The study states that the only area with a significant amount of individuals carrying antibodies was in New York (almost 24 percent of the population had antibodies as of early May), but to truly reach herd immunity you would need 60 to 70 percent of people testing positive for antibodies. Other than New York, the percentages of people with antibodies in other states were in the single digits.
Information about COVID-19 is rapidly changing, and Scary Mommy is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. With news being updated so frequently, some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For this reason, we are encouraging readers to use online resources from local public health departments, the Centers for Disease Control, and the World Health Organization to remain as informed as possible.